The Christian Post reports that after being convicted of misappropriating S$50 million in church funds, church founder Kong Hee is being accused of using the prosperity gospel to scam its members into making bigger donations to the church.
During the trial period, the majority of the City Harvest Church members have strived to put up a united front in supporting Kong and five other accused. Recently, however, more members have felt that the church's previous actions were questionable and were made to pour more funds into the church.
A Straits Times report detailed how church members described in an interview how they were pressured into producing more funds for the church. One Mr. Khoo admitted he was questioned by his cell group leaders when he was suspected of not giving enough donations. Others were reportedly had their whereabouts monitored while others were pressured into buying Ms. Ho's music albums.
This is not the first time that the CHC was accused of such. Another Singapore church founder also has in the past accused City Harvest Church of selling the prosperity gospel to its members. The "prosperity gospel" teaches that members will get material and spiritual blessing when they give more money to the church.
Pastor Paul Choo, who founded Gospel Light Christian Church, was quoted as saying, in reference to CHC that: "This is not Christianity. This is not the Gospel. This is a SCAM. PERIOD! Using the name of God is a financial scam." Choo made this statement back in 2012.
The Straits Times also reported that Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Community Church Yang Tuck Yoong said that Kong Hee was parable for their times, and a living lesson to "a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches." The saying is from the Biblical book of Proverbs.
But not all of Kong's fellow pastors feel this way. The embattled City Harvest Church leader has found an ally in the person of Australian megachurch Pastor Phil Pringle.
"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.
He went on to say in a sermon that: "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."