An ex-C3 member writes,
“Today, after 5 long, drawn-out years, the longest criminal trial in Singaporean history, the executive leadership of City Harvest Church, including pastor Kong Hee, were found guilty of misappropriating $50 Million worth of church funds.
Sentencing has been postponed to a later date, but already I have witnessed a flurry of Christians online all resolved to stand by Kong Hee throughout this process. And I just need to ask, for the sake of clarity, what exactly do you all mean by “stand by”?
Do you mean “pray for” Kong Hee? “Help support the distraught family of” Kong Hee? “Encourage and pray for the disappointed, also distraught church family of” Kong Hee? If that’s what you mean then that’s all fine, highly commendable, and I’ll happily join you in that, feel free to read no further.
But if you mean “Protest the Court’s ruling and insist upon the exoneration of” Kong Hee, I just need to ask, on what basis? I’ve seen a persistent narrative at play here, promoted by many Christians and even Christian leaders, in which this entire 5-year trial has essentially been dismissed as a complete smokescreen, an entirely groundless, deceitful attempt by an unbelieving nation’s Courts to act as tools of Satan and oppose Christ’s church, because of the great work Pastor Kong has been doing.
Brothers and sisters, I know this is a far more comforting way of looking at the situation, but… what if Kong Hee actually IS guilty? What if the same charming, smiling man who you’ve seen preaching at conferences, the same man who is so close and friendly with and vouched for by… certain OTHER pastors you respect, actually DID commit this awful, awful crime and awful, awful sin, of which he is still yet to repent?
Should secular courts not be allowed to convict Christians of crimes as long as those Christians maintain that they were doing the Lord’s work? Should Christians continue to voice unqualified public approval of men who, by their actions, demonstrate themselves to be THOROUGHLY disqualified for leadership in Christ’s church, as long as we like their preaching? No, we must be honest, and live our lives with integrity as good citizens as well as good Christians.
The Courts have spoken, and those who wish to oppose their ruling must first demonstrate a fault in their reasoning or provide evidence of corruption serious enough to support the idea that they seriously just spent 5 years of their time building a thoroughly false case on non-existent evidence.
Christ’s name has been dragged through the mud of Asia for long enough because of this trial. If you want to express an opinion on the verdict, get off the bandwagons and do some research for yourselves.”
Sally wong said:
I totally agree with the author of this article. Too many who render support are either oblivious to the technicalities of the case or are blind followers who believe that their idol can do no wrong. I was a member of the church once and I was at the service when Kong Hee publicly announced that he’s not taking a salary from church because his wife is making enough to support him . He also announced that the wife is pursuing a singing career in the US and is paid millions of dollars. Were we told of the Crossover then? ” No!” If that’s not fabrication of lies…I don’t know what it is. True to what the Prosecutor said..he’s a ” well -practiced liar”.
“…what if Kong Hee actually IS guilty?”
Well, that’s exactly what he is. There is nothing wrong with Singapore’s justice system, and really if satan was going to try to stop him I’m sure he’d think of a much more destructive way, maybe like convincing him to video his wife and sr pastor of the church to writhe around in skimpy clothes while singing about alcohol, and promoting that world wide. But I digress.
Undoubtedly the call for money will come soon for the appeal. I doubt you’ll hear about how many millions KH has stashed away because for him it is important to not lose that capital, like by paying lawyers out of it. And to be honest why would you when you have a flock of sheep ready to empty their wallets?
This was always coming. One of the biggest problems facing this type of church is the lack of accountability of the leadership. Self styled apostles who may mean well are often ill equipped to deal with the every day realities of handling other people’s money in the not-for-profit sector. I have seen close up how “the leader” becomes untouchable, the anointed one (please don’t touch him!). I was one such leader for many years so know better than most that the message gets lost due to the pressures of “making it happen”, namely; raising increasingly escalating budgets and working at increasing the attendance in competition with your rivals (the other big churches in town).
We all started out meaning well, however the pressure gets to people, as it did to me. I could tell some stories regarding the goings on inside C3, CHC and other church-like mega not-for-profit organisations but am not hear to bring others down.
The government, particularly in places such as Australia or the US, where churches are tax exempt doesn’t help either. These generous tax exemptions for “religious works” are abused because these organisations aren’t required to report their actions or incomes. This fosters a belief that “doing God’s work” somehow exempts churches of accountability. The reality is that anyone who raises public donations should be held to account about how those funds are used. After all, it’s everyone’s tax dollar that ultimately goes to propping these organisations up. In all other not-for-profit settings, the managing board will be made up of people who are independent professionals and stakeholders, however in these church-like organisations the boards are made up exclusively of “believers”, that is people who believe in the leader’s vision and who come from inside the organisation, or from the leadership of other aligned church-like organisations that have reciprocal “scratch my back” relationships.
How can someone be expected to advise the independent leader of one church when they continue to invite each to speak at each other’s church services and conferences, which in itself is a very lucrative affair. Imagine doing a weekend’s speaking engagement and being flown 1st class or Business class around the world at your host’s expense? How about if you were given a cheque for $50,000 or more for that weekend. Throw in a new Rolex, art work or shopping trip. The best suite at the best downtown hotel and meals at some of the finest restaurants. How willing would you be to advise your host to be more open about finances? Yes, you might be appointed advisor but really, how independent can you be in these circumstances? It’s no wonder they’re all coming out in Kong’s defence.
Unfortunately Kong broke the law. Doesn’t matter how well-meaning he was, or whether he gained personally or not (this time). What matters is the culture of accountability, or in this case the lack thereof. The laws are there to protect all people in society. The not-for-profit sector, including churches needs to be transparent, honest and law abiding in handling money. Monies that are given for one purpose should not be used for another, this is what the law sets out to protect. These laws protect those who give in good faith from the “anointed ones” who seem to be able to choose where, to whom or what and when these funds should be distributed.
Sure Kong is an affable fellow, he really is one of the nicest people you could meet. However you can’t just do what you want with the power that other people give you, often young and willing as they are. Sad as it is, a lengthy prison term for Kong may be a healthy thing for all these so called “apostles”. Righteousness means being right, and in this case Kong Hee and his supporters are not.
What was the old saying? Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Hopefully this will cause others in the “apostle’s ring” to actually get some accountability, good legal and independant prudential advice, and finally to just do what is right rather that what is expedient for the “cause”.
So he is a nice bloke? Or just a good act?
“So he is a nice bloke? Or just a good act?”
Look at the stories of manipulation and bullying that are coming from ex-CHC members and you will know the answer. Ask yourself this: what sort of person has a duality in their personality whereby they can flick a switch and go from charming to monster in the blink of an eye?
The answer, of course, is “a psychopath”. Psychopathy also explains why Kong is not unduly troubled by his conscience with respect to his misdeeds or the harm he has caused, given the narcissism and extreme self-centredness that are also characteristic of this condition. Kong sees himself as the centre of the universe, and from his point of view, other people exist only to serve him by stroking his ego and fulfilling his every whim. Naturally enough, such people as Kong are a perfect fit for the role of God-like leader of a personality cult.
Interestingly, Phil Pringle has often spoken of the great affinity he has always felt for Kong: this is because they are like two peas in a pod. (There is a photo of Kong outside court, where Sun Ho is a pace or two behind Kong, and Phil Pringle is walking by Kong’s side and actually holding Kong’s elbow – it is a most revealing shot which really gives one pause for thought). You can also consider the statement by Jesus that “everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher”, and note that Kong has stated that everything he has done was in emulation of his mentor Pringle. It’s easy to join the dots and understand that Kong’s downfall does not simply reflect on Pringle as “guilt by association”, but is in fact a thoroughly unambiguous reflection of exactly the sort of person that Pringle is. That is why this scandal is such an unmitigated disaster for Phil Pringle, who now stands unmasked in the glare of a spotlight from which, try as he might, he simply cannot escape.
If leaders of God are really serious about defeating the devil, surely it would be in their interests, and also to honour God, as a sign of appreciation for all God has done for us in sacrificing His only Son, to put checkpoints in place, and Godly people around them that can be honest with them when they may be starting to go off track.
A large percentage of conartists are pleasant cons. Kong Hee is the nicest and biggest conartist in Asia. Check out FB Page CHC Confessions
S Williams said:
xc3insiders comments…. spot on. The C3 pastors I’ve known are some of the most ill equipped and unknowledgeable people I’ve known. Very naive but very confident in their brand of religion. They have had the C3 formula to success drummed into them and have tasted just enough personal adulation and easy money to never want to go back to being an “ordinary disciple” having to function in the modern world. The Crossover Project must be one of the most ill conceived, egotistical , unannointed, dumbest things ever done in the history of Christianity. What an embarrassment. Sad to say but Kong’s prison term will be good for all those caught in the C3 web.
The initial intention may have been with the right motive but when there is a conflict of interest in this case pouring millions of $$ in to Sun Ho’s singing career, the motive and heart can become easily corrupt.
It is a concern for those in leadership who approved this >> I’d hate to see them provide counsel in my life. Clearly the scripture don’t take on the appearance of evil didn’t mean much to them. (1 The 5:22). Glad the gift of discernment operates well here.
Where is the accountability for stewardship from the funds held in the storehouse?
The nerve to ask for love offerings at C3 presence conferences for a man fleecing his flock. Too many pigs in the trough.
How much of a blessing could the $50m bring to a community if they were kingdom minded rather than self-entitled fools promoting a Ho, a Sun Ho?
It’s startling how much money these churches make and how little goes back into the community where he funds could do some real help. I guess all those overseas trips pastors make don’t come cheap, and the same for all the shiny lights and top of the range audio video gear.
“I’d hate to see them provide counsel for my life”. My exact sentiments, Shane. I am now extremely careful about whom I let have Godly input into my life. I’ve learnt the hard way. We must make sure that the counsel we seek is in fact Godly.
I think that a lot of CHC church’s woes could be summed up in the Bible’s admonition and instruction about the suitability for candidates to the ministry:
“Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” 1 Timothy 3:6
It’s probably been quoted many times in relation to this and other similar cases, but young men, who often have a zeal for God are either not matured in the faith, or have not been tested in a lesser role, before being made a part of the pastorate/eldership in the church.
When I see young men inducted as “pastors” within C3 or the ACC or the NAR/GG here in Oz, it makes me shiver a little, knowing that they just don’t have the life experience, and in many cases, the character development, in order to avoid the temptations of the office/ministry that has just been thrust upon them.
Quite often those “laying hands on them” for ordination, just require some ‘extra arms and legs’ to go and do the things that the Grand Poohbahs of those ministries don’t want to get their hands dirty with, any more, so the new ‘pastors’ are often no more than glorified lackeys for a while anyway.
What seems more important at that time, is their graduate diploma/degree or whatever pieceof paper has been handed to them, saying that they are now ‘qualified’… What is really important in the eyes of the Lord, is that they qualify according to the relevant scriptures, like 1 Timothy 3:1-7, but this is sadly missing in many cases. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t do some studies, but starting out in ministry is a lot more than just accruing ‘pieces of paper’…
In the case of Kong Hee, he had a formula for success, so called, and made it work for a long time, but then the entire deception came unstuck when Roland Poon pulled a few threads years ago, bringing the whole fabric of deception undone…
Now Kong finally realises (behind all of the bravado) that Pringle et al had deceived hm all along about what “success” really means in the Christian church – it is not about large congregations, or big buildings, or wads of money or rock star notoriety, is it?
It’s about the preaching of the true Gospel, and the Sheep being properly looked after and it’s also about sound doctrine, undergirding that evangelistic, safe sheepfold structure called the Church…
I know that Phil, AR Bernard and other “pastors” and their attendees in several “churches” had been “praying” very hard for a different outcome of this trial.
Has our Lord and God given His answer to their prayers?, if yes, are they going to persist that He changes His mind?
One thing I have learnt is when I pray God hears my prayer so what happens is His answer.
Phil says 2,000 people gathered to pray I think at the church in Singapore the night before the verdict and people were praying all over the world . If the devil is at work here against the church does that mean the devil is more powerful than God (concerning the verdict??) So do we have no hope?
Or is the verdict God’s answer to the prayer ??
God didn’t answer the prophets of Baal.
I’m not sure how anyone can see the courts as “the devil” or CHC or C3 as the saints and therefore the “good guys”.
People seem to forget their bible history. God often used secular means to rid Israel of corruption. All the kings of Israel were corrupt or “bad kings” with the result being that Assyria conquered the Northern Kingodom after some time. Judah, the Southern Kingdom staved off the same result by a number of years because they had a couple of “good kings” in place but ultimately succumbed to the same result. When the leaders are bad, God has no problem letting the so called “world” bring justice.
However anyone looks at this, the fraudulent use of funds given in good faith is wrong. That is W R O N G, wrong. Doesn’t matter what the intentions are, the act is a breach of trust with the givers and an illegal activity. Governments, and therefore courts are set in place by God to defend the people and their liberties. Romans 13:1 says “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God”. The Singaporean court therefore is God’s appointment and its ruling should be a warning to those who think otherwise.
It’s about time the church stopped thinking itself above the law, and the church’s leaders started behaving according to the law. Most leaders talk about Kingdom when all they really are establishing is kingdoms, their own.
yes xc3insider you are correct they are only interested in creating kingdoms of their own that enable them to live movie star lifestyles ,eg travelling 1st class to a speaking/preaching engagement on church account and then going on an exotic holiday or visiting family members who are most likely on the church payroll all so convenient isn’t it , top level corporate Amex cards , expensive BMW or Mercedes cars , all paid for by hard working church members who are constantly bombarded with demands for money for offerings , love offerings, tithes, building fund donations it goes on and on and on , one even has to give offerings at men’s and women’s conferences when they have paid a fee to attend its a wonder that the grass roots member can afford have a decent breakfast !!! these people are like vampire squids sucking and strangling the members dry to enhance their own wealth. Thats why there is no governance , accountabilty and transparency from them because if they did produce audited financial accounts to members everyone would find out these C3/CHC leaders are just sucking up members money to make themselves rich, they have stuff to hide. Anyone giving money to CHC, C3,and Phil Pringles convicted mentor’s church in Korea is just crazy give your donations only to institutions that are transparent ,accountable and have proper governance policies in place.
Sheepdog Fan said:
‘expensive BMW or Mercedes cars’
Ah yes, that ubiquitous trapping of wealth amongst the well-to-do; that in-your-face ‘look at me I’m a winner’ bauble for those who favour mobile ostentation: the sought-after foreign car.
It brings to mind the intel re. one particular C3 “pastor” who is thoroughly enamoured of his Mercedes Benz, and takes great pride in swanning around looking for all the world like someone who has made a success of his life. I can only imagine the sublime rush he must experience at pulling into the C3 driveway on a Sunday morning: taking in the hapless down-at-heel masses as they emerge from sundry Fords, Holdens, and Toyotas and noting with relish the envious sideways glances. (To be sure, those poor downtrodden dupes on whose backs the C3 “leaders” ride have had to suppress their aspirations to the point that they can only be expressed by proxy, and so their envy is, at the same time, tinged with a touch of vicarious pride in just how desirable is their illustrious overseer’s conveyance).
But what happens in the real world? When our subject is observed gliding up to the lights at an intersection, how is he regarded by onlookers? Do they wonder how he has done so well? Is he perhaps a banker or a lawyer? Is he a successful businessman, or a member of the medical fraternity? If only they knew the truth: he is nothing more than a third-string “leader” in a pseudo-Christian cult that is deeply embarrassed at being the perennial poor cousin of Brian Houston’s hillsong. Yes, this esteemed purveyor of the prosperity gospel doesn’t have a real job: his opulent lifestyle is funded by other people – people who are cajoled into handing over their money under threat of being “cursed” if they fail to toe the line. Worst of all, he knows full well that his master Phil Pringle is a complete and utter fraud, and that he himself is nothing more than a seat-warming message boy in a spiritual sinecure; a beneficiary of ill-gotten gains who has been reduced to punching the clock in order to finance his fake lifestyle. If it were me, I would feel like a total hypocrite to the point where I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my possessions at all, and I would probably end up seeking solace in a bottle – but that’s just me; I’m sure that no respectable C3 pastor would be found imbibing alcoholic beverages, since that sort of thing is typically frowned upon in such legalistic circles as are found in mega-churches.
May I ask where the $4.5 Million dollars raised for the building fund has gone for the years. 2013/2014 ? X rise and build
C3 dont provide accounts for their rise&build fund each year they just show a wizz bang short video clip or slide show of tit bits of projects they fund in no way do they give a full $ breakdown , its just a token morsel to keep the flock somewhat informed so that they just keep giving they mind games just telling members how amazing they are giving money boosting the members egos so as to suck them in , no one knows how all the money is spent as there is no disclosure, who knows money could disappear into a multi purpose account (MPA) just like in the C3Balmain scandal !! It seems to happen alot these days at CHC and C3 .
It is my understanding that a particular C3 has previously used/still uses their Ministry Training College as the vehicle to get the fund/tax deduction going. Whenever you donated to it, it wasn’t to “C3 suburb”, but “Ministry Training College blah blah”. Possibly someone with better taxation knowledge than I would understand.
But yes the church is definitely run like a business, I’ve seen some business decisions made that you’d expect a cutthroat business to make.
With all respect, I think Hills make a reasonable amount of finance available. There is info on their website apparently and the media is always hounding them. I’m sure Brian, Bobbie, Phil, Chris, and mixtures of them would all have businesses set up separate to Hills/c3, so Phil could go and say “I don’t take a salary from the church”, yet there’s other stuff coming in elsewhere. Go look at music industry 360 deals.
They never did, and unless the laws are changed they will never do.
C3, CHC, Hillsong never provide accounts to anybody, they never did, maybe to their inner circle, and unless the laws are changed they will never do.
But thanks are, to Our Lord and God. He cannot be fooled or deceived, and sooner or later, He will do something about this.
“… sooner or later, [God] will do something about this.”
Indeed He will.
Phil Pringle is really rattled by what has happened to Kong Hee, but don’t be fooled – it’s not because he cares about Kong; it’s because what has unfolded in Singapore is, among other things, a sign for Pringle himself. Kong’s ignominious demise is a harbinger of Pringle’s own eventual fate, when he will be judged by God for his many lies and blasphemies.
Just a little while longer now, Phil – a few short years, and you will be on bended knee before God, shaking like a leaf because there is no one to save you. I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes on that day…
Kong Hee’s sentencing is a big blow for Pringle’s errrrrr may I say it …*cough*, *cough*, *cough*, ummm ‘credibility’. In fact a devastating blow. When his pock faced friend finally goes into Changi prison that could very well be the nail in the coffin of C3 world wide
I know where it goes
Where does it go?
You can get all of the bank accounts which we have done through ASIC. Building fund money goes into general working account and then there are many trust funds set up.
I just can’t believe how dumb and gullible people are to follow this circus act of a church. I see many cases like this Australia too.
I suppose people like to “belong” in the end to something they feel is more exciting than their 9 to 5 jobs.
These churches are a business full stop and they are an excellent opportunity for the CEO’s/leaders to make a quick buck. If you can’t make it in normal society start up a church of your own, have followers/servants and build your own kingdom from there !!!!
When the honourable judge See gave his verdict Pringle must have just about wet himself! Pringle ‘prophesied’ publicly that Kong Hee would not spend one day in prison. OOOOOOppps! another false prophecy Phil. Pringle scammed hundreds of thousands of dollars from his sheeple to give to Kong for legal fees to prove his ‘innocence’. How does Pringle now explain to his sheeple that they just made some greedy lawyesr very rich?
Thousands of prophets of Baal were praying for Kong Hee to escape justice. They were using new age tactics to influence the judge to no avail, because God had His way through the judge on earth.
The essence of Judge See’s 270 page report is that Kong Hee is a lying conman who used control tactics and fear to influence those he needed to fund Sun Ho’s music career.
Friends, I can tell you straight from God, (by revelation, Kong Hee didn’t give a rats about saving souls via his mythical ‘Crossover’. For decades Kong Hee has been only interested in Sun Ho’s music career. Remember “Sky’s the limit for Sun”? Kong didn’t care how much he stole, as long as he made Sun Ho famous.
Frankly, Kong deserves every minute in prison that the honorable judge dishes out.