‘BISHOP TAMAKI’S 700 SONS SWEAR OATH OF LOYALTY’
That was the humdinger NZ Herald headline of 2009. Like a sledgehammer through the windscreen, seven words and a number that sent little old New Zealand into a tailspin.
“It’s a cult,” cried religious scribe Garth George in harmony with the Cultwatch guy.
And so the media mushroom-cloud filled the skies for weeks and months. The residue still remains and repeats in feedback on my site.
So lets unpack it, mainly from a practical perspective – the oath and loyalty aspect I mean.
We’re talking about COVENANT. A covenant is an unbreakable promise/agreement.
In the context of a stiff necked promise-breaking generation, covenants are a curious concept. Because couples these days tend to ‘tap out’ when a little pressure is applied to the marital jugular.
Most obvious examples: Kim Kardashian cut ties in 72 days. Arnold Schwarzenegger probably won’t “be back”. Jennifer Lopez recently flicked Marc Anthony. And funny man Ashton Kutcher split from Demi Moore, who split from Bruce Willis. Not so funny.
These celebrity idols aren’t exactly setting the bar for functional relationships. The problem is, your kids think they’re cool.
The potential to pull-the-pin simmers beneath the surface of our human nature. Only integrity of heart keeps that carnality at bay. Which is why covenants governed from our spirit-man have God’s authority to override feelings. In other words, whether you “feel” up or down, good, bad or downright ugly, the covenant holds you to your word.
You think I’m just talking marriage? No. I’m talking every commitment you and I ever made. Too hard? Well, Jesus said let your “yes” be “yes” and your “no” be “no,” and that anything else has sinister origins – Matthew 5:37. Thank God for his grace when we fall short of the mark. Nevertheless, the standard remains.
So choose to be faithful. God does.
Covenants have universal application. Try and build a business or anything meaningful on loose arrangements and see how far that gets you. A company structured on covenants instead of contracts would annihilate its competitors. Unity of people and purpose is power, prosperity and longevity.
So if there was ever a body of people where covenants should abound, it is the local church. How else can a pastor know the project he starts today has people to finish it tomorrow? Especially when 99 percent of his membership are not on contract.
William Booth knew that. He founded the Salvation Army in 1865, a global movement described as mainstream Protestant. The Salvation Army is structured with territories overseen by Commanders and Generals. It has a Soldier’s Covenant.
- I will make the values of the Kingdom of God and not the values of the world the standard for my life
- I will be faithful to the purposes for which God raised up The Salvation Army will be actively involved, as I am able, in the life, work, worship and witness of the corps, giving as large a proportion of my income as possible to support its ministries and the worldwide work of the Army
- I will be true to the principles and practices of The Salvation Army, loyal to its leaders
- I now call upon all present to witness that I enter into this covenant and sign these articles of war of my own free will, convinced that the love of Christ, who died and now lives to save me, requires from me this
Gosh. This is the stuff for which Destiny got a right royal roasting.
But wait, there’s more. They receive tithes from members, government funding, and run prime-time TV adverts asking for more money, which I might add, is well deserved. They speak strongly to political and social issues. They oppose same-sex marriage. Their symbols include a flag, crest, red shield, uniform, tartan and salute – real militant stuff.
So how come this church doesn’t draw ridicule from the likes of Garth George, Cultwatch guy and mainstream media? Nay, theirs is a road of no resistance. Yet when 700 men make a pledge to Destiny and its visionary leader…
The irony is, while you spilled your coffee and the media went bonkers at Destiny’s Bishop, there were a surprising number of non-Destiny leaders who just wanted to know how he did it.
Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations ~ Deuteronomy 7:9
- Recommended reading: The Spirit Of True Sonship