An Insightful Analysis To The CHC System (Part 6)

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Kong Hee says about CHC, Phil Pringle and the C3 Church Movement,

“You can’t talk about City Harvest Church without talking about C3. Or Christian City Church. You know Pastor Phil has been there for me; praying with me; encouraging me; discipling me; telling me how to do the work of the ministry; taught me how to collect an offering; how to give an altar call; how to build a church; build a team. So Pastor Phil, from the depth of my heart, for Sun and myself, we wouldn’t be where we are today without you and Pastor Chris. Let’s give Pastor Phil and Pastor Chris a big clap.” – Kong Hee, Kong Hee, Session 8: (00:24), Presence Conference 2010.

The above quote is something to think about while reading the below article. Before reading this sixth article, make sure you have read his earlier articles:

An Insightful Analysis To The CHC System (Part 1)
An Insightful Analysis To The CHC System (Part 2)
An Insightful Analysis To The CHC System (Part 3)
An Inisghtful Analysis To The CHC System (Part 4)
An Insightful Analysis To The CHC System (Part 5)

Marc Ronez is back! Here is Ronez’s sixth article analysing the CHC situation:

City Harvest Case part 6: The Smog of the Crossover Financing

The revelations about the large sums of money (tens of millions of dollars) used liberally to finance Sun Ho’s failed attempt to breakthrough on the U.S. music scene and about her carefree, luxury lifestyle, have shocked many City Harvest Church members, the christians community at large and even the wider public. Reading through online forums, it is clear that many people felt that the amounts spent were extravagant and questioned what this “U.S. pop star adventure” had really got to do with the Christian evangelisation project it proclaimed to be.

The important questions we should ask and aim to answer here are:

- Who actually paid for the Crossover Project?

- How was the financing practically arranged? 

- Why was it done this way?

The financing of the Crossover project is one of the most important issues we have to examine in my series of posts about the CHC case because this is where we can possibly confirm or disprove most clearly the deception and fraudulent intent of the CHC leaders being prosecuted. This issue of financing is at the center of the prosecution case in the ongoing trial as without it, there would be no case to be answered. So let’s now explore the key issues in detail.

1 – WHO paid for the Crossover Project?

From the COC Report, the CAD investigations, the trial proceedings and even by the own admissions of the defendants including Pastor Kong Hee himself, it has been confirmed very CLEARLY that Sun Ho music career and U.S. Crossover had essentially been financed by CHC church funds.

This is now a fact recognised by everybody. However according to the prosecution, this very fact had, for many years, been kept under cover by the CHC leadership and actually the prosecuted CHC leaders are today “in the dock” precisely because they have “deliberately schemed to conceal the movement and use of church funds [for the crossover] from church members”.

Indeed from the facts and testimonies brought to light during the court proceeding and cross examinations, it has been revealed that the general body of the Church members were actually led to believe that Sun Ho’s crossover was NOT financed by the church. As Chew Eng Han (CHC former investment manager) pointed out during his cross-examination of Pastor Kong Hee a few days ago, the Senior Pastor of CHC apparently preferred to keep the Crossover funding “indirect and discreet“. For many years, Pastor Kong Hee never publicly mentioned anything about any kind of Church Financing for Sun Ho’s U.S. Crossover. Quite on the contrary in fact, as with much fanfare, he had claimed in 2005 in front of the church congregation that Sun Ho had been “invited” to the United States by a major music record company who offered her a US 5 million dollar contract. On hearing the news, the church members cheered with the comforting belief  that this was miracle from God who was opening doors for Sun Ho and a clear proof that God was supporting her Crossover to the secular music world. Everybody listening also naturally assumed that this contract would finance her salary and the production of her future U.S. singles and albums. Over the years, Pastor Kong Hee repeatedly claimed that his wife was a pop star, that she was very successful in her music career collecting many accolades and awards in the process. He even joked on occasions that she was making a lot more more money than him. He had also stressed that while Sun Ho was “shining for Christ” in the music world, she had officially been released from ministry, and hence her music career was her own business completely independent from the Church. Theofficial story CHC members were fed with was that she had largely financed her music career and  U.S. breakthrough attempt with what she was earning from her recording contract and royalties from her previous albums and singles. While in the church, some members knew that the church was providing some form of support to Sun Ho’s crossover and sometimes were even involved in it, very few were really aware of the full extent of this support  and most members did not bother to ask any questions for the reasons explained in my previous posts  “City Harvest Case Part 2 – If there is a Fraud what would be the Motives?”  and  “City Harvest Case Part 3 – The Opportunity Makes The Thief“, relating to PRESSURES and OPPORTUNITIES factors in unethical decision-making.

Unfortunately the reality was very different from what was then the “official” CHC storyline. Sun Ho’s business activities were not doing so well, her royalties from previous albums and singles were drying up and in fact, her earlier musical successes had been grossly exaggerated according to Chew Eng Han who pointed out and provided documentary evidences to prove that “all the while Church money was spent to boost Sun Ho’s CD sales and her position on the music charts“, furthermore CHC members were encouraged to buy her albums and even to buy more than one copy, in fact as many copies as possible. They were told by their cell group leaders that they could give the additional CDs to bless their families and friends. It was also revealed during cross-examination of former CHC board member John Lam that CHC had spent about half a million dollars buying at least 32,000 copies of Sun Ho’s unsold CDs supposedly to bless other congregations around Asia with Sun Ho’s music. Did these congregations really asked for her music? Finally the famous US 5 million dollar recording contract offer mentioned above actually never materialised simply because it never existed in the first place except in the fertile imagination of Pastor Kong Hee as explained in my previous post “City Harvest Case part 5: CHC’s Crossover or Sun Ho’s Crossover“. Hence with not enough money of her own to finance her American music adventure, it must have been quite clear from the beginning for the CHC leadership that for Sun Ho’s crossover to materialise, it had to be financed by the church. That meant with the money received from its faithful members.

 2 – HOW was the Crossover financing arranged?

From the COC Report, the CAD investigations and the trial proceedings, it has been further revealed that the financing of the Crossover was arranged using a variety of indirect and often rather complicated schemes. I would list the key ones as follows:

1. The Xtron Productions & Firna SGD 24 million Bonds,
2. The SGD 3.6 million Multi-Purpose Account (“MPA”),
3. The CHCKL (CHC Kuala Lumpur)  SGD 2.1 million “Love gift”.

Let’s examine now the various financing channels more closely in order to answer the HOW question:

CHANNEL 1The Xtron Productions & Firna Bonds

Instead of trying to get a strong mandate from Church members in order to be able to invest directly Church funds into the Crossover project, the prosecuted CHC leaders decided that CHC would do it indirectly by investing in Bonds issued by Xtron productions and Firna using the monies from the building fund. Like for any Bond mechanism, an interest and a maturity date for the principal repayment was agreed between the parties involved. Then from 2007 to 2009 S$ 13 million and S$ 11 million (a total of S$ 24 million) were transferred from the church building fund  in several tranches as part of the bonds purchase agreement with those 2 companies. But those were not ordinary bonds. The catch was that Xtron had been set up primarily to organise the financing of and manage Sun Ho’s music career. And Firna belongs to Indonesian businessman and long-time CHC member, Wahju Hanafi, who had agreed to support the crossover project. So in order to raise the necessary funds, Xtron and Firna had issued a series of bonds that were then bought by CHC, meaning that effectively Xtron & Firna took loans from CHC. The proceeds of the bonds was then used to finance the various expenses related to the crossover project and Sun Ho’s music actitivities.

The problem is that the COC and prosecution consider that the SGD 24 millions were ILLEGALLY diverted from the church building fund.  According to COC and prosecution, the deception comes from the fact that the transactions were presented as regular bond investments and that apart from the persons incriminated, the other board members, the executive members and the ordinary members were not told of the actual purpose of the bonds which was to fund Sun Ho attempt to breakthrough on the U.S. music scene. Furthermore the prosecution and trial proceedings have also highlighted the complete lack of independence of Xtron from CHC and the multiple problematic conflict of interests in the management of Xtron.

The COC and prosecution also claimed that when the external auditor started to raise difficult questions about the above mentioned Xtron & Firna bonds, the prosecuted leaders rushed to arrange another transfer of about SGD 26 million to make it look like the bond had been properly redeemed, hence the so-called “round-tripping”.

The prosecuted CHC leaders and  City Harvest Church have disputed the allegations that the church was cheated of any money, claiming that the Board of CHC had the full authority to decide how to best invest the available church funds (including the monies of the building funds) and that all decisions were made following proper procedures further claiming that eventually all the sums invested had been repaid in full to the church with the agreed interest.

So did anything wrong happen? Was it illegal? Well considering that there is a trial going on precisely looking at the legality of those transactions, the judge will obviously have the final say about what is legal and what is not. However based on the information available, I would like to make a few observations:

- Bonds are just financial instruments. They are like any tools. You can put them to a good or a bad use. So we should not blame the tools, it is the users who are responsible. The purpose of a bond is to allow organisations who need funds to be able to borrow them from the organisations who have excess cash and wish to invest that cash to get a return. While usually considered safer than investing in shares because of the fixed interest rate and the commitnent to return the capital in full after a fixed term, bonds are not without risks. There is always the possibility that the company issuing the bond could go bankrupt and hence being unable to repay the principal leaving the investors without recourse “naked in the cold”.

- Firna & Xtron bonds should have been categorised as high risk (i.e. junk) bonds. First as exposed during trial proceedings Firna was having cash flow issues & Xtron seems to have been a financially weak and troubled organisation. Second the proceeds of the bonds were to be used for an extremely high risk project, i.e. launching the career of a modestly successful Asian pop artist in the U.S.

- Furthermore, it was mentioned during the trial proceedings that the “interest rate that Firna was paying to CHC was lower than what the company would have been able to get from banks“. So here we find out that not only CHC was investing in “Junk bonds” but the church did not even get the high interests than usually compensate for the high risk taken. In fact, it appears that CHC was shortchanged with a lower than market interest rate.

- Another “twist” in the CHC case, is that there was a complete confusion of roles between the borrower Xtron and the lender CHC. The trial proceedings and cross-examinations have highlighted the near complete lack of independence of Xtron from CHC: First the directors of Xtron were handpicked by Pastor Tan Ye Peng and Pastor Kong Hee and were insiders and loyal followers of the CHC Senior Pastor. Second Serina Wee, former CHC finance Manager, appears to have had “her hands” in the accounts of all 3 organisations CHC, Firna and Xtron and was reporting directly to Pastor Tan and Pastor Kong Hee. Finally most of, if not all, the important decisions about the Crossover were made directly by Pastor Kong Hee and his wife Sun Ho and were then rubber stamped by CHC and Xtron quite LITERALLY as it has been revealed during cross examination that actual rubber stamps of key signatories were created and used.

- Chew Eng Han, in his role of CHC investment manager, came up with and arranged the bonds scheme as a solution to the desire of Pastor Kong Hee  (Senior Pastor of CHC) to keep the funding of the Crossover “indirect and discreet”. Hence the issue was not about raising money for the Crossover, rather it was about transferring it quietly from the  building fund. Based on the above mentioned considerations, we can conclude that the way the bonds were arranged  constitutes clearly a perveteduse of the bond mechanism.

There are at least 2 other financing channels that while not part of the current prosecution case are worth mentioning as they may also shed some light on the intend of the parties involved.

CHANNEL 2The Multi-Purpose Account (“MPA”)

The existence of the MPA, a private fund that was set up and was used to pay for Sun Ho and Kong Hee private expenditures between 2006 and 2010, was first exposed to light by the COC report in 2010.  More recently under Cross-examination by Chew Eng Han, Pastor Kong Hee was given an opportunity to explain himself about it and he declared: “The MPA was set up by some of Xtron donors in 2006 to support Sun and my livelihood in the mission field because at the end of 2005 both of us went off church payroll.” He also added that ” secondarily it was set up for us to use it for Crossover-related expenses…” Initially 28 couples and a few individuals were approached and enlisted as MPA donors.

First, we may wonder what were really Pastor Kong Hee expenses in the mission field?  This a fair question as it has been revealed during the trial proceedings that his business class flight expenses were mostly paid by the church, his luxury hotel accommodation expenses were either paid by CHC or by the church inviting him, his large support staff and equipment were provided by CHC and finally, quite a number of mission trips consisted of   lucrative paid preaching engagements in other mega churches. Sun Ho on her side, was paid by Xtron for “her efforts” for the Crossover. So did they really need more money?

Second, according to the COC report, a total of S$3.6 millions were collected through the MPA fund over a three and half years period. This translates to about S$1 million per year to share between Sun Ho and Kong Hee. A more than substantial “compensation” for “going off the church payroll”. The actual use of the funds while supposedly dedicated to the crossover project and other mission trips was in practice completely non-transparent and left to the entire discretion of Pastor Kong Hee and his wife.  In essence they did whatever they wanted with the money and did not have to be accountable to anybody.

From testimonies received from various MPA donors, it appears that Pastor Kong Hee did not just wait for donors to give, he proactively approached them to “encourage” them to give more. In his cross examination of Pastor Kong Hee, Chew Eng Han highlighted an incident that in his opinion, demonstrates both Pastor Kong Hee eagerness to collect always more money as well as his willingness to use deceptive meansto do so.

Chew Eng Han mentioned a meeting that was held with the MPA donors in 2010 where Pastor Kong Hee showed them a spreadsheet aimed to demonstrate that the givings received from the donors were not enough to cover his and Sun’s expenses. The spreadsheet showed a deficit of about half a million dollars for 2009. The donors were then given a pledge form and strongly encouraged to give more.

The problem, according to Chew Eng Han, is that the total amount of donations collected of S$512,000 that was mentioned in the spreadsheet for 2009 was minus of royalties and salaries paid to Sun. Hence the true amount collected was in fact S$952,000. Hence CEH claimed that Pastor Kong Hee misled the MPA donors to think that the collections amount was much lower than what it was. This misrepresentation is indeed very troubling and we can speculate that they were possibly 2 reasons to explain it. Pastor Kong Hee may have wanted:

1. to make the MPA donors feel bad about the “low” collection amount and the deficit and compel them to give more

2. to hide the extravagant salary and royalties (S$ 400,000) given to Sun Ho that he was apparently was finding hard to justify

Another issue highlighted in the COC report is the claim that the donors enlisted in the MPA were told that they could “transfer their contributions originally meant for the Church’s building fund to the MPA and hence they ceased or reduced their regular tithes to the church after they contributed funds to the MPA”. This claim was confirmed by direct testimonies of MPA donors. COC report further claims that apart from the small group of donors, the existence of the MPA was concealed to the rest of the Church’s members and great care put in keeping it this way.

This is a highly problematic point here as this would mean that the creation of the MPA directly and negatively impacted the level of contributions of the MPA donors to the tithes and to the building fund. In other words, form a practical perspective, Pastor Kong Hee and Sun Ho did not really go off church payroll as without the MPA, the funds they received would have gone to the church. So in essence, the funds they got from the MPA for their living expenses, i.e. “salaries”  were indirectly taken from the church. But this time without in forms of control or scrutiny on the amount and use they could make of it. A much “better deal” for Pastor Kong Hee and Sun Ho. Definitely NOT a good one for the church.

To conclude, while some CHC members and the wider public may be shocked by this MPA account (and the large sums involved), we should stress that from a legal point of view, people can donate their money to whoever they wish to, be the tithes, the building fund or the MPA or anything else and they do not need to publicize what is essentially a private transaction. While the attempt of the CHC leaders to hide the MPA from the rest of the CHC members shows their embarrassment and clearly raise some serious ethical questions. Based on the information currently available, it is hard to find a really solid legal ground for the prosecution to charge the CHC leaders based on the MPA transactions. We need to keep in mind that something unethical may not necessarily be illegal. The MPA donors themselves would have a better case and could try to sue Pastor Kong Hee and Sun Ho if they have given or increase their donations due the misreprsentation of facts mentioned in this section.

Finally CHANNEL 3: The CHCKL ‘Love Gift’ or ‘Transfer’

Another way the CHC leadership used to finance the crossover project was to encourage financial support, i.e. “love gifts” from other churches with whom CHC has established friendly relationships, partnerships and even affiliations. Over the years, many churches have contributed financially to CHC projects including the crossover project. Similarly CHC has contributed financially to many other churches’ important projects such as building funds and so on.

The first issue here is again related to the fact that the use of the funds provided by the “love gifts” has been completely non-transparent and left to the entire discretion of Pastor Kong Hee and Sun Ho. While supposedly dedicated to the crossover project, there was in practice no ways for the donors to check how the money was used and no accountability whatsoever.

The second issue is that while these “give and receive” contributions between churches are a natural part of relationship and partnership building efforts, there is always a risk of abuse when  they become formalised, transactional and conditional, i.e. “I give you this ONLY if you give me that..”

According to the COC report, some of the prosecuted CHC leaders have crossed the red line when between December 2007 and May 2010, some S$2.1 millions from CHC were channeled to the U.S. crossover project via an affiliated church in Malaysia (City Harvest Church Kuala Lumpur, CHCKL). In the CHC accounts, the funds transferred are recorded as a donation to the building fund of CHCKL. However the COC report claims that the same funds were actually then transmitted by CHCKL to support the Crossover Project in the United States under the guise of a love gift. The COC investigations apparently revealed that clear instructions were given via email by some of the accused CHC Leaders in Singapore to CHCKL to transfer the so-called “donations” to the Crossover in the U.S. disguised as “love gifts” and hence exposing the true purpose of the original “donations”.

If there is clear written evidences that support the claims of the COC report, this would be a very serious accusation as it would give another clear evidence of deception and wrongdoing from the persons involved in the transactions. But without such evidences, it would difficult to prove anything as these reciprocal “give and take” transactions are actually quite common place between.  While we may speculate about the intentions of the parties involved when we can observe those “give and take transactions”, it is hard to prove the fraudulent intent without clear and documented instructions that reveal that actual intent.

3 – WHY was the Crossover Financing arranged in the indirect, complicated and non-transparentmanner described in the previous section?

It is worth to note that the key issue under scrutiny at the CHC trial, i.e. the financing of the Crossover, has been carefully eluded by CHC leaders in their public statements. The fact that investigations and then the court case were underway has repeatedly been used as an excuse to diffuse requests for more information and more disclosure on the Crossover financing. When the public and church members asked questions about the financing, the standard CHC leadership’s response has been to say, “Please understand that we cannot disclose more about issues that are under scrutiny in this trial. Do not make pre-judgment. Let our case be heard in court at the right place and time.

So well now finally, it is the time and actually the last opportunity for Pastor Kong Hee and the other prosecuted CHC leaders to tell their version of the truth before court judgment is passed and I would like to ask them a few simple questions:

- Why use various and often complicated schemes to arrange the financing for the Crossover project?
– Why not do it directly and transparently?
– Why keep church members in the dark and even misleading them for many years about the financing of the Crossover project?

As already mentioned, Pastor Kong Hee admitted during cross examination that he preferred to keep the funding “indirect and discreet” despite Chew Eng Han’s and fellow CHC board member John Lam’s suggestion for a direct and open funding for the crossover project.

When asked during cross examination what were the reasons behind his resistance to open and direct funding of the Crossover project and his preference for indirect and discreet financing arrangements, Pastor Kong Hee,  provided over time essentially 3 lines of reasoning to justify his choices:

Objective 1: Protect the church financial position

As technically the church did not directly finance Sun Ho’s Crossover, as the funds were invested into Corporate Bonds that were supposed to be repaid in full at a certain date with interest. Hence they can claim that no actual money was spent on the Crossover project from the Church, that there was only profits to be earned from the interests received. The Board could rationalize that they were prudent with this approach avoiding the Church to be exposed to the possible losses resulting from Sun Ho’s albums failure to generate sales. In such a case, the losses would have to be covered by Xtron and Firna.

Critical view: The problem is that protection can be an illusion if the risk of borrowers going bankrupt is high and hence are unable to repay the principal, the church would loose all the money invested. On the other hand, despite taking most of the financial risks, with a bond mechanism, CHC would only have received the unrest income and would not have benefited from the upside in case Sun Ho’s album had been successful. In other words, profits were to be privatised for Sun Ho’s benefits, while losses would have ultimately to be covered by the church and its members.

Objective 2: Protect the Crossover Project

Pastor Kong Hee said he felt the Crossover project would fail if Sun Ho was seen as being openly backed by a church. He was concerned that she could be categorised as a Gospel Singer or that exposing too openly her christian evangelization agenda would generate tremendous opposition in the non-christian world. Particularly in countries like China, a Christian label would have been a non-starter. And even in the U.S., there are quite a lot of negative views about religions.  Hence Sun Ho had to go “undercover” and while she was indirectly financed by the church, she had to keep quiet about it. She was supposed to be a secular singer, singing secular songs, on secular labels. Furthermore people could have the “misconception” that “Sun’s popularity was not real”, and that the “church was using its funds to promote one of its members’ career”, he said.

Critical view: The issue was not about pasting a Christian label on Sun Ho’s forehead , advertising on it.  But ensure a proper and strong mandate from the people who provided the financing, at the very least, theentire board and the Executive member should have been approached to approve the financing of the project and the ordinary members should have been informed.

Objective 3: Protect the church members’ peace of mind

The Roland Poon affair in 2003 with the allegations that CHC was using its funds to promote the senior pastor’s wife music career subjected the church to massive amount of criticisms and attacks from the media and the general public. While Roland Poon retracted his accusations and apologised,  the whole event created a lot of disstressing turmoils and confusions in the church. As Pastor Kong Hee shared in court, “the reality of life is such that you cannot manage and control what’s happening in the public domain. So it was more a wake-up call for us, that we’ve got to be very careful what we share.”  Pastor Kong Hee felt it was important to protect church members from such negative environment in the future. Hence moving forward, the board members decided that the church should not directly financially support the Crossover project and should be more careful about what information can be shared publicly with the church members about the crossover project. Therefore revealing  publicly that Sun Ho’s crossover would now be funded indirectly after having just made representations that “no church funds had been used to support Sun Ho’s career” would invite another round of unwanted scrutiny and negative reactions.

Critical view: This line of reasoning is hard to understand as precisely after the Roland Poon affair, CHC should have wanted to build and get a very strong mandate from its members for the Crossover project. And if they could not get the mandate they should not have done it. It is very demeaning Pastor Kong Hee to assume that the church members are so weak that they will break and run away under the weight of external criticisms aboutCHC leadership’s actions if those criticisms are not justified. And it is wrong to deceive church members about the actual use of the money the Church has received from them for a specific purpose i.e. acquiring a new church building. There is not peace of mind in deception.

An Hidden Agenda?

As a risk management and governance practitioner, I have investigated a wide range of fraud cases over the years, and based on my experience,  when I observe the diversity and complexity of some of the schemes used to finance the Crossover project, this is a “Red flag” and a source of concern for me. Let me explain why in simple terms. When you need or want to finance something and you have the choice between 2 approaches to do it:

1. a more simple and transparent financing solution such as openly and directly raising or at least allocating funds for the crossover project with all the relevant stakeholder’s kept in the loop and,

2. a complicated and indirect way such as investing in multiple bonds with specially created and controlled or friendly partners’ companies, creating special private accounts to receive funds from various parties , and so on while excluding many important stakeholders from the loop.

And you choose the complicated and indirect way, it usually means that you have an hidden agenda. There is something you want to be able to do away from prying eyes. This is what appear to have happened in the CHC case, as what the CHC leaders have done is to practically create an organisational BLACK BOX.  As the name indicate, the purpose of a “black box” is to prevent any form of unwanted scrutiny by allowing the people inside it to conceal their activities from external parties. The practical key objectives are to ensure:

1. Lack of Control: Prevent important stakeholders from being able to CONTROL what is happening in the black box as formal decisions authority has been delegated to the people in charge of the black box.

2. Lack of Transparency: Prevent important stakeholders from being able to KNOW what is happening inside the black box as information is intentionally not shared or misleading, or the situation is too complicated to have the full picture of what is going on. For example, Sun Ho apparently received large amounts of money for her living expenses from at least three different  sources: Xtron, the MPA and the CHCKL gift. People aware of one source may not have been kept in the loop about the other sources.

Within the black box, Pastor Kong Hee, Sun Ho and other CHC leaders could use the money received at their entire discretion with little control and no accountability to anyone. The danger is that without scrutiny and accountability, the people inside the black box will be tempted to take advantage of the situation for their own benefits as I will explain in the next section.

Using CHC to create a Private Cash Distributor

The COC report, the CAD investigations, the court proceedings and in particular the cross examinations have shed some very unsavory light on a range of practices and a system that we could characterise as a form of “Cash Distributor system”for the benefits of a few private parties.  I will illustrate it focussing on the case of Pastor Kong Hee because while many others were involved, he is the leader of the Church and hence holds ultimate responsibility for the system that was put in place.

When Pastor Kong Hee decided to go off Church payroll in 2005, declaring that he would by faith rely on his private business activities which included royalties from his book writing, CDs, revenues from his retailing business and so on, church members applauded with respectful deference as they interpreted his decision of working for the body of Christ without salary as an act self-sacrifice, a selfless commitment to God’s kingdom. In fact, many members were worried for him and wondering how he was going to be able to pay for his living expenses. They should not have worried at all… As the COC report, CAD investigations and the trial proceedings have exposed a web of practices that Pastor Kong Hee engaged into that more than compensated for his “loss” of a fixed salary and shed a very different light on what may have been his true motivations for going off the church payroll.  While Pastor Kong Hee was not anymore drawing a salary from the church, he was in total control both spiritual and managerial of the church he had founded. He was to use this situation to his advantage and with a little bit of creativity, vast amount of money was soon going to start to flow to him from multiple directions. Let me just describe some of the schemes that have been exposed during by the COC reports and  during the trial proceedings:

1 – You need to sell more books, CDs, DVDs?

First get your church to buy your books, CDs, DVDs and so on to distribute them as teaching materials for your members and to bless other churches. Second, strongly encourage your  church members to buy your books, CDs, DVDs and so on for their own edification. Make sure you get hefty royalties above market rate through the use of controlled distribution channels such as the Church affiliated bookstore (Example: Pastors Kong Hee and Tan Ye Peng Literature at Attributes & then Ink Room)

2 – You need money for your living expenses?

Encourage and collect “Love gifts” from some of your faithful members who would feel honored to support the honorary pastor or any other pastors in the church. Focus on the richest and most loyal members. (example: the MPA account)

3 – You have a personal self-serving dream?

Package your personal self-centered dream as a people focused evangelisation project and get the financial support from your own church and from other friendly churches from around the world  (example: The Crossover project). Make sure you share some of the benefits with your supporters, so that you can ensure their long-term loyalty. Also help your partners’ churches too with your church’s money for their own projects as reciprocity is key to long-term success.

4- You want more money for whatever reasons such as buying luxury condos?

Develop trusted relationships with other mega churches leaders and arrange reciprocal invitations that involve highly compensated (Love gifts again) speaking and preaching gigs (example: some of Kong Hee’s and other top church Leaders’ speaking and preaching engagements around the world)

5 – You want to be a guaranteed successful Entrepreneur?

Start a a private commercial company in an area of interest for your church. You can try many different activities: start a book store, a coffee place, a production company, a design company, a catering company, a cleaning company, an event management company, an investment company, an accounting company and so on so that you can multiply to potential sources of income. You do not need to worry about any competition as you will become a privileged service provider for your growing and very rich church despite charging sometimes higher than market fees. Then make sure you give some of these companies  to your supporters so that you can ensure their long-term loyalty (example: Attributes, Advante, AMAC and so on).

6- You want to save cost in your private business?

When you start your private commercial company or business, give it a Christian Twist so that you make into a church ministry work and minimise your running cost by using church staff and church members volunteers at minimal or even no cost to operate your own private business (for example Pastor Kong Hee’s speaking gigs around Asia, Attributes, Xtron and Skin Couture shops and so on).

The above list shows that the problematic practices in CHC go way beyond isolated incidents and are in fact part of an institutionalised system to turn CHC into a cash distributor for the private benefit of the few parties who controlled the system. To conclude, through this series on the CHC case, I have highlighted first in my post “City Harvest Case Part 2 – If there is a Fraud what would be the Motives?” the personal factors, that could have “motivated” the prosecuted leaders to engage into committing the unethical or even fraudulent acts they are accused of. Then in my post  “City Harvest Case Part 3 – The Opportunity Makes The Thief“, the spotlight was put on how through carefully oriented teaching, one-way communication, selective information disclosure, strong peer pressures and church leaders’ close supervision of church cell groups, Pastor Kong Hee and other CHC leaders worked hard and effectively to create a culture of OBEDIENCE and CONFORMITY in City Harvest church. This coupled with intently weakly designed corporate governance rules and a poor oversight control structure, led CHC to become an environment very VULNERABLE and in fact FAVOURABLE for possible unethical or even fraudulent activities by providing multiple OPPORTUNITIES to “break the rules” and the ability to CONCEAL their activities. In this post, we have demonstrated that the prosecuted CHC leaders have taken advantage of the opportunities created by the CHC system for their own self-interested benefits.

In my Last post “City Harvest Case part 7: The Fruits of the Crossover Tree“, I will conclude the series by examining the impact of the Crossover project on the Church, its members, the Christian community and the wider public to find out whether the Crossover project yielded positive results that might have made it worth it in the end. And we will critically analyse whether “the end justify the means” or not. So keep on the look out for my final post on the CHC case.

Source: Marc Ronez, City Harvest Case part 6: The Smog of the Crossover Financing, The Risk Management Paradox, , 25/08/2014. (Accessed 28/08/2014.)

Kong’s controversial email in court exposes Phil Pringle as a false prophet

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What was a “big factor” for Kong Hee and Sun Ho to go to China?

“Finally, it was a word given by Phil Pringle to Sun privately in May 2005 that gave them clarity to their path. “He said, ‘Five more years, because God is going to open a big door for CHC in China to be a blessing to the people.’ That word gave us the courage, faith and confirmation to resume the Crossover Project,” said Kong.” - Yong Yung Shin, http://www.citynews.sg/2012/05/city-harvest-church-10-years-of-the-crossover-project/, City Harvest Church: 10 Years Of The Crossover Project, 09/05/2012. (Accessed 27/09/2012.)

Here is Kong Hee in 2010 telling people at C3 Presence Conference how prophetic Phil Pringle is and how successful Sun Ho was in China:

“Pastor Phil and Pastor Chris, they carry a spirit of prophecy. And five years ago when my little baby was born, Dayan, and my wife and I were thinking about taking a six month break. Go to Europe. Just backpack. Take little Dayan. We’ve been planting. I mean we’ve been running the church for so long.

And then Pastor Phil came to Singapore. And four months after little Dayan was born, in one of those meetings, the Holy Spirit HIT. And how many of you know that- talking about being dangerous, when the Holy Spirit comes upon Pastor Phil, he gets dangerous. Right?

And he starts prophesying, “Sun! It’s not time for you to stop. You got to go to China.”

And at that word, you know we let go of our nets. And then- so Sun’s been on the road right now. She’s living in the LA. And true enough, China opened up. She became the music ambassador for the Olympic games. Sang at the special olympics. Sang the anthem at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. And just last week, I mean – she’s a few months away from launching her début album in America. Just let you know, her first single, last month was number one in the US, number one in the UK on the secular charts. Lets praise God for that! Hallelujah! So we got Pastor Phil to thank for that.” - Kong hee, C3 Presence Conference, Session 4, Sydney, 2010. [Watch video here]

Is this why Kong Hee blamed Phil Pringle for all this mess?

The Straits Times reports,

Kong decided on ‘what money to spend, how much and where it would come from’

SINGAPORE – City Harvest founder Kong Hee was the key decision-maker behind plans to sink church funds into his wife’s Ho Yeow Sun’s music career in the United States, the prosecution said in court on Wednesday.

They also sought to show that Kong closely supervised the other co-defendants. Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong produced a 2007 e-mail in which Kong had berated Tan Ye Peng for failing to ensure that his wife’s China concerts were a success.

“The Beijing and Shanghai events cost us so much money… but at the end, who came? It was a joke!” said Kong in the e-mail. “Time wasted. Efforts wasted. Objectives not met. Money thrown away unnecessarily. I don’t get it. How have we become good stewards of money? We tried to save a few thousands on hotels and (threw) hundreds and thousands on result-less concerts.”

Kong added: “How I wish I can run the whole show the way I run our church (in) the last 18 years! But I can’t… (My wife and I) are putting our lives and destiny at the hands of our disciples, our spiritual children. We hope you guys don’t let us down.”

While Kong has maintained that he was involved only in the budgeting for the US foray and left the fundraising to others, the prosecution alleged that Kong made decisions about “what money to spend, how much and where it would come from”. The prosecution produced statements made by Kong’s co-defendants to the Commercial Affairs Department (CAD) to bolster the point.

Kong and five others face various charges for their part in the alleged misuse of some $50 million of church funds to boost Ms Ho’s music career, and then to cover up the deed. Several of them allegedly got the funds out of City Harvest coffers by investing the money in sham bonds issued by two companies, Xtron Productions and Firna, which were run by church members. Xtron was Ms Ho’s artist manager at one time.

While Kong maintained that Xtron directors had to give approval for company transactions to finance her career, statements made by Kong’s co-defendants Serina Wee, Chew Eng Han and Tan to the CAD contradicted this, said the prosecution.

According to the three defendants, Xtron directors were “updated” only after Tan, Wee and Kong had made the decisions. “Xtron directors were not actively involved,” said Chew in his statement. “Technically they can challenge (the decisions), but they would not because they are doing the right thing by giving their full support,” he said.

Kong disagreed. He said that Xtron directors being “updated” meant their approval for the transactions were sought, and in the end it was the directors who had final say over whether the deals were made.

Source: By Feng Zengkun, Kong decided on ‘what money to spend, how much and where it would come from’, The Straits Times, http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/courts-crime/story/kong-decided-what-money-spend-how-much-and-where-it-would-come-201#sthash.ZMf2fMfG.dpuf, Published on Aug 20, 2014 2:08 PM. (Accessed 21/08/2014.)

Chew Eng Han’s open letter to AR Bernard asking “[...] to account for your past words and actions”

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PringleAndBernardWHO IS A.R. BERNARD?

AR Bernard says on his website:

AdvisA. R. Bernard (born, 10 August 1953) is the Founder, Senior Pastor and CEO of Christian Cultural Center (CCC) located in Brooklyn, New York, United States. CCC is a ministry and not-for-profit 501c(3) organization, that currently has over 33,000+ members and sits on an 11.5-acre (45,000 m2) campus. He is also the President of the Council of Churches of the City of New York representing 1.5 million Protestants, Anglicans and Orthodox Christians. He sits on the NYC Economic Development Corporation Board, served on NYC School Chancellor’s Advisory Cabinet and Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2001 Transition Team.
Source: http://www.arbernard.com/#main (Accessed 23/08/2014.)

We have in the past exposed A. R. Bernard’s immoral behaviour as a pastor.

Don’t Mess With CHC’s Advisory Pastor A.R. Bernard – He’ll “Honestly” Deal With You Too

Chew Eng Han mentioned an event that we may have covered on C3 Church Watch. Read here:

At Least The Guilty King Saul Repented ‘Apostle’ Bernard…

And now Chew Eng Han recently wrote the following public letter to AR Bernard,

Open Letter to Dr Bernard (From Eng Han)

Dear Dr Bernard,

I, a servant of God in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, am writing an open letter to you to inform you that you have failed in your spiritual duties as the Advisory Chairman over the Board of City Harvest Church and as an Apostle over the church.

You will recall that on 1 Aug 2013,  I along with a CHC elder and a board member, had a conference call with you to arrange a meeting with you. On 16 Sept, we met at a hotel in Singapore, joined by that elder and board member.

I asked if I could tape our conversation for future reference but you declined, and so I didn’t. I am now describing from my handwritten notes what happened.

You first asked what was my objective in meeting you, and I said my hope was that through you, Kong and Sun and some of his leaders would come to repentance, and that you would help awaken the church to the truth as to what was really happening in the church leadership.

I subsequently described to you some of Kong’s wrongdoings, from a moral and spiritual perspective. I related how I had a four and a half hour meeting with Kong and Sun which produced no fruits. You listened patiently and at the end of the meeting assured me that you believed I came to you without malice and in truth.

You said that I had placed a heavy responsibility upon you and you would ensure that you would discharge that responsibility by having a “good talk” with them, including the board,  and that they would have to be “honest at the table.” You also said if they did not heed discipline, you may have to reconsider your relationship with them. I left the meeting assured that you would carry out your duties.

On the 21 Sept Saturday service at the church, you spoke from the pulpit against me instead. You alleged that I had used you for my personal agenda and had committed gossip and slander against and dishonored Kong and Sun.

You then got Kong on stage and made a show of ‘repentance’ by asking if he had committed silly mistakes before, and had he repented to God, to which he said “all the time.” To that, you got the congregation to endorse him with a roaring applause. There is a huge difference between “silly mistakes” and “conscious deception” and you allowed the people to believe it was the former. It would have been far better for that staged show never to have taken place.

Dr Bernard I am taking you to task in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ for acting in a manner that’s unbecoming of an apostle, and for doing the very opposite of what His Word requires of a man of God that’s placed in a position of spiritual authority.

You abused the pulpit and instead of helping to wake up the people, you turned Kong into a brave and humble hero in their eyes, and with your open endorsement on stage, the people believed even more in Kong and Sun thereafter.

You also accused me of not complying with Matthew 18 because I did not confront the sinner but committed gossip and slander instead. You obviously had forgotten that I had told you about the four and a half hour meeting and how it failed to bear fruits of repentance. And how I had to try multiple times before that to speak to them and how protracted were the circumstances leading to that meeting with them.

It seems to me that subsequent to my meeting with you on 16 Sept, Kong and Sun had probably told you certain things about me which shifted your mind about my true intentions. The right thing you should have done then, according to Matthew 18,  was for you to meet me again to clarify. Instead you misused the pulpit to tear me down for not complying with the very verses that you have failed to obey. The result of your actions on stage was that evil became good and good became evil.

In our meeting you said you believed in unity based on truth, humility and repentance, and emphasis on the flock and not on the man. You claimed also that you believed in a structure that forces the man of God into accountability to avert compromise and sin. None of your words translated into the right actions and today the church is in confusion as the truth unfolds and the man whom you are responsible for correcting continues in his ways uncorrected and unrestrained.

I warned you of the consequences if the matters of Kong and Sun are not properly dealt with in the House of God first. There was no biblical discipline and instead the wrongdoer got off with a resounding applause of endorsement.

One of my specific concerns which I brought to you was the falsified attendance figures, which was claimed to be 33,000 instead of the actual twelve to thirteen thousand. After what I revealed to you, you yourself went on to TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) and told a story of how the “church in Singapore” which you had been ministering to with your Cultural Mandate message had grown from 3,000 in 1998 to 38,000 today. You further exaggerated that that particular church has influence over 1,000 churches worldwide.

Not only have you failed to correct Kong but you yourself have perpetuated the lie about CHC’s size and influence. You owe an explanation to the body of Christ. I am publishing this open letter on Mrs Light n Friends blog and Facebook so that we can have an open discussion before the whole body of Christ internationally. Whatever reply you send to me will be published on the same platform so we both have an EQUAL opportunity to be scrutinised for our words and action. This is right because Matthew 18 says :

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, TELL IT TO THE CHURCH. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”

The church is in a state of drastic and violent shakeup and confusion. As a man of God who had been given what in your own words you termed “heavy responsibilities”, I am asking you now to account for your past words and actions which are totally unfit and unbecoming of a person who claims apostleship over the church.

In the Lord’s name
Chew Eng Han

Source: Chew Eng Han, Open Letter to Dr Bernard (From Eng Han), Mrs Light and Friends, http://mrslightnfriends.com/open-letter-to-dr-bernard-from-eng-han, Published 23/08/2014. (Accessed 23/08/2014.)

Kong Hee stands alone in court while his best friend and mentor has a “buona vacanza”?

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“Buona vacanza mama Chris!!!”

Source: Instagram, http://instagram.com/p/rC9aiYrfi8/. (Accessed 21/08/2014.)

proof_InstagramGreekDoor_22-08-2014

Instagram photo 1

That was the comment of C3 pastrix Vicki Simpson on Chris Pringle’s instagram.
Did you know “Buona vacanza” means “Good holiday” in Italian? So where do you think Phil and Chris Pringle decided to go on vacation while their close friend and protege Kong Hee took the stand in court back in Singapore? Here is another clue.

http://instagram.com/p/q16TKpLfp6/

Instagram photo 2

Source: Instagram, http://instagram.com/p/q16TKpLfp6/. (Accessed 21/08/2014.)

In the past years the Pringles have uploaded numerous photos of themselves floating on a yacht around the Mediterranean. This time, they appear to be more hush-hush about their holiday destination. And it would make sense considering their good friends Kong and Sun Ho are not fairing too well in court.

However, thanks to Chris Pringle’s Instagram photos of their previous Mediterranean destinations and these latest photos, they love to leave enough clues to let all know where they are holidaying. It appears they are floating somewhere in the Mediterranean near Greece.

The clues are as follows:

1. The golden plaque with the cross and Greek words in photo 1.

2. The weathered door designs.

3. The house walls and designs (specifically the wall in photo 2).

It also helps when poor, decrepit, basement-dwelling bloggers have actually traveled to the Greek Islands themselves, and recognize the area. *Shock! Horror!*

So what is their excuse for holidaying like this, and not standing shoulder to shoulder with their close friends Kong Hee and Sun Ho? Is their excuse they were too busy doing mission work?

By the way, if you think this article is perhaps “grasping at straws”, pause for a moment and think about Christians in Syria and Iraq having THEIR best life now.

The unfriendly pursue selfishness

“The poor man utters supplications, But the rich man answers roughly. A man of too many friends comes to ruin, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:23-24 

If you’re a C3 member, read Pringle’s endorsed CityNews coverage of CHC court case

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“I think it’s great you’ve got City News [...] — they still do a pretty good job.”

Phil Pringle will often tell you as C3 members to not read news that is making CHC look bad. According to your pastor, any news critical of C3 or CHC are bad and purposely spreading things that are not true of C3 or CHC.

However when asked about the media in relation to Kong Hee’s court case, Phil Pringle encourages church members that, “it’s worth knowing what the mainstream press is saying”.

“I think it’s worth knowing what the mainstream press is saying—I certainly stay abreast of it (CHC case).” - Phil Pringle, An Interview With Phil Pringle: On Goals, Victory, Truth & The Ultimate Breakfast Partner, CityNews, 07/03/2014. (Accessed 26/03/2014.)

To C3 readers visiting our site, have you been reading what Singapore media are reporting on?

In fact, Pringle thinks Kong Hee’s CityNews group does a “pretty good job” covering the events on Kong Hee’s court case.

So to all our C3 readers, with Pringle’s endorsement of CityNews, we would encourage you to not only read these “pretty good” CityNews articles but pass them on to your C3 friends. You may as well be informed as much as your pastor.

To read the original articles on City News, click the links below and scroll down to the bottom of the articles to access the URLs.

= = = = = = = = = = = =

COURT 04/08/2014

CityNews:

CHC Trial: John Lam Explains Building Fund Refunds To Court

CHC Trial: Prosecution Questions Existence of Personal Guarantee

COURT 05/08/2014

CityNews:

John Lam: “False” Entries Not What Prosecution Makes It Out To Be

COURT 06/08/2014

CHC Trial: Personal Guarantees Are Meant As A Last Resort, Says Defendant Lam.

CHC Trial: Prosecution Questions “Scenario Planning” Efforts By Accused

CHC Trial: DPP Questions Ex-Board Member’s Interest In Protecting The Church

COURT 07/08/2014

CHC Trial: Defense Objects To “Unfounded” Insinuation Of Fresh Exhibit

COURT 08/08/2014

Rubber Stamps, Unsold Albums And Phantom Guarantees Explained

COURT 11/08/2014

Kong Hee Takes The Stand; Reasons For And Sequence Of Crossover Project Established

CityNews reports CHC dropped church funds but used Hanafis funds for Crossover

COURT 12/08/2014

CHC Trial: Kong Hee: The Budget Of The US Album Had To Be Sound And Reasonable

Kong Hee Said No to 50-50 Profit Share With US Execs; Church Must Not Lose “A Single Dollar”

COURT 13/08/2014

Defendants Worked Out Budget To Ensure Xtron Recouped Its Investment

Why Sun Ho Was Managed By Xtron Instead Of Another Company

COURT 14/08/2014

Kong says Sun would have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling CADS

CHC Trial: Kong Hee: Spiritual Mentors’ Endorsement Of Crossover Project A “Big Factor”

COURT 15/08/2014

City Harvest Trial: Church Not To Directly Fund Crossover

Chew Eng Han grills Kong…

COURT 16/08/2014

What did Sun Ho get up to in the Beijing Olympics?

What did you say Pringle? (Part 1) Isn’t this what Kong did at CHC?

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This piece is a follow up from our previous article:

Another CityNews interview with CHC Advisory “Pastor” Phil Pringle

Phil Pringle said:

‘That’s one of the greats [sic] difficulties in church life, because you have unscrupulous people who say, “Trust me, I’m a Christian, gimme $100,000, I’ll invest it for you.” So the person gives him $100,000 and he doesn’t [sic] invest the money but does something else with it, and then he comes back and says, “I’m sorry, I’ve lost it.” And those people get very hurt and leave the church. As pastors, we say to people, “Whenever you’re doing business together, make sure you’ve got contracts signed.” Don’t just say “He’s a Christian, I’ll trust him.” Some people have no shame. How can you take so much money and lose it, and say you’ll fight the person you owe?’

Has anyone else spotted what Phil Pringle has done here? Has Phil Pringle described to City News what Kong Hee has done?

1. “Trust me, I’m a Christian, gimme $100,000, I’ll invest it for you.”

Kong established a building fund with the understanding, naturally enough, that money contributed to that fund would be used to purchase a building for CHC. Then he importuned his congregation to give him money “until the tears [ran] down [their] face[s]“.

Kong Hee Is Not About “Building Buildings” But “Building People”? Really?

It’s sad if you think about it.

2. “So the person gives him $100,000 and he doesn’t invest the money but does something else with it [...]“

Kong’s followers gave him buckets of money, and it appears he took SG$24,000,000 and spent it on “something else”, namely his wife’s pop-star fantasies.

And those fantasies where indulged to the very utmost, and in the most obscenely profligate manner. For example, Sun Ho lived the high life in Hollywood, staying in a mansion that cost $28,000 per *month* to rent – and this while Kong’s faithful sheep were downsizing their own housing in order to give him more money!

The House Of The Rising Sun

Of course, Kong missed his wife, so he just had to fly over to the U.S. to see her on a regular basis – and he clocked up airfares to the tune of $700,000, all paid for with hard-earned money that was given to him by the trusting and sincere members of CHC.

An Insightful Analysis To The CHC System (Part 5)

(Apparently Kong even took money from children: he wanted the contents of their angpows – red packets containing money that are given as gifts on special occasions in Chinese and other Asian societies. Obviously, when a jet-setting “pastor” has big bills coming in, no gift is too small – could a so-called “man of God” possibly stoop any lower than to do such a thing?)

3. “[...] and then he comes back and says, “I’m sorry, I’ve lost it.”’

Kong hasn’t got around to admitting his guilt yet, much less apologising to his thousands of victims; however he may well crack as the trial continues and the pressure on him builds. Nonetheless, Kong has certainly lost all the money – there is nothing to show for it other than a handful of tacky and tasteless “music” videos by his talentless partner, Sun Ho.

4. “And those people get very hurt and leave the church.”

A lot of people have left CHC, and many are extremely angry that they have been duped by Kong Hee, and understandably so.

5. ‘As pastors, we say to people, “Whenever you’re doing business together, make sure you’ve got contracts signed.” Don’t just say “He’s a Christian, I’ll trust him.”

So, according to Phil Pringle, we should be thinking along the lines of “Don’t just say ‘Kong’s a Christian, I’ll trust him'”. That’s excellent advice, “pastor” Phil – it’s just too bad that you didn’t give the good people of CHC that warning *before* Kong Hee and his accomplices took that money from them.

6. ‘”Some people have no shame. How can you take so much money and lose it, and say you’ll fight the person you owe?’

It’s true: Kong has no shame. Firstly he has the hide to stand in front of his followers and tell them that he “maintains [his] integrity” (as though he has ever shown any). Then he attempts to deflect the blame for his conduct onto his associates and underlings in a cowardly and pathetic attempt to save his own skin.

How indeed could Kong misappropriate such a huge amount and then turn around and swear blind that he is innocent? How could he be so shameless as to throw his fellow staff under the bus when it is plain as day that he and his wife were the principal beneficiaries of this outrageous scam?

Phil’s words raise an interesting question: was his oblique enumeration of events at CHC deliberate, or was it something unconscious?

Maybe the scriptures can help us answer this question.

“But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” 2 Peter 2:1-3

“For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” Philippians 3:18-21

Another CityNews interview with CHC Advisory “Pastor” Phil Pringle

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The CHC propaganda machine CityNews has published another revealing interview with our beloved “Dr” Phil Pringle.

Some of our observations:

“I certainly congratulate every member on being faithful to bring the church to this point where its legacy, even at this stage, far exceeds what anybody could expect of a local church.”

Please note that Pringle is congratulating people in being “faithful” to the church. Of course he can’t congratulate them on being “faithful” to their God.

“I think moment by moment the Holy Spirit will be available to Pastor Kong and will guide him with wisdom. [Immorally narcigetes.] Pastor Kong is a very diligent, faithful man and he has prepared himself the best he can. Between that and the Holy Spirit, he will find himself navigating this moment. The Lord will be in that courtroom, guiding everything that happens.”

You can tell the Holy Spirit is with Kong Hee in the stand. Read more here.

There are many gems in this article which we are sure our readers may want to explore further in our comment section. His comments on depression, “trusting”, too much preaching on visions, etc. are all worth discussing.

CityNews writes,

An Interview With Phil Pringle: A Prayer For CHC

Phil Pringle, City Harvest Church’s advisory pastor shares his wishes for the church in its 25th year and his prayer in this time of trial.

You’ve been a friend of CHC for such a long time, do you have a message for the congregation in its 25th year?

I certainly congratulate every member on being faithful to bring the church to this point where its legacy, even at this stage, far exceeds what anybody could expect of a local church. I think you’ve had thousands of School of Theology graduates and 300 recently returned to celebrate. So, literally there are thousands and thousands of men and women who have gone from this place, serving God all around the world and doing magnificent things for God. So it’s not just Singapore that has been affected, but all around the world, CHC is having such a powerful impact. So, literally there are hundreds of thousands of people who have been saved, brought out of darkness. It’s because of a faithful congregation. Not all churches can keep going, especially under pressure, like this congregation. I love CHC and I love what they do for God—and the fact that they have had such success in China too, it’s amazing.

Sometimes we forget there is impact around the world.

Yes. Totally.

Pastor Kong takes the stand the next few weeks—from what we have seen, there will be many tough questions asked of him.

I think moment by moment the Holy Spirit will be available to Pastor Kong and will guide him with wisdom. Throughout Scripture, anybody who under the pressure of examination found themselves with answers from the Holy Spirit, able to bring great answers that delivered them from all sorts of problems. Whether it was Daniel with the kings, Belteshazzar and others, whether it was Joseph with his jailors, whether it was Paul with kings or judges or high priests—all these people found in their moment of need, the Holy Spirit was there. Pastor Kong is a very diligent, faithful man and he has prepared himself the best he can. Between that and the Holy Spirit, he will find himself navigating this moment. The Lord will be in that courtroom, guiding everything that happens.

Honestly, there are moments during the case when things look not pretty. Or someone says something on the stand that makes you sit up…

It’s very different being in the armchair than out in the field playing the game. It’s easy when you’re watching a tennis game or football game— “Aw, you shoulda done that!”—but when you’re on the field, doing what you’re doing, it’s not always easy to guard your action. You’ve got to give grace to everybody and allow them breadth of expression. And you know, sometimes we may think the person hasn’t done the right thing but you know you might be surprised: it might be to your advantage as things go on. Plenty of times things look bad, but actually, it’s the best thing that could have happened.

You taught us in your sermon that anger is a barrier to happiness. But, realistically, how do we not be angry when people set out to harm us or our family?

It’s a fair enough question. I’m not sure we’re not meant to be. “Be angry and sin not”, the Bible says (Ephesians 4:26) There is an anger you can hold and still be happy. I think a selfish anger is a wrong anger, but maybe not an anger that is on behalf of others or on behalf of justice. I mean, I’m angry at some people but doesn’t stop me being a happy person. And I don’t nurse that anger and rehearse that anger and constantly have it on my mind.

There are different varieties of anger, but the one that is selfish—you’re angry because you’ve been slighted—is the one that will bring depression. But the anger that is on behalf of justice, as long as it doesn’t fester into bitterness. When I have that sort of anger, I am in control of my spirit, it’s not in control of me. That’s one of the worst conversations I’ve had with people, especially when I’m in control of my emotions. And I’ve done that plenty of times, sit a person down and tell them “What you’ve done here is really, really upsetting. I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in your behavior.” How they react to that—they may break down and cry or they may harden up and say “I think I’m right.” But I think it is right to have an opinion about a person who betrays you. It’s when anger turns to hatred that’s when it becomes wrong. There is a wrong and a right in life and both attract emotions.

But forgiveness is not an option?

Everyday I forgive people. But forgiveness does not mean you trust the person. Jesus never said “Trust everybody.” The Bible says “Prove all things.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) Jesus committed himself to no man—not that He didn’t trust anybody, but He wasn’t prepared to rest His life on humans who He knew were too frail to entrust one’s life to. So He entrusted it to God. So, I can forgive people if they harm me, but I need to learn. My wisdom will tell me in the future, don’t trust them. Get some evidence or proof of their trustworthiness.

That’s one of the greats difficulties in church life, because you have unscrupulous people who say, “Trust me, I’m a Christian, gimme $100,000, I’ll invest it for you.” So the person gives him $100,000 and he doesn’t invest the money but does something else with it, and then he comes back and says, “I’m sorry, I’ve lost it.” And those people get very hurt and leave the church. As pastors, we say to people, “Whenever you’re doing business together, make sure you’ve got contracts signed.” Don’t just say “He’s a Christian, I’ll trust him.” Some people have no shame. How can you take so much money and lose it, and say you’ll fight the person you owe?

You taught us on the weekend as well about Elijah gaining strength by “eating and drinking”—essentially, going to a quiet place to be with the Lord and read the Word and listen to God. But sometimes, it’s hard to pray. What then?

I think there are times just to get isolated and let solitude and silence be your friend. Sometimes getting more intense doesn’t help the situation. Actually relaxing with friends does. But there are definitely seasons you travel through that are painful and depressing. There’s no quick way out of them. Elijah went through that, I’d say it was about a seven-week process. So many people go through so many difficult things that are actually dark times, but in those dark times, Isaiah says you’ll discover the treasures of darkness (Isaiah 45:3). And it would be trite to say we should always be happy, laughing and joking—life isn’t always going to be like that. But there’s a basic happiness where you’re not what’s called “a miserable person”, “a joyless person”.

How do we balance want with being content?

Being content with what you have—that’s a two-sided message. I usually only give one side coz if you keep qualifying yourself, you’ll never say anything! (laughs) So there is another side. But because there’s so much preaching about “dream the dream, live the life, have a goal, have a vision, you’re going get the new house, new car”, that we’re in danger of creating frustration in people. They didn’t get the house, they didn’t get the car, they didn’t get married, they lost their marriage, their job. And things didn’t work out for them. Then they’re unhappy with God and with their life. We need to be taught to be happy all the time, in whatever state we find ourselves. Whether we’re going up or whether we’re going down; whether we’re winning or losing, that we are okay with that. There’s a contentment in our lives.

Definitely, we should have visions and goals, but we should also be content with what we have. So that tension, even though it may seem hard to synchronize, I’ve always found spiritual truth synchronized between two opposites. To synchronize humility and confidence—that’s challenging. On the one hand we don’t become arrogant, on the other we don’t become servile. But to synthesize confidence and humility in our hearts, to synthesize wisdom and faith. Because wisdom will tell you not to get out of the boat, to get insurance. But faith says, “Get out of the boat, walk on water.”

So to synthesize opposites is a challenging, life-long process; exercising contentment and desire is one of those areas. But it can be done and it should be done. I’d like to think I never want anything. I think there’s a big difference between wanting—the Lord is my shepherd I shall not want—and desiring. The Bible talks about wantonness.  But I think there’s a difference between that and “delight yourself in the Lord and He’ll give you the desires of your heart”. Not the wants, but the desires. They’re a cleaner, purer, less selfish area.

What is your prayer for Pastor Kong and the leaders and the church in this period?

My prayer is the same as what Paul asked people to pray for him and for how the early church prayed: always for deliverance and redemption, and that the Gospel and Jesus Christ will be testified of and the witness would remain solid. My prayer is for God’s great vindication, God’s blessing, God’s truth that everybody will learn through the experience. I also pray for the will of God and the purpose of God to come to pass in the life of the church. That Pastor Kong will find himself refreshed and blessed as trial draws to a close. I pray for fearlessness in the church, wisdom and boldness to fill the team, to believe God for a great victory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Source: Phil Pringle, An Interview With Phil Pringle: A Prayer For CHC, CityNews, http://www.citynews.sg/2014/08/an-interview-with-phil-pringle-a-prayer-for-chc/, Updated August 14, 2014 at 1:38 pm. (Accessed 14/08/2014.)

Judge not lest Hee be judged…

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The Straits Times has set up their own tweet stream reporting on what Ps Kong Hee says in court on the stand. Kong Hee has said some very interesting things worth looking into.

Straits Times reports,

City Harvest trial: Kong Hee takes the stand

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong Hee takes the stand for the third day. Insists that he kept a close eye on the budget for Sun Ho’s first English album.
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4h

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong Hee takes the stand for the third day. Insists that he kept a close eye on the budget for Sun Ho’s first English album.
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20h

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong Hee wanted to recoup church’s investment in wife’s music career http://bit.ly/1q6qOZa pic.twitter.com/veuOvooXZE
View image on Twitter
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12 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says fellow defendants Tan & Chew informed him of plans to buy bonds to fund album; he told them to ensure it was legal
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12 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Efforts made to lower budget for Ms Ho’s US album project, producers like Wyclef Jean dropped if they asked for too much – Kong
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12 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong Hee also insists budget for Sun Ho’s foray into the US music scene was overseen “rigorously”
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12 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Hip hop artist Wyclef Jean wanted an “Asian reggae” sound. It was successful “but not in sync with the image Sun wanted” – Kong
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12 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC: Sun Ho sounded ‘too white’ so Wyclef Jean suggested an Asian-Reggae fusion: Kong http://bit.ly/Vhuw9Q pic.twitter.com/vgCBKCyZRe
View image on Twitter
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12 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong Hee says both he and his wife Sun Ho were “uncomfortable” with her English single China Wine.
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12 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: The singles topped US dance charts and Hertz suggested Sun produce an English album in 2005, says Kong pic.twitter.com/Zwc2THcCfK
View image on Twitter
Expand
12 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: This pastor later introduced Sun Ho to US music producer Justin Herz, who helped her produce two English singles in 2003 & 2004
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12 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: A pastor in Florida asked Sun Ho for her music videos as it might appeal to Americans, says Kong.
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12 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong Hee takes the stand again for the second day to explain how his wife Sun Ho launched her music career in the US
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Founder Kong Hee said he did his part to ensure church funds used properly http://bit.ly/1sGz4C6 pic.twitter.com/X9P4oDdobm
View image on Twitter
Expand
11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Proceedings have ended for today, with Kong Hee expected back on the stand tomorrow
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Mr Foong assured Kong many times that if something was wrong, he would be informed. He even checked Kong’s media responses.
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says Mr Foong never refused him advice, praises the auditor for providing “impeccable” services
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says he is not a trained accountant and can’t evaluate Mr Foong’s advice, but calls him a “respected elder”
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: One church member wanted Xtron to be audited by different, cheaper firm, but Mr Foong urged Kong to use the same auditor
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says “Bro Foong” was his sole confidante in financial matters, church staff asked to consult him when issues surfaced
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Ms Ho not in court as she is on the witness list, not allowed to listen to testimony
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says special audit carried out after Mr Poon’s allegations. Auditors looked at how Mr Hanafi paid for Ms Ho’s albums
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Judge says Kong should clarify what exactly the auditors and lawyers hired by the church were asked to do
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Mr Foong had previously testified that he could not recall details of advice he gave or the meetings he held with those accused
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Mr Yin, along with auditor Foong Daw Ching, looked through meetings of church meetings to make sure there was nothing untoward
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Senior counsel brought in to boost governance at the church was Jimmy Yin. He was asked to look at transactions involving Xtron
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong claims that Mr Poon had told another pastor he had been hearing voices and wanted to make restitution for the allegations
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong has no idea what Mr Poon, who later retracted his allegations and apologised, looks like to this day
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Roland Poon incident was a “wake-up call” for the church, says Kong. A senior counsel was hired to ensure better governance
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Church called Mr Hanafi, who promised to fund Crossover Project, to ask if he’d pay for Ms Ho’s first two albums. He agreed.
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says there was a lot of hate mail coming in, and generally a lot of unrest in the church
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says church had paid for Ms Ho’s first two albums, but the board decided henceforth not to support her album expenses
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong was busy that weekend counselling members, but says there was an informal board meeting to discuss the allegations
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says members traumatised the next day after being questioned by family and friends
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Four allegations – (3) I forced members to vote for her at an awards and (4) we were using building funds to sponsor her album
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: The four allegations – (1) I’m making the church worship my wife before god (2) I’m forcing members to buy her albums
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong replies “I was on my home when one of my staff asked me to watch CNA, there were four allegations.”
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial resumes with Kong asked about the time in 2003 when member Roland Poon alleged that funds were used for Ms Ho’s music career
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
City Harvest trial: I went from ‘shepherd’ to ‘rancher’ as church grew, says Kong Hee #CHC http://bit.ly/1lO0Usa pic.twitter.com/nwggQZrMoI
View image on Twitter
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
“Privileged” exhibits Chew Eng Han was warned against using were correspondence between him and investment firm that dealt with #CHC funds
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Court tells church board’s lawyer “you have been put on notice that you may have to make your submissions in open court”
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: The letter said all communications between Chew and the church were privileged
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC lawyers had sent one accused, Chew Eng Han, a letter warning him about some of the exhibits he was going to use when questioning Kong
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
Before trial breaks for lunch, prosecution suggests #CHC’s lawyer raise objections in open court over which exhibits can’t be presented
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong tells the court that 280,000 people went, and 100,000 filled out cards wanting to know more about Jesus
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says his wife’s concerts for her first album were City Harvest’s “best evangelism tool” then
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: The board believed the Crossover Project should be expanded to the “whole world”, Kong says
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong tells the court that the church’s board supported the decision to expand Ms Ho’s music career to the United States
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: In the video, Mr Hanafi’s daughter said the family had donated to support the project.
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: The video was screened to tell the church and its members where the expenses for Ms Ho’s first two albums came from
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: She said in the video that the Hanafi family “is very proud of what Sun is doing”
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC: Kong’s lawyer Edwin Tong reveals video transcript in which Mr Hanafi’s eldest daughter offers to donate to project on behalf of family
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Mr Hanafi, who was in charge of the 2 firms that managed Sun Ho’s music career, allegedly helped the defendants to misuse funds
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: In tears, the Indonesian told Kong that he would pay for the project, the pastor tells the court
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Indonesian businessman Wahju Hanafi and his family helped out during earlier concerts, says Kong
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Sun Ho had her own full-time manager only from the second album, Kong says.
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says his role in the project was as its “leader and visionary”. He was Sun Ho’s personal manager for the first album.
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Members also supported the Crossover Project financially, Kong says
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: A survey of 1,700 members was carried out – and 90% said she should continue, Kong tells the court
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC: When his son was born, Kong says he asked the church whether his wife should continue with the project, since she had become a mother
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: More than 1,600 members volunteered to help with Ms Ho’s 80-concert tour, adds Kong
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: City Harvest Church members were very excited about the project when they were told about it, Kong says
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: After a short break in court, Kong continues talking about the Crossover Project
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: So they signed with another firm for a two-album deal
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong did not want Ms Ho to sign with Sony as it kept a tight rein on artists. Kong was afraid she would not be allowed to preach
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: That was when Kong though his wife could “engage the world of MTV” and preach to the world. He told the church, who supported it
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says a Sony executive told him that Ms Ho had the potential to be a pop artist
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: In 2001, Kong tells the court, work was started on a pop album. They also made some music videos
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says he was later asked by a music producer, why not get Ms Ho to do a pop album? Since youth no longer listen to gospel
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: The reception was great, says Kong. “I thought this is the way to go”
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: On another trip to Taiwan, they did it again – singing secular songs and tweaking the lyrics
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says he tested this at an international church conference and the young people loved it
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom

#CHC trial: In June 2000, Kong had the idea to get his wife to do pop routines, instead of singing “I love you”, to sing “I love you, Jesus”
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: When he was on the way home, Kong says he heard God tell him to evangelise to the youth in Taiwan
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: But City Harvest Church here was filled with young people, says Kong
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: A Taiwan missionary told Kong the church had lost its appeal there, and that people were interested in sports and entertainment
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says that he was invited to Taiwan for the first time in 1999. There, he says, the Christian population was ageing
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong explains to the court how the Crossover Project was started
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong adds that the church’s “organisational structure” was good, and that he trusted the church’s lawyers and auditors
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Still, Kong had a “general sense that everything was going well”. He left the details to the board, was alerted for big issues
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
#CHC trial: Kong says that as church president, he relied a lot on the church board as he was mostly overseas
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
City Harvest trial: Kong began by going through his past, saying he wanted to be a missionary in 1989 when he felt god speaking to him.
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11 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
City Harvest trial: Church founder Kong Hee has taken the stand in the trial over the alleged misuse of church funds.
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9 Aug

The Straits Times ✔ @STcom
City Harvest trial: Purchase of CDs ‘doesn’t mean they weren’t doing well’ http://bit.ly/1ssyiIS
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Source: City Harvest trial: Kong Hee takes the stand, The Straits Times, http://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/courts-crime/story/city-harvest-trial-kong-hee-takes-the-stand-20140811, Published on Aug 11, 2014 10:25 AM. (Accessed 13/08/2014.)

Kong in court: The Lord is my rancher?

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THE RANCHER AND THE RAUNCHY

It is interesting reading how Kong Hee stated in court that he “was once a “shepherd”” but then, “evolved into that of a “rancher”. However, Kong Hee had the audacity to stand up to tell his congregation that he maintains his integrity before the trials started. We know that there is a biblical church role of a shepherd (pastor). Where in the bible does it teach that pastors are to be ranchers?

Speaking frankly, Kong Hee has publicly confessed in court he is no longer a pastor.

Furthermore, the title ‘Rancher’ is fitting for impastors like Kong Hee, Phil Pringle and Brian Houston. Truly, truly, they herd believers into their corral and brand them with their company name.

Asia One reports,

We took MTV route to preach gospel: Kong

He said he was once a “shepherd”. Then, as the chief missionary of the City Harvest Church, his role evolved into that of a “rancher”.

Yesterday, for the first time since the trial started in May last year, church founder Kong Hee took the stand as a defendant accused, along with five others, of misusing church funds to further the music career of his wife, Ho Yeow Sun, and then covering it up.

The evolution from home-bound shepherd to jetsetting rancher with overseas missionary commitments meant that he had to depend on his team of lawyers and auditors, including his confidant, auditor Foong Daw Ching, to look into the church’s transactions.

He insisted he did this to make sure that the use of church funds was above board.

But Deputy Public Prosecutor Christopher Ong pointed out it was unclear what the professionals had been asked to review in several instances, as e-mail evidence – which Kong’s lawyer, Edwin Tong, had referred to as examples of this diligence – was missing the relevant attachments.

“We don’t even know what the lawyers were asked to look at in the first place,” said Mr Ong.

Unlike the hysteria that greeted the start of the trial, the courtroom was not even full yesterday. The 49-year-old pastor, dressed in a smart black suit, strongly defended the Crossover Project, which was fronted by his wife to spread the gospel through pop music.

Kong said the inspiration for this came from a 1999 trip to Taiwan, when he was told young people were more interested in sports and pop entertainment than religion.

So, on the opening night of a June 2000 event organised by City Harvest to train church pastors and leaders in Asia, he asked Ms Ho to tweak pop song lyrics to include gospel messages.

“Instead of saying, ‘I love you’, she would sing, ‘I love you, Jesus’,” Kong explained. The response among the young was “overwhelming”, he said.

When they tried this again in a Taipei church two months later, he claimed “hundreds” accepted Christ.

Kong said he decided that the church would “engage the world of Music Television (MTV) and, through it…preach the gospel of Jesus”.

The Crossover Project, using Ms Ho’s albums, kicked off in 2002. By 2007, she had released five Mandarin albums.

“If not for the Crossover, we would be just another neighbourhood church. The Crossover Project doubled, tripled our congregation size,” he told the court.

While the church had paid for Ms Ho’s first two albums, the board members decided to call on long-time church member and wealthy Indonesian businessman Wahju Hanafi to reimburse the costs, as he had pledged to support the Crossover Project.

Kong said the church consulted both Drew and Napier lawyers as well as Mr Foong on various transactions to ensure they were above board.

“Mr Foong is my friend, confidant and mentor in financial matters, and he took it upon himself to keep an eye on all our accounts,” said Kong. “In fact, he made me a promise that, if something was wrong, he would contact me.”

Source: By Feng Zengkun and Ian Poh, We took MTV route to preach gospel: Kong, AsiaOne, http://news.asiaone.com/news/singapore/we-took-mtv-route-preach-gospel-kong#sthash.LfnaoLNa.dpuf, Tuesday, Aug 12, 2014. (Accessed 12/08/2014.)

Phil Pringle’s Kong job at Presence 2014 (part 5): Kong Hee and Phil Pringle Undermining Singaporean law?

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“What devilish unchristian thing would you not undertake?” Martin Luther

To understand how manipulative Phil Pringle was at his Presence Conference 2014, it is important to understand how everything developed at this point in time. Please read the below articles before reading on.

Phil Pringle’s Kong Job At Presence 2014 (Part 1)

Phil Pringle’s Kong Job At Presence 2014 (Part 2) Hillsong “Stands” with C3 & CHC?

Pringle’s Kong Job At Presence 2014 (Part 3) All faith – no substance

Phil Pringle’s Kong Job At Presence 2014 (Part 4) Kong’s “selfie” sermon.

There are two components that need to be addressed in Phil Pringle’s attempt to get people to give money to Kong Hee at the end of this Presence Conference 2014 session. In this article, we will be drawing your attention to how Kong and Pringle appeared to orchestrate the night to extract cash out of people. Their attempts to extract that cash out of people may get them in trouble with Singaporean authorities considering:

1. what Phil Pringle said;

2. who Phil Pringle and Kong Hee targeted;

3. and how they manipulated their targets to give cash.

So what did Phil Pringle say that might get him into trouble?

Phil Pringle informs us that Kong Hee’s church “is not allowed to give him one cent [...] he cannot do anything [...] that he receives there as a gift, it’s taxed – in any form at all. Any form at all”. So no one in CHC can give him cash in any form at all.

What’s Pringle’s solution to the problem? The solution is the people at C3 Presence Conference 2014 and those CHC members tuning in from CHC, “can be a real help right now [...] to Ps Kong and Sun”. They were definitely a financial help.

Who did Phil Pringle and Kong Hee target?

Listen to Phil Pringle acknowledging CHC members attending his Presence Conference:

“It was such a pleasure having Pastor Kong and the team and some members from City Harvest Church here right in the middle of the [Presence 2014] conference. What a pleasure that was.”

Kong Hee also made the comment before preaching that he:

“got text messages from all around Asia, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia – all watching right now. I know my church, they’re all watching the service right now. So on behalf of churches, thank you so much, one more time Ps Phil, Ps Chris.”

We can only speculate at this point but it seems reasonable to ask: did Kong’s team give money to their pastor, Kong Hee, through Phil Pringle, bypassing the Singaporean legislations? Did these CHC members do likewise? What about the people from the CHC churches tuning in online?

What makes this very troubling is Phil Pringle’s direction how people are to give online:

“And I would also like to say that if you’re watching online, if you go to our website and register the offering right now, through our website, we’ll recognise that as being a “giving” and you can identify it on – ah – place where it says “other” and you can identify that as a designated offering for this cause. So – ah – thank you. Ushers, if you could go ahead with that, thank you.”

We followed these instructions a few days later. Below is a screen grab of the Presence Conference 2014 website:

00proof_PresenceConferenceGiving1_20-05-2014

When you click on “ONLINE GIVING” this option pops up:

00proof_PresenceConferenceGiving2_20-05-2014

The ‘VISA AND MASTERCARD’ option takes you here:

00proof_PresenceConferenceGiving4_20-05-2014 00proof_PresenceConferenceGiving5_20-05-2014

So knowing that Kong Hee’s members in Singapore were watching and knowing that other CHC members were tuning in, Phil Pringle urged the crowds to consider how they could be a blessing to support Kong Hee, (this “man of God”).

Let’s consider the words of a former CHC member about this “man of God”:

“His crimes were serious: financial fraud, the misuse of donated monies, the appropriation of organizational funds into a personal bank account. This is a simple matter of a man who might have started out with pure intentions but then got greedy and then got scared and tried to hide the matter from the light of day, because he knew that the matter could not stand the light of day.”

Source: Death of A Halo: Of Kong Hee, CHC, and Christianity., FaceBook, https://www.facebook.com/notes/samuel-caleb-wee/death-of-a-halo-of-kong-hee-chc-and-christianity/10151054826826458, 27/06/2012 at 03:54. (Accessed 30/07/2012.)

 Do you think this is ethical? What are your thoughts on the behaviour of Kong Hee and Phil Pringle at Presence Conference 2014?

Phil Pringle: “Amen. This is like – ah – when the Book of Acts, some of those pages, real Christianity. A lot of our culture has lost its cost, it’s like we’ve forgotten that there is a price. So many just fall by the wayside when they experience a little bit of pain, opinion changes towards them. Just back off. Following Jesus – all of our reputations are at stake as soon as we engage with Christ. But you know what? It’s, I think, it’s kinda easy to stand for Jesus, in comparison to standing for his servants, his ambassadors.

Somebody said, “It’s probably harder to live for Christ than to die for Him”. Dying for him would be a simple thing but to stay alive, to keep on walking, for four years as Kong has through this trial with many Christians, believers, forming opinions and judgments.

And – ah – I decided a long time ago that I would leave the judgment to God, and I’d be a friend, stand in support of ministers who are in trouble, and try and [applause] see them through their dark moments, I think we can do that.

So I’d like you to take your seat for a second. Thank you Ps Kong (who leaves stage) – that was a brilliant, brilliant  message for us tonight. Astonishing!

Last year – ah – at this point when Ps Kong was speaking, I received an offering for him. I said “Let’s take an offering for him to help defray his expenses”. So all was well and good and we did that and we gave it to him – ah – but then he told me that he gave it all away. I was really disappointed because I thought I was helpin’ him. But he gave it to his team.

There are seven people in this trial and he is one of the seven and they’re all in court and need their own lawyers to make their defense. So he split it up and gave it to all of them.

And – ah – obviously making it even more difficult on himself and – ah – his legal bill runs in the millions of dollars and that’s over the entire team, and with him personally. Over four years having lawyers on your team to defend your case, it’s not an inexpensive exercise and so – ah – I said “if I take another offering for you, you need to tell me that you won’t give it away”. Did I say that to you? (looking over to Kong Hee off stage) I don’t remember if I did but I’m saying it to you now. You promise? OK.

I’m happy, I’m very happy that you did give it to all of those dear people who I know and love with all my heart. And you can do with this as you like but I really do ask that it will be helpful (mumbles) – cos I need, what I tell these people – I – you know – like [inaudible] – I like to keep it straight, like, so they know that they’re giving it to you.

So I want to do that here tonight and – ah – I’m going to ask you to stand with this man of God. And I know that, the bible says even if you give a cup of water to a prophet, you will receive, and be a partaker of that prophet’s reward.

At the end of this trial, there will be an enormous blessing comin’ on his life. (Turns to Kong off stage) And I want you to accept an inviation to
come and preach at presence 2014 – 15!!! Amen!! Ah – alright? [Crowd applaud]

Thank you Lord Jesus.

I want you to consider how you can be a blessing to support this man of God. The powers that be have tried to cut off every way of support for him. He is – ah – they’re not allowed to receive such offerings in Singapore, like this, for him, from his churches. His church is not allowed to give him one cent – ah – he cannot do anything – ah- that he receives there as a gift, it’s taxed – in any form at all. Any form at all. So we can be a real help right now – ah – to Ps Kong and Sun. He’s sold his home, he has sold everything he’s got, to try and make this defense work. He had two businesses as well, he’s sold those. He – ah – is really looking to the Lord. So I want us to look to the Lord as to how we can share with him and stand with him in this trial he is facing.

Pray with me tonight as we prepare to give. “Father, in the name of Jesus, I’m prayin’ that as pastors of churches, we may have mission funds, we may have areas of resources that we can employ in standing with a brother that you’ve given to us in a divine connection. We certainly recognise those divine relationships, those arrangements from heaven that have been brought into our lives. So heavenly Father, here as we see this need right before us, as individuals, as fathers, as mothers, as young people, as individuals, we know that you’ve called us to stand together in unity and this is one very real and practical way that we can do that, this, here tonight.

So Lord, I’m praying that you will bless our giving in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

And I would also like to say that if you’re watching online, if you go to our website and register the offering right now, through our website, we’ll recognise that as being a “giving” and you can identify it on – ah – place where it says “other” and you can identify that as a designated offering for this cause. So – ah – thank you. Ushers, if you could go ahead with that, thank you.

Amen!

It would be good to have a little louder music so that we don’t hear coins. [Laughter] I appreciate all the giving in the offering, I just think it sounds…”

Is Phil Pringle calling the church to be to take part in wrong-doing by supporting Kong Hee financially? In light of the above facts, should they continue to do so?

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