Sunday, 24 January 2016

Ten reasons why Kong Hee and Sun Ho should remain as pastors of CHC.

What if I sincerely want to defend Kong Hee and his wife Sun Ho? What if I - like thousands of his church members - want him and his wife to stay in leadership and lead CHC into the future? What reasons would I bring to the table to defend/justify/rationalize their leadership in CHC in the light of the recent tumultuous events? How will I do it?

Well, I have ten reasons as listed below and it gets harder (to defend) as I reach the end. So if you are ready, here goes.

1) They started the Church (that is, CHC). They are her founders. This first reason is the easiest. In the same way that Joseph Prince found NCC, Kong Hee and Sun Ho led CHC from few to many, from anonymity to popularity, and from scraping the bottom of the coffers for finances to raising millions in one weekend donation drive. That kind of history or background cannot be forgotten or dismissed away. It is also one of the indefeasible reasons why the couple deserves lifetime pastoral tenure at CHC.

2) They are a loving couple. If there is any marriage that is made in heaven on earth, I trust their nuptial knot has to be it. Their love is displayed openly on stage with hugs, kisses and words of endearment. Kong Hee once said that Sun Ho is his advisor, his guiding light, his "Sun". He admitted that he wouldn't be where he is today without her (ignoring the biting irony here). Although Sun Ho is relatively less gushing (effusive) of her affection for her husband in public, theirs is a love that stays together and overcome together. It is also a shining city on the hill to set the marital example for their members. Their marital synergy is almost perfect for longtime CHC leadership.

3) Their leadership is recognized worldwide. Kong Hee and Sun Ho have started affiliate churches, training schools, mission centers and prison ministry. They are engaged by international church leaders to speak to thousands with positive responses. Many are studying their church-growth model and trying to integrate it into their own church. To them, it is a winning formula - some sort of spiritual franchising that has a proven track record over the years.

4) They still have the trust and support of majority of the church members. This is a fact. The show of support is rather amazing even after the conviction and the sentences meted out. I guess for the reasons I have given above, you can't find a better replacement for the dynamic duo for CHC - at least not in the immediate future. I really can't imagine CHC being led by someone else. Can you?

5) They gave, did charity, visited broken homes, helped in famines, restored lives and livelihood after an earthquake, and ministered to the poor and distressed. Now let's not talk about the very controversial church building donations and the hyper-driven efforts to bankroll crossover project. Let's accentuate the positive here. Those humanitarian effort I have listed above and initiated by the couple speaks for itself. Their collective Christ-like conduct should be applauded, emulated and humbling for all. Some critics might call it hypocritical but I choose to see it from the desperate eyes of those who are suffering and found enduring relief because of the initiatives of the couple. To the suffering, motives are secondary. Help in whatever form is primary because for most of them, their lives are at stake.

6) They are dynamic preachers and have gotten it right most of the time. Now the first point is an objective observation. The couple are definitely charismatic. I had attended CHC - just once - and I saw Kong Hee preached. He was impressive, well organized. I have also seen Sun Ho lead in worship and she sang reasonably well, sincere and even humbling. The second point (“gotten it right”) is my subjective view. I believe that they are not doctrinally unsound most of the time. Putting aside their arm-bending donation drive and megachurches' slippery slope towards a cult of personality, the couple don't dabble in controversies like Holy Spirit doesn't convict us of sins anymore (but of righteousness) or the muddling through of "I don't confess my sins to be forgiven...I confess my sins knowing that all my sins are already forgiven" (thereby making confession a misnomer). So, their message over the pulpit is still relevant for the church today and their members have every reason to want them to stay put.

7) They have penetrating, though rather unusual, vision of evangelism. Let's face it: the crossover project could have worked for God's glory. It started with good, humble intention. The dynamic couple were abroad watching music videos over big tv screens when the idea came to them. That vision of going into the world to intermingle with them so as to understand their struggles and pain without judgment and then ministering to them where it counts - that is, at the core of one's heart where all issues of life flow - is exactly why Jesus came in the first place and laid his life at the Cross. That vision united the whole church and endeared them to Kong Hee and Sun Ho rather passionately.

8) They love their church. Now, this is controversial. How can love be exploitative? - some may question. How can love put their members through the grueling 5 years of investigation and trial resulting in overwhelming convictions and another tortuous route to appeal that drags the congregational faith for another few months? Is it really love or is it simply the evolutionary instinct of self-preservation? 

Well, I am supposed to defend/justify them remember? And I have already forewarned you that the obstacles gets harder or tougher as it goes. But still, and this is all me, I sincerely feel that Kong Hee and Sun Ho love the church. In DJ See’s judgment, it is stated that "In their defence, all the accused persons testified largely to the same effect: they love CHC and would not have wished to do harm to CHC. They never intended to cause loss to CHC.” I try not to read too much into that because the decades of passion and struggle to build a church deserve more credit to me than a roving suspicion aroused from slumber by the somber words or folly conduct of men. What's more, there is always a "self" in love because in its absence, from where is the self to learn to be selfless then?

Alas, I have come to my last two defences why Kong Hee and Sun Ho should remain as pastors in CHC and they are the toughest yet. I would need my readers' understanding here as I will be sharing my mind/heart out. It would therefore be a lot of rambling me-speak, and quite raw and unwieldy. Here goes.

9) To defend them in the midst of the convictions and sentences (pending appeal, and for Sun Ho, being the main protagonist in the China Wine video, which started the 5-year-old nightmare) is not the tough part, trust me. I'll leave that for the final part below. But my point here is that we are only human. Who amongst us has not fallen? Living the Christian life is already tough enough, not to mention leading many Christian lives - thousands even - setting the example weekly, thinking of finances, growth, membership devotion, possible mass disillusionment, continual reinvention, keeping it all fresh, keeping up that almost invulnerable image expected of visible leaders who are only humans, and all that. 

Kong Hee and Sun Ho are not perfect. Their enthusiasm got the better of them. In their zeal, they have lost the way. And to cover themselves, they blamed it on the auditors, lawyers and even their once most trusted confidante. They panicked. They were scared, confused, desperate, lost, and are only human. I might just do worse in their shoes. All that are understandable. And this brings me to my last point chariot-led by this quote: "To err is human; and to admit it is spectacular."

10) Indeed, repentance is the crowning glory of a man's (or woman's) achievement in my book. It takes moral courage to do so. It takes the unconditional, take-no-prisoner's confrontation of self in the deepest and darkest cesspool of human consciousness to turn a life around for good and for God. That is why the Bible says that "the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." (Psalm 51:17). And neither should any of us. 

And this brings me to the toughest part of my defence of Kong Hee and Sun Ho. To date, neither of them have done so. Neither has said sorry, truly, unconditionally. In fact, Kong Hee had muddled it further by a theatrical apology on stage that basically and ironically deflected all blame and personal responsibility. And to aggravate matters, he appointed Sun Ho recently as lead pastor - (a stealth act of self-perpetuation rather than contrition). 

While I have listed the above nine points to defend or justify them remaining as pastors, and I stand by each and everyone of them, I am still struggling with this last defence. For how can Kong Hee and Sun Ho remain faultless or blameless in this whole debacle? Is this the perfection of leadership (we as lay members should unquestionably aspire to) or is this silent cowardice? Is it because they are advised by their lawyers not to admit their wrongdoings pending trial and appeal, and they would only apologize after they have exhausted all avenues of appeal? Are they then accountable to what is most expedient by riding on a legal technicality or are they accountable to the timeless principles of honesty, integrity and truth? 

And I will end here with this lamentation: How do you defend, or justify their stay in positions of leadership, especially one of moral and spiritual authority - where thousands look up to and draw moral courage from as ordained by God - when they simply refuse to turn the St. James' mirror of self-awareness, self-examination and self-reproach on themselves and then make the required and, in my view, long overdue changes so that the whole church can move forward not by a convenient change of name to CHC 2.0 or CHC 5.0 or CHC 39.7, but by virtue of a simple, thorough and enduring change of heart...? I guess I need to rethink my whole defence then. Cheerz.


  1. I would defend a human being if it's God's Will. However as I cannot hear God audibly, therefore I will NOT defend these 2 lovers in crime.

  2. I respect Kong hee. however it is unlikely than he can escape a Jail Term

  3. I have one more defense for pastor Kong and Sun... they are pushing the envelope of modern evangelism and church growth at the risk of a long-term jail to Kong, trailbrazing the Church of Jesus Christ without compromising on doctrinal integrity.

  4. I have one more defense for pastor Kong and Sun... they are pushing the envelope of modern evangelism and church growth at the risk of a long-term jail to Kong, trailbrazing the Church of Jesus Christ without compromising on doctrinal integrity.