Christians and Hypocrites

I attended a conservative church for a few years when I was staying in Clementi. This church was a pretty legalistic place,  insisting that you either use the King James Version of the Bible or you must be reading the wrong version of God’s Word.

Of course, during Sunday sermons there, I always whipped out the NIV version that was given to me by my old church friends at Leng Kwang Baptist. I edited out all the “thee”s and “thou”s with every scripture reading.

But I digress from my main topic.

What I do remember most about the dogmatic church, was trying to push Isaac’s stroller from the road into the church entrance, and find the wheelchair access area blocked by big, fat expensive cars whose drivers could not be bothered to park at the faraway car park. I have a really bad memory, but this is one of the things which I will never forget.

I thought then : “How can Christians be so ungracious to the needy in the church itself?”

Which usually leads to “Is this how the rest of the world sees us? We say one thing, but we do another thing. Aren’t we such hypocrites?”

It’s well-known that Christianity in Singapore is often viewed as a religion for the wealthy. Every week, I see lots of expensive Audis, Mercedes, and other high-end makes in our church car park lot. (That’s not to say there aren’t alot of cheaper Nissans and Toyotas :)

Sitting in the courtyard, I observe big fat diamond rings, pricey clothing and lots of maids in tow. The kids in my children’s previous church kindergarten classes are mostly from well-to-do families and throwing big birthday parties are the norm, not the exception.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not jealous at all. God has provided for me all these years, I’ve never had to starve even when my mum was a single parent. And today, I have job that can feed my family, let my wife be a homemaker and buy the kids the toys I never had.

What I’m saying is that because of the general visible level of wealth among many Christians, I’m often concerned about how believers are perceived by non-believers. Why would people come to Christ if we blatantly live a life that we say we aren’t supposed to?

Indeed, with wealth, and many Singaporeans have more relative wealth than other people in the region, it becomes so difficult to extract ourselves from the sinful excesses of society. We live it, we breathe it, we cannot get away from crass consumerism and lust for material things. I’ve been through various buying fads like plastic models, toys and recently, leather watch straps. I keep telling myself to stop, but I can’t until I tire of it.

We go to church, we nod our heads when the pastor says not to love the things of this world. Then after church, we go for lunch and do some window shopping in the heart of Orchard Road, filling our eyes and thoughts with the things of this world. Where ever we walk, there is an advertisement, flyer, billboard or sales promoter shoving such pretty items or services in your face.

I open the newspaper, and it shows me glorious new condominiums I should buy just to upgrade my living standards and reach a higher social caste. Never mind that it will land me in debt till I’m really old, because hey, you can flip it and sell it for a profit when the economy does well! Isn’t that a great way to generate more retirement funds? (It doesn’t remind me that I could just drop dead tomorrow from a million other causes, because the condo developer wants you to live forever or until the housing loan is paid.)

Money, money money, must be funny, in a rich man’s world? ~ Abba.

Christian, Buddhist, or Muslim, we live in a society that demands we attain wealth or be left out of the privileges of life. But my own observation is that it’s Christians who of late, been more than happy to flaunt their wealth and tell others that it’s part of their faith. Membership has its privileges you know.

Some call this the prosperity gospel – where God’s promise is to make you wealthy if you truly believe in His goodness. I’ll make it clear that I think it’s all hogwash. Find me ten wealthy believers and I’ll find you ten poor ones, all with equal faith in God. The ways of God are mysterious, and if all true Christians were automatically rich, there would be no other religion left standing.

Ecclesiastes writes that God may give you great wealth, but it doesn’t mean you’re going to be happy:

I have seen another evil under the sun, and it weighs heavily on mankind: God gives some people wealth, possessions and honor, so that they lack nothing their hearts desire, but God does not grant the- the ability to enjoy them, and strangers enjoy them instead. This is meaningless, a grievous evil.  ~ Ecc 6:1

Jesus, as far as I know in the Bible, never ever, ever promised any one great riches on earth, but offered only eternal riches in heaven. Remember, as Christians, we first stick to the words of Jesus Christ. If your pastor tells you Jesus said this and that, GO READ it for yourself! Be sure Jesus and his disciples actually said that.

From the book of Matthew:

Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”

“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied.

“There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”

“Which ones?” he inquired.

Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother, and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’

“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”

Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”

Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first

In the New Testament, the preacher Paul told Timothy, that we should seek godliness with contentment:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.~ 1 Tim 6

I’m quite tired of hearing followers of the prosperity gospel insist that it’s not the only thing taught in their churches. The very fact that you subscribe to such a doctrine, already negates the very teachings of Christ, never mind if you’ve done lots of charity work and such. Loving money, or in this case, waiting eagerly for God to shower you with riches, already warps both your own faith, and worse, Jesus’ reputation.

A pastor who keeps moving into bigger and more expensive houses. Doesn’t matter if he earned the money through his businesses or from church tithes. Does he truly love God, or does he love the world?

A female Christian worker who sings to win the lost, but exposes her skin like a harlot and moves like a pole dancer, does she love Christ or does she love her image?

So if God doesn’t make you rich, is your place in heaven still there? Or were you not faithful enough. Our faith cannot be built on such foolishness and silliness.

Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. ~ Hebrews 13:4

The Bible teaches that believing in Jesus, not the promise of wealth, is the only way to heaven. Throughout the Bible are numerous warnings that the love of money is not to be accepted.

Don’t cast the first stone, take that plank out of your eye, people say. Let God judge!!! But God also tells us to point out evildoers, and to lead my children on the right path. Do I keep quiet when such foolishness exists? God will judge the wrongdoers for their sin, but it is my duty to speak out when the Bible is perverted for sinful means.

Enough of these misguided folks. Read the Bible for yourself and ask God to let you discern between right and wrong. There’s no better solution.

What about us moderate Christians? Do we give up everything now to prove we are worthy Christians? How do we walk the walk when we talk the talk?

I’m not worthy to tell you how to live your life as a better Christian. I am not forgiving enough. I cuss too much. And I don’t do enough for Christ even though he has blessed me with much.

However, let me tell you how I’m going to deal with the hypocrisy I see in me.

When I was a young Christian, I had a long argument with a good friend over these paragraphs in the Bible, which now comes back to me as what I must do, even though it seems so impossible then, and also now:

Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” ~ 1 Peter 1

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.  ~ Hebrews 12:14

Can I be ever seen as holy? I don’t know.

But for His sake, I must keep trying.

PS: John MacArthur has some great sermons on the problems with the prosperity gospel. Read this long sermon here, it’s worth it.

  • Jocelyn

    It is greed, lazy and self-absorbed.
    Greed for worldly processions. Lazy to read and understand the bible. Too self -absorbed to let go of this world for Jesus. So we choose the church that agrees with our own beliefs and lifestyle. Will you attend a church that follows the bible faithfully? Knowing you’d have to let go a lot of worldly objectives. Sometimes I feel Christians are the biggest hypocrites. My 1 cent worth. Don’t hantam my grammar. :p

  • Suraj Siac

    I am not a christian but these words are really the truth of life and applies to all people of all faiths. Well written.

  • Guest

    Nice article. :) Though it’s come a time where Christians would have a harder time “defending” their faiths. And your post comes from a pretty much neutral perspective on the issue, whilst defending your faith. Respect.

    My sentiments too, Jocelyn. But then again, even we Christians are but human. It’s only the sick that needs the doctor. So ultimately, like the author has mentioned, the differentiating value Christians hold from the rest is the continual pursual to be Christ-like. Whether they succeed, is pretty much not for anybody else to judge, though.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  • Ne_koi

    Nice. Imagine how I felt when ppl started telling me they join churches because they can get good networking there. If one should ever fall out of job, the ppl there will help to get new ones easily. Well helping each other is no wrong, but the intention and focus is all wrong, ain’t it? I left church and never turn back since.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=686082254 Lee Cooper

    @Jocelyn

    When Jesus said that “…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” He was not referring to that small little cross Christians hang around their neck. Every day as a Christian is a struggle to be more like Christ.

    The author had said quite a fair bit on this topic so I’ll end with a plea from Paul.

    Romans 12:1-2

    “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

    And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”

  • Atheist

    There is no such thing as GOD in the first place. GOD was created by humans for humans to explain the un-explainable and to give hope to our fear of mortality (Heaven?). The Bible itself has been corrected through many versions. It is written by men and compiled by the early Christian church to their own liking. I really do not know why people still believe in any form of religion till this very day. Science and rationality should be the ‘religion’. Sunday mass and church events are mere family activity and fun social gathering. I know religion is a sensitive issue to most people hence whatever is written here will be read with anger and close mindedness. I hope one day people will come to realize that once you are dead in this world, your body decomposes and that is it. Sad but true.

  • Wally

    It’s interesting you are so certain of another person’s life.

    You are richer than many in this world, where are you in your generosity to the poor?

    What makes *you* “moderate”?

    Drawing lines in the sand?

    Judging others as “unclean” through your theological lens of net worth?

    I propose that while you have your opinions of what is excessive, watch if it excuses you of having to participate in social good.

    Here’s an article by Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church:

    Rich or poor, it’s righteousness that really matters
    By Pastor Mark Driscoll

    There is a tremendous spiritual lesson to be learned when the world’s two richest people give away much of their wealth to help others in need.

    In 2000, the world’s richest person, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, launched the Gates Foundation to focus on strengthening education, reducing poverty and improving public health, with a special emphasis on HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. He has since given $29 billion of his own assets to charities, including $23 billion to the Gates Foundation, making it the world’s largest philanthropic organization. Gates also recently announced he would be ending his full-time role at Microsoft in 2008 so that the majority of his time could be focused on the foundation.

    Gates’ friend of 15 years and the second-richest person in the world, Warren Buffett, recently announced he will be contributing roughly $31 billion to the Gates Foundation. Buffett will be joining the Gates Foundation board, helping to ensure that the resources are wisely stewarded and that as many people as possible are helped.

    From a spiritual perspective, their generosity illustrates an important biblical truth. Sadly, wealth is often viewed through the erroneous lenses of either prosperity or poverty theology. In prosperity theology, God loves rich people more than he loves poor people, as evidenced by his blessing. In poverty theology, God loves poor people more than he loves rich people, who are vilified as greedy thieves.

    The problem with both these theologies is that they make money the issue. The real issue is not money but righteousness. There are not two kinds of people — rich and poor — but four kinds of people: the righteous rich, the unrighteous rich, the righteous poor and the unrighteous poor.

    The righteous rich became rich because God blessed them; they worked hard, invested smart and did not obtain wealth through sin like stealing or taking advantage of others. Such people spend their money righteously, generously sharing their abundance with those in need. I do not know the religious convictions of Gates or Buffett, but their generosity is an example of rich people acting in a righteous manner.

    The unrighteous rich are people who obtain wealth through sinful means such as stealing and extorting. They spend their money in sinful ways and do little if anything to help people in need. The most legendary biblical example is Judas Iscariot, who stole money from Jesus’ ministry fund.

    The righteous poor are people who work hard for the little money they have, spend it wisely and share their pittance with others in need. Jesus is the most obvious biblical example of someone who was both righteous and poor.

    The unrighteous poor are people with little or no money because they are lazy or spend foolishly. They do not give to God or others. The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about such people, calling them “fools” and “sluggards.”

    When the issue of money is framed as rich and poor instead of righteous and unrighteous, we are allowing politics and economics rather than spiritual wisdom to dominate our thinking. The generosity of Gates and Buffett is an opportunity for each of us to evaluate whether we are acting righteously with how we obtain and dispense the little or great wealth we have.

    Pastor Mark Driscoll is founder of the nondenominational Mars Hill Church in Ballard.

  • Blessedbeourelyahweh

    The fact is, there is perhaps not one church (I mean those institutional churches that have big buildings and offices) that follows the Bible faithfully today. The church should really be a group of sincere believers sharing and building each other up, not an organized sunday religion in a building.

  • http://www.iantan.org Ian Tan

    Won’t hantam your grammar, I know what you mean. That’s why the headline is what it is.

  • http://www.iantan.org Ian Tan

    You can choose what you choose to believe, nobody’s stopping you. Yes, once you’re dead, your body will decompose. However, do think about what happens if your belief turns out otherwise and there is life after death. Just a thought.

  • http://www.iantan.org Ian Tan

    Hi Wally, yes, I’m in the process of examining myself, and not through my own lens, but in comparison what the Bible teaches plainly for all to see.

  • http://www.iantan.org Ian Tan

    Churches come in all shapes and sizes and it’s hard to generalize if any formalized organization is automatically unfaithful. So it really depends on the church leadership and congregation.

  • TooLongTooTired

    I liked the intent and flow of your article, and have all through the events of months past, reflected on how I feel inside about the situation. Simply put, it just reminds me of my own humanity and puts the need to get back on my knees to plead for His grace and mercy for His church… whatever stripe or colour that may be to those i consider my brethren. No, I am not in ‘bondage’ to the “Not Judging” rule as one observer has pointed out, but truly, what we Christians have forgotten is that we are ALL saved by grace, and not through our own works…

    In any case, this isn’t the first fallen leader incident i have lived through in my walk with Jesus, and it doesn’t surprise me anymore to see that their most vocal critics come from within. As I mentioned in passing to a friend a while back, we Christians have an awful tendency to ‘correct’ and criticise our fallen leaders to the point where there really isn’t any point in coming back to the fold. Indeed, he who has given more will be judged in proportion to this. Lesson for me. Peace out everyone.

  • TooLongTooTired

    Oops… that last line should be read as “… he who has BEEN given more…” Sorry!

  • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

    And what if there isn’t?

    Think about all the lives that have been lost as a result of religious teaching – from the Crusades to death cults to modern-day terrorism. Think about the women who are denied equal rights as men, even though both are human beings. The billions of dollars that have been given to religious causes but were siphoned away to fund personal ventures (as in the case of CHC). The abuses of power.

    If a god did exist, why would there be such things happening in his churches, his temples, his synagogues? Why would this happen in his WORLD?

    There is no proof at all of a life after death. And yet people find ways and means to justify their belief in a god that promises that. They look for real-life “evidence” and “signs” of his existence, like the laughable case of laminin. And yet believers lap that up.

    There is no physical evidence AT ALL of a god, a divine creator, an absolute arbiter of right and wrong. If all the ancient texts that tell of such a being were really divinely written, inspired or created, then they would have given us a much more intimate knowledge of our home planet and the ever-expanding universe. They would have withstood the test of time, and would never be found to be lacking despite advancements in technology or scientific knowledge. They wouldn’t need apologetics to come up with quack theories to support the “facts” espoused therein. But the texts all fail in this regard, don’t they? There are no more divine updates to them coming from the god pipeline, is there? Why?

    Maybe it’s because a god doesn’t exist.

    Just a thought.

  • Liz Ruizhu

    “However, do think about what happens if your belief turns out otherwise and there is life after death. Just a thought.”

    This is what many Christians tell me when they try to evangelize. Not to attack you, but that statement reeks of a ‘just in case’ scenario. Just in case there is actually life after death, just in case the bible is right, better join the church now. Not exactly what I’d call faith.

  • http://www.iantan.org Ian Tan

    Hi Marcus and Ruizhu,

    Perhaps I’m getting old, or maybe I’m just weary, but I have little energy to debate on whether God exists. All I can do is share what I’ve already written in this site. (See the Christianity tab on the menu, and more posts in the Christianity category)

    http://iantan.org/on-christianity/
    http://iantan.org/category/christianity/

    We are all born sinful and depraved. Christians continue to struggle daily with the sin inherent in us (no, conversion does not wipe our slate clean asap), and many succumb to temptation, leading to the horrific events in history that you brought up. Jesus got furious when he saw the sinful acts in the synagogue. Protestantism came about because of the resistance against the sins of the Catholic church. Till today, there is still no end of wars, evil men and acts tied in to the name of God.

    Many people, including myself, have had bad run-ins with zealous Christians trying to evangelize on the streets or drag us to church. Perhaps they were over enthusiastic, but many of them lack EQ and are too pushy. Some resort to pressure tactics. Who knows how many people they have turned off in the process?

    For me and many of my friends who grew up in ACS, we were hardcore skeptics in that Christian school environment. However, we were never pressured to convert, or to go to church. In our own time, we came looking for the answers to our questions, and we listened to others share their stories, and did our own research and Bible studies.

    In case you think my faith is wonky and fluffy, I worked in journalism for a decade and being cynical is deeply embedded in me. I continue to question God every day on many matters, and I don’t always get the answers I want. But I have gotten many answers to many other questions, and this site also shares my testimony.

    I don’t know if what I have on this site, or what is in the Bible, is enough for you, but for me, it’s enough and I know why I believe. If you ever reach a stage in your life where you want to find out more apart from what you know today, do drop me a line and I may be able to share something useful. If you choose to reject any explanation I can give, there’s nothing I can do either. That’s why we have free will, to make the decisions that will determine our own future.

    Cheers,
    Ian

  • http://www.iantan.org Ian Tan

    Hi Marcus, please see my reply to Ruizhu below, and here’s another post I wrote long ago which kinda echoes what you wrote:

    http://iantan.org/on-christianity/why-i-did-not-believe/

    It is followed later by

    http://iantan.org/on-christianity/why-i-believed/

  • Kelisfun

    i’m with you.

  • Aether_dreamweaver

    Both gates and Buffet are atheists!

  • http://twitter.com/Shredcow Daniel Tan

    I enjoyed reading your article. Aside from being a pretty much accurate (biblical) portrayal of (biblical) Christianity, it was candid and so very human – we’re all running the race together and we all fall at points in life. No one is perfect ya? All thanks to the God who condescended, Who gave us His Son, and restored us to Himself.

    Btw – “Peter told Timothy, that we should seek godliness with contentment:” – it’s actually Paul. :)

  • http://www.iantan.org Ian Tan

    Oops! Typo there, thanks for pointing it out, will correct.

  • Jeff

    John 8 – When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

  • Shredcow

    Your point being?

    I wonder what was Jesus’ point to those around the woman.

    Context. Context. Context.

  • Jeff

    The case in point is that of an adulterous woman who was being caught in the act, being brought to Jesus. There is no defence as she was guilty.
    YET, the Lord responded by saying let anyone of you who is without sin be the first to throw the first stone at her. I hope we can all pause to examine otherselves before we throw the first stone.
    I am no theologian neither a good christian, in most contexts.
    But I am fearful to respond in any manner that seem to put myself in the seat of the Judge.
    I submit the verse in John 8 in the context of how the Lord Himself responded.
    Thank you.

  • Jeff

    Thank you. Share your your thoughts about the matter…

  • http://www.iantan.org Ian Tan

    Hi Jeff,

    You are correct. Most Christians are fearful to comment on what’s happening today because they don’t want to be seen as judging someone else when they are sinful themselves. Indeed, God will judge everything in His time.

    At the same time, God asks us to test everything.

    1 John 4: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.

    4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit[a] of truth and the spirit of falsehood.”

    It’s easy to think that I’m harping on a particular church and pastor – no, I’m grieved with many Christians in Singapore, including myself. We have fallen so short of God’s requirements as believers, by all measures, we are hypocrites when we don’t do what we say. Yet we delude ourselves and plunge ourselves into the secular world, thinking it is ok.

    It is not ok.

    I am thankful that in the days of my youth, I was in a church that stressed heavily on equipping oneself with God’s word and I plunged myself into the Bible with the help of the Holy Spirit. I analyzed, I criticized, and I tested God’s Word for myself to see if it was true, valid and non-contradictory. 15 years later, the same Bible knowledge remains in my mind as I am now more mature to answer believers and non-believers alike.

    The Bible does not revolve around one verse “Do not judge”. The Bible is far, far deeper than that and it is our privilege to be able to own a Bible today. Before printing was invented, the flock had to rely on priests who could easily misinterpret the text for their own agenda. God bless Gutenberg.

    And it doesn’t mean that because it’s a beloved preacher that is in the news right now, that all other Christians should hands-off and be silent. I have been disturbed by the prosperity gospel for the longest time, but I’ve kept quiet PRECISELY because of my fear of casting the first stone.

    Sadly, as a result of the prosperity gospel, so many believers and non-believers now hate Christ, because they see us as bigger hypocrites than ever.

    I do ask that readers don’t go into a frenzy and shout “How can you say my pastor is the antichrist?!” I don’t say that, but the spirit of the antichrist has infected the world at all levels, and being Christians does not automatically make us immune. We are, in fact, probably the devil’s most precious targets because bringing us down means a sweeter victory for Hell as more non-believers will reject Christ as a result of our unholiness. Read CS Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters” for an amusing, and sobering view on this.

    In the process of self-examination, I wrote this post as the beginning of my journey to take the plank out of my eye. For many years, I was confident that I was not worshipping Money, but now I know I inadvertently worshipped the world and made many things my idol, instead of the Christ who gave his life for me.

    God also asks us not to be lukewarm as believers, not to sit on the fence, both in preaching His Word, and keeping true to it.

    “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

    These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

    19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=686082254 Lee Cooper

    Psalm 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil.

    If as Christian and Christ’s ambassors on earth, we should hold our piece and refuse to speak against evil then there would have been the new testimonts would have ended after the 4 gospels. What do you guys think Paul and the other leaders are doing when they wrote all those letters?

    To be saved, one must acknowledge that he is a sinner. To repent, one must acknowledge that he has done wrong. How does one know that he has sinned or is wrong if you do not tell them?

    Jesus said in Mark 3:25 that “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand” and in Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon”.

    Do you think that anyone of Christ would worship money, misappropriate funds and make music video like “Fancy Free”? What does the Holy Spirit in you tells you?

    Kong He’s charges is still with the court so it would not be right for us to comment but think about all the negative comments that’s been written to every CHC posting/news. Are we saving the world or pushing it away from Christ by holding our peace?

    I wish we have more elders like Rev Daniel Koh. I fear for our Churches if leaders are afraid to voice their opinion because they are unsure of what is right or wrong.

    http://oldhabitsdiehard.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/wait/

  • Win

    Doing good in exchange for good karma and hoping to earn a ticket to heaven is doing good for the wrong reason. U do good because you genuinely care. Not because someone promised a life of abundance in heaven. Just don’t seem right that you wish for something in exchange for being kind or for the what-ifs

  • Jeff

    Thank you, Lee Cooper for your reply.
    I am just wondering how the Lord himself would have reacted if he lives in our time.
    And I was reminded of John 8 of the adulterous woman being brought to him and his response was such.
    (U need not reply, thanks once again.)

  • Jeff

    Thank you, my learned friend, for taking the time to reply.
    I part with these words taken from Matt 12:36 that everyone is to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.
    (U do not need further reply, thank you once again)

  • No Turning Back

    Dear Ian,
    Thank you for sharing your experiences as a non-believer and how you came to believe and now your walk with Christ. Not sure why but when I read your blog and all the posts from believers and non-believers, my eyes begin to tear. I believe it is the Holy Spirit that is grieving for those who say that God cannot exist and that He is made by man. I remember this verse:

    Romans 1:20 New International Version (NIV)
    20) For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    Of course, if a person does not believe in God at all, this verse has no meaning to him. And I applaud the way you write with such love and patience. We as Christians struggle as we walk with Christ for we after all are still on this earth and I am no exception. So your blog is very encouraging and a reminder that a Christian life is not without struggles and hardship. This is the real Christian life which is not a bed of roses as some people believe it should be.

    I was once like you. Bombarded by Christian evangelists and being irritated by them. But when I decided to turn to God, I never looked back and never regretted. I thank God for not giving up on me and for being with me (He’s with me now even as I type) all my life.

    The majority of Christians are not hypocrites. They just don’t know enough about the word of God because they don’t read the bible and if they know the word it could be just in an academic way without acting on the word. Also we need constant reminders and encouragement and edification. After all, we live in a sinful world and are bombarded by the media that tells you things that may not be in line with the Word. And if we are not grounded, we can forget that we are not of this world even though we are in it. This is happening more and more in our society. They forget that everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial. Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

    Thank you once again.

  • http://www.iantan.org Ian Tan

    I part with the next verse in what you quoted from Matthew: 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.

    I pray you will find the answers you seek in the Bible, and not rely on what we infallible men say.

  • Mum Of 3

    For all those that quote John 8, they always seem to miss the final words of Christ in it… verse 11 says, “”Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.””

    That portion of “leaving your life of sin” is forgotten in the fear of being the first to “cast the stone”… and why should it be read that Christians are casting the first stones, especially Christians who are speaking the truth in love (Eph 4:15)? Or when they are using Scripture to teach, rebuke, correct and train in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16, 17)?

    Whatever happened to discernment? (See http://www.openbible.info/topics/discernment) And when in our spirit, we sense that something isn’t aligned? Do we not speak up to clarify? Or does the Holy Spirit only reside in a few Christians and not in all believers? :/

  • Mum Of 3

    Driscoll’s lens of seeing the world is rather narrow, don’t you think? Is there only a rich/poor theology? In fact, is that a foundational doctrine for believers? By Driscoll’s words, it makes it sound that it’s an either or case, when it’s not even a case at all.
    John 3:16 tells us that “whoever believes in Him” – not the rich/poor divide that Driscoll appears to point out and add the “righteousness” bit into. And what is a human’s “righteousness”? Filthy rags (Isa 64:6)!
    Money is money, and living in this world, it’s the currency we use to navigate in our Pilgrim’s progress. But the greed for it is seductive, and we need to guard ourselves against its power, lest we fall into its temptations and create justification for it being central to our temporal life here.

  • Amrit

    Loving this post, Ian.

  • eric

    Booooooooooooo at the holier than THOU attitude.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

    Hi Ian,

    Thanks for your reply, I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.

    I didn’t actually write my original comment with the purpose of starting a debate, but I thank you for pointing me to your early writings nonetheless.

    I’ve read a few of those, but I think there are stuff in your newer posts that are more relevant to the question of whether a god exists. I’ll have a look at those instead.

    Cheers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=686082254 Lee Cooper

    Thanks Jeff. I am reminded of what Jesus did in the Mark 11:15-17 and said in Matthew 23:1-36.

  • Truth hurts

    I believe your lord and his son jesus christ would accept those who err and truly repent back into his fold.

    I remember greed is one of the seven deadly sins.

  • Soohan18

    Not sure if you have heard of Francis Chan – a pastor from the US. He has a powerful sermon on Revelation 3. Worth a listen!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBhqrtMqrv8

  • http://www.iantan.org Ian Tan

    Actually, not so much “holier than thou”, but “we’re just not holy enough for God so what shall we do”?

  • Guest

    I have some questions:

    1. Why is it that the poor will take care of their aged parents, the rich will take care of their aged parents, but the middle-income Christians will put their aged parents in old folks home, or allow their parents to stay alone in the HDB flat, or get a maid to stay with them, AND they themselves will stay in a landed or a private property, or even own a few private property? (I am a realtor, and I have seen enough families to know this)

    2. Why is it that Christian women are always the ones who are not willing to stay with their husband’s parents?

    3. Why is it that Christian women are always the ones who do not accept their husband’s parents for who they are, and are always critical of their husband’s parents habits?

    4. Why is it that the Christians are never able to understand old folks intentions and needs and always see the older generation as burden?

    5. Why do Christians find it ok to cut their ties with their parents, especially if they are from other religious groups?

    6. Why do Christian men find it ok to “ditch” their parents and be with their wives?

    7. Why do Christians showed such reverence and love to God, but they are not able to do the same for their own parents UNLESS the parents behaved in a certain way that they are seen as socially acceptable?

    8. Why do Christians think that they can get away with all the sins that they have committed just because they are protected from God?

    9. Do Christians not realized that if they are examples of their children, and how they treat they parents will set the benchmark for how their children will take care of them in future?

    10. Why are all Christians just a bunch of talkers and not doers?

    11. Why do all the Christians just focus on expressing their thoughts and opinions but they have never thought of solving the problem?

    12. Why is it that all Christians just talk about their rights, their wants, but never about other people’s rights? Why would they think that the people from other religious backgrounds have lesser rights than them? What about the society’s right?

    13. Why is it OK for Christians to judge the rest of the religions, make comments, and when we explain the truth to them, they say “oh, it’s just a difference in opinion” but when the rest of us make comments, they get agitated and defensive and say “oh, you are just listening to the devil’s work”?

    14. What if Christians do not have the level of understanding or wisdom sufficient to understand the teachings of Buddhism? Do you know that reading the bible helps me understand the deeper meanings of Buddhism? But the bible is subjected to so many interpretations, whether you gain the level of understanding needed is really dependent on how good your mind is?

    15. Why is it that Chinese Christians in Singapore have ZERO knowledge of their own Chinese heritage?

    16. How is it not clear to Chinese Christians in Singapore that no matter what they do, they will never be accepted by Caucasians because of our skin color and they do have a prejudice against us, it is just that they are able to conceal their expressions of disdain away until their “best friend who is a Chinese” is away?

    17. How can Chinese Christians think that they are right when they have not read about Buddhism or even Dao De Jing?

    18. Why are most Christians only able to see it from their perspectives, but never from the other person’s perspectives? Why are they such terrible analysts and thinkers?

    19. Why is it that whenever there is a bad remark about Christianity, Christians just quote from the Bible, instead of using simple common sense?

    20. Can they not see that the reason why there are so many wars is because of them?

  • 64hexagrams

    Excellent question – what if it is not what you believe to be?

    So much faith placed on a translated text of another translation of a set of text compiled and edited by a group of church people a few hundred years ago over some texts whose origins are still debatable… so much faith.

    And then faith in interpreting the texts; by now with at least four hundred Protestant denominations each having a special way of interpreting…

    Good on you to have so much faith in a particular set of text interpreted by a particular group of persons or a person and in a particular set of circumstances at this point in time and in this space.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marcusleejh Marcus Lee

    @64hexagrams:

    Hi, you responded to my post, but I hadn’t expressed any faith… I suppose you meant to reply to Ian instead?

  • PC Lee

    The answer to your last question: “Can I ever be seen as Holy?” is Yes! Ian Tan, you are righteous and holy because you believe in His Son Jesus Christ. There is no need to struggle to be Holy. Once you believe, there is no more condemnation. And the best thing it is God the creator who sees you Holy. That’s what really matters, not the opinion of mortal men. Now that’s good News! Amen