Thursday, March 12, 2009

Guessing over New Creation Church's Great Commission

New Creation Church's collection of $19 million in a day has caused some to wonder. One of these is Mr. Ong Yong Shun. He wrote,
"Instead of spending millions of dollars on the complex, how about building a church with an attached world-class library that houses Christian writings, which can be used to spread the word of God?

Alternatively, New Creation could have chosen to build a clinic and offer free consultations to the needy. After all, Christianity is fundamentally about helping the needy. Such a clinic could help hundreds, if not thousands, of needy Singaporeans.

Of what use to Singaporeans, Christian and non-Christian alike, would a new shopping centre be in an already-saturated retail scene?"
More to imagine how much can $19 million do. Those who support NCC's project try to justify by invoking practical and logistic reason. But I think the root problem is not they don't know how to manage their money, but they don't know what is a church and the gospel. They think the gospel is all about God's grace saving our souls from sin and death. Period. To them, a church is just a place for people to gather, sing praise and worship songs, pray, and listen to Joseph Prince, so that our souls can be saved. This is of course nonsense.

One of the things they can do is to endow $2 million to establish 2 professorial chairs. They can name it after them:
New Creation Church Chair of Christianity and Science

New Creation Church Chair of Public Theology

or

Joseph Prince Chair of Theology and Society
But of course that won't happen. Or at least not in the near future. Partly because the church has no concern over theological education or harbor hope for the future of the wider Christian community in the long run. Their only trusted teacher is their senior pastor. And they expect Rapture to happen anytime soon. And when that happened, the faithfuls will zap to heaven leaving their clothes behind. So no point thinking too far ahead. What's important is to bring more people to Joseph Prince. To be baptized by him. That's their Great Commission.

12 comments:

Stanley Wong said...

Dear Sze Zeng,

Thank you for posting a link to my blog. You have rightly said that my article is "invoking practical and logistic reason" for NCC's building project.

It seems to you that the practical and logistical issues that NCC faces are not good enough reasons for NCC to move to another location.

Perhaps you could visit Suntec City tomorrow and see for yourself first-hand the problems NCC faces since the IT Show is also being held there at the same time.

As tomorrow is the last day of the IT Show, I expect a very large crowd and would advise you not to drive there because you could have difficulty finding an available parking lot.

Shalom,
Stanley Wong
(Saturday, 14/3/09)

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Stanley,

Thank you for your comment. I've been to NCC a few times and know about the situation.

eekpil said...

Dear Sze Zeng,

I don't know if you were just exaggerating to bring forth your points, or if you really meant what you wrote.

Do you honestly think that ALL or the majority of the people who attend NCC really have no idea what a church is, and that they do not know what the gospel is?

You wrote: "They think the gospel is all about God's grace saving our souls from sin and death. Period."

I, for one, and I personally know of many others in NCC who do not subscribe to such a simplistic definition of the gospel - certainly not the way you phrased it.

We (meaning those NCC members I personally know of and myself - I don't claim to represent the entire church) believe the gospel to be more than just having our souls saved from sin and death.

The good news is MUCH MORE.

Afterall, the good news is ALL about Jesus Christ and His Finished Work on the Cross. So, in a sense, to the extent we could understand the limitlessness of the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ and His Finished Work on the cross, to that extent we could talk about the richness of the content of the gospel.

You wrote: "To them, a church is just a place for people to gather, sing praise and worship songs, pray, and listen to Joseph Prince, so that our souls can be saved. This is of course nonsense."

I would be the first to agree with you totally that such definition of the church is utter nonsense.

Honestly, I don't personally know of a single person in NCC who subscribes to such a definition for a church, do you?

If such a person really do exists in NCC, I am sure the leaders in the church would like to meet up with and counsel him/her. Our pastors have taught us over and over again that it is the people who make up the church, not any building. And the church is where people gather to worship, to commune with, to hear and to see our Lord Jesus Christ, not any mere man.

You wrote: "Their only trusted teacher is their senior pastor."

Honestly, I am curious to find out why, and how did you arrive at such a conclusion. I personally do not regard my senior pastor as my only trusted teacher. And among the people I personally know of in NCC, many of them read the books of and listen to sermons by other pastors and preachers. And some have attended or are attending Bible schools. I may be wrong, but I seriously doubt I could find a single person among them who regards Pastor Prince as the ONLY trusted teacher.

You wrote: "And they expect Rapture to happen anytime soon. And when that happened, the faithfuls will zap to heaven leaving their clothes behind. So no point thinking too far ahead. What's important is to bring more people to Joseph Prince. To be baptized by him. That's their Great Commission."

Again, I do not know how you came to making such a statement. I believe I speak for many, if not all of my personal friends and myself (again, I don't claim to represent everyone in NCC, only myself and the ones I personally know of) that we certainly do not live our lives the way you've described. We think and plan ahead. We have our own minds and lead our own full lives beyond that of the church community.

And we certainly do not think the Great Commission is about bringing people to Pastor Prince and getting them baptized by him.

I would like to clarify here, on behalf of the NCC people that I know of personally and myself, that the focus of the Great Commission for us is not about a mere pastor, but a GREAT Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you would care to hear me out, may I offer you a few gentle words of advice? Be more careful and precise in the way you write, especially when you are writing about other people.

You have a good mind. You write well. Let your gifts be a blessing to build people up.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi eekpil,

Thank you for your comment and clarification, especially for your sharing of what you and your community view on NCC.

As the title of the post is "Guessing...", the post is essential a guess based on the info that I have access to. It is not a ph.D dissertation.

Yet after reading your comment, I still think that I didn't guess wrongly or at least not entirely missed the point.

For eg. you wrote that "good news is ALL about Jesus Christ and His Finished Work on the Cross." But what does this really mean?

And you mentioned that NCC's people know that the church is God's community and not building. And you know what? When I wrote that I think NCC has no idea what is the church, it didn't occur in my mind that NCC is so pathetic to the extent that they think church is building. Actually I have higher regards on NCC than the impression you got or mistakenly got. Pls don't get the impression that I'm an anti-NCC whose self-declared life purpose is to condemn my fellow Bro & Sis who are worshiping our same Lord there.

Hence when I say NCC don't know what is the church, it means something more nuanced.

Again, thanks for your time to share here.

eekpil said...

Hi Sze Zeng,

You wrote: "Yet after reading your comment, I still think that I didn't guess wrongly or at least not entirely missed the point."

My comment:
Please don't misunderstand me. :)

My intention is not to prove who's views are right or who's are wrong. I am NOT interested in that.

I just wanted:
(1) to find out how you arrived at your statements/ guesses about NCC, and if they were arrived at based on your actual observations of and encounters with NCC people; and

(2) to present to you my personal observations of and encounters with a number of NCC people, and the different conclusions that I arrived at based on those limited observations and encounters.

Maybe your statements/ guesses about NCC were based on your observations of and your encounters with a very different set of NCC people than those whom I've met. Maybe you arrived at those conclusions of yours because of certain unique experiences you had in NCC.

Regardless, I am in no position to reject or deny your statements/ guesses.

So, there is no question about who's right and who's wrong, just an attempt to clarify why we hold such different views of NCC and how we arrived at our views.

So, you cool with that? :)

Sze Zeng said...

Hi eekpil,

Ya, absolutely cool with that.

My guess is based on the observation of NCC's teachings, its' activities, and reading its members' testimonies about their own experiences and opinions with the church and how they respond to outsiders' view on the church.

eekpil said...

OK. Thanks for clarifying the basis of your guess. :)

I would just like to reiterate my advice to you: Do consider being more careful and precise in the way you write, especially when you are writing about other people.

You may not mean it, but your readers may get the impression that you are putting down the NCC people and treating them as a bunch of shallow and ignorant believers.

Perhaps you may want to consider using qualifying statements like "some of the NCC people that I've come across" instead of "they". That way, the statements you've written will sound more reasonable and acceptable, don't you think so?

Try to replace the word "they" with the phrase "some of the NCC people that I've come across", and you should see where I am coming from:

"They think the gospel is all about God's grace saving our souls from sin and death. Period."

"To them, a church is just a place for people to gather, sing praise and worship songs, pray, and listen to Joseph Prince, so that our souls can be saved. This is of course nonsense."

"Their only trusted teacher is their senior pastor."

"And they expect Rapture to happen anytime soon. And when that happened, the faithfuls will zap to heaven leaving their clothes behind. So no point thinking too far ahead. What's important is to bring more people to Joseph Prince. To be baptized by him. That's their Great Commission."

Shalom!

Sze Zeng said...

Hi eekpil,

U r welcome. And thank you for reminding and your advise. Appreciate them :)

On the other hand, I dont see the need to change the "they" to "some of them" as you suggested. Simply because, I do think that my post is not wrong.

And since as you have previously indicated that your intention is not to prove who's view is right or wrong, then by accepting your proposal without good reasons, we would have shifted into the "right & wrong" field which you are not interested in.

So if it's not about right and wrong, then nothing need to be changed because nothing need to be righted. Does that make sense to you?

:)

eekpil said...

Imagine a female person writing about men and making generalized and sweeping statements such as the one that follows:

"ALL men are jerks. They are ill-mannered, boring, shallow, and crude. They are not capable of acting responsibly. They think only about sex all the time. They have absolutely no idea what true love is. They are a totally self centered species. They are unable to care for others at all. They don't know how to live life meaningfully. They are utterly hopeless. Period."

Perhaps because of the types of men she has encountered and observed in her life, the writer honestly believe every word she has written above about those men (or even ALL men).

But as a man, how would you react to what she has written? Would you just shrug your shoulders, raise your eyebrows and smile? Or would you regard her as well-informed, objective, analytical, accurate, and insightful writer?

If you believe that this female writer has a good mind, that she has real substance, and that she has valuable things she could share that will benefit many of her readers, what advice would you give to her?

Notice that I am not asking you to judge how right or wrong her statement about men is. I am asking you to think of ways to help her reach out more effectively to her readers.

Similarly, I am not interested in proving your statements about NCC right or wrong. I am not interest in doing that at all.

I am just suggesting that you consider adopting a different approach/tone when you write about NCC. I made the suggestion because I believe it may help you connect more with your readers, make them more receptive to your writings, so that instead of having a knee-jerk reaction, they would seriously reflect upon the points you've made.

Just ignore my advice if you don't think it is useful or helpful to you. This is you blog after all, so you get to decide what and how you write. I can totally respect that. :)

Stay blessed and be a blessing.

Sze Zeng said...

Hi eekpil,

I get the impression that u must have led many people to Christ, and you are a gem in your company if u r in the sales line.

I'm impressed. Really.
:)

eekpil said...

I've successfully pointed a numbers people to Christ. The truth be told, Jesus is so attractive in and of Himself, when He is not misrepresented, it really does not take much on our part to get people to follow Him.

By the way, I am not in sales. I am in accounting and finance. :)

Sze Zeng said...

Hi eekpil,

I rejoice in your works for the Lord. Thanks for sharing.

And good to know a bit more about you.
:)