My learning points from Pastor Rony Tan’s incident

No one had expected that the recent incident of the insensitive comments by Senior Pastor Rony Tan from Lighthouse Evangelism Church would have resulted in such a severe public backlash.

That said, I do believe Pastor Tan never did intend to be demeaning or insulting towards the beliefs of Buddhism or Taoism.

Nonetheless, lessons can be drawn from this incident. And below are some of my personal learning points:

1. The influence of new media

Pastor Tan subjected himself to the online community when the videos with his inappropriate remarks were uploaded on the church’s website.

Unknown to many, he was hauled by the Internal Security Department (ISD) after it had first appeared on Hardware Zone’s online forum which eventually escalated to the authorities.

This incident is a fine example how the new media has become a powerful tool that can either work for you or against you. And it is imperative that we as Christians learn how to use it effectively and strategically with the purpose to engage as salt and light.

2. Be a responsible communicator

I believe being responsible is a better description than being careful when in comes to communication. We not only need to be mindful with what we communicate, but how we communicate. And this is especially so when there is a wide audience who are listening, watching or reading what we’re communicating.

Whether it is on the pulpit, through the media, in a group or with your spouse and even through social media sites like Facebook or blogs, we need to consider the impact of what we want to communicate. And more importantly, as best as we know how, reflect Christ in us with our communication whether in words or in deeds. (c.f. Colossians 4:6, 1 Peter 3:15-16).

3. Let the Church be known for what She stands for

This is another unfortunate incident that has not helped to mitigate the negative perceptions that people have towards God, the Church or Christians in general. You may read this as a reference to some of the general perceptions.

It is time that the Church of Jesus Christ gets to be known for what She stands for rather than for what She is against. And what the Church stands for is LOVE. We need to be known for loving people radically just as how Christ did so and does so.

Till now I can recall how I was won over and reconciled to God, and it was not theology that persuaded me. It was LOVE.

I was drawn to God by Christ’s unconditional love in spite of my sins. He literally love me out of sin and darkness, and I believe that this is how the Church ought to demonstrate His word and be known for, in order to truly advance His Kingdom.

The Acceleration of God’s Redemptive Purpose

Since the beginning of this year, almost every fortnightly I’ve been meeting with a bunch of awesome and faithful fellow-Christians.  

The two unique things that I enjoy about this fellowship are: (1) we are from different local churches, and (2) we share the same passion on new media  in order to serve the purpose of God.

Through this, I’m given a wider viewpoint on what God is doing around us and I’m also able to learn from the different parts of the Body.

God’s acceleration

Lately, we shared a similar observation that God was accelerating the pace of His work which reminded me of a prophecy made through Phil Pringle early this year.

“Therefore say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: None of my words will be delayed any longer; whatever I say will be fulfilled, declares the Sovereign LORD.’

Ezekiel 12:27

Just to elaborate what this means is that God is releasing His blessings and favour to His Children of faith in an exceptional measure than before in this season (and YES! Even in a recession).

In other words, God is going to bless us profusely; in abundance or more than we can contain.

God”s vision to be fulfilled

God is accelerating His work towards a tipping point of His redemptive plans for the world in this 21st century.

For instance, what would take 10-30 years will now take a fraction of the time. 

There will be breakthroughs after breakthroughs in every aspect and every frontier. Expect salvation for the lost to stream into His kingdom in throngs, rather than in trickles.

He will allow us to meet the right people suddenly; linking us with connections that will shed years in fulfilling our dreams.

And in this greater scheme of things, it is obvious that the phenomenal growth of technology and the emergence of new media is playing a big role in accelerating His purpose.

Now is the time for us to position ourselves in faith and to be ready to sow big time in order to receive big time!

Internet Evangelism Day 2009

Like Earth Hour, Internet Evangelism Day (IED) is an awareness day for local churches and ministries to learn and explore ways of tapping on New Media to extend community, enable ministry and harvest online.

Like it or not, New Media is changing us in subtle but profound ways — the way we think, work, live, relate and it requires us to interpret our faith as individuals and communities, as we work to be salt and light of Christ to others.

This will be the first time IED will be carried out in Singapore, so do join the series of exciting activities on and offline.

Visit www.iedier.com to find out more details or to register.