Church welcome hides rejection

Pastor Kong Hee of the City Harvest Church speaks of welcoming gays and lesbians into his church and of salvation, but read between the lines and you’ll see that salvation is cast to mean rejecting homosexuality. Guest comment by Yap Kim Hao.

35 Responses to “Church welcome hides rejection”


  1. 1 KAM 16 September 2009 at 19:32

    Hi Yawning Bread,
    I am a Christian but not from City Harvest. I am not under the flock of Kong Hee. I do not attend church now, because I cannot find one which I like, in Switzerland.

    I take issue with the hostility with which you eloquently diluted and demolished an innocent and even gracious statement from a fellow Christian. This is the exact thing which Christians must avoid giving impression to the gay people or other people (christians and non-christians included)

    Put it this way, if you were Pastor of Gay people and you issue a statement which in your heart and mind, a sincere one, and a non-gay person disects it and puts negative connoctations into it, lamblasting it as a hidden veil of rejection, how would YOU feel?

    The examples you quoted about the music team and others do not summarise up Kong Hee’s church and other churches in general. There are so many of us in different focus in Christian living. These do not represent Christ or Christian living.

    I cannot say I am neutral to gay people, but I can also say I am not negative to them. The bible is a mystery book to many of us, and many derives differing messages from it regarding gay issues. Other topics are clear, such as “God loves you, no matter you are which color, race, sexual-orientation”.

    The natural course after one accepts Jesus as Lord and Saviour will take its own natural course. It remains to be seen, if the gay person can remain gay or if the church (body of people) can accept him as gay.

    This is not up to the pastor or any other sinners to judge. It is up to the gay person with God. God will lead and guide him, whichever way the gay person wants to be guided. God gave this special thing called “Free will”.

    The only condition to become a christian is this: believe that Jesus died for your sins, and believe that through His blood, your sins are cleansed and forgiven. Which are those sins? That is up to YOU to tell God. No pastor or christian can tell you which are your sins.

    This is the word of God.
    Amen.

  2. 2 yawningbread 16 September 2009 at 20:44

    KAM – I didn’t write this piece.

    • 3 Anonymous 20 September 2009 at 16:58

      Hi Au,
      I thought about replying to your “succinct” response and finally I think I will.

      It smells a bit too much. Why?

      If you publish someone’s commentary, it leads me to think that you are in agreement with his contents and you allow this view to be propagated.

      If SPH publishes MIW book and other versions of history, some of us begin to criticise the PAP godfathers. Then LKY can turn around and say “I did not write this”.
      Although he previewed it and “allowed” it to be published.

      So therefore, I take your reply as a dent in my respect for you.
      Sorry but I am not afraid to tell you so. I hope we all learn, going forward.

    • 4 KAM 20 September 2009 at 16:58

      Hi Au,
      I thought about replying to your “succinct” response and finally I think I will.

      It smells a bit too much. Why?

      If you publish someone’s commentary, it leads me to think that you are in agreement with his contents and you allow this view to be propagated.

      If SPH publishes MIW book and other versions of history, some of us begin to criticise the PAP godfathers. Then LKY can turn around and say “I did not write this”.
      Although he previewed it and “allowed” it to be published.

      So therefore, I take your reply as a dent in my respect for you.
      Sorry but I am not afraid to tell you so. I hope we all learn, going forward.

  3. 5 sloo 16 September 2009 at 21:48

    I am a big admirer of Rev Yap Kim Hao but even i cringe when reading this ungracious piece. As a critique of Kong Hee’s blog entry, Rev Yap has read a lot into simple statements – all bias and slanted against Kong Hee. I have no doubt there have been many examples of City Harvest’s stand against gay people, but what i find positive in Kong Hee’s piece is his tolerance for LBGTs and people of different races and religion. Tolerance does not necessarily mean that his church will accept gay people – it merely says that gays are humans too, creatures of God and christians should also show love to them, ‘to live and let live’. If these LBGTs decide to join City harvest, then obviously (and he hides no bones about this) hey would have to fall in line with he church’s stand on homosexuality.

    I don’t read any line of Kong Hee’s piece where he is he giving the impression that his church is supportive of gay people.

    As the pastor of his own church, he certainly has every right to determine the form and structure of his church’s beliefs. Like it? Join the church. If not, look somewhere else for your salvation. I think its extremely prejudicial for Rev Yap to criticise Kong Hee’s stand on the matter – it is his congregation and church after all.

    We do not expect the religious to be supportive o the LBGT although this is the trend in US and Europe. And when someone like Kong Hee’s acknowledges that the LBGT too are worthy of love (albeit wit conditions) we should be accepting and gracious of his statements.

    Fyi – I am gay, my bf attends FCC and I am a firm believer of a secular singapore.

  4. 6 ike 16 September 2009 at 22:25

    Mr Au,

    i think what KAM is trying to say is that you might be trying to give christians a bad name by posting this article on your blog.

    Choosing to post this article on your blog might be obvious to someone that you’re trying to drive a particular message home isnt it?

    FYI, if it’s any help to ascertain my leanings – i’m a fan of your writings, and i’m an atheist.

  5. 7 dyno 16 September 2009 at 22:50

    In principle, I really don’t care how hypocritical the Christians want to be in their own churches. If they have such a burning need to hate, let them do it there collectively once a week and, hopefully, get it out of their systems. The problem is that they are constantly trying to dictate how others should live their lives, and to promote intolerance in the public space – something that should be vigorously opposed in a society that has respect for basic human rights and dignity.

  6. 8 Martha de Beest 17 September 2009 at 00:58

    “I do not attend church now, because I cannot find one which I like, in Switzerland.”

    You mean they haven’t all been steeplejacked like in Singapore (or so it seems)?!

    Please be aware, the churches in Singapore are not typical of churches elsewhere except of the narrow American type that seems to have taken so many of them over. The narrow-minded version of what most vocally claims to represent Christianity in Singapore is quite shocking to Christians elsewhere.

    • 9 KAM 17 September 2009 at 18:37

      There is no need to pick and choose dissected sections of my post.
      This seems to be a favorite action by many forum readers and commentators.
      Read the whole article in full in context please.

  7. 10 Kim 17 September 2009 at 06:41

    What a succinct answer Alex.

    I must say I did not catch the fact that you did not write the article on my first read (but did so the second time). I know you are meticulous about details (like me) so I will point out the typo in the article’s title. It now reads “Church welcme hides rejection”.

    Great to see you back blogging with your well-loved and well-supported logical ferocity.

    Kim

  8. 11 yawningbread 17 September 2009 at 10:53

    KAM – I think what Yap Kim Hao did was to read critically between the lines of Kong Hee’s words to tease out the position of either Kong Hee himself or City Harvest Church, or both, on the position of homosexuality.

    I think your position reflects the widespread tendency to treat religious speech and religious leaders with special consideration, always giving them the benefit of doubt. Saying that they are motivated with good intentions (this too rides on the fact that “It’s religious, you know”), seems to be enough to hold them above criticism. In effect therefore, religious speech and religious leaders are treated as a special class with immunities.

    Readers are no doubt aware that I strenuously resist this.

    This is coupled with another tendency, also widespread in Singapore, to be blind to “between the lines” speech. We seem to be a culture that is capable only of reading facial speech – we take things on the face of words as spoken and written. Kim Hao’s attempt to read between the lines is rejected simply because it is not the facial meaning of Kong Hee’s words. Far from being a flaw in Kim Hao’s post, it is a flaw in our own ability to comprehend.

    Your last few paragraphs reinforce the argument that in Christian teaching, being homosexual is related to sin, and the “salvation” somehow involves sin, which somehow involves homosexuality (sorry if I don’t put it with correct terminology, but then I am not Christian). It’s a web of indictment that is prejudicial to gay people generally and hurtful to gay individuals who believe in Christ. No doubt, Kong Hee has chosen to be implicit in making this connection whereas others. e.g. the Church of our Saviour, has chosen to be explicit about it. But the connection is the same; it is just how it is put to the congregation.

    I would of course add that this simplistic conflation of homosexuality with sin is contested by many Biblical scholars and church leaders. Reading what you wrote, I have the sense that you would rather not have that debate even among Christians, but permit one view (Kong Hee’s) to stand on one or both counts: “good intentions” and “not the facial reading”.

  9. 12 sloo 17 September 2009 at 12:21

    Hi Alex

    “In effect therefore, religious speech and religious leaders are treated as a special class with immunities.”

    Its called respect. the same respect we confer on our political leaders, parents and teachers. And though these same people might have flaws or prove themselves unworthy of our respect, we begin from that starting point for the work they have done, the good they have effected in our scoiety. what happens after depends on their words and actions.

    And pls note that religious leaders here do not have immunities if they crossed the lines. This has been proven time and time again with ISA being ivoked againast christian and muslim fundamentalists and terrorist suspects. It can also been seen from the indctment of Ren Ci Monk among many others.

    So lets not generalise.

    “Kim Hao’s attempt to read between the lines is rejected simply because it is not the facial meaning of Kong Hee’s words. ”

    Actually that is my problem with the piece. There is too much reading between the lines and its all slanted in one direction. Contrary to what yu say, our educated and literate net surfers these days are more than capable to read between lines. Just look at all the comments dissecting official statements by our govt, all that reading between the lines, sometimes too much of it!

    My issue with this piece is the stand that its All or Nothing. Must any and every issue dealing with gay / human rights be an ‘all or nothing’ scenario? Can we not advance the rights cause by stages and appreciate the little steps that others offer or advocate?

    In this instance, to criticise City Harvest for its stand on gays, or for that matter other christian fundies, for being conditional or not being totally welcoming is truly ironic. Just who is the one pushing for All or Nothing scenario? The fundies, christians or us.

    In the first place I would not even categorise City harvest as a fundamentalist church. They may have elements of the Christian evengelistic movement but they certainly do not belong to the same league of Cornerstone or COOS. In this instance , I think its wise for to diffrentiate between the christians in our society, just as there are different gay groups with the LBGT society here. Your statement is not specific enough, not fair and does no justice on the many christians we know who stand by us and support us in the recent sagas.

    Most christians and churches have made their stand clear on theissue of homosexuality. Its not a problem within their own christian sphere; it only becomes a problem when tey attempt to impose this on non-christians or others with different beliefs in the matter. To chastise Kong Hee for his stand is actually to intefere in his sphere of influence. the piece was written in sg christian post and was obviously targettd to christians who read it. Why are we criticising them when we constantly demand that they do not interfere with our secular and political space?

    This issue is nothing new to gay christians. If they have a problem with their holy book or church, then they would have to resolve it themselves. It does no good for non-christians and atheists to comment on this. Perhaps Rev Yap should have posted his piece at sg christian post instead of yawning bread.

    • 13 Greenies 17 September 2009 at 22:37

      They are all inter-related — > CHC, Cornerstone, COOS, —> check the pastors who are speaking, one week at the Cathedral, one week at COOS, then… the cycle continues…. they all share the same theology. I used to really enjoy all the preaching.

      You don’t need to read in between the lines, if you have attended these churches, they are anti-gay and what Yap Kim Hao said is true.

  10. 14 sloo 17 September 2009 at 12:31

    MArtha de Beest

    Again not all churches in Singapore are like the ‘narrow minded’ American ones. FCC for one is a liberal christian church as compared to many other conservative churches.

    In fact to use the American churches as a reference is also not quite right as the Epicospal and Lutheran chruches have recently made changes to recognise gay people and relatinships within their congregation.

    Change is coming. But it will take time. And it will face many obstacles. But it is only a matter of time. I would never dream when i first realised that I was gay, that one day there would be same sex marriages, that there would be a gay bishop or that traditonal churches would accept and even embrace us.

    I am sure that Thioliban and her group are viewing these changes in the christian world with distress and panic – hence there desperate attempts to erect a conservative wall of christian morality within our society to prevent change from coming. It is ironic that our Anglican (Epicospal)churches here have affliated themselves to the conservative African churches rather than the ones in the US. Goes to show how desperate our conservativce and fundie churches have become.

    • 15 Martha de Beest 17 September 2009 at 16:49

      Thanks Sloo, by “narrow US” I was referring to the particular pentecostalist gay-obsessed type that has been exported to Singapore from America and, for example, taken over COOS and other churches. Many people think that this is true representation of Christianity, but in fact they are far from it outside of Singapore, as you’ve pointed out in the US.

      Perhaps one reason they have been able to expand so stealthily in Singapore is the reluctance (until now) of people to criticise and challenge them, just taking what they say at face value and assuming that their interpretation of what the Bible says is “The Truth”, and the only truth. People don’t necessarily realise that they are being sucked into an extremist form of the religion.

      I get the impression that the Sg Christian Post may have recently been told to tone down the anti-gay rhetoric (they were previously very literally demonising gays), and maybe that’s why the article was written. Maybe that’s also why the new Singanews portal has been announced – maybe some people don’t like the less demonising line that the Christian Post seems to be taking and want to have editorial control themselves.

      But I agree with Rev Yap and Alex’s stand on the article. I don’t think it’s a bona fide acceptance of gays in any form. I’t’s more like the writer’s been told to pen something conciliatory, but he can’t avoid his prejudice shining through. The most obvious give-away is the fearful reference to the image of “predatory” gays pursuing straight members of the congregation. I don’t think he’s actually taken the trouble to get to know real gay people and to see through the myths; on the contrary, he continues to propagate those myths while superficially appearing more accepting.

      If he wants to consider what is really “predatory” maybe he should look at the women from some churches that go out with guys in order to get them to come to their church, or that lurk around the very ill in hospitals looking for converts.

    • 16 Z 17 September 2009 at 22:25

      I just want to say that I find Sloo’s views very agreeable. From what I discern from many of my christian friends, homosexuality isn’t even mentioned, let alone preached against, in most churches in Singapore. One defining trait of religious fundamentalism is its ability to become even more fanatic when faced with external pressure, so lumping everyone else with the fundamentalists and presuming their intentions (like Rev Yap had done) will only strengthen their “i-told-you-they’re-all-against-us” belief.

      It is unrealistic to expect churches to positively preach that
      “homosexuality is not a sin”. I personally think that many churches are fearful even to discuss this issue openly seeing how some denominations have been forced to split because of differing opinons at the apex. Instead of a head-on confrontation (especially against Religion in general), a better option is still to concentrate on bringing out the humanity and sharing the stories of homosexuals to touch the masses – and it is for this reason I frequent this blog. People (Christians too) are reading, and their mindsets will be shaped.

  11. 17 Enoch_k 17 September 2009 at 13:57

    Sloo said: Its called respect. the same respect we confer on our political leaders, parents and teachers. And though these same people might have flaws or prove themselves unworthy of our respect, we begin from that starting point for the work they have done, the good they have effected in our scoiety. what happens after depends on their words and actions.

    Very often this is misplaced respect. What you call respect, others (perhaps from different culture) will call undue deference. Our government have spent 44 years encouraging this, and honestly, it smells fishy.

    What you call “the good they have effected in our scoiety” others may call harm.

    It all depends on the point of view. As such, it also means leaders, parents, teachers and religious leaders should be open to criticism.

    It is a separate matter whether the guest writer’s tone is too strong, but it is not good for society that he should be gagged from criticising a fellow religious leader.

  12. 18 KAM 17 September 2009 at 18:26

    Reading these comments here solidifies my weak understanding of many Gays in this site.
    You are fearful and critical of anything (lest the christian church) who even hints (remotely or not at all) of a difference in opinion.
    I can understand the suppressive environment you have been brought up in and been through all these years in Singapore. I understand and I am not offended.

    As a respector of free will and free choice yourselves, it seems ironical to me that some of the comments here reeks of one-sided narration, siding only with Gays and adopting an ultra-defensive mode against anything or anyone Christian. You want non-gays to listen to you, why don’t you also listen to us?

    One message which I have to all Christians and non-Christians, we all have sins whether we admit it or not.

    Being born gay is not a sin (at least to me and perhaps many “uneducated” Christians). Fighting to be “special” is also not a sin. Nurture or nature is a hotly debated thing, but I don’t need to go there.

    God loves all sinners but loathe the sins. He promises Heaven to all who admit to their sinful nature, turns to Jesus and accepts Him as Lord and Saviour of their lives. The only way to Heaven is by accepting Jesus (who redeemed your sins with His blood covenant). This means you and me, gay and non-gay.

    It is a very very simple truth, often complicated by humans and church people. They cannot see beyond the “coloring” of gay people. They might as well say people of certain color is not admissible to church.

    I cannot quote the bible about Gays and such (I am not so cheem and educated about bible study), but I still strongly believe, first God looks at the person as a person, regardless of sexual orientation, colour, language or any “types”.

    God looks at you as His preferred son (akin to Jesus).

    Only by accepting Jesus as Lord of your life (and hence you become brothers with Jesus), then God can accept you into heaven.

    Non-Christians cannot go to heaven, and this is the most provocative and offensive statement (but true to me) that I will make on this forum.

    Simple, right?

    Again, please people here please don’t dissect my good intentioned gospel and turn it into another fingerpointing saga. You are only cheating yourself if you dilute this grace message.

    I sincerely hope more of you will learn about God and His Grace (Jesus and freewill) and you will perhaps learn more about what life is all about.

    God wants all of you and us to come back to Him. Heaven awaits those who seek it, and those who receive Jesus Christ, the Son.
    Amen.

  13. 19 alan 17 September 2009 at 21:15

    Frankly, WTF should Churches be concerned whether any of their members make love to people of their same sex ?

    Just because one ancient holy book says it is a sin ? Holy God, my foot!

  14. 20 Greenies 17 September 2009 at 22:28

    I definitely agree with Rev Yap KH, and admire his courage to speak out the truth, and I could identify with what he shared being at CHC for a number of years.

    I was not surprised at the article by Pastor Kong, at Christian Post, even though it was all spin and half truths. But he is very smart to flip flop.

    I trust that gay people in Singapore would be wiser to see past the “sweet words”, which cannot be judged by itself without knowing the context and history of how badly he dealt with GLBT in his church over the last 15 years.

    These people are out to take advantage of PLU, and I am surprised that many of us still supports them, and do not take them to tasks. We must like getting screwed. If we dont care and stand up for ourself who will? We should thank Rev Yap for standing up for us.

  15. 21 psa91 17 September 2009 at 22:55

    Sometimes the truth on CHC hurts, but again they have caused much harm. I have gay friends giving thousands each month to CHC even though they are treated like a leper. I shared with them that I am OK if they feel good being at CHC.

  16. 22 sloo 17 September 2009 at 23:38

    Enoc K

    I do agree wit you on the point of perspective but like I mentioned, we should always start off with respect for these people who have proven themselves one way or another to be in these positions of authority or power. I also did mention that whether they continue to earn our respect after that will depend on their words and actions. I certainly do no advocate bling respect and loyalty for the sake of it; but neither do i advocate a position of distrust and cynicism with each and every person of authority, religious or not. If that happens, you will most likely get a situation like the US with Obama now – a stalemate in political and societal progress. How does that benefit anyone in the long run?
    Respect has to be earned – continuously. And we should give respect when a person deserves it, whichever perspective we should hold.

    Like i said, being gay and christian in many of our churches and christian denomination is already a tense contradiction in itself. As much as we like to see a more open and tolerant relationship between christianity and the LBGT society, it really is up to the gay christians themselves to resolve this contradiction and situation. In the meantime, I say anyone from their side who is willing to be more open to the LBGT and see them more as terrible sinners to be saved should be given some credit. Whether their future actions and words bear out their statements in the long run remains to be seen.

    As far as I know, FCC is the only church that welcomes the LBGT and for that I have great admiration and respect for the people behind it. They have given ostracised gay and lesbian christians a refuge from people who condemn them. But i sincerely hope that in this ‘conflict’ of ideas, beliefs, morals and principles, it will not end up as an “all or nothing ‘ situation.

  17. 23 KAM 18 September 2009 at 15:45

    We live in a world where people are fearful of gays, even gays themselves. It does not have to be us versus them mentality, really this is not about sweetening words.

    God created man (both male and female) and he looks at man as man (no gender).

    I am not sure where in the Bible does it say gays or gay-sex is a sin. And if it does, it is not the MAIN theme of Christian teachings anyway.

    The only reason that the gay debate comes up, is because the gays are “coming out” and with all guns blasting at anyone who hints of anti-gay or simply just curious or worrisome straight people. (Please, quoting “straight” does not mean gays are crooked and don’t dissect such wordings again, please).

    Straight people are fearful of gays because they are the minority and the unknown. Therefore the first natural reaction is to negate or reject the gays. This is human nature, and I believe not God nature.

    God loves all people, gays, whites, blacks, yellows, ill, sick, healthy, ALLLLLLLLL (do you get this?) people.

    In this world, therefore Gays have to “fight” and in this fight, they label all non-gays as being anti-gays. This is not true. Get over it!

    Not many moons ago, vegetarians (strict ones) are also frowned upon on. Then now it is acceptable to be 200% vegetarian.
    There will be a day when gays will be acceptable. Gay marriages, etc. But some steps may still be a long way from reality, so you can keep fighting or try another more peaceful way to achieve your goals.

    Nevertheless, don’t drag God into this. Some churches or temples do not accept gays. That is their problem. Saying so and so champions your cause is divisive and surely not going to help.

    I am saying this once again, God loves you, gay or straight. Learn more about THIS fact. Others you can ignore.

  18. 24 Martha 18 September 2009 at 18:24

    KAM,

    I think what comes across mostly from your posts is that you are yourself a very loving, understanding sort of person, the sort of person the world needs more of, for sure.

    I believe you would be that same loving person whatever religion you chose to belong to. (And I don’t believe a loving God would reject such people, whatever path/religion they have chosen).

    This sort of Christian in other countries has played a big role in helping overcome the prejudices against gay people, and helped decriminalise and reduce discrimination against them.

    Other types of person unfortunately use religion for rather different purposes, and it is some people in particular churches that have been shown to have conspired in Singapore to maintain prejudice, propagate myths, and to maintain the criminalisation of gays, through, for example, hate mail campaigns to the press and government departments. As could be seen from the internet posts at the time of the s377A petition, this included the “mainstream” churches, such as the Methodists, who also pushed to criminalise Lesbians. Their position is directly the opposite of the same denomination in other countries, who actively fight against discrimination.

    The reason gays get “uppity” is a heartfelt and passionate response to the actions and words of the people who want to deny them a full and happy relationship with the person that they love. It is something so fundamental to life and human happiness.

    The public don’t get to know that gay people are just like everyone else, as TV programs showing this are banned, again, because of pressure from such groups who want to maintain ignorance and prejudice. The only other options gays have if they want to dispel the myths and misinformation put out about them is to come out to friends and family, if they are able, or to get online and try to counter the propaganda against them.

    It cannot be ignored that the propagators of all or most of these actions against gay people are a section of the Christian community, though they are not, to my mind, in the least Christ-like.

    I wish there were more Christians prepared to stand up to these people and say “Enough! You do not represent my religion!”, and to take the higher moral ground of helping overcome prejudice and discrimination against gay people.

  19. 25 Larry 19 September 2009 at 07:43

    I wish I had a better understanding of Singapore English. There’s a huge difference between “There will be a day when gays will be acceptable” and “There will be a day when gays will be accepted”. I’m not sure which of these KAM has in mind.

    I’m also curious to know how/where people who comment on this blog get their information about the US that allows them to discuss “narrow minded” American churches and conclude that there is a “stalemate in political and societal progress” due to a US populace with “a distrust and cynicism with each and every person of authority”.

  20. 26 Martha 19 September 2009 at 14:05

    – Larry – “I’m also curious to know how/where people who comment on this blog get their information about the US that allows them to discuss “narrow minded” American churches”

    Larry, the term was “narrow”, not “narrow-minded”, though the particular churches referred to are also that, I believe. It’s not a shot at American churches generally, as Sloo helped point out.

    One source is the series of detailed articles by Dogemperor explaining the steeplejacking process that has allegedly been taking place in Singapore, which have been featured on Singaporean websites following the “AWARE” saga.

    http://dogemperor.newsvine.com/

    And KAM means accepted, it’s clear from the context.

    I’m curious too, to know what you are trying to add to this discussion.

  21. 27 sloo 22 September 2009 at 10:13

    Larry

    Check out the Yahoo features on the US section on christian churches, in particular the struggle within the epicopalaians and lutheran church in accepting LBGT and the struggle their leaders have to face due to this divisive issue. More than uniting the church, leaders of these institutions have been forced to a stalemate over the opposing forces. Witness too the Obama administration in its push for more gay rights, medicare and even more regulations in the financial world. The Repulicans’ disdain for his leadership. lack of respect of his positions (as can be in see in Rep Joe Wilson outburst) has checkmated his efforts in moving the country forward.

    Whatever the issue or segment of society, there is no doubt that the future is moving towards a more liberal understanding of the human state. And if the fundies are inspired by the West and Europe – their beliefs and ideologies – then it is inevitable that this push will eventually reach our shores. Change is coming.

  22. 28 Martha 23 September 2009 at 16:42

    Following on from my earlier post in response to Larry (not yet posted by Yawning Bread), I refer to the 1993 Resolutions of the Methodist Church in the UK, which still stand:

    “6. Conference recognises, affirms and celebrates the participation and ministry of lesbians and gay men in the church. Conference calls on the Methodist people to begin a pilgrimage of faith to combat repression and discrimination, to work for justice and human rights and to give dignity and worth to people whatever their sexuality.”

    “If it’s all up to the individual, where does this leave the Church?

    The outcome is that, within the church, there is a diversity of interpretations and a range of understandings about intimate relationships. The Conference encourages Methodists to continue to discuss these differences in a spirit of openness and love. Our shared ambition is to combat repression and discrimination, to work for justice and human rights and to give dignity and worth to people whatever their sexuality. ”

    Link:

    http://christianteens.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=christianteens&cdn=religion&tm=50&f=00&tt=12&bt=1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.methodistchurch.org.uk/

  23. 29 Martha 23 September 2009 at 16:47

    The second half of the link to the Methodists’ quote didn’t post so here it is, you’ll need to paste them together:

    1&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.methodistchurch.org.uk/

  24. 30 Desmond 26 September 2009 at 09:30

    I read a few comments from some christians in the list and I laughed out loud. They kept talking about God loving all and that God is not the wrong one, especially when Gay (he uses it caps not me) defend themselves we are cynical and fearful. I find it interesting that

    1) They believe everyone believes in a god/God. What about the people that don’t?

    2) Typically, when gay people defend themselves we are cynical and fearful but when the christian defend their stance, they are right and just. When Thio was lambasting gay people in parliament, would these christians believe she is being cynical and fearful?

    Understanding something means not using a few isolated incidents together and say that is so.

  25. 31 psa91 27 September 2009 at 00:14

    There is a double standard because they are
    always right – being the Christian Right.

  26. 32 TKH 3 October 2009 at 00:53

    With all due respect to Rev. Dr Yap as an ex-bishop of the Methodist church, I find his article full of assumption and speculation. In fact, I was pondering about his intention in writing this article. From my reading of his article, I can’t help but feel that Rev. Yap has some personal grudges or misunderstanding with Rev. Kong. I have read through Rev. Kong’s article a couple of times, but I can’t seem to draw the same conclusion that Rev. Yap has given in his article.

    For example, Rev. Yap said, “… unless one is aware of his background and the purpose of his writing in the manner that he did.” Firstly, Rev. Yap did not clearly state what Rev. Kong’s background was and left the readers guessing or speculating. Secondly, in my opinion, this should be considered as a “character assassination”, unless Rev. Yap can give some evidences in his claim that Rev. Kong has some ulterior motive in his article. This kind of behaviour of accusing a fellow minister is really undesirable in the Body of Christ, not to mention unbefitting for an ex-leader in a denomination.

    Rev. Yap furthered said, “He has dissociated from Derek Hong of the Church of the Savior …” My question to that is: “Is this ‘an insider’ information?” This is because I do attend CHC services regularly, but never heard once from the pulpit or any CHC leaders mentioning “dissociation from Church of our Savior”. I would appreciate Rev. Yap could clarify before making such an absolute statement, and to me, that is an unwise statement that divides the Body of Christ in Singapore.

    Rev. Yap also said, “Kong Hee has lumped the homosexuality issue to that of sexuality issue in general to avoid giving attention specifically to homosexuality. His response hides the fact that the teaching of his church is against homosexuality which is regarded as a sin or fallen nature.” Honestly I do not think that Rev. Kong is deliberately avoiding the issue on homosexuality. In fact, I applaud his effort in focusing on the bigger picture and purpose on salvation of souls, which is in line with scriptural principles. There is no need for him to hide the fact, as in CHC we do recognize that homosexual act (note: not homosexual tendencies or orientation) is one of the sins listed in the Bible. We are taught to practice what the Lord Jesus did in the gospels: “hate the sin, but love the sinners.” I think this is the area where Rev. Yap got mixed up in his perception. Whether be it homosexual acts or adultery or fornication, or even lying, these are called sins in the Bible.

    Rev. Yap erred in saying “… that is his (referring to Rev. Kong) conditional welcome for the purpose of changing their sexual orientation or forcing them to refrain from same-sex acts.” May I suggest it is not Rev. Kong conditional welcome, but it is from the Lord? Remember the words of Jesus in the Gospel, “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is near” (Mt 4:17), and the same condition is echoed by the apostles (Acts 2:38). Isn’t the Gospel of Jesus Christ about changing lives and turning people from darkness to light? Also in our 21st century, does Rev. Yap still believe that the church or the leader has the ability to change people or force the members into right behaviour? This assumption is laughable and ridiculous.

    Rev. Yap mentioned he knew a CHC member being “removed” from ministry because he was a gay. I like to comment that such illustration is highly unethical as a full-time minister. Firstly, there is no proof from Rev. Yap that such a person exists. Secondly, even if such a person exist, it is unethical to mention his name and use his example to discredit another ministry, as you are putting another Christian in shame openly. Even if the case is true, the issue for Rev. Yap’s example is not about homosexuality … the question is will you allow someone who is sinning (assuming the person is committing homosexual acts) to be serving in ministry? Will you allow someone who is in adultery, or sexual immorality, or a child-abuser to be serving in ministry? Should not this person be restored back into right relationship with God before he or she serves?

    Rev. Yap said “… he is directing the message more to gays who are often stereotyped as predatory.” I must say when I read Rev. Kong’s article; I do not perceive this stereotype. May I quote a Chinese saying, “说者无意,听者有意”? I am wondering who is stereotyping “gay as predatory”…

    As for Rev. Yap last paragraph, I do want to stress there is a difference between homosexual tendencies and committing homosexual acts. There may be people who struggle with homosexual tendencies due to upbringing or childhood experiences … etc. but that does not equate to sin. I do believe that God’s grace can enable to live a life in accordance with Scriptures, though we may still encounter struggles with this weakness. However, if someone deliberately practice such homosexual acts as a lifestyle, the Bible clearly calls it a sin. (Rom 1:24-27)

    My conclusion is that heaven has more than enough room for anyone who is willing to repent, regardless of what type his sins might be.

    Thank you for taking your time to read. God bless!

    TKH

  27. 33 psa91 7 October 2009 at 08:19

    Dear TKH,

    Are you referring to the same Pastor Kong whose wife was featured in “China Wine” MTV?

    The statements by Rev Yap seems genuine and plausible and should not be considered wrong or speculative simply because one considers homosexuality as sin or because it was not announced implicitly in the news or from the pulpit. I remember the incident mentioned by Rev Yap about a member being removed from ministry for being gay …. it was common then.

    The issue here is about integrity… if Pastor Kong was anti-gay and consider being gay a sin and not to be accepted in the church then say so, and be open and not back track some years down the road as if this was not the case.

    That being said, CHC has changed … from excommunicating and counselling the person, to being treated as a leper. That is what is meant by live and let live. Many soon leave CHC and the christian faith so all this talk is vanity.

  28. 34 Anonymous 25 October 2009 at 03:21

    Dear Kong Hee,

    You are indeed correct that God takes a stand against homosexuality, which is why of course the true church does, along with drunkenness, lying, stealing, cheating, and other flaws with which we are all plagued, including the desire to have sex without being married to one person of the opposite sex till death do you part…the true stand behind the Christian’s writing…which does not change the truth of the Christian’s position that God loves all, Jesus welcomes all, and the truth of what was said that there is one judge of each individual, and we are not it and are not to condemn anyone. Jesus was given all authority to judge by God, and Jesus said that not he but the word of God is the standard–he upholds the word of God; in fact, he and the word of God are one; he and God are one; he agrees in everything with his father. The word which his father gave is the truth in love, even when it is difficult to understand, and it is more loving than we can understand, and were we to trust him, we would find our deepest desires granted in ways unimaginable. To believe him is to learn the truth. This Christian writer is willing to give people up to God because God leads them; no one coerces them; God shows them the truth and they desire to live it. God asks us to lead others to his love and holiness, not to require others to live up to his love and holiness before they are accepted; his sacrifice is made, but to redeem it we must confess his truth. Liars are not accepted. Those disagreeing with the truth of God are liars. We must recognize the difference between truth and lies, and he helps us. Because he says stealing is wrong, we know it is wrong; because he says lying is wrong, we know it is wrong; though people defend each, we see how each hurts another. Because he says murder is wrong, we know it is wrong; we have more difficulty with unmarried sex; in fact, we have more difficulty with anything we like to do. Because he says adultery is wrong, we know it is wrong, but plenty of people like it and defend it. Because he says not resting is wrong, we know it is wrong. Why do you suppose he says these things are wrong? Nothing hurtful is allowed, ever. A Christian agrees with this. What does God say? Men are not to represent themselves as women nor women as men, nor are men to have sex with men or beasts, nor women with women or beasts. Nor with other wives or husbands than your own. People are people and are not to be representing themselves as the opposite of what they are. And people are not to lie. People are to tell the truth! What you enter is a universe where there is law and you are opposite it, where despite law you are required to be upfront about yourself, where despite the truth about yourself you are required to recognize law and decide who is the boss. And what do you think about the boss? Do you trust that he is loving? Do you decide to denigrate him? There is not one thing we are asked not to do–because he asks us to–that does not challenge a person on this planet to have to choose between it and God. Know that God is love. Do not be afraid of what he will teach you. Do not be afraid of his understanding. Do not be afraid of change. Each of us is imperfect, and each of us has understanding to be gained, and each of us is on his or her way even after being accepted by God because we choose to acknowledge the truth in order to receive his forgiveness. You will not like that I equate homosexuality with lying. You do not understand it as a character flaw because you do not agree with God. Simply believe it, whether or not you have a desire. This is like a heterosexual man simply believing fornication is a character flaw because God says it, whether or not he has a desire, or a heterosexual woman simply believing adultery is a character flaw because God says it, whether or not she has a desire–no different. No one is arguing with the desire, but the desire is in conflict with God’s will, and God asks us to agree with him that that is so whether we are able to do anything about it or not simply because it is right and place ourselves into his hands, trusting him, telling him I wish I wanted to be different if that is all we can do, but at him! He wants relationship. Difficult as it is, I would not trade it! His love is greater than anything, our trusting him leads us to riches untold, and behind his words are understandings you cannot comprehend, but comprehension begins to dawn as you believe it just because he is, and just what he says, because until you believe the truth you are in darkness and will never see his love but will be stealing a pirated copy of it that does not satisfy and indeed ends in destruction. Love is free, truth is free, but accepting it in the face of this world results in persecution and violent disagreement because it is so different, but those who have tasted it find anything worth it and know it to be life everlasting and the bastion of your happiness, as well. We are to love ourselves as he made us, recognize the man and woman in us, present each truthfully, and trust his ways, and when we do so the reality behind his words and ways becomes manifest breathtakingly, if only we will trust him. Trust him. Yes, you know the truth of what the Christian is saying, but you do not know the mechanism, the perfect Person of God, not a pressure to change, but a desire to be holy that must find its end in him and does not condemn homosexuals but welcomes them to God in truth which transforms and clarifies what really is and will be! Love yourself, love who you are, admit it, come anyway, love him, love his truth, allow him to show you the truth, and do not expect to be expected to do what you could not do yourself or Jesus’ sacrifice would not be necessary, but learn the truth behind what you are and the truth for all people and be blessed as you and they learn it, and, as was written, God will be your only judge by his Son and Word, he knows your heart, everything is relative to HIM in the universe, and he loves you more than you love yourself, and only when we accept ourselves as we are, see ourselves as we are and love anyway, do we truly love, see him as he is and love anyway, do we truly love and find out what he really means with breaktaking clarity and certainty and know that what he says is not restrictive. What he says is freeing. Read the Bible in its entirety, and you will know that homosexuality is condemned in no uncertain terms! Love for each other? Not condemned. Loyalty? Not condemned. Purity? Not condemned. Truth about what we are? Not condemned. Opinion agreeing with him or not? That is the question. Agreement with him is trusting him. When you accept EVERY WORD–which is our measure, Christ says–THE TRUTH WILL BECOME CLEAR. Not restrictive. Freeing. Any church worth its salt will direct you to HIM; the rest is between you and HIM; but you must give up yourself and ANY preconceived notions about YOURSELF or CHRISTIANITY and rely on HIM and let NO ONE stop you, not even another Christian, AND THOSE OF YOU LIKE THAT WILL RECOGNIZE EACH OTHER. TRUE CHRISTIANS ARE CONNECTED BY A WEB OF LOVE IN AND OUT OF CHURCH AND LIVE THE WAY, THE LIFE, AND THE TRUTH IN LOVE. NOTHING ELSE WILL DO. Christians rely on truth and will not lie simply to please you! Not real ones. Each of us is called to the same standard, the same for me as for you, not one different; the only requirement is that we acknowledge God, Who is the one who gave us life and determines its requirements for a universe of love, accepting His truth and accepting His payment ON BEHALF OF US ONCE FOR ALL TIME for the way we acknowledge we LEAVE it; that is, JESUS, or we opt out! And to opt out of GOD is to opt out of His universe of love because NOTHING unloving–and He defines IT–is allowed; He knows best and we end up OUTSIDE of love, and to be without love is to be in torment; and do we not agree? Love is patient, love is kind, love is gentle…all of the things we agree love is are from God; lying is not from God, and until you agree with Him, you are living a lie and will bring harm to the kingdom; admit His truth and learn what real love is, while we are learning it, too; when we acknowledge the real men and women within ourselves, we will discover the real men and women who are our mates, our friends, our families, our children, our parents, and they will not necessarily be the ones whom we expect, but they will be our ultimate desire. I guarantee it. <3+

  29. 35 Gentle Lamb 26 October 2009 at 21:38

    Not sure how Kong Hee can represent God to say God takes a stand against Homosexuality defined as Gay man living out their innate natural desire to be in sexual relationship with each other, as much as, heterosexual people find their natural attraction with the opposite sex.

    The bible is written for Straight people, primarily for straight people since gays have always been a small percentage of the population. Perhaps, God is against Homosexuality by straight people going against their innate natural desires when demanded by their religious practices. This is not surprising as you see people doing crazy things because of religion. The issue and the danger here is about religious fundamentalism and certainly a threat to good and decent people everywhere.

    After all these years, I now finally understood St Paul, why he insisted by Women should not speak in churches or rule over men, after seeing what some Christian women did to take over Aware or to stand in Parliament against gays. They didn’t follow the bible to keep quiet which surely must bring us closer to the line ordained by God for Singapore. Perhaps religous fundamentalism will bring us there much faster.


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