Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Happy 2011 and my wish

Its been a long time since i actually logged onto the blog. With each passing year, I really hope that greater things will come out of the HIM movement, which I am still in but have since adopted a more passive observer role

Lets hope the lessons of the past will not be forgotten and we will never make the same mistake again.

Many friends who have left the Hope movement have asked me why i never make the move. I suppose like it or hate it, there are some really good principles that have since been adopted by the HIM movement and I would hate to change for the sake of changing.

There are a couple of churches which I would have considered but there are not in the country i am residing in.

I plan to start blogging again, but this time to share some of my devotion or things i have learned from other teachers and Pastors.

So here's wishing everyone a Happy new year.

370 comments:

1 – 200 of 370   Newer›   Newest»
Guo Xiong said...

Hi Eagle Eye,

I would like to wish you and all genuine brothers and sisters in Christ a happy 2011.

Similar to the friends you mentioned that have already left Hope movement, I have departed from that movement since the end of 2008. Part of the reasons I left was largely due to the fact that the entire theological foundation of my faith in Christ has decisively become Reformed and cessationist (non-charismatic). That was why I had to depart from Hope as Hope teachings was largely incompatible with my Calvinist convictions. Other reasons for my departure includes the deep-seated semi-pelagianism that was pervasive in Hope movement in the form of legalism, the man-centered adoration (worship?) of leaders as if they were Christ, undiscerning obedience to questionable teachings, etc. While it is optimistic that HIM has adopted some good practices as observed by Eagle Eyes, I sincerely hope that these practices are far-reaching such that Christ and Him crucified is properly proclaimed in the church which would transform the lives of many. Peripheral changes are simply not enough.

Of course, there are many facades of the body of Christ, and to all those who are born again and possess genuine saving faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and holds on to the fundamental truths of the faith, are my brothers and sisters, even if they are in different denominations.


Have a blessed day.

Regards,
Guo Xiong

Eagle_eye said...

Hi Guo Xiong,

Thanks for the sharing, I believe each person are made unique in God, as long as we stay true to the ways of God, we can all serve in any Church.

lazyjay said...

God dag! or Hei!
http://www.landoverbaptist.org/

betrl8thanever said...

Ka-moo-sta-ka? Ma-boo-hi!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_%28building%29

hellesangel said...

sawadee-krub
http://www.churchseats.com/

xtab said...

good day
http://www.churchbrew.com/

heirbydefault said...

Sa-lam a lay-koom! Keef halek?
http://www.christianpost.com/church/

genevie_chan said...

dankie
http://church.christian.com/

Anonymous said...

Thank you for creating this blog. I'm surprised that u knew so much is wrong about this movement yet u seem to believe the problems lie with only a few individuals. I was formerly from Hope Malaysia under the current HIM movement's president and I know he practices the same abusive teachings as described here. Even some of us as members or cell leaders are guilty to a lesser extent for not confronting the pastors or asking our friends to leave when we felt something was wrong. Dear brothers and sisters, we are manipulated by this movement because some of us are young, naive and afraid, but now with this blog, we share our thoughts without fear and all are revealed. We have to unite and encourage each other. We are much stronger than them if we unite. How many more lives must it scarred before we realized we are being used. How are we going to face ourselves if more lives are scarred by giving chance to this new HIM movement, in full knowledge that it is lead by the same group of founders. Enough chances are given to this movement. Should they attempt to regroup, we have to inform christian fellowships in our respective locality about their practices. Brothers and sisters, though many of us are hurt, we have to courageously move on, and don't ever look back.

Anonymous said...

So after tens of years in this movement and 2 plus years of blogging and revealing the abuses of this movement, you could not bring yourself to leave it, rather choosing to keep supporting it and bringing people to it? are u willing for new people who unknowingly come to this movement to be hurt yet again? it's surprising the grip this movement have on u and i wonder if it is really a cult.

Anonymous said...

why wonder? i tell you now. it is.

Anonymous said...

No doubt a cult. The effects are wide and deep. Even some who leave end up starting their own flavour of the same thing. Highly recommend that those who leave, join well established and proven organizations. Stay connected to the body of believers.

Anonymous said...

Hope movement is a profit-based movement modeled after a church which largely benefit the top founders, as more members means more revenue for the movement, the practice is always to aggressively recruit more members, assimilate them to the cult teachings and intimidate those who question their authority or choose to leave, i had been to Hope Malaysia under Simon Eng and i could confirm the cultic teachings as described here are also practiced at my branch, it's regretful to say that most of the dirty works of the movement such as shepherding and intimidating members who question leadership, refuse to obey instructions or choose to leave are done by proxies such as cell leaders and shepherds. These young people are being brainwashed and used to do the dirty works while leaders are able to keep their hands clean should victims of the cultic teachings decided to lodge complaints with the authorities. some members are even driven to the brink of insanity as attempts to assimilate them into such cultic teachings mainly focused on breaking their rebellious spirit. As this movement are now regrouping under a new name, I call on those from Hope Malaysia to reveal their abusive teachings to prevent more young people to be deceive by this movement. Try to seek different views from more established churches should you need to confirm whether Hope movement's teachings are indeed cultic. We need to speak up as deceiving teachings by abusing the church name could potentially destroy the faith of non-believers and believers alike in the church. Don't let the good works of our church forefathers be tainted by this one movement.

Anonymous said...

No doubt, this is true, been scarred, deceived, cheated, abused, threatened, hurt and still holding my resendment till today. I have no one to blame apart from myslef being naive.

DLSL said...

No point to hold on to the hurt caused by Hope Church. I've been there, done that, & have moved on.

We have already all established the fact that Hope is a cult, everybody knows that already. I think best thing now is for people to quickly get out while they still can & go to a proper church.

Your spiritual life is most important. If you stay hurt & still hold resentment, doesn't benefit you & doesn't hurt the Hope church also. So i strongly encourage you, get out, move on & find God again!

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

I would like to share with you that I decided to leave the Hope movement in 2008 after I find out they practice initiation ceremonies which in my opinion looked like very much to occultist practices. The leaders could not provide clear and biblical reasons of this practice. Giving the benefit of the doubt I discretly stopped attending their services and prayed for the truth to come out. And later events in this movement, which were made public through this blog have just confirmed a clear pattern of cultist practices in this organization.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

What kind of initiation ceremonies was practised ?

Anonymous said...

the initiation ceremonies (they called like that) were performed with young people who made a formal commitment (a sort of formal swearing)of helping and looking after each other (just like a brotherhood). They weared black shirts with a cross on it and there were candles. I saw photos of this but I never attended one of them because I did not know about it. When I inquired about it they told me that they have stopped doing it.

Anonymous said...

The bro/sis who posted above please share more about your experiences at Hope movement and which branch u attended.

I have been to Hope Petaling Jaya. Contrary to most who posted here whom i believe are from Thailand based branches, I do not believe the questionable practices described here originated from the main branch but rather is a collective decision by the top leaders when starting this movement.

Starting a movement anew instead of joining established churches provided the founders and other paid leaders, at the very least, stable income from salary drawn from later members' donations, with the prospect of salary increase as the movement grows in size and revenue. Relevant academic qualifications usually required for such posts are also not needed in such independent movement. I believe the previous HGI movement and the new HIM movement based in Malaysia have never intended to be charitable right from the start, but rather the real intentions are to build a career at the expense of the good name of an established institution (i.e. church).

From my experiences at the Petaling Jaya branch, this movement draws much of its strength from young adults members, who are liberally assigned to various "leadership" positions (with promises of further advancement in seniority)- as long as it's unpaid, to garner their support. These young people whom are made "leaders" are then taught of the movement's policies in numerous leadership training programs held, later expected to act on the movement's behalf in activities such as recruiting new members, disciplining members critical of leadership, shepherding, going after those who did not attend or has left; generally trying to indoctrinate new members into the movement, even trying to force them if they are viewed as not active enough in activities organized, often times even resorting to harassment.

I think we all should realized that we are first and foremost a volunteer and under no directive from the movement's leaders. Activities such as recruiting new members, cell groups, shepherding and follow ups are done at our own accord and responsibility. Should it comes to the point where harassed or victimized members take lawful actions against us, we are at our own, as we are volunteers and have never been under the movement's directive to start with. Thus those appointed to various "leadership" positions should consider long and hard before acting on behalf of the paid leaders. Should the leaders expect us to do something (no matter how prevalent the practice) which tends to overstretch boundaries of civilized conducts, sometimes even flirting with the law, perhaps it's time to make a move.

I believe the leaders of the present HIM movement had their chance to steer the movement in the right direction many times over the tens of years they lead it. Why now when their careers are at the verge of collapsing that they now attempt to transform the movement with new policies which they knew all along should be carried out long ago. Are their track records credible and trustworthy? I'm concerned that members might be taken for a ride yet again.

I would very much appreciated it if other bro/sis here could comment on my statements.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

During my 10 year exposure to HIM teachings and practices I have observed all the organizational characteristics described by the brother from Malaysia. When I realized it was a cult all the pieces of the puzzle started to fit in. A supernatural power backs up this cult (this pattern can be observed in other cults as well)which operates in a similar way to occultism(it can bring "blessings" as well as curses). Even those who confront them with the truth may be "delivered to satan", a practice which implies cursing this person and his family. This clearly happened to me. I refused to be ordained as "pastor"(I attended before more traditional churches where the standards for these positions are quite high)and to give all my savings to this organization (not to the poor)and they "delivered me to satan" bringing a series of unfortunate events in my family (parents, brothers, sisters, wife and children). And several of these events (threats) were prophesied by the main leaders as it were a punishment from God for "not heeding His Word".

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Perhaps the initiation rites are not what you think they... just symoblic of commitment to Christ...
These things did not happen in the Hope Church that I attended. May be, it also depends on whose leadership you were under... one of the weakness of Hope is giving leadership or title of shepherd to young or immature Christian and many times, the sheep are left to the mercy of them, some who are definitely authoritarian and harp on 'divine authority'...

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I have spent almost three years doing some research on the issue of initiation ceremonies and I have found out that it is widely recognized as an oc(cultist)practice. I was informed by the main leader that this practice was necessary only to set up the core group of commmitted members in the beginning stages of planting a local church. They are aware that this practice is seen as a clear indication of cult activities and that's why it is not written or described in any official document (if it were just a symbolic act they should not be hiding it). If they would have continued this practice in Singapore they could have faced an investigation.
The bottom line is that this formal swearing or committment to protect each other (a brotherhood) sets a spiritual bond among members and those who "fail" to keep this commitmment are subject to "judgement". That's why it is so difficult for cult members to leave it the organization without facing serious consequences.

Anonymous said...

Would like to ask those who left Hope Movement how you are coping as you attend other Churches after being being exposed to Hope teachings for years...

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Hope teachings are not necessarily unique and it is likely that there are many similarities with other pentecostal/charismatic groups. The emphasis on some these teachings can also change over time when error becomes evident (for instance prosperity gospel). Trial and error is one characteristic of pentecostal teachings and practices, particularly in regard to the supernatural world.
For these reasons, I have decided to attend a traditional church (Christian Reformed) and although Hope and pentecostal leaders refer to them as "dry Churches", I have found transparency and honesty in the leadership.

Guo Xiong said...

Hi all,

Previously, as I have mentioned before in this blog, I was from Hope movement but I now also worship in a Presbyterian church that is faithful to its Reformed tradition. Reformed Christianity is steeped in Scripture. Scripture, as explained in our Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 1, is "given by inspiration of God to be the rule of faith and life" and is "The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture." Of course, for us Reformed Christians, our Confessions are to be subordinate to Scripture.

My point here is this: Is Hope teachings in accordance with Scripture? I hope the discussions here can develop along the lines as to whether the reports of practices (e.g. prosperity gospel, burning of candles as part of a ritual to signify commitment to Christ, the notion of compulsory shepherding by a personal mentor, the hierarchical and military-like structure of Hope and similar churches)is in line with Scripture or not.

When Hope and pentecostal churches say that Reformed Churches are "dry", I think that is biased and reveals a lack of understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. The work of the Holy does not comprise of'hype' and 'activism' or works to bring glory to ourselves. We are progressively sanctified by the Spirit of God to be more Christ-like and to bear the fruits of the Spirit. Some of these things do not have to be demonstrated in highly visible manifestations such as speaking in tongues, miraculous healing, serving in high leadership position, becoming worship leaders or constant feeling of victory that looks down on periods of struggles in life. Instead, a simple act like pouring a glass of water for your brethren, being hospitable, or preparing food for your neighbours, doing menial stuff like mopping floors, all done through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and motivated by love, would go a long way to bear witness to our Lord Jesus and edify the body of Christ. I have heard of and seen these things done in my Reformed church. How can these Spirit-induced actions be considered as "dry", when it is not? I know these 'lowly examples' are considered as "dry" and seldom looked upon with honour in Hope Church (and similar pentecostal churches) because these are not high flying services that exudes power and status and closeness to God. This warped mentality is driven by the 'theology of glory' which makes Christians think they are better than other people( Christians included), while Reformed Churches focuses on the 'theology of the cross'in which God, through the cross of Christ and by His grace, choose to work through us frail sinners in our weaknesses and suffering that ultimately bring glory and honour to God Himself. And in the 'theology of the cross', boasting of our own self-righteousness is not an option; let us boast instead of the righteousness of Christ and His finished work on the cross.

As for the leadership issue, while we must submit to our leaders, every member of the church, including non-leaders, has the responsibility to hold their leaders accountable so that the leaders are teaching and leading the church according to the word of God. This has been a fundamental practice in Reformed Churches (and all authentic protestant churches) since the 16th century Protestant Reformation. This perhaps explains why Anonymous (who is now in a Reformed church) realizes that his/her leaders in his Reformed are more transparent and honest.

Regards,
Guo Xiong

Anonymous said...

Dear Guo Xiong who posted above,

I think we only have ourselves to blame if we depend too much on any leaders, in any congregation for our spiritual life.

Even if a certain teaching is found in the scripture, doesn’t mean that we could impose it on attendees. It's not uncommon for any leaders to pick specific verses to support a predetermined agenda they have for their organization. Even when leaders give their best sincere effort, they and we all are still subjected to personal bias and of course still fall short as we are never perfect anyway. Never had any congregation even attempted to follow every teaching found in the scripture and many will admit so if they are sincere.

The problem with Hope movement primarily lies in their leaders cultivating a mentality among members that their insights of the scripture is superior over others, that their movement is above all and blessed, and that they are acting on behalf of God in imposing their teachings on others. I believe this movement is fanatical because of its patronizing behavior and demeaning of others whom do not share similar views as them.

Simply put, though leaders are entitled to their own opinions through sermons, just by attending events organized does not put someone in obligations to adhere to any policies within such organizations other than some forms of common courtesy, like standing when hymns are sung or dressing appropriately. If any obligations are attached to the attendance afforded, leaders should convey it upfront, and should attendees find it unacceptable, leaders should allow attendees to leave or ask them to leave in a dignified manner.

Discussing whether our teachings are in accordance to the scripture is important, but as important is how do we make provisions for others who do not share similar views.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your experiences in joining other Churches after leaving Hope Movement. Like some of you, lately I am also attending a traditional Church as a visitor. In general, I am able to accept their practices. A bit worried about the leadership though since I have heard of horror stories about traditional Churches' pastor or leaders being in total control.

However, what do you think if some of their practices may be unbiblical, such as infant baptism ? I believe in baptism by immersion but this traditional Church practises drawing of a cross with wet fingers on the person's head and declared he is baptising him in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As open minded as I want to be, I was willing to accept their baptism method but not infant baptism...

So how ? Shall I look for another traditional Church ?

Anonymous said...

Guo Xiong,

Sorry, you wrote something about taking the Presbyterian stand on infant baptism but unfortunately, I can't read the rest of what you wrote as it appears not to be published...What happened ?

Guo Xiong said...

Hi to Anonymous who could not read my comments in full,

I am also not sure what happened. Apparently, something has removed my comments. Another comment which I posted has also been disappeared. Anyway, about the infant-baptism issue, my comments are not meant to promote what I believe. Basically, I was saying that infant-baptism is based on an understanding of the covenant of grace. Not everyone accepts this practice, and I can understand why and I accept that. To me, it is an issue that should not cause division amongst brothers and sisters. What I also mentioned is that all churches have their problems, and church hopping is not the solution to tackle such problems. Instead, prayer and seeking wise counsel is needed for finding a sound biblical church, which may or may not be traditional. The church we settle should be one in which the word of God is properly and correctly preached and practiced, that there is genuine fellowship, etc.

Hope my comments clarify. If this comment of mine also gets removed, then there is really nothing I can do about it.

Regards,
Guo Xiong.

Anonymous said...

Should not worry about leaders in traditional churches having "total control". You can easily leave if you sense it.

Cults teach you lies hidden and surrounded by at least some truth. In Hope, one of those lies is that "traditional churches are bad".

Anonymous said...

In response to "Would like to ask those who left Hope Movement how you are coping as you attend other Churches after being being exposed to Hope teachings for years... "

Feeling very happy and free. Search for and found a very good church, established, growing, connected, biblical. Didn't realize how oppressive Hope was. I was difficult in the beginning in getting used to a new environment. After that, pretty easy to leave behind hope teaching and plug into a ministry to serve in.

Cathrine

Anonymous said...

It is good to hear from different ones how you all have somehow managed to find good Churches to settle in after leaving Hope as I have read that many believers who had been spiritually abused (not from Hope Movement) have taken many years to recover and return to Church life and some have even not return to any Church at all...

I guess it will take many years to unlearn what we have been indoctrinated over the years...

Anonymous said...

Dear Eagle Eye or whoever is running this blog,

My name is John and I have been following and contributing to this blog since it was first started. I believe this blog was good and informative at the start but unfortunately it seems to have degenerated into a mud slinging free for all blog. It's no longer constructive but it seems to be a place now for people to vent their anger, bitterness, hurts and frustrations. It is also being used as a place of advertisement (eg. viagra) by some people.

I am very disappointed that it has been allowed to proceed down this path. I am sure many will agree with me when they read this. I mean, there are some here who seems to have been hurt by Hope but now they use to blog to display their creative bad language and threats which to me is very wrong.

Even if you visit blogs by opinion writers and newspapers, there are moderators that do not allow bad language to be used and if they read any posts that are not in the right spirit of the blog, they do not post it.

This does not seem to be happening here. Eagle Eye, since you are the creator of this blog, I implore with you to at least moderate the posts before allowing it to go through. If not, then either get rid of this blog entirely or get rid of the offensive posts that has been added in the past months.

If I remember correctly, the purpose of this blog was to a) record the problems of Hope b) bring about change to Hope. But instead it is now used by people who behave in an unChristian manner who use foul language and threats. So please do something about it. If you cannot moderate the chatbox, then please close that down.

Regards,
John

Anonymous said...

Dear John,

Did you speak up when people are being mislead while at Hope movement ?

Did you speak up when people who leave Hope movement are harassed ?

Did you speak up too when shepherding there are being abused until there are members who suffer from depression now?

Do you know there's members being told to serve so frequently that they neglect their studies and work, other friends and families?

Do you know members are coerced and scolded if they don't serve as frequently as told?

ONLY now u want to speak up? after people's life are turned upside down, now u want to talk about foul language? don't victimized the victim

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for replying. You are obviously the one who is venting your anger in the chatbox.

I have no quarrel with you directly as a person but what I am saying is that everyone here on this blog should conduct themselves in a civil manner without the foul language. Why vent your anger here? Why not directly confront the people who have caused you this hurt? Isn't this what the bible says? It doesn't mean that because Hope has let you down and caused you hurt that God is no longer real or in the picture or interested in your life. And it doesn't mean that the hurt gives us license to behave in an unbiblical manner.

God is still as real as before Hope hurt you and it is He that we should follow - not Hope.

In response to your questions, I was one of the first people who joined Hope - I was there for about 10 years and I have left Hope now for more than 10 years. Yes, I was badly hurt too and betrayed. Yes, I too went through depression and pain and seeing my family suffer and had many relationships split apart because of Hope - I have seen my good friends become my enemies - I have seen people who call me friend stab me in the back and say all kinds of things about me and spread lies about me - and saying all these things still bring pain to my heart. I was lied to and made to leave as well.

And yes, I have spoken up too many times. (You don't even know what I went through so you cannot say I didn't speak up. How do you know??)

But that doesn't mean that it gives us the right to behave in an unbiblical manner and that doesn't mean that we have to lose our integrity and it doesn't mean that God is not real and not watching over us anymore.

God is still real which I have found through my time of depression because of Hope. He was my only friend left. I lost all my friends when I left and no one would contact me for years.

But God was and is good. He restored me. I found a good church to go to and put Hope behind me until this blog came up 2 years ago. I contributed because I saw this as a venue to perhaps bring change to Hope. This blog was set up to do that but not to let it degenerate into a mud-slinging avenue.

I do pray that the Lord will restore you and cause you to see that He loves you very much and that He cares for you. So keep the faith and your personal integrity as well.

Regards,
John

Guo Xiong said...

Dear all,

I appreciate John's comments on this blog. I use to be "Watcher" until I started to use my real name instead. John's inputs to this blog have been edifying, and I can testify that he has been consistently urging for reform within Hope Church. I believe his experiences struck a chord with many brethren, including myself, who faced similar situations in the past. Even after leaving Hope, I sometimes still feel the anger and frustration at times, even allowing some of the false teachings that I had been indoctrinated with to continue to have a strong grip on my conscience and my values. This is partly due to my sinful nature, and certainly it would take time for the work of the Holy Spirit to progressively renew my mindset according to the word of God.

Till this day, I still have cordial relations with some of my brothers and sisters in Hope. Whenever I meet them, we talk as friends. When I talk to them, there are times when they shared certain ideas which are common in Hope. In areas where I differ from them, I shared as gentlemanly as possible my personal convictions. One of these areas is tongues-speaking. Ravi Zacharias also mentioned an English proverb that mentions that if a person engages in throwing mud, his own hand will also get dirty. This too, John has pointed it out.

Of course, I personally do not expect 'Your Verdict' blog to change Hope Church overnight. No amount of sound argument, even those backed up by solid biblical exegesis and theological propositions, can ever convince fellow brethren of their theological errors unless the Holy Spirit causes a conviction within their hearts and minds. Nevertheless, I do hope that this blog would develop into a discussion forum for fruitful dialogue, and to spur fellow brethren, including myself, to go back to the Bible for reform and renewal.

Regards,
Guo Xiong.

Anonymous said...

Dear John,

It does not mean that I agree with the foul language or either your view towards the victims. Personally, I have been there done that, been victimised and felt just as hurt as you have been.

However, I have a few questions for you.

What is wrong for people to share their own opinion which is different from yours?

What is wrong for people to share what they know and thier experiance?

What is wrong to have the freedom of speech?

People are different and they express themselves in thier own way. All we have to do here is respect not to judge. We just have to assume that the readers has the ability to think about what they see here.

The human race is just not consist of one type of people and personalisties. We just can not eliminate people that are different from us, or may be vulgar, foul, muded as some may them. In that sense, how different are us from those abusive so called church leaders. Can we have more respect, acceptance and truth? Think about that.

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

First of all, thanks to Guo Xiong for expressing his opinion. Also thanks to the person who also just replied.

I think I need to clarify something here. I am not against any opinion. What I have a problem with is foul language being used and also to people posting their adverstisements here. I have to make the asssumption that people who genuinely post to this blog (ie. those hurt from Hope) are Christians and as such we are bound to the word of God ultimately - not to a movement or church or pastor or person but to Almighty God. And because of that, would it not be right to say then that the Word of God has commands and principles that say that we as Christians must reflect Christ and our character must be reflective of the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit.

God's word has commanded us to watch what we say - Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. So we have to make sure what we say is not corrupt communication. God is watching and He is the one we are accountable to when Jesus returns.

I am not against free speech or opinions or what people think. Hope tried to stop that so that people will all say the same thing but I do not believe that is right. But we as the speaker have the responsibility to make sure that what we say, how we say it etc. does not cause us to sin against God. That is my concern. And I am also concerned that we are not being good witnesses for God when we use language that even non-Christians would consider foul. Where is our witness then?

I did not express myself very well in my initial post. So I apologise if I caused anyone to think that I am against people speaking out - no, people have opinions as the previous writer said but how we say it, our attitude behind it is important. There is no point also in just tearing down, hey, too many people do that in the world today. We need to be constructive. It is very easy to tear down but very hard to build up. Our words are like leaves blown away on a windy day. Once the wind has caught hold of it, it is very hard to retrieve it. So that's why we need to be careful of our language, how we say it.

That's all I have to say.

Regards,
John

Anonymous said...

Hope movement is not a church. It's a sub-movement within a sub-movement within a sub-movement. Since it's modeled after a church, to confront Hope is alike to getting rid of a thorn in the flesh that will pain the whole body.

The blogger and some comments tend to focus on the problems at Thailand and bashing the leaders there. As if all the problems originated from the main Thailand branch and all is well that this movement has split and someone else has emerged the new leader. I'm puzzled as what change could take place knowing well these are the same leaders that had been working together since the founding of this movement. Seems like HIM leaders only wanted to split now when the main branch has become a liability to them.

By teaching members to obey their leaders unquestioningly, silencing critics, coercing attendances at activities organized, coercing serving at movement and harassing leaving members; members are no longer treated like a volunteer which they are. Attempting to exercise undue authority and control over members encroaching their personal boundaries are traits of a cult.

Spiritual issues apart, HIM leaders especially the president now, has at their disposal, assets including building and cash left from the split movement before. Coupled with prospect of future expansion and a sizeable attendees base in which to draw more monetary donations, it's a no-brainer as why they want to split, regroup and get a foothold as fast as possible. And to get us to focus on spiritual issues instead, we are being lead away from their main agenda. These HIM leaders could not have gain employment as a pastor even in evangelical churches elsewhere. So which path is more worthwhile?

In light of the above, i ask commenters and the blogger here, what change are u expecting?

Anonymous said...

The purpose of Hope movement attempting to exercise overwhelming control over members has no spiritual purpose, but is done so members will go through thought reform, so members rely on the movement even when making personal life decisions and at lost when leaving it. Then members attached to this reliance will serve long and give greatly to support Hope movement and the leaders will benefit from it.

At the current establishment structure of HIM, when the founder also serves as the spiritual leader, also in charge of finance and movement direction, generally having the final say in every little issue, there's actually too many conflict of interest and many chances to misappropriate charitable funds.

I don't mean to say every charitable organization is the same. But the very discreetness of Hope, authoritative and being under the radar, provides more opportunity to enrich themselves.

If long time members notice closely, there's many times large financial decisions are not afforded the transparency as it should. At one instance, I notice they did not source for quotes on renovation of a new building using building funds donated by members but the renovations are instead done by their own contractors.

While we here discussing whether their practices are according to the verses, our focus are shifted from their real motives. So even if we kept pushing for change in spiritual area, as long as the movement kept standing and donations still came pouring in, they will pretend to give in bit by bit over spiritual matters, but what good will that do?

Anonymous said...

Honestly I don't expect them to change. They don't know how.

Anonymous said...

If we are to be constructive, join another organization and build a real church, abandon what cannot be changed. Those in control have absolute control. They won't listen, they won't change. You, however have the power to change. Make the decision, take the leap of faith.

Anonymous said...

I agree with previous post, will the owner of the blog please do something to control the language and remove SPAM Viagra ads? It is a shame that people are using foul language.

Maybe one of the bloggers here can start a new blog?

Anonymous said...

Thank you brother John for your message of forgiveness.

Many of us had been dealt deep emotional wounds. Can we move on? I myself have yet to move on. But I do hope brothers and sisters here could do better than myself.

God have mercy on us all.

Anonymous said...

Dear All,

I would just like to share with everyone here about the power of God's love.

When I left Hope 10 years ago, I was a broken man, very confused, emotionally drained and mentally on the verge of a breakdown. I was also physically broke and without a job and had a family to look after. I had put everything into Hope for so many years and had not worked in the outside world for so long, I could not get a proper job.

I avoided people and hid for a few years. I was very depressed and found it very hard to forgive. It was turning into bitterness. In all that time, I still kept my faith in God - it would have been very easy to walk away from it all but I knew in my heart that God is real and He does care. But there was a lot of unforgiveness and pain.

About 3 years after I left, one day out of the blue, a brother whom I knew from another church rang me and he said that God asked him to ring me and pray for me. So he prayed for me on the phone. 1 week later, I got offered a job, in fact a few jobs. When he rang I knew that God still cared for me. It took time but as the months passed, the unforgiveness and pain also left and seemed irrelevant when compared to such a great and mighty God that we believe in and serve.

God is good and He does care for us. That's why we all need to keep the faith and our personal integrity in Him.

I have left out a lot of details of course in my story but the gist of what I want to say is this - that whatever happens to us in our lives (esp. in Hope) - God is still real - all those things that happened may give us a reason to doubt and disbelieve in Him but God is real no matter what man or Christians do.

So when the previous post say to move on, I say Amen to that. Establish yourself in a good church, get close to God and continue on your walk with Him until Jesus comes again.

Regards,
John

Anonymous said...

Not so easy to move on when immediate family is involved. Family members are brainwashed to follow and obey leaders (not parent or spouse). They even call the leader their "spiritual father".

Anonymous said...

Dear John,

Thank you for sharing what happened to you and how God worked in your life. You mentioned that you left Hope 10 years ago meaning that you made a head start, a much longer period than many of us...

Leaving Hope (less than one year ago) for me was not easy and there is always the temptation to return because of relationships...

Would you mind sharing what helped you and gave you the courage to leave Hope ?

Anonymous said...

Hi All,

No, I do not mind sharing. What made me leave Hope was more by necessity. I was heading towards a mental breakdown with all the pressures, that I had to make a decision to go.

When I wanted to go, they tried to persuade me not to go ie. usual reasons like no Hope outside of Hope, no anointing and blessing etc. etc. It was very difficult. You feel so torn and guilty that you have let people down. I mean, there were strong relationships built over the years and that together with the teaching over the years about covenant, service, commitment over the years made it so hard and that's why I hung on until I nearly had a mental breakdown. I had already wanted to leave many times as long as 4 years before I finally left.

Don't forget at that time Dr. Joseph was still active. He was looked upon as some super hero or dare I say even as some super anointed being. People were so in awe of him. The bubble hadn't burst yet. I think it would be much easier to go now as the Hope bubble has burst. Dr. J is not invincible. He is not the super anointed as a lot of people (including myself) used to think.

I remember one of the last things a leader said to me was that I would not receive blessing outside of Hope.

But as I said, it was necessity that forced me to go. So I left in a very confused and emotional state. But God was good. After I left in my terrible state, no one in Hope contacted me for some years. Actually it was other Christians who helped me and not just one but a few and some people I didn't even know. So the irony of it all is that you feel so deserted, disappointed and depressed - those whom you know for so long will only know you if you stay on in Hope.

I think what helped me was my faith in God and the goodness of God that brought other Christians to help. I did not want to mix with anyone for some years. I went to church, yes, to listen to the sermons, to worship God but I was in no condition to serve for some years. The church I attended was good - they left me alone, they prayed for me and did not pressure me to do anything.

And so time was the healer. I think depending on your personality, on your foundation and faith in God and on the environment you are in, it will take different ones different amounts of time to get over it. Take your time as you need. Don't rush into serving so soon but you must keep your faith in God. Don't let this defeat you or use it as an excuse to say that God or Christianity is not real but rather use it as a learning time and try to get close to God. Keep your personal integrity. That's why I was concerned about the foul language here because I see it as letting yourself be defeated by the devil. He is using this situation to whisper in your ear that God is not real, that he doesn't care and that you should strike back and hurt someone or focus your hurts and unforgiveness against Hope. God wants us to forgive - yes, it will take some time but it will happen eventually. Forgiveness happens by choice of will, not how we feel.

So after some years, I started to serve again - not like in Hope. I started to have joy in my life again. I look back now at those experiences as a learning curve. There were lots of things I learnt from Hope so I still use those things. I don't discard everything I knew from Hope just because of what I experienced. As the saying goes, just because the knife cuts, you don't throw it away.

Anyway I think I have said enough. I trust that this will encourage those who have gone through what I went through. I don't want this sharing to discourage people in their Christian faith and walk but I want to encourage you guys to keep on walking with God outside of Hope.

God bless,
John

Guo Xiong said...

Hi brother John,

You message has truly been encouraging. I can sense you truly know God, and that God has been real in your life. I believe God will graciously continue to do His good work in you, as it is written, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ..." (Philippians 1:6, KJV).

Regards,
Guo Xiong

Anonymous said...

Dear John and Guo Xiong,

Many comments here discusses about the problems at Hope.

But how are we to expect changes to happen since these Hope leaders are conducting themselves with full knowledge of their actions. It's not as if they make errors because they are naive and need us to guide them.

Secondly, even the top leaders have changed, but it's still from the very same group that started this movement. Can they be trusted this time around?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

Let me ask all of you some questions that came to my mind after reading John's testimony on his mental breakdown and other comments as well.

Have you ever experienced unhealthy thoughts and emotions after you were "baptized in the Holy Spirit" or began speaking in tongues?

I have read several testimonies that point out a connection between unclean thoughts and emotions as well as mental health problems and speaking in tongues or the search for supernatural experiences.

Personally I witnessed how a Hope Senior Pastor spoke aloud things unrelated to our conversation as he was talking to somebody else to his side.

With regard to Hope "crisis" I recalled that one Hope Pastor constantly mentioned that there was a word of prophecy about that"Hope church will be tested".

Brother in Christ said...

Hi John and Guo Xiong,

I appreciate both of your honesty and willingness to take a balanced view of the Hope of God movement. And, I would agree with you about the need for people commenting here to refrain from unsubstantiated attacks and rumors.

I grew up in Hope and left about six years ago. Even though there were many wrong teachings and practices, I have to admit that I still admire the unity, boldness, and passion for the Great Commission the movement inspired in many people, including myself. I still use some lesson books from past IPCs to disciple others, such as "Effective Leadership" and "Principles of Follow-Up and Making Disciples." My point is that not everything in Hope was bad. I still have a fondness for Hope (part of the reason I check this blog from time to time).

It's also interesting to track the history of the Hope of God movement compared to the International Church of Christ (ICC) headed by Kip McKean (A very cultish group that went even further than Hope in wrong excesses. They started around the same time and imploded/splintered about the same time.) And also the Every Nation fellowship of churches. Every Nation is still strong and healthy, with a powerful emphasis on chuch-planting and discipleship. There are other movements similar to Hope, some disasterous and some a blessing to the Body of Christ. It's interesting to learn from these lessons.

Anonymous said...

why not let others use those book on you instead. let's see how u like it.

Bob Katter's hat said...

Brother in Christ's comments are fair and reasonable. Let's have more reasoned and thoughtful analysis please and less personal attacks from behind the cloak of anonymity. Hope has its good points and its bad points. The strengths and weaknesses vary from church to church and for that matter vary from nation to nation. None of its churches or leaders are identical down to the last detail. To attribute the shortcomings of several churches or several leaders in several of the countries to the entire movement worldwide is disingenuous reasoning from the specific to the general. While I do not expect to be a member of another Hope church ever, I could never accuse Hope of being a cult. Like Brother in Christ I have a residual respect for the movement. Unlike Brother in Christ I have thrown away all my Hope books and materials. During my many years in Hope I experienced a mixture of exhilarating highs and devastating lows. I am aware of situations similar to those which John experienced. These situations cannot be condoned. By the way, please read John’s comments carefully before arriving at conclusions – John did not have a mental breakdown. While he says he came close he did not say he had a mental breakdown.

Anonymous said...

I could not understand why leaders at Hope do not have any problems calling themselves pastors when in fact none of them have actually been to Bible seminaries. They also conduct their own leadership training for new pastors.

Couldn't this by itself be considered a weakness?

Brother in Christ said...

Dear Anonymous,

I don't disagree that Bible seminaries can be helpful, but seminary is certainly not a qualification for church leadership. Hope teaching about the role of pastors and elders in the local context is biblical. Please check 1 Timothy and Titus for qualifications of local church leadership. Other than the ability to teach, all the qualifications have to do with character, not skill or knowledge. It's when they get into denominationalism and extra-local authority that Hope gets it wrong, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Bible college education are very prevalent for pastors recently. Forgoing this qualification certainly save time to train a pastor but how would someone say they are serious in this profession when they couldn't even bother to increase their knowledge with Bible college training.

Having relevant academic qualifications are a prime criteria for employment in any field. Our own salaries too largely rely on our academic qualifications. For someone without relevant academic qualifications to make the same salary as someone with it is certainly curious.

Brother in Christ said...

You see being a pastor as a profession requiring academic qualitifications? That's not what the Bible says.

"When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Acts 4:13

I hope you can find a biblical fellowship of Christians where they will teach you that everyone is called to serve God fully, not just a professional clergy. That's one valuable and biblical lesson I learned from Hope.

Brother in Christ said...

To be clear, it's fair to criticize practices or teachings prevelant in the Hope movement. But, at least one should base their arguments on what the Bible teaches or at least the ideals they hold up for themselves, not secular, unbiblical ideas.

Anonymous said...

Like other pentecostal/charismatic movements, Hope used to lower the Biblical standards to become a local Church leader or a Pastor in order to achieve its organizational goals (e.g presence in different countries or areas). In more traditional Churches it is required not only to study theology but also to have a godly character and if married to have a wife and children which give good testimony in their lives.

Anonymous said...

Though i agree we all are called to serve fully, we also have to respect others choices, even if they only serve sometimes or did not serve at all.

Dear brother, since most of us are serving voluntarily (without pay) and more attendees usually translate into more donations, it makes sense for Hope leaders to selectively emphasis on ideas that will benefit them the most (in this case asking members to "serve fully") without pay, while they also serve fully but draws a salary, but their qualifications are same as us. Since a salary is drawn, it's only normal to expect more from them.

Dear brother, I apologize if u are offended, but i felt it's hard to unlearn things that are taught repeatedly to us, as I find u are still emphasizing on that particular Hope teaching even after leaving.

Anonymous said...

Dear brother John,

Thank you for your sharing. I really think that it was really encouraging because it help us realise that we are not alone in our struggles about Hope's kind of teachings. Like you shared, who can understand what we go through ? We cannot talk to our friends in Hope because they don't understand us and definitely, how to talk to others outside Hope and hope that they can understand ?

Perhaps after what you went through, you are able to help others to take the steps to recovery... Hopefully, you can share on your experience on that...

It may be that many of the ex-Hope members who posted here have not recovered and thus just want to vent out their feelings against Hope regardless of the language used... May God bring healing to their hurts...

Different persons mentioned the good qualities of Hope and I understand that there have been efforts being made in HIM to change.

Do you all think it is wise to return to Hope if indeed there are changes or like what some think, since the leaders are the same, it would be most unwise to do so ?

Brother in Christ said...

Dear Anonymous,

I think your concerns are not with Hope in particular, but with charismatic, non-denominational churches in general. You are right that these churches tend to de-emphasize academic qualifications and instead focus on "calling." I admit that approach has weaknesses, and that it can lead to theological or practical errors. However, you fail to acknowledge that this is truly the biblical model of church life that Paul exemplified and taught, and that we see the apostled practiced in the Book of Acts. I would rather stick with the biblical model and try to avoid error than blindly follow "traditional" ways of church organization and leadership.

Apart from a lack of biblical basis, I admit your reasoning otherwise very sound. You could legitimately view everything in Hope cynically, including the biblical teaching that there should be no separation of laity and clergy in the Body of Christ. However, if I served God only according to this type of reasoning, I would have quit a long time ago. To persevere without turning skeptical requires some faith.

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Rather unsurprisingly though is at the Hope Malaysia branch I am at, biblical or otherwise, the leaders there don't really practice what they preach.

Whether in terms of moral standards they impose on others, or telling others to "serve fully", there's always one standard they follow and one standard for the rest of us.

For example, Hope leaders at my branch would not have ask their own children to serve as often, preferring their own children to focus on their studies or career outside of the movement, while volunteers are taught to toil while the reap the harvest.

Brother in Christ said...

Dear Anonymous,

If you are not confident in your church's leadership, you should seek a new church family. This is both for your own good and for the church's good. God blesses unity, and as followers we need to be in unity with our leaders. But, it's up to them to win our confidence. The author of Hebrews asks us to submit ourselves to our leaders because we recognize the rightness of their way of life and teaching (Hebrews 13:7,17). Hope often teaches verse 17 but not verse 7. :-)

Don't feel bad about leaving as long as you do it in a respectful and honorable way. One of the wrong, unbiblical teachings in Hope is that they are the "church" and that other churches are sub-standard. Find a good church that will challenge and inspire you to give your utmost to God. This is a tricky and potentially dangerous move, but it can work out for the best if you submit yourself to God and truly ask Him to lead you. You need to be proactive to find a good church, being careful not to backslide. Don't give in to the temptation to be cynical but trust God.

God bless you.

Anonymous said...

It is disheartening that Hope movement has caused many new believers to lost faith in God.

Hope movement is neither a charismatic, pentecostal nor even an independent church. It is a profit centered organization. Hope even stopped trying to call itself a church anymore, preferring the word "ministries".

Seniors here hv to do more than quoting verses if they wish to help bro/sis and new believers still at Hope to see the truth. When are we going to realized Hope leaders does not need our help to reform. It's is our bro/sis there who needs our help.

Seniors here may reveal the organization structure of Hope, how are the collected donations accounted for, or whether charitable funds are spent prudently. This will reveal whether there is any conflict of interest such as appointing their own family/friends when handling large projects using charitable funds.

Bob Katter's hat said...

Hello,

It is not easy to address all the issues you have raised as there are dozens of Hope churches across dozens of countries and there probably isn’t one uniform way by which all finances are handled. Of necessity we would all be aware that a church of hundreds or thousands would handle its finances very differently from a church of 20-50 people.

I am guessing your concerns relate to Hope churches in Malaysia. Unfortunately I cannot shed any light on the practices of the Malaysian churches. The unfortunate experience of the Bangkok church is well documented elsewhere. Apart from that the Hope churches in my country of residence were generally well managed financially – there were some exceptions after I left the movement but when I was a Hope member financial management was a non-issue.

What I can say however is that there will be several countries where the funds entrusted to Hope churches would not be regarded as “charitable funds” under any circumstances.

While I was in Hope, the international churches under HGI were anything but profit centres. It may come as a surprise but some Hope churches were pioneered or pastored by leaders who were “tent makers” and in some cases the tithes and offerings of the “tent making” leader accounted for more than 50% of the tithes and offerings of the church at the pioneering stage. In other words, when the churches were at the pioneering stage it was not uncommon to find the leaders paying while serving God and drawing no remuneration from the church. This is one of the reasons I still retain a residual respect for the movement. I hope new churches are still being pioneered in this way.

Finally, there is no magic in adopting the name “ministries”. A name is nothing more than a name and indeed a healthy church by definition has many “ministries”. What really matters of course is what the church does in practice.

The history I have stated above was true and correct a long time ago….

Ex-Hope Member said...

I do agree with Anonymous that there must be transparency and a system of accountability for finances in Hope Malaysia Churches and HIM (I can't speak for other non-Hope Malaysia Churches under HIM) otherwise, there is a possibility of history repeating itself as what happened in Hope Thailand... With transparency and accountability, it will create checks and balances that will prevent abuse of leadership's use of finances...

Years ago, when some in our Hope Church dared to ask what happened to the 20% contribution to HGIM, they were scolded for not trusting their top leaders. Eventually, the bubble did burst...

Anonymous said...

for those Hope movement pioneers to get together to start and built this movement takes a lot of mutual understanding working towards a common agenda. Nothing short of a close friendship even before this movement started would keep them together all these years. If not, why not we chatters here start a movement too?

It is absurd to think the Hope leaders do not know the abuses of one another over the years. Maybe they just strategically choose not to rebuke each other at the members' expense.

And now the leaders want to split with promises of reform? If such reform are sincere, they should at least appoint a leader who are not among the first pioneers. At this rate, maybe they are paving the way for the previous leaders to join again.

Ex-Hope Member said...

It is sad that the many qualities that attracted me to Hope in the first place (despite my many reservations too, I might add) lead to so many abuses... I can only guess this is due to sinful human nature and the strong emphasize of the teaching of submission to leadership under divine authority where no leadership can be questioned which I believe lead to its many abuses...

I believe that a return to biblical plurality of leadership without the sole power and authority bestowed on the title of 'pastor' (where the pastor is treated by a 'pope') may make a difference .

I once heard a non-Hope Bible teacher said that in the New Testament time, the pastor was a function of one of the leaders of the New Testament and not a title as what is understood today...

Bob Katter's hat said...

So many factual inaccuracies and so many conspiracy theories in this thread that need to be addressed to set the historical record straight but that requires a monumental effort and there is so little time in my already busy schedule. "To keep contributing or to cease contributing", that is the question.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob Katter's hat,

You must be from Australia. I do agree with you regarding the many inaccuracies here - I don't know where to start really.

It is surprising that over the years, things have changed so much and so have people's perceptions of Hope. It looks like there has been much abuse - but again each region of Hope does things differently and the problem seems to be in Malaysia. The level of authority abuse is different in different regions. One can say that in the Asian countries, it is high and in the western countries like Australia and Europe, it will be pretty low. So it is hard to contribute properly if you are from a western country because you are in the Asian scenario experiencing what the people are experiencing.

The issue to me seems to be the abuse of authority and of course many side issues stem from it.

You are probably from the Kriengsak era. Many of the bloggers here do not even know him. When Kriengsak (Dr. Joseph or DJ) left the church (officially but unofficially he was still in charge), he stepped out of the Hope public life and many people do not even know he exists.

A lot of the things you wrote about came from that Kriengsak era and many people do not know about it. They cannot even understand it so I believe it is good that you keep on contributing here to set some records straight.

Many bloggers here have been hurt by Hope. They need healing and it is important that in their hurts, it is not muddled by misperceptions and inaccuracies of what Hope originally was meant to be.

So yes, please keep on blogging to share things from your historical perspective.

God bless.

GZ said...

I can tell you it is not just Hope in Malaysia that is like that, Hope in Australia also the same.

Especially Hope Perth. Even though we tried telling the top oceania leaders & Ps Simon that Ps Stephen Pitavanik was misusing the church funds, they chose to cover up for him instead. And see what happen now?

Anonymous said...

FYI to Anonymous who spoke about the first pioneers of Hope movement - most of them have already left the movement - Simon Eng wasn't the first pioneer - he came a bit later.

Paul said...

I think although Simon came later but he and the rest of HIM leaders were trained by DJ or Dr.Joseph the founder therefore, they might sincerely believe in what have been taught in abusing, hurting and manipulating people. Generally speaking, they have inherited the spirit from DJ and this is the biggest problem

Ex-Hope Member said...

I think Anonymous is right in asking Bob Katter's hat to continue to share. I do think it is good that we share our different experiences of Hope from different Hope Churches and different countries, whether good or bad.

For some, I think sharing is a form of therapy as they find that their struggles with Hope were not all that different and they are not alone in their struggles, pain and disappointment... In sharing the good, we may experience healing to know that it was not all bad while we were in Hope. Finally, in sharing, perhaps we can learn from those mistakes and not repeat them and warn others and for those who are still in Hope reading this blog, that change may happen within the existing Hope Churches.

Personally, I believe many of Hope's teaching on unquestioned authority may have come from the Thai culture and easily adopted by those from Asian countries but may not be so readily accepted by those in the Western countries so it may not have been widely practised as much unless the pastor happened to be an Asian.

I remember how an Australian Hope pastor (an Asian) shared how he and a member of his Church went to one of the Asian Hope Church to minister and when his Church member called him by name instead of calling him 'pastor', that member was immediately rebuked by the pastor of the Asian Hope Church. I can well imagine what the authority of that Asian pastor must be like in his Church and how it would be exercised and the people being Asian will be unlikely or even reluctant to challenge him even if he is being authoritarian...

I really hope that through this blog, as people really share their experiences, the leaders of Hope will see the errors of their ways and make amends for the sake of God's flock who are under their care...

It is my prayer that just because we suffer from the mistakes of others, others, especially those who remain in Hope and the new generation of people who will join Hope will not suffer as we had suffered...

Danny said...

The post by bro Bob Katter eight posts before mine about aggressive branch planting only confirm Hope teaching that they are the only true "church" and other "churches" are not from God.

Such aggressive branch planting are fueled more by the desire to see a Hope banner in every part of the world than preaching the gospel. The reason being those areas that these branches are being planted already have another church. I realized many other denominations has also planted churches in areas where there are already churches, and I did not object to such practices, but it's rather absurd to say Hope leaders sacrifice a lot to spread the gospel. It's more accurate in saying they sacrifice to plant their banner, but as attendance grows, so will the donations and the leaders' remuneration. As with any entrepreneurship, there's risk and sacrifice involved before any success, and it's nothing noble really. Furthermore, these Hope leaders are working with less academic qualifications and most importantly, the teachings brought by Hope which as many of us knew already, are far from being sound.

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny,

It is interesting to read your post regarding the motives of Hope leaders. Your view is very cynical. I can agree with you on some points but unfortunately, I cannot agree on all points.

To say Hope is agressive, yes, I agree and I am sure most bloggers here agree as well.

To say that Hope teaches that they are the only true "church" and other "churches" are not from God, is not true. Nowhere in the Hope doctrine (which is from the Bible) do they say that they are the only true church. This would make them a cult straight away. Please show us all here the written facts that they say that - not based on hearsay or emotion. It is some of their practises that could be interpreted that way by people and mind you, it is only in some quarters of Hope. To make a blatant comment like that is not correct.

To say that their motive in planting churches is to make money and build an empire is also very cynical and without any factual basis. I agree with Bob Katter's hat that many of the people who go out to plant churches are tentmakers. Most of them have a profession and well-paid jobs and they plant the church whilst working as well. They do not receive any remuneration from Hope whilst doing this and many times they have to put a big percentage of their own personal income into the church plant. Only a few years later when the church is big enough (if that happens), do they then receive an income from the church. Now if I were to put on my worldly view hat and think like a non-believer, I would wonder why on earth would they do that - to do it eventually for donations from members and a remuneration - that's totally illogical because their professional income would be much more than that.

So they must do it for some other reason other than to get an income. To build an empire and have power, perhaps, but only God can see into the hearts of people and say whether that is so. You left out one reason - perhaps they did it because they truly love God and want to make a change to the world and see more people come to know Jesus. Their methods may be wrong but their hearts may be sincere.

I just want you to look at things perhaps not so cynically.

Anonymous said...

Let me share some thoughts and information regarding the issues you have been discussing recently.

Obviously you will not find any written document or declaration stating that Hope is the only true church of God (even if Hope leaders believe so they would not put it in writing to avoid legal risks of being taken to court).

However the facts are that Hope movement has always targeted Christians from other congregations to join them (you can read the article posted in this website which provide information about complaints from other churches on this regard)and when Hope members leave they are subject to threats (there are many testimonies on that). And these are clear traits of a cult.

With regard to planting churches I have personally seen how this process started and developed in a particular case. First, the Senior Pastor set the target to go to a specific city in other country. Second,he chose some leaders to accomplish the mission. Third, these leaders had no choice but to obey their senior pastor and sacrifice their jobs and savings for the sake of the organizational goal of planting a church where there are plenty of other Christian Churches.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous,

Again, I have to say that you are not providing any evidence as to your allegation that Hope believe they are the only true church. Claiming a legal issue is not true as there is no law (as far as I know) that stops cults from forming.

As for Hope targetting other Christians, I believe that has always been the case as part of their Vision and Philosophy of Ministry is Assimilation. Again, this is carried out in varying degrees in different churches. I believe they are most aggresive in Thailand followed by the Asian Hope churches and is not prevalent in the Australian or European churches (unless pastored by a Thai pastor). That is what got Hope bangkok into a lot of trouble with the Thai Christian churches and that is a very bad practise and hence labelled sheep stealing. But that does not make it a cult.

Here is the definition of a cult http://www.gotquestions.org/cult-definition.html

As with regards to planting churches, again, a lot of movements and churches do that because each church has a different flavour and can reach out to a different group of people.

Hope has its own flavour even though I do not agree with a lot of their methods - I would not go back to it but there are a lot of people who are happy with it and prefer to be there. Are they all being mislead and tricked? Is there a conspiracy theory? I think we must remain objective as far as Hope is concerned.

regards.

Danny said...

It would be pretty stupid for Hope leaders to admit upfront as being the only true "church". But many of their teachings in Malaysia promotes that idea, such as do not criticize the pastor as he is the "lord's anointed", obey/submit to your leaders, overwhelming control over members lives by shepherding, acting separately from other churches in charitable/evangelizing programs, monitoring and afterwards quizzing members' visits to other churches/attending other seminars and threatening/harassing leaving members.

Even in Singapore where the charity are more regulated, people such as Kong Hee (City Harvest) and Joseph Prince (New Creation) does make a pretty good salary, with Joseph Prince even admitted upfront to at least S$500,000 salary a year. Of course not all pastors are in it for the money, but it's not a conspiracy theory rather is a hard fact that if u play your cards right, it's quite a rewarding career. In Hope where it's much more obscure and with tens of branches, many not even thought to have even existed, and with their previous track record, could u blame anyone from being cynical this time around?

The comments here are too kind in relative to the pain Hope has brought to it's members, some previous members suffered from depression, lost faith in church and others, felt betrayed and used.

Some bloggers that suggest changes can happen to the new HIM ministries are in fact risking other bro/sis to be abused all over again. Our pessimism in this movement are based on proven testimonies of it's ex-members. You hv your conscience to answer to if the blood of other bro/sis are at your hands this time.

Anonymous said...

I think I do agree with what Anonymous said about many of the Hope pastors and leaders (I can't say for all) that they really sincerely desired to serve God. I do not think they went in for the money because in those days, many of the pioneers were tentmakers and had to fork out a lot of money from their own pocket to start a seed group. And I can think of others who left better paying and prestigious jobs just to become a full time worker or pastor in Hope...My leaders set such good example of sacrifice that I was convinced and gave much of my years, time and money for Hope...

However, I do agree in their zeal and confidence in the rightness of Hope teachings as taught by Dr. Joseph that led to many abuses all in the name of fulfilling the Great Commission... It is all very sad...

Even right from the beginning, I had reservations with some of the things were done in my Church and then when I started reading from the comments of this blog, I realised that it was common among Hope Churches...

A few years ago, I accidently discovered a website for ex-members of the International Churches of Christ aka the Boston Movement who many claimed to be a cult and I found many similarities between Hope and them but it was so strange because nobody in my Church seemed to feel the way I do and it is relief to know today as a result of this blog that I am not alone in my concerns...

Anonymous said...

Hope the following is of encouragment:

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ."
(2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

Anonymous said...

Although I have left Hope Movement with great pain & hurt but I chose to look at Jesus, especially this Scriptural Verse Lk 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” !!! I believe that all Hope Elders & leadership team they just exactly did like Pharisees unrealizingly or unintentionally and they are so sincere in what they believe, that's why they keep hurting people both members even their own leaders to sustain their kingdom thinking that this is God's will or God's way. I would like to encourage all bro/sis in this blog, please just forgive them; let go and let God come in to take away all our bitterness and make us whole, become a freeman & woman of God. If Hope is of God, it will continue well but if not, God Himself will come to destroy. Like what Gamaliel in Acts 5 says '38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
However, I do not say or judge that Hope is a cult or not, how about allowing God to judge them and just leave them alone.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Anonymous is right, we must forgive and move on as it is true that many Hope pastors and leaders are sincere in believing that the ends justify the means. We leave judgement into God's hands because in Romans 12:14, we were told to "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." And again in Romans 12:17-21 "Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.
On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head."
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

From what I read, Kip Mckean, the founder of the Boston Movement eventually did apologise in his letter of resignation. You can read it in the net.

God bless all of you...

Guo Xiong said...

Dear brethren,

It is encouraging to see brothers and sisters in Christ pointing us back to the word of God for admonition and edification.

Have a blessed weekend.

Regards,
Guo Xiong.

Anonymous said...

I say amen to the last few posts about forgiveness. I want to urge all those who have been hurt including myself to let go.

To keep all that hurt in ourselves will only hurt us, not anyone else. God's way is to let go and to forgive. Otherwise, the Bible says in (Heb 12:14,15 - 14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.) that a root of bitterness will grow in us and only cause pain to ourselves.

Move on and continue to trust God and worship Him.

Anonymous said...

I find the article "When You Are Ready To Try Again: Going Back to Church" by Jeff VanVonderen from the Spirtual Abuse Recovery Resources Website to be helpful. It is too long to put in this blog and if anyone is interested to read it, the link is http://www.spiritualabuse.com/?page_id=53

Hope it is helpful to you all too... Let us move and allow God to heal us... Take care and God bless !

Anonymous said...

will an unbeliever know what he or she is getting themselves into if they are invited by Hope to join their movement?

Hope is trying to bury the past, but is the past really dead? Can people really make informed choices before joining Hope? I'm really surprised people here think there's no cover up.

Anonymous said...

The parable of the Weeds & Wheat (Matthew 13:24-30) comes to mind:
"Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?' "'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?' "'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.'"

God is still in control... We can still pray and God to Romans 8:28...

Anonymous said...

Statements by someone earlier about Hope leaders using their own money to pioneer a seed group might just be true. Yet I could not help feeling curious as how the blogger knew of private financial details about the Hope leaders (without encroaching on privacy) unless the leaders took conscious effort to hint members on it. Matthew 6:1-4 clearly despise such practices.

Then again, who knows whether they really did give.

There are numerous times too when Simon Eng speaks about giving personal properties and money to his movement during his sermons. At last, the purchase and renovation of the new PJ building on the end of 2004 was shady with accidents causing wastage. No explanation are offered as the project are done by people no other than themselves.

Having faith is a virtue, but that does not mean we have to dumb down ourselves when spiritual issues are concerned.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, I cannot speak for other Hope leaders, but the leaders who pioneered the Hope Church that I eventually joined (and has since left) started out by renting a house where their first services started and then as it grew bigger, they rented a shoplot. I believe in the beginning most of the money came from their own pocket as there were very few people joining the Church in those days and even those those who joined them had very low income... When we moved to a bigger shoplot, many of the members contributed money for the purchase of the furniture and other things needed, I was one of them so I know first hand on this... Of course, these days, Hope has changed so much that probably many new pioneering ventures are no longer done that way as they have financial support from their mother Church...

Anonymous said...

The important thing is how much money have you gave to this movement?

Do you feel cheated now that the truth is out?

Bob Katter's hat said...

In answer to your questions, maybe $125,000 to $150,000 (not ringgits) over many years and no I don't feel cheated because it was the Lord's money of which I was only the steward. He is more than capable of looking after all that is His. If it was used properly that's terrific. If it wasn't used properly, He is able to deal with the situation fairly. He is just and nothing escapes His scrutiny.

Anonymous said...

Well said, Bob Katter...

To be fair to Hope, apart from what happened in Hope Bangkok and HGIM or other Hope Churches that I have no knowledge of, I do not believe that all the other Hope Churches misused the funds given by the members...

I did have concerns as to why we had to give 20% to HGIM as our local Church's income was not a lot in the earlier years but had to accept what we were told, i.e. that it was to support mission works elsewhere. My other concern was why we were never shown the accounts on how the monies were used... All we were told was to trust our leaders.

Now knowing that my fears turned out to be true, I do have reservations about giving to HIM unless they can give us the accounts of how funds are used even though this doesnt mean that they cannot be trusted. I believe most of the top leaders of HIM are honourable men and women of God. It is just that since it is proven that without transparency and a system of checks and balance, abuse can happen again and it is my hope that HIM will take steps to implement such a system rather than saying that it will not happen to them. If it happened to Hope founder, a man of whom I had had very high regards, it can happen to anyone...

We cannot do anything about what has happened in the past but we can control or at least minimise what can possibly happen in future. This shows that we are learning from the mistakes of the past, mistakes that others had made...

Anonymous said...

If you eat at a restaurant and got shortchanged a few dollars, why not be kind and consider it a tip for that waiter who are struggling to make ends meet anyway.

If it was use properly, that's terrific.

Anonymous said...

For those who are discouraged, I would like to remind us of the following Scriptures as an encouragement:

Matthew 25:37-40
"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'
"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'

1 Corinthians 15:58
“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”

Hebrews 6:10
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.”

Galatians 6:9-10
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Anonymous said...

My reading of those Biblical verses is that we should keep sharing our resources directly with the needy, especially with who are believers. We do not have to give money to organizations which just want to show up some results and good deeds for their own purposes.

HT said...

Bro Bob Katter has all the right to do what he wants with his own money. But I agree with the views of the bro above.

True it’s the Lord’s money and the Lord blesses it if it’s spent according to God’s will. If bro Bob Katter’s statement is taken into consideration, we could practically support and donate to any organization/people indiscriminately and leave it for God to judge; but then how could you say that you are a good steward of God’s money?

Monetary donations, like attendance and volunteering, is a show of support to a movement or cause. But is the movement you are supporting doing the works of God? The church is not a place or an organization. It's the fellowship of believers. To assume that Hope movement is from God just cause they claim to be is delusional.

Hope movement thrives on such delusional one-sided believe that they are acting on God's behalf, thus has the rights to exercise authority over others, regardless whether those below might think otherwise. This believe is not restricted to Thailand branches. The present HIM movement Simon Eng often claimed himself to be the "Lord's anointed". By claiming so and expecting us to believe it, Simon has taken us as being retarded. Hope Malaysia members must speak up of the abuses to prevent more people from being mislead.

When Jesus are sentenced to be crucified, Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”. Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." Likewise, no church or it's leaders, nobody at all can claim to have any authority just cause they believe so.

Anonymous said...

Dear HT, I am not from Hope KL or PJ and so do not have much dealing with Simon Eng... Could you please enlighten me as to what he did that caused the brother above to become so bitter towards HIM ?

As far as I know of him, he seemed quite honorable...dont know if he was authoritarian, etc...

please enlighten..

Anonymous said...

I think only those who have been to branches lead by Simon Eng could fully comprehend the real situation here.

Some of the abusive practices as described by those from Thailand branches are also practiced here. I personally feel the branch I have been to is authoritative, secretive and manipulative.

Simon has commissioned the renovation of the new PJ building using charitable funds nearing Christmas 2004 without calling for quotes. No sane explanation are given when accidents happen during the renovations. According to himself "the demons did it".

Bob Katter's hat said...

We seem to going on and on about money. Evidence of a determination to establish the absolute truth of 1 Tim 6:10 perhaps? Didn't we reach a consensus earlier that all money is the Lord's?

If it is His money let us move on having faith and confidence that He is all knowing and is the righteous judge of those who are the stewards of His money.

I'm not in the position to form an accurate view of Simon Eng either way but will leave you a few thoughts.

If Simon Eng is as abusive as has been alleged, will he not be judged in a righteous manner by the Lord?

Then again if the allegations about Simon Eng are false, how will the Lord view his accusers?

Bob Katter's hat said...

In response to an earlier blogger I can confirm that I am from the Kriengsak era dating back to the early 1990s and had the privilege of being a part of Hope when it was, to use a common term, “firing on all cylinders”. Eagle Eye is perfectly correct to observe in an earlier blog that something happened to the movement in 1996-1999. With the benefit of hindsight we know that it was probably incorrect for Kriengsak to “hand over the reins” to the movement as he did in around 1997-1998. I have thought long and hard about sharing more about the “good old days” but one of several issues that always holds me back is the tendency of some bloggers to unfairly “cherry pick” historical aspects which support their view of the movement while conveniently ignoring other historical aspects which contradict their view of the movement. Whether you agree with it or not, the plain truth is that Hope is a Christian movement of the Lord. Consistent with all churches and movements it had, and still has, its unique strengths and weaknesses.

Guo Xiong said...

Hi all,

I saw some of the comments and I would like to give some response

As it is written in Scripture 1 Tim 5:17-20 -

"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."

I certainly would not want to bring accusations against elders, leaders and ministers publicly online on a blog and without any proof, and we should follow what Scripture says. Believers should humbly speak the truth in love to your elders if truly they have erred, so as not to bring them down but that they may turn from the errors of their ways. Of course, I am in no position to comment on Simon Eng and the present condition of Dr Kriengsak. Whether the works of Simon Eng, Kriengsak, Hope Church, other Churches and movements and myself are truly of God, these would be revealed at that day, as it is written in Scripture 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 -

"According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire."

Let us be watchful, and take heed of our life and doctrine, lest we (including myself) end up in this situation:

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23)

Regards,
Guo Xiong

Anonymous said...

I guess that many of us are still hurt by whatever happened to us in the Hope Church we came from and needed to air out our greviances...

I can understand this because I find this blog allows us to have the avenue to do that...

However, the other day, as part of my devotional reading, the text was from Matthew 25:14-30 on the Parable of the Talents and I was reminded of how God will still ask us to give an account of how we will use our talents. So, no matter how badly hurt we may be by Hope leaders, God will still expect us to give an account of how we used our life to serve Him. Our salvation is no doubt assured if we have truly accepted Him as Saviour. But we continually need to make Him Lord of our life. Philippians 2:12 tells us that we are to continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (not work for my salvation as some in their zeal to get others to serve, teach that we are to serve or cannot be saved, which is distortation of the truth).

So I just guess we just have to forgive those who hurt us and move on and find other places where we can still serve the Lord. I can't help remembering how Moses lost his right to enter the Promised Land because he got so angry with the people that in disobedience to God, he struck the rock when he should have spoken to it (Numbers 20. If we keep on harping on the wrongs of Hope, it stopped us from moving on for God while those in Hope, though they may be wrong, at least are still trying...

But I guess some of you are like me, have not found a church to settle in and call my own... I can only look to God to lead me... how long, I do not know... Perhaps some of you could care to share with me on this area...

Finally, it would be wonderful if some of us are courageous enough to confront the wrongdoers in the spirit of Matthew 18:15-17. Who would want to do that ? I will truly salute him or her...

Anonymous said...

Hope branches lead by Simon Eng believe the leaders are chosen by God, thus have the right to pressure members into obeying their wishes. Members are subjected to compulsory shepherding and are expected to fully obey their shepherd and leaders. Members are also monitored and quizzed should they are found to be visiting other churches or attending other seminars. Members are pressured to serve in the movement. Senior leaders are without bible college qualifications. Critics are silenced and berated. Even members who chose to leave are threaten and harassed. Life's are broken and many ex-members have mental breakdowns. Ex-members are all too familiar with these practices. Does a movement from God practices all these things?

Of course we all know that every organization has it's strength and weakness. Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day. What else should Hope do to qualify it as a cult? Should someone commit suicide from the pressure exerted by this movement before we realized?

Many comments here kept pounding the leaders from main branch and claim that change will happen to HIM movement. But in reality, Simon would not have risen to the position he is now if he spoke up against the abuses of his leaders then. His leaders would have gotten rid of him long ago. He supported this movement and its practices and his leaders from the main branch.

If you do not agree that fallen leaders be brought down, why not ask Simon to "humbly speak the truth in love to your elders if truly they have erred, so as not to bring them down but that they may turn from the errors of their ways." and reinstall the previous leaders now. But in reality, the leaders from the main branch are ALREADY brought down by accusations and Simon has emerged the winner as the new president with a considerable large movement base with its members and assets. With the abuses of Hope movement so wide spread and well known amongst Christian and as the movement struggles to patch up its tarnished reputations, of course they will attempt to promise and even administered some sort of cosmetic reforms on the surface. It's up to members to believe whether Simon with his tainted track record is trustworthy this time around.

If you truly believe it's the Lord's money why not give it to any movement or person indiscriminately and then let God judge. But then can you say you are a good steward of God's money?

On the matter why Simon have not been judged by God if he have sinned, it's surprising that you not know that the time of judgement for us all has not come yet. Rev 6:15-17

By abusing his authority and abusing the good name of the church and pastors, the gloves has come off long ago. Simon is not to be treated as a pastor but as a crook.

Bob Katter's hat said...

I commend Guo Xiong on his diligent summary of, and commentary on, the applicable scriptural principles. In particular:

“…Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."

I certainly would not want to bring accusations against elders, leaders and ministers publicly online on a blog and without any proof, and we should follow what Scripture says. Believers should humbly speak the truth in love to your elders if truly they have erred, so as not to bring them down but that they may turn from the errors of their ways”

Can I also add my agreement to the words of the following blogger who wrote:

“I was reminded of how God will still ask us to give an account of how we will use our talents. So, no matter how badly hurt we may be by Hope leaders, God will still expect us to give an account of how we used our life to serve Him. Our salvation is no doubt assured if we have truly accepted Him as Saviour. But we continually need to make Him Lord of our life”

and

“So I just guess we just have to forgive those who hurt us and move on and find other places where we can still serve the Lord”.

To this blogger, I would be honoured to share with you a little about moving on in the Lord after Hope. My prayer is that it could in some small way be of assistance to you.

Bob Katter's hat said...

In terms of moving on to a new church after Hope it is a blessing you mentioned Moses in your blog. I found studying the life of Moses and reading Charles Swindoll’s book simply entitled “Moses” very helpful.

In Hope we were trained to be visionary (in a very global sense) and to expect big things from the Lord – really big things. There is also a tendency in Hope to place huge emphasis on the visible fruits of a person’s ministry. In that vein pastors are often assessed by the size of their congregation and the rate at which their church grows. Unit leaders are assessed by the growth of their unit. Care group leaders are assessed by the growth of their care group. You get the idea. There is a strong performance orientated mindset and system. Don’t confuse this with “brainwashing” - it is not the same thing.

Leaving Hope with this performance orientated mindset deeply ingrained in our thoughts and sense of value can be a traumatic experience. Many leave with deep feelings of failure, even feelings of rejection. This includes former pastors and leaders. In most churches that I am aware of, founding or former pastors and leaders have the ability to move on and minister elsewhere, take sabbaticals to take time out with the Lord, reinvigorate their spiritual man through extended communion with the Lord or simply to retire gracefully from the ministry. Importantly the door usually remains open to the former pastors to contribute to the church occasionally – e.g. visit or minister in some way once in a while. Hope can improve in this respect – too many former pastors or leaders leave in shame, never to be seen or acknowledged again and are written out of the historical records of their former churches.

Even if the ingrained performance oriented mindset doesn’t cause problems, the prospect of moving to another church that may have a much smaller and more localised vision can cause some to feel unduly concerned that they have missed the vision or the plan of God for their life. I have known of ex-Hope members feeling guilty because they had nothing to do on a Sunday afternoon that was church related.

Given the above, can I humbly encourage you to undertake a detailed study of the life of Moses, to find the similarities in the circumstances he encountered with the circumstances you find yourself in and to draw strength from knowing that nothing is too hard for God. As you know Moses was raised in privileged surroundings and had a sense of the calling of God on his life before, in a rash moment, he took matters into his own hands and became a fugitive. Not much, in comparative terms, is written of the 40 years Moses spent as a shepherd raising sheep in Midian and learning more about the ways of God. The key is after the 40 years the Moses who emerged from the desert experience in Midian was a vastly changed man – a man who had spoken to the Lord face to face as a man speaks to his friend (Ex 33:11). You would know how mightily the Lord used Moses subsequently apart from another moment of weakness where he struck the rock as you mentioned.

The Lord has not forgotten you. His plans for you are not diminished. His thoughts of you are constant and consistent and best of all His love for you is as strong as it has ever been.

He will lead you to the correct church. It may take some time but during that time you will have much time to practice speaking to Him just as a man speaks to his friend.

Anonymous said...

Is that why when you did not come to cell group, they kept pressuring u to?

Anonymous defender said...

Thank you for sharing, Bob Katter's hat. Those are some good observations. In the end, we need to realize that we are serving God alone. When we leave Hope, the false motives that previously drove us to serve are revealed and we are tested. In my case, I personally discovered that I was motivated (at least in part) by pride, recognition, obligation, and power. After I left, those things were left to wither and dry up and I was left only with my relationship with God. Would I still serve Him with the same dedication?

It was as though a house was burned to the foundation of stone where I could start to rebuild with better materials. I'm not totally without wrong motives now, but I can more easily see those things in myself and am more aware of the danger.

To the anonymous critic of Hope Malaysia: God bless you. In the end, it's up to you how you respond to what you've received from the Lord. You won't give account on behalf of Simon Eng or whomever, just yourself. With the measure you use, it will be used for you.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for Bob Hat. If you truly believe that Hope is a Christian movement of the Lord with just unique weaknessess, why did you leave it? This is really inconsistent.

Anonymous said...

Jesus and The word of God is our firm foundation.The original language of the Bible are in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic. This causes misinterpretations when humans preach what they understand by their reading without cross referencing or refering back to the original language. Definately people would believe what they had read to be true or if what they understand is also confirmed by one or two other people. For example the word sin is hamartia in the book of Romans which is a noun instead of a verb. Misinterpretation of the word sin as verb will cause huge misinterpretation. The languages greek and hebrew can bring different meaning like we all know.Love can be agape etc. If shepherding has its disadvantage then preaching is very important to expound more of Christ love how wide His love about the cross. Faith comes through hearing the word of Christ. And through faith we claim all His promises which is Yes and Amen in Christ.

Anonymous said...

Hope branches in Malaysia are operating under much less scrutiny than its Singapore counterparts. One of the difference is the lack of a church committee which the leader will be accountable to.

The purchase and renovation of the new Hope Petaling Jaya branch on 2004 are suspicious mainly because most of the dealings are conducted by the senior leader himself without setting up any committee to oversees it. Furthermore, attendances numbers are stagnant and there are no signs that the numbers will outgrow the old building any time soon.

Even before any hint of moving to the new building are announced, members are already asked to pledge a certain sum of money. Such move already afforded the senior leader to predetermine whether it is a worthwhile endeavor. The location of the new building also appeared to be predetermine even before the pledge without any open consensus among members. The duration of time between the pledge and the building purchase is too long, so long as any serious seller would not have waited for so long, as they could have sold it to others. It's possible that the new building is owned by themselves.

The senior leader has personally announced on stage that the renovation of the new building will be done by his own brother. The conflict of interest in this dealing is starkly obvious. It doubtful whether he will act fairly should the renovation went awry. At last, it did went awry with the roof collapsing. And yeah, he claimed that the "demons did it".

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob Katter's hat,

Thank you for kindly sharing with me your experiences and your kind words. You have no idea how encouraging your sharing is to me.

Strangely, this morning, the preaching from the church (non-Hope)I was atttending, was from the text, Exodus:4:10-18, on God's call to Moses (to bring out the Hebrews out of Egypt) and I told myself, this is a good text but as the preacher shared on the need serve God, I find myself not able to listen because I know all these but when will I be able to serve again ?

Thank God, from what you shared, there will still be life after Hope. You are quite right, there have been times that I do feel guilty and wondering if I have done the right thing to leave Hope and whether I should return... After, I have spent so many years and apart from my job, I would say most of my life was centred around Hope so you can imagine that people like me would feel lost after leaving Hope... I will try to look for the book you have recommended me. Hopefully can find it soon...

Out of curiousity, wondering why you left Hope ? Care to share ?

Anonymous said...

I am troubled by the sharing by the blogger that Ps. Simon Eng actually appointed his own brother to do the renovation of the building of new Hope Petaling Jaya branch. It is no wonder that there is greviances arising out of this...

With due respect to him, I would have thought that as man who came from a professional background, he should have known better than to do that because this conflict of interest can give opportunity to give rise to suspisions... Was there no one leader in the Hope Churches in PJ or KL who could have alerted him to this or the potential for abuse to arise ?

Many of these leaders come from professional backgrounds and should have advised him on this...

Anonymous said...

I find the open letter "Honest to God" by Henry Kriete (February 2, 2003)(http://www.reveal.org/)to International Churches of Christ leaders, worth reading as he put down the problems in the Boston Movement to 4 areas, namely, as he wrote it: "Our corrupted hierarchy,
Our obsession with numbers,
Our shameful arrogance (the cause/by-product of 1 and 2)and
Our seduction by mammon." Perhaps their problems and magnitudes cannot be compared to Hope, but many are similar. For example, he wrote "Perhaps more than all else, our discipleship hierarchy with all its 'little leaders' has caused more damage, heartache, and criticism than any other thing. Among the tens of thousands of untrained and 'unspiritual' disciples, advice has become permission, opinions have become orders, and the dignity and 'right' of our God given freedom has been denied..."

Perhaps HIM can learn from the Boston Movement and make the necessary fundamental changes otherwise, though no longer under Hope, it will still go the same way as the old Hope or the Boston Movement...

Anonymous said...

Just want to show some thoughts:

HIM must change. It is no use having cosmetic changes to in order to show its dissociation with the previous Hope. The problems leading to the split of the Hope Movement showed that there are fundamental things wrong with the system itself. The leadership of HIM have shown tremendous courage to make the decision to break from Hope Movement when it leaders acted unbiblically. However, the setting up of this blog by Eagle Eyes showed that there are more problems within Hope Movement than the two major ones (adultery and misuse of funds) that led the Hope split.

Because of this, when HIM starts, HIM must study its roots which was from the Hope Movement and study the major problems in Hope otherwise, though HIM have a new name and new cosmetics, it is virtually run under the old system and eventually, will lead back to the same old problems which can lead to abuses.

We all know that even if we call ourselves a Christian does not make us one. We need a born again experience and that happens when we repent. Perhaps HIM also needs a 'born again' experience but before that happens, HIM may need a 'repentance' experience. It can only have a 'repentance' experience if it is humble and courageous enough to examine itself and do away with the ills of the system instead of thinking "we are the best"…

Some of the areas that bear looking at:

1. the shepherding system which is actually a system of control as it is a system of hierarchy;
2. the 'divine authority' teaching that has led to authoritarian leadership and other abuses;
3. the adulation of leadership that have lead to abuses of power;
4. legalism where together with the shepherding system and divine authority teaching, man-made rules are equated to God's Will.

These are just some of the things I can think of. Perhaps others can add. Hope claims to be biblical, perhaps, it should question whether the above practices are truly biblical in the life of the New Testament teachings.

Bob Katter's hat said...

To the best of my knowledge Hope has always taught and still teaches that care groups should be interesting and a blessing to attend and relevant to meeting the needs of the people. In other words, a care group leader should serve, focus on the positive and be a facilitator to help others draw near to the Lord. I can’t recall any senior Hope leader or pastor encouraging or condoning the application of pressure on others to compel them to attend care group meetings. Such tactics would be pointless and counter-productive. On one hand Hope does train and release into ministry some youthful and less experienced care group leaders and it is conceivable youthful zeal may manifest itself in immature ways. On the other hand we should bear in mind that there is a distinct issue in some Asian cultures which makes it very difficult for some to say “no” or “enough”. Too many meekly say “yes” when they really want to say “no”. Failing to speak one’s mind truthfully can mislead. There is an art and skill in learning how to say “no” appropriately. If we balance all the competing factors (such as these) against each other, we will probably reach a more balanced view of reality.

Without being a “church hopper”, I have attended quite a number of churches in a number of cities during my lifetime. There have been independent churches, a Christian City Church (now C3 Churches), Assemblies of God churches and Hope churches. My present church is not from any of these denominations. All of my old churches were part of the church of Jesus Christ and I have no bitterness towards any of those churches. In fact I sometimes think of my old churches longingly with a desire that I be granted the opportunity to visit again. Each of my old churches (Hope churches included) had different ministry strengths and weaknesses. I wouldn’t say that the Hope churches had “unique” strengths and weaknesses, just plain old strengths and weaknesses. Just because I left Hope does not mean I take the view that Hope is not a part of the church of Jesus Christ. By the same token, I’m equally convinced that my old Assemblies of God churches are part of the church of Jesus Christ.

As to why I left Hope, the time had come to move on and serve in a different ministry setting. I left with the blessing and prayers of the pastor and the prayers of the saints in that Hope church. If you decide to leave your Hope church, I would appeal to you to leave with the blessings and prayers of the pastor and the prayers of the saints.

Bob Katter's hat said...

A person contributing in the chat box seems annoyed by some of the things I have shared. It is alleged I am lying to the people here and leading you to the slaughter. Surely sharing with one blogger generally about moving on to a new church after Hope is not leading that blogger to the slaughter? My critic is entitled to an opinion of course. Hopefully he or she respects the fact that I am by the same token entitled to a different opinion. Frankly I’m not sure if, how or when I was appointed to lead any of you! There are others here who are more qualified. One thing I am certain of is that the majority of the people here have the common sense and wisdom to discern between the truthfulness or the error of my ways. By all means do subject the things I have shared to the scrutiny of the Lord’s Word.

Bob Katter's hat said...

HT and another blogger have written:

“…but then how could you say that you are a good steward of God’s money?”

and

“But then can you say you are a good steward of God's money?”

Please have the good grace to let us know where in my previous blogs did I proclaim myself to be a good steward of money? If your comments have been misinterpreted, then perhaps you could kindly clarify for us what you meant when you wrote those words?

Bob Katter's hat said...

I could share with you in detail how the early pioneers and pastors of international Hope churches passed up on potentially lucrative careers to pioneer new churches. Some were working in senior executive roles and resigned to go into the ministry (Simon Eng was one of them). Many others were recent university graduates fresh out from campus who decided to heed the call of the Lord over their lives and make the commitment and sacrifice to help plant His churches before securing their first job. Let me assure you that their decisions to church plant were not financially profitable. If making money was their life ambition they would have been much better off financially giving Hope a wide berth. Some of the comments posted on this blog do the memory of such fine brothers and sisters much dishonour.

Anonymous said...

Certainly Bob has the right to keep silent about the real issues that motivated him to leave the Hope movement long time ago. As he mentioned before it seems that he is afraid of telling the truth because of the danger of other using his story to make the case against the Hope movement. In any case it would be fair to say that Bob experience with Hope was rather unusual: he did not have an Asian Senior Pastor and when he left there were no claims against him because of his lack of commitment.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bro Bob Katter,

I can confirm that I am repeatedly persuaded to come on sundays and cell group at Hope Movement KL although I rejected them many times. At last they resorted to harassment by scolding me.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bro Bob Katter,

I do not know which Hope movement branch you are from. Maybe you are not aware of the situation at other branches. I can confirm and will stand out to prove that there's really a lot of pressuring and harassment involved at Hope KL when members miss a sunday or cell group. If other bro/sis from Hope KL is here maybe they could concur with my statements. Dear Bro Bob, please believe that many of us are pressure to the point many have mental breakdowns. Please don't deny us the truth.

Anonymous said...

I do believe what Bob Katter said about his experience with Hope is true but unfortunately, what the others shared about some of their unfortunate experiences in Hope KL is true for the Hope Church I was from, though not the the extent of mental breakdown (will the blogger verify whether this actually happened in Hope KL ?)

Those Hope leaders who subscribe strongly to Hope's teaching do put pressure on people to join activities. How they do it is by showing their displeasure or "black face". In this way, this is also forcing people already especially when you disagree with them on issues... Other ways is implying that you are not putting God first if you do attend all Church activities. No wonder practically most of the days of each of my week was consumed with Hope - the whole day of Sunday morning in service, meetings afternoon, leaders' meetings on Monday or Tuesday evening, Wednesday care group, Friday prayer meeting, the free days for visiting in addition to a full time busy job working from Monday to Saturday while also preparing for minstries such as Word For Life and preaching. When I think back, how did I survive all these all those years, I do not know, except it must have been by the grace of God.

Actually, I didn't mind doing all for God because I have the joy in serving God even when I was tired but when I had to face oppressive leaders, it was too much to bear... During those days before I made the decision to leave Hope, I started to feel numb, I started even asking if I believe what I was preaching... Later, after I left, I read a book and discovered that what I had experienced was burnout...

I just don't know what to say... Hope leaders may be noble with good intentions to serve God but when they become oppressive and want to control you and your life in their zeal to achieve results, is this is really God's way ? Can you guys enlighten me on this ?

Bob Katter's hat said...

"...when they become oppressive and want to control you and your life in their zeal to achieve results, is this is really God's way?"

No. It is most certainly not the way of the Lord.

Some very fair comments have been made in the last day or so. Please be assured that I have no wish to deny anyone the truth. If you have had a bad experience, that experience and the truth deserves to be validated not knocked.

The balancing concern is also to ensure that other factual inaccuracies, defamatory remarks, gratuitous accusations and wild conspiracy theories do not go unanswered.

I assume we all recall the “being” that scripture describes as “the accuser of the brethren”?

Bob Katter's hat said...

“As he mentioned before it seems that he is afraid of telling the truth because of the danger of other using his story to make the case against the Hope movement. In any case it would be fair to say that Bob experience with Hope was rather unusual: he did not have an Asian Senior Pastor and when he left there were no claims against him because of his lack of commitment.”

Thanks for sharing this. There is no fear on my part in terms of telling the truth because the truth will set us free. The first concern is that there are some bloggers here who “cherry pick” parts of the truth that support their conspiracy theories (like Hope being a profit making centre run by entrepreneurs) while ignoring the other parts of the truth which run counter to their conspiracy theories (like leaders and pastors who actually sacrificed financially to establish the Lord’s church). The second concern is that telling the whole truth too openly may lead to the unmasking of “Bob”.

I can think of about 3 leaders in the movement who have abused church finances. All of them now appear to have been subjected to some form of discipline either directly or indirectly (by indirectly I mean possibly by the Lord in His ways). I accept that my views on the indirect discipline are pure conjecture and could be wrong. Against those 3 leaders, I know of dozens of leaders in the movement (past and present) who have actually sacrificed financially to establish the Lord’s church.

By all means let us learn from the mistakes of those 3 leaders. Let us not however become so fixated on them and their sin that we, in an unbalanced manner, ignore the diligent service and sacrifice of many others.

I had a good (sincere) laugh at the reference to “Asian Senior Pastor”. Aren’t the vast majority of Hope senior pastors “Asian” no matter which continent we refer to? On a serious note, there is much to share on how Hope functions outside Asia and the effectiveness of its ministry to non-Asians. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

Thanks for all your sharing. If you want to remain anonymous, you should not use a name such as Bob Katter's hat as I know which Hope church you are most possibly from straight away.

On another note, I do agree with you that there are some bloggers here who have wild conspiracy theories, and there are others who have forgotten about the fruits of the Holy Spirit.

But there are many here who are sincere and who have been hurt and therefore need a forum to get some form of healing or closure. That is a good thing as long as they retain their Christian integrity and remember that God is not only a loving Father but a judge as well and we all will be accountable for the things that we say.

On another note, referring to your reference of 3 leaders who have abused church finances, I can only think of one and that is the founder. Who are the other 2? Can you please specify?

Anonymous said...

Yes, I quite agree with what Bob Katter's hat and the blogger after him, had shared. Though we may be anonymous or assume a pseudonym, we need to be mindful that God knows who we are and it will be revealed (Luke 8:17 "For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.")
What they shared also bring to mind Matthew 12:36 "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken."
With this in mind,as believers, let us uphold truth and see that it is good enlighten those who do not know the truth as it seems that some bloggers do come to small wrong conclusions from the comments that have been posted...

Ephesians 4:29 also tells us "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

In view of this, can we use this blog to support and build each other up as hurting ex-Hope members rather than hurting each other as I dont think there is any support group existing that can help ex-Hope members...Correct me if I am wrong in thinking this if such a group does exist...

Actually, after reading some of the comments, especially from those who formerly were from Hope KL/PJ, I was thinking it would be good if there is some real support groups for ex-Hope members who can help those who need support or counselling especially those who may be suffering from depression after leaving Hope since some blogger claimed that some of the members of Hope KL experienced mental breakdown.

Anonymous said...

Dear all,

Perhaps the time has come to consider to leave our current anonymity status and reveal our real names. I think this would be an important step in the direction of moving forward out of the Hope corporate culture of fear and intimidation.

Anonymous said...

Coercing members to take part in activities organized are very prevalent in Hope movement. Many bloggers and even the owner of this blog concur on such practices. By looking at the lives turned upside down by this movement, how could Bro Bob instead blame that it's because members do not know how to say NO??? who are the victim here? who are the accuser of our brethren? are Bob suggesting that these Hope movement victims the accuser of our brethren? how could you say that?

Please brother, young lives are broken, faith are shattered, all for the advancement of a movement. It is worthwhile? Please bro and sis here, have mercy on new believers now at Hope. Don't let them take the path many of us has taken before!

Anonymous said...

Dear Bro Bob and other bro/sis,

Please believe that leaders in Hope PJ do intimidate members to get involved in activities organized. Such monitoring and heavy handed control over members which are traits of a cult are almost unheard of in traditional churches or even in evangelical movements yet are prevalent in Hope movement.

Although the senior leaders do not often attempt to pressure members personally, but senior leaders do teach and even encourage proxies such as cell leaders and shepherds to carry them out. Young leaders could fall victim while the senior leaders are able to keep their hands clean as these fear inducing practices could legally constitute harassment or threats if clumsily executed.

At present, Hope PJ does hold an event where the cell leaders who manage to recruit the most new members are honored as if its an award show. With such encouragement given to proxies and when practically your standings in the movement depends on the numbers of members you manage to recruit, abuses are bound to happen and knowingly allowed to happen, all for the sole aim of advancing in numbers. One only need to check with those still at Hope PJ to confirm these practices.

What makes the Hope leaders so eager to recruit more members and keep them at their movement? Whether we like it or not, undeniably the movement's income is almost entirely tied to its membership numbers. Are you able challenge this fact? Hope movement often target the unbelievers, as this group are much more vulnerable since they have little exposure to a real church environment thus are easily brainwashed into the Hope movement culture.

If the bro/sis that posted on June 15, 2011 6:45am felt that Hope leaders are pressuring members to take part in activities even though he/she already appeared to be very active according to his/her own statements, I dread to think what these Hope leaders would do to less active members.

Service to the Lord can be done in many ways and certainly are not restricted to planting a church or being a pastor. It is not the choice that these Hope pioneers make to plant a movement that is worthy of admiration, but rather is the fruits of their choice, which many here differs whether it’s good or bad.

Compared to taking up an “employment” by pursuing a career in the corporate world, or as a pastor in another established movement, "enterprising" a movement anew and sitting at its helm do offer more “flexibility” in terms of remuneration and relevant academic/experience qualifications. It has the potential to be much more lucrative than a corporate career as evidenced by some charismatic leaders, faith healers and televangelist with much less scrutiny from an employer (i.e. bosses or church superiors).

One example of the senior leader profiting from such "enterprising" can be trace to the 2004 renovation of the new PJ branch which are awarded to his own brother. The charity is run with an authoritarian style as if its a family business. Who knows what other large and profitable projects are awarded to their families or friends. One could counter-check this fact with long time members still at Hope PJ now. Why are accusation after accusation meted out against the main branch leaders unrelentingly but HIM leaders are shielded?

I do not see why these alternate views are labeled “conspiracy theories” as there are countless times during the history of Christianity the church are abused for personal gains. There are countless examples in the past and present of leaders of the lowest to the highest positions is revealed as a fraud. With so many comparison available, could you seriously say it is "conspiracy theories"?

Anonymous said...

Actually conspiracy theories are held by Hope movement advocates who think that all the evidence presented here of cultist/abusive practices corresponds to just isolated cases or mistakes made by some young leaders.

Anonymous said...

Dear brothers/sisters in Christ,

I am truly so sorry to read what you guys went through in Hope KL/PJ and my heart goes out to you guys because when you share, it brought back the painful memories of what I went through too...

Perhaps we should us give the benefit of doubt to Bob Katter's hat as he may have been more fortunate than us and did not have those experience or it could be, perhaps, I presume, he being older than us (I beg your pardon, Bob Katter's hat, if you are younger than us) and a Westerner, he is able to withstand people's pressure and say 'no' without feeling guilty nor pressured...

Unfortunately, I was not strong enough. I just complied year in year out. I experienced those 'black face' incidences from the pioneer of the Church, a lot of berating, until I dread going to care group...I literally dragged my feet as I got near the house and I didnt have the courage to find a reason for not going for care group...

Eventually, thank God, the pioneer went on job transfer...

But another came, same treatment after the new person was in the Church for some time and given full authority by the pastor in charge of the area. I remembered one time when I decided to go for dinner with some friends because I had to change the date twice before but unfortunately, it turned out that the new date clashed with another event that cropped up later... I was shown displeasure at the next meeting which was a prayer meeting and asked why I did not turn up for the other event... This was a prayer meeting and you can imagine my state of mind after that...

We were encouraged not have other activities during prayer meeting night but one night, I thought that since I hardly ever missed prayer meeting, surely it is ok if I just go for a dinner this once... And I was given the 'black face'... Can you imagine how I feel ? I just wonder what kind of Church this is... To think of all the days I have sacrificed and public holidays I have given up (the only time I could have some relaxing time with my family members) and the years of being faithful in attending Wednesday care group meeting, prayer meetings, leaders' meeting, not to mention other time I have spent for Church matters, surely, it is not too much to excuse myself from one of these meetings...but no, commitment must be total... and this is to Church and not our Lord Jesus Christ... I believe they are in error because I think they equate commitment to Church activities is commitment to God...(I actually heard Dr.Kriengsak laughingly said in one of the Leaders' Conference that we are to get the people so busy with activities that they have no time to sin and it seemed the leaders of Hope are doing that literally...)

People have become so consumed with Church activities that I seriously doubt many have time to do Quiet Time... Is commitment to Church activities actually commitment to God ?

They forgot that they are in full time service and have all the time in the world but they forgot we are people who actually have a full time job and we are doing all these voluntarily without pay...

Seriously, there have been times when I really missed my brothers and sisters in Hope and missed serving God and often thought of going back but when I remembered how I was treated, I just wonder if it is wise...

Anonymous said...

By the way, it seems that most of the comments on abuses come from Hope Malaysia... Does anyone know whether these abuses happen elsewhere in other Hope Churches such as Hope Singapore, other Asian Hope Churches beside Thailand and the western Hope churches ?

Perhaps Bob Katter's hat (I presume that you are in one of the Western Hope Churches, correct me if I am wrong) may care to share whether these things happened at your Hope Church while you were there... unless you were not there long enough...

Anonymous said...

I dont know but somehow when I think of how legalistic Hope has been, I think of what our Lord Jesus said in Matthew 23:15 of those converted by the teachers of the law and Pharisees, becoming "twice as much a son of hell" as they are.

Somehow, when after joining Hope, one seems to lost one's freedom to his/her life...

In fact one of my friend who left Hope much much earlier, even confessed to me that she was reluctant to invite her friends to Church because she didnt want them to go through what she went through...

This should have told me much, much earlier that something was already very wrong with Hope in those days... it was already so oppressive...

Anonymous said...

Dear brothers and sisters,

I would like the bro/sis above to know that the pressuring technique used by Hope movement is just too overwhelming and he/she is not weak for not being able to say NO. It is these Hope movement leaders who should be ashamed of what they have done to these young people.

As Hope movement is presently regrouping in Malaysia under a new name, there is an urgency to reveal its abusive practices to prevent new believers from going through what we have gone through before. We could write to Christian fellowship in our respective locality to alert them of Hope practices. We could show this blog to our friends still at Hope and advice them to at least try and visit another church for a few times. As long as there's still shepherding/discipleship at Hope, nothing will change, no matter who's the leader.

Why hasn't Simon Eng speak up against the abuses over the years when he's at Hope? Why did Simon choose to split now when the main branch has become a liability to him? We cannot trust you anymore Simon, the blood of our bro/sis is at your hands.

Anonymous said...

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I find a measure of comfort in the following verses. Though about the shepherds of Israel, I am sure God loves us as much...

Ezekiel 34:1-12
“The word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Woe to the shepherds of Israel who only take care of themselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them. "'Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them. "'For this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.”

In the New Testament, Romans 8:31-39 can encourage us if we find that we cannot relate to the verses from Ezekiel...

God bless you all, have a wonderful weekend and may God speak to you and give you much comfort as you go to Church this Sunday...Take care...

Anonymous said...

Romans 8:31-39 says:

“What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Anonymous said...

Anyone who urges you to accept unbiblical teachings—i.e., teachings that cannot be substantiated in scripture or are even contrary to scripture, should be disqualified as a legitimate teacher and you are freed from any obligation to follow or submit to their leadership.

Anonymous said...

Markers of a false prophet, apostle and teachers based on II Cor. 11, Jn. 5:43-44, and Acts 20:29-30:


· They are called “deceitful workers” (II Cor 11:13)

· They turn people into their own personal servants or enslave them to working for their vision. The people who follow them live a life of bondage to rules and regulations. "a man bring you into bondage" (II Cor 11:20)

· They will manipulates you out of money and use you as their own human resource.” if he makes profit out of you" (II Cor 11:20)

· False apostles will lead you to feel you will be judged by God if you leave their church, they will use fear tactics to make you their mental prisoner. “if he makes you prisoners" (II Cor 11:20)

· A false apostle will seek to elevate his own status, rank and reputation. He will make sure it is known that he is in a position over you. He may tell you he is in a special position as Gods anointed and appointed spokesman. “if he puts himself in a high place" (II Cor 11:20)

· A false apostle will insult you, shame you and lay guilt trips on you. "if he gives you blows on the face" (II Cor 11:20)

·They come in there own name and shift loyalty to them and their vision. How many times have you heard “what would Wayman do?” (Jn. 5:43-44)

· They will try to make Gods sheep their own, they attempt to draw disciples after themselves. (Acts 20:29-30)

Anonymous said...

Recently, I was reading an article and I was struck by what the author said as he pointed out that the greatest commandment is to love God (Matthew 22:37)and Jesus even said in Matthew 22:38 that this is the first and greatest commandment and the second commandment is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

However, when I think of it, Hope leaders seem to make fulfilling the Great Commission to be the greatest commandment where people are forced to join all activities... Will people be able to practise putting God first when people are so busy and consumed with Church activities and minstries that people no time for quiet time for God, especially the lay people who also have a busy job working Monday to Saturday ? Where is the commandment of 'loving your neighbour as yourself' when they berate people, give them black face, give them guilt trips all in the name of commitment to fulfil the Great Commission ? I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 which say:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” It seems to my understanding of these verses that whatever so spiritual things that we do, even in God's name but have no love, Paul said "I GAIN NOTHING !"

In the book of Revelation, our Lord Jesus rebuked the Church at Ephesus for forsaking their first love (Revelation 2:4) despite the fact that our Lord said in verse 2 that He knew their deeds, their hard work and perseverance... They were so busy with their deeds and hard works but they have neglected their relationship with God...

Hope's demands that members have a lifestyle of commiting to all Church activities which though may be showing commitment to the Church can actually give rise to the rivalry of fulfilling the first and greatest Commandment of loving God first...

God must come first and not Church activities... We must love Christ, the Head and then love the Church, which is His body...

Anonymous said...

Recently, I was reading an article and I was struck by what the author said as he pointed out that the greatest commandment is to love God (Matthew 22:37)and Jesus even said in Matthew 22:38 that this is the first and greatest commandment and the second commandment is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'

However, when I think of it, Hope leaders seem to make fulfilling the Great Commission to be the greatest commandment where people are forced to join all activities... Will people be able to practise putting God first when people are so busy and consumed with Church activities and minstries that people no time for quiet time for God, especially the lay people who also have a busy job working Monday to Saturday ? Where is the commandment of 'loving your neighbour as yourself' when they berate people, give them black face, give them guilt trips all in the name of commitment to fulfil the Great Commission ? I am reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 which say:
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.” It seems to my understanding of these verses that whatever so spiritual things that we do, even in God's name but have no love, Paul said "I GAIN NOTHING !"

In the book of Revelation, our Lord Jesus rebuked the Church at Ephesus for forsaking their first love (Revelation 2:4) despite the fact that our Lord said in verse 2 that He knew their deeds, their hard work and perseverance... They were so busy with their deeds and hard works but they have neglected their relationship with God...

Hope's demands that members have a lifestyle of commiting to all Church activities which though may be showing commitment to the Church can actually give rise to the rivalry of fulfilling the first and greatest Commandment of loving God first...

God must come first and not Church activities... We must love Christ, the Head and then love the Church, which is His body...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the bro/sis sharing above,

May the bro/sis continue to learn and continue to teach. May God's guidance be with him and lead him to the truth.

Bob Katter's hat said...

“But there are many here who are sincere and who have been hurt and therefore need a forum to get some form of healing or closure. That is a good thing as long as they retain their Christian integrity and remember that God is not only a loving Father but a judge as well and we all will be accountable for the things that we say.”

I agree. Those who have been hurt need healing, closure and are entitled to a helping hand. I also agree with the need to retain Christian integrity. There is a saying used by counselors that “hurt people hurt people”.

”On another note, referring to your reference of 3 leaders who have abused church finances, I can only think of one and that is the founder. Who are the other 2? Can you please specify?”

I have thought long and hard about it but am unable to find any scriptural principle that would allow me to name the 3 leaders publicly. If scripture permitted me to elaborate I would do so without hesitation – however this is not the case. For this reason please accept my apology but I don’t think I am able to specify.

Bob Katter's hat said...

“Ephesians 4:29 also tells us "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen."

Spot on. It should be of concern to us that those who are intent on bringing accusations against Hope and Simon Eng have so far failed to bring scriptural correction to each other or to disassociate themselves from some of the more colourful language that has been used in this blog. Colourful language which reasoned bloggers like John have politely suggested have no place in this blog.

I am in favour of the freedom of speech by all means. It needs to be appreciated however in the Lord’s eyes Christians do not have an absolute “right” to speak anything as and when they choose. Scriptures like Ephesians 4:29 water down the Christians’ so-called “right” to freedom of speech.

“In view of this, can we use this blog to support and build each other up as hurting ex-Hope members rather than hurting each other as I don’t think there is any support group existing that can help ex-Hope members…”

This is a terrific suggestion. It should be the proper focus of this blog.

Bob Katter's hat said...

“Coercing members to take part in activities organized are very prevalent in Hope movement.”

It is possible that you have attended many Hope churches in many countries. However unless that happens to be the case It is fair that you confine your comments to the specific Hope church or churches in which you were involved and no other churches.

"Many bloggers and even the owner of this blog concur on such practices. By looking at the lives turned upside down by this movement, how could Bro Bob instead blame that it's because members do not know how to say NO??? who are the victim here? who are the accuser of our brethren? are Bob suggesting that these Hope movement victims the accuser of our brethren? how could you say that?"

The owner of this blog appears to be giving you the opportunity to express your opinion which seems pretty fair to me. Please re-read my previous blog carefully. By sharing a single aspect of the truth – namely that there are some people who say one thing when they mean the exact opposite, can it truthfully be said that I am blaming these people for any predicament they may find themselves in? Did I not also in another blog write:

“No. It is most certainly not the way of the Lord”?

Nor did I label anyone in this blog as being “the accuser of the brethren”. That will become apparent when you re-read my previous blog carefully. To tell the truth I was hoping (against reasonable hope perhaps?) that no one would respond to that rhetorical question. Another principle taught by counselors is “never miss a good reaction”. So the way a person reacts to the question I posed in regards to “the accuser of the brethren” question could be indicative of the state of their conscience. Please note I am not saying “is indicative of the state of their conscience” but “could be indicative of the state of their conscience”. The “good reaction” can only be analyzed by the person who reacted.

In the same blog, I wrote:

“Please be assured that I have no wish to deny anyone the truth. If you have had a bad experience, that experience and the truth deserves to be validated not knocked.”

I don’t wish to criticize you mercilessly but your post does seem to validate my concern about “cherry picking” by bloggers. If you accept without question the comments I have made in my blogs which support your view of Hope, then I ask that you give proper consideration to my other comments which do not necessarily support your view of Hope. Either I am blogging truthfully or I am not.


"Please brother, young lives are broken, faith are shattered, all for the advancement of a movement. It is worthwhile? Please bro and sis here, have mercy on new believers now at Hope. Don't let them take the path many of us has taken before!”

Unless you have attended many Hope churches in many countries it is fair that you confine your comments to the specific Hope church or churches in which you were involved and no other churches.

Bob Katter's hat said...

To the anonymous blogger on June 17, 2011 at 1:38 AM:

I do respect your opinions. Having not been to Hope PJ in my life I’m not able to verify any of the aspects you have shared from my own personal knowledge. My stated position is not to deny anyone the truth so that if you have had a bad experience, then that experience and the truth deserve to be validated not knocked.

I have always been a strident critic of what Hope terms (or used to term) “The Best of the Best” which I assume is similar to the “cell leaders’ award show” you described. I also agree that there can be an unhealthy obsession with numbers when trying to work out whether a person demonstrates leadership potential. You may not believe it but I’ve actually written a couple of points in support of your world view!

You are correct that there is a correlation between the movement’s tithes and offerings and membership numbers. The same is true for all churches generally. If churches run of money, the church property will be sold sooner or later. There are too many former church buildings in England for example which are now being used as mosques. Is this an outcome which brings glory to God? The plain and simple fact is that Hope (like the majority of God fearing evangelical churches) reaches out to the lost and seeks to obey the Great Commission. Those who have not received Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour need to be “targeted” (to use your words) to ensure that they receive the opportunity to accept or reject Jesus. I make no apology for that statement. If we ignore unbelievers, we behave unfairly towards them. On the other hand if the Hope movement were to target believers only and ignore unbelievers, would the movement not be open to accusations of “sheep stealing”? Not that I believe obsessively in the term “sheep stealing”. Peter Wagner wrote about it in his book “Church Planting for a Greater Harvest”.

You are correct that for some being a pastor is lucrative. The overwhelming majority of pastors do not attain that “exalted” status. These are the pastors whose names we never hear of, who don’t receive preaching invitations to major conventions or first class airfares and whose names cannot be “googled”. One of my former pastors ended up as a food seller – something unthinkable in the days I attended his church when it had a congregation in the hundreds and signs that it was going places. And it was a well known church movement. A movement which is still doing well today.

Bob Katter's hat said...

Also to the anonymous blogger on June 17, 2011 at 1:38 AM:

Unless Hope has changed that much since I left the movement, it is anything but a profit making centre run by entrepreneurs. Let me give you some specific examples. And these are examples of pastors or ex-pastors whom I have much time and respect for as being brothers and sisters who put their whole heart into serving the Lord without monetary gain:

Hope Mandaue and associated churches in the Philippines – All churches were cash strapped and left the movement. No profit there for the pastor.
Hope Colombo and Negombo – Churches were cash strapped and left the movement. No profit there for the pastors.
Hope Stockholm – Don’t believe that the church ever reached 10 people in terms of attendance. The church had a wonderful pastor with a great spirit. I look forward to meeting him in heaven. No profit there for him.
Hope Frankfurt – Church never took off in terms of numbers. The church was led by a sacrificial couple who gave a lot to plant on difficult soil. Their reward is in heaven as there was no earthly profit.
Hope London (the original) – This church was led by a wonderful couple who gave their all to establish the foundation of the Hope London church today. They gave of their time and money amongst other things to minister to needy members. No profit there for them but there will be a great reward in heaven.
Hope Melbourne – Probably the first international church. Senior pastor left his job early on to serve fully and full time. When he left the church (which numbered in the hundreds) he experienced great difficulty getting re-employed. No profit there for him but there is a great reward awaiting him in heaven.

Why do I praise these servants of the Lord so highly? For one reason primarily, they were available for the Lord and willing to serve.

There are other examples, but perhaps the selected examples above better explains my use of the term “conspiracy theory” in regards to the assertion that the movement’s churches are profit making centre run by entrepreneurs.

Bob Katter's hat said...

Hmmm! Having much trouble putting up my last comment for the day.

Bob Katter's hat said...

“Perhaps we should us give the benefit of doubt to Bob Katter's hat as he may have been more fortunate than us and did not have those experience or it could be, perhaps, I presume, he being older than us (I beg your pardon, Bob Katter's hat, if you are younger than us) and a Westerner, he is able to withstand people's pressure and say 'no' without feeling guilty nor pressured...

Unfortunately, I was not strong enough. I just complied year in year out. I experienced those 'black face' incidences from the pioneer of the Church, a lot of berating, until I dread going to care group...I literally dragged my feet as I got near the house and I didnt have the courage to find a reason for not going for care group...”

I do not condemn you for not being strong enough or for lacking courage. It is difficult to say “no” in the face of pressure. I can’t condone “black faces” and “berating” by leaders. These aspects should cause much concern. I assume the pioneers and leaders you refer to were Malaysians. For what it is worth the extent of your commitment to the church which you have shared does seem very commendable. I wish to affirm you for your faithfulness and diligent service to Him. The Lord saw the devotion in your heart when you served Him and He still sees the same devotion even though outwardly it may appear that you are serving Him less. Ours is not a salvation earned by good works that is the most important thing.

“I believe they are in error because I think they equate commitment to Church activities is commitment to God….. People have become so consumed with Church activities that I seriously doubt many have time to do Quiet Time... Is commitment to Church activities actually commitment to God ?”

You have raised a very good issue. It is a challenging issue which others have raised. It is not an easy issue to address briefly so I will do my best to address it in a balanced way at a later time.

Bob Katter's hat said...

“I actually heard Dr.Kriengsak laughingly said in one of the Leaders' Conference that we are to get the people so busy with activities that they have no time to sin…”

I remember hearing that statement too. My recollection is he made that statement while chuckling. Then again, I and others could have misinterpreted his intent.

Seriously, there have been times when I really missed my brothers and sisters in Hope and missed serving God and often thought of going back but when I remembered how I was treated, I just wonder if it is wise...

It is not easy to leave a Hope church if you have been committed and have served for many years. I can associate with your experience. Why else do you think I’m blogging so often in such detail? The extent of the required commitment is conducive to breeding strong relationships and deep friendships. Of all the churches I have had the pleasure to attend; Hope was the most conducive to developing strong relationships and receiving opportunities to serve. While that is a good thing, it is also a matter of concern that some of the strong relationships could cease to exist after leaving the church. To give the members the benefit of the doubt, it could be that they were so busy continuing to serve that they didn’t have any time remaining in their schedule for ex-members. It is not an ideal state of affairs.

152 comments now. Time for some shut eye.

Anonymous said...

The main thing is nobody should be obligated to do something that they don't want to. That's why it's called volunteering. You volunteer in a charity. If you are obligated, then it's not volunteering and you are not in a charity, you are in a cult.

We don't discuss whether someone should be punched in the face. It's whether does he wants to be punched in the face.

We couldn't even assume everyone on Sunday is a Christian. Abolish shepherding, abolish discipleship. Let everyone give as they wish.

Anonymous said...

It's not whether someone SHOULD join HOPE or not, it's whether someone WANTS to join HOPE or not.

It's not whether someone SHOULD serve or not. It's whether someone WANTS to serve or not.

HOPE should stop acting as if they know what's best for others and start respecting others choice of what's best for themselves. Before HOPE can do this, nothing will change.

Sure there's good people at HOPE. Why wouldn't there be. There's good and bad people everywhere. These good people doesn't make HOPE good cause they are not the head.

A FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD.

Bob Katter's hat said...

“You volunteer in a charity. If you are obligated, then it's not volunteering and you are not in a charity, you are in a cult.”

A church is not necessarily a charity. However I do agree that a person should not be required to serve the Lord out of obligation. It should be out of love for the Lord.

"Abolish discipleship".

Let's see. Instead of Jesus and the twelve disciples we would have had Jesus and the twelve something or others.

Discipleship is not a concept unique to Hope but common amongst all God fearing churches.

Bob Katter's hat said...

“A FISH ROTS FROM THE HEAD.”

Now this comment worries me. It appears to be an accusation being shouted around.

Anonymous said...

Just let everyone give as much or as little as they want. Don't pressure them. I mean don't disciple or shepherd them if they don't request for it. Is this so hard to understand? Is it even worth discussing at length?

Anonymous said...

Bob, I know u are well versed. But it's has not yet come to whether discipleship or shepherding or serving or tithing is taught in the scriptures or not.

It's simply a matter whether people wants to do it or not. Should Hope movement finds such attendee unacceptable, Hope could ask them to leave anytime. It's the pressuring part that is wrong.

If Bob, you have a pen. SHOULD you give me your pen? I can offer many reasons at length why you SHOULD. But it's not whether you SHOULD, it's whether you WANT to give it to me or not. If you give me Bob, it's a gift, if I pressure you to give, it's harassment. If I love and care for you, why do I want you to give something up unwillingly? Simple as that.

Bob Katter's hat said...

"Don't pressure them".

Please read my blogs carefully and in proper context and you will find that I am not disagreeing with you on the issue of pressurising members.

I have stated the following view: "However I do agree that a person should not be required to serve the Lord out of obligation. It should be out of love for the Lord."

My view expressed above makes it clear that I do not support the use of pressure.

Bob Katter's hat said...

"It's the pressuring part that is wrong".

My previous blogs make it very clear that I agree with you on the subject of using pressure improperly.

Anonymous said...

Dear brothers/sisters of Hope PJ/KL,

Whoever you may be, I can sense your frustration with Hope...

I guess it will take time for some of you to heal and recover...

But in the meantime, I hope you have been able to find another Church to attend since leaving Hope...I do believe there are some great Churches in KL such Damansara Utama Methodist Church (DUMC) and SIB KL. I have friends in DUMC and I didnt hear any complaints from them. I have another friend attending SIB KL and she seems to be happy there too. All my friends are serving in those churches... Perhaps those who have not found any church can pay a visit to those two churches...

However, after our experiences with Hope, I think it will take us some time to adjust to those new churches and learn to trust again...

It has been a few months since I left Hope and I still havent officially join a Church, only attending the service as a vistor so I think that is OK if it is going to take longer...

What Bob Katter's hat said is true in my case:

"While that is a good thing, it is also a matter of concern that some of the strong relationships could cease to exist after leaving the church. To give the members the benefit of the doubt, it could be that they were so busy continuing to serve that they didn’t have any time remaining in their schedule for ex-members. It is not an ideal state of affairs."

Because this is really a sad truth, we just have to move on and learn to build new relationship trust again. However, it will really take time as I think somehow, at the back of our mind will always be the lurking thoughts of our past bad experiences with Hope...

Take care and God bless !

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Bob Katter's hat, for your kind words of encouragment and taking time to answer each person's comments as well as sharing information about the other Hope Churches.

Please bear with us Malaysian ex-Hope bloggers... Perhaps, you are right, the abuses seem to arise mainly from the Hope Churches in Malaysia...Except for airing out our greviances by blogging here, I dont think there is anything else we can do... except perhaps pray...

God bless !

Anonymous said...

Dear bro and sis,

The method used by Hope to pressure members into obeying which is shepherding/discipleship needs to be abolished before more harm are done to new members.

These controlling practices afford the senior leaders an avenue to exercise undue authority over members through proxies such as shepherds and cell leaders, yet these senior leaders are able to keep their hands clean should complains be made against them, as these proxies on the frontline will take the fall.

Only after shepherding/discipleship are abolished, can the senior leaders be expected to bear the full responsibilities of their policies.

HIM movement is now based in Malaysia and the largest branch is now at Petaling Jaya. Policies from the Petaling Jaya branch will resonates to other branches elsewhere. This is the branch to look at now.

Stop harassing attendees. Stop telling attendees that Hope movement knows best. Let everyone gives as they wish. If the senior leaders feel they are doing no wrong, at least have the guts to executed these policies themselves, don't stand behind proxies.

Anonymous said...

From the article “Shepherding God's Flock” by Peter E. Openshaw

“Over the last ten to fifteen years there has been a tendency in many circles for this kind of situation to occur and came about as a result of the "discipleship movement". The truth of discipleship is of God, but the extremes came along when people took this truth to the extreme. People felt they could not do anything, go anywhere, etc. without checking out with the "discipler" over them. Many even paid tithes to those over them and there came a "pyramid structure" of relationship. Alas, at the top of the pyramid there is only a place for one man and this man or woman after time became the authority over all which brought a control over individual lives and a dictating of their movements and actions in everything. Many Christians who became involved in this became very hurt and left their churches. As a result and because of concern regarding this "movement" and its consequences in people's lives, it was even challenged by Church Leaders in different countries who shared that many good truths had been taken to extremes and that this was not the intention of those who preached this.”

It would do well for Hope to be aware of this and make the necessary changes as required...

Anonymous said...

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Words of encouragement from Day by Day devotional (June 20, 2011) by Charles R. Swindoll:
"So that's where the Hebrews were. But why were they there? If God took the people through the Red Sea, couldn't He take them immediately to the lush land of Canaan? Of course! If He was able to part the waters, and enable them to walk on dry land, and deliver them from the Egyptians, wasn't He also able to move them swiftly to the borders of milk-and-honey-land? Absolutely! God can do anything. If He can take you and me through our conversion, He can hasten our journey across this earthly desert and swiftly deposit us into heaven. No problem . . . but He doesn't.

Why does God put us through wilderness experiences before Canaan? For one thing, He wants to test us. That's why God led Israel into the wilderness, according to Deuteronomy 8:2: "You shall remember all the way which the LORD your God has led you in the wilderness these forty years, that He might humble you, testing you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not." (Read that again . . . only this time, slowly.)

God puts us in the wilderness to humble us, to test us, to stretch our spiritual muscles. Our earthly wilderness experiences are designed to develop us into men and women of faith. Let's face it, our spiritual roots grow deep only when the winds around us are strong. Take away the tests, and we become shallow-rooted, spiritual wimps. But bring on the wilderness winds, and it's remarkable how we grow as our roots dig deeply into faith."

Anonymous said...

From "The Abuse of Authority by Leadership" By Peter E. Openshaw:

"Leaders do not have the right to confirm people's personal guidance as to whether they get married, continue working in full-time Christian service or go to another place in that service. It is a privilege to pray with others about their personal guidance, but not a right. Obviously a leader can give a word of caution or counsel from the Word for a person, but that should be shared as a friend. To confuse the two is to bring people under condemnation and make them feel obligated to do what a person is saying because he is an authority figure."

Anonymous said...

Tell that to Simon bro and sis.

Email them and tell them what we think. Email to Christian fellowship and tell them what we think about HIM movement.

Anonymous said...

Dear brother/sister,
I am sorry but it seems that according to Peter E. Openshaw in his article "The Abuse of Authority by Leadership", we are not to do that and I do believe he is quite right lest we bring judgement on ourselves.

This is what he wrote: “If there is no response and it is not a matter of serious disobedience to obvious moral principles, then do not go to others in the body of Christ others when you disagree with a decision could put you in a position of causing a greater sin than the one you are concerned about in the life of the leader. There are strong warnings in the Scriptures about taking matters into our own hands and trying to correct them. Even David would not attack Saul in spite of his great sin because God had put him in that position of leadership. David trusted God to bring an answer in the situation - 1 Samuel 24:6. See also Numbers 14, Ephesians 4:26, and 29-32. If there is no response and it is a matter of moral wrongdoing, then take the matter to the leaders of the person's church, organisation or denomination.”

Let us trust in the sovereign God who is also just...

For those who want to read the whole article, you can find the same at the link http://www.caic.org.au/biblebase/abuse/shep12ab.htm. It is an article worth taking time to read.

Happy reading !

God bless you !

Anonymous said...

What a nightmare Hope Movement has put its members through. How sincere to God can they be if they have already resorted to coercing members to serve? Hope Movement is not from God. Will our God put us through all these? Dear bro and sis, please don't support such movement any longer. Please let it stop. Don't let them harm anymore people.

Anonymous said...

How could this movement seriously be a church anymore? Please, please bro and sis. How many more lives must be broken by this movement? Please stop it now.

Anonymous said...

How could some bro and sis defend this movement anymore. It pains me to see what this movement are doing to you people. Where is God's judgement? Why has God allowed this to happen?

Anonymous said...

All these talks asking us to forgive Hope. How to forgive bro and sis. How to forgive when u're just minding your own business when someone ask you to join a movement which turns out to be controlling. How to forgive when u're mentally broken after all those threatening and intimidating? Even after u're leaving they still scold and curse u. It's really easy to say, but how to forgive?

Anonymous said...

You guys think your hope church so bad, have you seen hope perth? now THAT is bad!

Anonymous said...

Dear brothers/sisters,
I can understand how you guys feel. I was in Hope for more than 10 years. There were times when I felt like I was trapped but not knowing how to leave and obligingly stayed. I had a lot of bad feelings towards those who hurt me and yet at the same, I know that God expect us to forgive them and it was really a struggle, I tell you, especially, on Sundays, when we have to partake Holy Communion, I just have to ask God to help me to forgive each week… Sometimes, I felt that it was so unfair that God expect us to forgive those who hurt us and these people keep hurting us over and over again, thinking that they are doing God’s will.

Perhaps, in my mind, I always felt that God favoured the leaders above me because they were appointed by God. However, one time, a visiting pastor and team of another Hope Church came and when they prayed for me, God showed one of them a picture that conveyed the message that God knew my how I felt. Somehow, from there, it started the path to recovery because at about that time, the leader had also just left but unfortunately a new leader came but I told myself, see how first and true enough, same old story… Finally, I concluded that even if another new leader came, it will be the same story because of Hope’s teachings… Now, based on the comments in this blog, I can only conclude this is true…

Dear brothers and sisters, I just want to tell you that God loves each and every one of you and He will not side the leaders against you, if the leaders concerned are in the wrong. I remembered there was one time the leader was berating the people over the pulpit and suddenly the thoughts came to me “Do not emulate her…” and somehow, I felt that thought was from God. God is a God of love and He is also a God of justice and thus will not show favouritism (1 Peter 1:17 “Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.”). 1 Peter 4:17 also says judgment begins with the family of God so we should not think that leaders can get away with wrongdoings as we saw what happened with Hope Bangkok. It is just that God is patient with us all, hoping that we will repent of wrongdoings.

However, this same just God will use the same measure on us too, meaning to say that tough as it may sounds, we just have to forgive those leaders who hurt us as Jesus did say in Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Actually, from what I read in books, if we do not forgive, we suffer more emotionally than those who hurt us.

Dear brothers and sisters, it will not be easy as I found out but each time we can ask God to help us forgive especially when some memories come back to haunt us… I guess it will take time but I believe if we choose to make the choice to obey and ask God for help and healing, that will start the healing process…

See what David wrote in Psalm 54 when his leader, King Saul, was chasing after him to kill him:

“Save me, O God, by your name; vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.
Strangers are attacking me; ruthless men seek my life— men without regard for God. Selah
Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.
Let evil recoil on those who slander me; in your faithfulness destroy them.
I will sacrifice a freewill offering to you; I will praise your name, O LORD, for it is good.
For he has delivered me from all my troubles, and my eyes have looked in triumph on my foes.”
We too can pour out our feelings to God like David did and know that just as God heard David, He will hear us too !

Take care and God bless !

Anonymous said...

Which Hope branch are u from? It appeared like these controlling practices are very widespread especially amongst Thailand, Malaysia and Australia branches.

Hope branches at Malaysia are usually small and scattered. The exact number of branches are kept secret and many branches are not even known to have existed. How are Hope leaders supposed to be accountable for the donations collected.

Anonymous said...

Dear all,

I have found relevant information on this link.

http://www.creationists.org/cults.html

Anonymous said...

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I find this encouraging… Hope it is encouraging for you too…

From the Upper Room (Friday, June 17, 2011):

The Anchor Holds

Read Hebrews 6:10-19
We have this hope, a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul. -Hebrews 6:19 (NRSV)

I huddled in a corner, tears flowing. Though the marks on my body were new, they were not unfamiliar. For years I had prayed for my husband, a Christian, and for an end to the beatings he inflicted in his rages. God had been my anchor as I grew up, and I wondered why God had not intervened to stop the abuse.
Earlier that evening as I left to attend a Christian concert, my husband had told me not to come back. When I returned, he threw me into a wall. This time, to my amazement, through my tears the words "I want a divorce" fell out of my mouth. And as they did, I felt the chains of fear and oppression lift. God whispered to me that I would never be hurt again by this man. That night, my Anchor held.
Until that very moment, I never understood how much God loved me or the vastness of God's grace. God does not intend for any of us to be oppressed and abused, and God wanted a safe harbor for me. I am a living example of the words from the song, "the anchor holds, though the ship is battered." I was battered, and I thank God for being my steadfast and true anchor. God helped me to leave the raging sea of abuse and led me to the freedom Christ offers and wants for each of us. Tricia S.(Tennessee, USA)

Prayer:

O God, free us from all that oppresses us. Amen.

Thought for the day:

God calls us from bondage to freedom and fullness of life.

Prayer Focus:
Those living with abuse

Anonymous said...

Dear bro/sis,

I was from a branch in Malaysia. Ya, seems that most to the abuse stories are from Thailand, Australia and Malaysia...

Didnt hear any story from Hope Singapore... Guess it must be OK since it is also one of the biggest Hope Church...

However, I was told by someone from there who told me that BGR has to go through the shepherds of the girl and the boy and after approval, then can they go ahead... This happened to my friend who was already in the late 20's to early 30's...

Anonymous said...

Actually, based on the number of differents comments on this blog, I believe there are many brothers and sisters in Christ formerly from Hope PJ/KL... enough to start a support group for each other in either PJ or KL...

Unfortunately, won't be able to join if such a group is formed as I am neither from PJ nor KL...sigh...

At times, I feel very alone where I am as over the years, most of my friends are from Hope... I doubt if they will ever understand my struggles with Hope teachings and practices...I think you all can relate to that...

But thank God, I know He is with me in all these... Praise His Holy Name !

Hebrews:13:5 "...God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you."

God bless !

Anonymous said...

Hope the bro/sis 2 posts above mine can contact me.

I'm from the Hope PJ branch. The reasons there's relatively little problem with the Singapore branch is because the Singapore government kept a keen eye on charitable organization, requiring them to have a church board over the pastors, submission of yearly accounts, done through a branch of government. If they do like what they did here at PJ, people could just report them and actions will be taken. Here i report to the NECF repeatedly but they just attempt to hush it. Maybe if more of us get together, the NECF will believe us and we could help existing and new members at HIM movement now.

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm,interesting checklist from the website, http://www.apologeticsindex.org/a04aa.html: Is Your Church Free from Cultic Tendencies?
A checklist for Responsible Christians

The following checklist of cultic tendencies by Charles Lesser was published in the October, 1991 Spiritual Counterfeits Project Newsletter. They are typical of a number of aberrational cultic groups and churches on the scene today.
1. Is your pastor fully accountable to a board of elders, presbyters, etc?
2. Is loyalty to Jesus and to one's own calling placed before loyalty to pastor and church?
3. Does your pastor encourage questions and suggestions? Is he approachable?
4. Does your pastor give equal attention to all kinds of people in his congregation?
5. Does your pastor readily admit his errors?
6. Does your pastor avoid boasting or hinting at a "special anointing"?
7. Is your pastor truly humble?
8. Are the sermons based on clear Biblical truths, not on "original revelations" or ax-grinding?
9. Does your church interact with other churches?
10. Does your church staff avoid secrecy?
11. Is power shared in your church (rather than preempted by a hierarchy)?
12. Does your church see itself as just one organ of the Body of Christ, and not the main one?
13. Is your church truly friendly?
14. Does your church emphasize ministry to people rather than church programs?
15. Are especially needy people cared for lovingly in your church?
16. Are church members encouraged and loved even when they leave?
17. Are relationships with former members encouraged or allowed?
18. Do the pastor and congregation avoid attacking and using as object lessons, former members or those who disagree?
19. Are families encouraged to stay together and spend time together?
20. Does your family worship Sunday service include children, at least for part of the service?
21. Are you encouraged in your own calling?
22. Are pleas for money rare and unemotional?
23. Are your children happy to attend church?
24. Are you happy to bring unsaved friends to your church?
25. Is there a diversity of classes, races, dress styles, ages, and occupations in your church?
26. Are people encouraged to hear from God for themselves?
27. Is there a single behavior standard for all people in the church?
28. Are all types of people considered welcome at your church?
29. Is the joy of the Lord present in your church?
30. Are you free from fear in your church?
31. Do you think more about God and Jesus than you do about your pastor and church?
32. Does your pastor include himself in any calls for repentance and forgiveness?
33. Are you clear that the pastors and elders never exaggerate or lie to make themselves look good?
34. Is your group encouraging of each other and free from gossip and rumoring?
35. Is there a humility of doctrine that points to the grace of God and His mercy for sinners?
36. Are you encouraged to serve in ministries or missions outside the local body?
37. Is there ever any pressure put upon members to give or lend money to leaders for their personal or business use (exclusive of church business or projects)?

Anonymous said...

The checklist above are sure shocking for me as a ex-member of Hope Movement.

I seriously doubt not a single leader at Hope knew about this. The reason why they knew yet still did the same is sure disturbing.

We got to come together in our respective locality bro and sis. I've heard Hope leaders repeatedly call and visit to get back members who have left. We got to come together and give each other support.

Anonymous said...

Point 34: Is your group encouraging of each other and free from gossip and rumoring?

Are we a group that engages in gossip and rumours? Oh dear, we're a cult!

Bob Katter's hat said...

It is possible to come up with a reasonable argument that Simon Eng is ultimately responsible for the wrong actions of leaders under him. Leadership does come with such responsibilities to the flock.

But we need to be fair to Simon, as he doesn’t have the omniscient qualities of the Lord and he needs us to alert him of the wrong actions by the leaders under him.

Could the bloggers who have brought accusations against Simon and sought to judge him in this public blog please confirm with us that you have previously alerted Simon of the wrong actions of the leaders under him? If not, could you then please confirm with us that you will alert Simon of such wrong actions immediately without further delay? If you are able to truthfully answer ‘yes’ to either question we should have nothing further to say against you.

If you remain silent, your silence will be confirmation to all of us first, that you did not raise your concerns with Simon before judging him in this public blog and secondly, that you have no intention of raising your concerns with Simon.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bro Bob,

Firstly, the policies sanctioned on branches lead by Simon Eng which delegate too much undue authority upon cell leaders and shepherds already contributed to the abuses. Cell leaders and shepherds are encouraged and lead to believe that they have authority over members and that members have to obey their shepherds and cell leaders unquestioningly. As stated earlier, the cell leader who manage to recruit the most members are even honored like an award show.

Before discussing further, we have to realized that merely being a member (volunteer) in a movement are not binding to the extent that cell leaders and shepherds have to take instructions from the senior leader. Cell leaders and shepherds are instead falsely lead to believe they have such authority over members. But the senior leader could certainly remove them from such proxy posts which they did not.

During my time at Hope PJ, there's a unit leader who has been absent from the movement for several months from avoiding past complaints from members about him being controlling. Furthermore the character of this unit leader is well-known among long time members. When this unit leader returned after the absence and simply due to the absence, there's already enough reasons for the senior leader to requests that he release himself of all proxy posts at least temporarily and start all over again from a normal member but surprisingly he was allowed to resume his previous positions without any consensus taken among members. Since unit leaders are fewer than cell leaders and they attend the "Hope Leadership Training" as they call it, in a movement of about 200 odd attendees, it's silly to say Simon are not aware of it.

As I realized this unit leader are abusing his position to control and instruct me on matters unrelated to the movement, taking advantage of me for his own benefits, I did alert the senior leader about it. But instead I was told that the unit leader are not coercing me, rather it's because I was too meek to say NO, just like what Bob suggested. At the end, even though the senior leader suggested that actions will be taken against this unit leader, he is never removed or even release from his proxy post for at least few months.

Which lead me to believe that the senior leader values loyalty to himself above all character someone could have. Long time members are well-aware that among registered members (non-members not counted) in the movement, at any time, there's actually more cell leaders and unit leaders than normal members. The senior leader claim that this is to train new leaders. But the very absurdity of such situation, that there are more leaders than actual members, lead me to believe that these proxy posts are liberally given to garner support from young people and delegate them the responsibility of recruiting more and more members.

If Bob is close enough to Simon that he even knew that Simon is not in it for the money, why not counter-check with him about the PJ branch renovation. How he awarded the project to his own brother and how he saves cost by mobilizing members to do some of the renovations works. Or how he clumsily distance himself from the renovations when accidents happen. Try and pull a stunt like this in the corporate world, at the very least could get u fired and nobody in the same industry will rehire u, or worse still you'll end up with a few years of free food and lodging at the PJ Hilton.

Bob Katter's hat said...

“…it's silly to say Simon are not aware of it”

I have not said that Simon is not aware of it. If you disagree then please explain how you arrived at this conclusion.

Also, if you read my previous blogs carefully you will realise that I have not been to Hope PJ in my life and so I’m not able to verify any of the aspects you have shared from my own personal knowledge. However, it is not up to me to verify the truth or otherwise of what you are sharing. Scriptural principles make it very clear that it is up to those who bring the accusation to produce two or three witnesses.

Brother Guo Xiong has stated:

“As it is written in Scripture 1 Tim 5:17-20 -
"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward. Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear."

I certainly would not want to bring accusations against elders, leaders and ministers publicly online on a blog and without any proof, and we should follow what Scripture says. Believers should humbly speak the truth in love to your elders if truly they have erred, so as not to bring them down but that they may turn from the errors of their ways.”

Let’s be fair about this then and give you a second opportunity to answer the questions:

“…please confirm with us that you have previously alerted Simon of the wrong actions of the leaders under him? If not, could you then please confirm with us that you will alert Simon of such wrong actions immediately without further delay?”

Anonymous said...

Dear Brother Bob Katter,

Though I know you are right, but I can also sympathise with the brother/sister concerned...

We Asians find it very difficult to confront someone esp when he/she is a leader of all (it is even worst if the leader is insecure and authoritarian, which I think in the case of Ps. Simon, is not likely to be the case from what I heard)coupled with Hope's style of teaching on so called divine authority, meaning that when a leader decide on something without consultation of others, everybody will just comply even how unfair it may seems especially even in situations which have been quite double standard. It becomes a case of 99 faithful sheep leaders following the top leader's decision and one black sheep's dissatisfaction. If you are the black sheep who happens to be an Asian in an Asian context, would you dare speak up ? I myself have been in situations where the top leader arrive at the decison in meeting and nobody dared to speak up. You know full well that certain people disagree but even if you ask them, they do not even want to admit it but just go along... It is only much much later than they admitted that they had another view but usually the decision has already been made and done...that's us Asian, I think...

Ex-Hoper said...

Dear bro/sis formerly of Hope PJ who posted at June 24, 2011 7:44 AM,

Actually, I am not surprised to hear from you about NECF’s response. I would rather think that NECF would treat ex-members’ complaints as internal problems and would not want to get involved nor want to interfere. The most they can do is arrange for discussions between the parties to work at reconciliation and even give recommendations, that is all. From the little that I heard about Ps. Peter Ting’s disagreement (that eventually led to his leaving Hope KL) I understand they also got NECF to help but eventually it didn’t work out and he left. To this day, we were never told what reason that he left. Only thing that I knew was that when I once dared to ask my leader about the 20% to HGIM, my leader told me that I should not ask this type of question because that was one of the question that was asked which eventually led to Ps. Peter Ting’s leaving Hope Movement.

Now, I just wonder if Ps. Peter Ting left because he already discovered that there was something not right about Hope’s teachings and practices and it was all covered up… Can someone enlighten me on this…

Dear bro/sis, if you still want to talk on this, address me as “Ex-Hoper”. Thank you.

God bless you and have a blessed Sunday…

Anonymous said...

Dear all,

After I read the checklist I was really impressed to what extent the Hope movement matches the pattern of a cult. Perhaps the only point that does not characterize Hope is the one referred to gossip.

Anonymous said...

Dear bros and sis,

Let me say that describe objectively the behaviour and attitudes of any Church leader in order to alert other believers is not "judging" as some has pointed out here. If sister Rubina had thought this way she would have never stand out for the truth and speak out about the things that now everyone agrees was inappropiate behaviour.

Bob Katter's hat said...

Here are the answers which relate to the 2 Hope churches I attended regularly:

1. Is your pastor fully accountable to a board of elders, presbyters, etc? Not to church boards, but to other pastors in the movement.
2. Is loyalty to Jesus and to one's own calling placed before loyalty to pastor and church? Yes.
3. Does your pastor encourage questions and suggestions? Is he approachable? Yes and yes.
4. Does your pastor give equal attention to all kinds of people in his congregation? Yes.
5. Does your pastor readily admit his errors? Yes.
6. Does your pastor avoid boasting or hinting at a "special anointing"? Yes.
7. Is your pastor truly humble? Yes, most of the time.
8. Are the sermons based on clear Biblical truths, not on "original revelations" or ax-grinding? Yes.
9. Does your church interact with other churches? Yes, but not often enough due to time shortages.
10. Does your church staff avoid secrecy? Yes.
11. Is power shared in your church (rather than preempted by a hierarchy)? Yes, but the buck always stopped with the pastor.
12. Does your church see itself as just one organ of the Body of Christ, and not the main one? Yes.
13. Is your church truly friendly? Yes.
14. Does your church emphasize ministry to people rather than church programs? Yes.
15. Are especially needy people cared for lovingly in your church? Yes.
16. Are church members encouraged and loved even when they leave? Yes.
17. Are relationships with former members encouraged or allowed? Yes.
18. Do the pastor and congregation avoid attacking and using as object lessons, former members or those who disagree? Yes.
19. Are families encouraged to stay together and spend time together? Yes.
20. Does your family worship Sunday service include children, at least for part of the service? Yes.
21. Are you encouraged in your own calling? Yes.
22. Are pleas for money rare and unemotional? Yes.
23. Are your children happy to attend church? Yes.
24. Are you happy to bring unsaved friends to your church? Yes.
25. Is there a diversity of classes, races, dress styles, ages, and occupations in your church? Yes.
26. Are people encouraged to hear from God for themselves? Yes.
27. Is there a single behavior standard for all people in the church? Yes.
28. Are all types of people considered welcome at your church? Yes.
29. Is the joy of the Lord present in your church? Yes.
30. Are you free from fear in your church? Yes.
31. Do you think more about God and Jesus than you do about your pastor and church? Yes.
32. Does your pastor include himself in any calls for repentance and forgiveness? Yes.
33. Are you clear that the pastors and elders never exaggerate or lie to make themselves look good? Yes.
34. Is your group encouraging of each other and free from gossip and rumoring? Yes as far as I am aware.
35. Is there a humility of doctrine that points to the grace of God and His mercy for sinners? Yes.
36. Are you encouraged to serve in ministries or missions outside the local body? Not often, that aspect needed improvement.
37. Is there ever any pressure put upon members to give or lend money to leaders for their personal or business use (exclusive of church business or projects)? No.

Not perfect but a very solid pass mark I would have thought. Now there may be issues in Hope PJ but not throughout the whole movement as some bloggers continue to assert even though it is unlikely they have visited more than a handful of the churches.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob, firstly Simon is surely aware of his own policies. These shepherding policies lead to the abuses. I don't need to alert him on the shortcomings of shepherding as it's well documented among the Christian community. I HAD alerted Simon that one of the unit leader abuses his authority and took advantage of me for his own benefits. I'm told they are not coercing me just that I'm too meek to refuse. The whole thing is hush up and the unit leader is not removed from his proxy posts.

Simon is just the elder of HIM movement but hardly the elder of the Christian community. You took a narrower view. Then what should I do if really there's conflict of interest in the renovation. Report to the police? Long time members at Hope can concur with my statements. Simon personally claim his brother is in charge of the renovations. Simon mobilized members to do some of the renovation. The renovation went awry. He distance himself from it. If people are truthful to themselves and speak up, it's not only 2 or 3 witness, at least 200 plus. It's suppose to be a church, Bob. What Hope did is far from the doing of a church. Even if u beat a dog, it'll at least bark. I'm not a dog, Bob. Do you expect me to shut up and just let it be? Don't shield these people.

Bob Katter's hat said...

“…it's well documented among the Christian community”

Strange but I don’t seem to have read or heard about it.

“I HAD alerted Simon that one of the unit leader abuses his authority and took advantage of me for his own benefits.”

Thank you. I’m pleased that it wasn’t that hard for you to answer the question. As I have written previously we should have nothing further to say against you on the subject of bringing matters to Simon’s attention. We can sit back and let the Lord deal with Simon as He sees fit. Then again, if you continue to stir the pot against Simon it is important to remember that your actions may have a bearing on how the Lord chooses to deal with Simon.

“Then what should I do if really there's conflict of interest in the renovation. Report to the police?”

There is nothing wrong about reporting a matter to the police if a crime has been committed. Some would view it as being their civic responsibility to do so. The fact that the alleged incident took place 6-7 years ago in 2004 and nothing seems to have been done about it is a little bizarre though. Care to share with us how this renovation fiasco has affected you in a negative way?

Bob Katter's hat said...

“It's suppose to be a church, Bob. What Hope did is far from the doing of a church.”

Can you confirm with us that you have attended many Hope churches including Hope churches outside Malaysia? If not, please restrict your criticisms to those Hope churches which you attended or with which you are familiar. Is it fair that all Hope churches round the world be criticized?

“Even if u beat a dog, it'll at least bark. I'm not a dog, Bob. Do you expect me to shut up and just let it be?”

I agree with your dog analogy and yes I do expect a beaten dog to bark. Yes, I also agree that you are not a dog. No I do not expect you to shut up and just let it be. You are entitled to be heard and to be treated fairly. If you can be heard or be treated fairly elsewhere, my suggestion is to go to that place. Nevertheless because you are blogging on the web it could be because you can’t be heard or be treated fairly elsewhere. In that event I can’t condemn you for crying out for a hearing on the web. Just bear in mind though that blogging in this manner on the web comes with great responsibility before the Lord (not before men and most certainly not before someone like me). Blog along if you like in a responsible manner and you should get a fair hearing from everyone, me included.

“Don't shield these people”

Read all my blogs again if you need to be certain but I am blogging as honestly as I can while calling a spade a spade. Since I am also required by the Lord to blog responsibly, I cannot share everything I know. One thing you can be assured of is that I am not defending the indefensible or shielding the indefensible. How can I prove this to you? Don’t think I can but you are free to exercise skepticism and caution. That will not offend me.

Bear one last thing in mind – if Hope was perfect, why would I have left?

Bob Katter's hat said...

One simple example taken from one of the contributions of our fellow bloggers should suffice:

“Why hasn't Simon Eng speak up against the abuses over the years when he's at Hope? Why did Simon choose to split now when the main branch has become a liability to him? We cannot trust you anymore Simon, the blood of our bro/sis is at your hands.”

Perhaps I am misunderstanding the intent of the blogger but the statements above sound awfully like a pronouncement of judgment on Simon Eng to me – a very clear judgment that the blood of other brothers and sisters is on Simon’s hands. Could someone care to explain to all of us how the statements above could possibly constitute an objective description of the “behaviour and attitudes” of Simon Eng that were posted on this blog “in order to alert other believers”?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I can only conclude that perhaps Ps. Simon Eng and other Hope leaders are just as much victims of the teachings and practices of the original Hope Movement as the members. They came very much under control of policies as set by Dr. Kriengsak (don’t forget that Dr. Kriengsak had tremendous influence as he was truly successful in that he was responsible for the growth of the Hope Movement and can speak with true authority) and later under Ps. PN. As I look at it, Ps. Simon is a human being who makes mistakes. But from the little I know of him, I do believe that he is a mature in character and wisdom and that is why the Hope Churches under him have been able to grow compared to the many of the Hope Churches in Malaysia. However, I cannot say the same for all the leaders that have put up to lead other churches or groups (just as in the case of the Church I was from as the leaders were insecure and authoritarian and have nothing to do with Ps. Simon) and because of the desire for growth, many immature people were put into leadership position. Again, because of the system, those who appointed had no choice but to side them because of the ‘loyalty’ teaching… I do believe all these things lead to the abuses and even when you let the top leaders know about these things, they cannot do a thing about it because they come under the policies set up in Bangkok. To do so would be disloyalty. That is why, hopefully now that Hope Malaysia and the other Hope Churches have broken from the original Hope Movement, it is recommended that Ps. Simon and such wise leaders like Ps. Wilson, Ps. Jeff and other HIM pastors should sit down to really examine the teachings, practices and policies formulated under the original Hope Movement and then really do away with these things which lead to abuses. It is my hope that for the sake of those who are still in HIM that the leaders of HIM will take a serious look at the shepherding system and putting people in leadership position and other things.

We do need give honour where honour is due (Romans 13:7). In this case, we need to honour Ps. Simon Eng as truly a man of God who has given his life and family for the service of God. He was courageous when he decided to break from the original Hope Movement when even when the founder was found to be in the wrong and the founder was his long time friend. This showed me that Ps. Simon Eng honoured God’s Word more than his leader and friend. I do believe that taking leading HIM as a president takes a lot out of him. However, obviously, from what I read from this blog, it shows his humanness from the mistakes he have made, eg. allowing his brother to be in charge of the renovation even though it leads to conflict of interest and distancing himself from it. Please, dear brothers and sisters, I am not siding with Ps. Simon where he has done many wrongs but I cannot help thinking of how King David, the man after God’s own heart committing adultery and then murder. But God forgave him when prophet Nathan confronted him and said “you are the man !”. Do not think that King David had it easy because after that, we knew how he had to suffer the consequences of his wrong actions.
I am appealing to you brothers and sisters formerly of Hope PJ/KL, to give Ps. Simon the benefit of doubt. I also believe if you all can, do arrange to have a talk with him as he can be reached in KL/PJ as he strikes me to be a reasonable person. If he doesn’t agree with what you say, then you would have done your part… However, if he does listen and make changes to HIM and Hope PJ/KL, you would have saved those who are still there…

Just my suggestion only, ok, you can ignore what I say...

Anonymous said...

Anyone could rent a place and call themselves and their movement whatever they want. This is not Singapore. There's no Registry of Charities. There's no need to appoint a church board. There's no need to make public the movement's account.

Even under much more scrutiny, TT Durai is only convicted after many years. Now Kong Hee is investigated, also after many years. Depending on the legal status of the Hope PJ branch, it's hard to prove that a crime has occur with only conflict of interest involved. But members then knew the dealings in this renovation are crafty. The money given are based on faith, and that faith has been betrayed. How did this renovation episode affected me? Members who are mostly students and young adults gave little that they had. But yet they have the heart to betray this trust. Even after the shady dealings, most are too afraid to speak up as they still want to attend this movement. Many also think like what u suggested, leave it for God to judge, but in fact does not want to create problems for themselves by offending this senior leader.

I didn't even apply to be a member. But i was subjected to shepherding and expected to obey my cell leader, shepherd who took advantage of me. When i chose to leave, I'm scolded and harassed. I wasn't even given a choice either to obey or leave. It's just STAY and OBEY.

True this PJ branch is only ONE branch. But now as this HIM movement are established. THIS is the flagship branch and THE branch primarily lead by Simon.

This renovation episode is the ONLY time when the abuse of authority are more obvious and many could concur. There maybe are other issue which I'm unsure of and I did not bring them up. This renovation thing is only an EXAMPLE that abuses can occur again, why? cause in Hope PJ it's all a one man show.

Anonymous said...

HIM leaders is courageous to split from the Thailand branch? Are you serious? The shepherding system is practiced when this movement are founded tens of years ago. Why after so many years? Why not earlier?

Bob Katter's hat said...

First of several comments posted 19-20 hours ago which mysteriously disappeared:

“If sister Rubina had thought this way she would have never stand out for the truth and speak out about the things that now everyone agrees was inappropiate behavior”

Some may seek to condemn Rubina for speaking out and on a literal and extremely strict interpretation of scripture they could arguably have a point. My own view, based on my very limited knowledge of the facts, is that she deserves respect for the stand she took. Only the Lord and Rubina herself know her true motives for what she did but on its face she seems to have done the right thing.

Bob Katter's hat said...

Second of several comments posted 19-20 hours ago which mysteriously disappeared:

Yet there are substantial differences between the example of Rubina speaking out if we compare her example with the contributions of the anonymous bloggers here who seem to have an axe to grind with Simon Eng.

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