Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Crisis Can Rock CC But Cannot Rock God!

Crisis Rocks Calvary Church. The Church of Jesus Christ? UNSHAKABLE!

There it was, the article entitled “Crisis Rocks Calvary Church", from a page in the Metro section of The Star, clear as day for the eyes to see. What possible crisis could rock a church which for decades had claimed to be the youngest, largest, fastest-growing, most dynamic and richest church in the elite heartland of Kuala Lumpur called the Damansara Heights. Now, in just barely two years, the leadership of the church has allegedly been plagued with autocratic leadership, nepotism and monetary mismanagement. A group, called the TTG, comprising about 350 people and making up about 45% of the total voting membership, has come together and to challenge the leadership to live a lifestyle that is more exemplary of the Christian faith they have been preaching for the last 40 years or so. They strongly believe that if Truth, Transparency and Good Governance are qualities of management that are demanded of by the Government and the Corporate World then much more should be expected of a Christian church.

The article shocked the Christian world and the non-Christians in general. Searching questions are being asked.


Let’s try to find some answers to these questions.

Maybe we can answer this question with another question. If dirty linen is not washed in public where can it be wash? Should it be kept a secret from the public? Is that not living a lie? Can the leadership be trusted to deal with the matter wholly and impartially? But then it is the leadership that is in the heart of the problem! Another question. Can we then go to the General Council of the Assemblies of God of Malaysia? Yes. But their conclusion is that this problem is an internal matter of Calvary Church.

The situation reminds me of Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30 -36. It says, a man was beaten up and robbed as he travelled from Jerusalem to Jericho. A PRIEST and a LEVITE, representing the JEWISH RELIGIOUS PEOPLE of that time, passed by and DID NOTHING. BUT A SAMARITAN, a JEWISH HALF -BREED despised by the Jews, showed compassion and spent time and money to care for the man.

Now let’s ask the question again: Why wash dirty Christian linen in public? The answer is, there is no other place to wash it.

If fact, we should NOT REALLY be asking, “Why wash dirty Christian linen in public? We should really be asking, “Why is the Christian linen DIRTY in the first place?”

Study how God, Jesus and the prophets go about dealing with sin. They expose it, they pass a judgment and the sinner bears the penalty.

Eze 36:17 – "Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by the evil way they lived. To me their conduct was as unclean as a woman’s menstrual cloth. V18 They polluted the land with murder and the worship of idols, so I poured out my fury on them. V19 I scattered them to many lands to punish them for the evil way they had lived. V20 But when they were scattered among the nations, they brought shame on my holy name. For the nations said, “These are the people of the Lord, but He couldn’t keep them safe in His own lands”.

The sequence of events is as follows:
a) The people lived evil lives V17.
b) God pour out His fury upon the Israelites V18
c) God scattered the Israelite into different nations V19
d) The exile of Israelites brought shame to the name of God V20
e) The nations had contempt for the power of God V20


When God’s people do not live righteously He will punish them EVEN IF it brings SHAME to His name and MAKE the surrounding nations CONTEMPTOUS OF HIM. LIVING RIGHTEOUSLY IS MORE IMPORTANT TO GOD THAN THE SHAME HE GET FOR PUNISHING THE ISRAELITES.

a) Unrighteous living in a Christian Church was exposed.
b) There is PUBLIC SHAME for the church involved.
c) The NAME OF GOD is shamed because of unrighteousness
d) The non-Christians will be contemptuous of Christians.
e) What God wants is for the church to become righteous again.

Can you see the similarity between Eze 36:17 – 20 and the effect an unrighteous church has on the media? THE PROBLEM IS NOT THAT THE ARTICLE HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN METRO STAR. THE PROBLEM IS THAT A CHURCH HAS BECOME UNRIGHTEOUS.

When the Church leadership allow the problems (dirty linens) to persist for almost two years without seriously attempting to solve it (wash it), the media and the public is bound to pick it up.

In the first place, there should not be any dirty linen in the Church. However, if there is and sometimes there will be, wash it quickly with our small domestic washing machines. Otherwise the dirt and smell will become so unbearable that the domestic machines will not be able to do the cleaning properly and it will have to be sent outside to be washed in the professional laundrette.

All mature Christians should be alert to churches that gradually deviate in the wrong direction. Many churches start well but soon become somewhat skewed in their teaching and may even become cults. If a Christian is aware of such occurrences it is his responsibility to alert as many people as he possibly can - family members, relatives and friends. And he should use all the different means available to spread the information in order to protect Christians and non-Christians from going to those churches – email, face-book, blogs, mobile phones, magazines, newsletters and even newspapers. Christians have this public accountability.

The article that Metro Star published has somewhat achieved this objective.

Hos 4:6 - "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."

In the case of Calvary Church, the leaders have lived in the dirty linen for so long that they have become immune to the dirt and smell. It is difficult to tell if the leadership are "lack of knowledge" of the problems in the church or they have become so accustomed to the dirty linens. Whatever the reason may be, it is now imperative that outside help be sought for. That's the only way left.

The Church can only be the transforming salt and light as Jesus wants it to be when all our linen are properly washed and clean.

Matthew 7:1 - "Judge not, that ye be not judged", is perhaps the most quoted and yet the most misunderstood verse in the bible. It is also the most favorite verse used by Christians trying to evade accusation and accountability for wrongs. They often retort,” “Who are you to judge me?” or “But Jesus said we are not to judge anyone”. So what does “Do not judge so that you will not be judged” in Mat 7:1 really mean? Who does it apply to?

a. It does not apply to professional judges during the time of Jesus, for example, judges of the Roman secular court, the judges of paganistic court and judges in the Jewish judiciary system. If it applied to any of these groups of people they will be out of a job and on the dole.

b. Neither can the phrase “so that you will not be judged” be alluding to a person trying to seek absolution from being judged. If that is possible we would not have needed Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.

c. Jesus, in Matt 7:1, was really referring to people who were incline to be exceptionally harsh in their judgement of people, like the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and they lay heavy penalties upon people. At the same time they were hypocritical in that they gave themselves light judgements and imposed upon themselves light penalties.

d. Does Jesus mean that we are not to judge anyone at all? This cannot be so, because, in many places in the bible, we are clearly instructed to make judgements over someone. In John 7:24 we are admonished to “Stop judging by outward appearance! Instead, judge correctly”. Heb 5:14 also says that we are to “have our senses exercised (trained, practised) to discern (judge) both good and evil.” Furthermore, the Bible is filled with admonitions that require us to make some form of judgement calls some of which were done with great boldness.

(i) Titus 3:10 - “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him.”
(ii) 1Tim 1:3, 4 - “…so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer….”
(iii) 1 Cor 5:13 - "Expel the wicked man from among you."
(iv) Neh 13:25 - “I reprimanded the men, called down curses on them, beat them, and pulled out their hair.”
(v) 2 Tim 4:2 - “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.”

e. How do we judge correctly? John 12:48 gives us the answer…… “The words that I have spoken will judge them on the last day.” Hence, it is scripture that is our ultimate standard of right and wrong and of spiritual discernment. The correct level of harshness with which we are to judge is not to be determined by our carnal emotions but by the wording and expression of scripture. Matthew 7:2-5 , "For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Jesus is cautioning us not to be hard on others. If you are hard on them then He will be equally hard on us when he judges us.

God desires that we treat other sinners the same way he treated us when He gave us His Son freely, sacrificially, mercifully and lovingly in order that we be saved from eternal damnation. His ultimate aim is for us to restore the sinning Christian back into fellowship.

f. Christians guilty of the same sin are not qualified to judge a person with the same sin. Rom 2:1 - “Do you, my friend, pass judgment on others? You have no excuse at all, whoever you are. For when you judge others and then do the same things which they do, you condemn yourself.” Matt 7:3 - “And why do you look on the splinter that is in your brother's eye, but do not consider the beam that is in your own eye? V4 Or how will you say to your brother, Let me pull the splinter out of your eye; and, behold, a beam is in your own eye? V5 Hypocrite! First cast the beam out of your own eye, and then you shall see clearly to cast the splinter out of your brother's eye."

BUT NOTE: Jesus didn’t say, however, that you are permanently disqualified from dealing with the splinter in your brother’s eye. You must first humbly repent and get cleansed from your own sins first i. e. you must first remove the beam in your own eye. 1 John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Now, with the beam gone, then you can help the brother remove the splinter from his eye.

Summary concerning judging:

1 Professional Judges are not forfeited from judging.
2. No one can escape being judge
3. We are asked as Christians to judge fellow Christians
4. We must not be harsh in our judgement
5. We use scripture to judge correctly
6. We must cleanse ourselves for our own sins firsts

So can the crisis that rocked Calvary Church published in The Star, rock Christianity and the Christians in Malaysia? NO IT CANNOT.

This is a Review on the topic written by Dr Paul Nah

Is it Right to Judge Others? M Randall; Judging others Dictionary of American Slang
and Colloquial Expressions, by Richard A. Spears, 4th Edition; Hard Sayings of the
Bible by Kaiser, Davids, & Brauch; Who Are You to Judge? By: Chip Bell; Judging ; Provocative Bible Verses: Judge Not Lest You Be Judged, April 6, 2009 Dan Lacich


Thankful for God's Faithfulness said...

I thank God that through this crisis in CC I have grown in my spiritual walk as due to prevailing circumstances I have to search the Scriptures more intently for guidance and wisdom how to handle real trials and situations that we are facing in our church namely, conflicts, friendships in jeopardy, Christian service put on hold, unfounded accusations and falsehood.

Now we really need to dig into the Word to receive wisdom and guidance how to walk the talk.

Thank God for faithful and obedient Christian brethern who share their experiences and knowledge with us here.

Thank God for faithful and obedient pastors in other Christian circles whom we can seek out guidance and through their preaching and lives, we have been encouraged. Sad to say I have not received the spiritual feeding I need from CC for the last year or so.

Thank God for His faithfulness to us as He holds us in the palm of His Hands...No one can shake our faith unless we choose to stray from Him.

There needs to be a cleansing in CC as with all the unrighteousness and falsehood permeating in CC leadership, God's Spirit and glory has left CC.

We as believers who have long been in CC, no longer sense God's presence and glory in CC. Sad to say the CC leadership is not even aware that God's presence is no longer there....

Carnal Pastors said...

I was a former Calvarite and I left for an independent church. This independent church actually did help me and my family to grow tremendously in my spiritual ministries and as an individual. Unfortunately, this church was later dissolved due to abuse of power, deception and mismanagement of finances ( to name a few) by its senior pastor. When I decided to relocate to an independent church, I was told by friends that it's better to belong to a church that has a national or international covering such as that of Assemblies of God as there's accountability and oversight.
So, based on this belief, I subsequently left this dissolved independent church and attended an AOG church headed by the present gen-superintendent of AOG Malaysia. Frankly, after a few years in this AOG church, I have observed the surfacing of similar traits and symptoms as that of the leadership in Calvary Church and the past independent church. So, it comes as no surprise to me as to the passive and apathetic stance taken by the Assemblies of God regarding the Calvary Church debacle. Who is the gen-superintendent of AOG Malaysia? So, what's the difference between finding oneself in an independent church and one that's under a certain covering?
I came out of all these experiences with carnal pastors a little wiser, and I learned one essential truth:
a) Don’t believe your pastors – as gifted and well-meaning as they are – 100%
b) Ensure your walk with the Lord is always closer than with anyone.

Trust GOD

Anonymous said...

Regular Worshippers..
If this is TRUE of what PG had said & quoted by members, "In Calvary Church, you are supposed to give money but not supposed to ask how and where it is used." I shall ask no more!
Since it was about ABUSE of Fund allocations and its related usage ?
I resolve to withold my Tithes, Offerings, Donations,Love Offering of all types, Faith Promise, Sponsor a brick,etc to CC.
The amount so witheld will be saved in TRUST and re-inburse back to CC after PG and SAPs illegality status issues are resolved in WISDOM & peacefully. In the mean time monies so saved will be channel to the other needy churches throughout Malaysia at members disposal. I should have done that since 2003 when I discerned SPIRITUALLY the negative FUNDING implications. James 4:17

Not For Carnal Pastors said...

Further to my past experiences in 2 scandalous well-known churches in Malaysia, whenever I tithed or contribute finances, I would state the purpose of the giving behind the cheque or, if a church envelope is used, mark it down in the respective boxes. Mostly if not all my giving are directed to a ministry I am called to serve. AMAZINGLY, a senior pastor/present gen-superintendent of Assemblies of God Malaysia of the church I attended, actually commented over the pulpit of my method, he said to this effect: '...when you give to the church, it's up to us to use the gift, not your concern to tell us where your money should go to'!!

Does the his statement echoes that of Prince Guneratnam of Calvary Church? Shouldn't it be up to the giver to give according to the giver's heart's purpose as to which ministry of GOD or person/s the giver wishes to channel to? And that the giver's gift reflects the giver's involvement and calling to a ministry? Why is it an offence for the giver to state the purpose of the gift?

Not For Carnal Pastors

Anonymous said...

regular worshiper for 25 years..

Very SHOCKING indeed to read this testimony from a member of that church!

"AMAZINGLY, a senior pastor/present gen-superintendent of Assemblies of God Malaysia of the church I attended, actually commented over the pulpit of my method, he said to this effect: '...when you give to the church, it's up to us to use the gift, not your concern to tell us where your money should go to'!!"

This will ring in my heart for many years to come!