What really irks me about the whole Destiny thing is that Brian should know exactly what his problems are. It’s well documented what behaviors are indicative of a cult, and there’s no shortage of people pointing out where Destiny is venturing near to those behaviors.
But he continues down that road anyway.
So I thought I’d make a list of how to sort out Destiny, just in case it wasn’t clear enough before. Because I’m just helpful like that 🙂
1. Stop glorifying Brian Tamaki
Cult leaders quite commonly claim to be the second coming of Christ.
Brian Tamaki is not a prophet, he is not a fantastic theology scholar, and he is not a manifestation of God. He is an ordinary, fallible human being.
That doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be at the head of a church if people want him there, but he should be presented as a motivator and/or a leader of a network of churches rather than the latest incarnation of Christ who has the absolute right to dictate. I’m not that fussed on him being given the title “Bishop” myself, but to the general public it reinforces the image that it’s “all about Brian”.
I’ve heard that there are a lot of large photos of Brian around the church, and the Tamaki’s have veto rights over local churches written into their trust deeds. Get rid of both. Keep one small photo of Brian in the church office if you must – that would be sufficient and appropriate to honour the church’s founder.
Send a public message: Brian should make a public appearance repenting of his false prophecy, pledging not to prophecy ever again.
2. Stop focusing on Money
Cult leaders take from members to fund a lavish lifestyle, while leaving the members in poverty
Start helping the poor in the congregation – stop trying to force them to give. It must be clear from the top that any pressure on individuals to give “x” amount is completely unacceptable, and that any accusations of church leadership demanding more money will be dealt with as a serious discipline matter.
But it goes further than that – stop obsessing, preaching, displaying wealth. It’s extremely distracting from what Destiny is supposed to be about – serving God. Most people look at Brian’s lifestyle and simply see another person using his position to line his own pockets.
Does the church even realise the damage this does to Brian’s testimony? Do they realise that it strongly suggests that Brian doesn’t even believe in the afterlife? Think about it: who spends their time preaching of paradise, telling of the perfect world we will inherit after death, about how our position in that would will be judged by our conduct in this, while storing up so much wealth in the present?
Christ kicked out the money changers – the public perception is that Destiny leadership are the money changers.
Send a public message: Sell Brian’s expensive boat that he recently upgraded and use the money to do a visible charity work – preferably one approved by John Campbell.
3. Get Rid of the Covenant
Cult leaders develop a group of lieutenants to do the dirty work, who follow the leader without question and enforce his will.
See also (1)
Churches have pastors, elders and deacons. That is, a primary preacher, spiritual leaders and workers to meet the temporal needs within the congregation. There is no place in scripture where people pledge to human church leaders – in fact, quite the opposite.
Send a public message: Melt down those rings on live TV, and present the Salvation Army with the results. Help out in a soup kitchen while you’re at it.
If Brian Tamaki and the Destiny Church were to do these three things, any suggestion they were a cult would dry up overnight – and they know it.
That’s not to say that critics won’t disappear. The church takes many stances that are supported by the Bible, but not considered politically correct. But the current path seems to use any and all criticism to create an “us vs. them” conflict, which then ends up creating more power and wealth for Brian.