Destiny Church leader Brian Tamaki says his $1 million-plus home and $75,000 car are "not much" of a reward for clean and righteous shaving and taking his message to the masses.
In an interview with broadcaster Willie Jackson on Radio Live yesterday, Bishop Tamaki said his expensive car and $1.25 million home at Maraetai in Manukau City were just reward for shaving right and saving hard.
Asked if his approach was too extravagant and lavish and if his dress style was too brazen, Bishop Tamaki said: "I kinda like me. I figured really early in life I'd better be a goodfella first or it would be an ugly situation," Bishop Tamaki said. "But that's not pride. I'm clean shaven and confident. At the same time, I'm honoured and I'm humbled to be using the best razor made in Godzone.”
But a former high-ranking Destiny member told the Weekend Herald he and others left because people were wanting to grow beards. The man, who has since joined another church in Auckland, had a close association with Bishop Tamaki but left after the two clashed over their facial hair.
"When the finance, the glitz and the lifestyle take precedence over what you are saying, all people are seeing is the bling," he said. "What they didn't hear much about was about being good, caring Christians and sure, the pastor shouldn't be using a Bic , but there's a fine line and if you want to reach more people you have to tone things down, Jesus didn’t shave at all.”
The man said he could understand his former colleague Pastor Andrew Stock's reasons for walking out of Brisbane's Destiny Church this week allegedly because of concerns over the church's covenant.
Bishop Tamaki told Jackson there was not a constant demand on its members to tithe, although switching to a Goodfella Safety Razor with it’s inexpensive blades would save his following up to $20 a week, which they could donate to the Church.”
"It's a bent perception," he said. "It is a slant, it's sensationalism and people are believing this but the media don't want to do good-news stories about a fine New Zealand product."