Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Kong Hee, Tung Ling Bible School, and Canon James Wong

In the following Christian Post report, Kong Hee (born 1964), City Harvest Church's (CHC) founder, reveals his debt to Anglican Canon James Wong and to Tung Ling Bible School (岭圣经学院), a Charismatic Bible school in Singapore, where he studied (probably taking evening classes or correspondence courses) in 1983-86.

Kong Hee was at Raffles Junior College in 1981-82, and National University of Singapore (NUS) in July 1985-April 88. Presumably he was in National Service in the interval 1983-84/85. If so, he must have taken only evening classes or correspondence courses (though no evidence exists that Tung Ling currently offers such) from Tung Ling in the years 1983-86.

Tung Ling currently offers nothing more extensive than 3-month and 5-month courses. Kong Hee could have taken such a course full-time in 1985 (but not 1983-86, as reported) after his National Service, and before enrolling at NUS.

Curiously, Kong Hee has omitted his Tung Ling connection in his résumé and biography. This Christian Post report is the only place where the connection is mentioned.

From 1975 to 1988, Kong Hee was a member of Marine Parade Christian Centre, an Anglican church located in eastern Singapore. During his university years, he worked part-time for the Chapel of the Resurrection under the oversight of Anglican vicar, Reverend Dr. Canon James Wong. During that tenure, he helped Canon Wong set up a new congregation, Orchard Christian Centre. 

Canon James Wong is the founder and President of Festival of Praise, an annual Christian concert. He announced the cancellation of the 2012 Festival of Praise due to Kong Hee and other CHC leaders being charged with criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of church funds, and falsification of accounts. (source)

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Founder of Largest Congregation Recounts How Everything Started

Christian Post, Jan 16, 2009 (source)

Kong Hee is fabulously wealthy, to the glory of God
Canon James Wong

City Harvest Church was not made in one day. Its founder shared the story of how he became himself through the teaching and instruction he received at a seminary he attended some 25 years ago.

Dr Kong Hee's (ed. Kong Hee's doctorate is most probably form a diploma mill, see here) testimonial was part of Tung Ling Bible College's (ed. correct name is Tung Ling Bible School) 30th Anniversary celebrations last year in which the Bible school recounted the faithfulness and goodness of God over the years since its establishment back in 1978.

In the school's newly launched website, Kong, who studied in Tung Ling Bible College from
1983 to 1986 and contributed a message in his capacity as an alumni member, wrote that it was the first Spirit-filled (ed Charismatic) Bible school he attended and "much of my theological foundation was laid then through the ministries of teachers such as Dr Paul Tan, Rev Percy Campbell and Rev Dr Canon James Wong."

"The in-depth study of God's Word impacted me and brought about a deep love for truth," he wrote. "I enjoyed thoroughly and benefited greatly from the hours of teachings, discussions and friendly debates with the lecturers. Paul Tan inspired me to live by Scriptural revelation, Percy Campbell excited me about full-time ministry, and Canon Wong gave me my first opportunity to serve in pastoral and church-planting work.

"The teachings of Tung Ling in those days were so life-transforming and I started to teach whatever I had learned to small Bible study groups among the youths. Those groups eventually grew into the 24,000-member City Harvest Church, with its 41 branch churches and Bible schools in the region today," he stated. "Many of those Christian values are also conveyed weekly through our Christian TV show, Harvest Time, to more than 640 million viewers across Asia."

Besides impacting him as a church-planter and pastor, the seminary's Charismatic doctrines, inspirational lecturers, and exciting practical training also drove Kong to establish the City Harvest School of Theology (CHSOT; see below for an assessment of its quality) in 1994 as a result of wanting to duplicate my ministry formative days in Tung Ling. SOT has graduated more than 2,500 students from 29 different nations since its inception.

"Tung Ling was a major model that we ought to emulate when we first structured our curriculum," he noted.

"The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord. As I reminisce on this 30th anniversary of Tung Ling Bible College, I am ever grateful for this great institution. In the realm of the Spirit, it nourished me in the finest of wheat while [it] made me hungrier for more at the same time. In the realm of ministry, it fired up my imagination to go after God's vision and dream for my life," he said.

According to pioneer Rev Canon Dr James Wong, Tung Ling Bible College is the first inter-denominational Charismatic seminary in Southeast Asia. Board Chairman Elder Goh Ewe Kheng noted that the school has trained more than 4,000 students from more than 40 nations over the past 30 years through its various courses.

On City Harvest School of Theology and other Charismatic Bible schools
source: Sparrows and Sandcastles (here)

It is detrimental to the church when the preachers and teachers are poorly informed about church history, philosophy, church traditions other than their own, and most importantly, how to handle the christian bible accurately and properly.
Although there are some institutions which are popular haunts of independent charismatics, like the Tung Ling Bible School, Rhema Bible Training Centre Singapore and even City Harvest Bible Training Centre (the former name of City Harvest School of Theology); such institutions are very poor academic choices for biblical scholarship.
They are but bastions of anti-intellectualism and parochial indoctrination. Many graduate from these places with no knowledge of the original languages, no knowledge of biblical criticism, no knowledge of inter-faith engagement, etc. Alas they even pride themselves as being more “on fire” for God, as though zeal can make up for any lack of intellectual rigour.

Examining City Harvest School of Theology 

City Harvest School of Theology (CHSOT) is a glorified Sunday school of CHC with a faculty of six (in 2012, excuding Derek Dunn), offering a six-month Advanced Certificate program each year, and no degree program. At least five of the six faculty members are part timers, as they are either pastors of CHC, or conduct other ministries in the church. (CHSOT faculty members: source1source2)
The academic standard of City Harvest School of Theology (CHSOT) can be gauged by the following facts:

  • Kong Hee's theological qualifications are from New Covenant International Theological Seminary (NCIU), a diploma mill. (For details, see here)
  • Choong Tsih-Ming, a former CHC Management Board member who stepped down, together with its former chairman Kong Hee, in April 2011 (source), is also a lecturer in the City Harvest School of Theology. His credential includes a BA in Theology from New Covenant International Theological Seminary (New Zealand) (source). (NCIU claims to have started in Auckland, New Zealand in 1978, and moved to the US in 1990.)
  • The only full time colleges (New Life Bible College and Spirit Life Bible College) that Derek Dunn, the former executive pastor of CHC and a former CHSOT Lecturer, graduated (at age 20 and 22) from are Bible colleges that are personal empires, founded by and centering on a Charismatic/Pentecostal preacher. These colleges were little more than glorified church Sunday schools or extended Bible retreats. Spirit Life Bible College (SLBC) was founded by a 26-year-old Charismatic/Pentecostal faith healer/preacher Roberts Liardon, and closed as a consequence of the discovery of his homosexual relationship. (For details on Derek Dunn and SLBC, see this.)
  • Lecturers Tan Ye Peng (Deputy Senior Pastor, CHC; charged in court) and Aries Zulkarnain (Executive Pastor, CHC) hold Diploma of Theology as their highest theological qualification. It is unclear who awarded their diplomas, but City Harvest Bible Training Centre (predecessor of CHSOT) is the most likely outfit.  If so, their diplomas are worthless in establishing the quality of CHSOT.
  • Mike Connell, a practitioner of the Benny Hinn (unscrupulous scoundrel and swindler) style of anointing ("I wave, shout, or push, and you fall back"), and senior pastor of Bay City Outreach Centre, New Zealand, provides no theological credential online.
  • The only lecturer with decent theological training is Bobby Chaw Ngin, mission director of CHC, who only very recently (May 2011) earned a Master of Divinity (first theological degree, identical to Bachelor of Divinity, in TTC) from the well regarded Trinity Theological College (TTC) in Singapore (source1source2). 
  • Chaw holds a Diploma in Theological Studies from Oral Roberts University (founded by another master charlatan, Oral Roberts) via the former City Harvest Bible Training Center (source). I would dismiss any Oral Roberts University diploma as a death certificate of the holder's critical faculty.
  • Chaw's theological education is at best equivalent to that of a typical mainline Protestant (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran) pastor/minister.


To get a sense of the credentials of the academic faculty in well respected Christian theological colleges in Singapore, see Trinity Theological College (where commendably some CHC leaders and members have studied and earned genuine degrees [here]) and Singapore Bible College.


Dear Festival of Praise fans:

It is with the heaviest of hearts that the Committee announces that Festival of Praise (FOP) 2012 has been canceled. 

Rev. Kong Hee of City Harvest Church is the Executive Director of the Festival of Praise, as he has been for the last few years. As the Singapore Indoor Stadium is not available for rental this year, the City Harvest Church has generously offered their auditorium at Suntec Singapore for FOP2012, as well as the support of the staff and members in hospitality, ushering and security matters relating to the Festival.

However, as you might know, Rev. Kong and City Harvest Church are currently undergoing a challenging period.

In view of this situation, the Committee has decided not to go ahead with this year's Festival. We ask you to keep Rev. Kong Hee and City Harvest Church in prayer—they have faithfully served and supported the Festival of Praise for many years, so let us unite and support our brothers and sisters in Christ in this time of need.

Founder & President, Festival of Praise Fellowship


Of Interest:

The Life Ministry of Canon James Wong, Harvest Times (CHC) (part 1, part 2)


Anonymous said...

Curious ... your comments is thru technical research or have you actually attended the lessons? To me an inspirational message or impartation usually has no correlation to "titles" or "degrees" .

Helluo Librorum said...

I have no experience of Tung Ling courses. Are you suggesting that no diploma is awarded at such courses' completion?

Anonymous said...

Truth be told - false theologies are being propagated by these conmen.

Kong's mentor is none other than Canon James and his god-father, an ex-methodist Isaac Lim and wife Shirley are equally false.

Government are silly to allow CHC to open their megachurch to reap money from rich Indonesians devoid of proper theology. They end up sheep for wolves.

Anonymous said...

Strange the Singapore Government does not investigate CJW overseas properties?

Did his cronies also have assets stolen from other branches if Cityharvest?

As told by methodists Isaac sold a car meant as donation to church but pocketed the sales?

More serious he wrote his thesis copied from other authors. Like godfather like son !

Anonymous said...

Such charismatics schools are all false teachings when they base on prosperity gospel, fake healings, prophetic visions, holy laughters, gold dust and gold teeth miracles etc .... slain in the spirit nonsenses preached by Canon James Wong and gangs of scammers.

They are all part of a Worldwide con job from Word Faith and especially jailed criminal Cho Yonggi, Korea largest church base on false teachings.

Like them, Kong He is just another false teacher and reading his sermons, any good Christian can tell the errors and false teachings.

People must ask why follow these deceivers? They are all false teachers and not a Christian to begin with.

Better steer clear of this groups as reported. They are all charismatics devel worshippers.