Sicarii has commented on an article about religion in Singapore. I didn’t read the article but that’s not going to stop me from taking issue with what he wrote about the article.
He wrote this:
Make them relevant and practical for 21st-century living. Why does that sound oddly familiar to me? That’s “modern church-speak” for little or no Gospel, no preaching of sin, no true repentance, only health, wealth and prosperity in addition to motivational speeches on how to be the “head and not the tail” to “influence the marketplace”.
Total nonsense. At least from my own personal experience as a relatively devoted member of City Harvest Church for two years of my life.
I concede that City Harvest Church talks about health, wealth and prosperity a lot. Arguably too much.
However, to say there is little or no coverage of Gospel, sin and true repentance is total hogwash.
An individual’s Christian life is not just made up of the church service although for most people that’s the main one, if not the only one. However, Christian life is also built on Bible study classes (which CHC conducts), daily individual Bible studies (i.e. quiet time), fasting, praying, cell groups, fellowship with other members and counseling sessions with the cell group leader.
I’m not sure if Sicarii has been a member of CHC long enough to comment on it. Also, like I’ve always said, for a big church, it is not possible for the experience of its members to be uniform. Just like how if you attend many of these traditional churches, you will notice they are also all different from each other.
For me at least, bible study classes, daily individual Bible studies, fasting, praying and the counseling sessions with my cell group leader had a great deal of coverage of Gospel, sin and true repentance.
And in terms of time, those above activities took up more than any church service.
Don’t always be so quick to shoot something down just because it tastes/looks/seems different.
For example, I’ve already a certain perspective on the world. It could probably be right. It is most probably wrong. But I recognize that it is this perspective that makes me see Li Jiawei as a FT and not a citizen. If we could quantify and measure (good) citizenship and Singaporean-ness, Jiawei could probably smack me hands down. Who knows?
I hope people recognize that all these CHC bashers do it from a certain perspective. They already have an idea how Christianity should work. Sure, they like to back it up with the BIBLE and TRADITION and all that jazz, but don’t be fooled. Recognize they do it already carrying a certain perspective about the world based on their own experiences. All these BIBLICAL PRINCIPLES they throw out are just there to substantiate a case they already made in their mind.
Sure, they may be right about some stuff. Even right about everything. But as a reader, be mindful from where they are coming from.
Back to the Gospel, sin and repentance. I’ve always believed that a man should have at least one vice. I’m an overachiever on that regards – I have many vices. During my time in CHC, I’ll say that’s the only time I became master over those vices, or at least, I wasn’t a slave to them for a sustained period.
And I know I didn’t do it cos of my own inner strength. Of course some inner strength had to be there, but it was augmented by the teachings and counseling I was getting from the church leaders, more specifically my cell group leader and her husband. She was doing it all with firm grounding based on biblical principles and by living a life that walked with Christ as an example.
So, I call bullshit on people who judge without actually tasting the pudding.
Talking about false converts, just because the traditional churches don’t evangelize with the ‘flash and bang’ way like CHC and even though they stick to the ‘traditional’ ‘better’ ‘more-old-school-way-of-preaching-grounded-in-biblical-principles’, it doesn’t mean CHC has a monopoly on creating false converts.
I’ll even say they aren’t the ones creating the most false converts. Hell, they aren’t even the ones creating the most damaging false converts.
And believe me, I would know.
Update: Oh…and about social benefits, stay tune for another post about that.
Update 2: I realized that I should mention I last went to any sort of church service about 3 years ago so things in CHC could have changed although I highly doubt it. Anyway, these criticisms against CHC aren’t new – they have been around since I was a member.