Pastor Kong Hee Insists Millions Spent on Wife’s Pop Star Career Were Necessary For Church Growth
By Stoyan Zaimov | Christian Post Reporter
Embattled pastor Kong Hee of City Harvest Church in Singapore has insisted before court that the millions spent on his wife Sun Ho’s pop star career were necessary for the growth and expansion of the megachurch, explaining that his role evolved from that of a “shepherd” to being a “rancher.”
“If not for the Crossover, we would be just another neighborhood church. The Crossover Project doubled, tripled our congregation size,” he told the court, according to Channel News Asia.
Kong’s trial continued on Monday, where he and five other City Harvest employees are being accused of misusing 24 million SGD ($19.2 million) in donated money to fund the career of Ho.
The pastor, who founded CHC in 1989, saw the church grow to having a 33,000 membership in 2010, but that number has reportedly fallen to 18,192 following the start of investigations and the trial.
Kong reportedly spent most of his time in 2008 and 2009 out of Singapore and said that he trusted members of the church board, including the church’s lawyers and auditors to flag any issues that arose.
“He (Kong) will not seek to distance himself from the transactions which have taken place. He will give clear consistent evidence of what he knows, and what he did,” Kong’s defense counsel Edwin Tong said at the trial.
Kong added that he trusted auditor Foong Daw Ching both as a friend and an “ultra-conservative consultant,” and that he felt that the church’s finances were being looked after by Foong.
As for the Crossover Project, where Ho received financial backing to make a number of pop-music videos, Kong argued that the CHC congregation was supportive of the project and understood that it served an evangelical purpose.
Ho would supposedly sing secular songs during the first 75 minutes of her concerts, before sharing her testimony as a Christian and singing one Gospel song.
The defense said that the pop singer reached out to 109,000 people through concerts in places including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Sweden, and as a result, 33,000 people “received Christ into their lives.”
Ho has not been charged herself in the trial, but has been asked to take the witness stand.
If convicted of having misused church finances, however, Kong and pastor Tan Ye Peng, members Chew Eng Han and Lam Leng Hung, and accountants Serina Wee Gek Yin and Sharon Tan ShaoYuen, could face 10 to 20 years in prison.
CHC celebrated its 25th anniversary at the end of July. It hosted a two and a half hour celebration and two services that attracted 18,360 people in total, themed “Because Of You” in honor of the church’s members.
In 2002, City Harvest Church received a mandate from God to reach the secular world through music…It was necessary to extend the influence of Sun into certain cities through the power of pop culture and pop music.” (source).
According to the church leadership, the plan was for Sun Ho to perform her secular pop music in a certain city, and then Pastor Kong Hee would preach at a local church in the same area. Soon that church would arrange another concert with Sun Ho as the headliner and this was supposed to share the Gospel.
Not only was this plan completely ungodly, the music of Sun Ho, aka Geisha, was completely sinful and sexually-charged. Here is a video for her song “China Wine”.
The Bible says: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4). This video is immersed in worldliness and sinful rebellion. How is the Gospel being spread or the church promoted by a pastor’s wife dressing provocatively and dancing around in a hip hop reggae video? Rather than promoting the Gospel, the Crossover Project was more an attempt to launch Sun Ho the Geisha’s secular music career.
In an interview in 2007, Sun Ho made it clear that she was interested in full on secular music style:
You’ve done a lot with Asian MTV. Are you planning to do music videos for MTV in the United States?
Sun Ho: “I can’t wait for that! I keep asking, “When are we going to shoot for MTV?” Recently I watched Justin Timberlake and I watched Christina Aguilera, and Beyonce’s. I would have to say that it’s different from what we do in Asia. I keep telling Tas (her manager) “Tas, you’ve gotta prepare me for that! I have to be more sexy!!” (Laughs)
Sun Ho in China Wine
Seven Mountains Seminar Slides (click on images)