Recently, Chew Eng Han challenged AR Bernard in an open letter about Bernard’s conduct in CHC leadership.
In the above letter, Chew Eng Han exposed AR Bernard over the following:
“One of my specific concerns which I brought to you was the falsified attendance figures, which was claimed to be 33,000 instead of the actual twelve to thirteen thousand. After what I revealed to you, you yourself went on to TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) and told a story of how the “church in Singapore” which you had been ministering to with your Cultural Mandate message had grown from 3,000 in 1998 to 38,000 today. You further exaggerated that that particular church has influence over 1,000 churches worldwide.”
Here is the TBN clip where AR Bernard made the above false claim:
Chew Eng Han also said that AR Bernard, “On the 21 Sept Saturday service at the church, you spoke from the pulpit against me instead”. The below audio was a recording on the 22nd of September. This recording has Kong Hee introduce AR Bernard. AR Bernard played a portion of what he said the night before on the 22nd of September.
We may do a critique on the below transcript if time is on our side.
Kong Hee: – This morning it is such a privilege and joy to have with us one final time this year, our Advisory Chair man, our Advisory Committee Chairman Dr. AR Bernard. I told those of you uh- last week. And if you are new here, Dr AR Bernard is a very special man. As a wall street banker he sits in the New York City economic corporation development board. And then as a church leader, he is the President of the Christian Council of Churches in New York City. So he’s a very important man. And earlier this year he was uh – thinking about running for uh- mayorship in New York City. And later on the Lord spoke to him to have a change of plans.
And I know one of the reasons why he decided not to do it. It’s so that he’s able to be committed to us, to help us here half way around the world in Singapore. So it’s a tremendous joy and privilege to have a great man of God in our midst. Will you please give a big welcome to our Advisory Committee Chairman Dr AR Bernard!
Bernard: Good Morning! Ah! Bless the Lord!
Wow! Well you make me feel like there’s a- someone behind me with a big sign that says ‘applaud, applaud, applaud, applaud, applaud’.
But thank you for the genuineness of your love for all of these years! Goodness! I was looking back at my notes in nineteen ninety nine, nineteen ninety eight when pastor Kong and I first met. And um he made a special arrangement for us to sit down and talk about ministry and concepts of theology and cosmology that could be applied to City Harvest Church. And here you are! All these years later.
Absolutely amazing what God has done. Amen?
Now I- of course you saw that they moved the podium. So we’re going to have something prior to my taking you into the Word of God. From time to time we have three services on Sunday. In fact, I just got the text Israel Houghton and his whole band is going to be at our church uh in the service. And uh- I wont be there. So there’s a- there’s a- actually he’s- Israel is working- he’s been our friends for many many years. And he’s working on a movie. So quite a few individuals from the cast will be there in service. And somehow I’ll get to see the video or something like that.
But um- ah-
In our services, sometimes the Spirit of God comes upon the service in a very profound way. And I’m always careful not to try to replicate or manufacture something that is achieved by the Holy Spirit. And yet I want every service to experience it. So there are times when something like that happens that I simply say, “Let’s go to the video tape”. And we simply replay what took place so the people can see it in it’s originality.
Yesterday, in the service I had opportunity to uh- address something that I think very very important to City Harvest Church. And I think important enough that it uh- you should be witness to it as well.
So um- you may be seated!
So instead of trying to replicate something or manufacture something which I would never want to do, um- we would like to present it to you in it’s originality. Amen?
So are we prepared? So I can exit stage- left.
Bernard: Let me uh, speak to you apostolically and from the position of a spiritual advisor to Pastor Kong, Sun and to City Harvest Church.
This past week on Monday evening, I had a meeting here in Singapore that was requested by several individuals. I was approached in the spirit of reconciliation and in the spirit of concern for the health and future of City Harvest Church. I listened, and I expressed the fact that I too am concerned about the health and future of City Harvest Church. I also expressed that I understood where they were coming from in the things that they shared. That meeting was in confidence, and the purpose of the meeting, (as it was presented to me), was to follow the pattern of Matthew chapter 18, where it says that if you have an offence with a brother, that you go to them.
It was told to me that that first step was taken; and the next step was to bring a witness. So it presented to me the purpose of, and the spirit of reconciliation.
I expressed to these individuals that I met with that,
Number One, I will not be used or manipulated by anyone to further their agenda.
At the end of the meeting I also expressed and warned that they should abstain from slander, that they should abstain from gossip, because if they engage in it, then as far as I’m concerned, they destroy their credibility in my eyes, and the credibility of anything that they have to say.
I want you to know that just because I sat down and listened to what they had to say, and told them that I will pray about it and get back to them with next steps, it does not mean in any way that I endorse their agenda, endorse their position, or endorse anything that they’re trying to accomplish.
I listened, as a statesman, and my next steps was to sit down and have a wonderful conversation with Pastor Kong and Pastor Sun.
So there is a process in place for individuals who really don’t like the way things are going at City Harvest Church. And see, I’m from New York, so we’re very confrontational and in your face. So when you come to me, be prepared to put the cards on the table and deal with it. But that’s me.
So I’m telling you what took place this week. And if these individuals are sincere and legitimate, then they will take a next step to arrange a good sit-down meeting in the spirit of reconciliation, and really honour the leadership of this house, Pastor Kong and Sun.
So I’ll be back some time at the beginning of next year, and I will have a follow-up announcement, and I will let you know how this all turns out.
When you have an issue with someone, especially with those at leadership, don’t go and talk to other people. Go to the person that you have a problem with.
Thank you, I appreciate the three ‘amens’ I got.
I’m serious, if you have a problem with someone, you go to that person and you talk to them. You don’t go to other people, and, and in the disguise of – [Crowd applauds] -well, “Could you join me and pray?”
You know? Because sometimes when we share things to be prayed about, it’s actually gossip in disguise. Turn to your neighbour and say he’s talking about somebody you know.
Scripture is very clear on how issues are supposed to be dealt with in the house of God. And there is an honour and a respect that should come for the leadership who is anointed by God. And even David understood this. In spite of the conflict that he had with Saul, he understood that the man, Saul, was anointed king and he had to respect that and let God take His course in dealing with whatever issues are present.
Let me share a verse of scripture with you. I never walk on this, is this safe?
Let me share a passage of scripture with you. So you’re gonna get 2 sermons tonight. This is the 1st one.
In the book of James chapter 3. Chapter 3, verse 1. And I’m reading from the Amplified Bible. And I hope you can put it up on the screen. The amplified bible. Because if you don’t have this particular translation, I really want you to see it and get the flavour of it.
It’s a wonderful passage that speaks about the responsibility of those that would teach others. But the way that it is expressed in the amplified bible is even more specific to the original Greek language and it’s implications. So let’s read it in verse 1.
“Not many of you should become teachers.”
And I love the deeper shade of meaning here.
“(Self constituted censures and reprovers of others), my brethren, for you know that we teachers will be judged by a higher standard and with greater severity than other people. Thus, we assume the greater accountability and the more condemnation by what we do.
For we all often stumble and fall and offend in many things. And if anyone does not offend in speech (never says the wrong things), he is a fully developed character and a perfect man, able to control his whole body and to curb his entire nature.”
Let us go to verse 17. Verse 17 speaks of the tone and spirit that one should have when engaged in reconciliation, when engaged in dealing with any issues that occur between brothers and sisters in the Lord.
It says this:
“But the wisdom from above is first of all pure (undefiled); then it is peace-loving, courteous (considerate, gentle). [It is willing to] yield to reason, full of compassion and good fruits; it is wholehearted and straightforward, impartial and unfeigned (free from doubts, wavering, and insincerity).”
Now, I present those verses to you because that is the spirit in which we resolve any issues between brothers and sisters, between leadership at any level, within the church of Jesus Christ.
You are in a very, very – I’d like to say interesting, but – but you’re in a very interesting place. Because God did not raise up City Harvest Church or bring you this far to leave you.
He has a reason, a purpose for your existence, and He raised up an individual, infused that individual with a vision; they became the visionary, and of course, they became the fuel, the energy behind the vision. And when God called pastor Kong and Sun, I have a strong feeling He knew all about them. He knew their strengths. He knew their weaknesses. He knew, over the years, where this ministry would come to. And unlike people, God remains faithful.
God is good even when things are bad. God is faithful even when we are unfaithful and make mistakes. So if anyone comes to you and has anything to say about this leadership, or about this ministry, you test to make sure that it is in the spirit of Godly wisdom that has been expressed in the scripture, and that they understand the responsibility that they take upon themselves, and they determine to reprove. Especially those that are in leadership.
God sets boundaries for order. And God is not the author of confusion. He is a God of order. Amen?
Now, is that okay that I express this with you guys? Up in the balcony, way up there, are we okay with this? Alright?
I have a low tolerance for foolishness. And maybe it’s because I’m getting older, I don’t know. But the bottom line is issues are to be dealt with upfront, on the table, in the open, and not behind closed doors.
So we will see, maybe folks will get mad at me tonight because of what I just said.
Maybe I’ll be attacked.
Maybe I’ll become famous and on the blogs.
I don’t care. Simple as that. That’s the freedom and authority that I walk in, in Christ. I don’t claim to be perfect. I have made my mistakes along the way, and if I could do some things differently, oh boy, would I! And if you wanna know the details of my mistakes, ask my wife- but I don’t want you to ask her.
But we understand what it is to be committed, to be covenanted, and God is a God of covenant. Whether it’s between Him and people, or between people and people in the context of serving Him. Amen?
Now, pastor Kong, let me ask you a question. Come! Come! Please! Come on up here!
[Crowd applauds Pastor Kong getting on stage]
I hope you’ll invite me back to preach after all this. [Inaudible]
You’ve been through a lot. And I know that for reasons of the trial, you have to be careful what you say. You have to be careful what you can respond to, what you can’t respond to. Um, because it can undermine what the attorneys of church and the attorneys of all the individuals involved are trying to accomplish. And I think they’re trying to get you exonerated. I mean, I wouldn’t pay them if they weren’t trying to do that.
But I wanna make sure, because I haven’t- I’m here, I come and go – but I wanna make sure, so I’m asking you this publicly.
You’ve had time to reflect. You’ve had time to look back. I know you’re not perfect, so you don’t have to tell me. I know that already. Sun told me already.
Don’t worry about it. We have covenant. You won’t get any information from her.
But as you look back, on hindsight, would you say that – I don’t know any other way to put this, so I’ll try to be as nice as I can – would you say that you made some dumb mistakes?
Kong Hee: Dumb mistakes? Absolutely.
Kong Hee: Stupid. Doctor Cole would say asinine.
Kong Hee: Asinine.
Bernard: I like that even better. Thanks for reminding me. Would you say that there were some areas of weakness in leadership, and the decision-making that you made, over time?
Kong Hee: Yes, doctor, ya.
Bernard: So you’re not pretending to be innocent of being human. You’re not pretending to be innocent of making mistakes and unwise judgments along the way as all leaders (points to himself) do?
Kong Hee: Absolutely not.
Bernard: I just wanna make sure because I don’t want anyone to, you know, have the impression because you stand up here and share the Word of God continuously – which is really hard to do given circumstances that you’re in, to be consistent with it – um, how have you worked those mistakes out in your relationship with the Lord?
Kong Hee: Well, doctor I- I- the only way I know how to do it is bring all my problems, my mistakes, my oversight, my sins, in prayer, in repentance, and say Jesus, forgive me, cleanse me, help me never to commit those same mistakes ever again.
Bernard: Have you done that?
Kong Hee: Doctor, all the time.
Bernard: Again and again?
Kong Hee: Again and again. Not because I’m guilt conscious in any way, but… yeah, 3 years is a long time to reflect on 20 over years of ministry.
Bernard: Yeah, it is. It really is. Now, he is nervous right now because he has no idea what I’m going to ask him.
So I’m gonna leave it there, alright? Because these people love you, they support you. They don’t think you’re perfect, Sun told them too. But when you embrace a leader, you embrace not only his spirituality; you embrace his humanity. They come together in one package. And there will always be something you may disagree with, not feel good about.
But your commitment to God’s vision, and your love for that person, transcends those weaknesses, those faults. I love you.
[Crowd applauds – Bernard hugs Kong Hee for a long time. Kong leaves the stage.]
Come on! Give your pastor a round of applause.
[Crowd applauds standing]
Come on! You can do better than that!
[Crowd applauds again]
You see the big smile on his face when he did that? It’s great when you have people that just love doing what they do for God. Amen?
Some of those times in our church, when the Spirit of God moves in a very specific and special way, I’m careful not to try to compete with that. So what is true at home, is true here. And as I sat there and observed for the first time, as you, the video, I felt that it would be unwise for me to try to build on that by giving you another teaching or preaching. I think that inherent in what we shared was a very deep and profound message about unity, about the body of Christ, about the spirit of reconciliation and how things should be done.
Jesus loves us.
And that may seem like a very light and even parochial statement but it is the very basis of our salvation. And the reason why Jesus is going to return to scoop us out of this world in which we live, is not because we’ve been so good; not because we worship; not because we prayed; not because we’ve done anything to deserve His return.
What’s going to bring Him back is the same love that brought Him the first time. And it’s that love, that great love, with which He loves us.
Let’s all stand right now. And you need to appreciate the leadership of this house, Pastor Kong Hee and his lovely wife, Sun.
[Crowd applauds and stands – Kong hee and Sun Ho clasp their hands and bow their heads]
And here’s what I tell people in New York: if you are in a church that you don’t like, and that you have a problem with the church and its leadership, your continued attendance becomes a testimony to your stupidity.
Because why in the world would you continue to reside in an environment that is deemed by you to be contrary to your spiritual growth and development? Here is a clue for you: Pray and ask God for another church, so you can go to that church – [Crowd applauds] – so that you can be an asset and not a liability.
So that you can flourish in an environment that you’re comfortable with, not an environment that you’re contrary with.
That’s just common sense. And unfortunately, if common sense were so common, people- more people would have it.