THE TEMASEK TIMES

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An analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church

Posted by temasektimes on June 27, 2012

Although I am aware that City Harvest is one of the richest churches in Singapore, I am still shocked that it is rich enough to pay $310 million dollars for a stake in Suntec City. Nevertheless, an entity which is able to amass such wealth is certainly worth studying. I was determined to understand the secrets to the church’s wealth.

I apologize upfront if the points raised give offense to loyal followers of City Harvest Church. Please regard this article as a business analysis of the factors that contribute to the wealth of City Harvest Church, not as an insinuation that the Church got rich through questionable means. The fact is that CHC is very rich and this makes for a fascinating academic exercise to examine its sources of wealth. Just treat it as a business case study. I have tried my best to stick to the facts. Please correct me if there are factual mistakes. However, if there are differences in opinions, please disagree with courtesy.

1. Clever packaging of Sunday services

The income of a church is dependent on the tithes collected (10% of income from church-members). Therefore, the earning power of a church is highly dependent on its ability to retain its existing church members and attract new ones. The larger the church membership, the greater its earnings.

I watched a sample of CHC weekend service on its website.  Compared to the boring Sunday classes I attended as a kid, CHC church service was most refreshing (Watch “The 10 Laws Of The Harvest”). The beginning part resembles a rock concert with good singing and enthusiastic audience. It is an entertaining way to enjoy your Sunday mornings. Going to church becomes a weekly event to look forward to rather than a chore to attend to.

With church services so well packaged for its customers, its customer retention rate and new customer acquisition figures should look good.

2. Extra revenue in the form of advertisements, sales of CDs

This church is unlike the other churches I know. It generates extra revenue through advertisements during its Sunday service (watch the videos). It sells audio CDs on its website. There is an online shopping cart for convenience to those who want to buy online.

3. Efficient collection of tithes

Church-members can pay their tithe online via credit card, eNets or even Giro!! Once members started donating using Giro, the earnings quality of the church improves. Donation collected via Giro tend to be more stable.

With a globalised economy, people travel round the world a lot and may miss Sunday services. In the past, the churches will lose income when these members fail to turn up to pay their tithe. Now, with online payment, they can continue collecting the tithe even when the church-member is working overseas for an extended period of time. With Giro, the church can continue collecting tithes for a few more months even when the member leaves the church as people have a habit of forgetting what they pay on Giro.

4. 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns on your church donations

This is where the genius of CHC lies and the secret to its superior earning power. In fact, I have yet to encounter any public-listed company on SGX, HKSE, NYSE, Nasdaq that demonstrates better potential.

The pastor preaches that God will give 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns on your tithe. But, you have to be generous in your donations first so that you will receive in harvest proportions. I guess that is the origin of the name City Harvest. Please watch the video “The 10 Laws Of The Harvest” yourself in its entirety and interpret for yourself.

It is a message that cleverly uses an astute understanding of human nature to maximize profits. If I were a CHC member, I will be tempted to increase my tithe as much as possible. Not mincing my words, I am doing it out of pure greed. I do not think I will be alone. It is perfectly fine if members of CHC strongly disagree and thinks that I am not representative for most of them. After all, I can only speak for myself.

5. Quality of customers

With the 100-fold return message, the kind of church members attracted will be most conducive to profit-making. Money-minded people will be attracted to the church. These money-minded people tend to be ambitious and have a great desire to make lots of money. Millionaire minds have a higher chance to become rich. Hence, the quality of customers that CHC attracts are of the highest quality. The richer the church-member, the higher is the church’s tithe per member.

Customer quality will be enhanced through the passage of time due to survivor bias. Suppose out of this pool of Millionaire-Mind Christians, 50% become satisfactorily rich and the remaining 50% still unsatisfactorily middle-class. The 50% who got rich will donate even more because they think their source of wealth comes from their donations. It is most unlikely they will cut back on their tithes  because they will be afraid God will punish them by cutting back the returns. If they are not afraid, the church will be there to warn them not to do so. The remaining 50% who did not get rich will be disillusioned and probably leave the church. The loss is of little significance to the church. These people are not rich and their tithes will not amount to much.

Many Christians will be disgusted with the concept of using tithes to get rich. These people will probably leave the church after attending a few Sunday services. Again, the loss is of little significance to CHC. These people will not be highly profitable to the church even if they are rich because they are not going to tithe as much as the others who believe their tithes is the way to wealth.

To the credit of the Pastor, I think he has devised a wonderful process of filtering out non-profitable customers and sucking in the lucrative ones. There is only so much physical space that a church can have to service its church-members. To maximize profits, the church has to ensure that each unit of space is used for servicing lucrative customers.

6. Kill off competition

CHC has tremendous economic moat that kills off competition. In the video “The 10 Laws of The Harvest”, the Pastor cited Law #5 “Your Seed must be planted in Good Ground” which is an effective weapon in killing off his competition – the smaller churches. Many Christians feel that they ought to donate to the needy, smaller churches rather than rich mega-churches like CHC. The Pastor’s argument is that you do not get good returns like 100-fold in the small churches. You have to donate to mega-churches to maximize returns on your tithe because they have a track record (rich church members). In other words, the seed is not planted in good ground when you donate to the small churches. In his own words, “I don’t always give to the neediest but to the ground that will give the greatest yield”. To illustrate his point, he used an analogy on weak banks and strong banks. You do not deposit your money in a weak bank because it desperately needs fresh funds to survive. You deposit your money in a strong bank which invests your money wisely and yields good returns.

The church has an iron-grip on its members who believe its message. As illustrated previously, its customer base is of the highest quality. This is its track record. Existing church-members will definitely not move to another smaller, needier church with poorer track record.

It has a very strong economic moat as it is very hard for its competitors to get its customers to switch over.

7. Providing a place where the rich can network

As the Pastor said, his church provides a good ground on which you can grow your riches. Rightly so, indeed. For property agents or insurance agents trying to hit their sales quota, City Harvest Church will be an ideal place to hunt for lucrative clients. This church concentrates several rich and money-minded people into a single location. The church offers a unique advantage to sell things. In a religious setting, people tend less to be on their guard and can be more easily persuaded to part with their money.

Businessmen also like to network in places where there are rich and powerful people who will come in handy in future. The Pastor has done a good job in gathering such people in his church and it makes good sense to make use of this advantage by joining the church.

The rich will attract more rich and the gathering moss snowballs to provide an ever-rising pool of donation to the church.

8. Preach what people like to hear. 

As a teenager, I was discouraged when I read Bible verses like Matthew 19:23-24 “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” and Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

It seems like if I become rich, I will be condemned to hell.

In the video “Rich God? Poor God?”, the Pastor preaches that it is absolutely ok to be rich. Some prophets of God were very rich. (Abraham, David, Solomon)

There is nothing more musical to a money-minded person than to hear that God is on your side in your pursuit of money. The church-members who are more money-minded will love this and donate even more.

9. God pays for the returns, not the church. 

The church collects the money, but God pays for the returns. The church does not need to pay a single cent for the 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns on the donations.

This is as good as you do the work for me, but not only do I not pay you, I shall also collect your salary. You toil and sweat, but I shall eat your bread. God must surely be a miracle worker and people will pay handsomely for his service. I cannot think of a more advantageous economic position to be in to be able to collect money rendered by a miracle worker.

10. Social pressure to conform in church settings and ease of influence

If everyone around you donates, it is hard not to. When everyone else makes sacrifice, the one who does not will look like an outcast. There is tremendous pressure to conform in such a herd setting.

11. Tremendous future earning power

Take a look at the congregation and you will notice the large number of young people. The income growth of young people is the fastest in the population. In the Pastor’s words, “You may be poor today, but you will not be poor all your life”. That is a long-term business plan in cultivating its customers.

Therefore, if CHC can be viewed as a growth stock, its prospects are very bright as its young customers will accelerate its earnings.

12. Stable earnings in times of depression

Besides being a growth stock, CHC can also be viewed as a defensive and safe stock. People pray hardest when they fall in hard times. Strangely, some people have an urge to tithe when they are in financial troubles.

In fact, in the video (The 10 Laws Of The Harvest), a couple came on stage. They talked about the dire straits they were in when they started out. Things change when God challenged them to GIVE themselves out of poverty (exact words from the speaker). Despite not having any money, they still pledged $250 to the building fund. In his own words again, “we often emptied our savings to give to the House of God knowing that this will be the answer to our financial problems”. Hence, not only will the church earnings be stable in times of depression, it may even grow.

13. Using Prosperity as a theme to appeal to customers

The Pastor preaches Prosperity Gospel which resolves around money. His business genius lies in choosing this theme for his church. Money has universal appeal. Everyone worships money regardless of race, culture, age, gender, sexual orientation. In one fell swoop, he has enlarged his market to cover the entire world. It is much easier to convert people to your belief by dangling money and promising great prosperity. After all, who does not love money?

By enlarging his potential market catchment with a greater chance of increasing membership, more donations will flow in.

14. Tax benefits as church is registered as a charity

This creates a huge, unfair advantage compared to all other businesses. This is what landed CHC in controversy. Enough has been said.

If one day the Pastor switches to become a businessman, I will definitely consider investing in the company that he heads and founds.

If City Harvest Church is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, I will certainly buy it. It will be one stock that I am confident of hitting a return of 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns.

PS: People tend not to question critically when it comes to religion. A charming smooth talker can easily sway minds with his interpretation of the Bible. In the final analysis, Faith is about simply believing. You cannot approach it scientifically because there is no way to test religious theories using the scientific method. We will only know the real truth when judgment day comes. 

The danger is that there is no accountability on the part of the preacher on whether his teachings are true or not. Even he himself cannot be sure that his interpretations is 100% correct. Given human nature, the interpretations will tend to be self-serving. In fact, it is not only dangerous to the students but to the teacher as well. People will believe their own lies if it yields tempting benefits. That was how Wall Street drank its own Kool-Aid.

While I respect the Pastor for his business savvy, I cannot agree with his interpretations of the Bible. I pray for good health, peace and harmony for my family. Money-minded as I am, I am not comfortable with commercializing my relationship with God by asking for money. The Christian God that I know from my own reading of the Bible is not 财神爷. Of course, if God wants to drop money from heaven on me, I will be more than happy to embrace it.

*The above article was contributed to us by the writer and was first published in 2010 here

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181 Responses to “An analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church”

  1. BrilliantWork said

    This is one of the most brilliant analysis on City Harvest that I have read so far which I have read a lot. It is not offensive and I can actually sense that the writer tried to be objective and factual. Whatever points made can be verified by watching the original videos.

    Really one of the rare gems on alternative media that beats most of the articles written by the professional journalists in Singapore Press Holdings.

    Well done, Temasek Times!!

    • Milo said

      I read this 2 yrs back… it is not originated from this fake TR site known as temasektimes

      • Milo said

        Read the last sentence in the article… “*The above article was contributed to us by the writer and was first published in 2010 here”

      • Sashaqueenie said

        If it’s good, it doesn’t matter if it was written 2 years ago or somewhere else. Clearly, it has struck a chord with at least one other person today, 2012.

      • ordinaryjoe said

        well, i guess your chord is utterly out of tune to think you’re actually ‘in tune’ to begin with such bias and shallow analysis…amusing.

      • fatman said

        impressive factual analysis…

      • Poorman said

        Why did’nt you, shit times and the authority not bring this up to warn the naive sheeps and Sinkies until this brilliant article published by TRE than you cried foul. The authority felt the loss of income tax and GST revenues and these are the facts that CHC is in shit house.

    • kuan er said

      We are not customers of City Harvest Church.We are a family. Even at times when someone earns a dollar…it’s ok to give 10 cents as tithe.

      • Sashaqueenie said

        10 cents? LOL That’s not what I heard. Pastor Kong already said he doesn’t like to hear the jingle of coins. Only the dollar notes fluttering.

      • Anoymous said

        So true..he mentioned about net too..put coins and it will slipped through the hole. Thus, members will tend to donate notes.

      • Jimmy said

        It’s a sad thing, government should set a compulsory rule, every child income must gave to the parent 20% of their salary monthly first, before gaving 10% to any society. I know some churchs who collected from member 10 to 20% of their salary, the monies channel to USA where the top pastor use the monies to enjoy life by flying first class airline everything spend on first class, even sexy bonde sitting on ther lap in night club.

      • Micky said

        A compulsory 20% of income to parents? My father never paid a single cent to me during my school day, although he earned a lot, he was just too busy with his many girlfriends. After my mother passed away, I got only his scolds whenever I asked for money for food and school. It was my relatives and the government’s scholarships that helped me through. Where was he when I was in need? Where was he when I was hungry? Should I still pay him 20% of my income?

      • SCR said

        government? i think they will increase ur tax income bracket first then.

    • RToday said

      I wish to add one more point to this excellent piece.

      15. Isolation from external influences.

      City Harvest Church members or their practices and policies actively promote interaction with members and prevents or discourages attendees from socializing with non-members of the Church through a variety of active and passive means. This form of social control is substantially important to the wider mechanics of the church and its relationships with its members. With regard narrowly to its members, this practice reinforces the church’s messages and inhibits their questioning.

      The message of who to interact with is disseminated and reinforced through the church’s system of organistion and communication: cell groups. Cell groups are groups of approximately twenty members. They are organised as youth, young adult or adult groups. As the Church has hundreds of cell groups, they are grouped by region and known by a number, such as E122 or W245. Each is led by a member of some years of experience, known as a Cell Group Leader, and several cell groups are led by an adult Zone Supervisor.

      The cell group meets weekly at the home of one of its members for social interaction (referred to as “fellowship”), dissemination of the Church’s thematic Christian messages and praise and worship. The cell group attends weekend services and participates in other “fellowship” social activities together. New members to the Church, who have freshly renounced their status of “pre-believers” or who are in the process of conversion, are introduced to and encouraged to join a group. A substantial amount of time is spent in the group and strong friendships are formed with its members.

      Cell group leaders have promulgated messages to socialize only within the Church to the exclusion of friendships with non-members. This applies to dating and befriending persons who are not members of City Harvest Curch, to include members of other churches, for the stated reason that persons who attend churches opposed to City Harvest’s prosperity gospel will have influence should not be allowed to influence the member.

      The cell group’s influence on a member is strong. Some cell group leaders have required members to seek their permission to date other persons, to be granted based variously on their academic performance, character and the church attended by the prospective partner.

      Passively, the Church makes socializing with non-members difficult or impossible by consuming a large slice of any person’s time available away from work or family.

      A member of City Harvest Church can expect to serve in his or her role at a ministry at one of the weekend services, attend another service as a member of the (paying) audience, and attend a weekday practice if he or she is in a performing ministry (such as the choir) or a training session if he or she is in a ministry that involves usher or security duty. Members are highly encouraged to serve on a church ministry. It is incidentally obvious that the Church makes substantial savings on certain essential services.

      He or she would also attend a weekly Cell Group session at the home of one of the Cell Group’s members. Additional “periodic” activities include stadium-style Christian “conferences” and for youths, an annual event known as the Parade of Schools. This is a competition between students of different educational establishments in performances that typically combines elements of gymnastics, cheerleading and dance, and for which extensive practice is required.

      • Ah Seng said

        Irrelevant point, cell group is practise in every church denomination but you don’t see them gathering big wealth or siphoning away money. Influence of cell group is not easy and not that great. It is a simple case of a charasmatic leader who preach to people what they want to hear which is prosperity gospel. From there he gathers lots of money and over time with his power and confidence they start to deviate. History has shown that charsmatic leader has over-whelming influence over the human mind. Once they deviate it will become a threat to the human society. There is no other better example then Adolf Hitler.

      • Cell groups are practiced everywhere in most churches. Serving is also very common in churches as well. Most of things are run by the ‘lay people’ (ie, people who are not full time staff of the church) and many people do like to serve in whatever ways they can contribute to the Lord.

        If everyone serves, then of course the church will save a lot of money. Saving money is not the issue here.

      • RToday said

        It is easy to see that after investing the majority of one’s time and social efforts within the Church, a person considering leaving the church will find himself or herself alone in the world. The Church becomes one’s life.

        The charisma of Kong Hee and the seductive aura of the prosperity gospel are a separate and equally valid point. They warrant a separate discussion. Their power and influence over the human mind are enhanced by friendships with like minded people within the Church and and isolation from differing opinions originating from outside the Church.

      • RToday said

        The threat of losing all of one’s friends is a persuasive deterrent to any member who considers leaving the church.

        Continued tithing and contributions become a small price to pay, in comparison to losing all friendships one has, made easier by being in the company of people who likewise tithe and rationalise the tithing as glorious to god or beneficial to the self.

      • SCR said

        why would someone even contribute information when they do not have the whole picture? interesting people around this earth nowsaday. could be lack of recognition somewhere.

      • Peft said

        Truth is as a non-christian, I have had friends drift away after joining the church. I might not be christian but I am not a bad person. Unfortunately I have been hurt when friends decide that being secular means that we cannot share what we used to share, or talk like we used to talk. So whether its this particular church or any other church – I can attest that it was impossible for my friend to postpone any of her church activities (that happened weekly) for a meet-up every 2 or 3 months.

        And yet now she still demands to be informed first hand of the activities of my life, when I am told of hers via FB-broadcast, and is hurt when she isn’t invited to close-friends-only activities.

        Knowing quite a few people prior to their joining mega-churches, I cannot say that any of them have been vastly improved in any way.

        And from some of the commentors here… Who am I to judge? I have been around and worked hard to be around them for close to 20 years.

  2. clown said

    cannot find
    Watch “The 10 Laws Of The Harvest”

  3. PAP IS PRO ALIEN PARTY said

    Jack Neo the adulterer and a loyal member of the PAP attends City Harvest church.

    • Jack said

      who are they?

    • Sashaqueenie said

      Now it explains everything. The root of all evil.

    • RToday said

      The New Paper reported yesterday that Foyce Le Xuan was advised by her pastor from City Harvest Church (CHC) not to speak to the media about revealing all the details of Jack Neo’s advances towards her, six years ago.

      It would have been alright if Foyce got this advice from a pastor from any other church but CHC. Why? Because CHC is the same church that Jack Neo and his family go to; and they are being counselled by the pastors from this church as well.

      Is there a conflict of interest in CHC counselling both Jack Neo and Foyce Le Xuan?

      CHC is, after all building a multi-million dollar, 12,000-seater building and it is in their interest to keep the best donor in its membership, to see the building project through.

      The remorseful Jack Neo may very well turn out to be one of the biggest contributors towards this building project. It is human tendency to cover-up our sins with money. Is that not the reason why many temples and churches coffers overflow?

      Even if Jack and Foyce are being counselled by two different pastors, do they not come under a hierarchy? Do these pastors themselves receive their counsel from the ‘higher-ups’, who guide them on what to say to Jack and more importantly to Foyce?

      It seems that it is precisely because the church had advised her not to speak with the media that she is unable to move on. Foyce after all, seem to have so much of bitterness in her heart towards Jack, describing him as ‘devil’ and ‘inhuman’; and it is good for her to come clean to the media – especially in this case, lest she be made out to be an attention-seeker or even worse, a liar.

      If the rationale behind the advice really is that going to the media is not a good way to resolve such issues, should not have the pastors advised Jack the same? Why did a pastor from CHC accompany Jack and his wife for the press conference (which went horribly wrong), if this was indeed their fundamental reason?

      It seems that Foyce has evidence that she was harassed by Jack and the pastors at City Harvest Church should not hold-back Foyce from coming forth to the media with this evidence – especially since Jack has conducted his case through the media.

  4. Lollapalooza In SG said

    Good analysis and I do agree on the points on how the Church attracts more wealthy members . They have cell groups where people of the same status meet weekly to pray, share their lives and network. And members have all the support from their cell group and church members when needed (this can be a good and bad).

    I’ve been to their service a couple of times and I witness the support and donations given by members to a mother whose child has contracted terminal disease (this is good support). However, when Paster Kong is charged with fraud now, many members immediately jump to his defense, saying “it’s normal for human to err” and 200+ supporters even went to the court to show their support. Yes, it is normal for human to err but forgiveness should not be given so easily. Not when the error is committed “intentionally”, at such a large scale ($23m!), and the offender has not admitted his error or show any remorse (this is bad support).

    I can see that you are very careful in your posts, having disclaimers, so as not to “offend” the supporters. I too have seen some posts taken down from FB after “pressures” from supporters. The supporter group is behaving like a cult now, using their influence to pressure others against posting negative remarks on their beloved Pastor/s.

    The above are facts that I’ve seen personally or read from the papers or observed on FB and I did not make anything up. So I hope I will not offend anybody too.

    • steph said

      You know what? i agree with you saying that “The supporter group is behaving like a cult now”.
      The way they are jumping to the defence of Kong Hee and company is scary.
      I have several friends who are attending CHC on my twitter and fb and all I see them is them jumping into the support of their pastor and lamenting that CHC as one etc..
      It is annoying and disgusting to read those tweets and wall posts.
      No, Im not angry at the religion.
      What angers and disturbs me is that, why do those followers fail to separate a man who has committed sins and a church who is just lead by the man. There is a difference and it disgusts me to read that they are using the church name to defend Kong Hee.
      I believe no man get charged for no solid reasons and there must have been evidences of them committing the crimes before they are brought to court.

      It leaves me wondering what has been going on for their services

    • Novelltie said

      i thought the last time some gang members went to court to support their fellow member in the Downtown East tragedy, they were all arrested?

      http://thecourtroom.stomp.com.sg/stomp/sgseen/what_bugs_me/492408/fifth_youth_arrested_for_downtown_east_murder.html

  5. Regime Change said

    This reminds me of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, an Indian mystic and pseudo-philisopher who had a huge cult following in the 1970s and 1980s in the U.S.A, and amassed a fortune in donations. What did he do with the money? He bought 76 Rolls-Royces for himself. (Seventy-six, it’s not a typo.)

    When will people learn that religion (any religion), has nothing to do with money. All you need is faith in whatever God you believe in, be a good human and don’t do to others what you don’t want others to do to you. That’s all, and you will go to heaven or paradise or Elysium or Valhalla.

    • New Guard said

      Loved your last statement.

      I’m a man of science.

      There are too many weak minded people out there who require spiritual support to carry on with life. And with the whole harsh and unforgiving Singapore lifestyle. What more can we expect such people to become? The fall victim and become the cows of the farm and milked.

      Gone are the days of true religion, where people are able to fulfill true spiritual guidance; It’s all about the money now.

      • Angeline said

        New Guard, you said “with the whole harsh and unforgiving Singapore lifestyle”. You are definitely a Filipino. Please don’t say such thing. You met with a bad encounter and you form this perception. There are many kind and forgiving Singaporeans who makes life very pleasant. Compared to Filipines, we have fewer kidnaps, killings and brutal murders.

        You said ‘such people’- so you are not such people, are you superior? you are working here, I presume. So why do you come here to milk us? Aren’t you know one of those ‘such people’.?

      • Mrs Squarepants said

        Why is this person automatically a Filipino? I think he meant Singapore is competitive, and life here is a rat race. At least that is what I interpreted. Just ask any P6 student going through PSLE and they will know what “harsh and unforgiving” mean. It starts at an early age here. Let’s not go off topic and start bashing foreigners. I am a Christian, I am not weak minded and I do not take offence to his opinion.

        The problem I have with CHC is that they forget who their leader is. It should be God, not the pastor. But you can’t blame them as they are mostly young (from reading press reports) and new Christians, so the doctrine of the Prosperity Gospel is not repulsive to them, even though it goes against pretty much the gist of Christianity, or any organized religion for that matter (maybe except for Scientology).

      • Peft said

        personal attacks doesn’t improve the reputation of christians.

  6. Concerned Singaporean said

    Every layer, every facet stinks of greed. No one person can muster so much blind faith if followers don’t see the wrongdoing. This church is certainly known to want to procure the rich Singaporeans. And the rich Singaporeans have businesses etc to want to benefit from the connections and business referrals. The belief that fellow church members are trustworthy and safe. The man lives in a penthouse in Sentosa Cove. And churchgoers are so blind not to be able to smell a rat? The CAD and IRAS certainly needs to be smarter here, and watch the people in Singapore who lead very unusual flashy lifestyles. Especially the overseas Singaporeans who spend money like water. Gotta check their finances and source of funds. For a long time already, there have been rumours of Singaporeans laundering money for illegal money from PRCs, who are paid millions doing the deed. MAS can’t say they do not have a tab on large funds movements. That would be folly.

  7. Open your eyes said

    There is unwavering support for Pastor Kong and Sun Ho. They come out in numbers to ask outsiders not to judge. The truth is God has made his judgment. He guided the truth to come out. He didn’t allow Sun Ho’s career to prosper behind all the wrongdoings. God has made his mind about who and what kind of followers he wants. He will forgive. But he won’t let this continue in his church. CHC has gone astray.

    • Actually CHC and it’s members have not gone astray, it is the few black sheeps managing and controlling CHC who have abuse the trust of CHC members (if the charges turn out true). I believe CHC members are the most affected and thus deserve our sympathy most. I sincerely hope that what happened will not stop it’s members from continuing to be positive, kind and compassionate to mankind.

      • Trevor said

        fairly tales for adults SOLD by con-men.

      • Sashaqueenie said

        The Head of CHC, Pastor Kong, is today charged in court for embezzling funds. The leader and his cronies are just as culpable. Yet the members still defend him??!! They deserve the least sympathies! I hope this group dissolves and the members wake up from this stupor.

      • Of course when I said CHC members deserve our sympathies, I am referring to those who realise they might be conned by their beloved pastors, not those who support them blindly (since they also don’t feel they are cheated)!

    • nomorewalkover said

      Amen to that brother. That is the truth.

    • A Sim said

      I agree with Open Your Eyes. God has finally passed His judgement to allow this fraud and hyprocrisy to be exposed. Because sufficient time and grace have been given to Kong Hee and his cronies to repent already, they did not and therefore they are now exposed and judged. This reminds me of how Judas Iscariot who remained a disciple of Jesus for three and half years, but finally still decided to betray the Lord. Christ knew Judas’ devious mind from the beginning, and yet was patient to give him time to repent but this did not happen at all.
      This is a reminder to Christians, that there is such a thing as wolf in sheepskin in our midst. We should not be naive to believe that at times counterfeit can look like the real thing.

  8. Calvin said

    Very good analysis. I agree with how the prosperity Gospel can be misleading and cause people to interpret the Bible wrongly.

  9. Remember Gemini Chit Fund in the late Sixties. The founder while trying to escape in a helicopter was arrested, convicted and jailed.

  10. Ash said

    This is so informative. I actually did find the reports on the mainstream papers and Yahoo slightly skewed in coverage, but this one tells the reader what they want to know in an inoffensive yet informative manner. Props to the amount of research done as well as the absence of senseless church-bashing both in the article and the comments. If a man does not obey the law, justice must be served, that is the natural order of things. Hopefully churchgoers will be able to move on to better churches and find a leader with real sincerity towards his God and his congregation.

  11. Jonny Ive said

    When will people practice their religion like Mother Theresa? Help the poor instead of living the high life, in a penthouse in Sentosa Cove

  12. One of the best post I have ever read in my life. KUDOS!!!

  13. wilson said

    holy shit
    nice analysis

  14. Curious Christian said

    Hi,

    I can see that you’ve stated your facts and your own knowledge on the bible and what you know of the church. However, can i say honestly that you’re basing all these facts on one video from the many sermons the Pastor has preached? I’m not from CHC nor am I defending the church. I am but just wondering, why obverse / study on a video that will totally help to your study? shouldn’t you be looking at a video that has neutral messages? If you have cross-referenced (lack of better term) to other messages / videos, i guess then its understandable. but to base your study on just one message WILL ultimately prove you are right… i don’t that would be fair to the church themselves? (IMO)

    As I’ve said before, I’m not from CHC but as a christian, I know that God’s word isn’t so much BASED on wealth / prosperity / riches. You yourself have said that in your last few sentences.
    Finally, you also said that

    “If City Harvest Church is listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange, I will certainly buy it. It will be one stock that I am confident of hitting a return of 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns.

    …… Even he himself cannot be sure that his interpretations is 100% correct. Given human nature, the interpretations will tend to be self-serving. ”

    I would like to ask, before you started your case study, what were you aiming for? were your interpretations of that video self-serving to proof that if you had stock in CHC you will get “a return of 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns.”?

    Not saying that your analysis is wrong nor am I offended in anyway as a christian, just some thoughts that came into my mind. :D

    • dontlookhere said

      what are you talking about. i cant make any sense of your post.

      your point is???

    • Faith said

      Ya I also can’t get what you r talking about. I think that you are confused

    • bobby said

      i believe u should rephrase your question… don’t understand what you are trying to say

    • Pablo.R said

      It is really that hard to get what “Curious Christian” said?

      “I don’t think of myself as smart, I just think that I’m surrounded by idiots.”

      His point is simply to question the hidden agenda of the author for his article is written with blatant bias-ness plastered all over it and chose to approach the matter in an un-objective manner by focusing entirely on one single sermons amongst the thousands held.

      p.s. just because someone disclaimed that an article is written in a non-offensive style, does not make it the truth, sometimes, it pays to have a little critical thinking ability.

  15. Pat Tan said

    Karma has taken action

  16. DIY said

    Reminds me of MLM pyramid selling “a return of 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns”. Another Ponzi scheme in the making.

  17. Jerome F Main said

    It just comes to show that we , the layman, the commoner on the street, are totally oblivious to the fact that we are nothing more than just mere gears and cogs in a machine designed specifically to milk wealth out of the population, with the rich and powerful at it’s controls. Secret societies in guise of churches or cults , congregated by the super-rich and elites of this country whose modus operand is pure GREED. Greed for money, greed for other people’s money. Probably fashioned after the Freemasons and alike in their agendas.
    If one of the members refuses to play along, goes out of step or grows a conscience suddenly , then in all likelihood expulsion via charges of corruption or misconduct would result.The same corruption and misconduct that had been tolerated all these while just as long as you keep on paying it forward to friends.
    This country reeks of exploitation for greed. Where profit reigns supreme, public housing prices bordering on the ridiculous , COE costing ridiculously more than the car itself, ERP gentry placements whose logic appears to be the maximization of returns rather than it’s intended regulation of traffic, exorbitant health care cost that even with insurance (MEdishield etc etc) one could not possibly cope. The government hinting to its grey population via state-controlled media that it is cheaper across the border i.e. so please make space for more and more FTs. The uncontrolled influx of both blue and white collar ‘talents’ at the behest of rich MNCs and businesses so as to lower labour costs. Who cares if it’s going to depress wages for it’s citizens or result in social problems etc etc…and lets not forget inflation. The monetary authority ‘negates’ this by appreciating the dollar, their only answer to rising costs. Any fool knows that this does absolutely nothing for us common people on the streets
    It is the evil Empire in Star Wars, the pigs of Animal Farm. When we are called upon or rather coerced into NS, this is what we are protecting. The right of the elites and the super rich to exploit and milk the population for more wealth! We are expendables protecting the rich and their money.

  18. Ron said

    Greed and foolishness. Tithing can make you rich… those who secretly believed in this even if they do not say so, have Greed.

    I love God, I trust the Church… that is foolishness now that it is exposed that the Pastor, their beloved shepard is charged with fraud. Go ahead and give them all your money. I am also a believer in God and I have not suffered but also done well in my career without having to resort to all these nonsence of tithing.

  19. Patrick eng said

    Its not about the amount if the tithes, it’s about how he use the tithes. God has His ways about how His money is used.

  20. anticrimenow said

    http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2010/06/singapores_city_harvest_church.php#comments see all the 1717 comments. since the CAD investigation. This is THE only site that the comments were not closed because this blog was created in Los Angeles. Uncountable forum sessions were closed by asiaone.com during the course of investigation. Truth hurts badly. Allow Kong Hee followers cry out to God, maybe every followers should learn to read balance sheet with the Bible together.

  21. KC said

    As a Christian myself, I was appalled that the Pastor and other people related to the church is alleged to have done such a thing. And I think it’s great to come from your perspective to look into the matter, however, I would like to point out certain things that hopefully may allow your analysis to be more complete, as well as offering my two cents’ worth.

    The so-called “clever packaging of Sunday services” isn’t really that new – many churches around the world have been doing that (of course to various degrees of acceptability, may I add). The one that I went to whenever I’m in Singapore does about the same thing. Of course that church is a much smaller church compared to CHC, but the services are done about the same way, contemporary bands with pop-rock hymns. If you do not listen carefully to the lyrics to the hymns, you would have thought that you are in a concert or something. And yes, the singing isn’t too bad either. Even my church in Hong Kong does that now, to be honest. So I won’t really say CHC attracts people because of the services. Services are just one of the many reasons why people attend a certain church.

    Extra revenue through the sale of merchandise isn’t a new thing too, and it isn’t exclusive to CHC either. Again, churches around the world have been doing that. Some churches have a small corner to sell merchandise that are not manufactured by the church itself (mine has a bookshelf of publications which are published by my own church). Others which are richer in resources have a whole shop devoted to this. I’ve been to churches in Korea (South, of course) and have seen for myself how the churches have a whole floor catered just to sell stuffs. Extra income, definitely, but again, it’s not a CHC-exclusive.

    Efficient collection of tithes – I think many modern churches are doing that because like you suggested, it is a convenient and perhaps more “sure-fire” way to make sure that people do their tithes. But then again, having an efficient collection system doesn’t always mean that people will definitely perform their tithes faithfully and diligently. I, for one, still prefer the old-fashion “putting the cash into an envelope and depositing it into the tithes collection bag”.

    I’m not saying the church is perfect – in fact no church ever is because I’ve heard a pastor once said “the church is a congregation of sinners” – so some of the points you made are valid. For example, a phenomenon in recent years, especially since the trend of megachurches set in, large churches tend to be congregated by people belonging to the middle-class. In that sense, it is no surprise that the income from tithes will be significantly more for these megachurches than the smaller ones. So in a way, your point of making the church a place to network for the rich does have some sense (though I must say that shouldn’t be a purpose of the church). As for the mishandling of the church funds, I noticed that the funds that have been allegedly misused is that for “building” purposes – I presume that means building a new church premise. In fact, many churches nowadays have allowed for its congregations to give their money to the various pools that the church has. For example, my church has funds specially allocated for building new premise, evangelism and evangelists, funds for the old and needy, education support for disadvantaged communities, etc. I’m not sure about the case of CHC, but if let say the funds that they are mishandling is under that of building purpose, and somehow they could justify funding Sun Ho’s secular music career is part of that, and then somehow the congregation actually agrees to that, then we won’t have a case here. But then, that’s stepping into speculating and I’m not going into that.

    By right, churches are supposed to have a core group of people independent of the pastoral staff (i.e the pastors) running the management of the church (including its finances), which is supposed to have been voted democratically by the congregation. This helps to prevent the chief pastor from abusing his/her power. Supposedly, there should be monthly congregational meetings where the congregation is supposed to vote for certain things, such as using the funds for specific purposes, down to accepting new members into the church as part of the registered congregation. Of course, some might argue that the management group is just a rubber stamp that would OK whatever the chief pastor wants to do. But that’s the problem with the people in the group, not the existence of the management group.

    I too am not of the view that people should support the pastor no matter what, which explained why I can’t understand why some of the congregation are jumping to Pastor Kong’s defence right now. I think the biggest danger is when people’s faith in God is being transformed into the faith in one person so much so that no matter what he/she does, it’s always correct. I prefer to think that God will forgive Kong for doing whatever he has done if he has really done it, but the law exists to punish people for that, and I believe the law should hold. Showing support for a troubled pastor is admirable, let’s just hope that it’s not a blind kind of support that people forgets about the wrong deed itself.

    Again, thank you for an insightful piece. Coming from a religion-based angle I’m afraid I can’t agree with everything you mentioned, but that does give me (and perhaps everyone who has a religion) something to think and reflect about. Cheers, mate.

    • XH said

      Wow great response! :)

    • ASDF said

      i dont think anyone gave a shit about what you wrote =/ tl;dr

    • JK said

      I concur. a very fair point of view.
      I think there is a huge diff between the mindset of a believer and a non-believer. and its important that non-believers should take into consideration that CHC is not so much different/extreme from other churches, esp in the points written in this article.

    • mosescheng said

      I agree with your saying that the dangers of someone’s faith for God being transformed into the faith of another person. To me CHC should focus their faith on Christ and not let this matter distract them from their faith

    • Zoe said

      I think it is not uncommon for churches to hv a bookstore that sells merchandise… BUT for the pastor to hv royalty interest in the merchanise yet not want to hide this from the members? I don’t think this is honest, is it? And I am not talking about a small sum too.

    • Peft said

      Best comment/argument so far KC.

  22. the Other Hard Truths said

    Truly Remarkable analysis. We need a similar analysis on the other devilish ‘church’ called New Creation Church. Their modus operandi are the same, even right up to the hairstyle of the so-called ‘pastor’.

    These wolves-in-sheepskin are certainly no pastors, but rather blaspho-pastors. Blatant blasphemy runs in their blood

    • monsterr said

      i’ve been to both chc and ncc. pastor prince’s message has always been about the grace of God and he has never forced or hint that if we don’t give we don’t get rich. if you’ve heard him preach, this guy is truly a blessed man of God, i have never met someone who can bring the word to life like him. of course if someone can point out any weakness it’ll be good to see. on the other hand, first time i went to chc and their cell group, it kinda felt uneasy to be constantly bugged by their members.

  23. Jeyaraj said

    I agree with what Curious Christian said .
    The video used as reference does prove your point and may lead others to take up a similar view point. It is only fair if other samples are cited . With that said , I must admit that the CHC gained wealth through unorthadox ways but we should not discredit the fact that serveral families have benfitted from their wealth and they are always willing to help others. To cut the long story short I feel that there is more to this than meets the eye , in my personal view i see this as an attempt to discredit the organsisation and perhaps loose its stronghold in society . I believe we have seen similar such stories happen all over the world in the cases of OSHO and even the Vatican . I can only hope that the message of God is not tainted and peoples faith in religious institutes does not wane.

  24. Alvin Wee said

    I am doing my PhD in Psychology and am approaching the end of it. I must said that the writer’s analysis of how human would react in such environment is spot on. For those reading this and thinks that I am an anti-christian, let just say that I am a christian and am actively serving in an international ministry. Whether we like it or not. christian are humans and we humans might, and most likely would, behave as what was described by the writer in such “money growing” enviornment.

    • SCR said

      to add to your course of study if it will help you. Christians are called to be sons and daughter of GOD, or child of GOD. so do you think that we are just human being? or Spiritual Being? :)

  25. KP said

    Sadly it seems God became a tool! Is that all for money? It’s a test.

  26. Marikita said

    I concur with this writer.
    I attended just 1 session in chc years ago, in the sermon KH reference one verse in bible for 10 seconds (really) then spent the rest of time talking about Ho sun. I told my friend then that it seems HS is the god here.

    And the wall of the church that day was pasted with lots of Ho sun ….

    That was about 5,6 years back. I did not return to that church because I know already this is fishy

  27. Xero said

    I don’t really agree with a few points. Espically point no. 6. Can you point out where did he said that?
    Point 7: It also a place where people with broken life can meet others and to gain support to move on with their life.
    Point 8: Maybe in mass services; they do that. But privately; they do preach what we don’t like to hear. Espically things that are truth in this age.

    As far as I can see; you are trying to twist certain information to discredit whatever they have done; making the church look like a total bad place. Why not check what else they do that make them what they are today?

    The rest of the point I leave it to you to see through a business mindset. These point are rather debateable depending on whose point of view.

    • Peter said

      Agreed. This article is not an analysis of CHC – it essentially focus’s on one message and draws conclusions about the entire operation of the church. The writer attempts to mask themselves as being independent and objective but really it’s just cynicism and reeks of agenda.

    • bobby said

      yo xero.

      i can’t really answer your first question.

      1) Obviously CHC is a place where people with broken life can meet others and to gain support.. but the main tithe is definitely coming from the rich. from a marketing point of view, i would definitely love to find a place where i can find tons of rich people to promote the stuff im selling. i will also create more business contact for myself to further expend my social network. Therefore, this point is definitely business analysis.

      2) u already say is privately, do you know what do they preach to all the other members in CHC? i believed during mass service, it is influential enough to make them donate money willingly. of course it doesn’t apply to all, but it will help in a sense for those who want are money minded. (targeted audience in business term)

      • Praise the Lord as all this is in his plan. said

        Xero, My prayer this morning to JESUS was to heal the blind once again. Amen.

  28. Bonkers said

    “Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man … living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money.”

    • dontlookhere said

      George Carlin!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gPOfurmrjxo&feature=fvwrel

    • kaypoh said

      Haha, remember watchng “Hollow Man” and lool the guy goes all voyeur peeping at hot babes and all….I’m not sure HE is gonna find all the time u spend in the loo crapping as interesting, but hey, HE sees EVERYTHING! And if u say, like, the F WORD, that’s a demerit, yellow card!

    • kaypoh said

      Oh u either go to the great chalet in the sky, OR the great BBQ pit below, :)

    • mosescheng said

      God is full of love and mercy, he will not send you to a place of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish. He gave us free will to choose how we wish to live. To please him or to disobey him. He has been so merciful to keep postponing his final return, such that a few more souls might realise and repent. Whenever we sin, he griefs. He does not need our money, the entire CHC saga is due to certain leaders whom had a motive of profiteering on the pretence of religion. He loves you too.

      • edmjcund said

        I agree with almost everything you said, except when you said God will not send people to a place of burning, fire, smoke and anguish. I’m convinced that God will indeed judge and those who deserves to be punished will be eternally separated from God. Whether the biblical description of that place of judgment is literal or figurative I don’t know. But I do know if all goodness is found in God alone and there is a place where He withholds His presence forever, then that place must be hell.

        Punishment is real for God must do justice to all who have been hurt by our sins in order to be loving. But in His love He don’t desire to punish us, that’s why He chose to receive the punishment on our behalf through Jesus, so that those who repent and choose to sin no more may receive forgiveness and relationship with God on account of Him. God is truly love, that’s why Jesus had to pay the price for us.

        Much blessings bro.

  29. Heartbreak Hotel said

    Well written and I cant disagreed any further!!

  30. JT said

    Why does God need such a lavish church in the first place? I see so many church organisation spending money on lavish buildings instead of helping the numerous poor people in the world. They have stray from the original intention of God. May those led astray be shown the right path…

  31. Peter said

    This article is not an analysis of CHC – it essentially focus’s on one message and draws conclusions about the entire operation of the church. The writer attempts to mask themselves as being independent and objective but really it’s just cynicism and reeks of agenda.

  32. dromoman said

    “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” – JESUS SAYS. – Matthew 6:24.

  33. foolsrushin said

    Interesting analysis. What I don’t understand is the part about promising a 30 or 100 times return. Even if there is a 100 times return on the tithe, it’s still the church’s money. The donating party doesn’t get a cent of it back, so where does greed come in? Foolishness no doubt.

  34. pngkueh_forever said

    Whatever you say… the bottom line is ” you shall reap what you sow’.. Now just wait for harvesting time… in prison that is.

  35. Dan said

    I am not defending the church or the person in question. I am defending God’s words. The author had used some Bible verses (like Matthew 19:23-24) which he conveniently abstracted in part to support his argument. This is misrepresenting the biblical meaning of the verses, it is just like reading between the lines to judge an event swaying to one’s perspective which everyone knows is unjust.

    As the author may not be familiar with the Bible, the quotation that he narrated are therefore biased and incorrect to this article he is representing. It is comparable to a non scientist trying to conduct a scientific research. A pastoral studies needs to undertake about 4 years of theological programe, please do not think as a commoner you could comprehend the biblical meaning. It is not just reading on the surface of the words.

    God’s words is more than that!

    • WHT said

      I understand what the author says but not sure what you are getting at!

    • Dan's reply said

      You certainly do not know your bible to say something like that. Complete foolishness. Do you go to theology classes just to be able to understand scripture? Show us where you found that in the bible. PHARISEE!

      • Bob said

        Do we need to be an expert in fairies and pink unicorns (I.e. spend 4 years researching about them in a “programme”) before we can say what a load of nonsense it is?

  36. FR said

    The penalty for Criminal Breach of Trust is only imprisonment for up to three years, or a fine, or both.

    Damn disappointed.

  37. WhatIf said

    Would there be a case if it was called a “bible based business club”, not registered as a charity & the members are told how the funds are used?

  38. TT Durian said

    Allo Pastor, U made my gold tap look damn small!

  39. ASDF said

    Why need a religion from the beginning? Lol

  40. people liberation army said

    Sounds like CHC is telling the govt that whatever it did or does have nothing to do with the laws of Singapore. They have their own laws like Vatican.

    Soon CHC would be like Vatican in Singapore. Self-governing.

    This is dangerous. …

    I Thinks ISD have to starts working

  41. martian a said

    all the Christians come in to defend liao

  42. Helen Chew said

    I have reliable source that George Yeo was a member of CHC and not a Catholic, he was confident of support from CHC that was why the investigation took so long….Aljunied is a constituency they cannot afford to lose..now is very clear after this incident Aljunied will be a constituency they will never win.

    • Naivety said

      It seems to ring a bell!

      Totally agreed with what Helen says as George Yeo was assured that he was able to count on the support from the massive followers of CHC then during GE 2011!

  43. Helen Chew said

    sorry re my early post please do not publish my name please use..georgeyeosupporter. instead of helenchew. thank you

    • HA said

      Ha Ha Ha! Please don’t say it was “me” although you seem to have a good point. I believe George Yeo would be smelling if he read your post.

  44. truth said

    analysis? such shallow and bias claims against CHC…

  45. "rest".. said

    The Bible principle of thithing & Offerings is pure & clear.

    The Bible is also clear, That man is to “rest” when doing God’s work, means that whatever project you are undertaking in God’s name… the process will be transparent, smooth flowing , funding is above board & the secular world is more silent than critism at your work, ( critism will always be there) but you will find genuine “peace” in your work. While doing the project you have “legal” solutions to your problems then you know God’s hand is at work.

    So when you have a church project & if it is filled with problems & always thinking of where to get the money & there is “manipulation” taking place etc… you find solutions are not coming forth with inner “peace”, then red light, the project is not of God.

    The problem is man, “wants to help God”…. “when man want to “help” God, recipe for disaster.

  46. Gaba said

    Heh money corrupts. Hope Kong Hee gets life in jail, and an afterlife in Hell.

    • mosescheng said

      Yes, men is weak and gives into temptations. We should not judge and leave the judging to God. The Law that governs the country will give him what he deserves.

  47. Ah Seng said

    shouldnt there be an analysis on how the governement may have mismanaged Singaporean’s money through its various bodies. this could be more than 23 million.

  48. Ah Seng said

    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Teo Chee Hean should also weigh in on its investigation with LTA for violating the Singapore Statue/road traffic act in private estates that could cause a serious or fatal accident and endangering lives.

    Besides the pastor, cnb, sph executive, scdf and others. LTA should also be charged for misusing and abusing its authority as road traffic law enforcers for not enforcing the Singapore Statue/road traffic act and causing unnecessary tension between private, hdb and other estates. LTA DOES NOT ENFORCE the road traffic act in private estates but enforces in hdb estates and elsewhere.

    LTA should also be investigated for causing distinct discrimination between private estates, hdb estates and others by not enforcing the road traffic act at private estates and enforcing the traffic act in hdb estates and elsewhere.

    The police, cpib, etc should also investigate PMO, MOT and MHA for failure to get LTA to enforce the Singapore Statue/road traffic act and failure to protect lives due to illegal and indiscriminate parking at private estates. They have been notified repeatedly yet nothing has been done seemingly. Is this political corruption?? Hopefully, the police, cpib, etc will not practise double standards as well in making the Singapore Statue/road traffic act redundant and irrelevant in private estates. Please re-instate confidence in the PMO, MTO & MHA. It appears shocking that these offices are doing nothing to ensure that LTA stops the violation of the Sinagpore Statue.
    Besides the pastor, cnb, sph executive, scdf and others.

  49. ahboy said

    U noobs out there… You think singapore laws will arrest and charge you when not enough edvience>

    Since when gt news comes out that they catch ppl and acquitted them in court..

    Innocent till proven guilty?
    Pls la.. Audit checks are there for the $50million misplacing.. whats there to be innocent>

    You ppl tio brainwash like dunno what already

  50. Pandaren said

    I will tell you my own experiences in, sort of, a collaboration to your analysis :)

    My background: this was in 2000 ish, I was in a pre-u school and one of my classmates was (don’t know how she is now) a staunch believer of city harvest. We were never closed, she suddenly turned up one day with this… weird statement, claiming that she didn’t know how to be my friend and I look like a “lost soul” and wanted me to come to her church. I was on the look out for churches at that point, I have heard of CHC, but didn’t really like it. Decided to give it a benefit of doubt and went to church with her.

    1. Clever packaging of Sunday services – Truly. It was one of those things where there’s a live band, it was in an old movie theater and the acoustics were great. It certainly felt more like a rock concert thing than going to church. For us who were than mostly underage (most of the people surrounding me looked under 21) or who were just on the right age to go clubbing, this was a “healthy” alternative with more people and, on the plus side, with no drunks, it’s easy to network with them as well (as per point 7).

    2. Extra revenue in the form of advertisements, sales of CDs – When I first attended the church, internet was sort of a “new” thing. Not many people had it, and I can’t remember now if they even had a website.

    However, even then, they were still selling things. First was Sun Ho’s CDs. To me, it was hilarious. It was like having a commercial break in the middle of the service. “Do you all love Pastor Ho!?!?!?” then, there was some blurb about how great and godly her music was, we should all water our souls with her godly music (unlike others out there, ahem ahem).

    Tacky advertisements, they somehow worked. Everyone was, for some reason, worked up into a frenzy, all cheering for the CDs.

    Next up was a compilation of bible studies by another pastor. At that point, they hadn’t produced sermons for sale yet, so all these compilation CDs were their main selling points. Yet another tacky blurb, yet another advertisement. Again, people were cheering ceaselessly like it was the best thing they have ever heard.

    If you stand up at this point, you could see all the new faces – they were the ones with awkward looks on their faces.

    4. 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns on your church donations – point 3 and 4 is the same to me, so I will start here. When it came time to throw in tithes, they made a big issue about it. My friend insisted I have to put some money in, even if it was just 5 dollars. As someone who was only working during the holidays, and it wasn’t a holiday then, technically I earnt nothing that month. 10% of nothing is still nothing. The cell leader than asked if I was given an allowance, and if I was, I need to give 10% of that – for the glory of my soul and all sorts of nonsense related to that.

    at which point, I threw in 50 cents in frustration. The awkwardness was overwhelming.

    10. Social pressure to conform in church settings and ease of influence

    By the “2nd commercial break”, I had pretty much decided this was not the church for me. I am an introvert. The church was a loud concert that forces me to interact with people.

    further more, we were forced to chant to everyone surrounding us that we will bring in 2 more people the next weekend. if you calculate the number of people you “promised” that to, it equates bringing 8 people to the church the next week altogether.

    I didn’t like feeling like I am forced to give a tithe. When I eventually went to church, I donated whenever I worked, which amounted to hundreds of dollars – but I was not forced to do it. Tithe used to be the only way pastors/priests could live and maintain the church. These guys live in houses and cars that even I couldn’t afford, so why do they need our donations for?

    Also, at the end of the session, there was a cleansing session where everyone is made to chant that we are “backsliders” and we will do better. Then, people who have done wrong during the week need to come up front to be “cleanse”. The ironic part was, while I was fine, my very staunch friend was collapsed in a heap of teary mess. this happened basically all around me and I panicked because, being such an introvert, all eyes were on me.

    All these chanting, by the way? Enough of it can brain wash a person.

    Finally, there was the after service gathering. Cell groups gather together. At that time, cell groups go by where they lived. I was not located “right” for that cell group, but they “accepted” me, I even got presents, and got called a sister! However, nothing seemed genuine. I was… actually scared of them.

    Needless to say, thereafter I refused to go back. My friend was then told that I will suffer eternal damnation and it would damage her soul and theirs (the cell groups’) if she keeps associating with me. I haven’t talked to her since.

    I found a church where my soul belongs to anyways, and it is one of those “small” churches that is a bit more traditional. Where I found real friends who didn’t just took me to church because she promised other people she had take 2 people to church the next weekend

    • kaypoh said

      Good for you! Certain totalitarian & terrorist regimes use similar techniques of mindf**k to brainwash the gullible…. you’re brave to resist all their crap, well done !!!

  51. mosescheng said

    The entire ugliness of this ‘church’ is slowly being unveiled. However, the church-goers whom are actually the centre of this sage needs to see the truth as it is. They were misled by ‘leaders’ whose main motive was to profit out of gospel preaching. It is written that we should go forth and make disciples and to spread the gospel. Not to make a profit in the process of doing so. Too, the word has warned us of false prophets and to me, the fact is quite clearly shown.

    Christians in the world should stay united and not be distracted. The true foundations on our faith needs to be there, we should look at the one and only never changing truth, and that is God.

    For the people whom plot this scheme of using faith to build their earthly empire, may God have mercy on them during judgement day.

    • Peter said

      You have no idea and contradict yourself. There are far easier ways to make money than run a church …the reason people like kong run a church is to reach lost people.

      The church is not ugly, its full of beautiful people that sincerely love Jesus which is a reflection of their leaders.

    • Someone with brains. said

      Aren’t we forgetting something here?

      If the fellowships tithes to the church, and organization, it is in the church’s name the tithes goes to, and will all non-profit organizations, proper accounting is required and they will be under heavy scrutiny especially when they’re transacting in millions.

      Isn’t this the very reason how Pastor Kong got indicted in the scandal?

      If so, why would anyone claim that the leader’s main motive is to profit from the fellowships, rationale being that either ways the transactional amounts will be documented and accounted, it isn’t very easy to manipulate account books and embezzle funds whilst flying under the radar of audits. thus even though CHC is rich, but most of the money is chiefly for the use and maintenance of the church rather than to enrich an individual. People makes it seem as though pastor Kong had unbridled access and authority to use the funds for his own purposes. So, if embezzling church’s funds is such a monumental task, it would no longer be reasonable to assume that religious leaders of that church had the sole goal of enriching themselves through illegal means by embezzling church’s funds right from the get-go.

  52. john huang said

    im an atheist and i have to lie to everyone around me that im a believer. How is that for being difficult?

    • Ryvyan said

      Why do you have to lie? I have Christian friends who are fine with me being atheist, and sometimes we have interesting discussions about the existence of god and humans.

      If people avoid me because I’m atheist and would be going to their version of hell, then I’m better off because they are not friends.

      That said, my parents are buddhist/taoist and I do the minimal praying and stuff. I don’t believe in it, but they do. By doing what they believe would protect me, they will worry less. The only one you should ever want to love and protect are your parents. You do not need to impress anyone else, but just do good.

  53. Gary Ng said

    The Pastor’s argument is that you do not get good returns like 100-fold in the small churches. You have to donate to mega-churches to maximize returns on your tithe because they have a track record (rich church members)

    haha..what kind of theory is that? only a fool will believe this..!

  54. I'm not god said

    How much you give your parent and sunday did you bring them out. 10%??????

  55. Helen Chew said

    I am very disappointed with TTimes, Please delete my post. I already mentioned don’t publish my full name

    • helen of troy said

      you have to write directly to TT admin.
      to catch their attention immediately, i suggest you pledge 10% …..LOL
      don’t worry too much about it unless you are on the wanted list according to SPF.

  56. Someone with brains. said

    Singaporeans are so simple-minded, shallow, naive and gullible.

    It is laughable that they regard this badly written and biased article as the pinnacle of journalism and analysis, and just because one tried to disclaim that the article was written in a non-offensive manner does not make it so, it doesn’t help when he wrote the article in such condescending manner.

    p.s. I meant no offense in my post and it was purely a scientific observation, if anything, consider my comment an analysis on an interesting subject. /chuckle

    knowing how shallow-minded Singaporeans couldn’t refute statements even if their life depended on it, I’d like to disclaim that I’m not even a Christian, much less a “customer” of CHC (I’m sure some dudes will surely jump in an accuse me of being a CHC supporter just because I actually possessed some brains)

    • You sure you got brains said

      So, what is your point? You are free to criticize the writer but what are your points? Where is the rebuttal? Just plain criticism like that?

      Where are your brains? hahaha.

      • Someone with brains. said

        Haha, this article is so blatantly biased that no points is necessary, anyone with half a brain could tell at first glance, his statement of disclaimer is more of a sarcasm than an actual disclaimer, his choice to focus on one sermon is evidence of his lack of objectivity, taking particular quotes out from it is what you’d do to take things out of context, his “business” analysis is more of a 3 year old observation, it is nothing close to a viable business analysis of a portfolio (this is coming from a finance guy) and his arguments or rather rhetorical questions is shallow at best.

        need me to list more obvious facts that you’ve missed or perhaps couldn’t have noticed without the assistance of another? ;)

      • Small brains said

        Haha, this article is so blatantly biased that no points is necessary, anyone with half a brain could tell at first glance, his statement of disclaimer is more of a sarcasm than an actual disclaimer, his choice to focus on one sermon is evidence of his lack of objectivity, taking particular quotes out from it is what you’d do to take things out of context, his “business” analysis is more of a 3 year old observation, it is nothing close to a viable business analysis of a portfolio (this is coming from a finance guy) and his arguments or rather rhetorical questions is shallow at best.

        Same old kind of argument again. Just criticize without any rebuttal or raise any valid points. I think your brains are so lacking and it is so obvious that I do not have to give any explanation why you are stupid. Anyone with brains can see that you have no brains. Too obvious (this is coming from a not-so-brainy guy but brainy enough to see you have no brains).

      • Someone with brains. said

        Haha you expect me to type an essay to illustrate a couple of obvious points to fool? you sure gotta be kidding me, In actual fact I have formed my rebuttals and briefly touched on them, it merely is a matter of you not being able to comprehend them.

        Try harder, I come across idiots like you everyday in my life and i do enjoy putting them in their place ;)

    • shok said

      your english sucks. GTFO

      • Someone with brains. said

        C’mon, lets have a go at it then ;)

      • Someone with brains. said

        by the way, do note that only one with a mediocre repertoire of vocabulary had to resort to usage of words like “sucks” or expletives to communicate his point.

        you’re saying something about your english sucking? ;)

    • neurosurgeon said

      you have braIns ? sure, why not ? just that it is alot smaller than you thought.
      when was the last time you had a brain scan ? LOL

      • Someone with brains. said

        case in point ;)

        stupidity always shows itself.

        a little tidbit for you, bigger brains does not constitute higher intelligence, scandinavians genetically possesses larger brains than asians but they aren’t necessarily smarter.

      • jus said

        @Neurosurgeon
        this fucking asshole needs his arse to be scanned lah! that’s where his brains are!

  57. Brainwash said

    they own 13 units at Horizon Towers

  58. dude said

    i can totally understand why chc members are so blinded and so defensive of Kong Hee despite all the evidence laid out pointing to the obvious conclusion.

    can you imagine the person that you idolise and tells you that the god that you have been worshipping all your life suddenly tells you that that god is actually $$$$ Money and in an instant all your beliefs suddenly flew out of the window like your life’s all along a big fat lie??? i know its something very hard to accept and rationalise. therefore the human instinct defense mechanism kicks in… its true….

  59. Bonkers said

    Kudos to CAD !!!!
    Job Well done !!
    Probe / Audit … More Religious
    Organisations ….

    • fatman said

      Finally… someone acknowledging CAD…
      Do not forget the people working hard and uncovering the truth… good job on the evidences and the facts collection… well done!

  60. E said

    See a similarity here to pyramid selling, just that in this case the product kong hee is selling is faith and religion. In MLM or pyramid selling, the person sitting right on top gets the biggest pay cheque. I have mentioned before he is very smart to take advantages of human emotional weakness and created an unlimited source of income for himself and his family. But this is morally incorrect and he truly deserves to be locked away for a long time for his crimes. Hope he can redeem himself by spreading the true religious teaching to his cell mates.

  61. I am a Christian and I’ve attended City Harvest Church for two periods in my life for a total of 2 to 2.5 years.

    I initially attended it with my folks. We enjoyed the sermon and the clear teachings of the pastor and his fellow leaders. But things went downhill one Sunday morning when a leader took to the stage to plug Ho Yeow Sun’s new album. Thekhorrifying thing was how he chirpily used hard sell tactics to move the units. We were asked to buy more than one copy and pass them to our friends. If one were to buy 6 copies or some absurd number, that would entitle one to a free poster or t-shirt (something along those lines). What was most upsetting at that time, was the fact that he was using the pulpit to push the sales of the pastor’s wife who was more interested in cutting pop albums than say attending church service. The posters from her new album were also plastered along the entrance and lobby of 4he building. There were no images of Jesus. No, instead, this singer’s face, the pastor’s wife, was all over the building. If that does not trigger alarm bells in the average church-goer, what will? That was the last week we attended CHC.

    Kong Hee and Sun Ho – A celebrity culture

    This leads me to ask this very important question. Who is worthy to be worshipped? Jesus? Or a man and his wife? Unfortunately, this question has not been addressed. Twitter has been a flurry with ultra-supportive tweets from young members (and some older ones), proclaiming their undying loyalty for their pastor and his wife. Some say that they believe in the duo, know their hearts, believe in their cause and have already declared them innocent and faultless. The Christian community, Christian leaders (within and outside of the church) and church members themselves should have questioned the culture of CHC – where the pastor and his wife have Fan Pages on Facebook, where their supporters, fans, devotees, express their undying love and support for the duo and what they do. Any pastor, any leader of a church should know that this is not the right type of church culture and it should NOT be encouraged. This should NOT be advocated. Never mind what the pastor has done and his successes. No pastor should have a Facebook fan page. I find that absurd. Didn’t the bible say that we should have no idols? And that we are to have only one God? Why do the church members till this day pledge their undying support for their pastor and his wife when clearly their loyalty and devotion should be channeled to serving God? Why are they fighting fire with fire? Why are they risking life and limb to support a man and his wife? Why are they not declaring their love for God instead? How has this man and his wife managed to mesmerise these youths to the point of delirious and blind support, such that Reverends from other churches have pinpointed the matter of blind support as an issue, a problem and yet these kids, CHC cell group leaders, etc, continue to obsessively tweet their love for the man and his wife?

    I can have respect for a leader. I can praise him for his work, but ultimately all glory goes to God. I don’t see why I should dedicate myself to acting like his rabid fan for his good sermons and his community service. Instead, it would be way wiser to ask God for similar blessings and encourage everyone to learn from the areas in his life which he has excelled in being a good testimony for God but not necessarily put him on a pedestal that all begin to forget that he is only human. If anything, men can fall, men are imperfect and only God is perfect. This is commonsensical, logical and of course biblical. So why the 100% Faith in a Man? CHC members should ask themselves why they feel so much love for Kong Hee and his wife. What is the source of this love? Does it come from a healthy place? CHC members must realise that Kong Hee, his wife and their team are mere mortals, mere men, and can fall. If they love their leaders, they should be bold, correct, rebuke if necessary. The bible talks about how we are wise if we allow ourselves to BE CORRECTED (It’s so upsetting to hear that the church is standing by them in the recent statement they released – do they stand by misappropriation, corruption, white collar crime, does the church stand for dishonesty and siphoning of members’ contributions? Does the church not realise that the leaders could have made mistakes, could have possibly fallen?). They should be discerning and wise. A thinking individual who exercises the intellect that God has given him, is a wise man who is an asset to those around him.

    Correction is not judgment, as the Bible says that we should correct, rebuke and be bold to those who are sinning. It is to be done in an act of caring for them in the hope that they will believe. That way we could contribute to the saving of a soul. If we don’t, we could be responsible for suppressing the truth which could mean eternal death instead of eternal life for that person. “James 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

    Jesus and the Apostles were very bold and rebuked and condemned evil. They even openly rebuked people in the church for doing evil, in order to strengthen the church. Rebuking a sinner, exposing corruption, correcting someone in love or disciplining ones children is not judging wrongfully. f so, Jesus and the Apostles who were our example to follow would have been in error. Source: truechristianity.com

    To be an asset to any setting and situation we are in – we need to think critically. Decide when to accept, reject, ask, comply, argue, refuse, suggest and stand up for and against the actions of our fellow human beings. This applies to any context. Question your leaders. Your teacher, your boss at work, your colleagues, your most esteemed mentor, your gang leader, politicians, your prime minister, the United Nations panel, whoever they are, their ideas and actions are imperfect. No one but God is perfect. Full stop. With great power comes great responsibility – inserting this here for the young CHC members who might understand a quote from Spiderman. It is our job to make sure our leaders can do THEIR jobs well, efficiently, ethically.

    The leaders of CHC may or may not be proven guilty. Nonetheless, they have crossed the lines of morality and ethics as church leaders, beacons of example, role models to their young congregation in the following ways:

    1) Pressurising their members – students, youths especially – to purchase Sun Ho’s albums. These students get their allowance from their parents, most have yet to work a day in their lives. Why does CHC’s leaders find it reasonable and acceptable for their members’ parents to fork over money for Sun Ho’s music ambitions? I’m sure a good portion of the money went to doing real charity work. But what about the portion that didn’t? Are we to close an eye to the siphoning of monies? God expects us to be good stewards of our money. This means that when we give, we must know where it will end up. So the hastag “mytrustisnotbreached” on Twitter just speaks of how misinformed their young members and leaders are, and how willing they are to continue to be duped if necessary. Members have tweeted that despite all of this, they would continue to give and give more. The issue we non-members and Christians from other churches, have is why they would willingly contribute to the music career of their pastor and his wife. Why they would stamp their approval on doctoring books, creative accounting, falsifying documents and dealing only in cash to throw auditors and the authorities of their scent? Does it mean to say that your wholehearted support and love Kong Hee, his wife and their team stands for corruption, cooking the books and deception/dishonesty? Do you mean to say that your leaders couldn’t have handled the matter better? Could they not have been clearer about their intention with certain portions of the money given? Could they not have avoided selling her CDs during service? Could they not have pressured your young members to buy her CDs? Could your leaders not have given external bodies like the COC even a fragment of a chance to penalise them in any way? They are now facing 36 charges. CHC members, this is a wake up call. God does not allow this to happen for no reason. God does not stand for deception, vanity, consumerism and materialism.

    2) Surely, your parents would not let you walk out of your house in skimpy, skin hugging attire. Christian parents, perhaps even more so. What about a church leader, a pastor who preaches from the bible? Is the body not a temple of God? Accepting your wife’s wishes – to dance, gyrate and parade in front of the world as a Geisha (a Japanese hostess trained to entertain men with conversation, dance, and song), an angry girlfriend cohabiting with her boyfriend and creating music for clubbers to gyrate and rub up against in each other in clubs across the States – not putting your foot down, and promoting her music, her work, her lifestyle to young impressionable minds at CHC is just a BIG NO-NO. IT IS COMPLETELY UNACCEPTABLE. Christians should not compromise in such a manner. I find it so sad that these young CHC members, some whom I know personally, do not see how their pastor and his wife are so very weak and so very wrong in this manner. Other pastors, other church leaders, the Christian community, the secular community have disapproved of this. Yet only CHC stands by their pastor’s “choices” and his wife’s lifestyle.

    Materialism and Consumerism

    Just a question – when should religious leaders say no to love gifts? Do you need that expensive high end tablet or can you just make do with the phone you own now? Do you NEED that? Do you need to stay in the most expensive housing project in Singapore when there are clearly better ways to spend your money? If you are truly doing God’s work, I really don’t think you’d find it wise to spend your money on an excessively expensive and overpriced car or condominium. Kong Hee is no king in the eyes of God. He is his servant. Yes, servants of God should be blessed. But we should always spend wisely and seek His counsel pertaining to such matters.Solomon for instance, used his riches to build God’s temple.As Christians, we should try our hardest to avoid chasing the things of the world. The 5Cs apply to Singaporeans, but surely, as a church leader with such a “following” more judicious spending of his church money, his own monies, whatever finances he has access to, is only sound and morally and ethically right.

    The second time I joined the church was for a shorter period. I joined a cell group and soon learned that 4 out of 5 of the leaders did not care for me. They cared for God yes. They were fervent in that manner yes. But unfortunately, they were not encouraged by their higher-ups to care in a way that mattered to the youth who were under them.

    1) We were pressured into socialising after church. To go back to study, was discouraged. “Hang around and spend time, socialise with members of God” they would say. Apparently attending service is not enough and forcing a young member (group pressure) to socialise despite having a Chinese exam the next day, is godly.

    2) You must attend service at least once a week – if not BE WARNED. Once, I decided to skip the morning service and not attend it with the cell group and to watch the online broadcast. My parents had given me their approval as a kid, to skip the service, rest and recuperate for the busy week ahead and spend time with God on my own. One of the cell leader’s assistant called me to berate me in a very harsh manner. I needed to go she said, attend the afternoon service, she would go with me for it, she said. She was clearly overriding my parents’ authority and making me FEAR her as a 15-year-old. Where do these cell-leaders get their gumption from? Who taught them to be such repressive, indoctrinated, uncaring, unfeeling, superficial and overbearing leaders? GOD IS LOVE. GOD DOES NOT INDUCE FEAR. GOD IS MERCIFUL. CHC members, if you are reading this and if you are guilty of this, stop this nonsense right now. Pray about it and let God lead you in your leadership of the youths under you. I’m pointing this out because thousands have been bullied, pressured, many have backslided because of the errant ways of your young leaders and the lack of wisdom by those over your young leaders. This needs to stop. This is the Church of God. Not the Church of Kong Hee and not the Church of Your Human Ways.

    3) We were pressured into buying a church organiser for about $26-$29 if I remember correctly. All members of the cellgroup made a purchase, members were taught to frown upon others who did not make that purchase. I saved really hard for 3 weeks to get that kind of money with my paltry allowance. There was no other way for me to get my hands on that kind of money. I was a student in the midst of a busy school year, my parents are not rich, I’ve no older sibling and “godly” church members were forcing me to pay for a diary I would not use. I would pay $1 for a diary as a student – a simple notebook. But this church was forcing me to hand over several tens for a silly book that wasn’t even the bible. In the end, I got my money back and returned the diary. That was the last I saw of those horrible, horrible people, who treated me as just a statistic to boost their cell group size.

    City Harvest Church started out with the vision to plant God’s word in the heart of non-believers. CHC represents Christianity on a mega-scale. Its leaders need to do its utmost to maintain the leadership/management’s integrity. Its leaders need to set forth directives for its young leaders to exercise caution, love and grace with their members. Its leaders need to make stands – stand up against materialism, consumerism, fetishism, vanity, worldly pursuits and blind support for mere men. The CHC body needs to better represent itself – as it represents the Christian community, not only in Singapore, but all over the world. It also needs to re-invent itself and restore its image for the church itself has done A LOT OF GOOD. It needs to create a good image for itself, for its members and for God.

    CHC should release a statement along the lines of this – to show the world and most importantly, what its young members should believe in.

    1) CHC stands for good, honest accounting.

    2) CHC stands for biblical principles.

    3) CHC supports its leadership and would love for its members to pray them through this difficult period. That said, it no way condones any dishonesty whatsoever and aims to be judicious in spending members’ contributions and is looking for ways to improve the system.

    4) CHC will continue to do God’s work according to the word.

    I personally believe that CHC should end this Celebrity Culture thing that it has going on with Kong Hee, Sun Ho and its other leaders. Everyone is equal in the eyes of God. I really hope that the existing CHC leadership can be better examples and better leaders to its young congregation. Please tell them to stop blindly supporting Kong Hee and his wife on Twitter, Facebook and in their personal lives. Men are imperfect, accept that. Only God is perfect. No one is persecuting God. The lifestyles of Kong Hee, his wife and the leadership are being judged. And why not? They are imperfect. Let them be judged by the courts. Let the law take its due course. Detractors and supporters must realise that Kong Hee, Sun Ho and the team are IMPERFECT.

    NO ONE IS PERSECUTING GOD or Godly lifestyles. Let’s get that straight.

    • Pastor is not God said

      Absolutely agree with your points stated.
      I see people worshipping the pastor, not God, not Jesus.

    • Someone with brains. said

      we should totally have cardinals that sleeps with young boys instead ;)

      • jackneo said

        sounds like you’re speaking from experience and did the cardinals do a good job with you?

    • SL said

      A comment that gives more insightful analysis than the main thread itself :D
      Slightly skewed (maybe because the author has some personal experiences attending CHC) but then again, everyone’s viewpoint is biased in some way or another.

    • TrueSGP said

      Well Said!

    • DIY said

      See what happens when the interpretation and definition of God as a manifestation of human being!

      Some smart aleck like Kong Hee will interpret God his way and define the motive another way.

      Exactly like Frank Sinatra had sang ‘My Way’.

      And every believer melts like ‘Candle In The Wind’ by Elton John.

  62. Likasombodee said

    i cannot help but simply love point 13. jizz. choice is your’s mate, to wake up or deny.

  63. Thou Shall Not said

    Hey there is definitely a PROSPERITY GOD – TOTO, BIG SWEEP & 4 D. Your prayer will be answered one day !

  64. Konamoto said

    假先知出現了,天國也近了!

  65. fatman said

    It’s just that the fanatic hardcore “fans” cannot, and do not want to believe, that their hard-earned money that they donated is for the high life of the duo… from 5room flat to Sentosa Cove is really overwhelming… I can understand why these people are still in denial and still want to believe in the Cons… I mean Kongs…

    Too bad lah… money gone to waste is gone already… just hope the church can have a better and transparent management… my support to those who donated to Ho’s failed music career and Kong’s Sentosa… hope you can come to terms with your loss soon…

    Very well done by CAD for the evidences and facts collected… and even good enough to bring them to court… faith in humanity restored…

  66. Ro said

    The issue here really is that they are registered as a charity and thus is subjected to the benefits of free tax and other obligations such as accountability. City Harvest is registered as a church but it is independent. Unlike for example, the Anglician and Methodist, they are really not accountable to anyone. Even more recent church group such as AOG has a group committee to have some element of check and balance.

    If they registered as a business, then this is a different case. They invest in a singer group. The rest are member attending a feel good motivational session very weekend. They pay membership.

    And the managment pay themselves large bonuses, housing benefits and big pay check.

    It is unfortunately that instead of subjecting themselves to the authority, they are arrogant and are now fighting the law. They think they are above all things and they do not care about the bad press it bring to all churches.

    My wife always says ” believe in God and not man”. All man can fail. God will forgive if he repents. And for the prosperity message. The word Gospel is about saving the world. God so love the world he gave his only beloved son to save the sinner. That’s the message and the corner stone of the church. We only need to look at Jesus- he was borned by virgin Mary into a poor family. He was a carpenter. He worked and preached. He lived humbly even though he can turn water into wine. He died on the cross with nothing. His richness is stored in heaven. He did not stayed in sentosa cove. They did not at that point dressed like the rich Roman nor like Sun Ho. Didn’t the famous hymn said, though I am poor but I am rich in christ Jesus. None of his 12 disciple ended living a rich life and many never tasted it. Most of them died of Martyr dead. That was what they reaped for the love of men. Their return come when they meet Jesus.

    City Harvest, please think about the name of God being dragged in the biggest fraught case. I am not a fevour Christian. But I believe in Christ. I feel ashame to bring his name down. I asked you to return to the core message.

  67. constance chow said

    Written profoundly with convictions and facts.
    People are abused by trust, fear, hope and faith.
    End up with disillusionment. Leaders interpreter the Bible for personal gratifications and read without hearing and hearing the Word of God.

    At this juncture we just pray for His Mercy for this fallen world…where Satan is most happy to see believers fighting amongst ourselves.

  68. OmTamil said

    “People tend not to question critically when it comes to religion”….

    Some religions encouraged analysis and debate. People who were enlightened, thought, analysed and debated about God, the soul, and the world, and as a result, views regarding them become clearer, logical and definite.

    Every religious sect was of the view that their beliefs and practices regarding God were final hence, it was deemed necessary to research and analyse. This type of analysis was not accepted by many religious sects as they felt that their beliefs, which were established by their saints and prophets, were final and should not be questioned as punishments could be meted out, if questioned. Thus, they were against any intellectual analysis, but made decisions based on their leader’s views due to the high esteem in which leaders were held. As a result, decisions were not made on logical analysis but were based on beliefs….

  69. Ian Koh said

    Well written article. And why can’t we see this coming- warnings about materialism, greed have been going on for some time -a simple check on Operation World book will do- what were the so called prophets doing? It’s more of a case of 2 Tim where Paul warns us to take heed of the last days where we will gather teachers for what our itching ears want to hear. So the prosperity gospel also works but not for spiritual or miraculous reasons. Call me a sceptic, but I’d like those preachers if they are genuine to go prosper and uplift the lives of our poor Christian brothers in Africa or India first, some of which are literally starving and living in camps.

  70. Faith said

    well, if the members are prospering and they want to give more to the church, let them be. Its not that they are force to give. I attended CHC and i dont feel forced to give. No matter what, they still using the money for helping people in time of needs. Don’t judge while u wouldnt wanna be judged

  71. Ng said

    All context from writer all wrong is all from his own perception. He doesn’t know what is the real meaning of giving. Is not about the amount but giving your best. A student giving her $10 is even better than an adult giving $1000. Anyhow relate the words of the sermon to your own perception and just want people to agree with you. Would suggest you to read the bible and understand the word of God before you write an article. Lousy article.

  72. God is not Caishen said

    The writer has published a sequel to his first article.

    I like the following paragraph he wrote about Prosperity Gospel:

    I cannot agree with the Prosperity Gospel. It insults my concept of a loving God. If a God who claims to love me rewards me only after I have to give until my heart is broken, then He is lesser than my parents who has been giving to me starting from the moment I was born even before I knew how to give at all.

    http://thinking-free-and-fair.blogspot.sg/2012/07/city-harvest-saga-continues-analysis.html

  73. Jane said

    Justice belongs to God. Let’s not see situations/people with our own sinful lens cos we are never righteous, never perfect human. If only we are able to have faith to see through God’s lenses, maybe we will speak/act and analyse very differently. In fact, Jesus Christ whom i trust as my Savior came in great humility and not in a big loud celebration from heaven to earth. He does things differently. He asked to love others and he sacrificed on the cross for us just to show His greatest love. yet people still continues to condemn and look at Him at our own lenses and misjudge a sinless perfect Jesus.

  74. A well thought article but I would suggest you do not use words like 100% or absolute perfection because it shows that you are lacking in depth and width of understanding. Using a business model to comment on church operations is in itself a misnomer. Many scientists have tried to reconcile science and the bible for centuries and yet have drawbacks unexplained or unfounded .
    Perhaps it may be of interest to you to try to understand more by engaging your curiosity and challenges through this website ‘answering Christianity ‘.
    There are many links and avenues for you to post questions and exchange pointers. Therefore you will certainly benefit much more than you can ever imagine.
    Good luck and all the best to you.

  75. CHC member gives a point-by-point rebuttal said

    A CHC member wrote a point-by-point rebuttal to the article on CHC wealth analysis. Temasek Times may consider republishing this articleto provide a balance by showing opposing viewpoints.

    http://onepunchinch.tumblr.com/post/26600795041/an-analysis-into-the-wealth-of-city-harvest-church-my#disqus_thread

    An analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church : My response

    This is my take on the post found on;

    http://thinking-free-and-fair.blogspot.sg/2010/03/analysis-into-wealth-of-city-harvest.html

    Thank you for writing such an amazing post on your take on the whole City Harvest Church saga. I respect your views but I would not take yours as a business case as its biased and you merely conveniently connecting the dots backwards.

    So I would like to correct certain misconceptions and assumptions you made. I may not not address everything but I will try the best I can with what I what I know.

    To begin let me first say that I am a member of City Harvest Church. If you feel I’m biased just take it as a view from the other side of the coin. As a believer my views will be based on my total reliance on my faith, hope you understand.

    1. Clever packaging of Sunday services.

    I totally agree with you! I love the CHC does it services. Being from a Christian family and coming from an Orthodox Church background I always felt Sunday services boring and unrelatable. Everyday weekend certain sounded like story telling than learning anything from it. When I first joined CHC I was shocked! I couldn’t believe that being a Christian was an in-thing and you could learn life lessons that could be applied in our daily lives! I was drawn by Pastor Kong’s sermon on being a problem solver and making an impact in this world.

    As Christians you believe in a God who is omniscient, all knowing and all powerful, the church always encouraged the congregation to think and do big think as far as your imagination can take. This indeed will increase followers as no one has ever taught these things in a church before. This may increase retention but if it was just a fad how long can the church keep bluffing people with these? It has brought a positive impact in their lives hence they continue to join services and continue giving because to run a church with all the stuffs that you’ve mentioned is not free. People continued supporting it because they love it and want the church to continue.

    You make it sound easy retaining and having a huge following but then why is there still only a few who can do this and why do many of them fail?

    2. Extra revenue in the form of advertisements, sales of CDs

    Church does maximize it revenue with advertising and selling related contents. If the church has a bookstore built with it definitely I would go and buy as I was to read more or wish to share it with family and friends.

    If Universal Studios has a souvenir shop after every ride, why can’t the church do the same? If the secular can do it why can’t religion?

    3. Efficient collection of tithes

    We do give our tithe out our free will, its not paying. No one is forced to pay. So since i said free will it is indeed a monthly giving that is given by each member of the church. It is given in cash and via electronic payment. Online payments encourage our overseas members to continue giving as they believe in our church and its activities.

    But…not GIRO! Church doesn’t have a GIRO system and I do not know where you get your facts from. Instead of watching services online you my wanna come down and see it yourself.

    4. 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns on your church donations

    Pastor indeed preaches on the 100-fold blessings. Its biblical and thats what church does, teach the Bible. Of course there are other churches who slam it as each and every church has it own focus.

    I have been with the church for over a number of years and I have seen the blessing and that’s why I continue to give. If the scripture did not hold any water and people didn’t feel any of this were true then shouldn’t the people already stop giving? I mean it common sense right?

    Like any religion “The 10 Laws Of The Harvest” promises each and every believer a blessing in return which is biblical. Isn’t every Christian promised heaven in his/her after life? Is that being greedy and self centered?

    5. Quality of customers

    How many organizations claim because they were asked to give 10% of their earnings they had a huge membership?

    If the church has attracted an ambitious bunch then why is there so much focus on fasting and prayer? I don’t see you even mention about that in here. Its convenient to take a slice of a weekend service out of context instead of seeing what were the focus of each and every week.

    You won’t get 33,000 blind people to follow that unless these people had an encounter. Like any organization if the claim didn’t hold water would you continue giving?

    Yes CHC members are ambitious and always looking to be somebody in the marketplace. There is nothing wrong with that.

    6. Kill off competition

    How would one know what is a good or a bad ground? Its in its fruits.

    Similarly the sermon tells each and every believer that since you all have experienced the goodness of God in this church this is indeed the good ground to give. The church does give to the poor and needy around the world. It does practice what it preaches. You can check on CHC website to see the reports.

    Is it killing off competition? I don’t know. If the church impresses a believer he/she will sure follow. It pure free will.

    7. Providing a place where the rich can network

    Church is indeed about fellowship and networking. But is every weekend about networking and name card exchanges? No.

    I do have friends in the business and insurance. If i find my friend reliable with whatever they do, definitely I would recommend and use their services.

    As a member I am flattered when you say its a network of the rich and powerful.

    8. Preach what people like to hear.

    Clearly Matthew 19:23-24 speaks of putting your money above God. We preach on that and that’s exactly the reason why we have no qualms over giving money to the church. As members its no big deal, we put God’s work above wealth.

    But from your post you claim that we are blinded and brainwashed to give away money.

    You wrote;

    In the video “Rich God? Poor God?”, the Pastor preaches that it is absolutely ok to be rich. Some prophets of God were very rich. (Abraham, David, Solomon)

    There is nothing more musical to a money-minded person than to hear that God is on your side in your pursuit of money. The church-members who are more money-minded will love this and donate even more.

    Pastor stated that the men of God were wealthy people and that is what the Bible says. He’s not making stuff up and as Christians we ought to be self sufficient and wealthy so that you can continue to give for good causes. Good causes according to the believers will.

    9. God pays for the returns, not the church.

    Here we go again. Blabbering the same ol’ thing.

    The church doesn’t owe anyone any money. If you want returns from the same organization you give money to, engage a broker.

    Donations are all out of free will, simple as that. The principle applies to any charity, people work and donate, the charity takes and continues working.

    10. Social pressure to conform in church settings and ease of influence

    Free wIll again, whether you are turned off by people or no people its up to you. We still receive donation via our online portal and those people are disconnected as they can be. But we still continue giving as we believe in what the church is doing.

    11. Tremendous future earning power

    I was in debt when I first came to church but few years later I am now living a debt free life. The church actively teaches the congregation on “How to get out of debt”, “Building Financial Excellence” and so on. I was always blessed by that and applied Biblical Principles which you call “Prosperity Gospel” and it worked!

    I love this!

    In the Pastor’s words, “You may be poor today, but you will not be poor all your life”.

    I totally abide by what he says ‘coz its true! Poverty is a mindset if you can overcome this, you can overcome your debt.

    12. Stable earnings in times of depression

    Besides being a growth stock, CHC can also be viewed as a defensive and safe stock. People pray hardest when they fall in hard times. Strangely, some people have an urge to tithe when they are in financial troubles.

    We should continue tithing no matter what financial condition you are in because the Bible says so. Its a curse to hold on it. I have personally held on to it to pay our my loans and it has never done any good.

    People who have tasted the blessings on giving will never go back again. May be you should give it shot! Give 10% of what you earn to any charity you like, I can guarantee you will feel the difference.

    Psalms 34:8 Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

    13. Using Prosperity as a theme to appeal to customers

    Here we go again! Prosperity gospel is only preached during offering. This year our theme is “Relationship and Discipleship” and last year our theme was “Love”. I don’t see you speak about those programs we did. All you claim you see is Money, Money and Money.

    Money is integral for all charities. If you cant bring in the money, your work to spread the Gospel in an effective manner will stop. You cant help the poor and the needy. You cant bring in Guest Speakers, you cant run simulcast to people all over the world!

    We don’t love money, we love God. Money is the enabler unless we are all living in Willy Wonka’s world. Reality is you still need to pay the bills.

    14. Tax benefits as church is registered as a charity

    Tax breaks helps uses that extra to do more. This is same for all charities, its not a CHC exception.

    Pastor indeed is runs a business, you should may be consider investing since you already has confessed you love for his business acumen.

    Here my challenge for you.

    Join City Harvest Church for a year and in the end if it has not changed your life for the good. Please come back and write again.

  76. Well said. The bible state God’s principle and how we christian shall live. I am from another church and it reflect our christian believe in God. Our FAITH in God will not be shaken.

  77. Money sermon said

    I want to attend CHC but not prepared to donate a single cent. Am I allow to attend without being pressured by your donation drive ?

  78. Point to note, for those who like to attend CHC. No one can pressurised nor force you to donate any money, free will.
    I am really amazed at how you relate a Church service into a business case study. Perhaps, I could share my own view points with regard to your shallow analysis.

    1. Clever packaging of Sunday services
    I don’t know why you call this clever packaging of Sunday services. To me, after being reborn on 2nd Dec 2007 into this wonderful church. I was being inspired and revealed by our Lord Jesus himself of how God could move with time to impart this creativity of modern musical worship into this church to attract youngsters away from trouble. Here is what I wrote in my testimony:-
    “What is this Music? So loud and sounds like rock music. Is it the music suitable for church service? I find it noisy. Why so many of them jumping like rabbits? Our Lord Jesus Christ somehow had spoken through messages. Ah yes, the answered is being revealed. Our lord is the Past, Present and the End. Somehow I began to understand how he is able use the modern music to attract youngster to come to Church service. Amen, how many souls had been saved from harm’s way through this musical? I begin to like the contemporary music and songs. Isn’t this proved that God our lord is ever living God who can move with time?”
    You can read in full http://www.esharingportal.com/stanley-tan-reborn-christian.html

    2. Extra revenue in the form of advertisements, sales of CDs
    I don’t see anything wrong with this. Other big church and churches from other country such as America also sell his books and audio sermons. Besides, Senoir Pastor is a honourable volunteer who doe not receive any salary, so this revenue from these helps. I joined CHC only 2nd Dec 2007, not fair for me to comment prior event.

    3. Efficient collection of tithes
    As mentioned, God move with time. Same for church, how can it be advanced into efficiency if we still rely on backward technology. Hello we are into internet age! There is no Giro incorporated and members can fulfill their tithes through online payment and credit card. I had been paying tithe because I understood the important of paying tithe. NO ONE can brain wash me to give tithe. As a matter of fact, it was the businessman message that Pastor Kong preached that touched me so much that I responded to altar call and was reborn on 2nd Dec 2007. Without him I wouldn’t be what I am today. Debt free, house fully paid up. Financial blessing again and again. Why? Because I understand God’s economy. Father God Jesus blessed me financially and HE is my greatest business partner. He takes only 10% and I get to keep 90%. Members undertand this God’s economy very well and with this effective system, they are able to upkeep their tithe without fail and not forced to. You may want to read my full writeup. http://www.esharingportal.com/increasing-giving-of-tithe.html

    4. 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns on your church donations
    I think you do not understand the message well. Pastor Kong also mentioned before. You gave within your means. Also by the prompting of our Holy Spirit. Even if you gave generously but without the prompting of our Holy Spirit, you can be subject to danger of disobedient. Pastor also preached the message before with regard to King Saul. “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” You may want to read my whole article that I had written. http://www.esharingportal.com/consequences-of-not-doing-complete-job-for-god.html

    5. Quality of customers
    I think you had greatly mistaken. You wrote “These money-minded people tend to be ambitious and have a great desire to make lots of money.” What are you trying to imply? Are trying to say that only money minded people attend CHC? Have you bother to read the testimony written by CHC members, here is the link. It is open to public. (Need login to Facebook account) http://www.facebook.com/groups/116669658474647/
    How can you anyhow derive become satisfactorily rich and the remaining 50% still unsatisfactorily middle-class? Do you have any datas to support your claim? Your statement sounds more like an insult to members who came to CHC service. So you think all who continue to attend service in CHC do not have love for Father God Jesus but worship the money? As a matter of fact, there are many who came to CHC broke, from broken family, divorcees, and was/is this church that helped many received blessings, their live turned around for better. There are many failed business in bankruptcy were being turned around because of the faith and being planted in this church. Read the testimonies would you?

    6. Kill off competition
    People come to CHC and leave as they please. Pastors had preached many time that we only bring in people who are not churched. But if any of the other church member wanted or even insists to come, no one can stop them. So what competition you are talking about? How can you only take only Law #5 “Your Seed must be planted in Good Ground.” To me, I see that you do not understand this verse fully because you wasn’t at the service to listen to the whole sermon. If given a chance to preach in smaller church. The same message would be spoken. Not forgetting CHC also started from a small church and it grow in number because of member’s faithfulness in tithing and grow in number because of God’s blessings. . They don’t give out of fear but give freely because all of us understood the God’s economy. Do you know what? A small bank can be a strong bank also but they will have to seek God’s wisdom to grow, of which CHC did, from small church to now big church because of the Vision of Church without four walls.

    7. Providing a place where the rich can network
    Your this comment is very childish. “The church offers a unique advantage to sell things. In a religious setting, people tend less to be on their guard and can be more easily persuaded to part with their money.” You mean that people in CHC are not careful and not wise in how they handle their money? For your information, I am a Real Estate agent and up to date I had not been successful in persuading any CHC friends to transact a property with me other than those in market place. The Bible also taught everyone to be wise in their money. If what you said is true, then I can just throw spanners to secure any business deal.

    8. Preach what people like to hear.
    I just kind of wondering, how many CHC services had you attended to come to this childish conclusion? As a matter of fact, different sermon topics were delivered throughout the year. Contrary to what you mentioned, as boldly declared by Pastor Kong himself, he said that CHC tends to preach sermons that many church avoid preaching because they are afraid that people may gets offended. Many avoided preaching about hell, the blood of Lord Jesus, preach about relationship, healthy sex life, prosperity message etc just to name a few.

    9. God pays for the returns, not the church.
    Your comments “The church collects the money, but God pays for the returns.” “God must surely be a miracle worker.” May I ask you, do you know how church work? Do you know that the church is house of God and money is then being channel to maintain this house and also to help the needy? God is sovereigh and you discribed HIM as a miracle worker? May I ask you who pay the salary to the workers? Do God personally pay salary to workers? The Pharisees plotted against Lord Jesus and said “Tell us, therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said “Why do you test Me, you hypocrites? Show Me the tax money.” So they brought Him a denarius. And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Matthew 22:17-21
    Based on your shallow analogy, you seems to say that money must be paid to the person who pays, then you have to paid back to the employer who pays the workers? Not logical isn’t it? Let’s be clear about this, God play a part in helping his children to receive blessings, so the money go back to HIM, which is to HIS church by way of tithe 10%.

    10. Social pressure to conform in church settings and ease of influence
    Your comment “When everyone else makes sacrifice, the one who does not will look like an outcast.” Do you know that there are people who are jobless, bankrupt and still continue to attend CHC? Did they pay tithe? Pastor Kong had preached many times, explaining the paying of 10% tithe. He said that if you do not earn a salary, 10% of zero means you pay zero tithe which is already is 10% (of nothing = nothing). Maybe if you like, I can introduce you to the jobless and bankrupt friends that is still faithfully attending CHC, you are at liberty to ask them if they feel a “tremendous pressure to conform in such a herd setting.” Or maybe we would like to see how you can help them.

    11. Tremendous future earning power
    In the Pastor’s words, “You may be poor today, but you will not be poor all your life”. Isn’t this good? That is hope statement. Would you like to hang around with people who are negative and hopeless?

    12. Stable earnings in times of depression
    What makes you think that everybody have to empty their savings? Refer to my points mentioned above, Pastors had preach many times also, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.”

    13. Using Prosperity as a theme to appeal to customers
    There again you are not only insulting CHC members but also general public with this statement “Everyone worships money.” Are you sure of this that everybody worships money just because you do? Do we CHC members attend church because of love for money? You are saying that members attend church don’t love Father God Jesus and do not have faith in HIM and you call CHC members customers? We are spiritual family members, brothers and sisters. NOT CUSTOMERS!

    14. Tax benefits as church is registered as a charity
    Do you think that our Government do not have proper control and regulation with regard to an organisation whether it is should be a Charity or business entity? Plainly meaningless talk, need not comment.

    My concern, do you know that by writing in this manner you are creating religion social problem? What if everyone like you, start to write in the same manner by anyhow relate other religion as business entity, do you not know that it may creates disharmony problem amongst religion?

  79. Francischuangli said

    Tithing is the ORDER of GOD & not the desire of creature to become prosper. Offering is a free will contribution to GOD’s work. It is a gratitude to GOD’s blessing & HIS loves like a gladeful son to his father who raise him. No one should treat it as a business deal my friend. U R just blattenly insulting GOD your creator just like Peter denying JESUS 3 time before dawn. However, U will B 4given if repent to HIM. I will pray 4u for your over.

  80. George Wang TL said

    Damn U Kong Hee and your conmen members, the sight of u, your extravagant lifestyle, your wife decadent values which the music videos purportedly seem to convey, and the millions u fleece from your 33,000 members, and every last drop of money you squeezed from your members who are not much, and the younglings/teenagers minds you brainwashed, Damn u son of Devil

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