Megachurch pastor Kong Hee of Singapore and his five cohorts who were found guilty in 2015 of conspiring to misappropriate (steal) $50 million from City Harvest Church have had their sentences reduced. A three-judge appellate court panel handed down the reduced sentences on Friday, April 7, approximately 7 months after the defendants presented arguments in September 2016.
Kong Hee and five other church leaders were charged for bilking the church using fraudulent means so the pastor and his wife could live lavishly as he funded her secular singing career and then using millions more to try to cover everything up. After being convicted, the pastor and his wife issued a self-serving statement masked as an apology, stating in part that they were “so sorry for the pain that you have to go through with us.”
They never asked forgiveness for any of their wrongdoings. Nor did they offer to pay any of the money back as they continued to deny they did anything wrong. Nevertheless, many emotional church members who wept during the non-apology apology and at their sentence reduction verdict were satisfied with their statements and stand firm in supporting them.
In the Bible, when people were sincerely sorry for their wrongdoing, they owned up to it and took action to make amends, such as tax collector Zacchaeus who paid back the overcharges he extorted from the people. City Harvest Church’s situation is another example of the selfishness, deceit, lack of biblical knowledge, and cult-like mentality of churches caught up in the prosperity gospel.