This is my second article on the City Harvest Church Saga. In my first article, I have explained that the real problem is on not whether the pastor is found guilty. It lies in the church members’ reaction to this event. The church members behaved as though they have been brainwashed into mindless drones and faithful worshippers of the pastor.
This means that even if the pastor is found innocent by the investigators, this church will still have to live with the public impression that it is an evil cult that manipulates its members to turn them into mindless drones who are only capable to obey the pastor’s every command. Its legacy as a great church has ended.
In this article, I am going to provide you with the real analysis of the problem and how the church had messed up.
How it began.
The senior pastor and a few members were summoned by the authorities to assist in investigation relating to mismanagement of church funds. Although technically these people are innocent until proven otherwise, the public perceives them as guilty. The media has even linked them to previous frauds by other institutions like NKF and Renci. After all, we do not believe the authorities investigate people at random.
Of course, those who do not like this church will take advantage of this situation to throw a few stones.
However, no matter how this investigation turns out, the church will still be there. The government will not close it down. Surely, common sense tells us that this is not an attack to the church. The church can continue to function as usual even if the pastor is convicted and imprisoned. There is absolutely no need for church members to behave as though they are under siege, being attacked by the devil or being under any form of persecution.
It is the responsibility of the church leadership to explain this situation to their members and warn them not to over-react. Did they do that? The answer is “no”. The opposite has happened. The incompetent church leaders has failed to control the fanatics among their members from creating the impression that it is a cult that turns people into mindless drones.
Let me explain on how the efforts put up by the members with the intention to “defend” their church and pastor had resulted the opposite effect. I refer to the 2 Facebook groups set up by the church members:
1. CHC United In Prayers
2. We believe City Harvest Church is framed and maligned.
In my first article, a church member wrote in to me to question my objectivity in using these groups to represent a church of 33,000. My reply is, I insist on using them as true representation of the church’s 33,000 members based on one reason: Neither the church leadership nor any of the “real” members have openly denounced, condemned and exposed them. Until that happens, I have the right to think of them as the true members of City Harvest Church.
Let us look at the name itself. The first one, “CHC United In Prayers” is good. It sounds positive and does not imply anything bad. However, the second one, “We believe City Harvest Church is framed and maligned” is a disaster for 2 reasons:
1. It views the authority’s investigation on a few individuals as an attack on the church.
2. The members have made up their minds that their pastor is innocent from all wrongdoings regardless of the results from the investigation.
Other than the names, I see no clear distinction in the contents of the 2 groups. The members believed that this investigation is an attack from the devil and they must be united to fight the devil.
One member had even bragged that the church’s membership is half of the Singapore Armed Forces regulars and they have the money to buy weapons. I don’t see anyone in the group rebuking him for this treason. Please feel free to visit these groups before they decided to remove them from public viewing.
As I read the comments, the only impression I got is a cult. This cult has effectively brainwashed its members into mindless drones who only know how to obey their pastor without question. In their minds, the pastor is as infallible as God. They are prepared to go to any extend to defend their beloved pastor.
An investigation on the pastor is an attack to the whole church. Church members must be united to fight off this enemy, who is of course the Devil. So, most of the contents there are battle calls and war cries. It is basically a holy crusade there.
There are some occasional rational postings there to appeal for calm but I don’t think anyone bothered. As I have mentioned before, neither the church leaders nor the rational members dare to confront them.
After reading the posts in these groups, I doubt if anyone will still want to join this church.
Then, there is this church service last week. It does not take much intelligence to know that it would be infiltrated by reporters and they were not there to write good things about the church. So, if the church leaders have any common sense, they must make sure they don’t do stupid things that will reinforce the perception that the church is a cult. Have they succeeded? The answer is “no”.
A member went to the worship service with a placard expressing support for Pastor Kong Hee. Since when do Christians go to church with placard to show support to their pastor? This is nothing more than pure stupidity. These people really think that by declaring their undying support for their pastor, they are actually winning. In reality, they will only cause people to see their church as a cult.
Some may say that this is only the action of one individual. It does not represent the whole church. My question is why did the leaders or the ushers not confiscate the placard? If the reporters can see it, why can’t any of them see it? Since they saw it, why did they not confiscate the placard to limit the embarrassment?
There were interviews by RazorTV to some members after the service. The answers are idiotic:
“He is a good pastor because he is my hero.”
“He laid down his life for us and for people in many countries.”
What type of opinions are that? Is the church that good in attracting intellectually challenged people or do these people become intellectually challenged only after they have joined the church?
The most common battle cry by the members is they are under attack from the devil. Is that true? My answer is “no”. Do you know why? If your church have members like these who had never stopped making fools out of themselves and disgracing the church, you don’t need the devil. In this case, the devil is redundant.
Based on the above observations, I conclude that a great church has fallen not because of any attack from outside but due to internal stupidity.