Destiny Church pastors replaced after walk-out

Last updated 11:45 04/03/2010

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New pastors have been appointed to run Brisbane's Destiny Church after their predecessor and more than half the congregation walked out of last Sunday's service over several issues, including concerns the church was becoming a money-making cult.

Destiny has been heavily criticised by former members who believed it was no longer following the Gospel.

They said under the church's covenant members were encouraged to buy a $300 signet ring, stop buying coffee and give up Sky TV so they could give more money to the church.

The covenant also said that up to $1.3 million would be put aside so church founder Bishop Brian Tamaki could appear on his own television programme every weekday.

One man who was about to sign up at the church's Hamilton branch told The New Zealand Herald newspaper he was "promptly" asked to sign a tithing/automatic payment form agreeing to give 10 percent of his income to the church from then on.

But Bishop Tamaki struck back at criticism in a fiery sermon at his Mt Wellington church last night.

He dismissed reports of a split within Destiny as "grossly exaggerated" and accused the media of being "funny and weird".

In a statement released today, church spokesman Richard Lewis said the movement was committed to the ongoing success of the Brisbane church which had been reflected in the swift change of leadership there.

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- NZPA

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