News has recently broke that Sun Ho has apparently been caught on video, “reminding church staff this month to give to the legal fund”. Does this behaviour from Sun Ho surprise you?
TR Emeritus reports,
COC looking into Sun Ho soliciting donations for legal fees
Despite the Commissioner of Charities (COC) stopping City Harvest Church’s (CHC) attempts to quietly raise funds for their 6 church leaders including Kong Hee, to fight their legal cases, Sun Ho was still reminding church staff this month to give to the legal fund. Her “act” was apparently caught on video by one of the staff and the video was later forwarded to the authority.
In Aug last year, CHC members received donation forms, asking them to donate to pay for the legal fees of their leaders. Dated 6 Aug 2012, the form stated that the donations would be deposited into the bank accounts of 2 CHC pastors. It also said that it is seeking funds as a “personal gift” to their 6 leaders. The members were told that the legal fees could be well taken care of if 7,500 people could give $2,000 each, which worked out to be $15 million in total, giving the 6 accused $2.5 million each to help fight their cases.
However, when COC got wind of the news, it warned CHC, “The Commissioner of Charities’ (COC) office had earlier issued a Restriction Order to the Board of City Harvest Church (CHC) to restrict CHC from paying the legal fees of the six accused persons and entering into transactions relating to payment of services to the suspended individuals and their related entities, without the approval of the COC.”
“The COC has informed CHC that the church and/or its employees should not be involved in raising funds for the legal expenses or setting up a specific fund for this purpose.”
Later, CHC stopped distributing the donation forms. It then said the pastors involved have relinquished their roles in the effort, and added that “the church was unaware of any new fund-raising efforts that are currently taking place”. However, CHC’s executive pastor, Mr Aries Zulkarnain, did give his consent to members to raise funds for Kong Hee and his cohort in their own personal capacity.
On 22 Aug this month, Sun Ho was accused of soliciting donations for the leadership’s legal fees. COC had lifted her suspension orders earlier so that she could resume her role as Executive Director of the church which she co-founded with her husband, Kong. The accusation appeared on the “CHC Confessions” Facebook page [Link], which was set up to discuss one’s experience with CHC:
“Sun is still asking staff to give to the legal funds openly. She ask the staff not to be ashamed and give as much as they can, even if it is $10. However, little do the the staff and donors know that for the Senior Counsels of these accused to even agree to represent them, they have already paid upfront of $18 million for engagement. So what legal fund are they collecting?
Sun, you shamelessly ask for money during meetings and thankfully we have recorded your speech and handed to the authorities.
Go ahead and do a witch hunt and sack your staff if you dare.
Let’s see if MOM will deal with you for wrongful dismissal.
Well done staff of CHC!!”
The Straits Times confirmed today (26 Aug) that COC is looking into the matter:
“Meanwhile, it has once again been accused of soliciting donations for the leadership’s legal fees. A staff member has supposedly made a recording of Ms Ho reminding church staff to give to the legal fund, and presented it to the authorities. The Commissioner of Charities’ Office said it is looking into the matter.
Last year, it gave the church a warning after a donation form was circulated. It said neither the church nor its staff were allowed to get involved in raising funds for the accused’s legal expenses.”
Last month, Kong was back in the news after a YouTube video [Link] went viral showing a Kong Hee sermon in which he claimed that God had apologised to him for his struggles.
“Father, Father, why, my God, my God, why have you forsaken me and thrown me to the dogs?” he was recorded as saying, after relating the experience of Jesus Christ on the cross at his crucifixion and sharing that he identified with Jesus’ sufferings.
“For the first time in eight months, God, I heard Him cry. And he said ‘My son, Kong, thank you. Thank you for going through this. I need you to go through this alone, so that you and City Harvest Church can be the man and the ministry I call it to be. I’m so sorry, but you need to go through this by yourself, to bring a change to your generation,” Kong said.
“I hear God saying for the first time in eight months, ‘I love you, I love you, I love you’. Waves upon waves of God’s love, the love of the father just saturated me… and I know everything’s going to be all right. Everything is going to be all right.”
CHC later clarified, “The use of ‘I’m so sorry’ here is not in the context of an apology, but a word of comfort. It is in no way an apology or an admission of guilt as has been suggested.”
“He spoke honestly and openly about what he heard God say to him.”
Kong Hee and 5 other CHC leaders were arrested in Jun 2012 and charged with conspiring to cheat the church of millions of dollars. Some $24 million of church’s funds was allegedly transferred to two companies as bond investments. It’s been charged that these were “sham transactions” devised to conceal the diversion of the church’s building fund to finance the pop music career of celebrity Sun Ho, Kong’s wife.
Meanwhile, the trial of the 6 CHC leaders resumed today (26 Aug) with the prosecution seeking to show that the leaders were involved in major decisions such as budgets and staff employment at Xtron Productions, a music production company accused of helping CHC to siphon church funds. There appeared to be fewer CHC members lingered outside the courthouse this time around to show their support.
“… We are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming…” Ephesians 4:14
“Now here’s the thing, without wind that boat is going nowhere. A boat is just a boat going nowhere until its got wind in it; a Christian is just a Christian on earth doing nothing until the wind hits you. To get that wind, you gotta position yourself in the right place. And you know exactly what I’m gonna say: I mean, be in Presence, amen! If you’re there, it’ll happen! The touch of God can come on your life. Mark out all the other stuff, nothing is more important than you getting fresh wind in your life as a believer! And getting yourself carried by the greatest wave that you can ever have in your life! So suddenly you become effective and you’re doing things that you never did before.– Phil Pringle, “Get Ready For God”, Sunday 6pm Service, Oxford Falls Campus, 20/03/2011.
C3 pastors convert their sermons to bible study notes (connect notes). Here is a solid critique of Pringle’s appalling teaching on this sermon in 2011:
In video 1, before his sermon, Phil Pringle prophesies revival . As you watch this sermon, he is linking both the prophecy and sermon to the 2011 Presence Conference. A few months later in his sermon ‘Financial Excellence’, his outburst exposes that his prophecy regarding Presence Conference did not come to pass.
In video 2, Phil Pringle teaches he is a John the Baptist ushering in Jesus Christ to bring revival at His Presence Conference. Pringle the Baptist states that Jesus says to John, “I want to do it. I want to do what you’re doing. I want to get with the program. I want to get on the same page. I want to come to Presence. I want to be in church” (4:43).
In video 3, he tells people to catch the winds and the waves (thus the scripture above).
In video 4, Phil Pringle belittles Christians who are like doubting ‘whinging’ Thomas’ (6:32). Thus he butchers John 20:24-29 to market (and guilt) his congregation to attend Presence 2011, (3:44). Constantly throughout the sermon he is connecting his prophecy of revival to the Presence Conference. The scriptures are right in prophesying that “children [are] tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine”, by men like Phil Pringle who use the “the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming”.
NOTE: THE SCREEN GRAB WERE TAKEN BEFORE THE 11/02/2012.
This time we managed to get both visual and audio from Phil Pringle’s Presence Conference 2012 fleece-a-thon.
We encourage people who watch this video to research shamanism. Please compare shamanism to the second half of this video, where Pringle is breaking financial spirits/demons off people as they give him money.
You will also see TV presenter Jamie Malcolm caught in this financial rort.
We have been recording Pringle’s wake of fleecing the masses here:
For a friend in Sydney (a city in which I had no friends until Facebook changed all that), I am venturing into uncharted territory on this blog. C3ChurchWatch is covering the C3 Presence Conference in Sydney Australia. C3 Church is led by Phil Pringle but has a global presence. So check out my friend’s web site. Chances are, there’s an extension of the “movement” near you. (See this map for all the churches connected to C3 in Australia: http://www.c3churchglobal.com/churCch)
The conference has thankfully wrapped up for this year, though as you can see at the beginning of this video, they’re already heavily recruiting for next year’s conference. Steven Furtick was the headliner for Friday the 13th, 2012. I have heard enough of both Pastor Pringle and Pastor Furtick in the past to know that Friday the 13th is an appropriate date for pairing these two. Goodie, goodie… Can’t wait! Here we go:
0:30 Opens with a plug for the hundreds you can spend on the C3 schlock in the “Resource Center”.
0:35 Montage full of sappy music and all the “best lines” from the conference. These guys are like Woody from Toy Story where the same 10 lines come out over and over again if you just pull the string. Montage includes Phil Pringle working the crowd into frenzy so that they can feel some sort of glory cloud, or whatever, descend on them to make them sway and close their eyes and…. Ew! What is that?!
1:27 … Pulling out all the stops I see. Emaciated “Jesus” hanging on cross, live on stage in apparent agony.
3:20 Montage over. Phil Pringle on stage.
3:40 Phil and Laura (Not sure who Laura is in all this) say they’re not tired at all and ready to go for another week. I’m sure they’re just kidding Jake. Don’t have a heart attack. Doing some giveaways now to “delegates”? What are “delegates”? I don’t speak C3 I guess.
4:30 Ovation for the delegates/volunteers. Got it. Apparently part of their volunteer duties was to serve coffee and give hand massages and baklava to attendees in the TLC lounge. Teaching them about taking up the cross I guess… not!
5:28 Laura just announced 1000 already registered for next year. Rather than saying, “Cool, way to go!” Phil Pringle said, “That’s great! Let’s make it 3000 by the end of the night. What do you say?” Reminds me of my days in sales at Dell. They announce deadline for early registration end of May. Price doubles after then. And Phil is showing his great faith by announcing he is booking a bigger place.
7:23 Here is the carrot they used to get people to register today: attendees got their name in a drawing for the prizes. This first giveaway is four nights in a five-star hotel. $300 in spending money vouchers and VIP seats at next year’s conference. Yep, that’s the way to deny the flesh which wars against our spirit.
9:40 Steven Furtick takes the stage.
10:15 Immediately starts praising all the audience for their many worthy qualities. Scratch, scratch, scratch.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. (1 Timothy 4:3)
10:53 Gets big “Awww” from audience for confessing he missed his daughter’s first steps to be there. Should’ve stayed home, Steven. That’s time better spent.
11:33 Double-entendre. Just had to point out everything he misses being away from home and away from his wife.
12:06 Cues the audience to applaud their Pastor Phil, and his wife, Chris… the… co-… pastor…?
12:31 ”I’ve been thinking, what do I say about ______, [since] it’s the last session of the conference.” That blank ought to be filled with Jesus or God, right? No, he was meditating on what he should say about Pastor Phil. I’m curious how long before I time stamp a new subject before he stops talking about him. He’s got to pay it forward since Steven himself was honored so well by the speakers at his own Code Orange [scheduled] Revival.
13:28 Just getting started honoring Phil with a pithy saying. “God is not the God of either/or; He’s the God of both/and.” Chapter? Verse? Where is that in Scripture?
14:10 Summary so far: Pastor Phil and Chris, both “fun and focused”. I don’t recall that in Paul’s list of qualifications for overseers.
14:15 ”Spirit-led and smart”. A rare quality indeed. Got anything about Jesus? God? Bible? Almost 15 minutes in here.
15:00 Still sucking up to Phil. Now he’s “brilliant”, but not in the underwhelming Aussie sense. Makes joke about the Australian overuse of “brilliant”. Phil has to keep this in mind later as you’ll see at the end.
15:50 Says “Let’s get to it” and grabs Bible. Any bets on how long it takes to read from it?
16:15 Says he prayed for God to “lead him to the message” simultaneously with putting Bible back down. Ironic…
16:40 Moves away from Bible to little book of notes to announce title of message: “The Most Encouraging Message You’ve Never Heard.”
17:08 Segues back somehow to flattering Phil as well Bishop Dale Bronner (Word/Faith heretic), whom I predict he is about to quote.
17:30 ”Opening to Matthew 11:1-11″ he says… He’s reaching for the Bible and….
17:40 Fail. Now telling the audience “The Lord wants to give someone the courage to act.” That’s definitely not in Matthew 11.
17:50 Instructing on how to tell you’ve caught a vision. Is there a fever involved?
18:00 Vision – Action = Daydream. Got it. Now Matthew 11?
18:18 Reading Matthew 11 about John the Baptist in prison, asking “Are you the One?” Doesn’t even blink before making the passage about everyone there in Sydney and their “disappointed expectations.”
20:00 Got to give Pastor Furtick props. He catches that Jesus had announced earlier in Matthew that he was to fulfill the prophecy that he would “set prisoners free” and that John may have been tempted to doubt since that wasn’t happening for him. Not many people bring that up.
20:30 He thought Shawshank Redemption was a warm and endearing picture of prison?! Has he seen the movie?
21:00 Stand-up Comic Interlude (From here forward to be cited as SUCI): “Some of you are sitting next to your disappointed expectation.” Already had one regarding the use of “brilliant” in Australia and regarding missing his wife. So the SUCI count is up to three.
21:38 Talking about Steven’s life now.
22:15 SUCI #4, but sort of fell flat. Win some, lose some.
22:45 SUCI #5
23:00 Segue from Steven’s life to everyone else in audience now. Apparently we’ve all asked the question, “Is this it?” And you always need someone to encourage you.
23:45 First instance of “Turn to someone and say…”
23:50 Rest of passage he ends with “no one greater than John the Baptist” (and mumbles quickly yethteonewhoisleastinthekingdomofheavenisgreaterhthanhe…). Pastor Furtick says Jesus was giving John affirmation and encouragement. Strange. Neither John nor his disciples were even there to hear that. Talk about squishing a passage into a mold to fit your message.
25:50 Clears up that John’s disciples nor John were there. Where’s he going with this?
26:16 Seriously?? “It’s quite possible that Jesus has been talking about you… behind your back.” And may I say that’s some mighty wild speculation you’ve got going on there. Chapter? Verse? Scratch, scratch those itching ears.
26:55 ”Now why would he do that?” So now we’re going to speculate in order to find the possible reason for the fact you already arrived at by speculation. Brilliant. (See what a flexible word that is?)
28:00 ”Here’s my theory.” Okay, that’s not what you’re supposed to preach. [next breath] “1 Corinthians 2:5 says our faith shouldn’t rest in men’s wisdom but in God’s power… Maybe Jesus wanted John’s faith not to rest on how good John was doing, but in how good Jesus was.” Well, yes, that’s certainly true. Why did you say “maybe”? And what does this have to do with God talking behind our backs, and doesn’t obsessing about whether he is or not defeat Pastor Furtick’s own point he’s trying to make now about getting our eyes off of ourselves?
28:28 So much for the brief turn in the right direction. He shifts back… to talking about Steven Furtick. “There have been times in my life…”
29:00 ”God takes away affirmation to take us to a place of deeper affirmation in the Spirit.” Pastor Furtick, how in the world are you extracting this from John 11? Audience loves it though. Scratch, scratch, scratch.
29:50 ”Even though we don’t get to hear everything that Jesus said about John [because] this is a summary.” Where does it say this is a summary? “He says many more things about John. There’s a further discourse in Matthew 11.” (And of course he will not read it. Can’t blame Steven. I don’t think I’ve heard any two people interpret that passage that follows in the same manner. It’s a difficult passage and I don’t blame him for not wanting to tackle it, but a good pastor at least attempts it. Not worth a federal case though.)
30:00 Steven is going to share three affirmative statements that he believes God might be saying behind your back. How in the world does it help me to speculate on what God might be saying behind my back? Wouldn’t it be wise to focus on what we know he already said to me in his Word?!
30:24 ”I felt like the Lord put on my heart to tell somebody today.” Oh now, it’s the Holy Ghost answering machine. God is having trouble getting through to people so he has enlisted the help of Steven Furtick.
30:38 Yikes: “Hear the Word of the Lord; God wanted me to tell somebody…” That’s a bold statement
30:44 Affirmation #1: “You’re doing better than you think you are.” (Please note in link to Pooh bear quote below that I personally think two of these three points are inspired more by Pooh than the Bible.) In Romans 12:3, am I not exhorted not to think of myself more highly than I ought but instead with sober judgment? 2 Corinthians 4:4 says that the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers. Are you saying that our blindness is concerning not being able to see how good we are? But I guess I’d better make a way to get this to jibe with the rest of my Bible, because we’re adding a new book. Steven said this is the “Word of the Lord”.
31:35 SUCI #6
31:50 ”But then you’ve got to tap into that place, when Jesus says to John…” So when I am feeling poorly about my own performance, I need to tap into what Jesus said about John? Wow, this is twisted logic. He’s saying that Jesus had a good reason for not saying these things to John’s face, but is encouraging us to imagine Jesus is saying them about us? So what he’s arguing would have produced inordinate pride in John, we’re somehow going to handle better? And how do you know that those to whom you speak are “doing better than they think”? What if I’m a complete screw up? What if I’m a heretic? What if I’m a serial killer? You have thousands, probably millions, watching this conference. Odds are that you are proclaiming this to some sociopaths of the highest order!
32:30 Long general string of general affirmations proclaiming how very wonderful everyone is in the room. Everyone’s now applauding. Scratch, scratch, scratch. And apparently, if you say it loud enough, it really makes it true.
33:00 Back to Steven’s life. “Pastor Mickey” did better than he thinks because he poured into Stephen when Steven was young and now Mickey is flying all over the world vicariously through Steven Furtick. I don’t know if Pastor Mickey’s going to be bragging about that one on Judgment Day.
34:05 Called the audience a crowd of “world-changers”. Scratch, scratch, scratch.
33:22 SUCI #7 about teenagers being demon-possessed. I have a 14-year-old son and admit that’s actually kind of funny.
33:55 ”Find somebody and touch them and tell them, ‘You’re doing better than you think you are.’” There. My beagle is sleeping at my feet. I just told her. She’s duly affirmed and looks truly peaceful. But that’s actually is what she always looks like. Oh well. Don’t try this on a human, folks. You’ll do more damage than you think you will.
35:00 Getting loud and telling them to “clap by faith”. Really?
35:38 ”I get to preach a lot of places. You’re special!” Really, guys, tell me you’re not going to fall for that, are you? Now moving on to tell Phil Pringle how awesome his church is.
36:30 ”Please receive that from my heart.” He’s speaking of the encouragement, “You’re doing better than you think you are.” So is that from God or from your heart? Which is it? Then quotes but does not give reference. “It’s God’s kindness that leads you to repentance.” Tell us about that kindness please. Why is God so kind? How do we know it? Hint, you find it all in the Bible and it has nothing to do with self-affirmation but is seen on the cross, which actually only affirms our lost state and our need to be saved from our sins.
36:50 Affirmation #2: “You matter more than you think you do.” Scratch, scratch, scratch.
37:00 ”John felt completely discarded. I’m using a little bit of my imagination.” At least you admit it. But is that what you’re called to do as a pastor, to preach your imagination? Immediately also says, “Maybe, I’m reading a little too much into the text.” Yeeeeees. “That’s somebody in here [in the audience].” Bingo. You’ve just arrived at where you’re reading too much into the text.
37:25 Now talking about Steven’s childhood. Trading card story.
39:00 ”It took someone who knew the value to retrieve something that I’d given away too easily. Some of you are giving up on yourself too easily.” My response is only found a few verses before where he started tonight:
“And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:38, 39)
39:20 Now talking about our need to go into the “enemy’s camp to retrieve what you gave away too easily”. Wow, this is dangerous ground. Doesn’t this sound a lot like what Jesus did for us already? Where is he getting this from this passage?!
39:28 Assertion after assertion: “You can tell the value of something by the price that was paid for it.” Doesn’t that contradict the story he just told about the baseball cards. Steven didn’t pay much for them, thus disguising the value. And in our case, we are given value by the price paid for us on the Cross, but it doesn’t prove that we were valuable in the first place.
39:38 Steven just said Jesus’ blood was shed for us to prove our worth. /sigh/ Chapter? Verse? Got anything about our sin and the need for atonement?
39:45 ”You have infinite potential, in Jesus name!” Why does everyone keep tagging that onto the end of assertions as if it makes it better? It only makes it more blasphemous.
40:00 Launching into Code Orange testimonial of some sort; a horrible, sad story about boy who died in car accident while his parents were at revival. Ugh, It’s sounds like he turned that poor boy’s funeral into a Steven Furtick pep rally. He even made someone else’s funeral about him. Ick.
41:17 ”Do you want to know what I texted?” Actually, no. Can you tell us about the text in that beautiful leather-bound tome sitting useless on the podium there?
41:30 Story about God talking to him again. Put the bulletin from the funeral into the rocks in the valley where Joshua told the sun to stand still. Interesting. Take it from someone who knows. Pastor Furtick is carrying a whole lot of guilt over the fact that his parents were at his revival and not with their boy when he was killed in a car wreck. He’s acting like someone desperately trying to make some restitution. I know what it’s like to carry misplaced guilt over the death of a child and this man has it in spades. Pray for Pastor Furtick. I keep seeing signs of his heart softening in this sermon. I can’t put my finger on it, but…. something is just a bit different.
42:00 Oh dear, he is apparently trying to convince the parents that their son’s death “counted for something” and did make a difference, because people are starting Bible studies and such because of him. I have some personal experience with families who have lost children and this approach is usually not taken well. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure they don’t want to think God took their son to accomplish some purpose of his. But even if they did, it’s still probably not what they want to hear right after he dies. I understand what he’s trying to do, but I think it could be misguided.
And on a different note, he’s trying to comfort the audience with: “you matter so much more than you think you do.” (Throwing this in for free, but I found that I found a lot of peace when I learned that I matter less than I thought I did. It’s a comfort to know that God is big enough to keep me from screwing everything up. Just sayin’.)
43:00 ”I’m not leaving you [John] in that prison because I’ve forsaken you. I’m leaving you in that prison because you’re so strong; you’re so mighty!” May I point out the obvious here? Jesus left John in that prison because his purpose was not to free people in physical prisons but to free us from our Sin. He did not come to conquer the romans or Herod. He came to conquer death.
43:11 Again, he’s turning it around again to apply it to everyone listening to say that they are exactly like John the Baptist.
43:40 Affirmation (but not really) #3: “It’s less about you than you think it is.” Hmmmmmmm… Is he trying to get the Matt Chandler monkey off his back now? Trying to prove he doesn’t think the Bible is about himself?
Wow, now he’s saying he had to throw that third point in there or you’ll “take this message the wrong way” and is taking the time to mock his first two points. This is one weird schizoid sermon!
44:12 ”He must become greater; I must become less…” Yes… Yes…
44:20 ”Want you to leave this conference on affirmation overload, but we want it to be the right kind of affirmation, otherwise it will backfire.” Like giving ammunition to your critics?
44:45 Now quoting Hebrews 12: “Consider Jesus, who endured such hostility from sinners.” Encouraging the audience to step back and see there’s a bigger picture than your immediate surroundings.
45:00 ”I’ll bet John got his affirmation when he saw him face to face,” says Pastor Furtick. You don’t have to speculate there, Steven. We know that the righteous will be told “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21)
45:14 ”The Lord wanted me to tell you…” Again with the Holy Spirit answering machine! The Lord has already told you to proclaim his Word! You’re not doing that, so it’s hard for me to believe that he’s taking the time to speak to you personally when you’re ignoring what he’s already clearly commanded you: “Preach the Word, in season and out.” (2 Timothy 4:2)
45:40 ”Your dream is rotting in prison.” /gasp!/ Not that!
46:00 ”God can do anything in your life.”
46:07 Obligatory sports analogy. Oh my goodness. Is he going to make Jesus, our advocate, the referee challenging the ruling on the field? That’s a terrible analogy.
47:25 ”This is going to be a turning point in someone’s life right now.” Maybe so, but for the better?
47:53 ”Sometimes the official says” (after coaching audience that they need to get ready to get real loud and emotional soon “we’re going to take it through the roof in a second”.) [dramatically] “Upon… further… review… [cue sappy music] the ruling on the field is overturned.” Our situation is only hopeless because we’re looking at it from the wrong angle. Really?! That is NOT the solution for our lost condition proposed by the Bible. The truth is, we are to agree with God that it is hopeless and cry for mercy! Wow…
49:16 ”I believe the divine verdict for somebody tonight is, ‘Upon… further… review’” [music and audience getting louder and louder, and so is Pastor Furtick of course.]
49:30 Whipping up crowd. Band getting louder. Girl in band jumping up and down with arms up in the air, reminding me of high school pep rallies.
49:57 ”In His Presence, anything is possible!” Chapter? Verse? Crowd now “shouting to God with a voice of triumph.” What are they triumphing over and based on what?
50:11 Starts praying, sort of. Thanking him for all the encouragement he’s brought through the message tonight. His eyes are going in the exact same places they were when he was addressing the crowd. Who is he really talking to? Now asserting what God’s voice is telling them right now, and not quoting from God’s Word…
50:40 Wants to pray for specific people. “If you know God is speaking this message specifically to you… shoot your hand in the air and let me pray for you.” What do you want to bet these are going to get carefully counted as people making decisions for Jesus to boost those stats? And upon what are they basing their belief that God is speaking this message to them? Their gut feeling?
51:05 Making “positive confession” over the people with hands raised via recap of three points of message.
51:29 No, here’s the stats they’ll count. He told them to put their hands down and now he wants to pray for those who need a “brand new start with Jesus Christ.” I’ve heard this “gospel presentation” from Pastor Furtick before. The false gospel of the “God of the fresh start, of the second chance.”
52:00 ”Allow me the privilege me pray with you to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the gospel: that He lived the life you couldn’t live; He was sinless. He died the death you should have died.” (Wow, is he going to totally land on his feet here?) “They crucified him. The greatest agony he suffered on the cross; it was not the scourging; it was not the whip. All of that was terrible. It was the separation from his heavenly Father that he had to experience when he said, as we heard this week, ‘My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?’ When he prayed that, he was also making an announcement that because he was forsaken for you, you don’t have to be forsaken ever by your heavenly Father.”
(I have to insert here that this falls short. He did mention that Jesus was sinless but was not clear the he was forsaken because of taking our Sin upon himself and that’s why he was forsaken, because of our sin. And at this point, we don’t even know what a sin is, because the Law hasn’t been preached. As far as we know at this point, a sin is letting our dream rot in prison or not believing God is talking behind our back or something. We have no idea.)
“There’s a divine reunion, and the access to that is by faith, because here’s what happened: when he rose again on the third day (assuming the crowd knows this I guess) there’s a literal bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. It happened. He’s taken into heaven. Now he sits at the right hand of God.” (Covering the apostles creed, but I’ll bet he doesn’t get to the next part, that he will come again to judge the living and the dead.)
“His grace is available to anyone who will repent and believe. That’s it.” (Repent… from… what?! It’s like you’ve given someone the news the Governor commuted their death sentence and they didn’t even know they’d been convicted of a crime!) “To completely trust him with your life, place your faith in him.” No, placing your faith in him is not so much “trusting him with your life” as trust in His life, death and resurrection. I am not capable of perfectly trusting God with my life.
“By Grace you are Saved” (Pulled from context) “If you know you are not in a right relationship with the Lord tonight…” How would they know that? Y’all have done everything there at C3 to make sure that they feel “in tune with God” complete with altered state of consciousness that probably results from the loud repetitive music and rhythmic mantras Furtick cheered from the stage.
Gives instructions for magic prayer to bring them in right relationship with God, of course with “heads bowed, eyes closed” or the prayer won’t work I guess because that’s always part of the procedure. Instructing everyone to pray it out loud together, I guess so those who really need to pray it won’t be embarrassed or so maybe someone will accidentally get saved. Says this prayer will cause them to saved and cleansed and forgiven if they want to give their lives to Jesus Christ. Problem, the Bible says Jesus gave his life for us, not the other way around. And… Salvation, cleansing and forgiveness come, according to God’s Word, from baptism, receiving his body and blood through the Lord’s Supper, and through the proclamation of the gospel:
Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins…” (Acts 22:16)
“For this is the blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” (Matthew 26:28)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… (Romans 1:16)
54:00 Steven Furtick’s “Sinner’s Prayer”: “Heavenly Father, I come to you now. I confess that I’m a sinner. I need a Savior. I believe you died for me Jesus. I confess you rose again. I ask you now to give me new life. Change my heart. I want to follow you. I want to be like you.”
55:00 Asking crowd to shoot their hand in the air on the count of three (while eyes are still closed) to say they prayed that prayer. Saying he’s not trying to emotionally manipulate. Asks those with hands up to come forward to… altar? There’s an altar? I just see a stage. No manipulation? Furtick keeps prompting and flattering those who come forward for their boldness and the music is continuing to swell.
56:00 ”Come on, come on, run to this altar! Run to Jesus!”
57:05 Starts addressing people who have come forward regarding their “decision” and picks up Bible and tucks under arm. Interesting. Maybe he is just preparing for his exit of the stage. But he takes his Bible. Where’s his tablet he was using? I think that’s still on stage.
58:25 ”Repeat after me: I am a new creation in Jesus Christ; I am a new Creation in Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!” /band swells again/
58:38 Phil Pringle back on stage. Praying for God to fill everyone with the Holy Spirit and with peace and to let them have “an experience that is undeniable”. Yeah, they’ll at least have an experience. And we know that these guys teach you that no one can argue with your “experience”. Pastor Phil doing the thing with the low-talking, forcing everyone’s attention to be fixed on him because they have to strain to hear. Getting ready for a big crescendo. Keeps throwing out buzz words in rhythmic, mesmerizing way:
“Holy Spirit… the Anointing… Power of God from on High… Fills hearts…. And Changes worlds… in Jesus’ name” You can feel… yourself getting… sleepy and… very suggestible. Then says gently, “Hey guys, look this way.” (Still in gentle tone) This totally reminds me of when a hypnotist transitions from bringing the person into the altered state of consciousness to carefully placing whatever suggestion is needed. It will be very interesting to see what Phil Pringle chooses to say next:
Fixed his attention on a particular teen crying next to stage and asking, still rhythmically, why he’s crying. He just wants to be happy. He starts naming, still rhythmically, all the people that are near the stage that love him and that “we all love you. You matter more than you think.” Again addressing another teen. Boy this guy is good. I am mesmerized and I can’t stand the guy.
1:00 Phil Pringle starts singing Beatle’s song for no reason whatsoever, other than the kid saying he’s 17 and the age mentioned in the Beatle’s song is 17. Again, with a soft mesmerizing voice. Then talks to another teen. Why is he picking all the teens? Is that all that came forward? Telling him to stick to his decision, don’t let his friends drag him of. “You’re strong. A very powerful young man.” Mesmerizing, mesmerizing. I’m blissed out just listening to this. The dude freaks me out. How many more minutes of this? I might be catching a plane to Sidney if I’m not careful. Won’t bore you, more of the same. Only addresses the young people that came forward. “Do you feel different after praying that prayer? How do you feel? You feel incredible?! There’s a cartoon called The Incredibles, isn’t there?” How hip and relevant for you to know that, Phil. “They’re powerful. You’re more powerful.” And this imitator of C.S. Lewis’ green witch continued to mesmerize them. We need the stench of Puddleglum’s burning flesh to wake us up here. Wow.
Now flattering a 12-year-old saying he thought he was 18. “Are you a good boy? … Isn’t that nice… you look like a good boy. God’s proud of you. He’s very happy you’re out here tonight.” Wow. He’s now telling them about the “born-again motor” that’s been put inside of them to empower them to do all the things that God wants them to do. Wow, that’s a new one. Haven’t heard that one before.
1:05:25 Fail! Phil Pringle just calls one of his staff members by the wrong name when he calls her up on stage to tell everyone up front to follow her out. Then spends time flattering her to make up for the fact that he forgot her name. She seems to swallow it, laps it up. Ugh!
1:07:15 Band whipping things up again. Crowd goes while. Phil thanks crowd and tells them they’re “stellar”. He pauses before “stellar” because he probably wants to avoid “brilliant” since Steven Furtick so perceptively pointed out that that word has little meaning in Australia. So he pauses before “amazing” too. Probably a little irritated that Steven narrowed his already limited vocabulary of flattery, which he’s doing now, continuing to flatter the crowd. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Just announced a painting (found out later Phil Pringle is selling his own paintings. People ting they’re anointed or something.) is up to $30,000 (silent auction?), announced by Laura. Nice. So glad y’all are making even more money than you’ve already raked in tonight. Talking up next year’s conference, register now. Brags about 21-day fast they went on before this conference.
Okay, gladly that’s all. But I should insert one last disturbing note. I was informed by my friend Mr. Jake Elliot that this particular sermon was actually the bright spot in the whole conference. It was downright orthodox in comparison with what the other speakers put out there the rest of the week. And here is the Pooh Bear Clip I promised. I couldn’t help but be thinking of this particular clip and wondering if this is more where Steven Furtick got the inspiration for this sermon, more so than the Bible.
Chris Rosebrough has once again hit the airwaves on ‘Pirate Christian Radio’, slamming the behaviour of Phil Pringle and Steven Furtick at Presence Conference 2012. Listen to him at ‘Fighting For The Faith’ to critique Steven Furtick pulpit pimping at Presence Conference (12/04/2012) below:
• LCMS Seminary Prof Promotes Lectio Divina
• The Church’s Most Dangerous Enemies
• Steven Furtick Prosperity Pimps for Phil Pringle at Presence 2012
• Good Easter Sermon by Jonathan Hunt
Rosebrough states at the beginning of his program,
“… I’m going to be playing the audio from a video segment where they are- where Phil Pringle is basically getting people geared up to give for a miracle offering. Give money and you’ll receive a miracle. It’s – I mean it is- so, so blatantly obvious and just terrible as to how they are, you know, fleecing the people attending the Presence Conference! And using God as the pretense for it. It’s- it’s- uh-ah-ih- I don’t even want to say it borders on criminal. I think it’s flat-out criminal. I can’t see that this is not a crime in the Kingdom of God, what these men are doing. Steven Furtick and Phil Pringle, both.” – Chris Rosebrough, Fighting For The Faith, http://004f597.netsolhost.com/fftf/F4F041312.mp3, (8:20), 13/04/2012.
When Furtick says at 28:25 on Rosebrough’s show, that Elisha tells the widow in 2Kings 4 to give, Rosebrough responded,
“No! Elisha did NOT tell her to give. Not one red cent. He just lied and blasphemed the name of the one-true God by mis-using his Word, to pimp this people for money.” – Chris Rosebrough, Fighting For The Faith, http://004f597.netsolhost.com/fftf/F4F041312.mp3, (48:30), 13/04/2012.
Rosebrough correctly points out that Elisha asked the woman what was in her house. She said she had the oil. But Rosebrough points that she never gave that oil to Elisha. Instead he instructs her to keep the oil, get large containers and start filling. She was blessed with a miracle. A gift of grace. She did not give to get.
Rosebrough makes this claim about Steven Furtick,
“Steven Furtick is prosperity pimping here, priming the financial pump for Phil Pringle and the Presence Conference. And he’s doing it by mangling God’s Word.” – Chris Rosebrough, Fighting For The Faith, http://004f597.netsolhost.com/fftf/F4F041312.mp3, (46:48), 13/04/2012.
In critiquing Steven Furtick’s offering talk, Chris Rosebrough stated that Furtick’s talk was “unbelievable” and “just blasphemy” (50:00),
Rosebrough picked up on something Furtick said and re-quoted him saying,
“Did you hear that sentence? “I’ve got many things from God that money can’t buy but it started with what I had.” Money. BUY-YOUR-MIRACLE. This isn’t Christianity. This isn’t God, the Holy Spirit speaking through Steven Furtick. That’s a different spirit.” – Chris Rosebrough, Fighting For The Faith, http://004f597.netsolhost.com/fftf/F4F041312.mp3, (53:40), 13/04/2012.
Chris continued and critiqued Christian McCudden, the C3 worship band and the miracle offering promo. Rosebrough exposed the scam of this as it played and summarised the event saying,
“Steven Furtick has turned into a full-blown prosperity pimp, twisting God’s word and priming you know people to give large amounts of money. He’s a now a studious student of the a prosperity pimp, known as Phil Pringle down there in Australia. This is not Christianity. You can’t buy miracles from God. In fact, scripture talks specifically about those who would try to buy miracles from God.” – Chris Rosebrough, Fighting For The Faith, http://004f597.netsolhost.com/fftf/F4F041312.mp3, (1:03:52), 13/04/2012.
Chris Rosebrough highlights that Acts 8:4-24 deals with a similar issue with the C3 Presence Conference 2012. The point of Simon trying to buy the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit from Peter results in Rosebrough stating,
“These people think that they can BUY God’s gifts. Buy. BUY! Purchase God’s miracles. And what’s happened here is that Phil Pringle and Kong Hee and John Bevere and Steven Furtick- well they’ve turned themselves into- well, miracle men who can perform miracles or give miracles for a price. Just give money to them and God will somehow will be impressed. And they can purchase these wonderful gifts of God. God’s mercies and promises can’t be purchased. It shows that, well, Steven Furtick ‘n Kong Hee ‘n Phil Pringle… Well, they’re no different- NO different than Simon the Sorcerer. In fact, I think Peter’s words to Simon the Sorcerer apply perfectly to men like Phil Pringle, Steven Furtick and Kong Hee: “May your silver perish with you because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money. You have neither part nor lot in this matter for your heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours and pray to the Lord if possible the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity”. That’s right. That’s right – it applies.” – Chris Rosebrough, Fighting For The Faith, http://004f597.netsolhost.com/fftf/F4F041312.mp3, (1:06:45), 13/04/2012.
Some may make the claim, “Who is Chris Rosebrough to make such a claim against such men?” Chris Rosebrough has stated that he will be reviewing the Presence Conference. At the end of his review, we encourage those judging Chris Rosebrough (who criticised these preachers), to consider these questions:
1.Who has proven to be worthy in handling the teachings of God correctly?
2.Who represents the counsel and person of our Lord Jesus accurately?
3.Who then should have a higher or more respected position to judge rightly and correctly?
So far, Pringle unfortunately has proven again and again incompetence in handling God’s Word on C3ChurchWatch (please browse the archives).
Unfortunately, Kong Hee, Steven Furtick, Phil Pringle and John Bevere have disqualified themselves as teachers of Jesus Christ with their dishonesty, bad conduct, bad teaching methods and woeful scripture handling.
Christian McCudden welcomed Andrew Kubala to give this offering talk at Presence Conference 2012 13/04/2012. Kubala teaches that people can give money so that their friends and family can get saved. The context of this sermon is just before Phil Pringle’s ‘Miracle’ event where these miracles will be taking place. It is safe to say that the way Andrew Kubala used emotion, handled the scriptures, used the easter message and John 3:16, is disgraceful.
[(22/04/2012) Edit: We would also like to highlight that Pringle defines giving and payment this way:
“Giving is giving-period. Paying people for work they do for you is not giving. Putting something into someone’s hands with conditions attached is not giving. Loaning to someone is not giving.
Giving is completely relinquishing control of something of yours into the control of another person to do with as he pleases.” – Phil Pringle, Keys To Financial Excellence, 2003, pg. 4]
Here is a video teaching Christians should be paying for people’s salvation. The transcript is below. Click the time links on the transcript to be taken to YouTube to see the exact time Kubala says what he says.
(0:24)“Amen! C’mon lets give Jesus a big big clap for what He’s doing in this church! Amen? You know I just, just feel so honoured just to even just receive the offering. Cos I was just thinking about Easter.
Easter just feels like a long time away. Don’t you reckon? It’s like- just last week. It already feels like another year’s gone by. This Easter, I felt really challenged in church.
It’s one of my first times, like in the last ten years, the first time I actually hoped in church at Easter time. And just being able to be apart of Easter. And it was just a great moment. Thinking about what Jesus did on that cross really impacted me as an evangelist and as a Christian. The whole thought that Jesus died so we can have a relationship with Him, our friends and our family.
(01:31) I don’t know here, but is there anybody here with an unsaved dad or a mum? Lift your hands.
Anybody here with an unsaved son or a daughter who’s fallen away? All these hands lifted up. You know, Jesus died so that they can come and have a relationship with Him. So they can experience salvation.
(01:52) You know it says in John 3:16 that, ‘For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son’… Dad sent an offering.
Jesus said, ‘unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground, it only remains a single seed’, talking about His life being-that-seed. [Gets emotional] See the less I fall, (a seed with purpose, a seed- with PURPOSE), the dad would send His son for a purpose for your dad, for your mum, for your son, for your daughter – a purpose, Jesus saying, ‘UNLESS I DIE, UNLESS THIS SEED FALLS TO THE GROUND AS AN OFFERING, salvation’s not going to come. I’ll pay the price for my son, for your son, for your daughter’.
He did it. At Easter. On that cross. The greatest offering of all time was made on that day- We’re about to step into the miraculous. This whole session is about miracles. The greatest miracle EVER is where somebody makes a decision for Christ. Who believes that today? Give God a big shout. [Crowd applauds] C’mon! Give God a shout if you believe that for your son, your daughter.
(03:35) I was at bible college nineteen years old, bought up a Catholic all of my life. Got saved in a Presbyterian church. I didn’t know about offerings. I remember when I was at bible college- by the way bible college is potentially the greatest place you can possibly be. I remember STEALING the chapel key and grabbing my sleeping bag and sleeping in the chapel because I wanted to be in the presence of the Lord.
God spoke to me this one time in our session, about giving one thousand dollars away. I thought, ‘How could the devil get into bible college?’. Why would God want me to give a thousand dollars?
(04:16) I’m Catholic- saved in a Presbyterian church. I didn’t know what it was about.
But you know what? I thought, ‘God if you want me to do this thing, I’ll do it’. And God a few months later, at bible college said, ‘I want you to give another thousand’. I remember shaking as I wrote out the cheque. Nineteen. A teenager.
Then again. ‘Do it again.’
Does God ask us to give more than once? [Nods ‘yes’.] Do it again. [Points to audience] Do it again.
Six times. Six thousand dollars.
Here I am, a little youth pastor in Gore, with thirty kids. Half time. Half time driving race horses at four o’clock in the morning, minus ten degree frosts. My hands were so frozen after forty minutes going around this stupid track, round and round and round. This stupid race horse.
Has anyone complained to God? [Raises hand] I was in my youth pastors office with my swivel chair, going round how many times can I go around in one section. I thought, ‘No. This isn’t going to work’.
(05:26) I remember praying, ‘God. How come I haven’t received an offering? How come God, you haven’t looked after me? Why do I have to drive race horses, look after thirty young people in Gore when YOU SAID You are no man’s debter?’ It’s good to quote scripture back to Him. He likes that.
Has anybody had a burning bush moment, when you know beyond your knowing that God’s there?
(05:58) I literally saw a cloud, like a fog come into my room. I bowed down on my knees and started weeping. And the Lord spoke to me. It’s one of my first times God spoke to me. He says, ‘What would you rather? Money or souls?’
I was thinking, ‘How much money?’
Unfortunately for me, I’ve read the bible – I knew the right answer and said, ‘Lord give me souls’. That was the year that our youth ministry became the largest ministry in New Zealand. It went from thirty to over two hundred and fifty in twelve months, twenty years ago.
For fourteen years, we had the largest youth ministry in our nation. People w’ask me, ‘What was the secret?’ I’d say, ‘I don’t know. But my bible says if you’re faithful in the small, he’ll give you much’. You know at- we’re at love Love Sydney, my brother came – Cos I’m the youngest of eight in my family. I’ve got a lot of souls to be saved – my brother came.
(07:12) Pastor Phil was speaking. Gave one of the best offer- uh- altar calls you’ve ever heard. My brother comes down to the front and gives his life to Christ. Six weeks ago he was diagnosed with cancer. And has bladder and has prostate.
Came to visit him in his hospital bed. And uh- it’s all doom and gloom. Everybody was really depressed. And his friend who’s a school teacher, who is a witch – an actual witch, was in the room with him.
And we’re playing cards, trying to be polite. You know, doing… And I said, ‘I better pray for you’. And she starts manifesting and swearing. And I said, ‘you can leave if you want to’. And she said, ‘No. I’ll stay.’ I said, ‘Well that’s fine’. For greater is He who is in me. C’mon somebody! [Crowd applauds] You see He lives in you.
And we began to pray and my brother looked up and said everything’s going to be fine.
Out of your mouth! I said, ‘That’s exactly true’. That’s what’s going to happen. Two days later they did the exploratory operation to find out what they need to cut away. The report comes back. All the cancers gone. [Crowd applauds] Can’t find the cancer.
(08:25) C’mon somebody! C’mon somebody! He’s REAL! HE’S REAL! THE SALVATION OF YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY IS REAL! This is not a game! And this is not a dress rehearsal! This is a ONE SHOT to do SOMETHING great for Him! [Pastors: C’mon!] And my bible says, ‘Unless a kernel of wheat FALLS to the ground, it remains a single seed’.
(08:53) And I believe we can sow a seed with PURPOSE for the SALVATION of YOUR dad, YOUR mum, YOUR son and YOUR daughter! WHEN is the last time- ASK THE QUESTION to yourself, (NOT for you! Or YOUR miracle) but for the SALVATION of your family: When’s the last time you sowed a seed?
One of the pastors said to me- I was telling them about it last night, cos I’ve been thinking about this for a whole year- they said, ‘How much should you give?’. And I said, ‘You’ve got to pray and ask the [raises hand to heaven] Lord of the Harvest: How much?’
When you pray, God will tell you.
(9:37) You know what I felt convicted Pastor Phil? This is what the Lord said to me. He said ‘you’re a miss Andrew when you give (and hear me), when you give more in a building fund than you would as a pastor for souls’. Pastors, when’s the last time you sowed a seed for your church? For the salvation of your family? Where’s the last time you got extravagance and said, ‘You know what I’m gonna do? A hundred thousand dollars. Cos my church needs salvation.
Jesus (and I’m finishing) said, ‘I’m gonna go to the cross. I’m the seed’.
And I want every person to grab your husbands, wives hand and we’re gonna pray. And I’m believing today in this next session… We’re going to believe right now for the salvation of your dad, your mum. C’mon ‘n close your eyes and ask the Holy Spirit, ‘What should I give’. ‘What should I give?’ And I’m telling you, God will talk to you just like that.
(11:06) But you know what? The devil doesn’t want you to sow a seed today. He doesn’t want change to take place. He doesn’t want a miracle to take place in your family. Don’t listen to the devil today. Listen to God. Listen to the Holy Spirit.
Jesus we love you. We thank you today for the salvation of our churches. We thank you Lord that this place is going to be filled with revival. We’re gonna hear stories how in our churches it’s doubled. It’s tripled. The salvations have come in.
(11:37) We’re planting a seed in precious soil today, believing Lord for families that seem impossible, is going to be possible. In Jesus name. Amen. Amen.
You know we’ve got an offering slip on your seat. I want every person to give something today.
(11:50) I can’t think how you’ll not give something to see a family member or friend saved. Let’s believe God, amen? Thanks Christian [McCudden].”
(Warning: content of video may be considered highly inappropriate for Christian viewers.)
As you could probably guess, pastors criticised Kong & Sun Hee for this. The below article is worth reading to see how Kong Hee justifies his wife performing the song ‘China Wine’. While reading this article please consider the following questions. Does he have double standards?
Has he changed his standards? Don’t forget that Kong Hee highly regards his wife and says that, “Sun is my wisdom“. (Accessed 19/04/2012)
Which type of wisdom? Godly wisdom or worldly wisdom? James 1:5-8 comes to mind:
“But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” – James 1:5-8
By promoting himself and his wife as “China Boy and Chine Wine”, what is he saying about Presence Conference 2012? Does Kong Hee rightly handle the scriptures?
In 2007, my wife Sun released a music video of the hit single, “China Wine,” the result of a creative collaboration with reggae wunderkind, Wyclef Jean. That video garnered a lot of attention on YouTube with more than two million hits over two dozen fan sites. It received rave reviews from industry insiders as well as youths who love dance pop the world over. Not surprisingly, the video also raised quite a few eyebrows within the religious fraternity who felt it was inappropriate for a Christian to be featured in a dance video.
Although Sun is married to me, she herself was never formally ordained as a minister. She never felt gifted with a pulpit ministry. But ever since Sun was a child, she had participated in many singing contests and won quite a few of them. As a preacher’s wife, Sun functioned faithfully from behind-the-scenes as my helpmate, becoming an effective counselor and a singer in the church.
At the turn of the millennium, as I began formulating my doctrine on the Cultural Mandate, challenging my generation to come out of isolation and engage the marketplace, I urged Sun to help me embody that message. In 2002, she launched her new career in Taiwan as a pop singer. Since then, she has done very well with more than four million units sold, five multi-platinum records, and over 30 number one songs in five different countries. Today, she is known in the Far East as a bona fide singer, entertainer and humanitarian.
From her royalties, Sun has built eight schools, two orphanages, two medical centers, one rehabilitation clinic, and two housing projects. Through her connections, she has helped with the establishing and fund-raising of four other orphanages, two hospitals, two community services, and one charity foundation. For all these humanitarian achievements, Sun was awarded the Top Outstanding Young Person of the World in 2003, and became China’s Charity Ambassador of Children since 2004. In 2007, she sang the theme song for the Special Olympics at Shanghai. Last year, she sang the 2008 Olympic Anthem during the pre-game launch at Beijing. The unchurched throughout Asia loves Sun and views her as an exemplary model to the youths of society.
Yet, in spite of all her secular and creative achievements, many conservative pastors find it hard to accept Sun in any role outside of church ministry. But the reality is that she is no longer a church staff or a gospel singer. She doesn’t work for any religious organization.
As a professional artist, Sun has to take on many dramatic stage personas. This is what entertainers do. In the “China Wine” video, she happens to be acting in one such role. Fiction must be separated from fact. I think the struggle many pastors have is the difficulty to separate her association with me (as a pastor’ wife) and her career as a singer. I agree that if she is a “pastor” or “preacher,” perhaps the video would have been inappropriate. But Sun is not a pastor. She is an entertainer. All her music videos were not produced by the church but by her secular music label, the company that she is working for.
“China Wine” is a music video about a girl who has to take up an extra job at a nightclub to make ends meet for her family. Some pastors immediately took offense at the club scene and sexy dancers around her. As for her costumes, she wore gym clothes which was not inappropriate for the set she had to act in. At the end of the music video, she caught her boyfriend cheating on her in the night club and confronted him in Mandarin. If you understand what she said, her words were neither crude nor profane at all. She basically shouted at the guy, “Hey, what are you doing with this mistress?” Unfortunately, the video translator subtitled that as “Hey, what are you doing with this b****?” That final b-word caused a further uproar among pastors, who were quick to condemn her for uttering profanities. A few of them wrote me angry emails calling Sun a “whore,” “hooker,” and other nastier, derogatory terms. Some said she was promoting free sex and immorality. But any intelligent, objective viewer would know that the whole drama is not about sex; if anything, it portrays the reality of a fallen secular world.
All these storms in a tea cup set me thinking of a bigger question: Are Christians living a sanitized life? Why have “Christian” productions been so ineffective in their reach to the unchurched, to the extent that even believers are not interested in their products?
In his book, Eyes Wide Open: Looking For God in Popular Culture, author William D. Romanowski talks about a 1993 survey, which reported that over 80 percent of all churchgoing Christians regularly go to the movies. When they were asked what they thought about Christian films, TV productions and Christian Contemporary Music, this was what they said:
1. Christian popular arts are inferior imitations as compared to mainstream culture. To many, Christian music is substandard guitar pop and happy-clappy lyrics about Jesus. This is not surprising as many Christian artists feel that their main job is to preach the gospel and proclaim the faith. As such, artistic quality or creativity is not so important. But what they forget is that when people go to a movie or buy an album, their first desire is to be entertained. If they want to be preached to, they would have gone to church.
2. Christian popular arts are unrealistic, sanitized versions of the real world. Some reviewers even use the phrase “wholesome shallowness” to describe them. Christian entertainment has come to mean movies and music appropriate for “family-only” audiences. That basically means kids-oriented programs or old-time TV reruns for senior citizens. Are Christians that naive and immature, living in a perpetual time warp of a bygone era, that we can’t handle the realities of the 21st century?
As early as 1916, Hollywood had already discovered that 60 percent of theater owners wanted pictures that portray the real world—even if they contained themes on violence, sex and greed. This is because moviegoers want films that honestly and artistically address the issues of life.
3. Christian popular arts are limited in content and purpose. If you listen to most CCM, you would think that all Christians do is worship and evangelize 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But people in general, Christians and non-Christians alike, don’t want to be preached to 24/7. They want a pop culture that is fun, entertaining, artistic and innovative. They are also concerned with the issues of life—and they enjoy it when those themes are addressed with artistic flair.
Everybody knows the trials and temptations of daily living. We are not immune to problems and tensions. We are all concerned about love and relationship, life and health, career and finances, the global economy and politics, war and peace, and our future. We are all trying to understand why things happen the way they do and how we can live our lives properly. Pop culture helps us to navigate through all that.
People get inspired and moved by U2, the biggest band in the world today. Their music captures a sense of religious longing and the struggle of living in a world torn by war, injustice and poverty. They enjoy movies like The Matrix, which speaks of an invisible world behind our natural world. They are moved by Schindler’s List (rated R) which touches on courage, sacrifice, and overcoming racism. CHC member, Jack Neo, is arguably the best movie director in Southeast Asia. His films, I Not Stupid I and I Not Stupid II, were box office hits because they realistically deal with the pressures of the rat-race in Asian societies.
Listeners and viewers cry buckets over these powerful songs and films. They may be secular, but people get touched by such productions more so than most Christian ones. If Christian pop culture is artistically inferior, unrealistically sanitized, and limited in content and purpose, is there any surprise that surveys regularly show that even churchgoers are not excited about them? No wonder Christian artists have such a difficult time selling their products beyond small book tables in churches.
The beautiful truth is that God is not against pop culture. There is a section of the Old Testament known as “The Writings,” covering books like Psalms, Job, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes and Lamentations. Honestly, aren’t they the popular songs, dramas and musicals of biblical times?
Psalms are songs of frustration, regret and anger, yet sung with love to a sometimes hidden God. Aren’t they like most tracks on the Billboard Chart?
Job deals with the sufferings of life, and the desire to find meaning through them. Isn’t it like the Hollywood hit movie, Forest Gump, or the long-running Korean serial drama, Jewel In The Place?
Proverbs deal with the danger of shortcuts, the snares of temptation, and the rewards of honesty. Aren’t they just like the cartoon series, The Simpsons?
The Song of Solomon is about the obsession with love and the sensual. Just turn on any pop radio and we have our modern-day Song of Solomon being broadcasted 24/7.
Ecclesiastes deal with the weariness of daily living in an imperfect world. Isn’t that portrayed in movies like Signs and The Pianist?
Lamentations deal with grief. When one listens to most of Eric Clapton’s songs, aren’t they all about the dealing with grief?
Like the Old Testament writings themselves, pop culture is the collective wisdom of our generation. Popular arts explore social injustice, songs of sorrow, and even tributes to women. Like the Book of Esther, they may not even mention the name of God. Like Ecclesiastes, they suggest that in this life, bad things do happen to good people. Or like the Song of Solomon, they may celebrate romance and sex. These songs and movies may not have a salvational purpose, but nonetheless, they offer us the essential comfort and wisdom for living. As such, pop culture represents a powerful means of communicating to us what the real world is like, and how to live in it.
We are all products of our personal theological persuasions and convictions. Pop culture affects the lifestyles of the masses. Venturing into the realm of secular culture is certainly not for the weak or the fainthearted. What Sun is seeking to do is to show us how to be a modern-day Daniel or Joseph to our contemporary Babylon and Egypt. Daniel took on Babylon’s language, education, fashion, name and persona, and yet he didn’t compromise his own value system. According to the New Bible Commentary, Joseph was thoroughly “Egyptianized,” and yet he lived a great life of purpose. Esther, the super celebrity, was also similar. Sun simply wants to emulate these heroes of faith.
Can you remember John the Baptist questioning the authenticity of Jesus’ ministry when he heard about the latter’s working style? Jesus had become widely known as a friend of sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes and drunkards. He was even seen going to parties and events that the Pharisees themselves wouldn’t set foot in. John the Baptist was concerned that Jesus was becoming worldly, immoral and compromising—a bad example to the disciples. Our Lord’s reply to him was simply this: “Look at My fruits. Look at how the gospel is preached. ‘And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me’” (Matt. 11:6). The Greek word for “offended” is scandalizo, which means “to trip up, stumble, or be enticed to sin.” I would say the same to those religious critics who may be offended by Sun.
The “China Wine” music video was never meant for a church event. Neither was it ever intended to be an evangelism tool or a gospel video. It is simply pop entertainment.People watching the video and regarding it as just that will never get offended or stumbled, which explains the millions of hits and thousands of good reviews on YouTube.
So to the religious and conservatives who have used nasty, derogatory and expletive terms to describe Sun, my parting shot are the words of Jesus Christ from Matthew 21:31, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.”
Quick observation. If Sun is Kong Hee’s wisdom, why was his ‘parting shot’ (aimed at ‘religious and conservatives’) any better? If pastors were using ‘derogatory and expletive terms to describe Sun’, then why does Kong Hee refer to his own wife as a ‘prostitute’, ‘entering the kingdom of God’ ahead of them?
Is Sun Hee actually Kong Hee’s worldly wisdom? How is Kong Hee obeying God’s word by flaunting his ‘China Wine’ wife at Presence Conference 2012? Isn’t that promoting Christian men to stumble in worldly sin? As John writes,
“Do not love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” – 1 John 2:15-17 (KJV)
NOTE: ALL SCREEN GRABS WERE TAKEN BEFORE 20/04/2012.
Let the preacher do the talking. We were gob-smacked.
Didn’t people realise Pringle was talking about THEM in his meetings in services like they were in? It was THEM that triggered him to talk about how to manipulate people. (Emphasis mine.)
“You know every meeting I’ve been in, THIS PRESENCE. Like, you guys are at a whole new level. There’s no doubt about it. When we’re looking for extra seats in the night meetings. . . And everybody’s like hair-triggered excited. You go to another level of thirst. Suddenly, THE THIRST OF THE PERSON NEXT TO YOU GETS TO YOU. Now I want to tell you something…” – Phil Pringle, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=21UnCWm7eO0&feature=player_detailpage#t=9s, 13/04/2012.
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.
A silent portrayal of the crucifixion 10mins in.
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:
• 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.