Archive for the ‘House of God’ Tag

City Harvest Co-Owning Suntec: On Building a Famous, Magnificent and Glorious House of God

Pastor Aries announced last Saturday and Sunday that CHC has acquired, as of now, 39.2% of stake in Suntec Convention Center.
The church then erupted in joy. Building Fund program in the last 2 years was successful.
The remaining 60.8% of stake belongs to Suntec Harmony Pte Ltd.
With this, CHC has become a co-owner of Suntec Convention Center. The church is on the right way to achieving S$310 million project.
Needless to say, the media has reported this and many people criticized CHC.
Again, this post is to address the argument from the critics.

There is nothing new under the sun, King Solomon once taught.
Indeed, there is nothing new.
When Pastor Kong first announced the move to Suntec 2 years back, already many critics raised their opinion.
In particular, they requested Pastor Kong to announce the stake of CHC in Suntec even though Non-Disclosure Agreement disallowed him.
Now, 2 years have passed and Pastor Aries mentioned the stake. Yet, they still criticized on other aspects.

The reason on CHC moving to Suntec is pretty simple.
The church congregation becomes bigger while there are not many places which can accommodate the growing number.
Hence, CHC needs a bigger place.
With increase in rental fee and cost of shifting from one place to another, the logical solution is that CHC should own the building, somehow.
Decentralized church venues may not be a good solution due to logistics.

Pastor Kong has addressed most of their argument in his blog:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/kong-hee/new-building/342920593696
As for Suntec itself, CHC news paper has reported it:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/kong-hee/chcs-new-home-suntec-convention-centre/361867588696

The most popular argument against CHC Building Fund is that the money should be used to bless the poor and not to build building.
However, CHC has done numerous humanitarian works even before the period of Building Fund.
In fact, with CHC co-owning Suntec, CHC will be able to cut down cost on rental and shifting, making its humanitarian work even more effective.

Sometime back, I was involved in a discussion with a Christian regarding Building Fund.
It is quite lengthy but hopefully you like it.

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“By quoting 1 Chr 22:5, pastor seems to be invoking an Old Testament mindset where God literally dwelt in the Temple of Jerusalem and it was necessarily to therefore beautify it and adorn it with all sorts of precious materials. In the New Testament however, we see a shift away from the Temple and into the people.

The Church is no longer a building; it is the Body of Christ, made manifest in Christians. We are the church of the Living God, and He dwells in us. Should we therefore focus on constructing a magnificent building when what we should be doing is to build people? Are we stuck in an Old Covenant mindset of “building God a great house” when in fact God’s presence is no longer restricted to a physical temple?

I would challenge any believer to quote me a New Testament verse where Jesus would justify building a glorious building for the Kingdom. If Jesus isn’t placing much emphasis on a physical structure, why should we? Let us glorify God in our good deeds, rather than magnificent monument that will fade to dust in time.”

Jefri’s response:

Indeed, New Testament (NT) does not talk often about physical church building and it emphasizes more toward the people. Also, indeed Lord Jesus is not placing much emphasis on physical structure. However, He never stops/forbids us from doing so either. “Lord Jesus does not emphasize on physical building” is not necessarily equal to “Building Fund should not be done”. After all, there is nothing wrong in building God a big church building. In fact, building a big church building for God benefits our spiritual life (more explanation below).

There are two main characters associated with building the Temple of God in the Old Testament (OT): David and Solomon. The purpose of building the Temple was not mainly to restrict/contain God’s presence, as King Solomon himself acknowledged (2 Chr 6:18, NKJV). The main purpose was to honor/glorify the name of LORD, as King David stated (1 Chr 29:16, NLT). With this purpose in hand, King David earlier had stated that the Temple had to be magnificent (1 Chr 22:5, NKJV). So, the bottom line of the story is that we can glorify God through physical building.

Why should the church be big and magnificent? Pastor Kong preached on it before (I can’t remember which weekend, unfortunately). Roughly, the sermon was like this: Should the Prime Minister stay in an old, rundown 1+1 HDB flat? Obviously, no. The Prime Minister deserves a place much better than that. A place of resident represents the dignity of the one who stays in it. Since God has the highest dignity, won’t it be more honoring the King of kings and the Lord of lords if we build Him a big and magnificent and iconic church? (Please note that my emphasis is on the dignity of resident, not on the presence of the resident).

Having said that, I don’t deny that indeed there are small churches in poor villages. Can the church members still glorify God through the building? Yes, they can. Although they may not have the finance, at least they should ensure that the church building is clean.

We can imagine one day 10 years later: a non-believer sees our iconic building. He/she will definitely be amazed on how God prospers us, how God helps us to be creative and be generous people. Clearly, this is a good testimony to the world out there.

Since NT emphasizes on people, Building Fund is a good way to build spiritual life. As we build God’s house, He will build our house (2 Sam 7:11, NLT). Although King David was only planning to build the Temple, the LORD already promised to him that He would build his house. This promise was fulfilled in Lord Jesus, the Son of David. And, it is still true for us today. We have been hearing testimony almost every week on how lives are restored, marriages strengthened, faith increased, and family salvation in the Building Fund season.

To me, Building Fund is a kind of spiritual exercise like fasting. When I fast, I feel hungry and I have no strength. I then lean on God’s strength. Similarly, as I give to Building Fund, I learn to lean on God’s provision, not on bank account or investment.

Indeed, any building can fade away in time. However, what God requires is our obedience. According to Pastor Kong himself, this church building is the vision God puts in his heart (by the way, I personally trust Pastor Kong. Whether or not the vision is really from God, it is beyond the scope of this blog since it is not possible to prove or disprove it here). Hence, we simply obey the Lord when we build Him a house. What kind of church is it? It should be centralized (decentralized has many drawbacks), big (to accommodate the number of people), and magnificent (for the glory of God). There is possibility that this magnificent building will fade away in time. However, it is beyond our control; it is then in God’s control.

Posted July 23, 2012 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Thought

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