Monday, March 29, 2010

An analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church

Update: I have updated this analysis with a new article in the aftermath of the Pastor's arrest. 

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 SGD310 million 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 revolves 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.

128 comments:

  1. Regulation of large NON-IPC charities, is regulation lax?

    http://just-my-observation.blogspot.com/2010/04/regulation-of-large-non-ipc-charities.html

    For an example of accounts of 'Institution of Public Character (IPC)' charity: 'Riding for the Disabled Association of Singapore (financial statement)' as an example of the application of 'Annual Online IPC Disclosure Template.doc'- see comment 8 on last page of guideline: "Related Party Transactions".
    "Related Party Transactions refer to transactions between the IPC and another person where either person could have influence over the other. For example, if a board member of an IPC is related to a certain supplier of services for the IPC, the value of the transactions should be disclosed. Refer to the Financial
    Reporting Standards for the full definition of Related Party Transactions."

    True City Harvest Church is just an 'ordinary charity', not yet an IPC , but then again, shouldn't these 'Related Party Transactions' be listed too given the fact that all charities are income-tax-exempt and also given the fact that reserves of CHC: >>> RenCi/ AMKTHK Hosp (even if both are added together).

    Balance Sheet: 'Total Funds and Liabilities'- 2009 unless otherwise stated
    - Ang Mo Kio – Thye Hua Kwan Hospital, - Financial Information : $10,269,000
    RenCi FINANCIAL STATEMENT: $51,134,000
    - CHC FINANCIAL STATEMENTS: $111,099,000
    - NKF, Financial Information (2008):$ 287,890,000


    This is not an accusation of any wrong doing, just an example of what I think is lax disclosure requirements on part of CHC despite its not being an IPC, it is just a 'charity' after all (not a country club/ entertainment ctr that pays income tax/ GST)- albeit a very large one at that.

    Comments to article of the same on my blog are welcomed.

    ReplyDelete
  2. A very good piece of writing that sums up Kong Hee's "business venture"! Cheers!

    - Kojakbt

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  3. I agree too. Very interesting! Will forward it on!

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  4. I am a member of City Harvest for 5.5 years now but I must say your analysis is illuminating.

    When I was a younger teenager,my parents raised some of the very same points but I reluctantly listened and didn't pay much heed.I guess taking pride in being part of a congregation can sometimes prevent people from looking at things objectively.

    Thanks for sharing this analysis.

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  5. I am a member of City Harvest for 5.5 years now but I must say your analysis is illuminating.

    When I was a younger teenager,my parents raised some of the very same points but I reluctantly listened and didn't pay much heed.I guess taking pride in being part of a congregation can sometimes prevent people from looking at things objectively.

    Thanks for sharing this analysis.

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  6. are you sure you are not from the church?

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  7. Brilliant piece of article. More people should read it to have a balanced view of Pastor Kong & his Church so that they could make up their own mind.Thanks for sharing

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  8. To the CH flock of sheep, she is the successful celebrity-wife of Kong Hee Fatt Choy (coz can get back 100-fold what you donate);
    She is just enjoying her life: $28 000-a-month rented mansion & numerous maids, expensive cars & branded clothes, groovy Hollywood
    wild parties ......
    Morality? What morality? Nothing wrong living an opulent, lifestyle.
    Afterall, her hubby, a high-profile pastor of a mega church, advocates it.. get super rich and flaunt your wealth! Btw, he collects millions selling his "prosperity gospel" ware.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0VHanPpfCA


    To detractors, Sun Goddess cuts the figure of a dyed-blonde-hair, immoral Ah Lian, in Armani clothes,
    She uses the spoils of hubby Con Hee, who fleeces his thousands of sheep weekly of their hard-earned money, for an expensive lifestyle in the States. As a pastor's wife, it smacks of vulgarity & decadence.
    Her wild dances, in scantily-clad clothing and her tastes for expensive living contradict the very tenets of the Bible;

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twxf2LraoEE&feature=related

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Christian God of the Bible is not a Cai Shen Ye. Well said. Neither is Buddha nor Guan Inn. But being Chinese (may be not just Chinese), we believe that any god that is worth worshiping must be able to reward us with good fortune.
    That can be understood. But the belief has been exploited. Such exploitation is despicable.

    ReplyDelete
  10. PSYCHOLOGY is the name of the game. Likewise, PAP used the same
    technique to scare voters to vote for them. Both are equally very
    successful in their pursuits.
    Certainly, Psychology is a major course in the Trinity College studies.
    Pastors are well trained to apply their knowledge to "psycho" their
    church members.
    One does not sense the tool of psychology in other religions
    propagation or pursuits.

    ReplyDelete
  11. As a man thinketh in his heart so is he. Have you heard of GEORGE MUELLER and how he built orphanages without asking a cent from any human being -- only God . When he died he had a few coins in his purse.

    Or have you heard of John G Lake who stopeed bubonic plague on the basis of realities you and I posess .

    Then there is Hogan who with his people raise the dead . He lives amongst the poorest of the poor in Mexico.

    There is Heidi Miller in Mazambique. Today doing the work of caring for the poorest of the poor.Before that she was caring for the prostitutes and the downtrodden in HongKong.

    There are the genuine and there are the fakes .

    As a man spends his time thinking of what is true and precious and worthy so will he be to himself and to the world.Our meditation produces life for ourselves and others or distributes death .

    THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS ABOUT THE KING WHO GAVE HIS LIFE AND PROVIDED HIS LIFE THAT WE MIGHT HAVE LIFE . Life to posess and life to give to others . This is where we have failed and society has a right to point it out . At the same time society has also been given the choice to demonstrate the same abilities that somehow the professing have failed to demonstrate .

    The kingdom of God is your birthright . Where others have failed you have a right to show the way of the Kingdom . You do not have to be a Pastor or anything to be able to do this . All else is like collecting garbage and trying to sell it . Nobody wants garbage no matter how it is packaged .

    God bless you in your journey.

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  12. Kudos to you for such an apt article. Totally resonates with my sentiment. Indeed, Kong Hee may argue he has done no wrong, but the fact that he has stirred such controversy is bad enough as a wrong. After all, the bible tells us not to let our actions stumble others.

    Pardon me for being judgmental, but such pastors do not deserve to be respected as men of God. If I were to say one thing to Kong Hee, it will be: " WAKE UP YOUR IDEA!"

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  13. fake fake fake!

    ReplyDelete
  14. there are 2 sides to a coin. while your article can provide another perception to the whole chc news, one should still look at all other peceptions and angles of the story before condemming or making negative remarks about chc. why is it tt businesses and companies can get rich and get on with it while churches get raised eyebrowns and speculations when they get rich. with regards to the comments on Sun ho. why are local singaporeas slamming her when she is in fact a local hero? she has done an made so many achivements internationally which only a rare few have managed to accomplish. singaporeans shldnt jst admire overseas heroes but love and celebrate local heroes as well.

    in short, to everyone, pls do open your eyes and really look through and use your own brain and think about things before making any comments or remarks over the chc news.

    ps: nope, i'm not a chc member. this is an unbiased comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being a local hero does not mean you can still do illegal stuff and get away with it. Its like saying Fandi Ahmad can commit a crime and get away with it

      Delete
    2. I don't think anyone would have any problem with Sun Ho if it is proven that her lavish lifestyle and career is not financed by donations made by devotees.

      Her image and music is not in any way reaching out to non-Christians, so it should not qualify as a service to God. Hence donations to the church should not be used to further her music career.

      Delete
  15. Here a little bit about me. I'm not a fan of City Harvest and have always thought some of the theology is bordering on the line of being warped, however, I also know just from reading your "analysis" that you are an unbeliever. The analysis that you have done (apparently) do not take into accoutn anything of those that live by faith, in the spirit.

    I can destory pretty much your entire article...but I won't...because even one could prove to you beyond reasonable doubt that a God exist, you won't believe it.

    Here's a simple questions, which I will love to hear you reply....

    As Christian, we submit to Jesus...who do you submit to? What is your worldview and where does it come from?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please improve upon your English before questioning a well written article.

      Thank you.

      Delete
    2. The writer had mentioned that :
      "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."

      What's got to do with whom he submitted to.

      Delete
    3. I would love to see how you would "destory" this article. Really.

      Delete
    4. By invoking the name of the one who died for our sins, the one true lord and savior Goku to kamehameha this article.

      Delete
    5. That. Was some. Funny shit. KARMAHAMEHA!

      Delete
    6. I would love to see you destroy this well written, unbiased article too! lol

      Delete
    7. Celine you are a comic!

      Delete
    8. I believe in Jesus and I am very mindful that Jesus reminds us of false prophets of God. Enough said!

      Delete
    9. This is how i can debate with you that each and every argument doesnt hold any water. This is my response. http://onepunchinch.tumblr.com/

      Delete
    10. Celine,
      You are a good sheep. We need more folks like you, to believe and give. Don't worry, the miracle worker will help you destroy this article.
      Continue to pray hard and this article will self destruct.
      Trust me.
      Yours in Christ,
      KHFC & ALS
      gong xi fa cai & ah lain soon

      Delete
  16. What is more worrying is that many churches are envious of the success and the rich harvest that chc reaps. Some worry about losing their members (especially the younger ones) to chc, while others wish they could learn from this highly successful mega-church to improve attendance.

    ReplyDelete
  17. the above is being presumptious
    what's your basis to think that other churches are envious of chc wealth?Why do you think that? Do you have any evidences to support that?
    i.e. why do you believe what you believe?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Good analysis! I enjoyed reading it.This church's revenue model is excellent.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I always though churches were poor institutions, depending on the congregation to survice.
    I guess the CHC eposode have really put me in a great shock as I really cannot believe that such a religious organisation can amass such a hugh fortune within such a short time. My question now is, "Why did Pastor Kong" step down when investigations are not even complete. Being so filty rich, has the wife got to dress in flimsy clothes to perform in USA. Her obligation as a wife is to stay with the husband and not try to expend career. God knows what social life they both have living so far apart.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Pastor Kong got some of his ideas and inspiration
    from 'successful' tele-evangelist in US who are
    more successfully richer than him.

    Man's basic fear is the unknown after death. If you know how to exploit this fear use 'faith' as
    a fundamental ideology, coupled with a charismatic
    personality and a plan you can start your own CHC.

    faith can never be proof or disproof so how to
    destroy a believe? It is the best marketing concept.

    ReplyDelete
  21. In my view, cases like this provide (yet more) occasions for Christians to fire out their cannons and show how judgmental we are. Consider:

    - how come no one has talked about the good that Kong Hee et al have done? e.g. mission trips to other countries (with the participants numbering in the hundreds)

    - what about the other messages that the pastor(s) have preached? the way the 'anti-CH' media plays it, it's like Kong Hee talks about NOTHING except giving and money - but this is blatantly a lie, isn't it? (e.g. I attended City Harvest at least a dozen times in 2001 and only once was the sermon about money and at the time at least there was nothing 'pro-prosperity' about it)

    - what about the church giving to other organisations? (I haven't checked, but has anyone bothered to do so? A good-hearted person would at least hope that CH is itself practising the "give and it will come back to you" theology that it preaches, and may even argue that the reason why the church is so rich is BECAUSE it practices the very 'risky' principles it seeks to instil in its members!)

    As for the 14 points, allow me to unpack (what I take to be) clear 'hermeneutics of suspicions' involved in all 14 and perhaps reverse the reading of the same "facts":


    1. Clever packaging of Sunday services - yes yes yes! compared to the VERY REAL problem of people getting bored (and thus dropping out!) of traditional conservative liturgical services, I'd say this is a good case-study for 'Christ, Church & Culture' concerns, don't you think?!

    2. Extra revenue in the form of advertisements, sales of CDs - no problem here, right?

    3. Efficient collection of tithes - whilst I wasn't used to seeing the rows and rows of credit-card machines outside the church, I also ask myself, "What's wrong with this?" So the church sets up systems to make it easier for members to pay, thus eliminating the problem other churches usually have i.e. members who never tithe no matter what you say. CH is smart and technologically efficient - why is this a problem? Or insinuated as such?


    4. 30-fold, 60-fold, 100-fold returns on your church donations - here I can't entirely fault Kong Hee, though perhaps (then again I'm not running a 20,000-member church, neither do I have plans to expand) I would tamper such calls with being realistic and so on. Whilst people giving a LOT of their salaries may be a problem, I wonder if this is somehow a "necessary corrective' to the very OPPOSITE problem of church members who stinge like hell, spend loads on personal luxuries but couldn't spare 10 bucks for the flower-offering.

    Now, unless City Harvest members are financing Kong Hee's Hawaii vacation (as was the case with, say, Benny Hinn), I'd be less quick to judge him.

    The point is: What do you think is a bigger problem in churches today? People giving too little or too much?

    (continued next post)

    ReplyDelete
  22. 5. Quality of customers - I don't see a problem here. So the Sunday School teachers are also millionaires, what exactly is the problem?

    6. Kill off competition - ok, this is admittedly controversial. Evaluating it positively (and giving KH the benefit of the doubt), perhaps we could ask ourselves, "Where does our money go? Is it ALWAYS to the 'most needy'?"

    I would have a problem here if KH is saying that we should, say, stop helping the welfare home and put the money into City Harvest instead. If that is specifically what he's advocating, then it's a no-no. But I suspect it's not. It's never that simple.

    7. Providing a place where the rich can network - another needless insinuation, IMO.

    8. Preach what people like to hear. - a little too absolute, too general. What if someone were to bring out a few of Kong Hee's sermons on social action, evangelism, etc.?

    Then again, do you suspect something inconsistent here. We accuse KH of preaching what people want to hear, but I ask you : Do you WANT to hear that it's God's objective for you to give more and more? It sounds like we're trying to have our cake and eat it too, right?

    9. God pays for the returns, not the church - another low-blow, IMO.

    10. Social pressure to conform in church settings and ease of influence - haha, this is HARDLY a problem exclusive to City Harvest!!

    11. Tremendous future earning power - nothing wrong with this...

    12. Stable earnings in times of depression - this is NOT a sign of God's blessing? It's hard to be sure what we want, isn't it?

    13. Turning Christianity into a universal religion for mankind - oops, another red herring. You can point-blank ask KH whether he thinks "all mankind will be saved" by whatever Gospel and get his response. Again, it sounds like defamation.

    14. Tax benefits as church is registered as a charity - duh! And all the other churches are registered as profit-making orgs, right??!! ;>)

    The thing is, if we wish to be discerning and caring for victims of financial fraud/scams, we should NOT mis-represent the so-called culprits. We should wait for all the evidence that we have, we should listen to all sides of the debate, we should have a good heart and see the good, and we should reject insinuatory ideas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why so defensive? No one faulting the way donations are encouraged... Your reply just makes everything seem more suspicious :x

      Delete
    2. You must have benefitted quite a lot from the church "in some way" to defend Kong Hee so much.
      I did not see any defense coming in - in the name of God or Jesus Christ.
      So, do you worship Kong Hee or God???

      Delete
    3. You must have benefitted quite a lot from the church "in some way" to defend Kong Hee so much.
      I did not see any defense coming in - in the name of God or Jesus Christ.
      So, do you worship Kong Hee or God???

      Delete
    4. alwyn thinks there is nothing wrong with the church hence his distorted argument rebuttal.
      thanks but no thanks.

      Delete
    5. Hi Alwyn, on the point about repackaging services to appeal to the people better versus people being bored and hence dropping out of church, do you sincerely believe that this is the way a church should work? There is a prescribed biblical form of worship that emphasizes the sanctity of God and advocates soberness in worship, the very same thing that most "newly packaged" church services do not seem to have. This more or less directly goes against the word of God, and I believe that to Christians, honouring God's Word in His own place of worship is more important than appealing to Christians who are bored and drop our of church right? The fact that they are bored during a proper, sober, worship of God as He prescribed it to be should show that they do not respect nor love God as much as they should anyway right? Just some thoughts for you to consider here :)

      Delete
    6. This is how i can debate with you that each and every argument doesnt hold any water. This is my response. http://onepunchinch.tumblr.com/

      Delete
  23. Alwyn, dear Alwyn - CHC can do no wrong it seems. God has indeed taken on an earthly form.

    Time to stick your head out of your ass and stop imagining everybody out there has a problem Christianity.

    You spread YOUR VERSION of the Gospel and turn people off since many already have a faith. You do it by peer pressure, whether you like it or not. "Hey, you can be rich and prosperous and well-connected like me!!" (no thank you!) I am wondering who is more pathetic, you or the inner sanctum of your church who are more conscious of concepts of power than you are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. what message God is giving us through the seven churches. The seven churches are

      (1) Ephesus (Revelation 2:1-7) - the church that had forsaken its first love (2:4).

      (2) Smyrna (Revelation 2:8-11) - the church that would suffer persecution (2:10).

      (3) Pergamum (Revelation 2:12-17) - the church that needed to repent (2:16).

      (4) Thyatira (Revelation 2:18-29) - the church that had a false prophetess (2:20).

      (5) Sardis (Revelation 3:1-6) - the church that had fallen asleep (3:2).

      (6) Philadelphia (Revelation 3:7-13) - the church that had endured patiently (3:10).

      (7) Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-22) - the church with the lukewarm faith (3:16).

      Delete
  24. Hi Alwyn,

    I also agree with most of your points in that I don't see big problems in the points raised by the writer. Actually, to be fair to the writer, he never said they were big problems either. The points raised were indeed contributing factors to the wealth of CHC. After all, the blog post was entitled "An analysis into the wealth of City Harvest Church". Being a business/financial analyst myself, I must say it was a brilliantly written essay from the perspective of a business analyst. On this aspect, I cannot fault him.

    However, my message to the writer is that you have made some Christians uncomfortable by analyzing the Church like a profit-making business. Not all Christians are money-minded and donate because they desire money from God. You have hurt the feelings of this group of people and you should apologise!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The writer did apologise upfront. Did you not read the article fully?

      Delete
    2. I believe and he believes that not all churches and christians are money-minded. It is only about CHC and the business analysis of CHC. Period.

      Delete
    3. read the Scripture fully to understand Jesus teaching on this.

      Mark 10:28-31: Then Peter began to say to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You." So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time--houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions--and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

      Delete
    4. I don't think there is a need for any apology and if I may say that on behalf of the writer. There is already a disclaimer clause at the beginning of the well thought and well written article. If I were a CHC member I will terminate my giro account pronto. This serves as a wake up call and I will be thanking God for giving me the wisdom to see what is right and wrong. Kong Hee is not the first false prophet of God and certainly he will not be the last.

      Delete
  25. Well written & well reasoned article.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am sorry that you refer the church to a business organisation.
    As for your article, it is based on purely shallow observations, and say what you may, your arguments have no support. They are just groundless accusations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Groundless, sir?

      Since the author mostly referenced the video, titled "The 10 Laws Of The Harvest", on CHC's website, are you saying that the video contains nothing but lies or words of no value?

      Delete
  27. Alwyn,
    If KH was a temnple leader, what would Jesus have done?

    ReplyDelete
  28. Seminary StudentJuly 5, 2010 at 2:15 PM

    Alwyn, am behind you. I believe in the Gospel and yes, I believe that only JESUS saves.

    If someone was on their deathbed, I wonder who they would prefer to speak to? Someone who has return from the dead and appeared to thousands of people, or someone who didn't?

    The only reason why I didn't respond a huge article is simply because...people only see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. That's why Jesus spoken in parables. Those whose eyes have been open never look back, the rest whose eyes are close, just wander around aimlessly. That's why i love the matrix, it has so many christian connotations to it.

    As for the writer, he speaks from a business perspective. Very much from a person of the world, but a perspective nevertheless. He does not take into account other viewpoints as his eyes are closed too.

    I actively tithe as well, but I don't tithe to a church. I encourage people to tithe, even though I don't benefit from it. My fiance and I tithe whereever the spirit leads and that goes up to thousands. It'll all about where the peace of God directs you too.

    My suggestion to you Alywin is to leave it as such.

    Remember Matthew 10: 14 -15

    ReplyDelete
  29. Seminary Student.July 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    Is there a reason you removed my previous comments?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Seminary Student,

    I thought it was one of the higher quality and longer replies which disagreed with the article. This is fine as this blog's theme is to think freely and fairly, hence disagreements are ok. I thank you very much for the effort to write the comment.

    I am not sure if you believe me. I don't know what happened to your post. On blogger's admin site, I saw 30 comments. On this blog, there are only 28 comments. I don't know what happened to the other 2 comments.

    You are free to repost whatever you like. I am so sorry this happened that you wasted your time writing a long and well-thought out post. This happened to me once and I understand your frustration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is how i can debate with you that each and every argument doesnt hold any water. This is my response. http://onepunchinch.tumblr.com/

      Delete
  31. Hi Seminary Student,

    Your post is back. I did nothing about it. I think it is a bug from Google blogger site.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Seminary StudentJuly 7, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    Thanks for letting me know.

    Take care

    May his peace go with you

    ReplyDelete
  33. Seminary StudentJuly 9, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    To the writer,

    By the way, people don't tend to question critically, but there are a lot who do and the bible has not falled short on anything. NO one in the history of mankind in the last 2000 years have been able to bring down the faith of Christianity or prove Christians wrong - show us the body of Jesus Christ.

    Faith isn't simply about just believing, that's a fallacy. Just because so many people do it, doesn't mean we are all like that.

    Some books you may be interested in reading:
    A Skeptic's Search for God: Convincing Evidence for His Existence - Ralph O Muncaster

    The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict, by Josh McDowell

    A person must really want to have his eyes open before the Lord reveals himself. I pray that you will develop a seeking heart.

    If you need to get in touch with someone to ask questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at ptremailster@gmail.com.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Your message seem to depicts you as a believer too ....

    Honestly, I believe he didn't plan to "con" $ from the believers and neither he has done so. I attend another Church but not CHC. There maybe some audit findings which CHC needs improvement. I doubt there would be anything that is against the law.

    Your writing seem to gives an "impression" that the management of the CHC is questionable.

    No offence to you. Everyone has their opinion. Why not wait for the verdict ...

    Even if he is not gulity, I think there are many who are still doubtful about the verdict.

    ReplyDelete
  35. King James Version (and other versions by different kings)September 2, 2010 at 8:40 PM

    1. other than their illustrated look, what differentiates god, santa claus, and superman?

    2. how do you know for a fact that god exist, when u can dispute firmly the actual existence of santa claus or superman?

    3. did a human being told/teach you about god?
    are you a human being? are you always right? why would you believe in the human being that told you about god when you know they're not always right?

    4. is it because santa claus and superman isn't mentioned in the bible that they don't exist?... what if... only what if when you read your bible, superman is the holy spirit that you can't see, but you can feel, could he be real then?

    5. oh so the bible holds every answer to god. did a human being wrote the bible? did a human being translated and interpreted the bible? did a human being preach you the bible? we're back to the imperfect human being again.

    6. so god is perfect isn't it? how do you know for sure? is it because u feel it? the same feeling u get when u feel there's ghosts or evil spirits around? or maybe the feeling you get when santa claus is around during the christmas eve?... maybe santa claus is the holy spirit, that's why u get the same warm and safe and secure feeling. could it be? why?

    7. who has the best god in the world? whose god is the kindest and most forgiving? why? how do you know for sure?

    8. is god power and praises obsessed? that only those who praises god will go and get to enjoy the "heavenly kingdom"... ya btw... the "heavenly kingdom" where do you hear it from? (don't tell me from the bible again)

    9. so god punishes adam and eve and their kids for having eaten the apple, then send hesus, then we're all saved, but only those who follow hesus will go to heaven... right? is god applying favoritism then? that only the kid who are obedient and unquestioning of the faith will be allowed into the kingdom of heaven?

    10. how many heavens are there? what about the heaven for other religion practitioners? are they all damned to the eternal fire? or heaven is just like earth, with its own heavenly boundaries and territories, with each god as the leader and their own set of sheeps. Then there is one god or many? are you sure? how can you be so sure? have you been dead and comeback from heaven? (or you just read it in the bible?)

    11. is your god the most powerful? hey other holy-book also claims that their god is the one that created the universe. who's right?

    ok ok so you are right
    because your bible is always right
    and because your god is always right
    therefore everything about it is always right
    but who creates god?
    could it be human brain? just like when the primitive was praising the sun god, and the moon god, the rain god, and the river, and the tree, and the rocks, and the mountains, and zeus... etc etc...for thousands and thousands of years (hesus, only 2000).

    From my understanding is that animals don't have the advance brain like human do, and therefore they don't have any god, so could it be our brain that creates god?

    or is it because god creates the universe so that ONLY human can be aware of god and nothing else can be aware of god's existence except human... then is god lonely? or is he just praise and power hungry?

    god... i love god... the miracle they perform is just unbelievable... i just wish i know which god to pick because everyone say that their god is the best, who should i listen to? this is like picking between the superman who can fly and have body of steel, or spiderman who can jump from buildings to buildings, or santa clause who is surely gonna take me to his wonder-heavenly-land up at north-pole. wish i can just root for all of the super-heroes, and don't have to choose, maybe then nobody will argue/fight/kill each other over who's super-hero is the best.

    ReplyDelete
  36. King James Version (and other versions by different kings)September 2, 2010 at 8:41 PM

    1. other than their illustrated look, what differentiates god, santa claus, and superman?

    2. how do you know for a fact that god exist, when u can dispute firmly the actual existence of santa claus or superman?

    3. did a human being told/teach you about god?
    are you a human being? are you always right? why would you believe in the human being that told you about god when you know they're not always right?

    4. is it because santa claus and superman isn't mentioned in the bible that they don't exist?... what if... only what if when you read your bible, superman is the holy spirit that you can't see, but you can feel, could he be real then?

    5. oh so the bible holds every answer to god. did a human being wrote the bible? did a human being translated and interpreted the bible? did a human being preach you the bible? we're back to the imperfect human being again.

    6. so god is perfect isn't it? how do you know for sure? is it because u feel it? the same feeling u get when u feel there's ghosts or evil spirits around? or maybe the feeling you get when santa claus is around during the christmas eve?... maybe santa claus is the holy spirit, that's why u get the same warm and safe and secure feeling. could it be? why?

    7. who has the best god in the world? whose god is the kindest and most forgiving? why? how do you know for sure?

    8. is god power and praises obsessed? that only those who praises god will go and get to enjoy the "heavenly kingdom"... ya btw... the "heavenly kingdom" where do you hear it from? (don't tell me from the bible again)

    9. so god punishes adam and eve and their kids for having eaten the apple, then send hesus, then we're all saved, but only those who follow hesus will go to heaven... right? is god applying favoritism then? that only the kid who are obedient and unquestioning of the faith will be allowed into the kingdom of heaven?

    10. how many heavens are there? what about the heaven for other religion practitioners? are they all damned to the eternal fire? or heaven is just like earth, with its own heavenly boundaries and territories, with each god as the leader and their own set of sheeps. Then there is one god or many? are you sure? how can you be so sure? have you been dead and comeback from heaven? (or you just read it in the bible?)

    11. is your god the most powerful? hey other holy-book also claims that their god is the one that created the universe. who's right?

    ok ok so you are right
    because your bible is always right
    and because your god is always right
    therefore everything about it is always right
    but who creates god?
    could it be human brain? just like when the primitive was praising the sun god, and the moon god, the rain god, and the river, and the tree, and the rocks, and the mountains, and zeus... etc etc...for thousands and thousands of years (hesus, only 2000).

    From my understanding is that animals don't have the advance brain like human do, and therefore they don't have any god, so could it be our brain that creates god?

    or is it because god creates the universe so that ONLY human can be aware of god and nothing else can be aware of god's existence except human... then is god lonely? or is he just praise and power hungry?

    god... i love god... the miracle they perform is just unbelievable... i just wish i know which god to pick because everyone say that their god is the best, who should i listen to? this is like picking between the superman who can fly and have body of steel, or spiderman who can jump from buildings to buildings, or santa clause who is surely gonna take me to his wonder-heavenly-land up at north-pole. wish i can just root for all of the super-heroes, and don't have to choose, maybe then nobody will argue/fight/kill each other over who's super-hero is the best.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is how i can debate with you that each and every argument doesnt hold any water. This is my response. http://onepunchinch.tumblr.com/

      Delete
    2. One Punch Inch should be removed for spamming repeatedly.

      Delete
  37. @ King James Version (and other versions by different kings)

    I can answer your questions..though I'm going to be busy right up to the wedding and can only get back to you in detail next year. Email me at ptremailster@gmail.com and I'll get back to you after that.

    In the meantime, continue seeking, questioning. God wants us not just to glorify and worship him, but to love him with all our Hearts, Minds and Souls. I emphasis the word MINDS here too.

    Mark 12:30
    Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.

    Matthew 7:7
    Ask, and it shall be given you;
    seek, and ye shall find;
    knock, and it shall be opened unto you

    ReplyDelete
  38. Pastor Kong Hee often holds seminars in Taiwan for many years. In 2007 and even earlier, Taiwanese churches have known that Pastor Kong no longer takes a salary from the church, as he is spending more time in the marketplace. It is not that he is no longer a pastor, he has already established a church that is well-strcutured, and he does not have to be in Singapore the entire week to function as a volunteer senior pastor. An example of how he evangelises in the marketplace is that he does not keep preaching about the gospel, but merely produce work of professional quality (i.e. that is glorify to God). He then invites the coworkers to church. Some were even surprised when they step into church, only to discover that he is a pastor. (cf. Apostle Paul was not employed by the church, i.e. he is known as a "tentmaker", and he was an effective minister of the Gospel, and wrote many of the letters that is part of the New Testament. His coworkers, Priscilla and Aquila, were full-time tentmakers, but were also leaders of the church.)

    Sun Ho, his wife, has resigned from the church and does not take a salary from the church since 2003. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho_Yeow_Sun) Pop Christian music (especially Mandarin ones) have never been a saturated market. The popularity of the church that she helped her husband built has helped make her well-known. Sun Ho's music has been distributed by Warner Music, and has been on the Music Billboards, hence, it is not only bought by Christians. Her music is broadcasted by non-Christian radio stations too; I'm not surprised to hear that they have a house in the States.

    Any organization needs financial funding to run, be it a business corporation, a school, a charity organization, or a church. In the economy of God, tithes enable the church to function. CHC is the richest church in Singapore, but they are not the richest church in the world. CHC has been like a well runned business, providing Christian churches with good Christian music [not Sun Ho's music only] (http://www.chc.org.sg/eng/media/media_recordings.php), books, and training resources. The money generated from the business and from the tithes enabled the church to employ many pastors and coworkers to minister to the church and the community around them. Mind you, their's is not a church with just a senior pastor and an assistant pastor. They have several services in several languages in Singapore, they have a bible school, community service centers which caters to the disadvantaged (http://www.chcsa.org.sg/). We can't say that they don't care for the poor and needy. More money for the church doesn't mean higher salary for Pastor Kong Hee and Sun Ho.... remember, they are not drawing a salary from the church. They are successful business people in their own right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Sun Ho, his wife, has resigned from the church and does not take a salary from the church since 2003. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ho_Yeow_Sun) Pop Christian music (especially Mandarin ones) have never been a saturated market. The popularity of the church that she helped her husband built has helped make her well-known. Sun Ho's music has been distributed by Warner Music, and has been on the Music Billboards, hence, it is not only bought by Christians. Her music is broadcasted by non-Christian radio stations too; I'm not surprised to hear that they have a house in the States."

      And now, after so many years being a fool, you see the Light...

      Delete
  39. The Bible School does not only cater to their own church members. Although they do not offer a bachelor degree, but many church leaders in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, and elsewhere goes to their Bible School. This is because what they teach is very practical and easy to implement. Church leaders trained in their Bible School return to their home church to implement ministry that are dynamic. The pastor's son of one of the largest church in Taipei City attended their school, and now the team he is leading (Joshua) (http://www.joshua.com.tw/) is selling chinese Christian albums that many churches in the Chinese speaking world sings. One unique point of CHC's Bible School is that they don't just teach dry theology. That's how they differ from other bible schools; they teach how to preach the gospel in culturally relevant ways. For example, they teach how to develop Christian messages through the arts (songs, drama, dance, etc).

    Their community ministries and centers... it's like "wow:... (I've always praised God that such a church exists, so that they can fund such initiatives at such a scale and professionalism, which proclaims in visible ways that God cares for the poor and needy.) They minister to the terminally ill, they provide activities and tuition for youth at risks, they minister to disabled children, they minister to ex-prisoners, etc. All these ministries needs coworkers, and the tithe funds these ministries and the professionals employed in the ministry. [These ministries are not businesses, and do not generate money. If not for the tithes, they would not exist, or would not exist at such a scale.]

    CHC has always been a church that is packed full of people, requiring several services to accomodate everyone. And this is not the first time they've needed to upgrade their building. In 2001, when I was still in seminary, they have built the main church building they are presently in now, because they were already "bursting in the seams" at that time! And how they've grown since then... :-) They acquired SunTec City so that they can move to a bigger place and more people can be blessed (http://www.chc.org.sg/eng/church/church_CHCNewHome.php)

    I've attended Rev. Kong Hee's meetings and listened to a lot of his sermons. His church never badgers its congregation or other people for funds. It preaches a sound biblical message of how God can multiple the seed money we sow into a well-managed ministry that God blesses. But, that's not the only message it preaches. It has a ministry of Words that covers many topics in the Bible and is relevant/applicable to life! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  40. The Bible School does not only cater to their own church members. Although they do not offer a bachelor degree, but many church leaders in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, and elsewhere goes to their Bible School. This is because what they teach is very practical and easy to implement. Church leaders trained in their Bible School return to their home church to implement ministry that are dynamic. The pastor's son of one of the largest church in Taipei City attended their school, and now the team he is leading (Joshua) (http://www.joshua.com.tw/) is selling chinese Christian albums that many churches in the Chinese speaking world sings. One unique point of CHC's Bible School is that they don't just teach dry theology. That's how they differ from other bible schools; they teach how to preach the gospel in culturally relevant ways. For example, they teach how to develop Christian messages through the arts (songs, drama, dance, etc).

    Their community ministries and centers... it's like "wow:... (I've always praised God that such a church exists, so that they can fund such initiatives at such a scale and professionalism, which proclaims in visible ways that God cares for the poor and needy.) They minister to the terminally ill, they provide activities and tuition for youth at risks, they minister to disabled children, they minister to ex-prisoners, etc. All these ministries needs coworkers, and the tithe funds these ministries and the professionals employed in the ministry. [These ministries are not businesses, and do not generate money. If not for the tithes, they would not exist, or would not exist at such a scale.]

    CHC has always been a church that is packed full of people, requiring several services to accomodate everyone. And this is not the first time they've needed to upgrade their building. In 2001, when I was still in seminary, they have built the main church building they are presently in now, because they were already "bursting in the seams" at that time! And how they've grown since then... :-) They acquired SunTec City so that they can move to a bigger place and more people can be blessed (http://www.chc.org.sg/eng/church/church_CHCNewHome.php)

    I've attended Rev. Kong Hee's meetings and listened to a lot of his sermons. His church never badgers its congregation or other people for funds. It preaches a sound biblical message of how God can multiple the seed money we sow into a well-managed ministry that God blesses. But, that's not the only message it preaches. It has a ministry of Words that covers many topics in the Bible and is relevant/applicable to life! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  41. It's a good article because it's bring out what an individual is thinking but still, I think this is just a perception of an individual.

    I'm not from CHC and have never been to CHC and I belong to the Kingdom of GOD and yes! I don't think we have a right to judge what PS Kong Hee, his wife or CHC has done. Whether his wife lives in a luxury mansion in US, has many maids, etc, it's also not for us to comment.

    This could also be a testament to what GOD, as promised in the bible, blessing to the ones who gives, whether time or money.

    I just feel we have no right to judge. Only our sovereign GOD has a right to. Only GOD can tell what they have done is right or wrong, good or bad. It's not for us to comment.

    Though I'm not from CHC, I feel every Christian brothers & sisters should stand together and pray for PS Kong Hee, his family and CHC. We are all from the same Kingdom. I think all this, what PS Kong Hee and CHC are going through, we shall lift it up to Jesus. Should the conscience of man is clear, I believe GOD will vindicate them.

    May GOD blesses all who reads this...

    ReplyDelete
  42. King James Version (and other versions by different kings)June 1, 2011 at 1:24 AM

    May god forgives those who don't ask for it and forgives them anyway. Because he holds no grudges, he forgives even the most condemned, and can do anything even defeat the devil.

    But wait, why is evil still around?
    Because the children of Adam & Eve loves Apple [pun intended].

    May god forgives the disobedient children and accept all the children into his heavenly house and not putting them in hell as punishment for having different opinion. Wait... I'm not kid and I'm surely no sheep... I forgot that bible is the ultimate truth...no opinion is allowed... only different "translation" and "interpretation" by "the few elite's human brain" is allowed. Sheeps don't have opinions anyway, just follow, just believe whatever the book says.

    god, shield me from evil spirit, bless me and my family, give peace to my heart-mind-&soul, guide me in my action, let your will be done. <-- rewind the tape: me me me me me me me me... your will is me me me me me... amen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then why did "God" tsunami the hell out of the world? Hmmmmm?

      Delete
  43. King James Version (and other versions by different kings)September 1, 2011 at 1:15 AM

    Mysteries of the universe, the earth, the living and the dead and all that is contained within. We human understand nothing. Therefore it is much easier to attribute the things we don't yet understand to the supreme beings, the spirit world, the supernatural, the legend, the evil... all those that can never be proven. It is easier to create lies and to pass it on through words, rather than to pursue truth with action. Why?? because we still don't understand tons of things, easier just to say "you want answer? read the bible/quran/torah/etc-scriptures", as compared to creating a rocket to go to the outer space,explore the deepest ocean, dig into earth's core, find out unexplained magnetic fields, understanding of human brain connections, etc. True, all these findings do not contradict with religious beliefs, but the story tellers are just lazy (I'm talking about you, sheeps).

    ReplyDelete
  44. I feel the issue is not that it's run well like a business.

    If it's true that he's corrupt, then it's because, well, he's corrupt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you joined City Harvest knowing that it is a business, fine. But what about those who joined because of religious beliefs? And why bother registering City Harvest as a charity?

      Delete
    2. what about those who joined because of religious beliefs?

      GOD gives and gives generously to each accordingly. Don't need to envy KONG HEE and SUN HO. Everyone is rewarded accordingly by GOD ...in different ways ...why so fearful?

      Delete
    3. There is no envy nor fear here. The word to describe what people think of them is: disgusted. Using people's faith in a religion to scam them of their money is just not morally acceptable in my opinion. If you are a City Harvest member and you do not mind having contributed to his S$9.3 million Sentosa Cove house, or his wife's S$23 million singing career, be my guest and continue living your life as a fool (and no complains you cannot climb up the social ladder).

      Delete
    4. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely !

      Delete
  45. Well Written!
    This is what has happened to most churches, or religious organization.

    Thank you for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most churches? Not true.

      Delete
  46. Kong Hee is officially Con Hee....your god had set his fate in motion. He is crossing over to Changi!!!! Huat ah!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  47. As a Christian, I'll say this in a nutshell: City Harvest Church was founded & was run by crooks. So there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beware of what you declared !!! FOR GOD will be the JUDGE you have to face not KONG HEE.

      Delete
  48. Salute !! CAD for their perseverance , diligence works ethics !!!!

    ReplyDelete
  49. I heard there were already complaints and allegations of wrongdoing since 2003, but I can't verify this. Anyone heard?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I may answer, I remember the first accusation was made in 2003 by a church member. He claimed that there were unethical dealings within City Harvest, but withdrew his statement soon after. I wonder if he was bought over with money to retract his words...

      Delete
    2. from the news, CHC threatened to sue this guy and he panicked and did the apology on newspaper...

      Delete
  50. Using God's name to amass personal wealth is a truly sinful

    ReplyDelete
  51. Using the weakness in human's mind (i.e. fear, ignorant, greed, need for social validation) to amass wealth has been the way to riches and will be so until eternity. History is littered with such cases, and you can bet that it will not be the last.

    ReplyDelete
  52. dont jealous la, God prospers city harvest church and their members. Never prosper you. Maybe this is the purpose why God wants you to write this article? to give more to God. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My my, you are brainwashed beyond hope LOL..

      Delete
    2. I think you meant "God prospered City harvest's executive committee members and the lucky few who received their 30 to 100 fold returns", and these returns came from the 20000 others who are cheated.

      Delete
    3. dont jealous la, God prospers city harvest church and their members. Never prosper you. Maybe this is the purpose why God wants you to write this article? to give more to God. ;)

      I cannot be jealous because I never believed in the Prosperity Gospel in the first place.

      The Prosperity Gospel 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.

      There has been stories reported by netizens that some churchgoers gave less money to their parents than to the church. This is not very fair to the parents who sacrificed in bringing them up.

      Delete
  53. want to post comments also need to scroll so long
    Great Article!

    1 fact, note that the methods used by CHC originates from satanic cults where they use song and dance to create a trance and to bewildered their followers and brain washing them.

    charismatic churches start to use this method when they see satanic cults start to win over their followers. end day, it is the money issue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "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" Matt 6:24

      Delete
  54. Patr,
    The wise use their wisdom in discerning the truth.
    The 'sheep' use faith!!
    Its perfectly alright to believe in heaven, but humans who purport to represent god?!
    Throughout history, these are the people who have caused the most damage. Yes, it all boils down to the money & power issues.

    ReplyDelete
  55. Hey dude, excellent article.

    Maybe you should do one on the other mega church. $500m investment into a spaceship of a building. They preach about the end times and the 2nd coming of Christ will be in our lifetime, which means, in the next 40-50 years, and yet sink $500m into a building. Pastor drives luxurious cars, lives in a bungalow in Bukit Timah and flies 1st class. That's something which you can also look at

    ReplyDelete
  56. Thank you for all the compliments and encouragement. I apologize to my readers for not being able to reply to your comments. I do not have the time during weekdays but will do so during the weekend. There has been an upsurge in my inbox since this article was published on alternative media sites.

    It is a long article and I thank you for even taking the time to read the article.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Well said.. You've just illustrated the devil's plans

    ReplyDelete
  58. Matthew 7:15-21
    Well warned

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  59. The Bible says the Money is the root of all evil, the church preaches that it's the intention or the use of the money to do wrong things.

    When a person becomes rich, HOW he uses his wealth can be viewed as good and evil depends on the purview of the public.

    So is when a Church grows big and rich, HOW it spends the its wealth to expand its influence and power, can also be viewed as good and evil by outsiders.

    Remember HOW the Church spends it's wealth is also decided by the members of the church who are also a Human Being, which can be can be corrupted to do evil because of wealth and power.

    Church should not be run like a business for it's that intention that brings evil deeds.

    Let the Church be a Church(Charity), Bible School be a School under separate entity, Sun Ho music be a different establishment, Suntec Hall should be a separate business entity (generating rental income) all within the affliation of Church but with no overlapping executive power in the board of directors or management.
    CHC happens to be a Mega Overlapping duties and powers centered on the few within the inner sanctum of the Church. Pastor Kong may not be drawing any salary and does not involve in the management of the church does not mean that he has no influence over the decision making process of the church.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Money is not the root of all evil rather its: "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." Tim 6:10

      Delete
  60. "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....

    ReplyDelete
  61. 一针见血! Objective and well presented! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  62. As a CHC member here's my response http://onepunchinch.tumblr.com/

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

    ReplyDelete
  64. As a CHC member here's my response http://onepunchinch.tumblr.com/

    ReplyDelete
  65. Hi One Punch Inch,

    I am grateful to any reader who take the time to read my long analysis on City Harvest. I feel even more grateful to have someone who not only read it thoroughly, but created a blog to write a long point-by-point rebuttal. For this, I am very grateful to you. I am indebted to reply you.

    The thrust of my analysis lies in laying out the reasons for the immense wealth of City Harvest Church. Your response does not contradict my conclusion that City Harvest is a wonderful business. I am glad that a customer of City Harvest emphasize several times that his giving is out of free will. No business is sustainable if the customer is coerced to pay. He will pay once and that is the end. A good business is one with customers who keep paying for the services and still feel very happy about it.

    A really excellent business is one in which customers not only pay but even defend it when it is under attack. You are an excellent example of such a fine customer. You have reinforced my belief that City Harvest has a very good business model because of great customers like you.

    I could sense from your post that you benefited as a member of CHC. The decent thing to do then is to stay loyal to the church which you have demonstrated. A decent person should return favors and repay moral debts. However, repayment of moral debts should be fair. There is a perception among netizens that some CHC members are paying more to the church than to their own parents. This is totally out of line with our sense of fairness, Christians or non-Christians. If it is fine with you, I would like to hear from a CHC member on this issue. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please remove One Punch Inch's excess spam entries all around this blog. One is free to share ideas but not spam.

      Delete
    2. This is an unfair statement. Not just CHC. There are many other churches whose members give more money to the church than to the parents. There will always be black sheep in every church. Wouldn't you be hearing more reports of CHC members doing so as it is in relation to congregation size ratio?

      Delete
  66. I attended CHC a decade ago for about two years. I finally decided to leave this place after attending a two-hour concert by SUN HO, rather than being fed by His Holy Word. How do I expect myself to grow in His Holy Word if this CHC is no different than a secular place,performing concerts like what the rest of the world is doing?

    ReplyDelete
  67. I would like to add one thing to my previous comment, that two hour so called Concert is held during normal worship time on a typical Sunday Morning.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Simply blinded...

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  69. Hi think-free-and-fair,
    I did find your blog interesting enough as you have taken some time off to do your analysis into the wealth of my church.

    I am glad you feel grateful as well.

    Like I explained earlier treat my blog as just the other side of the coin.

    I am sure calling a church a business is a good thing or is there a negative connotation to it. To me if it maximized investments so as to do more with the money given, that's just called being smart. Its in the Bible in the Parable of the Talents. When the congregation entrusts you with something, as a good steward you would take good care of it, maximize and do good with it. Simple.

    We don't mind defending something we have felt and seen the work. To us church is a family and we don't ditch family in the midst of crisis. That's basic value. People who are quick to judge will suffer the same, that's what the Bible teaches us.

    Giving is out of free will and Netizens will be netizens. If there are unhappy members who felt cheated I understand but most of them who complain have not even donated a single cent to CHC in the first place but feels obliged to fight for the members who dont mind giving.

    ReplyDelete
  70. One Punch Inch sympathizerJuly 9, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Hi One Punch Inch,

    http://onepunchinch.blogspot.sg/2012/07/analysis-into-wealth-of-city-harvest.html

    I just visited your website. I sympathize with your comments.

    I am a Christian but not a CHC member. I believe I understand what CHC members are going through.

    It is our money. Why should outsiders care about what we do with our money? If we choose to donate and we do not mind donating, why should outsiders make so much noise to fight for us and even arrest the person we deeply trust and love?

    Did I describe your feelings correctly?

    ReplyDelete
  71. http://onepunchinch.tumblr.com/post/26822571311/author-of-think-free-and-fair-blog-replies#disqus_thread

    ReplyDelete
  72. http://onepunchinch.tumblr.com/post/26936147742/author-of-think-free-and-fair-replies#disqus_thread

    ReplyDelete
  73. 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?
    Here is my reply link (because this blog allow only 4k characters).
    https://www.facebook.com/note.php?&note_id=10151023463268827

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Any article published on the internet, including mine, that disturbs social piece should be removed with apologies. However, just because a topic is sensitive does not mean it cannot be discussed at all. Candid and fair discussion on taboo topics is actually beneficial to all parties. Fair comment is the key. I have tried my best to write objectively with careful attention to the facts without offensive language. I can hardly agree with you that my writings cause religious social disharmony. Admittedly, by analyzing Prosperity churches as a business, it may cause them to lose more business. This group of people will certainly be displeased.

      Regarding religious social disharmony, what do you think of the practice of certain churches which actively target young, highly impressionable school children who are strongly influenced by peer pressure? What is your opinion on parents' concern that this may cause family disharmony between parent and child at a critical period when their bonds should be strong, particularly if the parents are not Christians?

      http://www.facebook.com/notes/harveen-narulla/city-harvest-churchs-targeting-of-children-and-young-persons-at-schools/10151004047619722

      Delete
    2. Good reply. Can the real estate agent who wrote the long-winded retort please respond? Who is causing more religion social problem? This article which you called shallow analysis or those churches which go to our schools and convert our vulnerable weak-minded kids to their beliefs? Mind you, Christian beliefs may be in conflict with those of their parents and may cause family disharmony. Imagine if you are a Christian and your children suddenly announce his intention to convert to another religion. Can you honestly say it will not cause any family disharmony?

      Evangelizing is fine. But targeting the young and weak-minded is not fair game.

      Read this article on the concerns of one of the parents.

      http://www.facebook.com/notes/harveen-narulla/city-harvest-churchs-targeting-of-children-and-young-persons-at-schools/10151004047619722

      Delete
  74. Seems like the CHC members who are making rebuttals got their own facts wrong. CHC donations can indeed be paid via Giro.

    Please look at the yahoo news published just last month and the quote that was cut out.

    http://sg.news.yahoo.com/-pastor-kong-was-our-role-model--20120629.html

    Marketing executive Mary Lim too, felt the pressure. The 29-year-old eventually chose to leave the religious organisation three years ago when she became depressed that she couldn’t give enough.

    "When we signed up, they would give us forms, GIRO forms, encouraging us to donate to CHC via GIRO to make sure our tithes were regular," she recalled.

    Her friends who continue to attend CHC still donate via GIRO, she added. Three other CHC members confirmed this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are wrong. There is no GIRO.

      Delete
  75. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  76. See my reply to your post in Temasektimes (scroll down), #78 comments
    http://temasektimes.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/an-analysis-into-the-wealth-of-city-harvest-church/

    ReplyDelete
  77. Huh.. *smirks*
    Well, my comment is concerned with a different side of this adeptly written post, which is the comments of some religious and stuck minded people.
    The number of people believing in such nonsense and the way they argue and defend really makes me worried about Singapore's general awareness and direction of education, and really makes me feel sorry for this ugly truth to be the actual truth. When it comes to mind, people need a lot of enrichment here. Of course, they also do need it all over the world. But Singapore is not any country. It is just amazing. Yet, sadly, it has an irritating side, which is a trace of people's tendency to embrace superstitions.
    By the way you don't need to be apologetic. It is already full of offense, whether or not they take note of your apology. Let them know the truth, whatever it was. Enough ignorance.

    I wish there were pastors who convince people how helpful it can be to have them donate for some superb-projects investments. It could really help people infinitely more. What the heck is donating money willingly to power religion?!!
    I am so sorry for the mind-corruption middle-easterns have done to the whole world, east and west, since ancient times. What a powerful and a bad idea they instilled in people's minds. Religion has not been doing well for centuries. It is discriminative, nonsensical, grows ignorance, and does more bad than good, at least for times shortly past its era of establishment.

    BTW, be stronger in directing your thoughts when it comes to truth. If you Singaporeans stay too shy and apologetic with such matters just because it is your culture, you will be overtaken by such institutions as they impose themselves on you by their rubbish teachings, much stronger than they way you impose your commonsense and fair judgement on your society. They would ultimately prevail, whether you find them right or wrong, just because of being too easy and too humane, which is bad WEAKNESS.

    Yet, all this is much milder than the consequences of religion almost everywhere else in the world today. Beware, as it can grow more voracious, gaining power, and replacing other laws, only by compromising your minds. If it could infiltrate the higher ups' minds, you will have a corrupt government. Beware, religion is the opium of people.


    All the best to my beloved Singapore and its people. I have a strong belief in the new generation. Please don't brain-wash them with religion as it is a form of child abuse, in case people aren't aware. Just give them a choice. They will automatically know it.


    A Singapore loving foreigner.

    ReplyDelete
  78. To the power of technology...not only we can pay tithe via Giro who know soon we can serve God via VR, PPC etc? As long as u pay & pay to serve, you did your duties as Christian *smirk

    ReplyDelete
  79. Hmmm... if he is innocent then God would protect him wouldn't he? The Ren Ci monk also the same what...

    For those who say my money my business my choice, then wouldn't such logic work for cons and scam companies... the only difference is because its 'religious purposes' but, a $1000 plate of chicken rice is still a bloodi plate of chicken rice... at least to me...

    ReplyDelete
  80. Let There Be LightAugust 28, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    This has certainly been an insightful read, and even more entertaining to read the comments (especially those by CHC members, pretty obvious who they are).

    Upfront, I shall say that I am a Christian, and I WAS a CHC member who TITHED THROUGH GIRO, so I can tell you the Giro system exists. But it cannot be that while I could do it, this was conveniently left out to other members.

    Next, I do agree with the Prosperity Gospel preaching bit. Granted, a pastor is free to preach whatever message s/he wants to, but one thing that got my little brain ticking -- the seed planted by "the Devil", as what my CGL used to say-- was how come my pastor seems to take an obsession to talking about returns and harvests from a monetary perspective, and that whatever benefits to my family would almost alwats be monetary in nature?

    The killer blow as Crossover, and that, combined with having to do an MBA course about Management Accounting, got me thinking that perhaps it's time I left CHC...especially since by the time I already had a lot of doubts.

    I'm not bitter against CHC, and neither am I going along the lines of telling people to "wake up" and leave the Church. I do agree on the hardline stance of please use the brain God had so generously and wisely given you with, and learn to think critically.

    BTW, I'm not one of you guys who have a knack for quoting Bible verses-- not relevant when we make secular arguments, from my point of view.

    Your faith and confidence in the church may bind you to become defensive when people make comments about KH and CHC, but use the less emotional logical side, and you will see the observations hold true. I know, having been on both sides of the fence, and to that effect, I'd say Thinking Free and Fair has done a good job in the analysis.

    To date, after years of leaving CHC, I still meet familiar faces and attempt to greet them, but sadly, I'm shunned because I'm seen as a traitor, a coward, a turncoat, outcast. Which makes me wonder wherein are the Christian values of universal love for another brethren, regardless of which church we come from?

    FYI, my CGL sent me nasty text messages and emails when I left CHC, and encouraged people in my cell group to do likewise to the extent I had to change my phone number. I could have taken the very nasty step of making a police complaint, but I didn't.

    My point is that, the only thanks I have out of my experience with CHC is coming out a more balanced person who is able to rationalise and listen to logical arguments without allowing my faith blind me. That, I think, is how Christians should be, because we have to consider the wider universe in which we live and recognise that the world isn't just about religion and faith.

    ReplyDelete