Finally, the first trial began this morning.
I followed news on Straits Times and City News (my very own church website news portal).
I should say it was interesting to hear what prosecutor said.
Since it was the prosecutor’s turn first, the CHC side can’t do anything much.
Nevertheless, City News managed to get some comment from the defense.
Setting aside the details of money transfer, the prosecutor (Mavis Chionh) used the following argument:
- The Building Fund money was used to finance Sun’s career instead of buying land, furniture, etc.
- Since it was different from the original purpose as stated on the Building Fund pledge, the use was then unauthorized.
- Theological legitimacy is irrelevant.
(Theological legitimacy here may refer to evangelism purpose of Cross Over project, I think)
However, as the defense told City News:
- Theological legitimacy is relevant.
- The use of Building Fund to finance Cross Over is not unauthorized.
- The accused had no wrongful gain; there was no unlawful loss; the Church made good and there has been no dishonesty.
Indeed, now the true battle is no longer the battle of evidence. There is no doubt money transfer took place.
However, the true battle is the battle of definition: what is the definition of ‘authorized’ transfer here?
Was it lawful or was it not lawful to transfer money after they have come with the definition?
The pledge card of Building Fund does say the money will be used for the purchase of land, construction costs, rentals and furniture.
However, the pledge card does NOT say ‘only’.
To me personally, as long as the word ‘only’, it is perfectly fine to use Building Fund for purposes other than those written in the card.
In case, anyone disagrees with my argument of ‘only’, I will give one Biblical example.
According to Matthew 8, Lord Jesus healed 2 demoniac in Gadarene. According to Luke 8, He healed one man.
Was there a contradiction between the two accounts? Not necessarily.
Luke did not use mention ‘only’ one demoniac.
So, who should then authorize the use of Building Fund money?
I personally believe the donators are the ones who can authorize.
A possibly extreme example to illustrate this.
Out of 24 million Building Fund money, 90% of the sum came from currently active church members.
Out of the whole currently active church members, 90% do NOT mind at all if their money was used for Cross Over project.
Interesting ‘authorization’, isn’t it?
Then those who really object may then request to get reimbursement. The church may then reimburse them.
(Btw, CHC status as charity organization with its taxation is another issue. The key is really with the word ‘authorization’.)
Well, I maybe wrong in this analysis.
But at least, I shall keep Pastor Kong and the leaders in prayer.
The LORD will vindicate them.