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You will hear two segments of Bishop Albert Vun’s address/devotion with the clergy, and at the end the entire recording of the 21-minute message which was cut off prematurely because of technical issues. Pray and discern if the Bishop’s message is from the Lord or work of flesh.
To Read or Not To Read
The Bishop claimed he had not read the blog for over a year, but he knew of the latest postings. He said he could not be bothered with the blog, yet he mentioned “blog” 15 times in 22 minutes, averaging once every 87.5 seconds. The key is not this blog or that blog but the issues raised. It is not possible to move forward without addressing the elephant in the room. Romans 12:9 “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” How do can we have genuine fellowship when the Bishop and the Dean had abused their office, manipulated an election but pretend nothing has happened? How can you trust a message when the messenger’s integrity is compromised and remains unresolved? How do you give money when you are doubtful of the accountability issues raised by the auditor are not addressed? How do you worship in spirit and in truth when the church is drowned in a sea of falsehood and denial?
Even according to Bishop Albert Vun’s own Key Performance Index (KPI), the church is not doing well. Church attendance in urban areas had zero growth since Bishop Albert Vun took reigns seven years ago. In 2013, Diocese-wide tithing and offering dropped for the first time in 10 years, with a RM1 million drop–the largest in the Diocese–coming from St. Patrick’s Church. Still Bishop Albert Vun insists it’s problem with a minority group of members–and many clergy clapped and cheered on lies from the Bishop as if a rockstar had just belted a hit number.
(A full blog posting will be devoted on the decline in attendance and giving at a later date.)
No matter how good a show the Diocese tries to put forth or smiling faces our clergy brave, they are merely papering over seismic shifts and tectonic movements in our church. Everyone wants to reconcile and move forward, yet it requires us to first admit an earthquake has devastated our Diocese and many lives. Check and balance is obliterated; partnership between the laity and clergy is decimated and replaced with tyranny; once a place of spiritual nourishment, the church is contaminated with worldly teachings; Diocesan mandates overwrite visions of local parishes; leaders who think and discern are replaced by drones.
When will our leaders respond to the trauma the members had suffered when our long-held trust for Bishops and priests are shattered? How much longer will our bishops and clergy ignore their transgressions and the pain they inflicted on us?
Bishop: Prove Me Wrong
“Can you identify one thing, a decision that I had made in Standing Committee, that I have overstepped the constitution? I challenged you…to identify one thing and substantiate it. I challenge you now,” said Bishop Albert Vun. Regrettably nobody met that challenge at the clergy conference.
Within 14 days, this blog will meet this challenge and publish the evidence here.
Listen to the entire recording of the Bishop’s address to the clergy at the Clergy Conference, 19-21 January 2014. (The final bits of the message was lost due to technical issues.)
What you are about listen to are segments of Bishop Albert Vun’s address to the clergy recorded at the just concluded clergy conference in Kota Kinabalu this week. The entire recorded audio clip will be made available tomorrow night when Part 2 will be published. In the first part of this posting, we focus on 4 segments of the Bishop’s address.
1. It’s All a Hoax
The Bishop compares the allegations of his abuse of power to internet hoaxes, and the Anglican members in Sabah who cry out for accountability to the gullible and weak minds who buy into these hoaxes. What an insult to the intelligence of the people. The Bishop’s abuse and mishandling of finances is well documented in the management letter & PAC report, which will see daylight one day. The Standing Committee has yet to re-audit the red-flagged accounts of 2010-2011.
Is true that if a statement were repeated three times, people would think it is true? If it were true, then why despite controlling all the church bulletins, diocesan bulletin, pulpits across the Diocese, Diocesan website, facebook page, blog, more and more people distrust the Bishop, clergy and Standing Committee?
2. Traitors within the Diocesan Office?
Referring to emails between Dean Chak and Bishop Albert Vun published here, the Bishop blames “one or two” persons at the conference for leaking them to this blog. There is no shame, remorse or tinge of contrition for playing the racial card, pitting one congregation against another, manipulating the election. If the Bishop had done no wrong, why did he instruct his staff to delete the email to cover his tracks?
3. The Mightiest Mission Strategist
“Which Diocese in our Province has four Reverends and three licensed pastors stationed full time in the mission field?” Bishop Albert Vun asked the clergy. “Sabah!” he replied himself. How boastful to take credit for the harvest given to us by the Lord. Bishop Albert Vun gave the impression ADOS has the largest mission operation in the Province of South East Asia. Is this true?
The Bishop is right that no other diocese has exactly four priests and three licensed pastors full time in the mission field. But the Diocese of Singapore has 15 priests in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal, Vietnam (excluding Revd Clarence Chin & Revd Alexander Nenotek in Tarakan and Nunukan respectively). Surely the Bishop who has decades of relationship with the Diocese of Singapore knows this fact. Why did he mislead the clergy? It is unclear how many of our unsuspecting clergy had been duped this week into clapping and cheering the Bishop for telling a LIE.
We must question the Bishop’s motives for missions. Is he motivated by obedience unto God’s call? Or is he serving his ego, one-upmanship and bragging rights? If he is serving his pride, then he is not serving the Lord.
4. Bishop’s Final Legacy?
Bishop Albert Vun is adamant to launch the building of Celebration Center this year. In the next Standing Committee meeting, he will ask the Standing Committee to top up the funding so it will have at least half of what’s budgeted for the controversial RM33 million project.
The purpose for this project is unclear. Bishop Albert Vun said he had to “speed things up” due to his illness, but later claimed he wanted to build Celebration Center because the Lord told him through Isaiah 54 to “enlarge his tent”. So is this a dying man’s wish or is this the divine will of God to spend RM33 million and up for a building? Because someone claims to have heard from God, the Diocese will spend RM33 million? Is that how decisions are made? Is this how money is spent?
The Bishop said he hoped the Stand Comm would allocate up to half of the required fund. Does the Stand Comm have the mandate from the Synod to spend RM16.5 million for this building? No! The Standing Committee must remember that they are elected by the Synod to carry out the mandates of the Synod. They have a fiduciary duty to the Synod and whole Diocese, not just serving the wishes of one man.
With painkillers, morphine, chemotherapy and pancreatic cancer in the Bishop’s body, how do we know he is in the right frame of mind to make such an expensive and far reaching decision?
Bishop Albert Vun sounded as if the Lord had spoken to him recently from Isaiah 54. This sermon is neither recent nor new. He had preached it in other fundraising events or building projects. There is nothing about Christ in the Bishop’s address to the clergy, it was all about his suffering, dying wish, illness, vision, and tent enlargement.
This is a rebuttal to Bishop Albert Vun’s Christmas message. We will point out areas where the Bible is twisted out of context to suit his agenda, theological errors committed and lies repeated.
1. Political Mileage from the Gospel
“The Gospel” was presented with a twist for political mileage. After quoting John 1:12, BAV suddenly slips in a comment about enemies working against God’s salvation plan by quoting John 1.10-11 out of context. “He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him.” This passage states the facts and context in which Jesus entered the world; there is nothing about enemies. Here lies BAV’s obsession with non-existent enemies whom he equates as the enemies of the Gospel. The real enemy to the Gospel in our crisis is BAV’s worldly policies and heretical teachings, not the Christians who stood steadfastly against them.
AV claims that celebration of Christmas is to promote God’s will and purpose, yet again he slips in about “not everyone” is doing it, so we are wondering who does he has in mind? Another evidence of obsession with imaginary enemies perhaps?
2. Challenging the Authority
The members are not challenging Bishop Albert Vun’s authority. However, we are questioning his integrity and fitness to be a spiritual leader after seeing the management letter, his tyrannical streak as seen in the sacking, transfer and demotion of clergy, and the unbiblical teachings from his lips. There is also the damning PAC report which will soon see daylight. We are also challenging him in instances where he exceeded and abused his authority in the constitution of the Diocese.
BAV’s abuses are grave and they affect the worship life of the entire Diocese. Sunday attendance and total giving in the Diocese went down for the first time in 10 years. Even during the 2007-2008 financial crisis, Sunday collection grew year to year. Yet BAV insisted it was the work of a small group of online anonymous dissidents. We questioned BAV face to face during the dialogue at All Saints Cathedral, Good Shepherd and St. Patrick’s Church. Thousands of us signed a petition to the House of Bishop. There are the five complainants and ten delegates. How are we anonymous?
3. What is Spiritual Authority
The term “spiritual authority” is used by BAV as if it is some sort of supernatural authority bestowed upon him that no man can question. What is spiritual authority? The passage often referred to is Matthew 16:15-19:
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”
Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
It is an authority given by Jesus to those who accept Jesus as the Messiah, the Son of God. Through our relationship with Jesus, we have the authority to cast out demons, bring light to darkness, bind the broken, heal the sick, free the captives and proclaim the Gospel. Nowhere in the Bible is spiritual authority used to subjugate and control another person.
No one possesses “spiritual authority” over another person, ONLY GOD DOES. A leader may have pastoral oversight provided a person or a congregation voluntarily allows the leader to have such oversight. A leader may have administrative authority when it is bestowed by the constitution of a church, but how do you bestow “spiritual authority”? It is intangible, it cannot be earned and it certainly does not come with position, only in a relationship.
Jesus has all the power at his disposal, yet when He wants to enter our hearts, He stands at the door and knock. Why knock when He is the King of kings and Lord of Lords? Can’t he just budge in? He can, but He will not because He loves us, and love is neither manipulative nor controlling. So if Christ our Saviour would stand at the door and knock, who is Bishop Albert Vun to charge in and control how we should think, feel and live?
4. BAV is Moses, Nehemiah & Jesus?
BAV equated himself to Moses, Nehemiah and Jesus. Aaron and Miriam spoke ill of Moses because of his monopoly of government (has God spoken only through Moses?), not the mismanagement of it. Sanballat and Tobiah spread untrue reports about Nehemiah to disrupt the rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. Jesus was wrongly sentenced to death. BAV highlighted how Jesus was gloated by his persecutors who said He was “stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted”. Perhaps a direct reference to his current illness?
The Lord vindicated Moses (the meekest man on earth), Nehemiah and Jesus because the accusations against these leaders were FALSE.
Is it true BAV bought a condominium in Bangkok without Standing Committee’s prior approval?
Is it true BAV and Dean Chak Sen Fen influenced All Saints Cathedral’s AGM by stoking racial sentiments, pitting one congregation against another?
If BAV is wrongly accused, God will vindicate him. If he is not, yet continues to lie, I dread to think of the consequence.
5. Hero of ADOS
BAV finally acknowledges the declining attendance and giving of the churches. However, just as Adam blames Eve for eating the forbidden fruit, so BAV blames everyone else except himself for the decline. Since the church is also a victim in this crisis, he is now the hero who will set things right again. BAV claims that he is training young people to be the next generation of leaders through his Anglican Training Institute (ATI). However, He has omitted the terrifying fact that as of December 2013, Sabah Diocese is the only Diocese in the Province of South East Asia and possibly the world who DO NOT have ONE SINGLE student in a recognised or accredited seminary. It means that if we were to sent a student today, we will only see a trained pastor coming back with a bachelor degree in theology in 2018.
BAV started ATI unilaterally and withdrew membership from all theological seminaries in the region. ATI is manned by “unqualified” teachers, taught by some “qualified” visiting lecturers, offering an unaccredited certificate. Is that what BAV calls training of the next generation of leaders? This is the ONE thing that the Diocese should be TERRIFIED!
6. Tithes, Offering and Lay Readers
“It is required for lay readers to submit to the authority of the clergy,” says BAV, and then he invokes “canonical obedience” to the Bishop. In BAV’s mind, the laity must say yes to the Bishop and clergy. Canonical obedience is submission to the Bishop on all matters lawful and true. When BAV acts unlawfully and lies to the congregation, these sins must be confronted, not swept under the carpet or blinded by “canonical obedience”.
BAV takes Philippians 2:1-2 out of context. He implied being “in one spirit” with the leadership as a criteria to serve together in ministry. Is this what Paul means? Let’s read verse 3-8 as well:
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Clearly, BAV loves quoting “being like-minded” as a mean to get members to tow the line but conveniently leaves out “do nothing out of selfish ambition”, “in humility value others above yourselves”, “taking the very nature of a servant”, “did not consider equality with God”, “humbled himself”.
BAV alleged that some lay readers are not tithing and encouraging others not to tithe as well. Tithing is giving unto the Lord. Unless BAV redefines tithing as giving unto the Anglican Diocese of Sabah, all lay readers ARE tithing faithful as taught by the Scriptures. Seminaries, mission organisations, rural churches have been recipients of their tithes. The Bishop has no business to dictating where we send our cheques.
7. Parting Shots
AV then went on about his life long preoccupation–building and buying land. Absent is any mention of building relationship or building the people of God as followers of Jesus, or the economic hardship that our brothers and sisters are facing in 2014. Instead, there is a series of “let us”, which invariably means “whatever I decide, you just follow.” Anything else means you are the “enemies”.
To finally rub everything in, BAV “send you my blessing as your bishop.” He cannot resist reminding you that “I AM THE BISHOP”.
There, you have it, an all inspiring Christmas message from a narcissist obsessed with his “imaginary” enemies. Its all about himself, his problems, his enemies, his plans, his efforts, his zeal, his preoccupation, his visions.
Most importantly, can anyone find where Jesus is in BAV’s Christmas message?
The following is an open letter from a PCC member of Christ the King, Mr. Chin Wei Yen, to Bishop Albert Vun. It was first published in the comment section yesterday.
I just want to correct your statement. We are not “challenging your spiritual authority to lead”. You have already shown the whole Diocese with your recent actions that you are incapable of providing the right kind of spiritual authority and leadership. No matter how you would want to down play this and convince the whole world that only a “minority” is standing up against you; the fact of the matter is that more and more people are opening their eyes to your shortcomings. However, we are seriously questioning the integrity of our Diocesan structure; which includes the HOB and our Priests, that has proven incapable of handling a situation like this. But we thank God for our Lay Readers – people who have served faithfully over the years who have the courage to stand up for what is right and to renounce what is wrong; without which everyone would still be in the dark. For whatever reasons that you can cook up to remove the Lay Readers, let all our conscience be clear. We serve God not man.
I want to quote your last sentence. “It is important that our church has proper order and discipline”. I fully agree. Sad to say, you only know how to point your finger at others who dare to stand up to you and not take a mirror and look at yourself. The Diocese is in this mess because of your failure to follow through with proper order and procedure. Everywhere you shortcut and shortcurcuit the system because it doesn’t suit your liking. Is this what you call discipline?? For the sake of argument, even if every accusations thrown against you is false, the fact of the matter as a spiritual leader in our Diocese, you handled this matter poorly and as a consequence, caused the whole Diocese to suffer.
I have nothing against you personally. I also don’t see any good reason to hide my identity from you. You can call me if you think what I say is wrong. Frankly I am not concerned one bit about you. Bishops come and bishops go. You cannot last forever. What is more important is the spiritual heritage that has been handed to us by those who established the church and the Diocese. This we have to safeguard. And for this reason, I will continue to challenge you.
I hope you rest well in this time of trial. For the greater good of the church and for what it is worth, let go. You will only do more harm holding on.
It’s been over a month since we learned that Bishop Albert Vun was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. Most of us go through a range of emotion from denial, shock, disbelief, confusion, fear, acceptance to a quiet confidence that God is totally in charge. What do we make out of BAV’s illness? Let us discuss the three most common answers to this question.
Some see BAV’s pancreatic cancer as a random event in life. Everyone dies, eventually. Whether unexpectedly in an accident, peacefully in old age, suddenly in a heart attack, death will overtake us all. Many Christians are ill. Some are diagnosed with cancer too. BAV is just one of them, a mortal to be called home soon by the Lord. There is no deeper meaning to BAV’s illness. He is probably overworked and stressed out, thus making him more susceptible to serious sickness.
To take on this view, we’ll have to disregard all that had transpired in the last two years in the Diocese. The Bishop is accused of serious indiscretions and investigated by the Province. Instead of refuting the allegations, BAV, Bishop Moses Tay and the clergy resorted to the posturing of power, telling the congregations that God is their judge, that the congregation not to “touch the Lord’s anointed” and let God deal with BAV. To view BAV’s illness as a random event in life would require us to disregard the context, ignore the sovereignty of God and forget what had happened so recently.
Then there are people who blame the pancreatic cancer on those who pray for God to remove BAV as the Bishop. “You brought down curses on the Bishop and now he is stricken with cancer,” they argue. This argument is problematic on several counts. First, praying to remove an unfit leader is not the same as cursing someone with cancer. Secondly, even if someone indeed cursed BAV, the Bible teaches us that an undeserved curse does not come to rest. See Proverbs 26:2. Thirdly, it assumes that God would grant the most vile of prayers. Yet Scripture teaches us God is righteous; He cannot act unrighteously or support unrighteousness. He is also just thus incapable of acting unjustly. Even when He judges and punishes, He does so from the basis of righteousness and his love for his people. Finally, God is sovereign. He is not a stooge that kowtow to our wishes just because we nag him long enough, pray loudly, use impressive words or drown the church with sounds of shofars. He is who He is. He does what He knows is right and just.
It is puzzling why prayer meetings are descending into a shouting match. Do we have to pray aggressively and militantly, breaking curses, “blocking the fiery darts”, declaring and decreeing for complete healing for God to listen to us? Is God deaf? Or is He deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened, like Baal who never answered? The Bible teaches us that Jesus is seated at the right hand of our Father interceding for us. God is a good father who knows what we want before we even ask. He will not give us scorpions when we ask for a fish or stones when we ask for a bread. If we truly believe our God is so, then why are prayer items are so scientific and specific that one wonders if God needs an oncologist to teach him how to heal a pancreatic cancer patient. He is our FATHER for goodness sake. Stop shouting at Him! He doesn’t need a medical manual!
My brothers and sisters, please do not mistake adrenaline for anointing and euphoria for effective prayer. The Bible teaches us the key to God hearing our prayers is a broken spirit and a contrite heart. Perhaps we should stop decreeing and declaring, but put on sackcloth and heap ashes on our heads. Perhaps we need more humility rather than presuming that God is on our side.
Finally, there are people who believe BAV’s illness did not happen by chance nor by curses, but rather because of God’s divine intervention. After two years of being in full blown crisis mode, with the PAC report and management letter concluding all is not well with the leadership of BAV, the Bishop of Sabah returned from six months of enforced leave seemingly unstoppable. He got away with lying to the congregation at All Saints Cathedral, millions in expenditure still unexplained, manipulating the election of PCC members in All Saints. After the PAC investigation and report, a court injunction, a signature campaign, vehement objection to Philip Lo’s ordination all came to nought, many wondered if this is a struggle worth fighting for. The church is in disarray. The people continued to suffer. BAV was home free.
When BAV’s position seemed most secure in 2 years and the people in the deepest despair, Bishop Albert Vun was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Those who had always insisted that only God could judge the Bishop, now argue that sicknesses do not come from God. How do we reconcile this stand with God sending 10 plagues to Egypt, striking Miriam with leprosy in Numbers 12, killing Ananias and Sapphira in church, blinding Saul on the road to Damascus? Nobody dare say BAV’s cancer is a judgement from God, yet as news of his illness spread, the fear of the Lord descend upon our church as it did to the Israelites in Egypt and wilderness, to the early church, and to Saul on the road to Damascus.
In Mathew 16:1-3, Jesus said, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.”
Can we discern what our Father is doing? Or are we like the Pharisees and Sadducees who were oblivious of the forthcoming ruin? In Matthew 16, Jesus left the Pharisees and Sadducees and went away. A scholar interpreted the passage this manner, “Jesus left them to themselves, left them in the hand of their own counsels; so he gave them up to their own hearts’ lust.”
If BAV’s illness is not a random event or the result of curses, then we must conclude it is God’s sovereign act. Thus we must consider what God is saying both to us and to BAV and seek the Holy Spirit for an appropriate response, or risk Christ leaving us to our hearts’ lust as he did the Pharisees and Sadducees in Matthew 16. This is a rare word from the Lord, a shout so loud that we ignore to our own peril.
May God help us and have mercy upon us.
After six months of rest, replenishing and reflection in UK and USA, Bishop Albert Vun in his first message to the Diocese, concluded he has nothing to apologize for and nobody to apologize to. This blog would like to remind BAV the tens of thousands in honorarium he received for speaking and conducting confirmation services around the Diocese.
Being Asians we love showing appreciation by buying meals or gifts. In Bishop Chhoa and Bishop Yong’s time, buying souvenirs or small gifts such as books were common. So when the Bishop visited the parishes, they would get some free meals and small gifts. It was a simple way of saying, “Thank you Bishop for your hard work.” The food and gifts may not be necessarily what the Bishop wanted or needed, but they were never despised. Who in the right mind would criticize a gift? Some would give Ang Pow but it was always voluntary, never demanded much less made into standard operating procedure or culture.
Things changed under BAV. In his first meeting with the clergy as the Bishop of Sabah, he directed churches to do away with gifts and souvenirs but give him money instead. BAV also taught his clergy they should not honor visiting speakers more than they did their own colleagues. That means Diocesan clergy should be given honorarium when they teach and speak at Diocesan events, just as visiting speakers do.
Our clergy who speak at Children Camp, Youth Camp, retreats and other Diocesan events received extra money, on top of paying for their traveling and accommodation expenses. Thus money becomes a measure of honor and BAV ushers in a culture of money and greed to the clergy.
What you will see here is a series of honorariums made to Bishop Albert Vun and Bishop John Yeo, Bishop Melter Tais from St. Patrick’s Church and All Saints Cathedral. This blog learns that in 2011, St. Luke in Telupid under Melter Tais gave BAV about RM7000 for one of BAV’s overseas trips and then another RM1000 or RM2000 for conducting confirmation service in the same year.
What you see above are only money given to the from 3 churches. It is unclear now much honorarium BAV, John Yeo and Melter Tais have received from various parishes in Sabah since they were appointed bishops.
1. Ethics & Corruption
The bishops receive monthly salaries, free accommodation, free use of church vehicles, fuel allowance plus whatever subsistence allowances they are entitled to. When they conduct confirmation out of town, the Diocese pay their airfares, the local parishes provided transport to and from the airport and likely host a dinner for the bishops. On top of all the above, the Bishop still get an honorarium of RM1000-7000 for conducting a confirmation service which can only be performed by a bishop already on Diocesan payroll? It would have been a different scenario if the an honorarium were given to a retired Bishop. Is it acceptable if a police accepted extra money to look into an investigation, or a land office staff took more money to process a land transfer, or a bank manager an expensive gift to approve a loan? Why should it be acceptable for bishops to receive extra money to do their job?
The bishops will argue these payments were approved by PCCs or exco. The question is not limited to how honorariums are approved, but whether they are reasonable. What is the guideline and quantum for honorariums? Who decides this? Is it ethical for bishops in active ministry to accept honorariums for conducting conformation? What is Bishop Albert Vun’s official stand on this? If BAV thinks it is legit, it would be fair for the three Bishops to voluntarily disclose how much honorarium they have received from the Diocese and parishes in Sabah since they become bishops.
Let’s not forget the bonuses BAV gave himself without prior consent from the Stand Comm.
2. Merry Go Round
Herbert Tong told the whole Diocese there was no loss of money or misappropriation of fund. How does this statement hold in the light of the latest evidence? Clearly, the bishops give each other honorariums. Is this a systematic way of moving church funds into private pockets under the banner of “honoring” the bishops? We’ve only seen honorariums paid by 3 churches, there are nearly 30 “self-sufficient” parishes in the Diocese. We don’t know how many give the bishops honorariums. If your fellow colleagues give, would you as a priest dare not to give? Those who don’t will look as if they do not honor their bosses. And our clergy has the audacity to preach to the members to tithe even when we disagree with the leadership?
3. Tax Evasion?
Did the bishops include free housing, cars and other allowance in their tax declarations? What about the honorariums they received here and abroad? Will they get into trouble if someone take these ledger entries and file a complaint with the Inland Revenue?
BAV often quotes 1 Timothy 5:17 to support his assertions pastors and those who teaches the Word of God deserves “double honour”. Does it mean priests and Bishops deserve double pay? We will explore the biblical angle of “honouring” in the next posting.
Bishop Albert Vun, can you think of something you need to say sorry for? A commenter wrote, “Judas did wrong, betrayed Jesus, and never said sorry. BAV: you are on dangerous ground.”
After the 10 delegates met with the HOB, presented over 1200 signatures to the HOB and made their case, Bishop Albert Vun met with the HOB a few weeks later. Since BAV had always maintained all allegations were false and malicious, debunking falsehood would be the easiest thing to do. Instead of defending himself with evidences, BAV asked for letters of endorsements from the two assistant Bishops and people. At the moment of life and death, he could only show letters of support–not a shred of defence or evidence. Why? When Bishop Albert Vun couldn’t defend the indefensible, he played the only card in his hand. Support. Or more correctly, faux & blind support.
The following are emails exchanges between BAV, John Yeo and Melter Tais, and a letter of support prepared by Melter to the House of Bishops. Melter’s email and letter were sent in June 2012 while the PAC was in town to investigate allegations against BAV.
We can speculate BAV presented letters of support from the Interior churches & priests (via Melter Tais), Urban churches & priests (via John Yeo) and the 2nd motion of the Synod which affirmed that BAV is God’s anointed leader for ADOS. Consider this:
1. The Conspiracy of the 2nd Motion
BAV started the Synod by crying, hugging and begging for forgiveness of James Chhoa. Then he concealed the Management Letter from the Synod which came to light a week after the Synod. What he truly wanted out of the Synod was the 2nd motion. It didn’t matter he had to put on an Oscar-worthy performance and David Copperfield act to hide the Management Letter from the Synod. It had to be done so BAV could secure proof of support to the House of Bishops albeit with deceit and concealment. In the same way, the feet washing charade was never about reconciliation but securing enough pledge cards to shore up political support.
The vote count for the 2nd motion was 95 yes, 53 nay or abstention. Imagine the vote count if the Management Letter had been presented during the Synod?
2. Melter Lied Again?
Melter told the HOB he was not instructed by BAV to write the letter. Really? Subsequently BAV forwarded Melter’s email and letter to John Yeo and instructed Yeo to write a letter of support. So John Yeo was instructed but Melter wasn’t? Again, the integrity of the leaders of ADOS is called to question. Could Meter Tais have lied to the House of Bishop?
By the way, how does weekly church attendance have anything to do with the allegations that BAV abused his power? After 3 months of investigation, the PAC reported BAV is answerable 38 of 40 allegations against him. For Melter Tais to assert the allegations against BAV are half-truths while the investigation had barely started is mind boggling. On top of that, Melter even rallied a signature campaign amongst the interior clergies before the investigators had completed their work. At the end of the PAC’s findings prove Melter wrong. Either Melter has misled the people or he is misinformed. Either way, can we still trust the integrity and discernment of this assistant Bishop?
3. HOB fooled?
For reasons known only to the HOB, BAV’s letters of support seemed to have swayed HOB from what BAV fears most, convening the Ecclesiastical Court. To Archbishop Bolly, Bishop Moon Hing and Bishop Rennis, is the truth determined by vote count? Can we determine the deity of Jesus Christ by a global referendum? Yet the leadership of these three bishops buckled under the appearance of popular support, or more accurately faux support. Since the HOB cannot be relied upon for sound judgement, perhaps the Malaysian civil court will nudge them to do the right, honourable and godly thing.
In the next post, you will see evidence of Bishop Albert Vun pocketing church funds in the most unethical manner. Let’s us all pray for the Holy Spirit to bring conviction of sins upon our whole Diocese and open our eyes to see the rapid decay of morality amongst our leaders.
Arrangements are now in hand for a monthly prayer meeting to enable Anglicans in KK to come together for fellowship with God and with each other and to intercede for the Diocese unconstrained by church agendas. Please note the details as follows:
Venue: Sabah Theological Seminary Chapel
Date: First Wednesday of each month – 7th August, 4th September, etc
Time: 8:00 p.m.
How to get to the STS Chapel
To reach STS take Jalan Istana from the city centre beside the Padang and head up Signal Hill. Do not take the left on Jalan Bukit Bendera but keep trending right on Jalan Istana and follow this road to the crest of the ridge. At this point the entrance to the Istana is on the right but turn left into Jalan Pinggir just before reaching the Istana entrance. Follow Jalan Pinggir to the very end where STS will be found on the right.
Drive into STS and follow the road downhill past the main building. The new STS Education Centre with its two levels of car parking is then on the left. The road continues downhill to end at the chapel. There is some parking at the chapel but it is rather limited so it can be easier to park at the Education Centre and walk down to the chapel.
Read this in 中文 & Bahasa Malaysia.
This blog has long warned there is a cynical ploy behind last week’s feet washing ceremony to use it as a political ploy to shore up support for Bishop Albert Vun via the signed covenant cards. Many have questioned why we need to sign something with the church when a covenant is made between God and man? The true motif of the the signed covenant card is revealed in this email sent out yesterday by the Commissary, Herbert Tong.
Consider these questions:
1. Why does the Diocese want a record of our covenant with God? I can understand keeping baptism and confirmation records, but a renewal of our commitment to God? It is none of the Diocese’s business!
2. Why does the Diocese want a record of those of signed versus the size of the congregation? Why is this figure significant for the Diocese unless it is to be twisted into a show of support for Bishop Albert Vun? I think it is fine if the Diocese want to do a referendum on BAV’s leadership openly. Yet to do it under the pretence of renewal of commitment to God is taking the Lord’s Name in vain & abusing the holy office. “Let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes, and your ‘no’ be ‘no’.” No smokescreen please!
It is suspected BAV will used the number of signed covenant as a barometer of his support. “See I have so many people saying they are happy to move forward together with me, why should I resign?” BAV would tell the PHoB.
3. To priests and clergy who are unhappy with the Commissary’s latest directive. Remember he is only a journey man, passing through our Diocese. What can he do to you if you refuse to collaborate with this ungodly ploy? He is leaving office on 31 July. You want to obey him, a man who has no commitment to the Diocese and had left the Anglican church for over 18 years, and who does not have to take responsibility for the Diocese after 31 July? Or do you want to heed the warning from your church members who have been and will be with you for the long haul? Above all, obey God not man, especially a cynical ploy by a desperate man.
Be watchful my brothers and sisters when we go to church this weekend. The twisted feet washing saga is not over yet.
This is the million dollar question. During last week’s Standing Committee meeting, Archbishop Bolly Lapok announced Bishop Albert Vun will spend August in Singapore and return to the Diocese of Sabah on 1 September. The Commissary will end his term on 31 July. Who will head the Diocese in August? The Archbishop said the PHoB will “work out something”.
This is unexpected. BAV was widely anticipated to resume duties in Sabah on 1 August. Confirmation and several official duties were lined up for him around the Diocese. What is he doing in Singapore for a month? What will take a month to get done? This unexpected turn of events lead to many speculations, amongst them the possibility BAV will leave Sabah and be appointed the “Missionary Bishop” to Thailand or China. It is unclear if this will involve the Province sponsoring a new Diocese to accommodate BAV. Setting up a new diocese will be a lengthy process. This will allow BAV to keep the bishopship, move him out of Sabah and quell a rumoured upcoming legal case. A win-win-win solution? Well this is only one of many stories in the grapevine.
Jockeying for the Bishop’s chair has already started in Sabah, albeit quietly. Afterall if you are Brutus, you have to be certain about eliminating Caesar before you make any moves.
By the way, BAV is spotted at the Eagles Leadership Conference in Singapore recently. He is not listed as a speaker on the website.
The following is an announcement from the group of 15 (5 complainants & 10 delegates).
It has been suggested that an alternative service should be arranged this coming Sunday for members of Anglican churches in Kota Kinabalu who do not wish to attend their normal service because of the foot washing charade. Notwithstanding that a good number of people have indicated that they would welcome such a service, it has been decided not to pursue it for the following reasons:
- It is felt that this would give rise to unnecessary provocation and is therefore better not undertaken at this time; and
- It appears that several of the KK churches will likely not be undertaking any foot washing ceremony because it is seen as unnecessary, unhelpful and unscriptural within the intended context.
Notwithstanding this, the present climate in most of our churches is very discouraging with too much false teaching and hardly any sound scriptural content. To maintain our Christian sanity some of us need to take a break and come together to seek God free of church agendas in humility and love. To this end a regular prayer meeting is being planned. Details will be published nearer to the time.
Thank you and God bless.
Tonight’s feet washing will start with a declaration that “no money is lost and there is no misappropriation of funds”. Diocesan Treasurer Michael Tong has confirmed the disputed 2010-2011 accounts have NOT been re-audited. Henceforth, this declaration is a LIE made in the House of God. I pray everyone is reminded of the story of Ananias & Sapphira who also lied to the church. I pray for God to show mercy to those who are going to proclaim this lie and mislead the sheep.
Acts 4:32 – 5:10
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need.
Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means “son of encouragement”), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spiritand have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.