"Bishop" Brian Tamaki is in the news again; Stuff reports:
Bishop Brian Tamaki has raised the stakes with his Destiny Church followers, exhorting them to leave behind houses, jobs – even family members – to join him at a "City of God" he is building in South Auckland.At the church's annual conference in Rotorua on Friday night, Tamaki spent his entire two-hour sermon talking about how God had told him to build the city and why his followers had to lose their "parochialism" towards their home areas, even if it meant leaving behind loved ones.
And an expert in cults sees this as sinister; read on:
Cult expert Mark Vrankovich said the speech was designed to "soften up" Tamaki's followers and the real pressure to move to South Auckland would come with one-on-one sessions with local pastors."Saying that the church family is more important than your physical family, that you must go with the spiritual family, is a classic cult idea. This will put great pressure on families and break up families."Vrankovich was also concerned that Tamaki appeared to be encouraging people to sell their homes. "They'll be pressured to give the money from the house sale to the church, and they'll never see it again. He's extracting money from people for his dream, and something that he will effectively own. He wants to be mayor or king of this 'city' so he's softening them up to get them to move [to Auckland] so he's guaranteed not to be losing money on the deal."
Quite frankly, we wouldn't go anywhere near a Destiny church. By the same token, the church has established a track record of helping those who are in the "too hard" basket for a lot of other churches.
But we have some real concerns over Tamaki's apparent willingness to put the squeeze on his flock to follow him to the City of God. We certainly wouldn't be hocking off our home, leaving our job and following blindly because God spoke to the leader. We'd test it ourselves, by prayer and by reading scripture, and if the local pastor came round for a one-on-one session, we'd tell him to take a hike.
All we can add is this very funny and extremely pertinent moment from a movie the name of which is not dissimilar to this post: