Sunday, March 7, 2010

Thoughts on Destiny

The latest headline in the Herald reads "Destiny Church demands more than tithe, former members say".  This past week has throttled Destiny Church into the spot light as a corrupt cash cult out to get your money.  Has it tainted the reputation of all Christian churches in New Zealand?  It all started at when a Pastor at a branch in Brisbane walked out taking half the congregation with him.  If we think back a bit, it actually started when Bishop Tamaki initiated the covenant with those $300 signet rings.  Come to think of it, maybe it started a bit earlier?  See, what makes Destiny Church different is, we just don't know what goes on behind those doors.  The Churches eldership has no accountability, there is no transparency or visibility into what goes on.  We really don't know when the problem started, we don't know how, and we don't know why.  For years Destiny has been considered a cult, but only now has it be scrutinized in the public by its own members.

So what is wrong with Destiny?  They are giving out AP forms which force members to give 10% of their income, they are requiring the purchase of signet rings and other strange rituals which make Brian Tamaki some sort of God or Messiah.

To address the first issue, I hope it is obvious Brian Tamaki is not God, or a Messiah, or any other sort of prophet or special super person.  To me, a person who has never met him, Tamaki seems like a charismatic leader who believes in God or at least claims so.  At least he may have started off as God fearing believer, maybe he really did get sent by God to accomplish something, but every leader knows their greatest temptation is pride.  And surely if Tamaki was ever genuine, its because of the pride that has gotten to his head.

But you may say, God's leaders don't need money to be compensated.  And this 10% tithe thing seems wrong.  Where does this 10% tithe even come from?  I'll probably have to write a whole separate blog post for that topic.  But  what I will say is this, giving to the Church must be earnest and free from compulsion.  Giving as an act to gain status or believing that God will enrich you with Earthly riches also is the wrong way to go about it.  Brain Tamaki's extravagant lifestyle has lead many to assume he is taking the money for himself.  This may have come from a thinking that he deserves some compensation for looking after God's people, this may even come from thinking that God is rewarding him.  Whatever he thinks, I think that it would be better for such a public figure to be cautious with such money.  Even a less profiled person would do well to be generous with their money and be cautious in how they handle donations.  For example if you are a volunteer who raises money through fundraisers, it may not be wise to spend the money on flash cars and extravagant dinners.  Living in poverty earns my respect, and I think it will be rewarded by God in other ways, after all, we cannot take our material wealth with us after we die.

Whenever you fast, do not put on a gloomy face as the hypocrites do, for they neglect their appearance so that they will be noticed by men when they are fasting.  Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. - Matt 6:16
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on  earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal - Matt 6:19-20

1 comment:

Kathy said...

Heard an interview with one of the leader's from Destiny's church this morning on radio Rhema. I forgot his name, but he seems really convinced and believes that Destiny and Brain Tamaki ain't doing anything wrong, despite the fact that they put allot of attention money, donations, and even a billboard of Brian Tamaki on the motorway (tell me how does that not invite media attention?!). He went on about how the media just keeps picking on them because Brian Tamaki is such a famous bishop, and gets under the limelight allot more than any other bishops out there. He added on saying that they're using the funds to build schools etc... I guess I'm not too worried about how rich the church is, cos there may be some really rich people in the congregation that donates to Destiny. But my problem is that whoever that interviewee was - not only did he seem defensive (which is understandable when the whole christian community is against them) but also insensitive to how his action/Destiny may be a stumbling block to others. I personally think that's the main issue... they may have all the right motives, but their actions may be a stumbling block to others. I know I act in ways that may be a stumbling block to others - but its the attitude and humility of wanting to change and be more like Christ. We need to pray,ask for forgiveness,be humble,and deny our self worth and pride. We are all imperfect after all.

OK the end. back to studying...wahey!

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