Dear Hope Pastors and Leaders:
You may be surprised when receiving this message from me. Actually, the development of the situation in Thailand after the release of 18-page statement had already crushed me and brought me to grief for a big while. However, I had spent time seeking God - fasting and pray for at least 40 days. Thank God that His Power and Grace healed and delivered me, (though I am not completely healed yet.) Also, I really appreciate your kind prayers and thoughtfulness towards me and brothers and sisters in Hope Thailand churches. After spending almost 2 months seeking the information from the relevant parties (I did as much as I was allowed / time allowed), the matters of fact I found quite shocked me. To be honest, apart from keeping Ps Simon informed of the fact, I did not want to share the info to anyone in international side much because I could guess the stories would definitely disappoint and hurt you. That is why I kept quiet and did not respond to the questions some of you asked. I only told some of my sheep who are abroad, and some of my Thai friends who asked me regarding the matter.
However, for at least 3 reasons: (1) as I was thinking that the information might be crucial for you to make your stand - as a steward, everyone has to be accountable to God, (2) as we are family - you are my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ and in the covenant, and (3) as a ‘watchman’ (Ezekiel 33:1-6), I decided to share with you the matters of facts I found. Please note that the following matters of facts are only for your information and consideration. I have no intention to accuse or blame anyone. As we have known each other for at least 5 years, I thought you know me quite well. I have trust in you, so I tell you the story. In strictly confidential, I hope that the info in this letter would be used for the sake of the flock’s benefits only, not to harm anyone.
(By the way, please bear with my English; please accept my apologies if itirritates you ☺.)
I. SEQUENCE OF THE CASE (to my knowledge only)
(1) Ps Nimit’s testimony if you have. We here at HGI Office aretranslating, but are not certain whether it is in time.
(2) My report submitted to Ps Simon as attached.
(3) 18-page document
(4) 12-page document
(5) The church’s Finance Measure dated Oct 6, 2008
o Early 2008 Teaching about ‘Idol Worship’ was taught by Sister Suthanee (Jarb) to members who were sent to supportDr J’s political campaign (for Bangkok Governor),and to the church leaders in a class called ‘LEP’.
o July 2008 Ps PN made a statement in UL retreat that the churchdid not agree with the ‘idol worship’ teaching.However, the members who supported the campaignstill needed to continually do the ritual practice (butnot a ‘must’, I think).
o Sep 23 Ps PN suggested an idea of separating Hope ofBangkok Church from Hope of Thai PeopleFoundation in the Church Growth Meeting (CGM -attendees were Regional Leaders).
o Oct 6 The Foundation’s Finance Measure was released -according to the law, all sorts of the offerings are to be transferred to the foundation’s bank accountsonly. (During that week or a week later - can’t remember exactly) There was arumor that Sister Rubina (RB) would be
excommunicated. Regarding this, two of my friends(who are working at multimedia ministry) testified that he and she received a call from his/her boss. Theboss asked each of them to get prepared the videocamera and only listen to him because there would bean announcement to excommunicate RB soon.
o Oct 7 Ps PN, again, suggested the idea of separation inCGM. He said that he felt uncomfortable to lead thechurch with legal covering of the foundation. He alsogave an example regarding HGI money that waswithheld by RB; in this case, he thought RB offendedhis authority.
o Oct 8 Brother Surachart, the foundation’s treasurerdisappeared from his house. His wife came to the church that morning and shared the story with tear tothe church’s staff in devotion meeting. She said in grief that the husband had been working under greatpressures for a long time but no leaders had paid attention to him. She also said that she kneweverything about the money, and if she couldn’t find her husband by that night, she would go to see the police and needed to tell everything to them.
o Oct 14 Ps Kobchai & Sister Nalinee Chirathivat and someleaders in P region (businessmen ministry) resigned from the church. They reasoned that they didn’t agree with the church’s practice (politics). To them, they joined the vision because they desired to fulfill the Great Commission by building strong and biblical people to build strong and biblical churches. But if the church changed the vision, they needed to leave as their vision was not for politics. It was told by someone that Ps Kobchai, who is a friend to DR.J, went to see DR.J asking him why he
kept on investing his life for kind of political position. DR.J told him that because ‘it is the answer.
- For him, politics is the answer; if Ps Kobchai believed that the church is the answer, he had a
freedom to do whatever he believed.’ (you can ask Ps Chin to verify this story - firstname.lastname@example.org)
o Oct 15 Ps Somthob declared re the church’s money to the regional leaders in CGM. However, he said that he would tell only the issues ‘the RLs COULD ACCEPT.’ When some leaders (Ps Pitak) asked about the corruption in case of a portion set for the daughter churches’ senior ministers, Ps Somthob accepted that it is TRUE, but he didn’t do it according to his own will - someone else asked him to do. Regarding this matter, in each month, the money was
withdrawn for the purpose of supporting those senior ministers. The total amount according to the budget plan was 500,000 baht, but it was ACTUALLY transferred to the senior ministers across the country only 50,000 baht. Actually, they were expected to receive 2,700 baht per month, but they regularly received only 300 baht. When some leaders asked
Sister Supee (the wife of Ps Somthob) regarding this, it was accepted that the rest of money was transferred to support DR.J.
o Oct 15 The church eldership team (Ps PN, Sister Sunee, Ps Somthob, Ps Nimit and Sister Rubina) had a 4 consensus that the church would no longer have any policy to support the politics work. The money used to support the politics work was required to return back to the church. However, after the meeting, Ps Somthob privately told Sister Rubina that he was not
certain if there would be enough money to return to the church.
o Oct 22 The 18-page document was released.
o Oct 28 Ps Simon had a meeting with Ps PN, Sister Rubina, Ps Nimit and Ps Yongyuth. Setting of the meeting was set by Ps PN, and had Peung as a translator. Video recording was done throughout the 8-hour meeting. However, the statement could not be released as it
could not be specified that who would be responsible/a responsible head to get back the money
to the church, and correct the unrighteous practices happened in the church.
o Nov 2 Another Sunday Service was conducted at theAmbassador Hotel, Bangkok. The attendees on that day (Hope Bangkok members) understood that it was another service center of Hope of Bangkok Church. However, it appeared that the offerings were
transferred to a private bank account, not the foundation’s bank account, which was illegal. Consequently, some of the church leaders were sacked due to the violation against the 6-Oct finance measure.
o Nov 4 Regional Leaders had a lunch fellowship with Ps PN purposed to encourage him to resolve the problems arising in the church and stand for righteousness.
o Nov 8 After the morning prayer meeting, Ps PN presented himself at Ramkhamhaeng Student Service (U Service), Bang Na center. He said that the house (the church) was no longer livable. He was about to resign. He would start a new church soon, and it would be great if all of them (U regions) would join together.
o Nov 10 Thai RMCs (i.e. Ps Sitthichai, Ps Samai, Ps Chuchart, Ps Oranute, Ps Sukanya, etc.) were 'downplayed’ by Ps PN. Their status then was equal to a Hope provincial leader. It was told that Ps PN did such an action because the Thai RMCs did not support him (he told this matter to the provincial leaders in a meeting called ‘congress’, held at Thai Church Council Building.)
o Nov 11 Ps PN’s statement to the church members at theWindsor Hotel (Ps Somthob and Ps Rungson were there). In the declaration, Ps Rungson said that the church never taught about ‘Idol worship’; and was never under covering of the foundation. Actually, Sister Rubina was also there with the evidence, but she was not allowed to clarify anything. With regards to Ps Rungson’s declaration, I can say that he ‘was not telling the truth’. Because the ‘idol
worship’ lesson was really taught by Sister Suthanee to Regional leaders, Groupwork leaders, Office leaders and some district leaders in the early of the year. Besides, one of my sheep who was sent to support the SD work came to me telling that she was strongly not comfortable to do such a practice. Moreover, regarding the covering of the foundation, the truth is that the church has been under legal covering of the foundation for 16 years; even DR.J
realizes of this matter.
o Nov 14 Another statement from the foundation (12-page) was
o Nov 16 A new Sunday Service led by Ps PN and Ps Rungson at Mandarin Hotel was started. They refused legal covering of the foundation, but still used the name ‘Hope of Bangkok Church’. Ps PN used the first statement issued by HGI at JB LC to justify his action - that HGI leaders SUPPORT HIM. But I am not certain if he told the further detail that HGI supports him to solve the problem biblically. Since then on, Ps PN and his team had been visiting Hope daughter churches across the country. Approximately, 50 percent of the existing churches were separated. It appeared that ‘twisted’ facts and ‘unbalancing’ teaching regarding authority were
shared to the flock.
At present, the church is splitted into 3 churches: (1) the original Hope Church under legal covering of the foundation, (2) Ps PN’s Hope Church (including the politics one), and (3) the new church (neutral) called ‘Nexus Christian Fellowship’ led by Ps Golf (Thanon).
Key leaders who are still with the original Hope Church are:
Bangkok - Ps Nimit (has been appointed by Hope Thailand Leadership
team as the senior pastor), Ps Prayuth (Worship), Ps Prapop (Mission), Ps Sawat (Media), Ps Kriengkrai, Ps Pitak, Ps Ratchakit (Mission), Ps Vorapong (World Mission), Ps Tammarak, Ps Chaloemchai, Ps Pattamarote, Ps Krich, Ps Todsapon, Ps Chate, Ps Big, Ps Kay, Ps
Suparoek, Ps Surawat (Chin), my husband and I.
Upcountry - All of the Thai RMCs except Ps Chaiyawit and Ps Chaiyapruek. I was told that Ps
Chuchart was keeping ‘neutral’ at the moment.
II. STATUS of Hope of Bangkok Church, Hope of Thai People Foundation
According to Thai law, churches in Thailand have no legal status. It is fine for Christ’s believers to gather together to worship God. But once the church grows bigger in size and holds a lot of assets and properties, it needs to register and reports the church practice to the government (See Romans 13). The church founder has realized about this fact since the beginning; that is why in the early stage of the church, he put the church under EFT umbrella. However, due to our ‘naughty’ behaviors then, EFT ‘expelled’ us from the membership. Not long after that, the founder registered ‘Hope of Bangkok Church’ as ‘Hope of Thai People Foundation’ in the early of 1990’s (see the 18-page document). And to protect the church from persecution (the church
was falsely accused as a ‘cult’) and protect the founder (accused as a leader of the cult) that time, the church and the foundation ‘have been combined’ by the church policy (approved by the founder), and by law since 1995 or 1996 (can’t remember). Since then, Sister Rubina has been appointed by the founder as a representative of the church and the foundation to defend at the court, and she has been doing the appointed task faithfully for at least 16 years.
Thus, the foundation was not just a social arm – but the church’s legal covering body.
III. POSITIONS of Sister Rubina (RB) in the church
RB is the President of Hope of Thai People Foundation. The foundation is a legal body of Hope of Bangkok Church, and has to annually report the church practices, finance status/account, and declare the church’s assets and properties to the government.
She is ALSO an elder of Hope of Bangkok Church; there are 5 elders in the church eldership team - Ps PN, Sister Sunee, Ps Somthob, Ps Nimit and Sister Rubina. All the elders have been appointed by the founder, and are equal in authority (the pastor is the first among the EQUALS, and is the chief overseer - see in Hope Philosophy of Ministry.)
RB was appointed by Ps PN to be in charge of the finance department (replacing Ps Somthob) in March 2008. Since then on, she had been finding ‘the faults’ in the system.
(Please contact Sister Jum: email@example.com or Ps Nimit: firstname.lastname@example.org for further details regarding the evidence. I think all of you who have knowledge about accounting system, auditing are more than welcome here to see the church’s account.)
(To verify the matter of fact regarding Hope Khon Kaen’s money, please contact Ps Oranute: email@example.com; regarding the money Sister Sunee asked from some Hope Thailand daughter churches, please contact Ps Sukanya: firstname.lastname@example.org).
IV. CLARIFICATION of the charges against RB proposed by Ps PN in
the CD/letter sent to some Hope International leaders. I heard that Ps PN wrote e-mail/sent CD regarding the situation to someone in Hope North America Churches. I was so surprised to know that the information he shared with them and the matter of facts I found are strongly ‘contradictory’. Here below, please find in ‘BLUE’ the facts I found and in ‘GREEN’ my
Charge#1: RB’s action of withholding HGI’s Money is against Ps PN’s authority.
Fact: RB had kept Ps PN informed already before Ps PN went to see Ps Simon
(for an eldership meeting) that transferring money in this case (from a foreign
country to support the political campaign in Thailand) is ILLEGAL according
to Thai Law; it is considered as MONEY LAUNDRY, and anyone who takes
such an action would be put to jail for 3 to 5 years.
On October 28, 2008, when Ps Simon flew to BKK to have a meeting with RB
and Ps PN, he asked RB concerning this matter before the rest (Ps PN, NM,
YY, and Peung). RB told SE that Ps PN was informed already that such an action is ILLEGAL; if she, as the president of the foundation, allowed the treasurer to withdraw the money for the political purpose (campaign), she and the treasurer would be imprisoned for 3-5 years. Besides, the responsible body of HGI’s account is Hope of Thai People Foundation because then, when the
bank account was open, HGI still had no legal body.
She also told Ps Simon that the money was transferred to ‘her territory’; thus, as the highest authority of the foundation, she could not allow anyone to withdraw the money for such a purpose. [That is why the ‘second’ amount of money approved by HGI (during LC in Hong Kong) was transferred to another account called ‘Social Entrepreneur’.] Then, Ps Simon asked Ps PN before the attendees why he didn’t tell him regarding this; if he had known it before (that it’s ILLEGAL), he would have not agreed to transfer the money. The answer Ps PN replied to Ps Simon’s question was “I don’t know; I can’t remember.”
(He accused RB that her action is against his authority; but he never told that RB kept him informed already that the action is illegal.)
By the way, with my very own eyes, RB is the one who transferred the HGI money back to HGI account named Hope Church (Singapore).
Charge#2: RB’s action of distributing the 18-page document is sinful.
Fact: RB said that she had put all efforts to stop such a practice (the means the founder and his people did in withdrawing and spending the money). Though she did not go to see Dr.J by herself, she regularly submitted a proposal (finance situation and suggestions) and report (in black-and-white) to him, and all the Hope Bangkok Elders knew. All the procedures in Matthew 18 had been already done before she decided to do the final stage (in Matthew 18) – to keep
the church informed of the guilt. Moreover, the practices stated in the 18-page document are ILLEGAL, NOT just ‘an in-house matter’. The biblical action in responding to the faults
(unrighteous practices) should be done; while the legal action should be done also. Otherwise, the church/the foundation would be sued and closed down by the government (with an allegation of deceiving/misleading the country’s citizens)
Opinion: By the way, to the church mature members, RB’s action is sound. Godly Righteousness should be the key principle to deal with this case; the offenders (those who offend God’s principles – corruption, abuse of authority, having practice against the national law) MUST repent; not just viewed/mentioned it as ‘the family matter’. Forgiveness and giving a second
chance are another issue, and should be done; BUT TRUE REPENTANCE (as Zacchaeus did) is to be done also.
Charge#3: RB’s action has caused division in the church and is against
Fact: As an eye-witness in many situations, as stated in point (I), Ps PN is the
one who initiated an idea of separating the church from the foundation. He suggested this idea to regional leaders on Sep 23, and Oct 7 – even before RB released the 18-page document. It was told that the hidden reason was due to the founder’s dissatisfaction on money spending policy (budget approval) of the foundation made by RB.
In fact, RB has been appointed by Ps PN himself to be in charge of the church finance department since March 2008 (replacing Ps Somthob, who had been functioning that task for more than 20 years). Since then, RB had found many ‘flaws’/ ‘faults’ in the system. RB said that she had put every effort to keep the founder informed of the finance situation, but no sound response from him at all. On the contrary, He still kept ordering to draw out the money for the
campaign; To him, RB’s resistance to keep the church finance in ‘right’ status and have all the practices biblically seemed ‘rebellious’ (Ps Nimit can testify this).
(Legally, she also has to annually report the church practices to the government; the church was registered as Hope of Thai People Foundation, in the other word, Hope of Thai People Foundation is the legal body of Hope of Bangkok Church.)
After the release of the 18-page document, RB never called any member for a meeting. On the other hand, almost a thousand of members would like to hear from her and see the evidence. Thus, they asked her to see them.
(Ps Nimit did not help RB to draft the 18-page document.)
By the way, as the church’s elders, both RB and Ps Nimit are equal to Ps PN, Ps Somthob and Sister Sunee (as mentioned above). If it was found with solid evidence that the three did wrong or had unbiblical practices, is it biblical and sound for the two to correct them?
On the day of RB’s announcement and when my RL friends and I went to see her at her home, RB clearly stated that she didn’t want to make any division in the church. She merely needed to ‘clear up’ the unrighteous practices in the church. Besides, she was more than willing to support Ps PN to be the pastor, but with no interference from those who keep going ahead for politics (as their practices really harm the church).
After the 18-page was released, no one had an attempt to separate the church. However, it was found that 2 weeks later, Ps PN allowed some groups of members to open a ‘new service’ at the Ambassador Hotel. However, it was a surprise that the offering was transferred to a bank account which does not belong to the foundation. Not long after that, Ps PN visited Ramkhamhaeng University Student Service saying, ‘this house is no longer livable; I am about
to resign next Tuesday (Nov 11). I’ll start a new church soon; if you would like
to join me, please feel free to do so.’
Actually, none of the regional leaders agreed with his actions. We thought that once the church had such a problem, we needed to help one another to get back the member’s money and cured the church. Moreover, we were more than willing to SUPPORT Ps PN to resolve the issues and clear up the unrighteous practices in the church (i.e. getting back the money, stopping the members who supported Dr.J’s political campaign from doing the ritual practice, etc.). If Ps
PN is the chief overseer of the church, the responsibility of getting back themoney should be his and ours as pastoral team – not just let committee of the foundation or Ps Somthob do it alone.
On Nov 16, Ps PN started a new service called ‘Hope of Bangkok Church’ at Mandarin Hotel. He claimed that he was expelled by RB. However, most of the leadership team did not follow him as we considered the action as ‘church separation’.
Opinion: To our view, no one expelled Ps PN; in the other word, we were wondering that ‘he might feel uncomfortable to take any responsibility to correct the unrighteous issues raised by RB in the 18-page document and left us’. He and Ps Rungson refused to accept the legal authority of the foundation (though the legal authority is accepted by God – Romans 13), thus, they moved out of the umbrella to start a new church. On the top of that, there had been
unbalancing lessons regarding ‘authority’ released to the members – to me, the lessons are purposed to ‘deceive’ the innocent members, especially those who are young in belief.
Charge#4: RB’s action is done out of evil motive.
Fact: Only God knows whose motive is right.
Opinion: My point of remark here is that RB’s actions were only done in ‘black-and-white’ with solid evidence; while the other side’s actions came only by ‘words of mouth’ with no solid evidence. Since RB released the 18-page document, none of the leaders mentioned in the
paper had come to talk to RB face to face/before the members. If they were sincere enough, they should present themselves and have an open conversation – even before eyes and ears of the church members.
I think God concerns both ‘content’ and ‘motive’. If I did wrong, though my enemy blamed me out of his evil motive, I could not say that the content he blamed was invalid; Right is right and wrong is wrong. To me, content is more important than means of conveying the message or motive. And I think God considers all.
By the way, my question is: Is there any godly authority that allows His believers to do a wrong/sinful practice (against His Law) for His sake?
V. Dr. Joseph’s Side
Since the release of the 18-page statement, I have never had a conversation with either Dr. J or Sis. Jarb. Actually, I met Sis. Jarb once in a meeting on Oct. 22, a day after the release of the statement. However, my friend told me thatSis. Jarb was a key person who initiated the church’s new service at the Ambassador Hotel because she was there on that Sunday (giving a speech, I think).
As for Dr. J’s issue, to verify the other allegations stated in the document (apart from the financial issue and abuse of authority), I approached someone whom I thought he/she could provide me the information. A thick file was presented to me; it was a forensic speech given by Dr. J in 1999/2000. After reading the document, I was so surprised to see some statements which were totally different from the thing I have known (see in the attachment named ‘forensic
speech.’) Anyhow, it was told that Dr. J justified his actions that he needed to do that to protect the church.
(My question is: to protect the church, do we have to do even to the point of twisting the truth/telling a lie?)
To ‘the personal issue’ many of you would like to know, I was told that it is ‘true’. A friend of Sister Victoria who had ever worked in Dr. J’s office told her that they have been separated for years. By the way, to my opinion, as long as Dr. J had proven that he was doing
everything for God, we would be more than willing to support him, BUT only in biblical and transparent practice. In terms of financial support, it could be done as long as all the procedure (of money request and spending) is transparent, and he needs to be accountable. However, his approach – allowing or leading the flock to get involved with other religions’ ritual practices, i.e. to the degree of worshipping idol, is unacceptable and unbearable.
I have a doubt in the theology taught by Dr. J’s side: everything (even sinful practice) can be done as long as we do it for God; God looks into our heart/attitude, not just our action. Is it true and biblical for a believer to worship an idol if necessary/or if such a practice can lead to an achievement for God? Is it true and biblical that corruption, twisting the truth, etc. can be done
as long as we do it for God?
VI. Ps. PN’s personal issue
To be honest, I was so painful and in great sorrow when I found the matter of facts (more than one case) with solid evidence regarding this issue. However, I will only let Ps Simon tell you the story.