Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Extending Grace

Looking at the comments of fellow embracers of the grace gospel on the KH plagiarism issue, I am now confused about the term "extending grace". What does it mean and how do we "extend grace" in this context?

Many of the comments give me the impression that I should keep quiet about the plagiarism issue already since KH is now "assisting" in the CAD's investigations.  A dear sister-in-grace wrote on her blog:

This, to me, is how we should react to the recent City Harvest Church situation. If we claim to believe in the gospel of grace, then it is time to walk the grace walk, not let our own emotions and our old man have a ball of a time talking about the negative stuff. Yes, the plagiarism discussion was before the recent investigations, but since CHC-ers are already facing a tough time, we should be kind, not push them to the edge with unkindness and ungracious, impatient words. I will readily admit that I do not agree with Kong Hee’s teachings of the Word of God, but I also acknowledge we are one in the body of Christ. By being quick to point out brothers’ and sisters’ mistakes or problems or issues, we might end up stumbling others instead of encouraging them out of the situation. Let us listen to the call of the LORD’s Word to be gracious for now. There are many edifying things we can say, many encouragements we can give. The CHC-ers are going through a trying time and some may even have a crisis of faith… so let us point them to Jesus first and foremost right now, and give those we know from CHC the support they need. There is a time and season to discuss different things. Now is not the time to push on the plagiarism issues when they are struggling with other issues. 

I guess the general consensus is that events have overtaken themselves, and the plagiarism issue is now relatively unimportant compared to the CAD investigations ... why fuss over a sore when you are possibly having a tumour? Does it matter that the sore continues to fester if you don't deal with it?

Does it matter if plagiarized articles continue to be published even after a so-called apology was made? No, wait, it's not a if, it did happen on 4 June but it seems that after I blogged about it, the plagiarized article was removed from the website, and no new articles have appeared since (the most recent article is dated 31 May).

Aiyah ... what's the big deal? After all, more serious charges are at hand. Has anyone considered that, maybe, just maybe, the sore is a symptom of a more serious illness? Anyway, this is going to be my last words on the plagiarism issue ... I shall extend grace, and keep quiet about the inconvenient truth.


Cheat Grace said...

Stanley, in responding to a CHCer, I realised how much now biblical Saul's life mirrored Kong Hee. Overreaching the mandate God gave him, disobedience and lack of self-control. I know I will get skewered for not showing 'grace' but you saw what happened to Saul

Daughter Of Sarah said...

Hi everyone Stanley quoted me in the above article. =)

I would like to quote back also the following from our correspondence to give everyone else a fuller perspective of my stand on plagiarism:

"The truth is important but so is the timing IMHO. Whatever we write right now can stumble others on their view of what it means to be one who walks in the gospel of grace. Right now just isn't the right time perhaps to blog on such things which is prob why Pastor Prince also gently spoke out to NCC bloggers in last week's sermon.

As one in the body of Christ, now is the time to unite and show concern. That's just my opinion.

Do I still disagree with what Kong Hee did or what he preaches? Totally! But I feel CHCers a lot of them are very defensive or very lost right now so it isn't the time. Some have built their faith based on KH and they might just lose hope in Christianity as a result. We have heard of some who even became atheists after all these KH/ Sun Ho rubbish.

Yes, I agree with u that the truth is important and we need to help ppl see that something is wrong with KH but right now, more than ever, CHCers need to see that it is all about Jesus, not KH, and our LORD's grace that should be the central focus of their walk. Men can fail because of their imperfections but Jesus will never fail them or be accused of plagiarism and mishandling finances or selling clothings that are decidedly salah etc etc. It is the WORD OF CHRIST not the words of KH that they need to hold on to.

Not arrowing u k? Just a few of us had a discussion online and each of us felt in the spirit that the plagiarism discussions and anti CHC spirit online has hurt many of our brethren in CHC and are causing many, within and withit the church, to stumble and misunderstand Jesus and the gospel of grace. I agree plagiarism is wrong bro. As a writer, I feel very sensitive about plagiarism too. But timing is key."

(end quote)

Do I think plagiarism is wrong? YES.

Do I think KH should be excused if he plagiarised? NO.

But I just think NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO PRESS ON THIS ISSUE... not because it is being eclipsed by a bigger problem so we should close one eye... but because some CHC-ers have already expressed their disappointment in

1) Christianity
2) Other Christians


1) some have built their faith on KH and their trust in him
2) Christians are all going around and playing happy slap about their church, their pastors and their "stupidity".

Cmon guys. What would Jesus do?

Stan, I have emailed you comments from some folks to help you see what I mean by PEOPLE ARE GETTING STUMBLED by ungracious posts by grace-believing folks. Hugs hugs.

shen-jin henshin said...

I agree with Daughter of Sarah above.

It is is not just about timing, imo, but what the Holy Spirit is saying and impressing upon us.

Stanley Wong said...

Hi shen-jin henshin,
My motivation (which you and some others may not think is Spirit-led)in writing the series of articles on Pastor Kong is to caution fellow Christians not to just blindly accept everything that a church leader says at face value when there is challenging evidence to his integrity.

In terms of timing, I don't know ... after I sounded out my warning in my May 19th, 24th, 26th and 31st posts, the news about the CAD investigation broke on June 1st ... is that good or bad timing?

Cheat Grace said...

Stanley, perhaps it was a sign, a harbinger...

Lindsay said...

I already foresaw this coming upon CHC. However, I know it's not a time to ask 'Whose fault is it?'

There were many obvious signs there were moving on the wrong track in the past few years. I was asking myself why nobody associated with CHC (be they ministers who ministered in their church or other Christian friends) who saw the obvious wrong that they were doing but didn't have the courage to correct them back then? Or was it a case of not heeding to wise counsel which caused them to be in this state? Only God knows.

At the end of the day, it is not just about the leaders of CHC or CHC but it's about Jesus and the Body of Christ. It is time for CHC as well as every church to have a broader perspective. Jesus came not only to die for one church but all Christians. In fact, He came to die for the world. If one part of the Church does well, all rejoice together. If one part suffers, all suffer together.

May God's grace abounds when sins abound in our society!