1) The AGC has filed Criminal Reference with the Court of Appeal. What happens next?
If the Court of Appeal grants leave to refer to any question of law of public interest, then they may reframe the question to reflect the issue of law of public interest.
Two scenarios could happen:
a) The Court of Appeal agrees with the High Court’s judgment. Everything is status quo as per the verdict last Friday.
b) The Court of Appeal disagrees with the High Court and makes its own decision.
2) How should members’ reaction be to this?
While it is human to feel anxious about the latest news, let’s remain calm. Please do not be reactive or emotional—it could aggravate matters and put our church at risk. Remember Psalms 121:1-2, “Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” As we have already learned these seven years, the battle belongs to the Lord. So, let us look to the Lord in prayer. Remember, we are called to win the lost for Christ—this weekend is a very important one for us. Let’s focus on what we are called to do.
3) How is the church going to support the six now?
On Friday April 21, Pastor Kong, Pastor Tan, Serina, Sharon and John will begin their sentences. It is understood that they will present themselves at the State Courts at 9am, before they are transported to Changi.
Only approved visitors—mostly family members—will be able to visit them. You may write to them but there is a limit to the number of letters they can keep. Also, please note the following:
“All standard materials including greeting cards and postcards, are subject to screening and approval by the Prison authorities. Non-standard materials will be rejected immediately, such as those of the following nature: musical, perfumed, pop-ups, irregular-shaped, unusually large, glossy surface, pasted with neo-prints/stickers, printed with personal photographs, etc.” (Source)
The best way to support the six is to continue in prayer. Also, as you can imagine, their families have many needs. As always, keep them and their families in prayer. We can best support our leaders by making sure CHC fulfils its mission and purpose—let’s always be loving God and ministering to people.
4) Now that the verdict is out, how do you answer anyone who asks how can you follow a spiritual leader who is now convicted and going to jail? In the eyes of the public, as long as they didn’t get acquitted, it doesn’t matter that their sentences were reduced. it still means the judges believe they did something wrong and deserve jail time.
Yes. By the law of the land, the six are guilty of committing criminal breach of trust and four of them, of falsification of accounts. While the fact remains that their actions were wrong, the appeal judges made note in their written judgement that:
– They “accept that the appellants had acted in what they considered to be the best interests of CHC.”
– They note “Their fault lies in adopting the wrong means.”
5) Why are people still saying $50m was lost?
The conviction was based on the use of the wrong means to fund the Crossover and not actual loss caused to the Church. This was even reported in the Straits Times. As the appeal judges explained: “wrongful loss does not mean financial or monetary loss but to the deprivation of another person from property that he is legally entitled to.”
6) What is Pastor Kong feeling about the future? How should we support him?
You can read Pastor Kong’s Facebook message here. As Pastor Kong said to the church on the weekend of 8-9 April, “I’m very proud of all of you. The last seven years has been very challenging but I have seen you mature. Look at all of you here, staying with God, trusting Him each step of the way… CHC has become a testimony that Jesus is alive.”
As members we must first of all be united, as Pastor Kong exhorted us. We must uphold what God has called us to do, we must continue to be faithful to our calling and our purpose.
7) How can we support the SMT especially Sun during this time?
The senior management team needs our support in prayer and in our works. Let’s continue to attend weekend services, leaders’ meetings, conduct cell groups, pray for the sick and oppressed, and share the gospel to the lost. Let’s pray for Sun, that God continues to give her the strength and wisdom to lead the church with Pastor Aries and Pastor Bob, and for Dayan, that God’s protection will surround him at all times.
8) How should members respond when family or colleagues criticise us?
It is hard for anyone outside our church to understand the calling we have, or why we still support Pastor Kong and the others. For those who genuinely want to understand, do try to explain the case and win them over. For those who genuinely don’t want to understand, keep the peace.
9) Since found guilty, does it mean they are guilty?
Yes, they are guilty of breaking the law. But we must bear in mind of the appeal judges’ finding that “the appellants had acted in what they considered to be the best interests of CHC.” The judges also noted in their written judgment that “it is not the Prosecution’s case that any of the appellants could be said to have benefitted financially from their offences. Their fault lies in adopting the wrong means.”
10) What direction should we focus on for the church now?
CHC 2.0 has been in place for over a year and a half now. Even before that, Pastor Kong has long handed over the reins to Pastor Aries, Pastor Bobby and Sun. ()(See this 2015 City News report of the first time CHC 2.0 was introduced). The senior management and the new leadership have already been running CHC for quite some time. The direction in which our church heads is continuously being fine-tuned, and it will be communicated to the congregation in the coming months. (See this interview Pastor Kong gave last year on the future of the church).
11) After all that prayer, how do we reconcile this verdict?
Isaiah 55:9 says “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
God is sovereign, and as Pastor Kong said on the weekend of April 8-9, God knows the end from the beginning, and we must trust in God’s higher plan and purpose when our prayers don’t seem to be answered.
Finally, a reminder: Hebrews 10:23-24 says, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works.” We must continue to do all that the leadership, especially Pastor Kong, has taught us: to trust God, to have faith in His promises, and to keep meditating and confessing His Word.
Updated April 20, 2017