#273 Is City Harvest Church a social enterprise, financial institution or place of worship?

I had to read and re-read to make sure I had not misread City Harvest Church (CHC) offering loans to needy church members; that some churches gave loans to pastors to pay mortgages on their homes; and instances of offering loans between sister churches — from the afternoon edition of Today!

Sacrilegious! How could money given to tithes and the sacrifices of worshippers be honored for such purposes? Is this not making a mockery of the church as a place where individuals can find solace and to meet with God?

Gone are the days when the church actually help the poor and needy.

In the past, bursaries were awarded to those needy for education and individual members who own companies gave a tenth of earnings in support of the church — a classic example was ‘Tithes Dental’ that was located in Middle Road owned by Elder Goh Ewe Kheng. (Naturally his children could not understand their father’s benevolence toward Christian pastors and missionaries and needs of the church.)

I believe the mainstream church denominations like the Presbyterian still offers bursaries to the needy members’ children for education.

Is helping the poor means treating the old folks and needy to a meal or ferry those elderly to church weekly? Are members of CHC satisfied that the church offers such services?

The Christian Bible has clear understanding on members making loans and never loans offered from the institutional church or temple.

Exodus 22:25 “If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not be like a moneylender; charge him no interest.”

Psalm 15:1,5 The psalmist asks in verse 1 — “Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? The psalmist outlines standards throughout the remaining psalm and this is one…

      “…who lends his money without usury and does not accept a bribe against the innocent. (v.5)”

Exodus 23:8 “Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds those who see and twists the words of the righteous.”

Leviticus 25:35-37 “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you (v.35). Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God so that your countryman may continue to live among you (v.36). You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit (v.37).

These guidelines were given to God’s chosen people, i.e. the Israelites. Lest there be misunderstanding, the Israel referred to in the Bible is NOT about the nation Israel today.

Today, God’s chosen people are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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#272 transparency at the new creation church

News received that the New Creation Church pastor Derek Prince has volunteered his services. This indeed is noble on the pastor’s part.

According to its church goers, New Creation pioneer leader and deacon Jack Ho said it was a “good time to let members understand more about these businesses”.

This would help them “answer with more certainty” if they were asked about the companies, which are fully—owned by the church

MediaCorp understands he spent about 30 minutes listing the five companies, among them BrightStar Child Development Centre, Omega Tours and Travel and Rock Productions

He also told members that Senior Pastor Joseph Prince is now a volunteer at the church and has not received any salary since late last year.

Since 2004, Mr Prince, one of the church’s founders, had asked New Creation to stop paying him but council members rejected the request until last year. [http://news.xin.msn.com/en/singapore/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4132757]

Should a church own business companies? If the church did, is she required to pay corporate tax annually?

Can a house of prayer or a church dapple in making money? In the gospels, Jesus lashed out at businesses conducted in the church premises.

What is the meaning of tithing for a christian?

Can charitable organisations set up business companies to ensure there was sufficient funds to enable the organisations to carry on whatever they stood for?

If so, can this come under the umbrella of charitable organisations? Should the public continue to give?

What is charity? What does raising money for a charitable organisation mean?