Furthermore, in these denominations, people in the pews are usually no longer expected to accept at face value all the words that underpin their creed, and even priests are not required to defend or uphold every doctrine. By contrast, the strength and weakness of Pentecostalism is that there is nothing half-hearted about commitment. Morrison, to use an example, either carries these core beliefs or he is not a true Pentecostal.
His acknowledgements are regular and straightforward.
However, no one close to the PM has ever suggested his Christianity is actually less important to him than it used to be, or is any way fake or contrived. It is much more likely that since Morrison must believe that he has been called by God to lead Australia, being voter-friendly is akin to being seeker-friendly: a divinely sanctioned means to a godly end.
From a Pentecostal perspective, God knows that the enemy would exploit the fact that Australians would fear a too outwardly enthusiastic believer.
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Scrutiny on this matter is easily deflected by a practised hand. The ignorance about Pentecostalism among the general public is shared by politicians, journalists, writers, academics and commentators everywhere. It is extraordinary how little Pentecostalism has been researched, given its global influence and growth. In this intellectual vacuum, it is not surprising that commentators mistakenly resort to caricatures of conservative Christianity to categorise it.
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There are also no templates to apply when asking about this religion: Morrison is the first Pentecostal to lead a national government in the English-speaking world. No Pentecostal quarantines their religion in a churchy quarter of their being, let alone one who has been a passionate believer since his teens and in his first speech to parliament acknowledged Brian Houston, the co-founder of Hillsong, as a mentor.
His ability to maintain an unflinching self-belief and sense of righteousness through the dramatic U-turns that have characterised his rise to power reflects a central paradox of Pentecostal dogma and practice. Pentecostalism is in fact the perfect faith for a conviction politician without convictions. But the analogy needs to be pushed further. All Pentecostals are fighting on the side of God. Reporting directly to the supreme commander, anointed leaders have the flexibility to deal with the enemy as circumstances require. What from the outside can look like compromise is, from the inside, more like a responsive strategy.
As Allan Anderson, one of the leading scholars of Pentecostalism, has documented, it is the flexibility of Pentecostalism that has been the key to its cross-cultural success. The faith has been able to adapt equally well to the streets of Lagos and the beaches of Sydney. In deft hands, this adaptability is suited to politics too.
Mutability co-exists with conviction because the conviction is genuine: Jesus is always in charge. Policy changes and loyalty realignments can be proclaimed with self-righteous certainty because the proclaimer knows that Christ is always present. Consider the issue that first made the PM a future leadership contender. The political impact of Operation Sovereign Borders was underpinned by the ethical certainty with which the then immigration minister promoted the policy.
Why would someone who followed the teachings of Jesus want to stop asylum seekers from attending a family funeral? How could a committed Christian keep children locked up while helping his daughter leave a present for detained kids under the church Christmas tree?
These were legitimate questions, but the common answer that Morrison was a hypocrite was almost certainly wrong. Faith was not being put to one side in favour of political self-interest but was being rigorously upheld. It is not surprising that Pentecostal activism about climate change is non-existent — the end of the known world is not a matter for mere mortals to decide.
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When Morrison proudly showed off a piece of coal in parliament, there is no reason to doubt that he believed what he held in his hand was a gift from God. It is also likely that Morrison has a level of scepticism about empirical science in general. In other words, humans and other animals were created by God in their essential form. If Morrison does not believe this, it should be easy enough to say so. Because Pentecostals also generally believe that specified events outlined in the Bible have to occur in Israel before Jesus can return, the decision by President Trump to move the American embassy to Jerusalem has been widely interpreted as a concession to his evangelical supporters.
The question of salvation is the most sensitive of all these matters. In the Pentecostal world view, there is a clear delineation between those who are saved and those who are not, those who are accepted by God and those who have spurned his offer of salvation.
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His irrepressible bounce is grounded in his faith that the cosmic cause is always larger than the earthly battle. What is asked of the believer when the Evil One seems to be in control? The polls suggest that Scott Morrison will not survive his perfect storm. But if he pulls off a victory so improbable, there is little doubt that he will also believe that the miracle came because God delivered him victory.
If for no other reason than this dangerous delusion, Australians deserve to know more about what the leader of our country believes. Pentecostalism might not be a cult, but in terms of what ordinary people have been told about its true teachings, it may as well be. Those charged with scrutinising our politicians should put aside the national discomfort about discussing religion, and do what they would if a political leader subscribed to any other little-known ideology.
Morrison must be made to tell us more about the faith that has shaped his life: What does he really think of the Devil? James Boyce James Boyce is a writer and historian. You are reading this month Already a subscriber? All this is true, and much more which thou hast left out; but the Prince whom I serve and honor is merciful, and ready to forgive. We act as though by accomplishing more and being better, God will be pleased with us, and when we fail, we believe he is disappointed.
We fancy ourselves on a mission for God as we carry out our tasks. So very often, though, this is when life becomes brutally hard, and we find ourselves in a Valley of Humiliation staring down Apollyon. I don't bring my devotional time. I don't bring how many chapters of the Bible I've read.
I don't bring my success in evangelism. I simply cling to the cross. Our best defenses do not lie in obsessing over daily habits, word choices, or even spiritual disciplines, deeply important as they may be. Rather, we render ourselves more difficult targets for Apollyon when we lean our full weight on the gospel of Jesus Christ, so that when Satan comes close, we do not crumble beneath the weight of his accusations.
The devil knows our weaknesses, and he is more than willing to exploit them. Eager to take advantage of the knowledge he has about us, Satan accuses us continually—making our character seem questionable and our obedience seem half-hearted. His arsenal of tools and opportunities grow every day. When his verbal assaults fail to faze Christian, Apollyon launches a physical attack. Christian must put on the full armor of God and fight a battle that he could never win in his own strength.
God made him to be sin for us who knew no sin that we might be reckoned the righteousness of God in him 2 Corinthians All our faith, all our confidence, all our assurance is based on his righteousness and his obedience, not mine. Interestingly, in The Pilgrim's Progress Apollyon isn't on every page. He only appears at this particular point in the story.
However, there is evil on every page. Temptations abound on every page.
hocpotohede.ml And that's when it is important that we put on the gospel armor. Satan, like Apollyon, is relentless. He charges with force and fury and has no care for the well-being of the one he seeks to possess and destroy. With equal intensity, we must prepare to fight.
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