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Current Page: World | Thursday, November 12, 2015
Kong Hee Accused of 'Prosperity Gospel' Preaching by Fmr. City Harvest Church Member

Kong Hee Accused of 'Prosperity Gospel' Preaching by Fmr. City Harvest Church Member

City Harvest Church founder Kong Hee (R) and his wife Sun Ho, also known as Ho Yeow Sun, arrive at the State Courts in Singapore, October 21, 2015, where a verdict is expected to be delivered for their trial of misappropriating S million (.5 million) of church funds and falsifying the church's accounts. | (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

A number of former City Harvest Church members have accused Pastor Kong Hee of prosperity gospel preaching, after six CHC church leaders were found guilty of misusing millions in church donations.

A report by The Straits Times on Wednesday featured several interviews with former members who said that CHC's practices are questionable at best.

"Formers members also told The Straits Times about practices in church, saying they felt compelled to give donations, had their whereabouts constantly monitored by church members, or were pressured into buying Ms. Ho's music albums," the article stated, referring to singer Sun Ho, the wife of Kong.

Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Community Church Yang Tuck Yoong added that he is grieved for people who have "left the faith, backslid, stumbled, or who had been so disillusioned by the whole fiasco," referring to the recent guilty verdict.

Kong and the five other CHC members are awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of funneling more than $35.5 million in church donations to Sun's career.

Worshippers attend a church service at the City Harvest Church in Singapore March 1, 2014. | (Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

One former member, identified as "Mr Khoo," revealed that his cell group leaders would question him when they thought he was under-contributing in donations to the church. He claimed that CHC preaches the "prosperity gospel," in which church members are told they will receive material and spiritual rewards if they give money to the church.

The Singaporean megachurch has faced such accusations in the past, with Paul Choo, founding pastor at Gospel Light Christian Church, warning that ministries like CHC are nothing more than a scam.

"This is not Christianity. This is not the Gospel. This is a SCAM. PERIOD! Using the name of God is a financial scam," Choo said in a 2012 speech.

Kong and the CHC leadership have rejected all accusations of teaching the prosperity gospel, however, and have attempted to maintain a positive outlook despite October's guilty verdict.

"I am so grateful to God for all of you, the most wonderful members of CHC. In the midst of life challenges, you have been so tenacious in your faith, and you kept on loving one another, serving the young and the old, fellowshipping in unity, sharing the Word, and praising God with all your hearts," Kong, who founded CHC in 1989 along with Ho, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Australian megachurch Pastor Phil Pringle has also encouraged the CHC congregation not to lose faith in the church.

"The church will stay together. You'll be strong. You'll only get stronger. The church is not built on Kong Hee. It's built on Jesus Christ," Pringle said in a sermon last week.

"The church is more together and more resilient than you think it is. It survives any kind of persecution. The worst kind is when Christians fight against each other, when ministers criticize each other. It's the worst kind because it's confusing for the younger believers," he added.

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