Monday, May 31, 2010

Pastor Kong Hee Explains His "Oversight"

Pastor Kong Hee has written a personal note on his website to explain the circumstances surrounding the evidences of plagiarism found in certain entries in his Daily Devotion series:

A WORD FROM ME...

Dear Friends,

Recently, it was brought to my attention that in certain entries of the Daily Devotion series, my sources were not properly credited.

These devotions were written many years ago as an inspirational aid to encourage CHC members to read through the Bible at least once. They consist of notes that I have recorded through the years detailing reflections from my own spiritual journey, as well as select readings of other Christian authors who inspire me.

This series was originally meant only for internal circulation among the members of my church. As such, there was an oversight in not quoting the sources of some portions that borrow from the writings of other Christian authors. A section of the series was subsequently compiled by a local publisher into two books, Renewing Your Spiritual Life in 90 Days (Vol. 1) and (Vol. 2). I recognize that we could have been more careful to credit any source of inspiration used. Since we were informed about our oversight in March this year, we have been in the process of properly crediting, to the best of our efforts, the original sources of the entries in question on the website edition of Daily Devotion. The hardcopy editions of these publications are now out of print. The Daily Devotion series is only available free-of-charge on my website.

There was never any intention to give readers the impression that the entire contents were written by me. I do apologize for this oversight in the Daily Devotion and Renewing Your Spiritual Life in 90 Days (Vol. 1) and (Vol. 2) publications.

Thanks for your continuing love and support,

Kong


I know I run the risk of being branded ungracious or even malicious by friends and non-friends alike but personally, I am not satisfied with his explanation; maybe I am being cynical, or some of you may even think I am biased against Pastor Kong Hee since I attend New Creation Church but I see in his statement a shirking of responsibility instead of assuming responsibility for the plagiarism.

To me, it is very simple: Pastor Kong just has to say, "I'm sorry, I copied word-for-word from other authors for some portions of my devotional series and falsely gave the impression that they were written by me. This is wrong, please forgive me and it won't happen again." I would applaud him and respect him for humbling himself and admit the truth even though it reflects very badly on him. However, what I see is a subtle but precise play of words to deflect guilt, and hence an unconvincing admission of oversight but not plagiarism.  The intention, I suspect, is to have a vague confession of a lesser wrongdoing, and hope that most people will have a forgiving attitude and eventually let this matter rest.

You ask, "What's wrong with Pastor Kong Hee's note? Didn't he admit that it was an oversight? What's the big deal? Why are you so unforgiving?" Like I said earlier, if Pastor Kong Hee just made a simple and straightforward confession, I would have just let the matter rest and like what many of you would probably say, "Let's move on." I can accept that pastors do make mistakes, however, what I can't accept is the whitewashing of those mistakes, especially through subtle wordplay.

Let's decipher Pastor Kong's statement carefully:

Recently, it was brought to my attention that in certain entries of the Daily Devotion series, my sources were not properly credited.
(emphasis in bold mine)

"Recently"
- How recent is "recently"? Pastor Kong Hee in the latter part of his statement said that he was informed of this issue of alleged plagiarism in March but no reactions or responses were forthcoming from him or his leadership to address this until the last week or so, after Cheat Grace's blog garnered more and more interest from the online community in recent weeks, and more and more evidences of plagiarism were surfaced on Cheat Grace's blog with the latest evidence being a devotional dated 20 May! Why did Pastor Kong Hee maintain his silence on this issue of alleged plagiarism for more than two months?

"properly"
- Pastor Kong Hee said his sources were not "properly" credited. Hello??? His sources were NOT credited at all, period. Never mind properly or improperly! I don't know whether this is the case with his two published devotional books (Cheat Grace, can you confirm this if you are reading this article?) but go check out his online devotional archives (if it is still possible), there were never ever any kind of crediting of sources whatsoever. The casual reader will naturally have the impression that everything written there is the personal handiwork of their revered pastor.  I have read some of the comments on his devotional pieces and many address their comments to the pastor himself.


These devotions were written many years ago as an inspirational aid to encourage CHC members to read through the Bible at least once. They consist of notes that I have recorded through the years detailing reflections from my own spiritual journey, as well as select readings of other Christian authors who inspire me. 
A section of the series was subsequently compiled by a local publisher into two books, Renewing Your Spiritual Life in 90 Days (Vol. 1) and (Vol. 2). I recognize that we could have been more careful to credit any source of inspiration used. Since we were informed about our oversight in March this year, we have been in the process of properly crediting, to the best of our efforts, the original sources of the entries in question on the website edition of Daily Devotion. The hardcopy editions of these publications are now out of print. The Daily Devotion series is only available free-of-charge on my website.

(emphasis in bold mine)

"as well as select readings of other Christian authors who inspire me"
- It is clear, therefore, that Pastor Kong Hee knowingly used the writings of other Christian authors.  However, don't you find it strange that even though Pastor Kong Hee knowingly used the works of other Christian authors, he says "we could have been more careful to credit any source of inspiration used" when no credit was done at all? Moreover, he used the term "source of inspiration" when most of the "source of inspiration" were actually outright word-for-word copying.  Do you see the play of words there to mitigate the severity of the offence? Pastor Kong Hee completed a tertiary education and even has a doctorate degree, surely he knows there's a world of difference between a "source of inspiration" and "a source of copying"?

"we have been in the process of properly crediting, to the best of our efforts, the original sources of the entries in question on the website edition of Daily Devotion"
- Do you see the subtlety of a caveat added there? No? Let me show you: "to the best of our efforts". Do you know what this mean? It means that should Cheat Grace later unveil any further evidences of plagiarism, you should cut them some slack as they are trying their best to properly credit the original sources and may have inadvertantly missed out on that particular article.  Do you know what this also means? That they are not even sure of the actual extent of the plagiarism and are having difficulty digging all of them out. Their 20 May article is a case in point.

"only available free-of-charge"- This is another subtle attempt at mitigating the severity of the offence by hinting that they are not profiteering from the plagiarized material, and therefore no harm was done.

Dr Kong Hee said that as his devotionals were "originally meant only for internal circulation ... there was an oversight in not quoting the sources of some portions that borrow from the writings of other Christian authors". Surely, Pastor Kong Hee should know that his "internal circulation" does not consist of just a few close friends but rather, a congregation of more than 20,000 people? Isn't that a large enough reason to exercise due care in "properly crediting sources"?

At the very least, the so-called "oversight" smacks of gross negligence but Pastor Kong Hee is no novice preacher. He is the leader of the largest (as he so often claims) church in Singapore, with a doctorate in theology and I would have to give him a major dose of the benefit of doubt to believe that what he says - "There was never any intention to give readers the impression that the entire contents were written by me" - is true.

"Oversight" or "Plagiarism"? Either way, this matter raises doubts about his leadership capabilities or integrity.

12 June Update:
 

29 comments:

The Void Deck said...

A high five to this,

""properly"
- Pastor Kong Hee said his sources were not "properly" credited. Hello??? His sources were NOT credited at all, period. Never mind properly or improperly!"

Joshen said...

well, this is taking into consideration that the article is after all, all personally done and researched by Ps Kong? Lol..

Would the statement be appropriate if the context was that the publications ministry was responsible for the problem?

I believe even after this episode Ps Kong also does not personally go through everything, but delegates it to his ministry leaders to debrief and troubleshoot.

I am beginning to consider also the thoughts of the server who may have done the articles in question if that is truly the case...

Is he currently in a position of leadership as well?

Would training of juniors include : "Eh nvm la.. no one will bother to check de.."?

Now that the game is up, is he thinking : Die, tmr sure scold me..

From what I hear, UN-Merited FAVOR is not one of the main topics in CHC, so I wonder for this little lamb gone astray..

her royal highness said...

Hi Stanley. I have been from CHC for 10 years. I don't understand why the friction between my church and yours? My fellow church members actually think NCC's a good church.
Sorry if you've met some offensive CHC members who could have stirred your resentment.

I really hope this divide won't last.

Anw, great writing.

Trebuchet said...

I think this is a fair analysis.

Let me quote from the relevant Singapore Copyright Law (Cap. 63, available from http://statutes.agc.gov.sg), section 188:

Duty not to attribute falsely authorship of work or identity of performer of performance
188. —(1) A person (referred to in this subsection as the offender) shall, by virtue of this section, be under a duty to the author of a work or a performer of a performance not to —
(a) insert or affix another person’s name in or on the work or a recording of the performance, or in or on a reproduction of the work or recording, in such a way as to imply that the other person is the author of the work or the performer of the performance;
(b) publish, sell or let for hire, by way of trade offer or expose for sale or hire, or by way of trade exhibit in public, the work or recording of the performance with another person’s name so inserted or affixed, if the offender knows that the other person is not the author of the work or the performer of the performance;
(c) do any of the acts mentioned in paragraph (b) in relation to, or distribute, reproductions of the work or recording of the performance, being reproductions in or on which another person’s name has been so inserted or affixed, if the offender knows that the other person is not the author of the work or the performer of the performance; or
(d) perform in public or communicate the work as being a work of which another person is the author, or make available to the public the recording of a performance as being a recording of a performance of which another person is the performer, if the offender knows that the other person is not the author of the work or the performer of the performance.

However, see Section 142:

Limitation of actions in respect of infringement of copyright
142. An action shall not be brought for an infringement of copyright, after the expiration of 6 years from the time when the infringement took place.

So if the action is delayed, one can indeed escape. But what is one escaping from? From Section 136:

... a fine not exceeding $20,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or to both and, in the case of a second or subsequent offence, to a fine not exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 3 years or to both.

Heh.

Stanley Wong said...

Hi HRH,
I must stress that I have not met any offensive CHC members at all, and I do not harbour any resentment towards CHC.

However, I have listened to Pastor Kong Hee's series on Antinomianism in which he made some unsavoury veiled references to NCC, plus I have read some CHC members' comments on his blog which mentioned that he made some "unfriendly" remarks about NCC and its members in your church's AGM. Hence, I get a sense that Pastor Kong has a negative view of NCC which is why I feel that some people (especially CHC members) may mistakenly think that I am making a personal attack on Pastor Kong when in actual fact, I am not.

Liu said...

CHC is being probed for financial irregularities.

I hope fellow bros & sisters, would refrain from making baseless judegment or comments about the issue.

Instead, if you must, then pray for CHC and the sheeps, that this issue makes them stronger.

We are the body of Christ, the church belongs to Christ, we must unite and not divide.

Remember Jesus' prayer in the Gospel of John 17:20-23 before He was betrayed.

Even if proven true, it's a few guilty parties, but let not the church be shaken. We are talking about 20+ to 30 thousands sheeps, precious to God.

God has a plan for CHC. He is the Alpha & Omega. He has the last say, Amen.

Shalom Shalom
William
attends NCC

Stanley Wong said...

Hi William,
I agree that it is premature to comment on the CAD probe. However, what I said at the end of my post applies to the probe as well - "Either way, this matter raises doubts about his leadership capabilities or integrity."

Liu said...

Hi Stanley

I understand your point. His reasonings are lame but I judge not.

Our Lord understands his inner thoughts and what he must have been going through this few months. His conscience will convict him. I believe he is sorry and the Lord knows. He has blown it, and just like many, if not all, of us make mistakes from time to time. We can be sorry but we must not feel or be condemned (Romans 8:1). This is the time he needs Grace. Maybe, perhaps, it's an opening for Grace to embrace CHC.

We are talking about thousands of sheeps possibly shaken by the current events. Even if proven clean, seed of doubts may have been planted. It's not good for the body of Christ.

What I hope is that, the sheeps understand that the Church is not about these few individuals, it's about Christ. That we should pray that sheeps are not lost in the process.

Within the Church of Christ there is strife! The devil is doing (what's new?) it to cause disunity to the body of Christ.

I overheard a stranger (assistant cell group leader GOH) and his friend's (from FCBC) conversation about tithings (we shared table at Ikea). They are Chinese speaking believers who were once toaists. They were troubled by their cell group leader's remarks that their prayers are not answered because they have not been faithful with their tithes. They felt condemned, and the members planned to boycott the cell group meetings. GOH is troubled because he was the one who brought these members to Christ. He is also troubled that he has been given a quota to fulfill - increase membership by certain month. They believe (I believe they may have misunderstood their church leaders) that the sudden hard press for tithes is because the church wants to raise $100million to build a bigger church premise for the growing congregation.

I was deeply concerned about the sheeps that might be lost (members threatening not to go cell group, and confused over their unanswered prayers and its link to their tithings and the possible misunderstanding concerning the building of a bigger church) in the process, so I interrupted their conversation politely.

Me & my wife shared for hours with him & his friends what I have learned from NCC and from Christ. We gave them some verses from the Bible, SMSed him some more, and asked him to read, check and reference to what the Bible has to say about what he is troubled. Before we part, we told him that what we shared was to give him & his friend the essence of Romans 8:1. We wished him well and hope that his church will grow from strength to strength in these last days as we eagerly await His glorious coming.

I am all for church growth, cos it simply means we, sons of God, reclaim back more of what was rightfully ours through Christ Jesus, Amen.

The problem with church growth, however, is that some churches are competing for members! It's simple maths all of us know, more members equal more tithes. More affluent members equal bigger tithes. This is the way of men, but what's the point when you have to chase after them for tithes, make them give out of guilt, and they give with doubts and suspicion, and invites gossips from unbelievers that the church loves $, always ask for $, that the pastors talk talk talk only and are well paid?

Why can't the churches believes that if God calls them to expand, God will provide the means to expand? That God is faithful, that you be faithful with tendering and feeding of the lambs and sheeps, that God can prosper your flocks, and their offsprings, and their tithes will increase supernaturally with God's revelation and blessings?

Sorry, I went kind of off track, but needed to let go. It's feeding for myself as well, apologise that I have borrowed your platform to do so.

Anyway, I wish CHC & FCBC well, that God can use these churches mightily in these last days, that many will come to know our Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.

Shalom Shalom,
William

who feeds at NCC.

rk said...

hi stanley,
i've been with NCC for 12 years. i was rather dissapointed in the tone and spirit in which this was written. at least that was how it felt to me. we are one body of christ. divisions are man made. there is enough attack from people outside, so lets not add to it. many years ago when the media, public and other believers criticize Sun Ho, Ps Prince stood by them and reminded us not to be counted as one of those who attacked her. he reminded us of our unity in christ. like some other commenters here, i say pray for, and with, CHC during this difficult time. don't add insult to injury. god is not pleased. there is a place and time to set things right (if there are any wrong) but i don't think it should be done in this manner and by us. remember what Ps Prince say in his most recent midweek sermon, lift our breathren up when they get dusty, wash them with the washing of the water of word and wipe them dry with the finish work of christ and the gift of righteousness. it is not us and them. we are all one in christ.

Dolfin said...

Regret & sad to know this is a Christian blog ...

Stanley Wong said...

Hi rk,
Your kind of reaction is anticipated - like I said in my post, "I know I run the risk of being branded ungracious or even malicious by friends and non-friends alike".

However, I must stress that I am not making a personal attack on Pastor Kong. What I wanted to do was to tell it like it is and not sugar coat my views just because I am dealing with a prominent church leader. It is precisely because this involves a prominent church leader that I wrote my article in this tone, to shake up Christians' tendency to be lenient and blindly loyal to their leaders without scrutinizing the evidences in detail.

My personal stand (and I make no apologies for it) is that plagiarism betrays a lack of integrity, and the sham of a nice-sounding explanation cum "apology" further confirms it.

I cannot agree with the attitudes of Christians who ignore the evidence or do not dare to dig further for fear of discovering the truth which they cannot accept. They are quite willing to accept their leaders' flimsy excuses at face value and sweep the issue under the carpet.

I have read quite a few comments from Christians whose views in general can be summarized as "The man apologized for his oversight. Let it go for the sake of Christian unity." What I have done is to show that the so-called apology is not sincere and the explanation is full of loopholes. If you dare to dig deeper, you will probably unearth a whole load of lies but I guess many Christians do not have the courage to face up to that possibility.

I thank God that I wrote and published this article on 31 May, 2.30am BEFORE the news about CAD's probe into CHC's financial affairs broke, so I can say with good conscience that I did not write this article to add insult to injury.

It now looks like I am not the only one questioning Pastor Kong's leadership capabilities and integrity.

Stanley Wong said...

Hi William,
You may want to read the testimony of an ex-cellgroup leader in CHC, Terence Lee - http://irreligiously.blogspot.com/2010/05/seizing-my-life-back.html

Liu said...

Ya I understand. I was burnt out once in my ex-Church. Not that much accountability & numbers, but it's a lot of activities you are talking about. And not much feedings. So you can imagine a malnourished sheep trying to feed a few lambs? My lambs were also burnt out and some left, to other Churches, some unfortunately in the wilderness.....

Shalom Shalom

Erlyanti said...

Hi,

I'm not a member of CHC nor NCC.
I ever attended sunday service in NCC and have friends in CHC as well. I am blessed by the daily devotional material written by the pastor of NCC, and I am also blessed by the teaching materials of the pastors of CHC. I thank God that He uses them to speak to me. 'None of them is already perfect in everything' is the thing that I always remind myself of.

I have no offence at all in my comment here. I love Jesus, and I love to see people, no matter what the church is, love one another that the world will know that we are all children of God though we have differences on teachings, etc.

What I want to say is that we don't know everything however. Only God knows everything including what is in everyone's hearts. So, everytime I read this kind of 'discussion' or 'conversation' on the internet, I am often reminded first of all NOT to become driven by the spirit of judgement towards anybody. Sometimes it is not so easy though. Only God knows and searchs my heart as well, even right now.

In my point of view, it is okay to share our opinion and comment about something, but friends, let's make sure that everytime we do it, we do it by the spirit of love. The message can even be 'judgemental' in pointing out that this is wrong or right thing to do or not to do according to the bible or the law in society, but the spirit has to be love, like what Jesus did and said to a woman found guilty committed adultery in the book of John chapter 8.

Everyone of us can fall into wrong doings, including plagiarism, judging, probe, cheating, etc. Many great men of God in the bible ever committed the wrong doings too (I write this not as an excuse at all). It can happen because of ignorance, carelessness, other factors, etc. The most important thing is that we should always have a spirit of repentance and humility to change to be a better man of God. While other people fall, let's pray that they can realize it, repent, then get up again and continue to grow up in truth.

It is so ironic when there is a man of God or a child of God falls into wrong doings, and other children of God just talk about her/him. Is it what we really want to get when we may, sometimes in our life, fall into wrong doing? I don't think so.. I believe we can do more that it. We can pray because the prayer changes things, we can show our love and support to them, etc. Keep loving them without justifying the wrong doings :)

So, because we don't know about everything, let's always search our heart in everything we say toward others. Let's think first: What would Jesus do if He is in this circumstance? I believe we all have the same goal : to be more like Jesus each and everyday. So, let's keep growing and changing together, as the citizens of the same Kingdom of Jesus (although we are growing now in different 'homes').

Be blessed :)
me

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Erlyanti,
You asked "What would Jesus do if He is in this circumstance?"

Hmmm ... I don't know ... would He have said "It's OK lah, you can carry on lying to cover up your earlier lie, grace grace to you"?

Or ... would he have stood up and shouted "You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
" 'These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are but rules taught by men.'" (Matt 15:7-9)

Or ... "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence." (Matt 23:25)

Or ... "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. " (Matt 23:27-28)

Hmmm ... I wonder ... What would Jesus do if He is in this circumstance?

shen-jin henshin said...

He would look to the Father to see what He was doing (John 5:19). Likewise, so should we. We have the Holy Spirit to guide us, to show us what the Father is doing.

John 5 also says that the Father is always working, and so too the Son. God is working this out, far more than we know. I think we'll be surprised when the dust settles.

Cheat Grace said...

Sorry Stan, I missed the small print. Yeah I can confirm none of his books had any citation about the source of the plagiarised articles. On the cover in big letters is the name kong hee. on the inside page, it says "copyright 2009 Kong hee". On the back cover is printed Kong Hee brings the message of uncompromising faith..., sharing HIS insights from the Bible..." Sure looks like projecting the image that ALL the articles were written by him :)

KRiS CHoNg said...

For the purpose of "internal circulation" means these so-called personal notes are still read by others. Hence, there is still a need for proper citation.

This is the brainchild of other people, and by acknowledging the source, one is not only respecting intellectual property but also being humble enough to say: 'I borrowed.'

Surely KH, who supposedly did his doctoral studies, understands what citation (footnoting etc) means?! Or did he actually write a dissertation at all?!

Never meant to cheat? Then why put his own name as the author, and also declaration of 'copyright'? Perhaps it was meant to boost sales.

If one's personal insights means a word for word copy (note, it is not "similar", it is exactly the same!), then anyone could have great insights when one reads Barth, Augustine, Bonaventure and great theologians!

Why mention in the publisher? Publishers only publish one's manuscript that is handed to them. It is solely the responsibility of the proofreader and author's responsibility when it comes to the grave issue of plagiarism.

Of course subsequently series were duly footnoted - the truth is out now.

Dopamine said...

Hi Stanley, in response to what you said about Jesus calling the pharisees "Hypocrites!" Let's be clear about this. The Pharisees DID NOT believe that He was their Messiah. On top of that, they were stopping others from believing Him. Kong Hee, on the other hand, is a believer, albeit one who has made bad choices. Jesus will never use such harsh words on his own sheep. If you've been in NCC you should know what kind of spirit Prince has been preaching about Jesus. Whether Kong Hee is sincere or not, it's not up to you to judge. Whether he stands or falls, he does it before the Lord. Why second guess his motive or sincerity? The bible says "Love is patient, and love is kind, ..it does not dishonour others(v.5) " 1 Corinthian 13. I know what Jesus would do. Jesus will simply say, "your sins are forgiven you." Enough said.

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Dopamine,
Jesus said, "Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves."

Whether Kong Hee (regardless if he is a believer or not) is sincere or not, I have a brain to judge ... and so do others, as evidenced by the investigation conducted by the Straits Times confirming the points I raised which was published in a Page 3 report in their June 12 issue (I blogged about this here - http://thelogicalchristian.blogspot.com/2010/06/facing-up-to-inconvenient-truth.html)

Yes, love is patient, love is kind ... is it love to ignore danger signs that might point to a lack of integrity in a church leader?

Dopamine said...

Hi Stanley,

Isn't it enough that Kong Hee has already stepped down from his leadership in CHC? Don't you think God is already dealing with him?
He has already been taken down a peg.

All the events that led up to his stepping down have clearly pointed to signs of a breakdown of integrity. But should we rub it in further? Has it occurred to you the emotional turmoil and struggles he had to face to pen his apology? Granted, it may not be the best of his apology, but at least he tried. It's always easier to question someone's sincerity and integrity because they are abstract concepts which are subject to personal interpretations.

Yes, we all have a brain to judge BUT let's read what the apostle Paul says in 1 Cor 4 1 This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed. 2 Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. 3 I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4 My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.

Personally I am from NCC. Though I read the papers, I care very little what The Straits Times say.

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Dopamine,
I think you got the timeline of events all wrong.

I wrote this article about Kong Hee's "apology" relating to his plagiarism on MAY 31 BEFORE news broke about the CAD investigations in JUNE and consequently Kong Hee stepped down. Therefore, I DID NOT RUB IT IN FURTHER.

You call Kong Hee's statement an apology but my point is that it is not a true apology because he did not admit to plagiarism (which the Straits Times later proved beyond any doubt) and apologize for it; instead he said "there was an oversight in not quoting the sources of some portions that borrow from the writings of other Christian authors" when in the first place, he did NOT even obtain the original authors' permission to quote their articles.

I would not have said anything if Kong Hee admitted he plagiarized and apologized for it instead of whitewashing his misdeed by saying it was just an "oversight".

I am from NCC, and just because of that, some people (including some from NCC) seem to think that I have an agenda against Kong Hee and/or City Harvest but I do not. I simply do not want to sit down and not say anything when I can clearly see that a church leader who has a strong influence on thousands of fellow Christians trying to pull wool over the sheep's eyes to cover up his misdeeds.

I have this feeling that some people think that I am making a big fuss over a small matter; after all, it is "only" plagiarism, not much harm done. However, I felt and still feel that this is not a small matter as plagiarism involves integrity or a lack thereof, and this episode is just the tip of an iceberg, and more "inappropriate" behaviour is waiting to be uncovered.

Let's wait and see.

longzai said...

If anyone, even a prolific christian comes to a misdemeanor, it's only going to be by grace that his/her life is transformed. It's likened to a ship on the seas being repaired on the go if it runs into an obstacle, and all of us need it. As for the consequences, i believe its for God to know and be concerned with (though we have laws in our society for that as well don't we? :)).

As far as i'm concerned, i think i will be liable to making the same mistake if i were him, because the possibility is always there. I perceive that as the reason i need grace all the more in all my affairs, i suppose.

All there is to this is a greater measure of His Grace, which is gonna be all that matters in the far bigger picture. In any case, we are still all going to end up in the same place, so why point to what someone has done right/wrong? Continue exalting Jesus even more bro!

Stanley Wong said...

@longzai
Grace is not an excuse to sweep wrongdoing under the carpet, especially by someone who is a prominent leader with influence over thousands.

Plagiarism may be a "misdemeanor" to you but it is actually a theft of someone else's work. In this case, we are not even dealing with plagiarizing only one article but rather the systematic copying of many articles.

Pastor Kong Hee's "apology" did not admit any plagiarism but glossed it over as ""oversight in not quoting the sources of some portions that borrow from the writings of other Christian authors", which actually further aggravates the wrongdoing because it implied that he had permission from the other Christian authors to "borrow" their writings.

However, the truth came out a few weeks later when the Straits Times did some investigation and discovered that at least two American authors did not give their permission. They did not even know that their articles had been copied by him. I have already written about this here - http://thelogicalchristian.blogspot.com/2010/06/facing-up-to-inconvenient-truth.html

If Pastor Kong Hee had admitted frankly his plagiarism and apologized for the plagiarism, then I say we should have the grace to forgive him and move on.

However, he did not apologize for plagiarism but for "oversight" which it isn't because he did not have the permission of the other authors, in fact he copied without their knowledge at all.

As far as I am concerned, allowing him to gloss over his wrongdoing (plagiarism) with fancy word play (oversight) is not grace.

Josephine said...

"What would Jesus do if He is in this circumstance?"

Hmmm, indeed....

Remember the incident of the woman caught red-handed in adultery by the Pharisees and brought before Jesus? What did Jesus do? He asked them to throw the first stone, and waited for their reaction.

The Pharisees would, if they could. Jesus could, but He would not... The LAW condemns. (Oh, I hasten to add lest I plagiarise, the afore quote was from Pastor Prince's sermons.)

Let it REST, bro.

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Josephine,
I wrote my article more than a year ago ... I had already let it rest. I was just replying to the comment by longzai.

By the way, Jesus was kind to the woman who committed adultery but He also harshly rebuked the Pharisees ...

Matthew 15:7-9
7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

8 “‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9 They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules.’”


Matthew 23: 23-33

23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.

29 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ 31 So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. 32 Go ahead, then, and complete what your ancestors started!

33 “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?

Josephine said...

Bro, while you were busy casting your stone, do you know there are stones thrown at your door too, by Youtube?

It said in one of your pages: "This account has been terminated due to repeated or severe VIOLATIONS of our Community Guidelines and/or claims of COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. close"

-----------------------------

"So then, each of us will give an account of HIMSELF to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."
- Rom 14:12-13 NIV

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."
- Romans 15:5-6 NIV

Stanley Wong said...

Hi Josephine,
I have written articles in which I embedded some videos uploaded by others on youtube, so that message - "This account has been terminated due to repeated or severe VIOLATIONS of our Community Guidelines and/or claims of COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. close" - is directed to those youtube account holders, not me.

I have not uploaded any videos to youtube at all except for one showing New Creation Church's national day song which I removed after NCC asked me to remove it as it would be posting the video on its own youtube channel. I repost their message to me below:

-------
With One Heart video
Hi Stanley!

Thank you for your support of New Creation Church's song, With One Heart, specially written to celebrate Singapore's 45th birthday. We understand your good intentions in uploading it onto YouTube so as to share it with more people. However, as the song is copyrighted to NCC, we would appreciate if you could remove the video from your YouTube channel, as well as any other websites, asap.

We have uploaded the video onto NCC's official YouTube channel, and you may like to refer to this link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cw5woVfn-OY

Thank you, and be blessed! :)


Shalom,
New Creation Church
-------

By the way, could you point me to which pages of mine please, so that I can remove the invalidated embedded videos?

Ana said...

Hi Stan, I chanced upon your blog. Well, by now, there are more evidence that KH is probably guilty of helping himself to the church's funds via a complicated system of investment holdings companies and such.
Anyway, I do agree with you, and personally didn't think you were trying to rub salt in. I suppose a lot of Christians think that it's not "kosher" to speak about anything that is bad about another Christian, especially if it is a leader.

My take: we have to be alert... like a serpent! We need the wisdom to divide the right from the wrong. On hindsight, I think you have rightly judged (although that really isn't the point).

I'm not a parent (I hope to be one), but when I have children, I want them to be able to judge for themselves what is right and what is wrong, and form their own opinion, and not to be guided by the norms society imposes on them!