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Sex, threats and the promise of wealth are not ways to spread the “Christian” faith

I want to make it clear that Jesus Christ, who is the basis of faith for all who profess to be Christians, did NOT say that we should “convert” people and spread the gospel (which is that belief in him will bring eternal life after death) through ANY MEANS necessary. Read more…

Categories: Spiritual musings

Kong Hee deserves his luxury Sentosa Cove mansion

29 June 4 comments

Christians and especially members of the public should just shut up about Pastor Kong Hee’s multi-million dollar residence in Sentosa Cove, or his wife’s luxury residence in the US. Because he deserves it, according to the Prosperity Gospel:

I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. – Genesis 12:12 (NLT)

It is easy to read it as God will give us wealth so that we can use our material wealth to bless others. Notice how everything about blessing can be interpreted to be in the material sense, although we know the term has been used in other ways, like having many children, spiritual blessing, etc. Combine this with the various promises of increasing your wealth by x number of times – eg. Five-fold, ten-fold and so on, which are promises given to patriarchs in the old testament, and you know you’ve got a great thing going.

So it is perfectly consistent, and rational, that according to his teaching, since he has touched so many lives and he has blessed so many, and is a devout man of God, that these luxury residences are God’s blessing to him.

Another one I keep hearing is:

Jesus nailed your poverty (and sickness, etc) on the cross

Can’t find a bible reference, but just google the phrase, I didn’t make this up. Also doesn’t leave much to the imagination once the Son of God removes your material poverty! And let’s not forget:

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. – John 10:10 (1984NIV)

Which can be easily understood to referring to a materially abundant life. Not like this.

By the way, those who believe the above teachings and try to claim them but failed, just haven’t had ‘enough’ faith!

But I want to say right now that this is not the Gospel according to the Apostles Mark, Matthew, Luke or John, but an intelligent patchwork of verses to sell the idea that Jesus came to make you rich.

The Prosperity Gospel’s selective reading of the bible runs contrary to Jesus’ many words in the new testament – where He teaches

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” – Matthew 6:19 (1984NIV)

which is a general discourse against coveting material wealth. And this is consistent with the rest of the gospel.

So the rest of us should not complain about Kong Hee’s great mansion on earth, for that is his rightful reward, according to his Prosperity Gospel. But those who seek God’s true Kingdom, and the spiritual riches of God, and the forgiveness promised in Jesus, should look elsewhere.

Ever wonder about the origins of the phrase “as poor as a churchmouse”?

(Afternote: This is not a condemnation of rich people. It is about the false teaching that Jesus will make you rich if you believe in him, or Jesus wants you to pursue wealth in order to glorify him)

Categories: Spiritual musings

A prayer for my City Harvest friends

28 June 1 comment

Secular governments have no business judging whether an activity qualifies as a church “mission work” or not. What they do is identify and prosecute dishonest financial disclosure. FCBC’s leader is an entertainer, and any financial matters concerning his church and his entertainment career are openly reported. So the government has no issue with them. It’s that simple.

This matter is for those who profess to be Christians. A magic show is one thing. A music career like Sun Ho’s, embarked on and funded in God’s name, is another thing altogether.

Read more…

Categories: Spiritual musings

Thanks-giving for the week

Thank God for the cool weather, after a spell of hot and humid days.

Thank God for small mercies, like easily-found parking spots and table places.

Thank God for family, loved ones, and brothers and sisters in Christ.

Thank God for mercies at work, including colleagues and bosses.

Thank God for His Spirit, which gives us understanding and peace.

Thank God for His Son, through whom we have eternal life and hope.

Just remembering to thank God today!

Categories: Spiritual musings

On trials and temptations

10 October Leave a comment

Short reflection on trials, temptations and how to overcome it.

In a follow-up to last week’s sermon on how a Christian ought to endure trials, we moved on to the 2nd part of James Chapter 1, which is about temptation (vv 13-18).

Taking the James passages discussed thus far (vv 1-18), one could think of trials and temptations in the form of a dichotomy. Trials are from God and help to build up faith and character in Christ, leading up to eternal fruit; temptations are meant to entice us and lead us astray and lead unto sin and death.

How do we know what is a trial and what is a temptation? Perhaps some advice from Corinthians 10 can help:

12Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 13No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

A trial could be thought of as a temptation that you had to endure till you managed to escape it. The implication is that you should be avoiding, and fleeing, people, things and circumstances of temptation.

It was also noted how trials and temptation come from the same Greek word.

What can tempt us? They can be broadly divided into people, things and circumstances. It can be thought of in such a manner so that we may learn to identify these different ‘embodiments’ of temptation, so that we may “flee from them.”

Let’s translate these into very real terms. These are people, things and circumstances where one is placed in a position of being enticed to sin. So what should one do, after hearing these words from God and looking into the mirror?

1. Identify in what areas where you are flirting with temptation. These include:

a. A colleague you work with whom you fancy?

b. The occasional junk mail of temptation that appears in your mailbox?

c. Certain lewd sections or ads in your daily newspaper?

d. That ridiculously expensive house/car/holiday/bag which your insistence on getting is causing soured relationships and making you consider all too easily available credit options that may not be a good idea at this stage of your life?

e. Bad temper due to fatigue, lack of sleep.

f. Road conditions. Now this is quite a bit of a challenge, because not all of us have the luxury of saying “I don’t want to drive anymore.” Road conditions call for an extra plating of the armour of God, and a good swallowing of ego.

g. Etc etc

2. Pray to God and ask “not to be lead into temptations.”

3. Make practical arrangements and sacrifices to avoid, minimise those areas identified.

4. Be accountable to someone for habits that have a grip on you.

5. Don’t dwell on stuff you shouldn’t be dwelling on. Lustful thoughts, angry thoughts, covetous thoughts (online shopping, sgcarmart, haha) and certain types of activities.

This entry is for myself, so I can check on it to remind myself that as a Christian, this is what I need to do, that I may honour God with my heart, mind, body and soul.

Categories: Spiritual musings
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