Former member of Brisbane’s Charismatic megachurch, Hope Centre, shares how the church felt more like an entertainment centre rather than a God-fearing assembly and being abandoned by members whom he thought were friends.
When I was 15, I was planning on becoming a Methodist minister but ended up travelling around on motor bikes instead, where I can witness other people’s realities and live it. I think this is the path God chose for me since I have worked all over the place helping people 1-to-1 and still do till this day. I have no ties to any church and I understand Romans 3:23 says: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”, and that salvation can only come through Jesus Christ alone. I have been to a few churches and there are well-meaning people among them. In this case, I would like to share my testimony of this one particular charismatic church I was briefly involved in.
I was with Hope Centre around 2012 / 2013, a megachurch from Brisbane, Australia for a year
I first got involved in the church through a neighbor who just moved in up the street. We met and helped them moved in. He happened to be one of their lower-ranked pastors. So I get decided to come along to this mob – what an eye opener it was for me that I felt like I had been in the bush for 30 over years, so at that time I did find it appealing.
Sure, times have changed except no one told me that God had updated the Bible alongside too. So I would watch, listen and then compare with the Bible against what they teach. I noticed many unsettling things.
Hope Centre was filled with fake people who tried to be hip and popular, or just show off. People would jibber away in tongues simultaneously and no one could interpret it, let alone in groups of 3 or 4. There was no modest dress code for the young women so I felt like I was at a fleshly concert. They would do anything to get people and their attention.
A member once told me that I was going to do miraculous signs and wonders. Somehow, I felt a voice inside me said that if I kept walking this route, I would be forsaken. The church member’s “zapping” did not work on me. I tell you, the best you can do if you’re caught up in such situation is to run and lock your doors to such people.
Another disturbing thing was that the word ‘FUN’ was widely used in the church. I asked the young people in there for their opinions on traditional hymns. Their response was that such traditional methods were outdated and boring, and they wanted FUN instead. On some days, services felt like massive brainwashing hypnotic experiences, with loud Hillsong music being played on stage, the big screen flashing cool ads about them having fun, fun, FUN! Not to forget 15-20 minute impressive animating texts that the whole visual experience looked very commercialised. When they do Bible study, they adopt materials from the pentecostal Assembly of God from the USA. Satan truly entertains their every whim and fancy devoid of holiness and reverential worship.
I knew their practices were so wrong. When I was invited into their inner circle, I started to ask questions and challenge their ways and teachings. Instead of answering them, the leaders accused me as a ‘pharisee’ and shunned me from the church “sect”. I sent them quotes every so often, and I got replies from the pastor telling me how wrong I was.
At Hope Centre, I considered everybody there a friend but since I left, not many of them have kept in touch with me. However, I have a couple of friends who left the church and in return, the church members turned their backs on them or avoid us. There are some nice people in there but they have been hoodwinked, which is a shame.
It is written in the Bible that all these false churches will spring up in the last days. All we can do is try to set the misled back to the right track. In GOD we trust. AMEN