The Kong Hee trial, where Hee and 5 others were charged with criminal breach of trust and financial mismanagement, has came up with a guilty verdict for all of the 6 accused, with sentencing due later. Many professing Christians especially City Harvest Church (CHC) members defend Kong Hee and see the entire affair as persecution, while those especially who have been critical of Hee have generally piled on the criticism.
This entire affair to the outside world leaves a black mark on Christianity (since City Harvest is seen as a Christian church and Kong Hee as a Christian pastor). While I have been critical of Kong Hee (and still am), the fact that to the outside world Christianity gets tarred is sad. I would very much prefer not to comment on this fiasco if I do not have to. Objectively, it cannot be denied that City Harvest accounts were not done properly, so that the prosecution has a legitimate case against City Harvest on this technical matter. At the same time, while I disagree with the Crossover Project, what City Harvest wants to do with its own money is its own business, as long as the members approve. The government does not have a right to tell any private organization how to spend its own money as long as its members agree, just as it is none of the government's business if I decide to spend my personal money on expensive items or not.
As I have said, I would prefer not to comment on this sad saga, until I read this "theological reflection" article, which has as much theology in it as a generic Singapore Evangelical church bulletin. Unfortunately, such shallow drivel is considered "theological reflection" in today's world. Worse still, it promotes false teachings, and thus its errors need to be shown.
The first error is the author's airbrushing of prosperity theology. The idea that one holds to either a prosperity theology or a "poverty theology" is absolute nonsense from the pits of hell, promoted by the prosperity heretics themselves to try to deceive people into believing a prosperity theology. The author has bought this lie as a matter of first principle, and then attempt the Hegelian dialectic to create his third option, seeing "merits on both sides of the equation." Thus, we see the treating of "prosperity" and "poverty" as being two opposing options and then he laid out his third option.
As opposed to such deception, the Scriptures only condemns the love of money without focusing too much on the topic. Unlike us, the Scriptures are not fixated on money; it neither extolls prosperity or poverty. It does not promote lust of money such that one loves prosperity, neither does it see money as ontologically evil and thus to be avoided at all costs. Money in Scripture is to be a mere tool of exchange.
The author here correctly points out the problems with appealing to Jesus or the patriarchs. He correctly appeals to Matthew 6:24 against the prosperity gospel. He also states the problem with associating outward success with blessing. All of these are right and true, yet we see here no denunciation of the false gospel of the prosperity message, but rather the Hegelian process at work. What is the use of offering some correct insights while claiming that there is good in the prosperity gospel? Does it bother him even, or maybe he does not believe it, that the prosperity gospel has brought desolation to millions in this life and, in the next, brought them to hell, alongside heretics such as Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Creflo Dollar and so on? The prosperity nonsense normally comes alongside the Word-faith heresy, since it is through speaking words of power (faith) that one can create one's better life into being. In any address of the prosperity heresy therefore, there should be a knowledge of the Word-faith nonsense behind it. In Kong Hee's case, one should probably also be informed of the new syncretized version called Dominion Theology promoted by the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), but I guess that's asking too much from his article.
The author's second point focuses on saying that the means do not justify the end. This is of course true. At the same time, the Crossover Project is a moral issue, not a legal issue. As I have said, any private organization should have the liberty to spend its money however it pleases if its members agree to do so. The author seem to think that the Crossover Project is in itself a violation of the law of the land, which is false. It is the round-tripping and financial irregularities that are the problems, for this is (still) a (relatively) free country, and there should not be anything wrong with the project per se. Now, I think that the whole project is morally bankrupt (see Sun Ho's "China Wine" video if you want to know why), but legally there shouldn't be any reasons why an organization can't spend its money that way.
The author says that one should not "compromise the gospel in order to share the gospel." That is true, but what is the Gospel? After all, the author has "irenically" told us there is good in the prosperity gospel. The author accepts the rationale of good works done by CHC, and just contend that all the good does not excuse one from breaking the law. While that is true, yet is the problem with CHC just that they broke the law while doing good? Again, what exactly is the Gospel? That we should be good citizens doing good works? We are not told.
All of these criticisms so far are just the problems with what the author has said. But what is even more disturbing is the author's unspoken assumptions concerning CHC. To me, CHC is not a legitimate Christian church. There are professing Christians inside, and maybe some true ones, but it's none of my business to judge their personal salvation. Rather, the focus is on the nature of CHC as a Christian church, and it is not one. CHC has promoted heresy and it has promoted false teachers like Benny Hinn (e.g 13-15 Apr 2007). As an independent church, it has no accountability and it shows. With regards to the ordering of the church, who exactly ordained Kong Hee and was he legitimately ordained? But back to the issue of the Gospel, what exactly is the "Gospel" in CHC? If its sermons and conferences are anything to go by, it is a syncretized Word-faith NAR perversion of the Gospel, and THAT is the elephant in the room which the author does not touch, and which makes CHC a false church.
The main problem with CHC is not some cosmetic issues with their financial mis-accounting. Neither is it with their promotion of prosperity per se. But the problem goes deeper to the essence of Christianity, the Gospel. CHC has lost the Gospel, and that should be the main issue of criticism. It has lost the Gospel, and therefore it has adopted the Word Faith and NAR nonsense. It has lost the Gospel, which is why godliness to them look the same as worldliness. It has lost the Gospel, which is why they don't have a problem with the ends justifying the means. It has lost the Gospel, which is why Sun Ho can behave so scandalously and dress so lewdly on MTV. It has lost the Gospel, which is why her members behave like they worship Kong Hee, because they do.
Kong Hee has sadly remained unrepentant, but his main issue is not with the government, but with God Himself. Until he repents of his heresy, there will be a greater Judge who will be against him, and nothing he does then will avail him any good.