Will sparks fly at the Destiny Book launch?
Massey University Associate Professor Peter Lineham will launch his book on the Destiny Church on Thursday, and he’s
invited Bishop Brian Tamaki and Pastor Richard Lewis to speak.
“They’ve certainly said they’re coming to the launch. Brian will denounce the book or may try to convert the audience –
he may not even show,” says Dr Lineham.
Destiny: the life and times of a self-made apostle is the first truly objective and independent account of the church,
its people and the infamous man behind it – Bishop Brian Tamaki. It offers a scholarly and imminently readable
theological study of a charismatic Christian movement.
“I dropped a copy out to them as soon as one was available because I wanted to be respectful,” he says. “Hannah Tamaki
sent me a text saying it should have been proof-read first, and she was happy to have a photo taken with her and the
book. She’s wearing her $90,000 ring. Here’s clear proof that I did get insider access.”
The book contains a media analysis, including the hostility of the mainstream media and its use by the Destiny Church.
Dr Lineham wanted to move beyond the anti-church attacks to delve deeper into the movement.
“Part of my point is that this is a really interesting movement to just understand – you don’t have to attack them.
That’s the real motivation of the book,” he says. “As a result, we’ll understand something that’s going on in New
Zealand when all everybody ever talks about is religious decline. Well, here you’ve got – it’s not exactly religious
decline – it may not be booming as it once was, but it’s a force to be reckoned with.”
Although his research points to a move away from the church by its rich white congregation, Dr Lineham says money is
still flowing for its new multi-million dollar “City of God” in South Auckland.
“They take free gifts very willingly. I was out there on New Year’s Eve – they invited me to come to the first service
in the new building in the City of God. It was quite a delightful event, but everyone had to bring their own seats
because they weren’t well advanced with the building – they’re still not well advanced in the auditorium. But I
discovered before I got there that everybody was expected to bring $1000. Clearly I wasn’t expected to bring $1000
because I wasn’t told when I was invited… I got a special blessing from the Bishop because he went around and prayed for
everybody. There were about 2000 people there.”
Dr Lineham says writing the book took a bit of work, but he considers it worthwhile.
The launch will be held on the third floor of the Albany campus library starting at 4.50 pm.
Copies of the book will be available to purchase on the night for $38.00.