JOHN MENADUE. Pentecostalism, Jerusalem, the Prime Minister and the Assistant Treasurer

The Prime Minister has denied that his proposal, or was it just a ‘thought bubble’, to transfer the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, ‘has anything to do with my faith or my religion’. If so, it is in striking contrast to the views of many other Pentecostalists who strongly assert that a united Israel with Jerusalem as its capital presages the second coming of Christ. His Assistant Treasurer, Stuart Robert, also a Pentecostalist is a tour leader for visits to Israel.  

There is no doubt that US Pentecostalism and the religious right, known as Christian Zionists, stridently supports Trump’s decision to shift the US embassy to Jerusalem. Yet the Prime Minister wants us to accept that all of that played no part in his decision to follow Trump.

In ‘Australia, Israel and the Pentecostal PM’ in this blog on 17 October 2018, Greg Austin said:

The link between mainstream currents of Pentecostalism and militancy for Israel based on biblical references is well documented by them and by academics. One example, covering both perspectives, comes from Andrew Davies at the University of Birmingham, himself a Pentecostal. His 2018 journal article, “Reading Politics through Scripture: International relations, the Bible and Conservative Christianity”, lays out some of the precepts to be found in many Pentecostal communities and other conservative Christian communities. Key among these, according to Davies, are the notions that Israel is land given by God to the Israelite (Jewish) people and that God saw fit to drive out the prior inhabitants in favour of the faithful Israelites. This view is summarised as Christian Zionism.

And there is not just the Pentecostal link between Scott Morrison and Jerusalem. His Assistant Treasurer, Stuart Robert, also has a close association.

In Inside Story of 19 October 2018, Marion Maddox told us that

Sean Durbin (whose PHD I supervised) analyses an important undercurrent of the Christian Right, known as Christian Zionism. Durbin shows that America’s largest pro-Israel organisation is, in fact, made up of Evangelical and Pentecostal Christians led by megachurch pastor John Hagee. …

Durbin studied US Christian identification with Israel through church-organised, pastor-led tourism to Israel. The tours encourage participants to develop a sense of spiritual affinity with Israel and to ‘bless’ (that is, give money to) Israel, to the degree that they have become important to the Israeli economy. Australian megachurches offer something similar. For example, Metro Church on the Gold Coast offers the Israel 2019; Treasures of Grace tour, led by the Liberal frontbench and lavish internet user, assistant treasurer Stuart Robert, for $5,800.

The Israel 2019 Treasures of Grace tour led by our Assistant Treasurer, Stuart Robert, features the ‘Adventure of a lifetime, walking in the footsteps of Jesus’.

Stuart Roberts has a colourful career since becoming the member for Fadden in 2007. His electorate includes the Gold Coast. In a visit to China in 2014 he confused the Chinese as to whether he was there as a representative of the Australian Government or in private support of a company, Nimrod Resources.

Scott Morrison, the former Treasurer would have been pleased to have a co-religionist Stuart Roberts as his Assistant Treasurer. They both have obvious interest in Israel and Jerusalem.

Many Pentecostalists believe that they have a God mandated call to support Israel.

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John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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