Yawning Bread. 16 September 2009

Church welcome hides rejection

by Rev Dr Yap Kim Hao





The founder and senior pastor of City Harvest Church, Kong Hee, has posted in his blog his response to PM Lee’s National Day Rally Speech 2009 on Racial and Religious Harmony.

The following is what the prime minister said on the issue of Homosexuality:

PM: [Concerning the recent AWARE controversy:] On homosexuality policy or sexuality education in schools, there can be strong differences in view; but government’s position on these issues is clear.

Kong Hee wrote:

KONG HEE: My position on this hot button issue is this: gay or straight, heterosexual, bisexual or homosexual, we want to introduce everyone to the love of Jesus Christ. But how are they going to encounter that if gays and lesbians perceive the Church as hostile toward their community? As the shepherd over my flock, I don’t want my members exposed to any unwelcome, predatory sexual advances made by anyone —- be that person straight or gay. But if he or she doesn’t pose a direct, negative influence over the congregation, we should indeed adopt a “live and let live” attitude. We are all sinners saved by grace. I want City Harvest Church to focus on the issue of salvation, not sexual orientation. Once someone is saved, I trust the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to lead them into all truth and sanctification.

Kong Hee has cleverly crafted his response that can mislead readers that he is sympathetic to LGBTQ people unless one is aware of his background and the purpose of his writing in the manner that he did.

He has dissociated from Derek Hong of the Church of the Savior who openly and vigorously opposes LGBTQ persons and in his “Choices” programme attempts reparative therapy. However, Derek Hong too claims that he welcomes them to his Church and that his congregation should be hostile to them. LGBTQ will be enlisted to “Choices” and undergo a therapy which is regarded widely as being damaging. Success stories are few and far in between.

Kong Hee has lumped the homosexuality issue to that of sexuality issue in general to avoid giving attention specifically to homosexuality. His response hides the fact that the teaching of his church is against homosexuality which is regarded as a sin or fallen nature. His welcome is for the LGBTQ people to come to his Church, stay in the larger closet and offer themselves to be saved. That is his conditional welcome for the purpose of changing their sexual orientation or forcing them to refrain from same-sex acts.

I know that when a member of the musical team in his church was known to be gay, he was summarily removed from serving in the team. I presume that gays and lesbians cannot assume leadership positions when they come out as gay. They are to hide their sexual orientation from the rest of the congregation.

Despite his statement that he does not want his members exposed to any unwelcome, predatory sexual advances made by anyone—be that person straight or gay, he is directing the message more to gays who are often stereotyped as predatory. LGBTQ are providing a greater negative influence. The so-called “live and let alive” attitude is leaning more towards the straight then the gay.

Quite intentionally but subtly there is the affirmation of the straights even though he is not saved but condemnation for the gays who practice homosexuality.

Salvation is for all and we are all saved by grace. Kong Hee focuses in a general way on salvation and dismisses sexual orientation. The assumption is that once a person is saved according to his terms of reference the work of truth and sanctification will take over. He posits the simple equation that once a gay person is saved, the sexual orientation will turn from homosexuality to heterosexuality. If not, LGBTQ will be given grace to suppress same-sex feelings and become celibate. Salvation leads to eradication of the practice of same-sex acts. Unless you are saved you will remain a homosexual. There is no way literally for a homosexual to be saved until he becomes heterosexual. Heaven therefore has no room for the gays and even for those who dare to support them but only for people like him and those who align themselves with his teaching.  


Foreword by Yawning Bread

Yap Kim Hao is the retired Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore.