ARISE Church is a Christian Pentecostal church which is based in Wellington but has campuses in other main centers. The church founders and leaders are John and Gillian Cameron. I think, if you analyze some of the rhetoric in their sermons, one comes to the conclusion that they have a quite sinister agenda, which is no less than to see, “A nation won for Jesus”. Now you might be chuckling to yourself right now but please check out the following clips and/or read the corresponding quotes.
“I believe that we can see god do something great in every university, every high school, every workplace, every family, every suburb, every town. I believe that god is on the move in Wellington in New Zealand and if you believe it, give him a loud praise in this room.” – John Cameron
“…that every primary school in New Zealand would have Bible in Schools. It’s our goal is that every person in hospital would have a chaplain” – John Cameron
“But you know what, there’s also things like Bible in Schools. You know as a church, this is for us, I feel, a new season that we are entering in to, is to make sure that, you know, Bible in Schools teachers are getting older while our church is getting younger. And I feel like god’s saying, “Hey church, how ’bout you don’t just look at that, how about you do something about that”. So we’ve been talking to the people who run Bible in Schools across the country, and saying what if we just started to encourage our congregation to engage in Bible in Schools. ‘Cause you know, we don’t want the next generation of New Zealanders coming up without knowing that Jesus died for them, that the bible is the word of god.” – John Cameron, Fresh Water in the Ocean, 26/6/12, iTunes
“We recognise that God is going to do something quicker, God is going to do something bigger in Whangerei than he’s ever done in generations that have gone before, and in order for us to do that we have to leave behind perhaps a way of even thinking about church that can get too small. We’ve got to embrace something bigger as we build not just a local church in different environments, into a church that can touch one city, no, that we build a church that can touch a nation with the love of Jesus Christ. A united company of believers from Northland to Southland who can partner together to see the name of Jesus lifted up, to see people won for Christ, to see the love of God put back at the centre of our nations agenda. C’mon, if you reckon that can happen, why don’t you pause and give God some praise, c’mon.” – John Cameron, Keeping Your Edge, 23/10/14, iTunes
“You gave us a church of six thousand in attendance, now give us sixty thousand. You gave us a couple of teenagers, now we’re praying for every school in our nation. We’ve seen open doors on universities but we’re praying for a revival in every tertiary institute in this nation, c’mon.” – John Cameron
“…and I look up towards heaven, and as clear as I’ve ever heard god’s voice, he spoke to me and he said, ‘If you would ask me, I would give you nations. If you ask me, I would give you nations. You think this house is something Cameron. You think that this is a big deal for me. I want you to know, that I am Jehovah Jireh, I am your provider. I can provide no matter what the need. I’ve got healing for you. I’ve got blessing for you. I’ve got a partner for you. I’ve got a job for you. I’ve got energy for you. I’ve got deliverance for you. I’ll open nations for you.'” – John Cameron
“…and I began to…to say to Gillian in the back of the taxi, “One day we’re gonna build a large building here. This will be the place where we’ll train people in our bible college. We’re gonna release leaders from this site in the Hutt Valley and they will literally change this nation for Jesus.'” – John Cameron
“Could you be the generation of revival? Well I don’t believe that this is a nation hard to win for Jesus. I don’t think god is against you, and I don’t think our culture limits us.” – John Cameron
“…and I don’t know about you but I believe, if we have a praying church then we will have a nation-changing, god’s will-bringing, healing church that will bring revival to New Zealand. We’ll see the church in our country, health and strength, break change, bring freedom, and if you believe it, then no matter what campus you are in, lets give god some praise right now together, c’mon”. – John Cameron
“I believe that in New Zealand we’re gonna see an amazing move of god, we’re gonna see this nation won, we’re gonna see things that haven’t been seen. I believe the devil’s been throwing everything he can at us because we’ve started to build ARISE HQ, and you know what, it’s dominoes, all I can see is dominoes. As soon as that is built, oh my goodness! The devil knows that the next building, the next building, the next building, the next building, the next building, the next building, the next building, the next building, up and down this nation.” – Gillian Cameron
“Outreach to universities is probably the number one trait of our church, and then outreaching to high schools is something that we obviously are very involved with as well”
So how is ARISE church going about trying to accomplish it’s goal of converting the entire population of New Zealand to pentecostal Christianity. You have heard it said that they use Bible in Schools as a means to evangelize to primary school kids and they are pushing for RI (religious instruction) to be taught in every primary school in New Zealand.
In addition, John Cameron tells us explicitly that they deliberately target young people by going to universities and high schools. They deliberately exploit young people’s innocence and credulity. They deliberately prey upon young people’s innate desire for community and fellowship as well as their internal questioning about purpose and existence.
The end goal is to try to foist upon their impressionable minds a sinister biblical message of sin and hell and redemption under the guise of truth. This is tantamount to intellectual and psychological abuse. For one, this belief system that ARISE imparts contains a lot of baggage in the form of fables, some of which are highly immoral, which John Cameron himself believes as literal fact. You can count the story of the Garden of Eden and Noah’s flood amongst some of the things that be believes literally occurred. This is presenting a false picture of the world to our children, that we are in fact created rather than evolved, and that the Earth is only six thousand years old.
“We know that when god created Adam and Eve and put them in the garden it was because he had so much love in himself that he wanted to share it with another being.”
“Misbelief has been in the world from the time of Adam and Eve. I mean, you know, the bible says: Adam and Eve chose to sin and then god turns up and he says to Adam and Eve, ‘Where are you? And Adam comes out, you know, and he’s like, well you know, the truth is I’m here. I was afraid because I was naked so I hid myself away.” – John Cameron
“Noah, four hundred years building an ark. But because he built that ark, came the future of the will of god for a generation” – John Cameron, Future Now-Part 1,11/8/14, iTunes
In addition, these young people that are being conscripted into this belief system are told to regard their peers with suspicion, that whenever their faith is subjected to scrutiny by their peers its actually an attack by The Devil. This world view is highly socially divisive in my submission.
ARISE Church operates as a charity, which makes them tax and rates exempt. They are funded by tithes and donations, big donations, and John Cameron has no shame in making pleas for cheques made out for a $100,000.
“Seven hundred people giving a thousand dollars – seven hundred grand – done! There are people who are literally just gonna decide, ‘This is the moment’, because it’s all going into building equity, land. It’s time to write that cheque for fifty-thousand, its time to write that cheque for one-hundred thousand” Faithcation-Faith and Hope, 13/2/14, iTunes
For more info on ARISE Church visit their wiki page