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Destiny's controversial covenant slammed

Published: 9:11PM Thursday October 29, 2009 Source: Close Up

A Destiny Church covenant has critics of Brian Tamaki claiming the organisation is more like a cult than a religious community.

The oath of loyalty includes instructions about honouring the king, (Tamaki) and deference toward him.

The 700 spiritual sons have pledged never to openly disagree with the self-proclaimed Bishop Tamaki and to accept, even cover, his mistakes. But Tamaki told Mark Sainsbury on Close Up that these are things the men have chosen to do and he has not demanded it of them.

He says most organisations have procedures and protocols and the covenant has been put together with the men and leaders from the church.

Richard Lewis, who headed the church's political wing, drafted the covenant and says it was endorsed by the pastors of the Destiny movement.

"It's very much just in writing a culture that has existed within the Destiny movement for quite some time."

And Lewis says as the movement continues to grow they need protocols and guidelines.

Destiny denies being a cult and Lewis says it is an open book and its doors are always open. He says Tamaki carries the message for the movement and he is the "philosophy and direction".

But Tamaki says he doesn't see himself as a king and "it's hard enough being a bishop".

He says many of his followers have come from hardship and violence and this is a breath of good news.

"Over 700 men, who represent families, have taken a covenant to be better husbands to their wives, better fathers to their children and better men all around.

"We're seeing thousands of lives changed."

However one of Tamaki's biggest critics, Mark Vrankovich from Cultwatch, says the covenant contains the type of mechanisms by which cults go askew.

"The pattern is the risk," says Vrankovich who is upset that Tamaki seems to claim to be the mouthpiece of God.

"Destiny Church is not a Christian church following Jesus Christ. It is a church following a man by the name of Brian Tamaki who claims to be the mouthpiece of God," says Vrankovich.

Vrankovich says Tamaki has a need for adoration and the "guys with earphones" [Tamaki's security team] are not about security, but about making Tamaki look big.

He says "Christians are sick of being identified with this man" and when Tamaki speaks it's not God speaking, it's not Christian speaking, it's Brian Tamaki speaking from his own head.

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  • ljyoung said on 2009-10-30 @ 21:49 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Having had family once enthusiastic members of Destiny church and who saw the light and got out, I have been told that Brian Tamaki is a man who could never take criticism so his surrounding himself with committed Yes Men would satisfy his need for constant confirmation of his 'greatness'. The set up is typical of the manipulations of churches which claim for themselves divine authority for philosophies of manmade creation. God 'himself' is nothing more that an imaginary friend. Think about it.