Before you read the CHC members testimony, you need to understand how Kong Hee has learnt how to do ‘ministry’ through his mentor Phil Pringle.
“We have a program in our church called “Harvest Now.” Within this program are eight initiatives that are designed to reach the unchurched for Christ. One of those initiatives is contacting people who were previously members of our church and have slipped away. I so admire the people involved in this outreach because they hear all the worst criticisms about the pastor, about the church and about what we do, yet they keep reaching out to these people and eventually win them back to the Lord.
These people have to be soldiers. They can’t be involved in the conversation, listening to all the gripes of these people, (which often sound very plausible), and get swung over to the negative side. There is a war in which misperceptions are deposited in people’s minds by the devil. Those involved in dismantling them must be tough enough to “fight for us.”
When we’re in the trenches getting fired at, I don’t want soldiers at my side wondering why their leader is being fired upon. People like this can eventually turn their guns on their leader. They imagine the Enemy must have good reason for shooting at their leader, and so they begin firing also.
Once we’ve been in the trenches a few times, we realize who can be trusted under fire. Even if the leader does make a mistake, that is still no reason for those around him or her to attack. I want to know that my team will be loyal to me when the attacks are unjustified, and when they are justified.” – Phil Pringle, You The Leader, 2005, pg 265-266. (Emphasis ours.)
Now here is the testimony of someone who was fighting in the CHC trench and got blasted by a truth bomb. Notice the similarities between the CHC and C3 cults how they deal with criticisms.
The Last 16 Months of My Life
So, rather than have you hear from others, I decided today to tell you my side of the story (I try to keep it short), and lay out some facts over the course of time as demanded (as much as it does not affect the ongoing cantonese event going on).
This is a short summary about the history of what happened according to what I’ve experienced
– CHC announced the joint-ownership model of Suntec Convention Center through a holding company
– CHC came under much fire by members of the public and critics both from within and outside of CHC
– Between March 2010 till September 2010, I have been actively speaking up for the leadership of the church, actively engaging the “critics”. You can still see some of the things I wrote (PK’s blog, various forums under the nic “Ronaldwong” ==> most of it have been removed by moderators (but I kept copies of it). No doubt they were genuine, and in this situation, 2 separate issues.
– In April 2010 I joined the “CHC Cyber Task Force” – basically a group of 5-6 cgls whose main objectives were to engage the social media to offer a “balanced view” of the church and the leadership, based on our own experience. It was headed by a CHC Zone Supervisor and we were actively engaging the various forums such as AsiaOne, Hardwarezone, SammyBoy, Konghee.com, etc. I was actively participating until Sep 2010. Some of my posts are still there (if you like to see them, I have printed them to soft copy, as most of it was deleted).
– During the period from March 2010 to September 2010, I believed everything that I hear totally without question. And I have been actively defending the church and the leadership without question. The reason I did that was because this is where I grew up in, and experienced many good. Everything I learned about being a good Christian, a good man, a good son and husband, I learned it all here – in CHC. I was so convicted about my “understanding” of the situation that when I engaged the public forum, I used my real name, and even challenged the critics to come and join me at the cell group which I lead for many years – so that I can prove to them that what some of the serious allegations were unfounded. Of course, none of the critics appeared.
What Happened Between Oct 2010 to Feb 2011
In Oct 2010, an anonymous person (I suspect was from one of the forum I was actively engaged with who was adamant he had the “evidence”) dropped me a mail containing a stack of papers and some stuff at my office. Included inside were photocopied documents of CHC pastoral and financial reports, documents of CHC-linked companies such as XTron Productions Pte Ltd, AMAC Capital and it’s related companies, among others. When I saw the documents, it set me thinking for a while that these were perhaps “fabricated”. Whether are they credible, I leave it up to your imagination – actually some of them can be purchased off Bizfile for a small price.
The fact that being in the cyber-taskforce, and on several occassions having to have your “taskforce team leader” call you personally on the phone to remove certain posts you made to rebutt/challenge the critics because what they say “was not entirely wrong”, certainly did not help clarify my doubts.
It set me through a process from just believing whatever was told – on the basis of “trust” and “love”, to being critically analytical (critically analytical means to carefully think through) about many things I hear being said – from various ones, including my own pastor, staff who left, to others who have in some ways worked with CHC or its related companies.
The documents dropped by the “anonymous” opened many doors for my thinking cap – some of the companies linked to CHC – if you recall in recent meetings, was known to be very “established” in the marketplace, were recording very poor financials year-on-year in the report (you can download the financials off bizfile), and were not compliant to ACRA’s compliance rating stipulated under the Companies Act – which business in the world would want to do that?
It caused me to probe into many more things that was since time past (since 1995), esp post-hollywood days in 2001 from the Roland Poon saga to the Multi-Purpose Account (MPA) to Hollywood, etc.
3 things got me very uncomfortable:
1) Financials – for the CHC-linked-companies, where did the monies come from? And where did the monies go to? Don’t just tell me about Xtron. Tell me about AMAC Capital and AMAC whatever, as well as all the rest of the “you-know-which-ones”. Where were the cash flows? What fees were charged? What sort of “arms length dealings” are we talking about if you are reporting such losses? Why the millions of financial losses? What actually happened and who bore the losses? Where did the money go? In the CG ministry and a CGL since 2003, I’m really clueless except for very nice picture of info painted in the meetings – not to mention those who came later – what do they know? When I probed, the standard answer was “it is under investigation, so cannot say”, or “it is under NDA”. If the amount it cost Suntec REIT to buy 51% stake of ARA Harmony Fund can be publicly disclosed, what is the problem with disclosure? Today, with this info, you can almost work out an estimate off the AR posted by the REIT and come to a conclusion about the viability of the deal – no need to wait for the latest AR to be given. You guys should really step up and ask questions about these companies and their nature of dealings. The church accounts up to 2009 looks ok, very comprehensive notes although there were some questionables which can only be answered if the other related companies were better understood. Look instead at other areas that your money went to. Focus on the cash flow stateemnt (CF) ==> Where did the money come from? Where did the money go to? What was it used for?
2) The “Reality-illusion” divide – matters such as the ZS scheme vs really “loving” people, the inflating of congregation size vs “being faithful in the little things”, the pop “success” of Sun down to her lifestyle and “american management company” and the $5m worth of contract, 2209 Canyon Drive, China first-day cover (2004), etc. What is happening to all that were taught from time past? Overwritten by CM?
3) The future of the church in Suntec – and how members will continue giving and sacrificing while some constantly have pockets of money – tithe, offering and building fund pledges going into a separate “multi-purpose-fund” account not declared to ordinary and ministry members? The UOB account that was closed and immediately followed by the same collection in cash only (avoid paper trace?) at the end of every month, etc. Basically, there are members who were sacrificing their “lives” away – ordinary people who make a honest living working hard, sacrificing/delaying their life goals to contribute to the church operating/building fund and yet somewhere out there, there were so many people giving into a seperate account unknown to more than 70% of the congregation. We have more than enough people to verify this giving in cash, in case you think they are rumours. Is the suntec shift a sustainable move? Does the congregation size justify such a move (knowing full well that there was not 33,000 at all at the point the decision was made)?
Is there a remote chance that perhaps things are not as what we see and believe to be? If so, then what happened to the lives and time and money that so many innocent people give, out of simple trust and goodwill, wanting to do something for Jesus and make a difference in others? Is that an abuse of trust? Granted, it is “constitutionally correct” – but in terms of governance, ethics and morals found sorrily wanting – in a place known to be a moral center with a important role as a critical social pillar of nation building.
Personally, this perhaps was the toughest season in my life – I had to grapple with the thought that perhaps… just perhaps… all that I believed all these years which makes one successful and a good man – is it really sustainable? I’m concerned about how will I become in future, having been taught the “DNA” for the past 16 years. What if it is all a dream? What is my life like now? You really have to go through a lot of serious thinking.
I penned the saddest songs and poems during this season of my life, even as I begin to see my friends leave one by one I can’t help asking. I tried to understand more, but I realize, after speaking with my Pastor, that it was impossible. I sent him a very concerned email sometime in February 2011, and met up with him hoping to know more but instead of clarifying, he tried to make me feel that it was “wrong” to doubt my pastor and ask these sort of questions because “I was supposed to trust the leadership”. He even suggested that my “heart was poisoned” and that I should present myself as an example during a FAQ to the leaders to “acknowledge that I had been misled by certain indviduals and warn the rest of the leaders to be careful”. The only consolation he gave me was “many things he dunno” and “he will check for me”.
The Final Straw came in March 2011 when my immediate “team leader” asked me to stop probing and being so vocal about my findings – only to discover later that he is a board member of one of the CHC-linked group. I take it as a conflict of undisclosed interest rather than discipleship. Not wanting to be held ransom under his authority, I left the church in March 2011, determined to uncover the truth. They were trying to silent me.
I have to admit that I went through an emotional roller-coaster and was angry for some time – I think it is normal to be angry. But it is neither uncontrolled rage nor bitterness. Just angry at what is going on in a place that never ought to be happening. Thankfully, over time in a new environment, I was able to regain clarity and live all over again in spite of what has happened. Now, creating awareness is my main priority.
The last 6 months
From the day I discovered that I have been wrong about many things, I set on a mission to uncover the truth. It was after I left that I realized that I stand on a very different side of sociology – “isolation” from the people I know as “family members”. My determination come from the fact that my parents are still attending the church, as well as many of my friends whom I have known for the past 16 years – so my concern is for them not to be mislead.
There are also talk that “I have been spreading rumours” which resulted in people leaving. For goodness sake, if that had been true, then there would have been a explosive revival in my new church! But no, we just want to go back to the Word where Jesus is the center. All I did was for those who sought me to “talk it out”, I asked them to open their eyes and pray and be careful – before giving away their money – because it represents their lives. There are many adults who have brains to think and not easily manipulated emotionally nor fall easily to some “marketing jargons” – I have no influence over them. Rather than doing so many funny things, I suggest rebuilding broken trust by disclosure. The recent FAQ is disappointing – because it did not touch a single bit on the real issues. And what you failed to do, someone else will. I’m not the first one – I just happen to be the current “mascot” (had to redeem all my wrongs for being naive). There will be more people stepping out.
We have very good and committed members in CHC and I love and respect every single one of them. The problem Is not the church or the members. As much as I can, I will try to deal with this matter honorably, to the extent honor is due.
I made a decision to set out to uncover the truth for all to know, so that you can rebuild the house in order, and I know it will cause conflict with the people I regard as “friends” there. Nevertheless, this is a tough choice to make and I have decided to see it to the finish, in spite of the challenges it presents. It has been a worthy fight the last 6 months, to turn from one side to the other, adn then to uncover the truth. And I’m just starting to take it to a new level – publishing all these documents for all to see over time, perhaps chronologically.
Some people choose to build a building, I just felt it is more important to rebuild our lives – starting with putting Jesus as the center in everything, and releasing the truth that will set people free. We all need a closure to this saga. Vindicative, if possible, but most important than anything – be careful with your giving. It represents your blood and life. Revelations 16 says something about it, besides Eekiel 13.
“Peace if possible but truth at any cost” – Martin Luther.
This is my story. At the end of the day, I like what a brother say, that “we may be in different camps now, but we are under one Cross”. And this Cain (if you treat him as one) is not going to say “am I my brother’s keeper”. Rather this Cain is gonna say “I AM my brother’s keeper”. You are always my brother and sister, regardless of what you think of me after I left.
Source: The Last 16 Months of My Life, https://www.facebook.com/notes/ronald-wong/the-last-16-months-of-my-life/10150286461957127, Published: 24/09/2011 at 07:49. (Accessed 07/02/2014.)