It’s the biggest church you’ve probably never heard of, and its leader lives a million-dollar lifestyle, all thanks to the tax-free donations from his thousands of believers.
Phil Pringle, Pastor 67, started with a handful of followers at his Christian City Church on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Now, his C3 Church has spread across Australia and throughout the world, with around 400 churches and an estimated 100,000 followers.
Phil Pringle’s message seems to be less about the core tenets of repenting for your sins, and more about building your finances.
A Current Affair reporter Dan Nolan unveils his three-month investigation into the prosperity preacher and his church.
Ex-members speak about the pressure to donate money to church coffers, and even to pay for “miracles”.
Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of your ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? —Job 21:14,15
The gospel of greed has become a means of livelihood for prosperity preachers who live lavish lifestyles while telling you to send money to get more money or some miracle.
The shocking truth is Hillsong and the other counterfeits like Warren, Prince, Osteen, and this copycat called Pringle are promoting health, wealth, prosperity and human potential—the antithesis to true biblical Christianity! The true church is composed of those who have signed up for slavery and death (see Phil. 2:5–10; 2 Cor. 5:14,15; Matt 6:24; 2 Cor. 6:3–10).
Has the serpent subtly crept in and changed the emphasis at Hillsong and C3 without anyone knowing?
The pages of the scripture yell out that we cannot have divided allegiance. For me, some of the most terrifying verses in all of scripture are the following verses in the gospel of Matthew:
Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, . . . and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matt. 7:21–23 KJV)
He says, ‘Depart from Me. I never knew you’, even though they were doing all kinds of works on the Lord’s behalf. They are rejected because they ‘work iniquity.’ Those who enter do the will of the Father who is in heaven.
“He’ll go, ‘well, you were part of C3’.”
We call them wonderful works, (tithing to a local church), but He rejects them. All our righteous acts are a stench to God if they are not linked to grace and submission to his will and are instead a sign of rebellion because they are done for selfish ends and selfish gain. A man may be a preacher with an amazing ministry, yet it’s done for a name and a pay cheque.
The world knows that Christianity is not supposed to be about money. That’s why they smell a rat and report on churches regularly like C3 and Hillsong.
Often, our programmes and social action are what we think are the right things to do rather than knowing that’s what we are supposed to do. Most ministry today is initiated out of Martha ministry, ‘running to and fro’, rather than a Mary-focused ministry. It should come from an overflow of what God has placed on our hearts rather than simply seeing duplicating others and meeting needs. Selfish works become the religion of Cain!
‘A man’s most glorious actions will at last be found to be but glorious sins, if he hath made himself, and not the glory of God, the end of those actions.’ —Thomas Brooks
Service is all about motives. I can serve God but still hold on to a heart full of pride and adultery. I may be serving God, but I’m really there to make a name for myself. I’m up the front so that everyone will think I’m wonderful. I’ll serve God so I can accomplish my own goals and ambitions—to achieve success, to become a Christian rock star—but the Lord is looking for servants. The Lord said, ‘I never knew you’ because He never owned you. ‘You never wanted my Lordship.’
Charles Spurgeon speaks to us: ‘If your heart is set upon iniquity, where your heart is, there your treasure is—and if sin is your treasure, then in the end you are not an heir of Heaven! That which governs your heart is your Lord and your God—what your heart loves, by that you shall be judged’.
The false church is full of rock stars. The true church is full of unprofitable servants.
He is not just talking about Roman Catholics. He is talking to modern- day evangelicals, members, volunteers, leaders and teachers, missionaries and men who manufacture religious enterprise; selling modern day indulgences, but the Lord Jesus is nowhere to be seen.
This is the case at apostate churches like Phil Pringle’s C3 Church