“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.
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:
When you click on “ONLINE GIVING” this option pops up:
The ‘VISA AND MASTERCARD’ option takes you here:
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.
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?