Speaking at Destiny Church’s New Year’s Eve ‘MegaService’ in Rotorua, self-styled ‘Bishop’ Brian Tamaki declared that the church has secured resource consent to build schools, a university and a massive auditorium in South Auckland.
Footage screened on TV ONE showed the crowd rising and cheering when Tamaki told followers that ten acres of land had been acquired and that “we signed a contract” and that “we can do anything we want – we can build it”.
“We had to get resource consent meaning that the council would let us build our schools, our auditorium – basically building a town,” Tamaki said.
The move has drawn spirited comment on ONE News’ Facebook page.
While some defended the church’s right, many were quick to label the church a cult.
“How about pumping that money back into the church into those families that really, honestly can not afford to pay his fees that he so calls “Tithing” [&] Too much money in one mans pocket to be “right” in my books,” Harley Lass said on ONE News’ Facebook page.
Craig Sherson said there was “nothing Christian about bleeding people dry to feather your own nest.”
The Auckland Council was also a target for criticism for its decision to grant consent to the church.
The Destiny leader is now appealing for donations from his followers to help fund the town.
“Much of your seed is going to go toward the foundations of an offering toward our promised land, and that beginning is not going to come without a fruitful start financially,” Mr Tamaki said.
The controversial church will lease the property, but has the option of purchasing the land once it has sold its Mt Wellington headquarters, One News reported.
Over the years Destiny Church has repeatedly come under criticism for a variety of issues ranging from Brian Tamaki’s high life style (Destiny promotes the Prosperity Theology scam), his un-biblical demands for loyalty, his preaching of heresy, along with the church’s political aspirations and its angry protests against gay unions.
In Oct. 2008 Self-proclaimed ‘bishop’ Brian Tamaki told supporters Destiny Church is planning to create a ‘holy city’ for its followers in the heart of South Auckland.
Mark Vrankovich from Cultwatch says Tamaki’s plans are dangerous, because his followers will be isolated from society.
“There is a danger there that the people will focus on Brian as their only source of reality,” he says, “and then if Brian becomes deranged or goes extremely strange we could end up with a Waco.”
In 2008, Destiny refuted a TV3 report the church was planning to build a 8.1ha exclusive “kingdom” in Manukau where parishioners would be protected from the outside world.
In 2006, however, Mr Tamaki was quoted in Rotorua’s Daily Post as saying Destiny planned to create a “city within a city” which would help to preserve the church’s DNA.
The publishers of Religion News Blog consider Destiny Church to be, theologically, a cult of Christianity and believe that sociologically the church has cultic elements as well.