The following extract is from a New Zealand media article;
Speaking at the church’s New Year’s Eve ‘MegaService’, the self-styled ‘Bishop’ declared that the church has secured resource consent to build schools, a university and a massive auditorium in South Auckland.
“[The] Church’s plans to build a ten-acre ‘town’ in South Auckland has many describing the movement as a cult … Footage screened on [TV] showed the crowd rising and cheering when [the leader] told followers that ten acres of land had been acquired and that “we signed a contract” and that “we can do anything we want – we can build it” …
While some defended the church’s right, many were quick to label the church a cult … But others were supportive of the church’s right to build a town. [Person] put forward the view that [church]’s detractors should support the town.
“As long as their practices don’t impose on others’ lives, and I can’t think of a time they did apart from the anti-gay march a few years ago, then who cares?” he said … [The leader] is now calling for money from members of his congregation; “Much of your seed is going to go toward the foundations of an offering toward our promised land, and that beginning is not going to come without a fruitful start financially,” he said.”
The problem with a scenario like this, is that if a person in a religious or spiritual position gains power and wealth (as in this example), and they are prone to experiencing delusions of grandeur and have an unhealthy ego, they may then try to impose their unsound beliefs on not just their own followers, but on everyone.
I’m sure there won’t be a Jim Jones or Waco scenario here, but I feel it is far better for seekers to live amongst “ordinary everyday people” and allow themselves to find God, in their own time, in humility, without being controlled.
God’s temple is within, in the spiritual heart, and this should never be forgotten. I feel the true story of “Saint Francis of Assisi” provides a wonderful example, in real-life terms, of what a simple spiritual life can achieve, where a lack of material possessions is not an obstacle to finding God.
Film adaptation of Saint Francis’s story: See “Brother Sun, Sister Moon“.
A pertinent comment
[Person] said there was “nothing Christian about bleeding people dry to feather your own nest.”