A subscriber to C3 Church Watch gave us some interesting insight to the Pringle’s beginnings.
“In Phil’s book he talks about hundreds of converts coming into the church after he was saved. The first ‘hippy’ type convert at the AOG Sydneham, Christchurch at that time was a guy called Leigh Hoskins. who had a more dramatic experience than Phil. Leigh took me along the night he was saved . I was saved about three weeks after Leigh. I was the second hippy type convert at that time. Leigh used to winess to me nearly every day so effectively he was the catalyst for the revival. Leigh and I witnessed to scores of people before Phil and Chris came to church and already young people were coming in. Phil and Chris personally didn’t bring large numbers in but the church was already starting to multiply. Our church wasn’t the only one with this sort of revival. Ray Comfort was saved at the same time in another church on the otherside of town with a similar ‘revival’. The effectiveness of the Pringle’s early ‘ministry’ is highly debatable as most of their ‘disciples’ drifted by the wayside. Even their best friends and first converts, Wayne and Anne Tyndale dropped out after a couple of years and the last I heard several years ago they were still backslidden.” – Gary MacDougall, http://www.facebook.com/groups/c3churchwatch/291925204197120/, 6:24pm, 24/01/2012. (Accessed 11/03/2012)
Below is an article of what C3 wants you to read about their beginnings. Read this to compare the differences of reporting between the events.
Gary MacDougall has politely provided his insight and his testimony in that time period. Thank you Mr MacDougall for your honesty, work, time and integrity.
Gary MacDougall Testimony
I was born again about 35 years ago at AOG, Sydneham, Christchurch, New Zealand, in the seventies hippy era. The first ‘hippy’ type convert at the AOG Sydneham, Christchurch, where I was born again, at that time, was a guy called Leigh Hoskins. Leigh had a far more dramatic experience than myself or Phil and Chris Pringle of C3 Church, and all other converts who started coming. Leigh took me along to the AOG church, the night he was saved . In fact I had just returned from Auckland, doing a meditation course, and was waiting for a taxi at the Christchurch train station at about 7.15pm on a Thursday night, over 35 years ago, when Leigh drove by and stopped to talk to me. I had never met Leigh before but a mutual friend was with him in his little car. Leigh was on his way to AOG for the Thursday night young people’s meeting at 7.30pm. Leigh had the longest and thickest hair I have ever seen on a male (in real life and in photos) and this guy was really wild!
Why would he be going to church? On the previous Tuesday night he took enough LSD to last 48 hours. As soon as his trip started he saw flames and demons around him and he thought he was in hell. However when he was a child he went to Sunday school and, at that time, his mother had been praying and fasting for forty days for his salvation. Leigh called out to Jesus as loud as he could at the beginning of his ‘hell experience.’ …”Jesus”, “Jesus”, ‘Jesus save me” he called out for help. His trip instantly stopped, when he mentioned the name of Jesus, which is obviously a miracle. He then rang the AOG church because his mother belonged to that denomination and she was attending another AOG church in the North Island. A deacon from the church told Leigh to go along on the next Thursday night which was the divine appointment whereby I met him i.e. two days after Leigh’s ‘hell experience.’ Leigh’s actually going to church was another miracle because the devil had two days to talk him out of it. Leigh was saved that night when we attended the young people’s meeting. By the way the conservative, young church folk at that time had never before seen anything like us guys up close with our long hair and hippy clothes. Leigh used to come round and talk to me about Jesus regularly and I could see that he was transformed. Leigh experienced a more dramatic conversion than myself, the Pringles or any others who followed. A church member bought him a whole new set of clothes when he was first saved and after about two weeks he had full haircut i.e. short back insides. He brought many people into our church. I was saved about three weeks after Leigh . It took many months for myself and Phil Pringle to get our hair trimmed and then only gradually. Although at the beginning I did have a clean shave and got rid of my beard. Phil had long hair for quite a while indicating that the inner transformation was slow. Leigh was quickly transformed in his heart and life.
The church already had about 200-250 solid members when Leigh and I joined. Leigh was witnessing full time and effectively he was the catalyst for the revival at AOG , Sydneham. He was the original young evangelist of the church and because he had such a dramatic outward appearance change he was effective with his old friends. I believe the ’revival’ at AOG Sydneham began through Leigh Hoskins although others have taken credit for it. When saved I joined up with Leigh with evangelizing. When I was first saved for the first two years or so I spent about 5-6 hours per day praying and reading the word and then a few hours evangelizing and attending meetings at our church and others nearly every day of the week. I walked-no bicycle just walking. The Pringles were more upmarket than myself-they had bicycles. It used to take me about a 45 minute walk each way to church from where I lived with another couple of stronger Christian guys. Leigh and I witnessed to scores of people before Phil and Chris Pringle of C3 Church came to our church several weeks after I was saved and already young people were coming into AOG Sydenham. Phil and Chris personally didn’t bring large numbers in but the church was already starting to multiply. Leigh and I motivated Phil and Chris with evangelizing. However before we came along the church had a few really effective and dedicated personal evangelists, one of them being Morrie Tattle, a businessman who was the man who helped Leigh with his new clothes. The church also had a lot of serious prayer warriors and dedicated Christians. The prayer warriors were the key to the ‘revival’ but everyone forgets them and pat themselves on the back and blow their own trumpets.
Whilst Leigh had a dramatic outward change it took some time before he was baptized and a couple of years to sort out his life towards normality. In my own personal case, if I said I was zapped the night I was saved, healed, delivered and baptized, I would be dead set the world’s biggest liar and con. It didn’t happen that way. God does NOT wave a magic wand. From a hippy type lifestyle one inherits many evil influences and even evil spirits. It took many months for me to be healed in my mind from the effects of drugs and about one year to be completely delivered. It took about one year before I was baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit. This is logical…because of my lifestyle I had some evil spirit possession. A Christian needs to be set free of this before being filled with the Holy Spirit. Physically I could not do any more, as I was praying and reading the word to the max…and also fasting a lot-up to 21 days. However God works in His way and own time to heal and release us. Basically there are no Hollywood style dramatic zappings.
Our church wasn’t the only one with this sort of revival. Ray Comfort was saved at the same time in another church on the other side of town with a similar ‘revival’. The Elim church in N.Z. also experienced a revival at the same time.
Peter Morrow’s New Life Centre had about ten times the number of people in their main church and it was experiencing growth as well. That church had some fantastic Christians with amazing testimonies as well.
As I went to all the meetings in the years of the revival in our church I was there the night Phil and Chris Pringle of C3 Church were saved. Phil talks about the night he was saved and claims he was delivered and filled with the Holy Spirit and all his problems taken away that night. Anyone reading this would think it was a Damascus Road experience like the Apostle Paul. Wrong! The main deacon who counseled him that night told me personally that Phil was only counseled about salvation. I spoke to the Pringle’s after their salvation also that night and it was exciting they were saved but from my recollection nothing like what Phil describes in his book. I encouraged them to keep coming back and eventually after considerable time they had some deliverance and were filled with the Holy Spirit. In those days at our church ‘deliverance’ was not done the way Jesus did by just rebuking the devils. The deacons used to jump up and down shouting at the demons, pleading the blood and shaking you. I know first hand because I went through this sort of carry on myself. It usually took a few hours and was not instantaneous as in Bible days.
Peter Driscoll and John Graham were the youth leaders and had been for a long time and were great Christian leaders in our church. They were also good teachers of sound doctrine. However the pastors of the church, the Barton’s, tried to push the Pringles into their position. It was like two young people’s groups contending for the new converts, within the church. This was one of the reasons the Barton’s were voted out of the church by the members.
Also the members didn’t like the way the Bartons were focusing on the Pringles at the expense of the rest of the flock. The Bartons also used the Church’s money to buy a large house, called Hebron House, for the Pringles and new converts. There was a lot of flack about that , especially as the real estate agent was a member within our church. Hebron house eventually became a burden for the church and the church ditched it. Of Course the agent in the church sold it.
Fortunately in my early Christian life I went to the sound teaching meetings of Peter Driscoll and John Graham and didn’t get led astray by the crazy stuff going on at Hebron House where the Pringles were operating. The Pringle’s could not teach sound doctrine to the new converts as they were only learning themselves. They had many problems themselves and were basically transferring that to new converts. If the new converts had been exposed to the sound teaching meetings of Peter and John they would probably be Christians today as most of the new Christians under the Pringle’s “ministry” at Hebron House, backslid. Also they had come from strong New age and hippy backgrounds and weren’t delivered from those influences at the time. The effectiveness of the Pringle’s early ‘ministry’ is highly debatable as most of their ‘disciples’ drifted by the wayside. Even their best friends and first converts, Wayne and Anne Tyndale dropped out after a couple of years and the last I heard several years ago they were still backslidden.
The Pringles were a big factor in the split of the church when the Bartons and Pringles left. The Pringles influenced most of the young people to leave as well but I stayed at the church until many years later and then I moved to Australia. In fact the split caused by the Pringles and Bartons, also caused John Graham and Peter Driscoll to leave the church as well, which was a pity. The scenario with the Pringles and Bartons sent the church into turmoil and it took about a year to stabilize.
Fortunately in my early Christian life, I met an elderly Christian man, similar to Job in the Bible, who lived next door to where I was living. He helped stabilize my Christian life while the disruptions in the church were occurring. For 2-3 years I used to go to his house for a couple of hours at a time for extra bible study. He was house bound due to sickness and I was his only visitor apart from his son who visited maybe twice a year. No-one from his church visited him.
I also had regular spiritual support from a strong Christian couple and from time to time even scored a lift by car to and from church. That was great because it saved the 45 minute walk each way. But the downside was I couldn’t witness when going by car, like I could when walking.
During this time I was living by faith. The Pringles and other new converts at Hebron House had their needs supplied by the church, which funded everything for the house group. Maybe at this stage the Pringles realized you could live off the church and even make money through it. I had to daily believe God for my needs and of course he provided. I did not have to bludge money out of the church. God was my source. In fact I never had any support from the church. God miraculously provided.
When my elderly neighbour died I stayed with the elderly deaconess of our church in a self contained flat under her house on the hill overlooking the city. By then I had progressed to a bicycle and used to bike all around the city delivering tracts which I produced and paid for myself. My first tract, which I had printed about the time the Pringles were saved, was a black and white one called “Hippie redeemed from Destruction” with before and after photos of myself. I think I had about 5,000 of those printed which I personally handed out. My next one was similar but with the title “Searching”, with the before and after photos. I maybe had 10,000 of those printed and I personally gave out. Then I did one with a red cover with the word “Revolution…” on the front. (this was the time of Chairman Mao). Inside as part of the “revolution…” I had “…of Love” and the story of God’s love. Then I had printed a four sided booklet in full colour titled “The Desert Shall Blossom as The Rose” with my testimony again. I had 25,000 printed and personally gave out each one. Then before I moved to Australia I printed a dramatic black and white with the words “IF you Died in the Next Two Minutes Where would you spend Eternity?” I printed enough for every single Post Office box in New Zealand and paid NZ post a fee to deliver. That one was very effective.
While all these things were happening and a couple of years after I was saved I started studying landscaping and eventually expanded into Australia and moved over to Brisbane to start a new business there designing landscapes. In Brisbane
I attended Garden City Church which is an AOG and later Christian Outreach Centre. I ended up getting some work opportunities on the Gold Coast , one hour from Brisbane and started my business there and became very successful on the Gold Coast. About six years ago, the pastor of the AOG church I was attending, had an outreach in Vietnam and I ended up funding the venture and his trip and coming over with him. On that trip I came in contact with a client doing a big project and started coming over every 2-3 months. I met my Vietnamese wife here and got married and moved over and started building up business in Vietnam. Now I design landscapes in Vietnam and live in Nha Trang near the central Coast. In fact the city is similar to what the Gold Coast was like 20 years ago. I now attend the Evangelical Church of Vietnam.”