YOU WILL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS.
Since the ‘fall’ of Brian Houston and Hillsong, Arise Church in New Zealand have been frantically trying to control the narrative in regards to their own movement. For instance their statements on Instagram – you won’t easily find their announcements in a search engine because the text is ‘flattened’ into an image. It’s a brilliant, deceitul move to publish their statements on their Social Media platform because it allows them to control the narrative.
There are a few things to note about these media statements:
John Cameron: “As the leader of Arise Church I am broken and devastated by these stories.”
Just like Brian Houston and other cult leaders – they are only “broken and devastated by these stories” after they are exposed.This is a mark of a predator, a wolf in sheep’s clothing – a fraud. These are those Jesus warned his believers to be wary of, the reason why this is such a major mark against such predators. Christianity is founded on a gospel message that centres on repentance and the repentance process is important.No matter how big or small someone’s sin is, a sinner is to repent and turn from their sin. When the gift of repentance, mercy, forgiveness and grace are bestowed by God on the human heart, the genuine burden of guilt and shame is replaced with conviction and a renewed conscience to right the wrong.
This is why when Pharisees appeared to John to get baptised, he said: “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? Produce fruit, then, in keeping with repentance.” (Matt 3:8). They were wanting to flee the wrath of God through baptism without repenting and showing any fruit that they had genuine faith, that reflected in repenting and turning from their sins.
Likewise, John Cameron is acting like these Pharisees. Rather like a child apologising because his hand was caught in the cookie jar. This is a mark of a cult leader, someone acting out of damage control rather than actually repenting and caring about the sheep that were abused under their care.
Journalist: “This story has been researched and written over the last six months.” (Source)
The above quote was from an article published on April 04 2022, the article that started it all: Hillsong Isn’t the Only Abhorrent Megachurch. The truth is that a journalist took “allegations extremely seriously” and started investigating allegations that were “serious in nature” around November 2021. This date is important for point 3. It was a journalist who initiated this. Not Arise Church. Not the Arise board. Not the Arise leadership.
“In December 2021, the Arise Board approached a New Zealand law firm to conduct an independent HR review. The Terms of Reference and Letter of Engagement was signed on March 16 2022.”
December 2021 was when the Arise board finally started caring about a potential threat to their image of Arise Church. This statement provides major insight as to what Arise Church was doing behind the scenes months – before this media report, published on April 04 2022, made headlines across New Zealand.
“I want to say I am deeply sorry for any hurt caused.”
John Cameron was not genuinely sorry. He’s sorry because he has been exposed. The fact that he and his church were already working behind the scenes in December 2021 seemingly indicates he was already aware of activity between the journalist and those ‘abused’. Every Sunday you can hear John Cameron using scripture to manipulate his congregation for his personal needs and gratification. In fact he cares so little about them, that he even introduces them to other spiritual abusers who also take advantage of his spiritually vulnerable flock.
April 11 2022 – “We are going to listen and learn… We are open for dialogue, and will be making the organisational changes recommended.”
This is not true. The question is why aren’t these ‘leaders’ not listening and learning in the first place? John Cameron is listening now?Cameron is only listening, learning and ‘open for dialogue’ because he is exposed. As we see in all the cults CWC monitors, their cultic theology reinforces the idea that none can judge or question their leadership. It’s what they call, in the New Apostolic Reformation, a ‘culture of honor’. A culture where everyone serves the visionary leader. The visionary leader does not exist to serve you. So until they become a truly biblical church, there is no way the ‘Arise’ environment can be safe with its current leadership and unbiblical, anti-discipleship church models.
April 11 2022 – Myself and the leadership team have been reviewing the information that has been brought to light.
The right thing to say is, “Myself and the leadership team have read the information that has been brought to light.” That’s acknowledging the information, not shuffling papers or scrutinizing to see if it’s ‘accurate’ or not. You’d think they would have least learnt from the recent example from Hillsong when they didn’t heed the stories of victims.
April 11 2022 – We have sought advice from an independent body to guide the church on next steps and have appointed an independent reviewer to confidentially hear people’s stories…
This is a major problem with ‘cultic’ leadership. How many times do we see these men exalt themselves as ‘true leaders’, ‘true spiritual big boys’, pioneers, pastors, etc? They throw their status and titles on screens where everyone agrees how wonderful they are. When finally a bit of pressure comes their way – they cover it up or show dissenters the back door. And when the vulnerable start speaking out against their smokescreens and lies – they seek “advice from an independent body to guide the church on next steps”! But sadly many ‘brainwashed’ Arise members will continue to claim their leaders are wonderful, completely missing the fact that their leaders are not demonstrating biblical integrity in this but would rather abdicate their positions of church governance to an ‘independent body’.
April 11 2022 – “It is true that our Arise Ministry School is now a very different experience to what it used to be.”
They can change their ‘snakeskin’ as much as they want but the snake’s bite can still kill you. The problem is not the behaviour. The problem is their false teaching. No matter how many legal firms, PRs or HR teams assist places like Arise, problematic teachers with problematic teaching will always create problematic unbiblical environments.
April 13 2022 – “However, due to the serious nature of some allegations raised, the Arise Board has also now engaged and appointed a separate independent reviewer.”
This comment indicates that something bigger was unfolding in regards to their senior pastor, particularly when the word ‘serious’ is used. That appears to be the result of the Arise statement, that was released on April 16, where they announced, “John Cameron has voluntarily stepped aside from his pastoral duties, and Brent Cameron is currently on leave” and that they “have also resigned from their positions on the Arise Board, effective Tuesday 12 April 2022”.
CWC will continue to monitor the situation as the story unfolds.
Arise Church wrote last Monday:
Monday 11th April 2022.
Arise appoints independent review in response to students’ ministry school experiences.
This week a media article about Arise began circulating. The article contains heartbreaking stories of individual Arise Ministry School students who felt overworked, overwhelmed, underappreciated and taken advantage of as interns. As the leader of Arise Church I am broken and devastated by these stories.
Our heart as a church has always been to make a positive difference in the lives of people, and to hear experiences where people have felt negatively impacted by Arise is devastating. As a leadership we have been working to understand these stories and what has led to this hurt. These stories are real and authentic, and there are people hurting because of the actions and culture of performance that was a part of Arise. I want to say I am deeply sorry for any hurt caused.
We are going to listen and learn. Myself and the leadership team have been reviewing the information that has been brought to light. We have sought advice from an independent body to guide the church on next steps and have appointed an independent reviewer to confidentially hear people’s stories, and to make recommendations to our Board and leadership team for the purpose of organisational change. We are open for dialogue, and will be making the organisational changes recommended.
Anyone affected is able to reach out to email@example.com, but we know that not everyone will feel comfortable sharing their experiences with Arise directly. There will be details released shortly on how to contact the independent reviewer. The truth is for a period of time as a church we allowed a culture of performance to be part of our Arise world, and this negatively affected Arise Ministry School students. Although this is not true for the majority of our Arise journey, there is enough of it in our journey that I am am determined that it will end. It is not acceptable.
I apologise for the pain that this has caused to those who have worked here previously, our ministry school students, and to the people of Arise. I want to make it clear that there is no place for people’s health to be anything other than our top priority.
It is true that our Arise Ministry School is now a very different experience to what it used to be. We have changed and made massive improvements in recent years, and this year more improvements will be made. Separate from an independent reviewer, as outlined above, Arise has engaged an HR review by an external party to review the Arise Ministry School, which will commence after Easter.
Although most staff and ministry school students throughout the country did thoroughly enjoy their experiences and their journey, we can clearly see this was not the case for all, and this is deeply saddening. Right now, our intention is to provide a way forward for people to safely share their stories and experiences and for us to listen, learn, and change.
Source: Arise Church, Instagram https://www.instagram.com/p/CcSSkAIpbBk/, Published April 11 2022. (Accessed April 16 2022.)
Arise Church wrote last Wednesday:
Wednesday 13th April 2022.
Contact Details of Independent Reviewer Released.
“It has come to our attention that there have been allegations raised in the public domain that are serious in nature. The Arise leadership takes any allegations extremely seriously and has very clear processes, and governance procedures for dealing with any type of complaint raised. Due to these allegations, Arise is undertaking a full and complete response. In December 2021, the Arise Board approached a New Zealand law firm to conduct an independent HR review. The Terms of Reference and Letter of Engagement was signed on March 16 2022. The review will start after Easter. However, due to the serious nature of some allegations raised, the Arise Board has also now engaged and appointed a separate independent reviewer.
The Board welcomes a full enquiry and is asking those who may have been affect negatively by Arise, staff, or its members to approach the independent reviewer as the correct channel for sharing their experiences. – Arise Board
How to contact Pathfinding, the independent reviewer:
Phone Number: 0800 274 731
Source: Arise Church, Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/CcSSkAIpbBk/, Published April 13 2022. (Accessed April 16 2022.)
Saturday 16th April 2022. Changes to the Arise Board
“Tena koutou katoa.
This is a further update on our previous communications. During the course of the independent review of Arise we, the Arise Board, will stay in touch with you on our progress, and attempt to ensure that you are kept informed of any changes.
During this time it is important that Arise’s governance remains clear and effective. Changes have ben made to ensure there is strong independence at board level from the management of Arise Church. This is especially important during the independent review that the Arise Board has initiated. The Arise Board is also making these changes to widen its scope of skills, knowledge, and input; and looking at additional ways it can support the staff during this difficult period to operate and manage Arise Church well.
John Cameron has voluntarily stepped aside from his pastoral duties, and Brent Cameron is currently on leave. They have also resigned from their positions on the Arise Board, effective Tuesday 12 April 2022. They have expressed support of the independent review that is taking place.
Robert Reid and Kylie Fletcher (Ngaa Rauru ki Tahi. Ngaati Ruanui, Ngaati Porou) have joined Graeme R. Kirkwood and Israel Cooper on the board as two additional non-executive board members. They were appointed on Friday 15 April 2022. This will help ensure that the current reviews taking place are independent from the management of Arise, and that any necessary recommendations are implemented.
The Arise Board has expanded the independent review to include its governance processes and structure, as well as its composition. Pending the results of this review there may be additional changes made to the Arise Board to provide even further robustness and input. The Arise Board is committed to hearing and understanding people’s stories, and uncovering the facts to bring relief and healing to those who are in pain, in order to put into place any corrective action that may be needed. We want to encourage all past and current members, staff, and volunteers who have been hurt or have a complaint to get in contact with the independent reviewer that has been established. It is important they all hear stories. – Graeme R. Kirkwood, Arise Board Chairperson
The contact details for the independent reviewer are:
Phone: 0800 274 731
Source: Arise Church, Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/p/CcaHfxDpwVU/, Published April 16, 2022. (Accessed April 16, 2022.)
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“Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Galatians 4:16