It's a cash cult, say Destiny's walk-outs

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Brian Tamaki. Photo / Alan Gibson
Brian Tamaki. Photo / Alan Gibson

Destiny Church has been attacked by former members who say it is nothing more than a money-making venture.

Dozens of ex-Destiny members contacted the Herald after yesterday's story about dissension in the Brisbane branch.

More than half the Destiny Church in Brisbane - including its pastor, Andrew Stock - walked out of the service on Sunday, saying they believed the church was no longer following the Gospel.

Those who contacted the Herald supported the walkout, saying the church was a money-making cult.

"This incident is the closest we have come to getting a genuine 'tell it like it is' picture of the Destiny corporation," a former member said.


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Pastor Stock, his wife Helen and more than half the just over 100-member Brisbane congregation walked out on the church over several issues, including money and a new covenant which they said went against the Gospel.

That covenant included buying a $300 signet ring and encouraging churchgoers to stop buying coffee and give up Sky TV so they could give more money to the church.

It also said up to $1.3 million would be put aside to fund Bishop Brian Tamaki - who founded the church in Auckland in 1998 - appearing on his own television programme every weekday.

Former Destiny church-goer Agnes Granada said she left Auckland's Mt Wellington branch because "I started getting uncomfortable".

Ms Granada, who attended services for five years, said moves such as making the $300 signet ring a compulsory purchase for each member led her to believe Destiny was not a church, but a money-making cult.

"It doesn't reconcile with what Jesus preached - it's going out of context. I myself was uncomfortable with buying a ring for $300," she said.

"God is spiritual and [Bishop Tamaki] seems to be doing things materialistically - $300 is two weeks groceries for the average family."

Another member said she had to "walk away from it all and repent" after realising she was attending a cult and not a church.

"Tamaki is moving away from the true faith and is setting up his business empire," she said.

"Where does it say in the Bible that only members wear rings?"

The Brisbane Destiny Church website - which was taken down after the walkout - says the emphasis is on preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom in a contemporary manner, so that people find their true destiny and identity.

A former member who was at the Brisbane walkout said many of those who followed Pastor Stock said they were proud and relieved that the story behind the Destiny Church had "finally" come out.

But other members were afraid because members of the church were trying to "hunt down" the person or persons who leaked details of the walkout to the media.

When the Herald contacted the Destiny Church to speak to Bishop Tamaki, spokeswoman Janine Cardno said she did not know where he was but that he was busy in meetings all day.

But she said he was bound by an employers' contract which dealt with confidential matters, and would not be able to make a comment anyway.

- NZ Herald

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