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Pentecostalism – taking Christ out of Christianity

By Willz  

The first time I heard the word Pentecostal was when my older cousin became one. I was 13 at the time and thought she was nuts. She kept equating the newly invented bar codes with “the mark of the beast”. More out of curiosity than anything, I went to church with her to see what it was all about and as a result, I was quickly lured into the church, boots and all. I was “born again”, baptised in water and then baptised in the holy Spirit, which supposedly gave one the ability to heal people, speak in tongues and prophesy. I studied the bible with a fervour, poring over every detail, determined to become a preacher and help spread the Word …

I kept hearing Pentecostals talk about them being the only true Christian church, yet the racism and religious bigotry never seemed to bother anyone. Apparently, because we were part of the one true religion, we were always right and everyone else was going to hell.

It was only after spending some time away from the church’s influence that I started looking at their beliefs in a more objective way and started questioning all I had been told. Having to be born again to avoid hell never sat well with me as I wondered why people who had never heard the message deserved to go to hell.

I slowly started drifting away from the church as I came to the realization that many of their doctrines were not biblical and their self-righteous racism and religious bigotry really started to bother me. One of the heroes of the Pentecostal movement is evangelist Franklin Graham, who recently toured Australia. Many Pentecostals attended his rallies. Franklin Graham has openly supported the racist policies of Donald Trump. Graham’s support for Trump crosses over into idolatry as he treats Trump like the Messiah (Zwartz 2019). Perhaps the best comment about Graham comes from American Baptist leader, Russell Moore, who stated that the problem with Franklin Graham is that “the Religious Right turns out to be the people the Religious Right warned us about” (Zwartz 2019). Without a doubt, Pentecostals, who are part of the Religious Right, represent everything that they claim they stand against. They claim to be a religion of love, yet their hatred of others is overt.

Is it any wonder that Graham and evangelicals in general, are so racist when their particular brand of Christianity is rooted in the racism and hate-crimes of America’s deep south during the 19th century? Graham thanks God for the victories of the white Christians (Redemptionists) of the 19th century, who used violence often unleashed by the Ku Klux Klan, in the fight against “Negro rule” because they claimed it was immoral (Barber II 2016). This hatred, this bigotry still permeates the psyche of evangelical, Pentecostal Christians today and manifests in their behaviour, in their support and idolising of racists and Islamophobes such as Trump, Abbott, Morrison, Hanson, Bernardi and so on.

The final straw for me was when I sat through a sermon on prosperity which claimed that god would reward his faithful Pentecostals with boundless riches if they prayed hard enough, gave enough to the church and isolated themselves from “worldly people” (i.e. non-Pentecostals). Apparently, those in developing countries are not as deserving even though they pray harder and often have greater faith and reliance on god. Go figure!

After marrying a divorced non-Christian lady, I was cut off from my family who were Pentecostals. They said I would not be part of the family until I left my new wife and came back to the church. Thirty years on and they’re still waiting, hopefully they didn’t hold their breaths. Now I was away from the church’s influence I started to see for myself what a sad group of self-serving racist, religious bigots they were. Infidelities by Pentecostal preachers were starting to come out in the press and I quickly realised it was a case of “do as I say not what I do.”

Having time to read the bible and reflect on its contents without anyone trying to twist it for me, I quickly realised that many of their core beliefs had no basis in scripture. Speaking in tongues is nothing more than incoherent rambling also known as glossolalia, described by linguists as “the fluid vocalizing of speech-like syllables that lack any readily comprehended meaning.” It sounds like unintelligible gibberish but is supposedly a sign of being “baptized in the holy spirit.” Healing is another of their favourite doctrines, but I never saw anyone actually cured of anything even when multiple people laid hands on and prayed for them.

I could go on about how messed up their beliefs are, but even a cursory glance at their history and beliefs on google will have you shaking your head in disbelief. As their movement becomes more openly racist and Islamophobic their hypocrisy needs to be challenged. If there was any doubt about how far removed they are from the teachings of Jesus, their support of a white supremacist, Islamophobic bigoted president that has broken all ten of the commandments several times over. Yet, they claim Trump is a man of god! Are they serious?

Emboldened by Christian preachers openly supporting a white supremacist president, white supremacist Nazis have been attacking Muslim communities, injuring and killing innocent Muslims. Recently there was the murder of 50 innocent people attending Mosques in Christchurch by a white supremacist. While most people expressed sadness and outrage, some right wing politicians tried blaming the massacre on Islamic Immigration and as disgusting as that is, it was a position supported by Pentecostal preachers who treat Islam as an evil cult. They argue that they hate Islam but love Muslims, which makes as much sense as claiming they are loving Christians. They are just hypocritical xians who’ve taken the Christ out of Christianity.

Do not be deceived, Pentecostals and evangelical churches are not Christian. They do not follow Jesus’s example of charity and humility. They follow their own twisted version of scripture by preaching hatred, intolerance and greed. They have nothing in common with true Christians at all. They supported the illegal invasion of Iraq and then complained about people wanting to emigrate from war-torn countries because they are Muslim.

It should be obvious to even the most casual observer that these are the people who we should fear, and not Muslims. Their open hatred for Muslims and anyone who isn’t a white Christian is empowering violent Nazis to commit acts of terrorism like the one in Christchurch. They have blood on their hands and have shown no sympathy for the victims at all.

The bible warns against “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” They are the wolves and Muslims are the sheep.

References

Barber II 2016, ‘The racist history of Southern white evangelicalism and the rise of Donald Trump’, The Washington Post, 23 November, viewed 5 April 2019.

Zwartz, B 2019, ‘Franklin Graham walks in his father’s footsteps – and Trump’s shadow’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 February, viewed 5 April 2019.

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19 comments

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  1. New England Cocky

    Christianity is lived not just preached. I have met very few practising Christians but too many followers of Churchianity.

    Your description of Pentecostals v Everybodyelse reminds me of the Proddie v Chopper wars started in 1916 when Melbourne Catholic Archbishop Mannix declared war on the establishment predominantly Anglican society which carried on into the 90s and even the present day in some regional centres.

    Funny how your description also fits the Zionist movement in Palestine where immigrant jews are given citizenship before indigenous Palestinians.

  2. Brad Golding

    Great piece!
    I remember a story from years ago about a very old homeless man sitting on the church steps one night in the blistering cold shivering to death. Suddenly an apparition of Christ appeared and said to him, “Why are you sitting here my son?” The old man replied, “They won’t let me in.” Christ replied, “I know how you feel, they haven’t let me in for centuries. You should come with me now.” The old man’s body was found on the steps the next morning.
    A bit off topic but, have you noticed the other ant-Christ agenda in the use of BCE and CE instead of BC and AD? Supposedly it is so some people don’t get offended. However, since Christ is a prophet of Islam, it ain’t the Muslims doing it! How about the fact that I am now offended?

  3. Keitha Granville

    I was raised as an Anglican, baptised, confirmed, went to an Anglican girls school. My parents attended church at Easter and Christmas. I believe they were true Christians, they cared for others, they helped where they could and they didn’t have a bigoted bone between them.

    I often wonder what a returning Jesus would make of the church spawned in his name – about as much as he made of the hierarchy he fought against in his own time. He would weep.

    Don’t get me started on what is happening in Israel, the millions who died in the Holocaust are having their memories trampled by the racist, hateful regime that now controls the country.

    Organised religion of any kind ? – nup, just give me decent people with values espoused by Jesus, or Buddha even. Peace, kindness, love for all.

  4. Khaled

    WillZ
    A great piece of writting indeed.
    Profound and eloquent.
    K

  5. New England Cocky

    @Kaye Lee; And who was the Hillsong pastor jailed for kiddie fiddling?????

    Somehow Folau needs to check out his church colleagues …. by your friends are ye known.

  6. Alcibiades

    As reported by the Betoota Advocate, so does Scummo.

    ScoMo Blames Hackers After His Offical Account Liked Israel Folau’s Post At 3:34 AM Last Night

    … blamed hackers this morning after his official Instagram account ‘liked’ a controversial post by rugby union player Israel Folau overnight. At 3:34 AM last night, a number of monitoring bots that follow the official social media accounts of federal politicians detected Scott Morrison’s liking a widely-criticised post by Folau, which has been labeled …

    :small (Image)

  7. Kaye Lee

    It’s interesting that football players are held to higher account than politicians and management acts swiftly.. Israel has been sacked.

  8. Keith

    Scomo’s view on fairness is very interesting, it does not encompass the fairness that had been understood in the past. It is not the cocept of fairness that I grew up with prior to Howard. All people ought to be treated in a fair way, everybody no caveats.
    I’m not religious at all, but the Sermon on the Mount seems to be lost in relation to supposed religious LNP politicians.

  9. DrakeN

    Look at their hands, Keith.

    Is it cherry juice stain, or just the normal ‘blood of thine enemies’?

  10. Paul Davis

    “I’m not religious at all, but the Sermon on the Mount seems to be lost in relation to supposed religious LNP politicians.”

    Keith, according to the video record i saw, one witness heard the Messiah bless the ‘cheesemakers’ but this was corrected by a more sage member of the congregation who explained that this blessing extended to all purveyors of dairy related produce. So i guess all the LNP are blessed because of their collective cheesyness…..

  11. Aoetic

    Having dealt with some of the hierarchy of Hillsong in a business sense, I saw only God helps those who help themselves and not even a scintilla of so called Christian charity. Snake oil salesmen the lot of them, who live in luxury while the brainless are beguiled with racy music and happy clapping with promises of untold wealth in this world and the next. As L Ron Hubbard said when he dreamed up Scientology, the only way to make money is to start a religion.

  12. Matters Not

    Re:

    The bible warns against “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

    Sounds terrible. But doesn’t Leviticius have some thoughts re Eating Shellfish (11:9-10 )

    You shall regard them as detestable; you shall not eat any of their flesh, and you shall detest their carcasses. Everything in the waters that has not fins and scales is detestable to you.”

    It’s hilarious when a contributor cites a biblical quotation to destroy another … It’s a strange, strange world we live in.

    The ARU ought to be congratulated for sacking the gentleman in question – a religious nutter of the first order. Perhaps he should’ve been sacked on the basis of his race? He’s not really white is he? (Just so he ‘understands’ what it’s like to be discriminated against on the basis of an ‘orientation’ that’s beyond one’s choice.)

  13. Patagonian

    I’ve known a few Pentacostals over the past 30-odd years and I don’t know about the mark of the Beast, but they sure had the Mark of the Nutter on them. I was once bailed up in my driveway – MY OWN DRIVEWAY – as I was preparing to leave my house on a hot day with two little kids in my non-airconditioned car. They came up and tapped on my car window and started spouting their shit. I had to tell them to get the f*** off my property before they would leave. I despise them and their hocus pocus, grab bag of myths and delusions with a passion.

  14. Zathras

    Leviticus also condemns with equal weight those with tattoos and those who cut the hair on the side of their head so Folau will have plenty of company in the same place as those he condemns. Jesus himself never mentioned homosexuality or abortion.

    In any case, the concept of “burning in Hell” is not mentioned in the Bible but comes from the twisted interpretation of St Augustine who wanted to send those who disagreed with him to such a place. Hades, Gehenna and other places mentioned are entirely different concepts but are now conveniently lumped together in the same mythical notion. It’s as real as Santa’s retreat at the North Pole.

    Likewise Hillsong and other Evangelicals are all part of The Prosperity Gospel that sees religion as a way to material wealth.
    Such self-interested pew-packers also use religion not as a reason for their intolerance but as an excuse.

  15. Bronwyne Chapman

    All churchianities are do as I say and not as I do and people need to realise there’s a vast difference between faith and religion. However, the Pentacostals are a breed unto themselves. Any church/group that spouts hate as a doctrine should be classed as what they are – inciters and potential terrorists. Freedom of speech is one thing but when it’s abused to cause other to be hurt/killed then there needs to be a line drawn. There is good and bad in all groups, just like in society. However, they should all be treated equally under the law when their evil hurts the world.

  16. Eliza Jane Tucker

    Thank you so much for a great article. I was once but I am now so glad I am not (one of them). I keep being a good human being and that is all we all cane do.

  17. Aortic

    God to Peasant – Worship me and I will protect you.

    Peasant – Protect me from what?

    God – The unspeakable things I will do to you if you don’t.

    Having been brought up in Scotland in a Plymouth Brethren gospel assembly I can attest it is nothing less than child abuse. Took me years to rid myself of their nonsense which sadly had far too much influence for far too long. God must be so proud as he looks on ” his” world and the millions of people being sacrificed supposedly in his name. Taurus Excretus comes to mind.

  18. Lambert Simnel

    Most accurate headline. Nauseating parodies.

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