Former members: Destiny Church a cult
The Sydney Morning Herald
March 03, 2010
Former members of the Destiny Church say it is nothing more than a money-making venture.
The church has been heavily criticised by former members after more than half the congregation including Pastor Andrew Stock walked out of the Sunday service in Brisbane.
Those who walked out say they believe the church is no longer following the Gospel.
Since then former members have supported the walkout and say the church is a money-making cult.
Pastor Stock, his wife Helen and a significant part of the Brisbane congregation walked out over several issues, including money and a new covenant which they say went against the Gospel.
Under the covenant members are encouraged to buy a $300 signet ring, stop buying coffee and give up Sky TV so they can give more money to the church, the New Zealand Herald reported.
However, the church says the criticism is not new, although the purchase of the covenant ring is not compulsory and is available to men only.
Church spokesman Richard Lewis says the church has a big vision.
"These kinds of comments are nothing new and we go about trying to build our vision as any other church in the country does and it costs money to do it."
The covenant also says that up to $1.3 million will be put aside so church founder Bishop Brian Tamaki can appear on his own television programme every weekday.
Former churchgoer Agnes Granada says she left the church in Auckland because she was "getting uncomfortable".
She told the newspaper making the $300 signet ring a compulsory purchase led her to believe Destiny is not a church, but a money-making cult.
She says God is spiritual and Bishop Tamaki is doing things materialistically.
Another member says Bishop Tamaki, a self-appointed bishop is moving away from the true faith and setting up his business empire.
Lewis says the church has always been "focussed on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It has been our message from the start and always will continue to be our message".
He says the tangible expression of the message is the church's work in the community and that cost money.
He will not speak about 'the handful' of people who have publicly criticised and left the church although it is disappointing.
However, Lewis says if people are not happy and want to leave, the can leave but they will always be welcomed back.
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