Where Jesus goes… [updated]
Mainstream reaction to Brian Tamaki’s church continues to amuse me. Stuff reports Brian Tamaki’s latest “revelation”:
Bishop Brian Tamaki has raised the stakes with his Destiny Church followers, exhorting them to leave behind houses, jobs – even family members – to join him at a "City of God" he is building in South Auckland.
At the church's annual conference in Rotorua on Friday night, Tamaki spent his entire two-hour sermon talking about how God had told him to build the city and why his followers had to lose their "parochialism" towards their home areas, even if it meant leaving behind loved ones.
Keeping Stock quotes “an expert in cults” who sees this as sinister:
Cult expert Mark Vrankovich said the speech was designed to "soften up" Tamaki's followers and the real pressure to move to South Auckland would come with one-on-one sessions with local pastors.
"Saying that the church family is more important than your physical family, that you must go with the spiritual family, is a classic cult idea…”
With the help of the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible’s “family values” page, I feel obliged to point out that it is also classic Christianity. To whit:
- Jesus says that his disciples must hate their families (mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, children) and themselves. Luke 14:26
- Families will be torn apart because of Jesus. Matthew 10:21 Luke 12:52-53
- Jesus says that he has come to destroy families by making family members hate each other. Matthew 10:34
- If you want to be a disciple of Jesus, you must abandon everything, including your family. Luke 14:33
- Jesus will reward men who abandon their wives and families. Matthew 19:29 Mark 10:29-30 Luke 18:29-30 Luke 21:16
It’s true that cults are destructive, dangerous and sometimes suicidal.
And it’s also true that the line between a “cult” and a religion is nothing more than the number of your supporters.
So the basic question is: why is it only Brian who is treated like a nut?
UPDATE: But there’s more:
[Cult expert Mark] Vrankovich was also concerned that Tamaki appeared to be encouraging people to sell their homes. “They’ll be pressured to give the money from the house sale to the church, and they’ll never see it again.”
Pressure!? I’ll bet they don’t experience anywhere near as much pressure as Ananias and his wife, both of whom the Bible says Peter and his god literally scared to death for not forking over all of the money they made when selling their land. Acts 5:1-10
This sort of bloodthirsty, disgusting nonsense to which all christians subscribe, makes Brian look like a piker. Or a copycat.
Or is that christians don’t actually care to follow their own rules because they know they’re bollocks…