Cornerstone Community Church
||This article lends undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, or controversies. (July 2013)|
Cornerstone Community Church (CSCC) (Chinese: 房角石教会) is an independent, Pentecostal multi-congregational Church based in Singapore. The church currently has eight services over the weekend, comprising its English, Mandarin, African, Indonesian, Filipino, Myanmar, Telugu, youth and children congregations. It is committed to global missions, and has affiliate congregations in Kenya, Uganda, Myanmar, Philippines, Pakistan, Indonesia, Australia and in other parts of the world. It is led by Yang Tuck Yoong, its founder and senior pastor. Cornerstone is part of a network called Zion Fellowship, under the leadership of Dr. Brian Bailey, based in Waverly, New York.
Cornerstone Community Church was established in 1990 under the umbrella of the Anglican Church in Singapore, then known as "Bedok Christian Centre". On January 1, 1994, the name of the church was changed to Cornerstone Community Church to better reflect the growing diversity and ministry of the congregation, and on June 2, 1995, to further facilitate the spiritual calling of the church, it became an independent Pentecostal church. On July 16, 2000, it became officially affiliated with Zion Ministerial Fellowship Inc., a ministerial fellowship based in Waverly, New York.
Cell groups are a fundamental part of Cornerstone Community Church. The foundational purpose of the cells is to be a place for relational connectedness. Whether the group consists of adults, working professionals, or youths; focused on evangelism or discipleship, it is a place where the love of Christ is experienced in a most personal way; through friendship, care, encouragement and practical expressions of love and kindness. It is also a place to grow, where every believer can develop and use their God-given gifts and abilities to help others and to engage in body ministry in the most powerful way.
Cornerstone Community Church believes that God has called the church to be a house of prayer for all nations and to fulfill the great commission to go and make disciples in the nations. To-date they have church plants in almost a dozen nations and a wide network of associated churches in the nations. To encourage missions involvement in the church, it launched the Cornerstone Couriers program in 2010, through which hundreds of teams from the congregation were sent out to various nations to carry the gospel message and to bring the love of God through different ways and means.
Views on homosexuality
Pastor Yang came into the attention of the Singaporean public in 2004 in an article by local daily The Straits Times titled "Gay Backlash." The article summarised the responses of Christian organisations in Singapore towards an interview with Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, in which he announced his government is open to employment of homosexuals, despite homosexual acts still being illegal. The article reported that Yang, together with a group of 20 Christians from different denominations, voluntary organisations and professions, met to discuss a strategy and plan of action for Christians to tackle what they termed as a "volatile situation."
The meeting supposedly ended with a decision to draft an immediate plan of action that every pastor and church can adopt in a battle against homosexuality. In particular, Yang called for Christians to "express their concern" to their Member of Parliament, through letters or during Meet-the-People sessions, and send their views to the Feedback Unit and write letters to the media.
In September 2003, Yang issued a feedback to Time Magazine whereby he accused the magazine of glamourizing an illegal and condemned lifestyle in an article that reviewed the gay scene in Singapore. He also stated that the people of Singapore has spoken against the subject. No evidence of this claim, however, was provided in Yang's letter. Yang also did not mention that there is no specific penal code within Singaporean Law that criminalizes homosexuality. There is only a penal code 377a, which specifically criminalizes the act of sodomy between two men, without mentioning homosexuality.
On February 24, 2008, Yang gave a sermon titled "The Sin of Sodom" in which he called homosexuality an abomination. In this sermon, he argued that homosexuality is a spirit that is yet to prevail in Singapore because of official legislation, public opinion, and conscience. At the same time, he encouraged churches to stand up and oppose this "spirit," before Singapore is sent to the abyss in the same manner as Sodom. He also encouraged churches to be "bold" and "courageous," and to "take a stand." Lastly, he lamented that a church that has lost the ability to influence and lobby society would be useless.
Statement regarding 2008 Myanmar floods
In May 2008, Yang commented in a letter to the online Christian portal The Christian Post that he understood the 2008 Myanmar floods, caused by Cyclone Nargis, to be the "hand of God" to teach the nations righteousness. He viewed destruction to be from the Christian God, and encouraged his readers to view it as a warning that the end is near.
Harassment of students
In May 2009, The New Paper reported that church members from Cornerstone Community Church have been harassing students of Greenview Secondary School in Pasir Ris, a residential area at the east of Singapore. The parent of a student reported that his son was harassed by numerous calls and text messages to join the church, after sharing his handphone number. Another student reported that she was not allowed to walk away until she accepted a bible.
Statement regarding Rony Tan
In February 2010, after several videoclips featuring the anti-Buddhist, anti-Taoist and anti-gay remarks of Rony Tan, the senior pastor of Lighthouse Evangelism, which ignited a public firestorm in Singapore, Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong wrote a letter to his church warning that the 'most recent attack' by the gay community and its supporters was "a reminder of the continual scrutiny and the pressure that the Church will face in the coming years". He also said that after watching the videos, he thought that "the reaction from the public was a little excessive". After pledging prayer support for Rony Tan, Yang Tuck Yoong also encouraged his followers to "be senstive" and "be careful", but "not dilute, adulterate or compromise on the potency of the Word" in preaching the Gospel.
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- "Cell Groups". CSCC.
- "Cornerstone International". CSCC.
- M, Nirmala. "Gay Backlash", The Straits Times, 2003-07-23
- "Letters". Time. September 15, 2003. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
- "The Sin of Sodom". Cornerstone Community Church.
- "A Reminder of our Fragility | The Christian Post Singapore". Sg.christianpost.com. 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
- "Church group members harass student for days". Asiaone.com. 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2012-06-09.
- "Christians Need Not Denounce Other Religions, Says Pastor | The Christian Post Singapore". Sg.christianpost.com. 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2012-06-09.