so much has been said, most very negative, so mumbler feels she should post something here to clear up the air. it's not going to be a lengthy discussion because she doesn't have the stamina that other people have, but she hopes it'll clarify some points.doctrine
preaching about grace does not mean preaching misbehaviour. preaching about grace means getting people to fall in love with Jesus again, and to continually be in love with Him, that we would then follow in His footsteps. preaching the law, on the other hand, means requiring a daily sacrifice to atone for your sins, and means you have to bear with all the curses with not
keeping the law - and who can say that he can keep the law perfectly? read the list of curses
: it starts from you, to your wife, to your children, and right down to your farm animals. strangely enough, many will continue to preach the law, and many will put their faith in the law (and declare that they'd rather have the "thou shalt nots") despite the fact that Jesus came to give us a new covenant and a better sacrifice!
so essentially, this whole grace versus law issue is the same with having a kid who will emulate the father he loves and looks up to versus another who will follow his father's instructions only because he fears his father's beatings. some might say this is too simplistic an argument, but paul, in his letters to the romans, knew that those who identified their righteousness in the law would insist that the law is the only way in obedience, and hence said,"What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not!" [rom 6:1-2] so even in the early church grace was a thorny issue, and we shouldn't be surprised that it persists to this day.church building
new crea currently has a congregation of 18 000 and is growing every year. to give you a sense of how much space we need, here is a breakdown of our logistics every week
- 1st service: rock, suntec levels 4 and 6, eng wah cinemas, convention centre gallery west and east
- 2nd and 3rd serivce: rock, suntec levels 4 and 6, convention centre gallery west and east
- 4th serivce: rock, suntec levels 4 and 6
this does not include our mandarin and hokkien congregations and children's church, which take up the convention centre ballroom and entire floors of meeting rooms.
as you can probably tell, we're in need of space. i mean, even a place as huge as the indoor stadium (max seating: 11 300) cannot accomodate us, so i think it's a little unfair to criticise the investment in the new building without first offering us a practical solution, no? on a more serious note, the church council and committees spent years sourcing for land and hit snag after snag until this project came about, so it was not a decision made on the spur of the moment.
and just to make it clear, there is never any coercion involved. tithing (and giving in general) has always been encouraged (it came before the law anyway!) and new crea gives out millions every year to local associations, relief efforts and overseas missions. it's been a practice ever since the church was founded - it's just that the amount got bigger. and what's interesting is that on the day we raised the funds (yeah that famous $19mil sunday) there were 4 000 more
people in attendance. it's a poorly kept secret that people from other churches (and other countries) also believe in this project with us, so we are truly blessed.pastor's pay
$500 000 sounds like a lot doesn't it? but i noted something interesting while reading the article in the straits times. trinity christian centre had a turnover of $17mil last year and paid its two directors about $100 000 each. now new crea reported $55mil in income last year and we pay one person $500 grand. it's easy to be distracted by huge, absolute figures, but isn't tcc paying out a greater proportion of their annual income to their leaders? while reading various online forums i also noticed it is often pointed out that pastor kong hee from city harvest draws no pay - but his wife is a hollywood superstar if you remember! (that by itself is a topic
for another day, but let me assure my readers out there that my
pastor's wife only serves in the ministry and cares for a young daughter and has no "extra curricular activities")
another point i'd like to make is that the straits times conveniently left out the crucial point that new crea is not
a public charity, which means that unlike ren ci where they can perform stunts on tv to get donations, we have to rely on something else (and like what pastor says, just focus on getting people to know Jesus). that something else is the weekly offerings which i have mentioned above, and not "donations" as often stated.
i am not agreeing nor defending the pay because firstly views on money are always subjective and secondly, it is difficult for those who have not heard any of pastor's sermons to even understand why so many turn up every week, so attempting to justify it is going to be like trying to explain to a wine noob why anyone would pay thousands of dollars for the best bottle of pinot. but still, let me point out that pastor has given the equivalent of an entire year's salary to the building project since its start in 2007, which means his effective take home pay over the past two years was probably about $250 000
i'd just like to say that if someone makes a negative comment about new crea, please find out how much he knows about the church. many people are pretty...mindless in such things, simply parroting whatever has been said to them before. because besides the hardcore traditionalists who know everything there is to know about christian theology, most of the comments are made by people who have never
stepped into our services or heard tapes of pastor's sermons, so do know where your source is coming from before believing him hook, line and sinker.
incredibly too, there are falsehoods about new crea spread by the elders
of some churches, and i know from my conversations with friends and reading personal anecdotes that there is a particular denomination that is extremely averse to new crea. i have been in this church for over 3 years and have never once heard pastor prince criticise any church or pastor. in fact, he has always pointed out that it is not a pastor's job to launch attacks on others while at the pulpit. sadly, it seems that other pastors spend their sundays being distracted and end up behaving like the pharisees of yore - which makes me ask again, so are you sure you want to stick by your "thou shalt nots"?
before i end off, i must also add that the media has a way of blowing things out of proportion, just for the ratings and readership. they choose stories and facts that they know will catch people's attention. you only have to look at how they publicised the deaths of the two young doctors and how the tabloids covered jade goody's last days to understand how they can take nothing and turn it into anything, so please read the reports with a pinch of salt. you can read the read our full press release here
i hope my post helped to give a different perspective to what has been strewn all over the papers and the internet, and hopefully, this will be the only post i'll need to make!
thank you for reading. ;)