Destiny Church is in turmoil. Again.
When is the last time you heard of a pastor walking out of the pulpit and out of the church?
It happened in Brisbane’s Destiny Church (founded by Brian Tamaki) this weekend. Andrew Stock had been the minister at the Destiny Brisbane church plant for three years.
Destiny Church ministers and leaders are heading to its Brisbane branch after more than half the congregation – including its pastor – walked out.
Bishop Brian Tamaki, who founded the church in New Zealand in 1998, is expected to be among those heading to Australia this week after the resignation of Pastor Andrew Stock.
Members of the Destiny Church in Brisbane, who were at Sunday’s service, contacted the Herald yesterday.
It is believed Pastor Stock – who has been at the Brisbane branch pulpit for about three years – withdrew from his role because a newly introduced covenant went against his beliefs, a member said.
“He decided it was time [to withdraw as pastor]. He believed the covenant was wrong. It is simple – if you know you are sinning, you don’t want to be preaching from the pulpit.”
The member said the covenant told members to “give it heaps” as they worked towards a $3 million project which included building a $1.3 million budget to go towards putting Bishop Tamaki on TVNZ every morning, from Monday to Friday.
The covenant also encouraged members to go without coffee, takeaways and Sky TV for up to seven months to help give more in their church tithes.
The church member, who did not want to be named for fear of repercussions, said up to 70 people of the just over 100-strong congregation followed Pastor Andrew Stock, after a four-minute speech, as he walked out of the church with his family.
Destiny has always been controversial and it appears the covenant which included members buying a 300 dollar covenant ring was the last straw. New Zealand and Australian media are abuzz with the news, twists and turns and Destiny excesses. A PR war is in full swing and Tamaki who among other things, teaches and lives the prosperity gospel, says media always twists his words. He appointed himself bishop and his word is law. Destiny is a group of independent churches.
I like what Throng NZ has to say.
The questions I’d put to Brian Tamaki would be very different. I’d ask him who Jesus Christ was/is, what was Jesus Christ’s message and what are the most important Christian beliefs?
Get him to talk about the centrality of the Christian faith and this is where Christians will be able to discern if his teachings are in line with mainstream Christian beliefs or not. Christians and their leaders should be the ones judging Brian Tamaki, not the media who generally are completely ignorant about the real issues at stake here.
(For reference: I have strong reservations and concerns about Destiny Church and Brian Tamaki’s leadership.)
Destiny Church has tried politics, men’s conferences which drew wide spread criticism, social programs, runs a TV program, sells lots of Tamaki and church products. Andrew Stock (left) has already replaced by Phil Kingi, the Brisbane church congregation was largely ex-pats. It remains to be seen if the disappearing Brisbane congregation can be replaced.
Destiny has established 19 fundamentalist churches in New Zealand and has been referred to as a cult of personality.
Previous BDBO posts
NZ and Australian blogs are leaning in favour of Andrew Stock walking from the pulpit and out the door; such as Kiwi blog, Social Justice, No Minister, Thinking Matters, Brian Edwards, Cultwatch, Cults.co. NZ. Others are fully committed to Tamaki such as My Place
Update: This is on a Destiny Â website where Â Tamaki and his pr department blame the devil for critical media coverage. When a leader thinks they are God or God-like and operate Â a closed system, you begin to see sociological and theological characteristics of a cult.
authoritarian leadership patterns
loyalty and commitment mechanisms
conformity patterns (including the use of various sanctions against those who deviate)
Theological warning signs:
embracing of a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.