All Powers Are Corrupt


Six leaders of a huge Singaporean church have been convicted of fraud in a case worth S$50m ($35m; £23m). The judge ruled City Harvest Church's pastor, Kong Hee, and others used church finances to fund the music career of his wife, Sun Ho, or falsified accounts to cover it up. The defendants had argued Ms Ho's pop music career was a way of reaching out to non-Christians. They have been bailed until sentencing, but could face up to life in jail.

So, once again the leaders of an evangelical mega-church have been found guilty of gross corruption. It is hardly a surprise as it would appear to be the norm for such churches, but not just them. All churches, all denominations, once they get to a certain size (which is not very large) become susceptible to corruption and other abuses of trust. This is as true of the Roman Catholic Church and the churches of the Anglican Communion as it is of the independent churches.

Personally, I believe it to be inevitable that all organisations will become abusive especially at the top. In my opinion the Church was doomed to failure from the word "go" which is probably why Jesus did not found one. The reason for this is that when a small thing evolves into a big thing it becomes one of the "powers" that we are told in the Bible the people of God will be up against. It is not that power is in itself a bad thing (God is all powerful). The problem is that only God is perfect in power in the same way only God is perfect in love. All other expressions of power will fail to be perfect. Part of all earthly power will be corrupt. Humans cannot do power perfectly just as humans cannot love perfectly (there is always a selfishness in their love be it small or large). As power is, well, powerful, the damage that can be wrought by even a small amount of abusive behaviour by a powerful institution will be devastating, to individuals, to communities, to nations, even to the whole world.

We should always be wary of the powerful and, more so, we should be wary of accepting power ourselves. It is far too easy to slip from using authority on behalf of God to using power in opposition to God. In fact, as God is the all-powerful, grasping at power should be regarded as a blasphemous act, a usurping of what is God's. Our paradigm in this respect is Jesus Christ who did not cling to his equality with God but who lowered himself in order to fulfil his vocation. If we are true followers of Christ then we will inevitably be called to follow him in giving up power rather than grabbing at it. In the upside down kingdom of God it is only in divesting ourselves of earthly authority that we gain true authority and it is only in letting go of earthly power that we become truly powerful.


All Powers Are Corrupt — 1 Comment

  1. “In my opinion the Church was doomed to failure from the word “go” which is probably why Jesus did not found one.”

    So you think the ink is still wet on “On this Rock…”?