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This article will provide an overview of the C3 Presence 2012 open night. We wish to point out that Chris Rosebrough from ‘Fighting For the Faith’ (Pirate Christian Radio) has started his critique of the Presence Conference 2012.
On Open Night, C3 opened up with worship. At EXACTLY ten minutes in, a silent passion narrative took place. Red cloth rolled out from Jesus’ hands out to the far reaches of the Sydney Convention Center to represent Jesus’ blood covering people. This was all done close to two minutes.
The lights dropped and the screen read,
… the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
What followed was an ambiguous special effects narrative showing light, smoke and darkness. A key drops. A sphere of light covers part of planet earth. The sphere of light shoots up like a fire work and explodes the word ‘VICTORY’. This was all done close to two minutes. The precise timing of these events is important.
This was followed with more worship. But what did that cross story mean? Christians and non-Christians clearly saw Christ portrayed crucified. Would this be explained?
After worship, Kong Hee was introduced to… preach an offering message. C3 thought a GIVING sermon was the next most important thing to schedule after this ambiguous passion narrative.
Kong Hee is the pastor of City Harvest Church, Singapore. Chris Rosebough from ‘Fighting For the Faith’ reviewed this giving sermon here at 38 minutes into his program:
April 14, 2012
• Presence Conference 2012: Kong Hee’s Fleecing of the Masses
• 3 More Great Easter Sermons by George Borghardt, Brent Kuhlman and Jeff Ware
Chris Rosebrough was not impressed by how brazen Kong Hee was in his false teaching. Chris Rosebrough commented before Kong Hee gave this talk,
“Here is Kong Hee from the first night of Presence Conference out there in Sydney Australia. That this guy can talk like this without hanging his head in utter shame is beyond me.” (39:28)
It should be worth noting that the way Presence 2012 treated Jesus at the start. Kong Hee’s money sermon seemed to completely disregard the passion narrative of it’s significance as he talked about his life and how God wants to bless us when we give sacrificially. Why didn’t he explain the importance of Jesus’ sacrifice? Isn’t that the whole point of a Christianity? To preach Christ and Him crucified? (1 Cor 1:23)
Ten minutes in at the C3 Presence conference, Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. Kong Hee came in and taught Christians that by observing the Law (tithe and firstfruits) and by our sacrificial giving we can attain our desires by human effort, God being the means.
Why did Kong Hee teach Christians that they could get miracles if they observed the Law and ‘principles’ of giving? We need to heed this exact warning from God:
“You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?” - Galatians 3:1-5
While Kong Hee was teaching on the types of giving, Chris Rosebrough slammed Kong Hee’s teaching.
“I cannot believe I am looking at the video on this and people are sitting rather than standing up and walking out in protest. Unbelievable! Do they not know they are being fleeced [swindled great deals of money]?” (43:53)
“Notice! Everything is a quid pro-quo. You’re BUYING from God. This is a multiplication scam. A ponzy scheme blamed on God.” (46:18)
To summarise the four types of giving Kong Hee taught, Rosebrough reports:
“See if you give money to them [C3 Church], God’s going to be moved and he’s going to “explode prsoperity” into your life. This is not what the bible teaches. This is shameful.”(47:40)
Kong Hee then read out 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. Rosebrough teaches how this biblical passage condemned Kong Hee’s entire giving message:
“It’s funny. Do those words mean anything to you Kong, as you’re reading them? “Don’t give under compulsion.” You’re basically saying people have to give under compulsion. You’re turning God into a Mafia-don.
“We’ll if you don’t give the tithe- well then the destroyer gonna come and destroy you. Yeah you gotta give. Yeah! You gotta give! Give! Give! Give! Give! Oh and then you plant the seed and God will, y’know, explode prosperity.” This isn’t what the bible teaches at all. This turns God into a slot machine or a genie.” (48:12)
Rosebrough continues his criticism while Kong Hee started suggesting people empty their bank accounts.
“Now this is where he plants the seed of you giving a lot of money in your brain. And you sit there and go, “Oh. Maybe God the Holy Spirit’s telling me to give a big seed too?” By the way, the bible doesn’t teach this the way he’s teaching it. . . So he said that he wants somebody there to give everything they’ve got; give it all to them. They’ll take it. “Thanks! Oh thank you! Thank you for giving everything!” They’ll be happy to take it. . . So this is to plant the seed in their minds that someone there- God’s telling them to give everything. . . Don’t you want to be like Kong hee? Don’t you want to give everything? Maybe God will speak to you the same way He spoke to Kong, right?” (52:45, 53:18, 53:50)
Seeing right through it all, Rosebrough repeats,
“This is a ponzy scheme! This is one of those pyramid schemes, you know. And who’s at the top of the pyramid? Oh Kong Hee, Phil Pringle, Steven Furtick- yeah those guys! They’re at the top of the pyramid. “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Just give us everything you’ve got! Don’t worry! God knows you need money. And so he’ll put dreams in the heart of other people so they’ll supply your needs.
Why would I need to give everything I have to a church like C3 in Australia where Phil Pringle mangles and twists God’s Word, doesn’t rightly handle the Word? He’s a- I think it can be demonstrated as a false prophet. Why on earth would God want me to give everything to them? Hmm? This is ridiculous. This is not a Christian or biblical teaching regarding giving at all. This is people making merchandise and teaching for shameful gain things they ought not to teach, (using King James language). This is preaching for filthy lucre.” (55:09)
The pirate said of the peddler,
“Yeah, because he [Kong] planted a seed! So you got to plant a seed if you’re in financial trouble! You gotta plant a seed too! And that’s on TOP of your tithe, your firstfruits, and your alms giving. . . Yeah! Tell them a story and they’ll start writing big checks! Isn’t that how it goes?” (56:36, 56:57)
Kong Hee then swayed people emotionally and not with reason. He said,
“Since then, God has taken us from glory to glory. But EVERYTHING, all the blessing, if you asked me, can be traced back to the one night, in a service like this when I didn’t have anything and I have a mountain of debt, newly married, with not much hope and future. I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. But a simple act of obedience, trusting God by faith and giving my best seed- I got a feeling tongiht pastor phil. I havea feeling tonight that some of you here, who may be in my situation twenty years ago. Maybe you’re newly wed. Maybe you’re stuck with a situation of financial debt. Maybe you have visions and dreams but you’re in so much darkness, you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. ” (57:34)
To which Rosebrough quickly retorted with,
“Don;t worry! We’ll be happy to take everything you got! That’ll clear you right up. . . He’ll supply all your need as long as you give him a LOT of money! . . . Yeah! See you’re buying those blessings.” (01:01:25, 1:01:45, 01:01:53)
Kong Hee then starts brazenly asking people for money, operating in double talk (as Chris Rosebrough pointed out).
“I tell you what. Now I don’t normally do this but I sense faith in this room tonight. And I don’t like to talk about numbers. I don’t like to talk about figures. But maybe tonight, some of you need to give a big seed. A big one.
Maybe some of you need to give a hundred dollars. Maybe some of you need to give five hundred dollars. Maybe some of you need to give a thousand. Maybe, for you, a seed, a huge one, could be two thousand dollars. Maybe some of you, (that could be just one or two couples), that God has something great in store, and maybe tonight the Holy Spirit, already has been speaking to your heart to empty everything you’ve got. In my life, I’ve done it twice. I can tell you – God is not going to short-change you.” (01:01:56)
It’s important to note that when he gave everything to God Kong Hee claimed , “I was never poor again” (56:33). So why does he say that he was currently facing a financial crunch? (01:08:22, 01:01:30) Did Kong Hee lie to his multi-denominational and international audience of thousands?
After the giving sermon, Pringle gives a sermon called ‘Connect’. Pringle’s ‘Connect’ sermon is completely void of the gospel. He spends a large portion of his sermon advertising his church, parading how a part of his movement grew. Many were called up to the stage. When everyone was up on stage Prngle shouted (almost frustratingly),
“Don’t you dare be thinking I can’t grow a church! This is how you grow a church! One person touching another! Connecting! Getting on the same page!” - Phil Pringle, Presence Conference 2012, Open Night.
Part from the fact that Jesus said, “I will build build my church” (Matt 16:18) and that the Lord adds daily people to His church (Acts 2:47), it is wrong to say that you grow a church through “connecting”. While connecting with people is important, what grows the church is the faithful preaching of the Gospel (Christ and Him crucified) and making disciples under the teachings of God. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17), not by “one person touching another”. Pringle could not have been any more wayward with his outburst.
The truth of the gospel and God’s word is what brings the power of salvation, which builds the church through the Spirit of God. Sadly, Pringle at the end of his sermon does an altar call. He does not give the gospel. This is an example of men “holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power” (2 Tim 3:5). All viewing online were able to see Pringle building his ‘church’ his way, not God’s way.
Rosebrough does not examine Pringle’s ‘Connect’ sermon but he does examine Phil Pringle’s Warragambah dam prophecy (1:09:34). This is also worth listening to. More will be written on this later.
In closing, Christ was portrayed as crucified at the beginning of the Presence Conference, but swept aside for a show without any explanation what his death and resurrection meant to sinners mean. And remember, this was all orchestrated and perfectly timed. Two minutes for Jesus crucified, two minutes for his resurrection, that’s it. The preachers preached themselves and Mark Kelsey presented the glory of their prophet Phil Pringle for six minutes with Pringle’s prophecy. This is a tragic way to begin a conference and is telling of what was to come. Christianity is about Christ and Christ crucified, not Pringle and Pringle glorified.
Rosebrough protests Pringle’s glorification:
“That’s just to get this into the public arena so the folks who are in Sydney Australia can warn their friends, warn their family members, warn people that they know, co-workers, to let them know that there is a false prophet on the loose who’s real goal is to get into their wallets, to get into their bank accounts, to get – you know – checks and debits off of their credit cards to huge dollar amounts. Cos that’s really what all this is about. Somebody who would promote this guy [Phil Pringle] as a prophet of God? You understand the implications that is? To question him, to challenge him is to actually question and challenge God. Because isn’t that whom he is supposedly and visibly respresentive here on earth of? No. He’s not. He’s not a prophet of God.
He’s a false prophet, a false teacher and a fleecer. This is a show. This is a show designed to get huge, huge bucks. Large sums of money. And to get foolish, unstable, unwise, unlearned people to fork over lots of money. And at the end of it, you know what happens to folks like that? The promised miracle never comes. When that happens, they lose even what little faith they may have. But it’s questionable as to whether or not the faith that they had was actually saving faith in the crucified and risen saviour.” (01:19:47)
Finally, we encourage readers to listen to the preachers at the end of Chris Rosebrough’s podcast and compare how the good preachers Rosebrough reviews, handle God’s Word unlike Kong Hee. You wont be disappointed.