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Posts Tagged ‘City Harvest Church Singapore’

yet another warning sign your church is doing something weird

August 9, 2012 Leave a comment

City Harvest Church is an independent evangelical church founded in 1989 as a youth outreach under the Assemblies of God umbrella. They run some 30,000 attendees. Founding pastor Kong Hee withdrew from the payroll in 2005, and has since been serving as “honorary founder/senior pastor” [link].

Hee first came to my attention a couple of months ago, when he was arrested for appropriating tens of millions of dollars from the church to support his wife’s singing career. There’s a summary article in the August 4 print edition of The Economist [link]:

Mr Kong’s detractors are smug after years of wailing about the evils and excesses of the new mega-churches which, they claim, put entertainment before spirituality, Mammon before God. Mr Kong often prophesied that donations to the church would cause donors’ personal wealth to swell. Such a “prosperity gospel” exploits the materialist aspirations of young Singaporeans living in a society with more millionaires per head than almost any other.

Church members have closed ranks, claiming that they approve of their leaders’ spending (CHC’s building fund alone raised S$23m last year). They seem to have trusted Mr Kong to spend their money in any way he saw fit. Local activists also acknowledge that the church contributes much to the wider community. Still, the case has revealed a lack of accountability and transparency at religious organisations. Worshippers often place blind faith in their church leaders, showing little interest in where their tithes and donations go.

As per usual I’m not overly interested in the details of what the Kong’s did. But I would humbly suggest that when your pastor’s wife posts a video of herself dropping $217.30 on groceries at Whole Foods several thousand miles from your local church that’s a good indication somebody’s not being too careful about the money.