Destiny Church town plan draws cult accusations

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Destiny Church‘s plans to build a ten-acre ‘town’ in South Auckland, New Zealand, has many describing the movement as a cult.

New Zealand’s TVNZ reports that

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 New Zealand Herald says

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.

Back then 3 News, New Zealand, wrote that

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.”

The New Zealand Herald notes

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.

Early last year Vrankovich documented heresy being taught by Tamaki. Vrankovich says Destiny Church should be considered theologically a cult of Christianity.

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.

Destiny Church plans to create a ‘holy city’ followers never have to leave
Destiny Churches must be treated as a cult of Christianity; Heresy taught by Brian Tamaki

Note the differences between the sociological vs. theological definitions of the term ‘cult.’
What is a cult of Christianity
More about Destiny Church

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This post was last updated: May. 9, 2014