Another CHC insider exposes cult abuse in City Harvest Church

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From Ex-Charismatics,

I am a current City Harvest Church (CHC) member and still in my teens. I do feel anxious and am unsure why I feel this way. To be honest, I do not want to attend CHC and am aware that Kong Hee and the leadership are guilty for their fraud (and rightfully agree so), but I am coerced to attend CHC by my mother who remains a faithful follower even though me and my own father disagrees with CHC and accuse her of blind faith.

I attended CHC since 2002 when I was a kid. To me, staying in CHC or leaving would not make a difference in my thoughts towards them. Compared to Admin 1’s testimony (goo.gl/NDdXri), CHC now is not as “hard sell and forceful” as they used be during Admin 1’s days. However, there is that implicit pressure going on and I do feel stressful hanging out with my cell group (CG).

In the past, my dad had to disconnect the phone line because they kept calling me. As a 12 year old back then, it was really stressful. They would surround me in large groups, but today, my CG leaves me alone most of the time. My mother still coerces me to go, thinking that it can help me in my anxiety and fears. She thinks I’m a hermit. She also coerce my father to attend CHC and will nag and give him sleepless nights if he refuse to attend for too long.

I find their prosperity sermons boring, that it makes me want to sleep, because they always keep talking about the same things. Pastor Tan Ye Peng speaks the best in my opinion, while Kong Hee is just a savvy speaker. The preaching has been less doctrinal for the past 5 years, as most of the time was spent on praising Kong Hee and his wife, Sun Ho. I don’t care about their prosperity gospel much as I knew it was a lie from day one. I am content with what I have.

My connect group leader (different from cell group leader) keeps asking me to donate to this year’s building fund, claiming that I should donate out of “love for God”. On the stage, the message is about donating to receive financial blessings in return. Honestly, the “successful” testimonies they bring on stage are just 1 out of a 1000 people who donated, while the rest who donated suffered badly. It’s basically a sales pitch, a big propaganda machine. I don’t like it and that’s why I don’t tithe. And why should I since I don’t make any income?? They expect me to use my savings or money given to me by my parents. As my dad does not want to argue with my mom, he lets her be and lets her donate. He knew way long ago that the funds were channelled towards Sun Ho before they were exposed.

I lectured my connect group leader a few days ago, when he asked me about my view on the verdict. He isn’t in the position to comment back to me though since I was in CHC way longer than him. I just told him as a matter of fact, the this was indeed a breach of trust. I was very happy when Kong Hee and the leaders involved got arrested. They cheated me of my money when I was a kid.

Both of my mum’s first two cell group leaders left CHC and they were executive and board members. I am also aware the the cell group and connect group leaders themselves are controlled and pressured from the top.

When I tell my CG leader that I am stressed out, they can’t do anything much and my mum tells them that I have anxiety issues, not realising that CHC and she coercing me to go are the cause of it. I even have a psychiatrist letter proving I have that condition.

My mother however has it worse. Since attending CHC, she became very paranoid and very anxious. Anything that does not go her way smoothly, she will make the ridiculous claim that the Devil is acting against her, like having a minor car accident etc. Sometimes when she presses the wrong number on her mobile, she would blame the Devil for it. She keeps worrying about things and scolds me for being anxious when she in fact, is anxious herself! It’s hard to convince her to leave CHC but to be fair, her current CG people are moderate and many of them dislike Sun Ho’s antics.

When the judge said that Kong Hee was capitalising on people’s fear and paranoia to galvanize support for channeling funds in a discreet manner towards the crossover project, he was not wrong. Indeed, look at what Kong Hee has done to me and my mom now. When Kong Hee made the daring claim some time ago that God said sorry to him, he’s hallucinating! Sometimes I wonder if his dreams and visions are hallucinations or vain imaginations.

After the verdict, I saw the service live online where Kong Hee apologised and bowed his head to the congregation. However, his apology sounded more like he was sorry for the inconvenience caused rather than the fraud and the false doctrines he preached. A.R Bernard who is right now in Singapore, continues to praise Kong Hee and Sun Ho. The previous time he came, he even told the church to obey and trust Kong Hee fully.

I do want to leave CHC but I will do so when I get older as I do not want to cause myself anymore emotional turmoil as I am experiencing right now.

Regards,
Jayden (name has been changed to protect identity)

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We thank Jayden for sharing his testimony with us. Please pray for him and his family, and that the Lord will give him the courage to leave and guide him to the truth in His Word alone.

Source: From Ex-Charismatics, Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/groups/c3churchwatch/permalink/1030406617015638/, Published 13:08 26/10/2015. (Accessed 27/10/2015.)

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Love not rejoicing in wrongdoing but in the truth: Roland Poon ‘vindicated’

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“[Love] does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth…” 1 Corinthians 13:6

To understand Roland Poon’s involvement in the City Harvest scandal, we would encourage you to read old news articles about him here:

The Dawning Truth: Valid Claims Made By Mr Roland Poon In Old Articles

The Straits Times reports,

Former church member Roland Poon who alleged funds misuse ‘vindicated’, says daughter

SINGAPORE – The businessman who charged in 2003 that City Harvest Church (CHC) was paying for Ms Ho Yeow Sun’s music career is now vindicated, said his daughter.

Back then, businessman Roland Poon alleged that church funds were being misused to finance the music career of Ms Ho, the wife of CHC founder Kong Hee.

Mr Poon, 66, eventually retracted his statement and apologised, but his comments would set off a chain of events leading to the criminal charges, according to the prosecution.

On Wednesday, the six accused in the long-running CHC trial were found guilty of all charges.

Mr Poon’s daughter, Ms Sharon Poon, told The Straits Times after the verdict: “I feel happy for my father that he is now vindicated, and that after 10 years, we now know that what he did was right.”

She said Mr Poon had been concerned about the outcome of the case and was “waiting for this day to happen”, adding: “Now, he can sleep in peace.”

“He was brave enough to come out about it. Now, I hope that they can apologise to him, if they still have the heart,” she said.

Mr Poon declined to comment when contacted.

WHY IT MATTERS: The City Harvest Church case

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During the trial, much of the spotlight was cast on the Crossover Project – a plan started in 2002 to evangelise to the “unchurched” and woo non-converts, in particular youth – through Ms Ho’s secular pop music.

The project started on a high, and Ms Ho later went on to produce five albums and perform in 80 concerts as part of a worldwide outreach tour between October 2003 and May 2004 that drew some 140,000 supporters.

However, controversy surrounding the project had begun to brew since January 2003, when Mr Poon flagged the possible misuse of funds.

The project’s costs increased dramatically when the decision was made to break into the United States market. Songwriter and producer Wyclef Jean was hired in 2006 to help Ms Ho.

Criticism surged again in 2007, after the release of Ms Ho’s English single China Wine. In the risque music video, marketed for its “Asian-Reggae” fusion sounds, she is seen dancing in a skimpy outfit.

“If Sun made it in the US, it would open a big door for our missions,” Kong had said during the trial.

However, the court also heard that church members were supposedly encouraged to divert their tithes and donations to music production company Xtron to fund the mounting expenses of Ms Ho’s US album. Kong was also accused by former CHC fund manager Chew Eng Han, one of the defendants, of spending church money to buy Ms Ho’s earlier Mandarin albums, thereby inflating sales figures.

Source: By Ng Huiwen, Former church member Roland Poon who alleged funds misuse ‘vindicated’, says daughter, Straits Times, http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/courts-crime/former-church-member-who-alleged-funds-misuse-vindicated-says-daughter, Published 12:04 AM SGT 22/10/2015. (Accessed 26/10/2015.)

Ex-CHC insider exposes cult abuse in City Harvest Church

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We encourage ex-CHC insiders to keep speaking out. People need to understand what City Harvest Church is to outsiders and help those inside the movement to leave. People like Gera who speak out are doing Singapore and the rest of the world a favor when they write of their experience.

The Prosperity Gospel

The Prosperity Gospel

As you will read from her experience, City Harvest is all about harvesting the cash of the gullible folk in Singapore. Notice the Prosperity gospel and and the prosperity theology that is pushed on the susceptible. Observe how City Harvest is all about recruiting members but not interested in fulfilling Jesus’ Christ’s Great Commission to “make disicples”.


One of Singapores biggest prosperity cults

Gerashen.com writes,

9 Reasons Why City Harvest Church Was the Devil To Me

I’ll probably receive some flak from City Harvest people – but through my years I’ve learnt that all they know is to spout out loud their blinded ‘opinions’.

People: They’re not opinions if you were brainwashed into it; that just makes it an influence over a weak mind.

I dare say this.
Why? Because I was one of them.

It was quite a number of years back, when I was still in secondary school. To be honest, I didn’t grow up in a happy home and endless hopes of getting out of my abyss was just part of my daily routine. While there were others who asked me to join their ‘gangs’, I didn’t want my daddy to look down from Heaven and be disappointed that he didn’t live long enough to love & protect me.

Soon enough I was invited to City Harvest Church and was quite intrigued by their style of worship. At that time, Charismatic churches weren’t very well-known in Singapore. So when songs had strong beats, fast rhythms and people grooving to them – it all seemed really new.

And deep down I wanted to believe that maybe, just maybe… They were the family that I lost. Oh, how stupid I was.

It wasn’t too long before the whole hype of their music tuned down a little and other ugly things started to sprout.

Disclaimer: Whatever I share here is entirely my own experiences and from my perspective, which can be limited. So if you experienced anything otherwise or feel that I’m spouting nonsense – you’re welcome to leave. Thank you.

First, I’ll start with offerings.
Quite a norm of the church, yes? So unlike the typical church that lets you put in the money into the little pouches and pass it on – they make you put the money into envelopes, then you put it into the pouches.

I didn’t think too much about it at first, but slowly I began to question – “Why was there this need?” Honestly it just didn’t make sense to spend money printing envelopes with the logos, etc. And the manpower spent inserting those envelopes to every newsletter (granted free labour, anyway).

Then one day I thought to myself, “It just seems like they want to obligate you to give. You were given a wrapping for a present; so therefore you feel you ought to give the present. It is also a way to monitor how much an average person gives during service. So why is there this obligation when it’s supposed to be freewill?”

So the next service, I tried something out – I didn’t give an offering. Oh, badass! 😀

Then my mentor (everyone is assigned one) looked at me when I just passed the pouch over, asking me why didn’t I give an offering. I said I have no more money left for the week, so can’t give anymore. After which, she gave a very disapproving glare.

After service at fellowship (dinner), the cell group leader requested to speak to me. He said he was informed that I didn’t give an offering because I had no more money left. Then he told me it was my duty to put aside money for God every week, it was to show God my love and sincerity in worshipping Him. 

HAHAHA! Okay, I’m sorry. Right now I’m just laughing at how pathetic it sounds. But he really did say that! And at that age, I actually thought I did something gravely wrong to God. I failed to realise that it was between me & God.

The following week onwards, they monitored if I gave offerings closely. Even with the friendly reminder before service started.

Second, tithings.
Somewhere in the bible it says something about giving God 10% of your fortune or harvest… Truthfully quite vague about this. I just know the 10%.

So then every month, you’re supposed to give 10% of your salary/allowance to the church – on top of offerings.

“Whatever you have, actually belongs to God. Even your money. But God is so magnanimous that He only wants 10% of it.” Remember those words crystal clear.

So like I said, I didn’t grow up in a happy home. Sometimes my remaining parent would not give me money or take what little savings I had – sometimes I had no money to even eat. Therefore giving away 10% was asking a lot of me.

And on those envelopes that give you for offerings are forms as well. There you will fill up your name, cell group number, contact number and amount you are giving for your tithe.

Yes, they monitor your tithings.

So quite a few times my cell group leader said he was notified that I didn’t give my tithing for this month, or my tithing seemed significantly lesser than usual.

Again – I bought into it and felt like I could do better for God. I failed to realise I wasn’t chasing God; I was stupidly chasing their approval for God knows what reason.

Third, pledging monies.
Everyone should know more or less that the church has building funds. I was there when they just moved to the church in Jurong, near NTU. It was entirely brand new, nice facilities with obviously pricey construction. “Nothing but the best for God,” they said.

Then before I knew it, they had new ideas to build a stadium of some sort. Citing the rapid growth of church members as a reason. There was about a 20 to 30 minute speech on how we should contribute to building the house of God.

Nice words, eh? House of God. So of course I’d want to help! Pledge money that I rely on getting occasionally from concerned relatives? Sure!

What an idiot I was.

And the best part was that they even set a benchmark of how much they encouraged each church member to give. If I remember correctly, it was about $200 a month.

My mentor even sat down with me to plan out how I can somehow give $200 every month – on top of 10% tithing and very compulsory offering… to build the house of God.

Then I started to think, “Am I just here to give them free money; buying the illusion of a family that I crave for?”

Fourth, God the investment banker.
Every time before offering, we were told this – if you give to God, God will give you back 10 times.

So even if you do not have much money, just give what little you have… And somehow God will multiply it and give it back to you.

They preached that God wants all of us to be rich. And also that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. So therefore – to show your sincere love to God, you must give him your money.

I tried asking what if my treasure isn’t money? Then they said, “The bible meant money.”

Fifth, bringing in new people.
Every week we are expected to always bring in new people to service. ALWAYS expected to.

They even presented charts of who brought in new people and who didn’t. Those who didn’t were mildly humiliated, of course.

But it was really difficult and rather ironic. When I had too many close friends outside church, they were unhappy and told me that it was ungodly influence. I should surround myself with spiritual people.

Oh, but still must have a good enough relationship with these non-spiritual people to convince them to come to a religious event.

There was this time my mentor called another cell group member and myself to her house. There, she sat us both down and made us call each and every person on our handphone contact list – asking them to come to church. ‘No’ is not an answer.

If they were sick, we’d give a mask. If they were not free, plan the following weekend or the next. If they were not willing, ask why until they couldn’t give a legit reason.

I don’t know how many people I pissed off, how many friends I lost that day… but I know that month my phone bill was really high. 😦 And those people I called became even more guarded against anything to do with Christianity.

When we didn’t manage to get people, she scolded us. When I said this isn’t the right thing to do, she said I was being selfish and not sharing salvation. When my cell group member managed to get someone, they both said I didn’t care about this hard enough.

Then I asked, “What’s the point of bringing in people who are unwilling? Won’t this just shut their hearts to God even more when you force them like this?”

Needless to say, I was rebuked for not having child-like faith.

Sixth, accountability.
Basically what happened here was my mentor was to be kept informed of my whereabouts at all times.

After school, what I was doing… Who I’m hanging out with… It was a tad invasive.

And I wasn’t allowed to meet boys. Other church members in the school were to tell immediately if any of us did something the church won’t approve of.

I was in a girls’ school, but somehow I still got to know boys through friends or sometimes the Internet. However I wasn’t allowed to go out with boys because they do not approve of it. And according to them, I cannot start dating till I turned 21.

And when I asked the cell group leader, “Then why did you start dating your girlfriend at 16?” I was rebuked and told not to question my leader.

There was once I met this boy after school for a movie, it was supposed to be with another girl but she had to go home. So it was just the both of us. A cell group member in school saw and immediately informed our mentor, of which I quickly got a phone call to ask me what in the world I was doing.

Next service, I was rebuked again and I actually felt guilty for it even though I knew clearly he and I were just good friends.

I tried reasoning with my mentor that it didn’t start out this way, that the other girl was suddenly called to go home.

“Oh what a coincidence. How do I know that you’re speaking the truth? You always had boys, so maybe this was your way to go on a date. If it really wasn’t a date, you would’ve left when the other girl left as well. You don’t respect yourself.”

Seventh, buying Sun Ho’s albums.
Ah, everyone’s favourite.

So our pastor’s wife wanted to enter the music industry to preach the Word of God. Using songs to lead the people honestly didn’t sound like a bad idea.

Then it got to her albums. Every single person in church had to have her album. It was compulsory, really. If you didn’t have her album, then you don’t love your church family. And back then we still used portable CD players. Everyone was supposed to have the CD in their bags.

It seemed quite ridiculous to me at this point. Especially when they pushed us to buy several albums at service. Yes, several copies of the exact same album. Why? To give Sun Ho the support to spread the Word of God.

Everyone had to buy at least 3 to 5 albums. Cell group members collected money from the members to buy the albums. And told them to give the albums to other people to spread the Word.

Slowly, the number of albums each church member had to buy was increasing. Pastors and cell group leaders kept on pushing and pressurising everyone to buy the albums. It got to a point whereby another cell group member actually sold his car in order to buy more albums.

Eighth, Sun Ho’s crossovers.
True to her word, she did go overseas and preached the gospel through her concerts. She would sing some songs, share her testimony and call on people to receive Jesus as their one true saviour.

Every now and then we were shown numbers of souls she saved – tens of thousands at a time.

Then I asked, “Do these people have a church to go to, to continue building their relationship with God?”

“Not sure. We already shared the Word with them. It’s up to them now.”

“But without a spiritually supportive environment it’s easy to lose faith. Won’t they then be condemned to hell for knowing the Word but not believing in it?”

Yup. Got rebuked again.

Ninth, outcasting.
Back then there was a man (yes, Mr Roland Poon) who told the public about the church forcing members to buy Sun Ho’s albums, of which he was fiercely dealt with in church. His cell group leader and mentor rebuked him to no end, his cell group members ostracised him.

Of which then he was pressured to give a public apology to the church and was definitely treated differently. And to give due credit, Kong Hee did announce in service to forgive and accept him back.

However this social outcasting happened to me when I started asking questions. I started mentally calculating how much money the church was making (10% tithe + offerings of $2 at a conservative amount of per pax), it gave me a rather high number. After thinking through it all, I realised every month the church should have a bit of money left after operational costs. Then why did they constantly ask for money all the time?  So how much were they paying the pastors? What else are they spending on? Shouldn’t the leftover money be put into the church’s own building fund, instead of asking for more from the people? Wasn’t the money given to God, for God’s people?

They also showed how well Sun Ho was doing overseas – claiming she was popular in Taiwan and America. Showing us hit charts where she was #1. To me, if she was so popular… Then why did the church make everyone buy about 9-12 albums each to support her? So with the help of the Internet, I went to look around. Only to find that every weekend I was buying into a scam. I chatted up some Americans on IRC and asked about Sun Ho, where 100% response I got was along the lines of, “Who the f**k is that?”

They said the money goes to God. Fantastic. So tell me, do you actually give the money to God? I’m sure our Earthly money means to nothing to Him, who is in Heaven. So if you don’t actually give the money to God… What on Earth do you spend on that you deem worthy enough to be ‘God’?

It was just downright ludicrous.

If they did things the public disapproved of, they’ll say that Jesus also faced this and they need to move on. The devil was fighting against them. Resistance meant they were doing the right thing.

If they did things the public approved of, they’ll shout Hallelujah and how they are bringing God to the world.

In full honesty, they did very good marketing right there. They brainwashed the people into believing every single thing they did, no matter what other facts might state. The people in the church aren’t the bad guys – they were just steered the wrong direction.

To me, I saw the devil doing an excellent job there. I saw so many people leave and strongly shutting their hearts away from the very idea of God. And I saw how those people in church don’t worship God; they worship Kong Hee and the prosperity gospel they’re fed.

Feeling frustrated and powerless, I left and prayed, “God, if You do exist – please save these people.”

I’m thankful for the strength Mr Roland Poon found to stand up for what he believes in, despite all the opposing forces. And I’m glad that at least there’s a little justice out there.

Source: By Gerashen, 9 Reasons Why City Harvest Church Was the Devil To Me, Gerashen.com, http://gerashen.com/2015/10/22/8-reasons-why-city-harvest-church-was-the-devil-to-me/, Published 22/10/2015. (Accessed 24/10/2015.)

Chris Rosebrough covers Kong Hee’s verdict… and Phil Pringle’s involvement.

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“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light.” – Luke 8:17

This scripture is very applicable to the charges against Kong Hee and cohorts.

03CWCPortrait_Phil Pringle

Targeted: Phil Pringle and his immoral involvement with the Kong Hee scandal. To this date, he has not told his congregation why Kong Hee was in trial and to this day, parades Kong Hee’s innocence.

Before the “Sermon review”, Chris Rosebrough decided to play audio segments of Phil Pringle. He has this to say about Phil Pringle before reviewing him, in light of the verdict.

“Now what we’re going to be listening to are two bits of audio from videos put out by, well Phil Pringle, who I think has a LOT to do- a LOT to do behind the scenes regarding Kong Hee and Sun Ho’s Crossover project- and was one of the men who was directly coaching and um- leading, (you know, casting vision for Kong Hee).

And that is Phil Pringle of C3. And so these two have a tight friendship. And like I said, a few years back at the Presence Conference, one of the things that Kong Hee said was that it was Phil Pringle who got him into this mess. And I don’t think that was a slip. I think that was absolutely the truth.” 24:25

Last year we published a two part series from a C3 Church insider on Phil Pringle’s involvement with Kong Hee, Luke 8:17 being the scripture reference for the heading.

“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest…” (Part 1)
“For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest…” (Part 2)

You might want to read those articles before listening to Chris Rosebrough’s review. His [Good] “Sermon Review” is of Dr. Paul Choo, who has proven to be a lone and faithful shepherd in Singapore, exposing the prosperity wolf pack consisting of David Yonngi Cho, Kong Hee, Joseph Prince and so on.

This is another very important episode to tune into:

The Verdict On Kong Hee

Click Here to Download this episode

Program segments:

00:00:00 The Verdict on Kong Hee
00:44:47 Sermon Review: Prosperity Gospel by Dr. Paul Choo

Source: Chris Rosebrough, The Verdict On Kong Hee, Fighting for the Faith, http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2015/10/the-verdict-on-kong-hee.html, Published 23/10/2015. (Accessed 24/10/2015.)

Media reports on See Kee Oon’s 270-page written judgment.

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Recent media reporting on Phil Pringle’s secrecy and culture of insecurity at C3 Church Kong Hee’s secrecy and culture of insecurity at City Harvest Church.

Today Online writes,

CHC slammed for ‘secrecy, culture of insecurity’

SINGAPORE — Criticising what he called the culture of insecurity that six City Harvest Church leaders convicted on Wednesday operated under, Presiding Judge of the State Courts See Kee Oon saved some of his strongest words for church founder Kong Hee in his 270-page written judgment released to the media yesterday.

The six leaders — Kong, his deputy Tan Ye Peng, former church accountant Serina Wee, former church investment manager Chew Eng Han, former finance manager Sharon Tan and former church board member John Lam — were found guilty on all of counts of criminal breach of trust and/or falsification of accounts.

Judge See had delivered his oral judgment, a condensed version of the written grounds, on Wednesday. He found that they had acted dishonestly and in breach of the trust reposed in them to cause wrongful loss of S$50 million to the church and to defraud auditors.

In his judgment grounds, the judge wrote that Kong capitalised on the church climate of paranoia and fear in 2003 to galvanise support for the Crossover Project — using his wife Ho Yeow Sun’s secular pop music to reach out to non-Christians. The collective fear arose after then-church member Roland Poon publicly commented that church funds had been used to promote Ms Ho’s music career.

Kong’s response to the incident revealed “both his personal dominance and deep insecurity”, said JC See. The pastor rallied the church “around the big idea that they (i.e. CHC’s leaders and by extension the entire church) were being maligned and under attack, and hence had to be discreet,” he added.

“He convinced them that if CHC’s leaders believed they had to be discreet in order for the Crossover to succeed, then they ought to simply trust them and not question their motives or reasons.”

The effort to keep the church’s financing of the Crossover discreet led to the set-up of Xtron Productions to manage Ms Ho’s career. The criminal charges in this case relate in part to sham bonds worth millions of dollars that the church bought from Xtron to channel church funds to the Crossover.

All six leaders’ committed zeal for the Crossover vision may have clouded their objectivity and judgment and obscured the need to safeguard money which was not theirs to use as they wished, said judge See. They chose to create cover stories and clever round-trips concealing their unlawful conduct, he added.

“The allure of power that can be exercised in secrecy is difficult to resist. When shrouded under a cloak of invisibility, much like the mythical ring of Gyges, persons in such positions of power have no fear of accountability and tend to become their own worst enemies,” he wrote.

The ring of Gyges is a mythical artefact that grants its owner the power to become invisible at will, mentioned in Greek philosopher Plato’s The Republic.

Judge See wrote: “It has thus been wisely said that the real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light, and if they choose not to come into the light they do so for fear that their deeds will be exposed, as they surely will in time.”

Kong would not have been able to act alone and could not orchestrate every move, and the five other leaders were both trusted and trusting, he added. They wanted to ensure their conduct and choices lived up to Kong’s expectations.

Noting that none of the six was aware of all the details, the judge said it could be because there were far too many moving parts in the plan for the Crossover to the United States, which grew more ambitious over time.

The US foray involved Ms Ho’s debut English album, which had hip-hop star Wyclef Jean roped in at one point. It led to the church’s sham bond investments worth S$24 million in Xtron and another company, and four of the leaders then misused another S$26.6 million of church funds to try to cover up the first amount.

“But this may have also been the inevitable consequence of CHC’s election to carry out its affairs and operations relating to the funding of the Crossover in a discreet fashion. This was merely a euphemism for a culture of insecurity mired in secrecy and opaqueness where asking difficult or awkward questions was taboo,” the judge wrote.

There was no way that Kong – who the judge found to have controlled Xtron – could fail to realise that once CHC had bought Xtron bonds that the bond proceeds would be “entirely within his control”.

Judge See also noted that Kong had sought to mislead a different set of auditors, Ernst & Young (since renamed EY), who were conducting a governance review of CHC on behalf of the Government towards the end of 2007. Kong helped prepare replies to questions that the auditors might ask, and the church would have told auditors that Xtron’s directors were separate and independent of the church board – which he knew was untrue, said judge See.

He also said Kong exploited Chew’s forceful personality and his determination and drive to achieve objectives, although Chew also glossed over the fact that he himself had bought Ms Ho’s Mandarin albums when he blamed Kong for deceiving him about the true measure of her success.

Separately, Kong broke his silence on the verdict yesterday, posting on Facebook his belief that God would use the outcome of the case for good. The pastor also thanked his supporters and said: “The days and steps ahead are challenging, but with God’s grace and love, I have no fear.”

The six will be back in court on Nov 20, where they could be sentenced.

Source: By Neo Chai Chin, CHC slammed for ‘secrecy, culture of insecurity’, Today Online, http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/chc-slammed-secrecy-culture-insecurity?singlepage=true, Published 11:33 PM, 22/10/2015, Updated 10:10 AM, 23/102015. (Accessed 25/10/2015.)

Ex-CHC member gives testimony against Kong Hee and cohorts after verdict

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Ex-CHC member writes,

Finally, divine justice is executed on Singapore’s once largest church before Joseph prince’s New Creation Church overtook that status [http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/live-updates-all-6/2206970.html]. After cheating their flock of millions of dollars for a building fund which was in fact, channelled to fund the failed singing career of Sun Ho, the singer wife of founding pastor, Kong Hee (check out her awful music videos which she tried to break into the US market to ‘evangelize’ the lost through secular music: see China Wine ft Wyclef Jean, Fancy Free & Kill Bill by Sun Ho on Youtube)

I attended City Harvest Church from 1999-2002.

Kong Hee was once a man I greatly revered and respected. In almost every service, he made me and my family believed that we could be rich by sowing seed money. Out of pressure in their cell groups, we gave and gave, losing 5-6 figure dollar sums in total over the course of years. As one of the biggest donors, my parent even received a personal letter of thanks by Kong Hee himself.

As a Pentecostal, he emphasized the ‘gifts’ of the Holy Spirit, making erroneous claims that those who do not have tongues are not saved. Manifestations of holy laughter, shaking, convulsions, “slain in the spirit” and “casting of demons” were frequent. I have seen members who gave convincing testimonies of their healing on stage during healing rallies, only to reveal later that they were never really healed and still carried the pain, not realising they were momentarily ‘healed’ due to placebo effect under a suggestive state of mind during hypnotic worship in a mass crowd. I was even physically laid hands upon by Kong Hee himself as he tried to cast demons off me, so I pretended to go into a screaming frenzy as I liked the attention I got from him and among the crowd (some members also admitted to this), but I did convulsed and shook too so there was still something spiritual there.

As an Arminianist, Kong Hee taught that one could lose their salvation if they don’t read their Bible, stop going to church, stop living a holy life or just continue sinning. So for years, I responded to so many altar calls, whispered the sinner’s prayer almost all the time, tried to do all the good works possible to please God, to the point I got angry and cursed God regularly because I was never guaranteed salvation.

He invited many celebrity preachers like A.R. Bernard, Phil Pringle, John Avanzini and heavily promoted the teachings of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth E. Hagin and Brian Houston.
He taught New Age ideas and step-by-step theories in the guise of Christianity to promote false teachings.

Kong Hee’s heavy emphasis on name-it-claim-it is so saturated in his teachings that his inability to discern different dispensations in the Bible make him believe that Old Testament promises specific to the nation Israel are for the church today. Jesus and His finished work on the cross was diminished while having the “gifts” of the Holy Spirit and achieving the best life now on earth are magnified. According to Kong Hee, Christians can be demon-possessed so there was always this lingering fear and lack of safety of what can happen to you anytime.

His teachings on generational curses, laying of hands, and the ‘power of the spoken word’ had wrecked my family apart. My parent would punish me by pronouncing bible curses on me and regularly tried to cast demons off me if I were to disagree, while I grew more rebellious, more blasphemous, more vulgar in my speech, more covetous, more lustful and more hateful that I was close to a mental breakdown as I drowned in the prosperity gospel and the word-of-faith he taught. My parent grew paranoid, more judgemental, more self-righteous, more covetous, more angry and more abusive, till the mental state has deteriorated to madness till this day.

Because of the ‘gifts’ I practiced, I experienced frequent dreams of scary looking demons chasing after me and overpowering me while I called upon Jesus but He helped me not, neither could I cast them out “in the name of Jesus”. I have seen ‘visions’ and ‘prophecies’ too. I thought I was so spiritual that the Devil must be attacking me. Looking back, I realised that practising those ‘gifts’ actually exposed me to the demonic realm and that the devils were deceiving me so I’m not surprised that many of the members were indeed demon-possessed without knowing. Most of us were not saved anyway since the salvation message was twisted and reduced to a sinner’s prayer that was repeated every after service at altar call without any understanding what being a wretched sinner and the need for the Saviour really meant.

Kong Hee once taught in 1999, that people who are in hell cannot come out of hell becos they cannot remember the name of Jesus. He often mocked those who disagreed with him in sermons, though never naming their names. He also poked fun at those who do not lift up their hands during worship as “having arthritis”. Not only did he say that poverty is a sin, he said that everyone should be a millionaire. His ecumenical partnering with Catholics goes to show his lack of understanding of Scripture (since his sis is Catholic).

Huge numbers in attendees and money were seen as success and ‘proof’ of God’s blessings. Churches that do not practice worship concert-style, that were small in congregation or poor or did not have humour in their sermons were often ridiculed.

If you’re successful in life, you would be selected to announce your testimonies to the assembly. Achieving fame, health, wealth and success are treated as legit evidences of God’s blessings. Celebrities and the financially wealthy tend to be granted first-hand encounters with the pastor himself.

In the youth cell groups, we were pressured by our group leaders to attend church and cell group every week (they would interrogate or call if we don’t). Even to attend another church to visit their service was frowned upon.If you do, you have to make sure you attend the CHC service too, so some can end up attending 2 separate services at different places in one day. The fear of men was so great that to be rejected was like death. We were pressured to report our life activities and confess our sins to our leaders, and if we failed to donate tithes and to the building fund, we would be interrogated for ‘lack of faith’ despite many of us poor students not having the means to afford giving. If we failed to turn up for the group’s meeting, even if legit reasons are bcos we were sick, we have a friend’s birthday or family function on that day, we were accused of not putting God first. If our parents did not let us attend church, we would be pardoned as experiencing ‘persecution’.

However, in most cases, the authority of the church (including that of your cell group leaders) superseded the authority of your parents, even the authority of the Bible.

Members were enticed with free gifts if they memorised verses or attended paid courses in the church. Those who did will stand among the crowd and be applauded as the ushers passed the gifts to them among the envious crowd.

Because you don’t want to offend your cell group leaders and members whom you sit with (and you had to sit with your cell group and not with your frds from other cell groups, otherwise you’ll be seen as not being ‘faithful’ to your cell group), you were automatically pressured to parrot ‘Amens’, clap and cheer together to his anecdotes in his sermons even though you do not agree with them.

Those who gave the most in seed offerings were applauded and praised. Those who don’t were treated as 2nd class. Being sad or depressed was a sign of defeat. Many of us were forced to put on a smile and pretend everything else in life was good in positive confession, else we would be ridiculed by members of having a defeated, powerless life.

Despite giving seed money and trying our hardest to have faith, when we can’t achieve those riches, healings and dreams we crave for, many members end up blaming God and being angry and paranoid (though we were afraid to admit it among ourselves lest we be exposed by others who may report us to our leaders). Gossips, back-biting, finger-pointing, favouritism, elitism, fear and sin were rampant among members.

If a new person was to come on that Sunday, you had to tell your leader in advance so that they will prepare a card with all CG members’ well wishes written on it. If you brought a new member without letting your leader know, he or she will not be happy with you as she had no gift to prepare for the newbie, hence they believe that without a gift, the newbie will not feel welcomed. (No wonder guest attendees thought we were super scary in that approach – can u imagine getting a card from ppl whom you hardly talk to and just met, who write to u well wishes as if they know you on your first meeting??)

If a guest attendee came, you cannot show sadness or pain else you are “tarnishing God’s name” by not being happy all the time. You have to express interest to talk to the newbies to make them ‘feel welcome’ even if you don’t feel like it else you are accused of not showing love.

When a guest attendee comes, give him or her notepad and a pen to make them write down the sermon. If you as a member came to service not writing the sermon down, you are accused of not taking preaching seriously. Of cos, a newbie was treated like a royal guest showered with attention and loving tenderness and greeted with smiles. Once the newbie is sucked in as a member, he or she will be trapped by stressful demands, pressured into regular attendance, money-giving, discipleship and performance, the once gentle grace no longer extended to him or her, and the the next target will be given the same treatment cycle.

If you did not lift up your hands or clap during worship, the member next to you will whisper in your ear and accuse you of not praising God. If you do not do these during worship in cell groups, the leader will rebuke you openly or privately. If you had girlfriend or boyfriend and dating at such a young age, cell group members will subtly try to separate you by giving you excuses to sit next to them than to your bf/gf bcos he/she feels more ‘comfortable’ that you sit next to them. They were not mature enough to tell u their thoughts.

Some cell group leaders in the youth groups were so young that they could not provide any solid advice or mature guidance. Once, I was having such a bad day, so of cos I naturally had a sad countenance at church. When a member saw that, she said curtly to me: “You looked so depressed!” within hearing range to everyone around that it was embarrassing. Another time, there was a member who stopped going to church. Her cell group leader followed and harassed her all the way into the taxi and even complained about her “rebellion” on the phone to one of the pastors IN FRONT of that member! When I refused to continue a talk on the phone with a very pushy and unreasonable member, she copied an SMS to me that shows her complaint to the leader about my “disobedience”.

Like a MLM organization, we were tracked on our progress based on how much money we gave and how many friends we manage to bring to service. If we don’t bring newbies in, we were interrogated and judged as not having love for the lost. If we did not wear nice enough (means ties, skirts, accepted casual wear etc. Can you imagine 15 year olds wearing corporate suits to church??), we were accused of dishonoring God. [After Sun Ho’s early rose to fame, over time, Kong Hee exchanged his fashion for more youthful, fashionable wear. After that, demands to wear a suit / tie and mature fashion were changed]

If a member wanted to switch cell groups, he or she will get disapprovals from nervous leaders who were competing among each other based on numbers of members in their groups. If a member wanted to change church, he or she will be accused of being unfaithful, even if he or she lived far away.

Sacrifice of time and money were seen as signs that a person loves God rather than signs that the individual was pressured under the fear of men.

When Sun Ho first broke into the music scene, we were coerced to buy multiple copies of her CDs, distribute to friends, buy her concert tickets and attend them to inflate the numbers to flash her “success” to the world (no matter how poor and busy we were). When she made the contradictory statement that she was not a pastor, I knew she was lying cos we ALWAYS addressed her as Pastor Sun and members have seen her preached before in the past.

When I finally questioned my cell group leaders of the church’s teachings, I was accused of lack of faith and interrogated by for my questioning. When I left, my cell grp leader told the whole group that I backslided and to never contact me (told to me by another ex-member who left the church months later). True enough, members whom I thought were my frds for years avoided my calls or msgs.

Many ppl whom I have invited and who left, turned atheist or stopped seeking the Christian faith altogether as they got hurt from the abuse that is rampant in there.

All in all, it was about men’s approval, not God’s approval. I left feeling drained, depressed, unstable, hurt, lonely and scared.

After being saved and a few more years in Charismania (I was also an attendee of Joseph Prince’s New Creation Church, but that’s another story to share in another time), I came out of the charismatic movement, no longer practicing those ‘gifts’ and all those demonic dreams that haunted me for years have ceased permanently.

Right before the trial began, my spouse was approached by City Harvest to edit a video for them. Unfortunately (or fortunately) unable to accomplish in time (thank God as I protested to my spouse against doing anything for them), they stopped the service but still paid my spouse money in the guise of donation gift even though it was clearly a business transaction. I am not surprised by such fraudulent acts that finally caught the attention of the authorities.

Kong Hee, for all the money that you have cheated, for all the false teachings you promoted and for the multitudes of people you have led to hell, prison is not such a bad idea to humble you. Your idolatrous god of your imagination can’t hear your prayers, neither can he save you. While you still have breath in you, REPENT!

Regards,
Admin 1 of Ex-Charismatics community

Source: Ex-Charismatic Christians, C3 & Hillsong Church Watch – An Urgent Call To Discernment, FaceBook, https://www.facebook.com/groups/c3churchwatch/permalink/1028474940542139/, Published 21/10/2015. (Accessed 22/10/2015.)

Ex-C3 member speaks out about leaders behaviour towards CHC trial

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An ex-C3 member writes,

“Today, after 5 long, drawn-out years, the longest criminal trial in Singaporean history, the executive leadership of City Harvest Church, including pastor Kong Hee, were found guilty of misappropriating $50 Million worth of church funds.

Sentencing has been postponed to a later date, but already I have witnessed a flurry of Christians online all resolved to stand by Kong Hee throughout this process. And I just need to ask, for the sake of clarity, what exactly do you all mean by “stand by”?

Do you mean “pray for” Kong Hee? “Help support the distraught family of” Kong Hee? “Encourage and pray for the disappointed, also distraught church family of” Kong Hee? If that’s what you mean then that’s all fine, highly commendable, and I’ll happily join you in that, feel free to read no further.

But if you mean “Protest the Court’s ruling and insist upon the exoneration of” Kong Hee, I just need to ask, on what basis? I’ve seen a persistent narrative at play here, promoted by many Christians and even Christian leaders, in which this entire 5-year trial has essentially been dismissed as a complete smokescreen, an entirely groundless, deceitful attempt by an unbelieving nation’s Courts to act as tools of Satan and oppose Christ’s church, because of the great work Pastor Kong has been doing.

Brothers and sisters, I know this is a far more comforting way of looking at the situation, but… what if Kong Hee actually IS guilty? What if the same charming, smiling man who you’ve seen preaching at conferences, the same man who is so close and friendly with and vouched for by… certain OTHER pastors you respect, actually DID commit this awful, awful crime and awful, awful sin, of which he is still yet to repent?

Should secular courts not be allowed to convict Christians of crimes as long as those Christians maintain that they were doing the Lord’s work? Should Christians continue to voice unqualified public approval of men who, by their actions, demonstrate themselves to be THOROUGHLY disqualified for leadership in Christ’s church, as long as we like their preaching? No, we must be honest, and live our lives with integrity as good citizens as well as good Christians.

The Courts have spoken, and those who wish to oppose their ruling must first demonstrate a fault in their reasoning or provide evidence of corruption serious enough to support the idea that they seriously just spent 5 years of their time building a thoroughly false case on non-existent evidence.

Christ’s name has been dragged through the mud of Asia for long enough because of this trial. If you want to express an opinion on the verdict, get off the bandwagons and do some research for yourselves.”

Pringle insists Kong Hee’s innocence: “When people are unjustly accused or unfairly treated, it’s not a time to depart.”

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CItyNews did a fantastic job after the trial, in their interview with Phil Pringle. They gave him enough rope to continue to be misleading but also exposed him as a liar.

ON TOP OF THE FACTS OR NOT?

The video at the end of the CityNews article has Phil Pringle stating:

“It seemed to me that the judge – uh, ruled that- uh, seemed to say the summation- although I couldn’t say I fully understand all of the facts to do with this case [fake smile] against Kong Hee and the other five…”

Thank you CityNews for exposing Phil Pringle as a liar. In past CityNews publications, Phil Pringle asserted that he was “abreast” of what was happening in court and still insisting on Kong Hee’s innocence a few hours before the verdict.

AT THE TIME, IT OBVIOUSLY SEEMED RIGHT?

Think this statement through. How would Phil Pringle know?

“It’s easy on hindsight to pass criticism, but at the time, it obviously seemed right to them, as they had sought professional advice on their plans.”

This begs the question. Was Phil Pringle somehow involved in all this? Thanks to our C3 insiders, we would like Phil Pringle to explain his dialogue with Kong Hee that he reiterated with his church here:

PP: Don’t do anything illegal.
KH: That’s alright. We can do that in Singapore.
PP: You couldn’t do [any of?] that in Sydney. You couldn’t take money out of the building fund. [Source]

“At the time”, it obviously appeared “right” to Phil Pringle since he prophesied over Kong Hee and Sun Ho to buy the SunTec convention center and to take the Crossover Project further into Asia. Wouldn’t it have been handy for “Prophet for Profit” Pringle to prophetically warn Kong Hee and the other five to get themselves into order? Did he offer prophetic advice to CHCs financial governance?

Furthermore, it was Kong Hee who copied Phil Pringle’s financial giving models, practices and philosophies! So was it “right” for Phil Pringle to allow Kong Hee to do this? Remember, Kong Hee blamed Phil Pringle for all the mess he was in:

“You created this mess! You’ve got to come and help us fix it!” [Source]

Another time Kong Hee retold his circumstances of Phil Pringle leading him and said to Pringle “So it’s all your fault, Pastor!”

As long as City Harvest Church keeps Phil Pringle as advisory pastor, you can probably expect another disaster because of his lies and ongoing false prophecies.

PRINGLE REVILING COURT’S VERDICT?

CityNews also asked Pringle how members should react to “revilers”. Pringle’s response?

“The Bible says, don’t revile people who revile us, but bless those who curse us. And leave any negative response in the hands of God. Our calling is to love, to love those who hate us.”

Sounds very hypocritical considering Pringle’s history maligning people in the pulpit and press. We still find this dialogue very entertaining:

It’s a criminal act to assassinate someone’s character and not be accountable, to be anonymous. So we’re living with a nameless, faceless, spineless group of people who don’t even have the courage or conviction to identity themselves, while we’re up here—you see my face, you know my name, you have all the numbers to use. The idea these Internet haters have that “I’m protecting myself and my family”—what from? If you’re doing the right thing you have nothing to fear. I know we’re [sic] doing the right thing.” [Source]

That quote was taken from a CityNews article in 2014. What’s changed? In the latest interview Phil Pringle is STILL portraying the Singaporean authorities as falsely condemning Kong Hee:

“Jesus was accused of breaking the law and breaching the Sabbath and the law of blasphemy. Paul was accused of treason. Peter was imprisoned for preaching, which was deemed against the law.

We sometimes have sanitized Christian history. But when Jesus was treated like a criminal and executed, his disciples fled. We must learn from these moments that though people make mistakes, it’s not a reason to leave them. When people are unjustly accused or unfairly treated, it’s not a time to depart.

By using this analogy, Phil Pringle is conveying the idea that either Jesus was rightly condemned for his sins or that Kong Hee was falsely tried and convicted. Now that Jesus Kong Hee and co-accused have been found guilty of all charges, Pringle’s advice to CHC was that “when people are unjustly accused or unfairly treated, it’s not a time to depart.”

How does Phil Pringle convince CHC that Kong Hee is innocent? By appealing fallaciously to piety (“It’s never been popular to be a Christian, especially when you’re standing for somebody or something”), misdirected faith and guidance, experience (“You simply need to trust in the Lord, and trust what you know about Pastor Kong from your years in church”), and mob appeal (“He is endorsed by many ministers around the world and the faithful members of the congregation who’ve been with him since the start”).

It might be time for Phil Pringle to read CHC Confessions.

CHC STANDING STRONG?

Pringle insisted that “The church will stay together.” That is false, the church can stand through anything. But a cult WILL try to stand together. The sad truth is that City Harvest Church IS “built on Kong Hee” and not Jesus Christ.

In answer to a question, Pringle says, “The church is not built on Kong Hee.” In an answer to another, Pringle says, “If you could appeal, you should. [Kong Hee] has a responsibility to CHC to do that—the church needs him.”

So if the church is built on Jesus Christ, then a cult is built on its leader.

The facts are, CHC has suffered terribly through the ongoing trial with many people leaving and its global reputaiton in ruins thanks to Sun Ho’s smutty music productions and Kong Hee’s unbiblical sermon productions. It’s been these false teachers who have persecuted Christ’s church, and Pringle is still standing quite comfortably with them in their defense.

What is absolutely clear now, is how badly Phil Pringle is trying to keep his “sheepskin” on, trying to give the impression that Kong Hee is still qualified to be seen as a minister of God, despite the fact that the bible clearly disqualies him. Ministers have every right to condemn Kong Hee and Phil Prngle for their deceptive behaviour.

It’s Kong Hee, Sun Ho, Phil Pringle and A.R. Bernard who have caused the world to blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ. They have not repented. They have no shame. CHC has clearly departed from the faith “through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared” (2 Timothy 4:2).

It is absolutely unacceptable for Phil Pringle continuing to insist on Kong Hee’s integrity and innocence, and insist that he has the right to remain a minister despite the fact of the bible clearly disqualifying Kong Hee from holding that office. This is why City Harvest Church and the C3 movement are like cults – they are STILL accountable to no one.


CityNews writes,

Phil Pringle, City Harvest Church’s advisory pastor, was in court yesterday morning to support CHC’s senior pastor Kong Hee. We spoke to him after the verdict.

CN PHOTOS: Daniel Poh & Michael Chan.

How did you feel when the verdict was delivered?

Obviously, the verdict is very serious. I was initially shocked, and then deeply concerned for the families—I’m praying for comfort for them. I know Kong is more concerned about others, especially about Sun and his family.

I feel that even though the judge commended them for intending to do the right thing, he [found] that the investment strategy of CHC was not acceptable to the law. I think the situation was that he said, “You meant well, but you did wrong.”

It’s easy on hindsight to pass criticism, but at the time, it obviously seemed right to them, as they had sought professional advice on their plans.

I also think that the judge felt that Pastor Kong was the only one making decisions and that everyone was simply doing what he was directing. I think it’s true Pastor Kong presided over the larger vision; however, the activating was certainly in the hands of many people in the team.

The judge noted the facts that Pastor Kong has not wrongfully gained, nor church wrongfully lost money. However, that fact that the funds had been, in his words, misappropriated, attracted the judgment he delivered.

So, in the light of all these events, we remain filled with faith, that the promises of God are not deactivated by negative circumstances. All of us have made mistakes. We can be thankful to God that He continues to work with us through grace despite our shortcomings.

Let’s continue to stand together believing in the sovereign hand of Almighty God.

We’ve prepared for this as best as we could but the shock of the verdict and the flood of attacks from the public—and even friends and family—may be hard for some of our members to take. Remind us again what we should do.

The Bible says, don’t revile people who revile us, but bless those who curse us. And leave any negative response in the hands of God. Our calling is to love, to love those who hate us. We shouldn’t try to engage those who have only negative things to say—if we can’t say anything constructive, we should be silent.

Jesus was accused of breaking the law and breaching the Sabbath and the law of blasphemy. Paul was accused of treason. Peter was imprisoned for preaching, which was deemed against the law.

We sometimes have sanitized Christian history. But when Jesus was treated like a criminal and executed, his disciples fled. We must learn from these moments that though people make mistakes, it’s not a reason to leave them. When people are unjustly accused or unfairly treated, it’s not a time to depart.

How should members deal with public humiliation?

It’s never been popular to be a Christian, especially when you’re standing for somebody or something. Don’t get into that strange thing when you’re persecuted and you think, “They appear so good, yet the verdict from court has declared them wrong.” You simply need to trust in the Lord, and trust what you know about Pastor Kong from your years in church. He is endorsed by many ministers around the world and the faithful members of the congregation who’ve been with him since the start.

Do you, as our advisory pastor, think we are prepared for this?

More than anybody! The church will stay together. You’ll be strong. You’ll only get stronger. The church is not built on Kong Hee. It’s built on Jesus Christ. The church is more together and more resilient than you think it is. It survives any kind of persecution. The worst kind is when Christians fight against each other, when ministers criticize each other. It’s the worst kind because it’s confusing for the younger believers.

At this moment Pastor Kong is still discussing with his lawyers about an appeal. Do you think he should? Would it be prideful if he did?

To not appeal is to say “Okay, I guess I’m a criminal.” It’s not an arrogant pride. It’s a pride that says “I know who I am. I am not a criminal.” If you could appeal, you should. He has a responsibility to CHC to do that—the church needs him.

It’s a tough time for us all. What do you want us to fill our minds with?

This is the God of Jesus Christ, of David, of Moses—all who seemed like they were in impossible circumstances, but God delivered them. God’s glory is manifested in the darkest hour. We can trust God: His love for CHC will shine through.

Phil Pringle will be preaching, together with CHC’s advisory chairman AR Bernard at CHC the weekend 31 Oct and 1 Nov, 2015.

Source: City News Team, Phil Pringle: “CHC Will Only Get Stronger”, CityNews, http://www.citynews.sg/2015/10/phil-pringle-chc-will-only-get-stronger/, Updated on October 22, 2015 at 4:56 pm. (Accessed 22/10/2015.)

Judge See Kee Oon’s assessment over CHC case

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All of the CHC six were found guilty of all charges in court on 21st Oct 2015 .

Six Accused

Judge See Kee Oon has published material explaining his judgments and findings.

Judge See Kee Oon

Judge See Kee Oon


IN THE STATE COURTS OF THE REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE

District Arrest Case 023145 of 2012 and others

Between

Public Prosecutor

And

(1) Lam Leng Hung
(2) Kong Hee
(3) Tan Shao Yuen Sharon
(4) Chew Eng Han
(5) Tan Ye Peng
(6) Serina Wee Gek Yin


ORAL JUDGMENT


PUBLIC PROSECUTOR
V
LAM LENG HUNG & 5 ORS


State Courts — District Arrest Case 023145 of 2012 and others
Presiding Judge See Kee Oon

21 Oct 2015 Judgment reserved.

Presiding Judge See Kee Oon:

Overview

1 This was a 140-day trial involving 43 charges against the 6 accused persons. They were tried primarily on charges of conspiring to commit criminal breach of trust (“CBT”) by dishonestly misappropriating funds belonging to City Harvest Church (“CHC”) that had been entrusted to one or more of them. There are two broad groups of charges involving CBT. The first group comprises the first to third charges and pertains to what have been referred to in the course of the trial as the “sham bond investments”. The second group comprises the fourth to sixth charges, pertaining to what has been termed “round-tripping”. A third group of charges, the seventh to tenth, concerns falsification of accounts in CHC’s books relating to the “round-tripping” transactions.

2 I do not propose to set out the evidence as it is lengthy and voluminous. It suffices to note that the main background facts are largely undisputed or uncontroversial. I will set out my findings in relation to the elements of the offence of CBT first, leaving aside the issue of the mens rea of dishonesty. I will then focus primarily on the extent of the accused persons’ knowledge and involvement in the plans to use funds belonging to CHC for the Crossover Project (“the Crossover”) and on whether their conduct in the circumstances shows that they had acted with dishonest intent.

Criminal breach of trust – elements

3 In relation to the elements of the offence of criminal breach of trust by an agent, leaving aside the mens rea element, I shall state my conclusions briefly. First, I am satisfied that Kong Hee, Tan Ye Peng (“Ye Peng”) and John Lam Leng Hung (“John Lam”) were, as members of CHC’s management board, each entrusted with dominion over CHC’s funds, whether in the Building Fund (“BF”) or the General Fund. Second, I am bound to hold that they were entrusted with such dominion in the way of their business as agents because, being board members, they were so entrusted in their capacities as agents of CHC. Third, I am satisfied that the various plans to use CHC’s funds amounted to putting these funds to unauthorised or wrong use.

“Wrong use” of CHC’s funds

4 The BF was a restricted fund that could be used only for building-related expenses or investments for financial return. I find that the Xtron and Firna bonds were not genuine investments but were a wrong use of the BF. I find also that Tranches 10 and 11 of the Special Opportunities Fund (“SOF”) were not genuine investments but were transactions designed to create the appearance that the Firna bonds had been redeemed. I find, finally, that the payment under the Advance Rental Licence Agreement (“ARLA”) was not abuilding-related expense but was a transaction designed to perpetuate the appearance that the Firna bonds had been redeemed. They were therefore all wrong uses of CHC’s funds.

5 I turn next to the accused persons’ involvement and knowledge in the various plans to use CHC’s funds.

Funding the Crossover – being discreet

6 The accused persons understood that Kong Hee’s preference to be discreet about the funding for the Crossover was for the sake of ensuring the success of the Crossover, but being discreet was also synonymous with non-disclosure and mis-statements. Kong Hee had explained that it was his preference to avoid disclosure of CHC’s involvement in Xtron to avoid any misconception that Sun Ho’s secular music career was “not real” and that CHC was (still) using its money to promote her career. But in relation to both aspects, the evidence shows that it was true that her perceived success was inflated from rather more modest levels and Xtron and the Crossover team had to rely heavily on sponsorship from CHC members or supporters to help prop up her album sales and promote her career. When these sources of financial support which did not directly flow from CHC were insufficient, they had to come up with other means.

Xtron bonds

7 Xtron was CHC’s special purpose vehicle for the Crossover, and for this purpose Xtron was clearly under CHC’s control and not independent. The plan formulated in 2007 was that CHC’s funds, specifically funds from the BF, would be channelled through Xtron to be used for the Crossover, and the use of the funds was controlled entirely by Kong Hee and his team. In truth, this was analogous to an elaborate extension of a pattern of financial assistance via “sponsorship”, lending or prepayment to Xtron that had already either been taking place or been contemplated prior to 2007. These were seen as short-term measures to put Xtron in funds and support the Crossover. The mindset was thus that the Xtron bond issues were only yet another “temporary plan” albeit one which involved borrowing from CHC’s BF, and hoping that the funds would somehow find their way back to CHC at some unspecified future point.

8 Kong Hee, Ye Peng, Chew Eng Han (“Eng Han”) and Serina Wee (“Serina”) each clearly played a substantial role in conceiving and executing this plan to channel CHC’s BF through Xtron for the Crossover. John Lam’s role was evidently less substantial, but I am satisfied that he had his own part to play as a board member and investment committee member. All of them knew that the BF was a restricted fund to be used only for specific purposes. They claim that they believed the Xtron bonds were genuine investments. They believed the Xtron bonds would bring CHC financial return. But on my evaluation of the evidence I consider that the prosecution has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they did not hold that belief.

9 I find that the accused persons were planning on the basis of Sun Ho’s planned US Crossover album being realistically capable of generating sales of

only 200,000 units, and although their projections showed that the bonds could not be redeemed by the maturity date, they were unconcerned since Eng Han assured them that the maturity date for the bonds could always be extended or fresh bonds could be issued. I am unconvinced that they could have had a genuine belief in Sun Ho’s prospects of success for the US Crossover given their consciousness that much of her earlier success was contrived and contributed to by CHC itself. Serina readily conceded that Sun Ho’s Asian Crossover albums all made losses and Xtron had thus incurred substantial accumulated net losses. Kong Hee, Ye Peng, Eng Han and John Lam also knew that CHC was involved in propping up her Mandarin album sales. I am unable to see how there can be any genuine or honest grounds for their claims that they expected far higher sales for her planned US album well in excess of the projection of 200,000 units. This was no more than an optimistic hope. It was definitely not a realistic expectation. All this strongly militates against their claims that the Xtron bonds were motivated by the realistic prospect of financial return and were genuine investments.

10 Further, the accused persons were all involved in making plans to put Xtron in funds to redeem the bonds. They knew that these plans would involve CHC paying money to Xtron under the guise of legitimate transactions, when in fact the real concern was Xtron’s cashflow difficulties and the purported transactions were mere excuses for CHC to channel money to Xtron. Thus they knew that there was a strong possibility that the apparent financial return under the Xtron bonds would come from CHC itself. This knowledge further undermines their claim that they believed the Xtron bonds were a genuine investment.

11 In addition, the accused persons hid or obscured material information from others. Eng Han and John Lam kept the truth about the Xtron bonds from Charlie Lay. All of them at various times gave the auditors the impression that CHC and Xtron were independent of each other, when they knew that Kong Hee in fact made all decisions on Xtron’s behalf in relation to the Crossover without reference to the Xtron directors, who were mere figureheads. The auditors were not told that Xtron was in fact controlled by Kong Hee and Ye Peng and that they together with their co-accused would exercise control over the use of the bond proceeds. There is no doubt that they knew that they had something to hide.

12 In all the circumstances, I am satisfied that the accused persons knew that the Xtron bonds were conceived first and foremost to support the Crossover and not for financial return. The prospect of any financial return was a secondary consideration at best and even then I do not accept that they genuinely believed that the sale of Sun Ho’s music albums would generate sufficient profit for CHC to enjoy financial return. They knew that any financial return to CHC might be illusory in the sense that it was CHC’s own money that might need to be channelled to Xtron to redeem the bonds. Given their knowledge, I cannot accept their claims that they believed the Xtron bonds were a genuine investment. Accordingly, they caused CHC to subscribe to $13 million in Xtron bonds knowing that they were not legally entitled to do so. Thus they acted dishonestly, and I find that the first and second charges have been made out against John Lam, Kong Hee, Eng Han, Ye Peng and Serina.

Firna bonds

13 In respect of the Firna bonds, the accused persons all knew that the primary purpose of the bonds was also to channel money from CHC’s BF to the Crossover. Kong Hee, Ye Peng, Eng Han and Serina knew that they, and not Wahju, were the ones controlling the Firna bond proceeds and deciding how the proceeds should be applied towards the Crossover. Yet they took the inaccurate position that Wahju was somehow “independently” supporting the Crossover using his “personal monies”, and this was what they told the auditors and lawyers. They knew that the financial return under the Firna bonds would not come from the profits of Firna’s glass factory business but depended entirely on the success of the Crossover. If the revenue from Sun Ho’s albums was not adequate, they would find alternative sources of funds for Firna, and that might include channelling CHC’s own money into Firna through various means. Given this knowledge, I do not think Kong Hee, Eng Han, Ye Peng and Serina could have believed that the Firna bonds would generate financial return for CHC, and so they could not have believed that the bonds were a genuine investment.

14 John Lam was further removed from the Firna bonds than the other accused persons. But he signed the “secret letter” that secured the signature of Wahju’s father-in-law on the Firna BSA. I am satisfied that he knew that the prospect of financial return for CHC did not depend on the success of Firna’s glass factory business. He knew that it was a very real possibility that the Crossover would not be profitable. Thus I find that he too did not believe that the Firna bonds would generate financial return for CHC, meaning that he did not think the bonds were a genuine investment.

15 Therefore, in causing CHC to subscribe to $11 million in Firna bonds, the accused persons knew that they were not legally entitled to do so. They thus acted dishonestly. As such, I find that the third charge has been made out against John Lam, Kong Hee, Eng Han, Ye Peng and Serina.

16 At the centre of the first to third charges is how the BF came to be applied for the Crossover when it was a restricted fund for specific purposes – either for building or investment. In my judgment, the Crossover was not one of these purposes. It was not an investment since by their own characterisation, it was meant to serve a “missions” purpose all along. I am not convinced that there was any “mixed motive”, “dual purpose” or “hybrid” intent behind the use of the BF. These are creative labels tacked on in an attempt to strain and stretch the plain meaning of the word “investment”. They were plainly fabricated in an attempt to justify their past conduct and misuse of the BF. I do not see how they can be said to have acted in good faith in relation to the charges they face.

17 The accused persons have of course pointed to the fact that the money did come back to CHC with interest. However, this is patently due to their efforts to put Xtron, Firna and AMAC in funds to facilitate these repayments through the round-tripping transactions. It does not confirm that there was any actual intention at the outset to invest for the purpose of maximising returns. What is more telling is that it was consistently represented to CHC’s Executive Members that investing the BF in this fashion was meant to maximise returns. There was no mention at all that the investment was in the Crossover, let alone that it was for “spiritual returns” or for both spiritual and financial return from the Crossover. The failure to mention those facts buttresses my conclusion that the accused persons knew that they were not legally entitled to cause CHC to enter into the Xtron and Firna bonds.

Round-tripping and falsification of accounts

18 As revealed by the evidence adduced at trial, there was never any financial “return” derived from any of Xtron’s and Firna’s Crossover-related activities. Instead, when the time came to deal with the auditors’ queries and to address Sim Guan Seng’s concerns, they resorted to removing more funds from the BF and also the General Fund under the pretext of making further “investments” into Tranches 10 and 11 of the SOF and purportedly for a building purchase by Xtron through the ARLA. The round-tripping transactions were crafted to create the appearance that these were genuine transactions involving the redemption of bonds when they were not. They were not genuine transactions because the accused persons controlled these transactions every step of the way, and the substance of it was that CHC was channelling money through various conduits in order to pay itself.

19 Given that Ye Peng, Eng Han, Serina and Sharon Tan (“Sharon”) were fully aware of the whole series of transactions, they could not have believed that Tranches 10 and 11 of the SOF were genuine investments, or that the payment under ARLA was a building-related expense. They say that they viewed all this as “restructuring”, but that to my mind is fundamentally inconsistent with a belief that the transactions were genuine investments or building-related expenses, and this inability to provide a coherent explanation for their conduct strongly suggests that they knew they were not legally entitled to cause CHC to enter into these transactions. They may have apprised the CHC board of an earlier version of the transactions, but they kept that knowledge from the lawyers and the auditors. Taking into account all the circumstances, I am satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the fourth to sixth charges have been made out against them.

20 I am also satisfied that there was falsification of CHC’s accounts following from the attempts to disguise the SOF and ARLA transactions as genuine transactions. In relation to the ninth charge, the accounting entry recording a redemption of Xtron bonds in the form of a set-off against advance rental was false, because it was not a case of CHC and Xtron making independent decisions to pay advance rental on one hand and redeem bonds on the other. I find that the accused persons knew that false accounting entries would have to be made pursuant to their plan to create the appearance of redemption of bonds, and hence I find that they each had intent to defraud. I am therefore satisfied that the seventh to tenth charges have been made out against Ye Peng, Eng Han, Serina and Sharon.

Objective evidence and inferences

21 I note that there was an extensive record which comprised an elaborate patchwork of emails, Blackberry messages, phone SMSs, hard copy documents and numerous other documented exchanges in some form or other. The fact that there was a mass of available evidence which when woven together amounted to a paper trail is not necessarily indicative of innocence. In my view insofar as much of it was incriminating, it is more suggestive of a mindset of presumptuousness or boldness, demonstrating that the accused persons were overconfident in their belief that they could replace the funds in time before suspicions were aroused.

22 The case against the accused persons depended heavily on inferences to be drawn from the objective evidence. Much of these inferences can be readily drawn as the tenor and language in the communications adduced at trial strongly point to their dishonest intent. In short, the documentary evidence goes a long way in demonstrating their subjectively guilty knowledge. I am not convinced that they have raised any reasonable doubt in this regard.

23 I find that the accused persons were variously inextricably entangled in two conspiracies to misuse CHC’s funds. One conspiracy consisted of misusing BF monies for the Crossover, and the other involved misusing CHC’s funds, a substantial portion of which comprised BF monies, to create the appearance of bond redemptions and to defraud the auditors via falsified accounts through the various roles they played. Each of them participated and functioned in their own way as crucial cogs in the machinery. Although there are distinctions in their respective levels of knowledge and participation, I am unable to discern any rational basis to exclude any of them from being implicated and characterised as conspirators.

Beliefs, motives and mindsets

24 Much of the defence centred on the beliefs and motivations of the accused persons. If it can be shown that they genuinely, honestly and reasonably held the view that what they were doing was legitimate in the sense that they were legally entitled to do it, and they went ahead to act in good faith as a result, I think there may well be room for doubt as to whether they had acted dishonestly. The weight of the evidence however points to a finding that they knew they were acting dishonestly and I am unable to conclude otherwise.

25 Where professional advice was sought, this was really mainly an attempt to seek out self-supporting confirmatory advice based on selectively-
disclosed information. They omitted mention of the crucial fact that CHC remained in control of Xtron and would correspondingly control the use of the funds. They provided leading questions for belief confirmation and support from only those advisors whom they trusted to support the Crossover vision and were quick to reject or filter out any disconfirming information.

26 The accused persons chose to support the Crossover vision and to act and participate in acts in support of it. The Crossover became a comprehensive logic for justifying their beliefs and actions, and for doing whatever was expedient for its advancement. The pervasive mindset seemed to be one of short-term expediency; the use of means involving dubious methods was worth the risk to them if there was some hope of longer-term gain.

Conclusion

27 In their defence, all the accused persons testified largely to the same effect: they love CHC and would not have wished to do harm to CHC. They never intended to cause loss to CHC. They consulted and cleared their proposals with their lawyers, the auditors and the CHC Board. They were motivated by CHC’s cultural mandate and they believed in the Crossover vision. They pointed to pure motives and a justifiable purpose in the use of CHC’s funds. Ultimately the funds which were removed were for Church purposes and were returned to CHC.

28 The crux of their defence was that there was no conspiracy and no dishonesty. All six would never intend to cause harm or loss to CHC and the ultimate objectives were in furtherance of the Great Commission. It may be arguable that all of them thought they were not acting dishonestly to cause wrongful loss since no permanent loss was intended, but this was premised on their unquestioning trust and belief in Kong Hee and their confidence that the Crossover would succeed. Thus they convinced themselves that it was both morally and legally permissible to temporarily use the money from CHC’s funds when they knew it was not.

29 The accused persons chose to engage in covert operations and conspiratorial cover-ups. They contrived to create cover stories and clever round-trips concealing their unlawful conduct. They chose to participate in the conspiracy to misuse CHC’s funds, which included siphoning off large amounts from the BF for Sun Ho’s music career and eventually for the round-tripping transactions to enable the bond redemptions. They chose to defraud the auditors with falsified accounts suggesting a series of genuine transactions for the redemption of bonds and advance rental. The evidence points overwhelmingly to a finding that they had all acted dishonestly and in breach of the trust reposed in them and they played their respective roles in a conspiracy with intent to cause wrongful loss to CHC and to defraud the auditors.

30 I am therefore satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the six accused persons are guilty of all the charges that have been brought against them. I note that all of them believed that they had acted in what they considered to be the best interests of CHC. There is no evidence of any wrongful gain – that was never the prosecution’s case in any event as the charges were premised on wrongful loss caused to CHC through the misappropriation of CHC’s funds.

31 I consider that John Lam, Eng Han, Serina and Sharon were all acting in accordance with the instructions of people they considered to be their spiritual leaders deserving of their trust and deference, and Ye Peng, although a leader in his own right, similarly trusted completely the leadership of Kong Hee. But no matter how pure the motive or how ingrained the trust in one’s leaders, regardless of the context in which that trust operates, these do not exonerate an accused person from criminal liability if all the elements of an offence are made out. In my judgment all the elements of the relevant offences have indeed been made out. Accordingly, the accused persons stand convicted as follows:

(a) John Lam is convicted on the first to third charges;

(b) Kong Hee is convicted on the first to third charges;

(c) Sharon is convicted on the fourth to tenth charges;

(d) Eng Han is convicted on the first to tenth charges;

(e) Ye Peng is convicted on the first to tenth charges; and

(f) Serina is convicted on the first to tenth charges.


Source: PDF, https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B3A-00dAvijTNXAyaGEyLUtZdW8/view?pli=1. (Accessed 23/10/2015.)

Pringle links Satan’s hand to Singaporean Courts: “[Satan] thinks if he attacks the church it’s going to die”

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[UPDATE 27/10/2015: Transcript of video added]

In the below article written by Phil Pringle and in his YouTube video, Phil Pringle once again claims Kong Hee’s innocence to his church, once again insinuating that the Singaporean courts are being used by the devil.

Worse still in the video, Phil Pringle is deliberately throwing pictures out to portray Kong Hee as Christ and the Singaporean authorities as the corrupt court of the Sanhedrin, who relied on blood money and false accusation to murder Jesus. This is no different to Kong Hee’s message at Presence Conference 2012 to win blind support for his case in front of hundreds and thousands of Christians around the world.

Why is it acceptable to portray the Singaporean government as slanderous murderous men?

Furthermore, Pringle in his video also portrays Kong Hee as the Apostle Peter before governing authorities. But there is a huge difference between the Apostles and Kong Hee. They were persecuted for preaching the gospel and falsely accused because of their message.

However, Kong Hee is not in court because the government wants him to stop preaching the gospel. He is in court for mishandling church funds of up to $46,000,000 to finance his wife’s musical career. That’s a far cry from the “crimes” of the Apostles.

Phil Pringle writes,

PHIL PRINGLE COMMENT ON KONG HEE COURT CASE

This Wednesday, the CHC court case will end, and a verdict will be read over Kong Hee. Our job as fellow believers is to stand in faith with our brother.


On Wednesday 21st October, Pastor Kong Hee’s court case in Singapore will conclude and a verdict will be read. Below is video footage containing my comments on the matter. This video was recorded during our 6 p.m. service at C3 Church Oxford Falls.

When you’re building the Church, you’re never going to be found without a fight. Our job as fellow believers is to stand with each other when we are facing trouble. At the end of the day, it’s easy to stand for Jesus, but it’s more challenging to stand for one of his servants when they are facing difficulty. In this coming week, our good friend Pastor Kong Hee (Senior Pastor of City Harvest Church, Singapore) is going to be standing in a courtroom and a verdict will be passed on him after a 5 year long trial – the longest trial in Singapore’s history. I know Pastor Kong Hee to be an honest, true and faithful minister of Christ. He has also been extraordinarily effective in raising up one of the truly great churches (CHC) in the world, bringing hundreds of thousands of people to Christ. Jesus has told us this kind of advancement would not go uncontested. We must be prepared to be immovable, strong and faithful to Christ through all the challenges we face in building His Church. Ultimately, it is the Courts job to arrive at a verdict. But we are praying for victory. There is a sentiment against believers, but the devil has always got it wrong. He thinks if he attacks the church it’s going to die, he even tried it with Jesus, but He just came up out of the ground again. I believe we have a victorious Christ ruling over His house, His Church and His Kingdom.

You can find a reliable summary of the trial available here: http://www.citynews.sg/2015/09/city-harvest-church-trial-15-sep-2015-video/

See you in church!

Source: Phil Pringle, PHIL PRINGLE COMMENT ON KONG HEE COURT CASE, http://philpringle.com/blog-/phil-pringle-comment-on-kong-hee-court-case#.VibwGfmqqkr, Published 21/10/2015. (Accessed 21/10/2015.)

TRANSCRIPT

“I want to take a second, for us all just to take a minute to pray for Pastor Kong Hee.

This Wednesday he is going to be standing in a court room in Singapore after five years of trial, the longest running trial in Singapore history. And so I’m going to go up there and stand with him in the court room and ahh you know it’s not my job to judge, rights and wrongs but I do believe it is our job to stand with people who are in struggling situations.

He is one of the most pure hearted, holy men of God I know. One of the most devoted, dedicated, like rugged soldiers for Christ that I’ve ever met. There are some people that are like ‘I’m not so sure I actually want to try to stand but Kong Hee he’s impeccable in integrity in these areas and it’s just that he’s been caught up in it.

This has become a very complicated processes, the prosecution has not been able to provide one piece of evidence of him wrongfully gaining anything or the congregation wrongfully loosing anything, in terms of finances.

But as I say it’s not our part to reach that judgment, that’s in the court’s hands. And do you know Paul and Peter, a lot of these guys found themselves in very difficult situations with the Government authorities and put in predicaments that were scary for the Christians cause they were associated with them and ahh when Jesus got convicted as a criminal and was sent to the cross to die, it was pretty difficult for the disciples to say, ‘we know him, he’s a friend’ they scattered and I don’t want to be that, I want to say I’m standing, I don’t understand everything all the time but I think when we see a good brother, a faithful brother in trouble we should stand with them, in Jesus name.

So let’s pray for one minute here for him right now, Lord we pray for your hand to be upon Pastor Kong and the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be in his life, let the power of Christ rest on him, in Jesus name. Let a miracle come to pass, a miracle of deliverance and victory by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, in Jesus name, let your presence fall now on our brother and those other defendants, let them all know the power of God on their life. In Jesus mighty name we believe God, Your presence, Your power, Your Holy Spirit falling in Jesus mighty name, our God we praise You.”