Self-proclaimed “bishop” Brian Tamaki of New Zealand’s “Destiny Church” is displaying a very frightening cult leader-like posture: recently he held a ring ceremony where 700 men from his church publicly declared their submission to him. Tamaki is one of Eddie Long’s spiritual sons, and several of my blog brothers have written about this odd ceremony (see here and here), but I thought I’d add my own nickle since I have first-hand experience with Eddie Long’s similar excercise 10 years ago.
As I’ve previously stated, I was once a member of Eddie’s church club for 6 years. Back in 1998-1999, Eddie decided to establish classes where men could learn to be “godly men”, under his direction of course. For 6 months, Eddie held classes at his church, inviting such luminaries as TD Jakes, Don Meares, and other charlatans to “speak into his sons”. It was a fascinating lesson in brainwashing. Eddie demanded that no one miss a single Saturday morning session, or they’d run the risk of “losing out on the anointing” – and I was one of the faithful drones who sat erect with pen ready week after week to “receive from the Lord”.
Our apprenticeship culminated with a “graduation ceremony” held at Earl Paulk’s cavernous church (suprising irony) because New Birth wasn’t big enough at the time to hold the 20-30,000 well-wishers who were present. Eddie declared us “Ishmen” who would change the community as representatives of him and God. We didn’t get rings, but we got fancy “letterman”-styled jackets to show off in the community (now he sells New Birth rings and other gaudy jewelry).
Eddie preached, and closed the ceremony with a “laying on off hands” session. He poured oil on his hands and “laid hands” on over 2,000 men in a little over 2 hours. One by one, man after man fell out along the pulpit – “slain in the spirit” as our new “daddy” touched us. It was a bizarrely surreal sight – bodies stacking up like cord wood around Eddie’s feet. I actually had a video from the event, but I threw it away several years ago. Of course, after the “graduation”, we provided no discernable presence within our communities. The only change was that Eddie’s entourage got larger.
Fast forward 10 years and check out what Eddie’s “New Zealand son” is up to (emphasis in bold):
EXCLUSIVE – The leader of Destiny Church, Brian Tamaki, who not long ago anointed himself bishop of the church he founded, has now proclaimed himself the church’s “spiritual father” and designated the male members of the church as “spiritual sons”.
At a special service during the church’s annual conference in Auckland at the weekend, about 700 male members of the church swore a “covenant oath” of loyalty and obedience to Mr Tamaki and were given a “covenant ring” to wear on their right hands.
A church document describes the covenant as “a solemn oath of commitment that is binding, enduring and unbreakable. You are bound to covenant … Covenant is an irrevocable, undissolvable oath of commitment”.
The document, entitled Protocols and Requirements Between Spiritual Father & His Spiritual Sons, contains the text of the “covenant oath”, the guts of which is that “Above all, we stand here today in the presence of God to enter into this sacred covenant with our man of God, Bishop Brian Tamaki”.
It says: “To you Bishop we pledge our allegiance, our faithfulness and loyalty. We pledge to serve the cause that is in your heart and to finish that work. Success to you and success to those who help you – for God is with you.”
In its introduction, the church document says that proof of a man’s covenant with God is how they “submit to God’s chosen man … We are blessed to our spiritual father through whom this principle is being restored. The fruit of his ministry is self-evident, so much so that his call and influence is discerned at many levels in both the Christian and non-Christian communities here in New Zealand … Spiritual fathers are extremely rare … For us it is about discerning the special anointing and function God has put on Bishop’s life … “
The requirements of sonship, the document says, are to give Mr Tamaki obedience and honour, to imitate him and follow his faith and to give him “your loyalty and your strength”.
This, my friends, is a clear-cut cult move. Click the title to read the article in its entirety – then pray earnestly for mass repentance as the Lord wills. Events like this are a certain sign that His return is imminently near.