30 June 2012

City Harvest Church Saga — Let's be Sensible and Humble

Following the announcements by Commissioner of Charities and Commercial Affairs Department that they would be taking action against senior pastor Kong Hee and several others from City Harvest Church, some people were quick to make sarcastic and vitriolic comments.

First, whenever any person is charged in a court of law, the charges are forcefully and unambiguously stated.  Charges are not wishy-washy statements.  They allege that the person has committed an offence or offences.  But charges are mere allegations.  It falls on the public prosecutor to prove the guilt of each of the five individuals on each of the charges (criminal breach of trust as an agent and/or falsification of accounts) based on the facts that he has.  Whilst it is unlikely that COC or CAD will take action without (in their opinion) sufficient evidence, the five individuals are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Secondly, if anyone is found guilty on any charge, he or she would have committed an offence against the persons who donated the funds.

Furthermore, since the donations were intended to pay for a church building, which will be used by the congregation for their communal worship of God, any person guilty of the charges before God (regardless whether or not the public prosecutor successfully prosecutes his case in a court of law) would have committed a specific offence against God as well as a general offence against His commandment not to steal.  These are very serious transgressions, especially for a leader of a church.  However, only each of the accused really knows whether he or she is innocent or guilty of the offences by God's holy standards.

Thirdly, there is nothing wrong for some (or many) of the City Harvest Church congregation to stand behind any or all of the five individuals who have been charged, even if they suspect or believe that the individual or individuals may be guilty of the alleged offences based on what they know.  Family members and close friends do that when someone is in trouble.  They offer comfort and support.  That is what belonging to a family means.  It doesn't mean that they necessarily or blindly believe that any or all of them are innocent.  It doesn't mean that they condone the individual's or the individuals' alleged offences.

Finally, no one is without sin except the holy God.  This is not an excuse to sin or to continue sinning, but an honest acknowledgement that no one can claim to be better or more ethical or less sinful than another man or woman in God's eyes.  We pretend at our own peril.  Let's be humble.  All of us are sinners in one way or another.

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Note.  This article was updated on 1 Jul 2012.

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