Friday, June 25, 2010

I Am, Therefore I Do

I read blogpastor's latest post, provocatively titled "Marrying Joseph Prince With Kong Hee" in which Pastor Kenny aka blogpastor suggested that marrying the strengths of Pastor Prince who "is great at preaching the indicatives" with Pastor Kong Hee who "on the other hand is great at preaching the imperatives" in regular pastoral preaching and teaching "will grow Christians who are steadfast and  joyful  in witness and service".

While this may sound like a good idea in theory, I believe this approach will give rise to confusion in reality.  This is because if you listen carefully to what they preach, you will realize that Pastor Prince's and Pastor Kong Hee's preaching are absolute opposites.  In essence, Pastor Prince preaches "I am, therefore I do" while Pastor Kong Hee preaches "I do, therefore I am".

We, human beings, are by nature "human doings" i.e. we tend to validate our own existence by what we do, and Pastor Kong Hee's preaching and teaching reinforces that natural mentality.  I have heard Pastor Kong Hee preach in one sermon about how the value of a person increases by the things he did, and he cited the example of how one of his staff increased her value by pursuing higher education, upgrading from polytechnic to university level and left the church to work for a large MNC. He also mentioned about how his value as a speaker has increased from S$50 an hour when he first started (if I remember correctly, he said it was a motivational talk at a local modeling agency) to at least US$5,000 for speaking at overseas conferences now.

In essence, Pastor Kong Hee preaches to the natural man in us, that the value of a Christian is in what he does i.e. "I do, therefore I am".  Hence, it is no surprise that Pastor Kong defines CHC's DNA as "loving God wholeheartedly, and loving people fervently", and therefore Pastor Kong Hee preaches "The only way to become a successful Christian in the marketplace is to build your life on spiritual disciplines. Reading the Bible, prayer, fasting, praise and worship and thanksgiving, solitude, confession, repentance, forgiveness and going to church—these are the spiritual undergirding support of one’s upward mobility", and "If we’re not careful in maintaining our spiritual disciplines, we will start to compromise on our faith. Instead of us influencing the world, we in turn become vulnerable and get influenced by the world".

In contrast, Pastor Prince stresses that we are a new creation in Christ, and our value lies in our identity in Christ, for we are perfect in the eyes of God because we are in Christ.  Hence, Pastor Prince has mentioned many times that he is not preaching to the first Adam in us but last Adam i.e. Christ, and therefore, week after week, we hear Pastor Prince expounding from the scriptures, both the Old and New Testament, things concerning Christ, and we hear Pastor Prince always preaching about the finished work of  Christ on the Cross and our value lies not in what we do but what Christ has done.

As a result of absorbing deep into my Spirit the knowledge of who I am in Christ, the desire to love God wholeheartedly and love people fervently grows in my heart. Yet, I am always conscious that my value lies not in how much I love God but in how much God loves me. When I help people, I do not feel proud about it because I know that my value lies not in how much I love people but in how much God loves me.

Pastor Kong Hee talks about maintaining spiritual disciplines in order not to compromise on our faith but this teaching will inevitably end up in failure because it depends on our own limited strength.  Moreover, whatever "spiritual disciplines" we maintain have no value in the eyes of God, they are like "filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6). We will not compromise on our faith when we focus on Christ, on Christ being our righteousness, on Christ being our wisdom, on Christ being our peace, on Christ and Christ alone.

That is what Pastor Prince does - focusing our attention on Christ, not on what we must do - but when he does that, I realize who I Am, and Therefore I Do.

NCC's Daily Devotional for today

1 comment:

Cheat Grace said...

I am not sure if KH really understands what the spiritual disciplines are all about. If he does, then why do they not come out in his devotionals? except for fasting of course...