Monday, August 07, 2006

Report on Festival of Praise 2006

I am taking a short break from the Sola Scriptura series for the moment. Over the weekend in Singapore, the Charismatic movement in Singapore in the Festival of Praise (FOP) committee have organized this year's Festival of Praise event. I went for the FOP on the 5th Aug 2006 to observe the event. Here is my report of this event. An analysis of the sermon given by Rev. Ed Silvoso will be posted later.

On Saturday the 5th Aug 2006, I decided to go to the Festival of Praise (FOP) 2006 with my brother, to see what it has become. I went for the FOP a few times in my earlier years before I came to embrace the doctrines of grace, and have not gone for the event ever since then (2003). Therefore, I have decided to go for this event as an observer, noting that most of the people going there will be youths and young adults from Charismatic churches, and even some from supposedly conservative denominations. Since this is the case, they represent the direction mainstream Christianity in Singapore is heading towards. This is especially so when I came to know of some of the churches that are supporting and taking part in the event – City Harvest Church (CHC), Riverlife Church, Church of Singapore, and even CEFC (Covenant Evangelical Free Church) is at least supporting it.

I arrived just when they were about to begin, with Canon James Wong and then Pastor Kong Hee of CHC leading the people in a time of prayer for the Middle East. After some time for the next prayer items, some of the people started to pray in tongues. As if on cue, some of the pastors on stage started to pray in tongues also. As some of them have a clip-on microphone with them, some of their prayers (in tongues) could be heard softly over the microphone. After some time, Pastor Kong Hee closed with a prayer, in which he mixes a bit of his “tongue-language” into his prayer ( … "shamballah umballah" … Hey, look, I can speak ‘tongue’! ) . Now, this is a clear violation of Scripture (1 Cor. 14: 27-33), assuming that their tongues are valid in the first place, as there is no interpretation. Also, no mass speaking or praying in tongues in public is allowed.

Next, there was worship lead by Don Moen of Integrity! Music. As a more conservative Evangelical, his music was not towards the pop rock style characteristic of more modern bands like Hillsongs or Delirious?. He played some of the classic Don Moen pieces like God is good all the time and a few others which I don’t know of. During the worship, the spotlights were used to flash around, some were dimmed and other lighting effects were done so as to manipulate the atmosphere. This is against Scripture’s injunction to worship in spirit and in truth. God did not ask us to manufacture worship but to worship Him as He commanded us to. By manipulating our emotions using lighting effects, we are first of all not worshipping God in spirit, merely hyping up our emotions, but secondly we are bringing strange fire unto the Lord, which God utterly detests (Lev. 10:1-3).

Another thing which Don Moen did was during the song God is good all the time, where he started the song by singing the first verse slowly, then he asked the audience the question “Are you ready?” to which the audience responded with a resounding yes, then he restarted the song with a fast beat. This type of question and response shows once again the orchestration of the worship experience, which is similarly antithecal to true worship of our God as we are not worshipping God in spirit but only hyping up our emotions. During another song, he started to have 'instrumental worship', in which halfway through a praise song, he stopped leading worship and then one instrument after another started to perform various harmonies to ‘praise God’. Concert is the name of the game, definitely not worship. Oh, and not to mention the repetition of choruses many times (OK, not that many. I heard one Charismatic church which did it much worse) to hype up the emotions again. All of these are antithecal to true worship and are in fact expressions of carnal rebellion against God Almighty, the Lord of hosts, the Holy One of Israel, to which everyone will one day give an account of their lives and actions before Him.

After around half an hour of worship, Don Moen left the stage for the sermon by Rev. Ed Silvoso. Now, I initially didn’t know who he is, so I was just listening to see what this man of God would preach on. Sadly to say, his ‘sermon’ was one whole bunch of biblical errors, poor exegesis, logical fallacies, and even heretical notions, which I will document in my examination of his sermon soon. Anyway, after his ‘sermon’, Don Moen came back to "lead us in a time of worship", after which Pastor Kong Hee closed the event with a prayer and a benediction, after having everyone shout out the name of the company or school whatever, their “marketplace” area, as a declaration that they will be redeemed by the Lord (we shall examine this concept in the sermon). After this, anyone is welcomed to leave, while the Christian City Church band stepped on stage to lead anyone who wants to stay for "another half an hour of worship". Basically, it was totally a pop rock music concert. If Don Moen could not get worship right, I think there are no words to describe this type of abomination which masquerades as worship. Anyway, I decided to return home then.

May God have mercy on us all for this heretical teaching conducted in the name of Christ, and may he grant the people involved repentance unto eternal life in our Lord Jesus Christ.

UPDATE: Some unregenerate people have thought that I am attacking all people going for the event. Those people should just go back and retake their reading comprehension exam.


Evangelical books said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Affy said...

Hello daniel,

I never attended much after going there after the first time in 2000 or 2001... i felt funny after going there then.

Looks like the devil's deceptions are quite powerful in singapore.

Usually when people are emotionally hyped up, they do not have discerning hearts to listen and blanket accept everything. There is nothing new under the sun that has not happened. So the FOP becomes a perfect place to breed satan's lies.

I sincerely believe that music has become indispensible which should not be the case. In truth and in spirit should be the only things indispensible.

I'm becoming quite wary about mass worship/prayer events such as FOP and GDOP. Looks like such events only create sensationalistic christians (if they were even christians in the first place) and would make them also universalist.

Again, its the Devil's ploy to create a second [greater?]apostasy - one where more confusion will be created.

Yet, i see God's sovereignty in the matter and that He has sent you there to FOP today and giveth you a discerning heart - so as to warn us sheep. Praise God.

Daniel C said...

Hello Jensen,

yup, I was in London, UK from January to June 2005. Think you sound familiar too. You are worshipping in Metropolitan Tabernacle, right? Yup, remember you (somewhat :P). As for my "Charismatic experience", I would post that later.

Anonymous said...

If you believe you are the true Christians, good. Keep loving God and obeying His commands. Spend time sharing the gospel which is the Great Mission. His commands also ask you not to judge. Obey that too. Judgement comes from pride.

Daniel C said...

Hello Anonymous,

it would be good if you would identify yourself (See my rules on commenting!) And I would ask you to refrain from questioning my evangelistic zeal until you know more about what I have done and am currently doing.

Affy said...

Hello all,

Anonymous is a hypocrite. This is the same anonymous as the one who commented in daniel's recent post
entitled "Regarding my review of Ed Silvoso's sermon"

He says it is not biblical to judge. However, by making that statement, he is judging daniel and by mr anonymous' definition, he is also sinning and is hence, either a false christian (again his definition) or to me, a hypocrite.

Groundless and hypocritical judgement (such as Mr anonymous' ones) are based on pride. Daniel and jen_est's judgements are based on the biblical standard and are encouraged.

So mr anonymous, are you a false christian or a hypocrite?

RaGe FuRy said...

Y dun u write in to CHC? Rather then posting on a blog which is really laid bare to all to see.. christians AND non-christians. It is good to be aware of such things but i think it is unwise on your part to post in on a media like a blog rather than a forum instead. This could anger some and might even be seen as libel to others. However, I feel that FOP is a good intention but the pop culture is slowly seeping and being integrated into FOP, however do not claim this whole event is blasphemy as this is a very heavy word to use. You insult the pastors which is not biblical is it? Respecting your authority is something we ought to do as christians rite? You can be critical but not outright rude.

Daniel C said...

'Y dun u write in to CHC?'

Simple, these are my thoughts on the issue, and Kong Hee isn't interested in what this small fry thinks.

'This could anger some and might even be seen as libel to others.'

Last I know, Singapore upholds the principle of seperation of church and state. Do tell me if there are any changes to that. Otherwise, no one can sue another for saying something is blasphemous or heretical.

'however do not claim this whole event is blasphemy as this is a very heavy word to use.'

So? 'Heavy' or not, strong or not, the question to ask is whether this is true, not whether you are offended by it. Do you think that offering up emotionalism as worship glorifies God?

'You insult the pastors which is not biblical is it? Respecting your authority is something we ought to do as christians rite?'

Sorry, I do not regard them as my pastors. My church is not in the NCCS (National Council of Churches Singapore) or the Love Singapore movement. They have no authority over me, theoretical or practical or otherwise, at least no more than the Pope or the Dalai Lama. And as for Kong Hee, I do not regard him as a pastor. Yes, he is called a pastor by many people, but I do not regard him as such. Anyone who allows the heretic Benny Hinn to come to Singapore to hold a crusade has lost all credibility as a sound Christian, nevermind a pastor. As a crucial side note, he isn't even lawfully ordained to the ministry (and 'apostolic annointing' doesn't count!)

And oh, before you start throwing wild allegations of who insulting who and who, please provide evidences to support your ridiculous charge. Pointing doctrines and practices out which are not biblical is not a personal attack on any person.

Anonymous said...

I am not a CHC member but
Regarding the speaking of tongues and u quote 1 Cor. 14: 27-33.. I believe, we should read the whole consel as Paul had said and not juz pick out some.

21 In the Law it is written: "Through men of strange tongues and through the lips of foreigners I will speak to this people, but even then they will not listen to me," says the Lord. 22 Tongues, then, are a sign, not for believers but for unbelievers; prophecy, however, is for believers, not for unbelievers. 23 So if the whole church comes together and everyone speaks in tongues, and some who do not understand or some unbelievers come in, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 24 But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, 25 and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, "God is really among you!"

26 What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two--or at the most three--should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and God. 29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all the congregations of the saints,
Paul is speaking that tonques and prophecy is to edify the church, to strengthen the church. Furthermore, the Bible say, we commute spirit to spirit.

and also, i am just wondering, instead of jydging and commenting, why not pray instead.

Lightnings can control your emotions?! i doubt God created that to control our emotions to manipulate the atmosphere.If the Holy Spirit is there, the presence of God will be ther, we dun need to manipulate it.C'mon

Daniel C said...

>'I believe, we should read the whole consel as Paul had said and not juz pick out some.'

Sure. Let's look. Why don't we start by looking at the entire context, starting from verse 6, noting especially verse 6 and verses 13-19 also?

(verse 6) Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching?
(verses 13-19) Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret. 14For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also. 16Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say "Amen" to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

So, even assuming that the tongues are valid, what part of the phrase 'how can anyone in the position of an outsider say "Amen" to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying?' is hard to understand with regards to the idea of praying in tongues in public?

Also, more importantly, perhaps you can show me one example of a valid tongue which follows proper language structure and syntax, since the biblical tongues are after all foreign languages! And by the way, do tell me why if tongues do exist, then the Canon of Scripture is not closed yet, after all since you are still receiving new revelation from God through tongues? And tongues are not private prayer languages, if they are of the biblical variety that is.

>'and also, i am just wondering, instead of judging [sic] and commenting, why not pray instead.'

I DO pray, and I also do bring forth the Truth to bear on the situation. Perhaps you might want to read Ez. 33:1-9 before you jump to any other invalid conclusions or posit other types of false dichotomies. [After all, what makes you think that if a person judges, then he doesn't pray?] Also, do read Jude 1:3.

>'Lightnings can control your emotions?! i doubt God created that to control our emotions to manipulate the atmosphere.If the Holy Spirit is there, the presence of God will be ther, we dun need to manipulate it.C'mon'

Precisely! So why do you need lighting and ambience changes, since, if God is there, He is there, and if He is not there, He is not there. Why do we need EXTRA lighting stuff to ADD to God's presence, unless it is to enhance the worship 'experience'? And if there is such a need of enhancement, then God is not there. So back to the point, why are the lighting and ambience settings changed throughout the concert? And lighting can manipulate [NOT control] your emotions? If you deny it, why don't you want dark, dreary colors to be displayed during important occasions such as weddings and birthdays? Does looking at a colorful paintings or seeing bright, warm colors cheer you up on a gloomy day?