Six Things Australia’s Pentecostal Prime Minister Actually Believes
As a Pentecostal for the first 25 years of my life, the last three of those as a Pastor at one of the largest Pentecostal movements in the world, I feel obliged to outline some things that our current Prime Minister subscribes to believing when he says he is a ‘Pentecostal’.
Why? While media coverage has been pretty comprehensive from an outsider- in point of view, it’s clear none of the insiders are fessing up to the real deal. Sentences like ‘there is little doctrinal differences between [Pentacostalism] and other forms of Christianity’ are just, frankly, not true.
Now, I don’t know whether Scott Morrison personally engages in the below activities. He has publicly stated that he doesn’t speak in tongues; this isn’t a particularly surprising move as even the most ardent ‘Happy Clappers’ recognise that babbling strange sounds is somewhat alarming to the rest of humanity and is likely to raise questions of sanity.
No, it’s not whether our new Prime Minister does these things personally; what is far more interesting is that by subscribing to Pentecostalism, he believes these things to be true.
Actual real, true… not like the climate crisis, obviously.
So here we go, starting tame and ratcheting it up a bit.
The God of the Universe speaks to him.
Unlike most Christians who speak to the sky recognising that it’s probably a bit of a one way conversation, for Penties prayer is a two-way conversation. God speaks back. And he doesn’t just speak back like, you happen on a bible verse a couple days after you prayed about it. No no, God speaks back like a voice in your mind going, ‘yes Morrison, you should run for Prime Minister.’
Known to the rest of humanity as a conscience or gut instinct, Pentecostals believe that any thought, desire or feeling that doesn’t directly relate to the thought they were just at that instance aware their brain was having is actually God’s direct voice.
Yes, Pentecostals hear voices in their head. Just the one though — the supreme, all knowing, all powerful God of the Universe. Which makes everything your gut — sorry, god — says incredibly important and hard to contradict.
He can foretell the future
Not only does God speak to Pentecostals directly, he’ll often tell them things about other people. It might be something that’s happening that they haven’t told anyone else or it might be something about their future that only god knows. Either way, this is normal everyday people turned into prophets — provided they can hear god’s voice of course. (See above)
Pentecostal prophets have tried all sorts of tricks over the years to convince people prophecy is a real thing — but it turns out, they all needed humans and the latest earpiece. Prophecy has now watered down to a Millenial-friendly Public Affirmation along the lines of ‘God will use you as a great leader in this nation’ which is then retrospectively claimed in the specific.
I’ve no doubt that someone in Morrison’s church is walking around with some serious kudos for having prophesied his future as the Prime Minister of Australia.
He can (but doesn’t because it’s bad for a political career) speak a secret language that only God and angels can understand
Tongues isn’t the weirdest Pentecostal belief but it’s the one you’re most likely to see if you happen to brave a mega-church service or annual conference. Without going into the full background, Pentecostals believe that God ‘fills’ a human with his Spirit, kind of like turning a switch on and allowing electricity to flow through you. This turning on of the switch is a Pentecostal rite — like a first communion — and the evidence you’ve gone through it — that your switch is turned on- is the ability to speak in tongues.
It’s fortunate then that speaking in tongues is pretty easy. Just open your mouth and make some sounds. I started doing it when I was 6 years old and did it most days afterward for the next 19 years. Pentecostals will say that these sounds are more powerful than praying in normal words because these are spiritual words that only god, his angels and your spirit understands.
So you see, it’s slightly strange that Mr Morrison doesn’t speak in tongues. From a Pentecostal’s point of view, this is like declaring at an orgy that you’re a virgin. Acceptable I suppose, but we’re not quite sure what you’re still doing here…
His body can be overtaken by god, to the point where he will fall over, shake or cry.
THIS is the weirdest thing Pentecostals believe. Google ‘Toronto blessing’ or Benny Hinn and kiss goodbye to productivity for the next couple hours.
Today Pentecostal churches practice an almost respectable but still completely unexplainable ritual even to people who’ve been doing it for years. At the end of the service, the pastor offers to pray for people, declaring that he can ‘really feel the Holy Spirit tonight’ (aka, I’m charged up with ‘electricity’ and ready to pass it on to you). Anyone who wants prayer comes up to the front of the auditorium and when the pastor touches them on the head, they fall to the ground.
You read that right - fall backwards on the ground. Like they fainted. There’s a whole system involving ‘ushers’ to catch people to make sure they don’t whack their heads on the way down. And material to put over the women’s skirts for modesty.
The point of this has been lost in the couple of decades since it began. In the 90s (aka my childhood, good times) auditoriums full of people would be lying on the ground, running laps, dancing, rolling on the floor or hysterically laughing or crying, maybe all at once for hours at a time. Back then, it was believed that such large doses of the Holy Spirit was filling up humans that they couldn’t handle it and it made them do those strange things. Like how being electrocuted makes your body shake.
Nowadays the falling over has a ceremonial feel to it… it’s just what’s done. If you don’t do it, you’re insinuating that the pastor isn’t charged with the Holy Spirit. And that’s just rude.
He can heal people by touching them
Why would you want to be ‘filled with the Holy Spirit? So you’re able to heal people!’
I imagine this is another one ScoMo doesn’t dabble in. Speaking from personal experience, offering to pray for someone’s headache and then actually touching them on the head while you say babbling sounds is the first step in contracting social leprosy. Much easier to offer a Panadol, pray in private and rejoice in the Lord’s intervention when the victim seems in better spirits a couple of hours later.
Pentecostals believe that God uses them to heal people, genuine medical miracles like blindness and cancer. Maybe this is why Morrison isn’t too keen on expanding Medicare?
When he gives money to the church, spiritual forces will cause more money to come into his own life.
It’s called the Prosperity Gospel and has a few key points:
- God wants you to be rich. Money makes the world go ‘round and we’d prefer to have God’s people in charge than anyone else.
- If you’re rich, it’s so you can do good things with the money… (but private jet planes, luxury goods and big houses for yourself are okay.) Penties use the phrase ‘Blessed to be a Blessing’. Giving away a portion of your income makes the accumulation of worldly goods spiritually acceptable.
- The way to get rich, is to give money to God. (seeee what they did there?) When I was a Pastor, our church refunded a donation in the tens of thousands of dollars to a middle/low-income family because they couldn’t afford school fees. The family gave because they believed God would make a financial miracle in the hundreds of thousands of dollars happen in time. That’s not biblical doctrine per say, so they got that thought directly from the pastor’s message. ‘Give and it will come back to you…’
There’s no doubt that faith is an important part of millions of people’s lives. Additionally, we want our leaders to be people with an ability to make logical decisions based on a range of facts and experiences - if they’re not, it should make us question the soundness of their judgement. In fact, subscribing to beliefs like the above might suggest that our current leader has a practiced ability to ignore logic, facts and a wide range of experiences in decision making about what is true and what is not about the world. This could explain why things like the climate crisis and rising housing costs fail to move him.
So there you have it: our Prime Minister — at least for the next four days — hails from one of the most extreme sects of Christianity we have on the planet. Good thing he’s keeping the refugees out so we don’t get any religious fanatics taking over! ;)