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In Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements: Arguments from the Margins, Rocha, Hutchinson and Openshaw argue that Australia has made and still makes important contributions to how Pentecostal and charismatic Christianities have developed worldwide. This edited volume fills a critical gap in two important scholarly literatures. The first is the Australian literature on religion, in which the absence of the charismatic and Pentecostal element tends to reinforce now widely debunked notions of Australia as lacking the religious tendencies of old Europe. The second is the emerging transnational literature on Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. This book enriches our understanding not only of how these movements spread worldwide but also how they are indigenised and grow new shoots in very diverse contexts.

Abstract

Rev Dr Andrew Evans, the former General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God in Australia (1977–1997), shocked naysayers by co-founding the Family First Party in 2001, serving as a Legislative Councillor of South Australia (2002–2008). Most narratives seek to build a genealogy linked to the “religious right” of the United States of America, discrediting other factors that may be in play. Yet, it is the specific context of Andrew Evans within Australian Pentecostalism that made this new minor party such a success. Based on oral interviews, archival research and analysis of secondary sources, this chapter argues that Evans was effective in his political career through: a politicised theological foundation; established national profile; the South Australian political climate; unique organisational structure; interdenominational and interfaith support; sophisticated preferencing; the “family values” agenda; use of an emotive discourse; and unprecedented federal support.

In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements
Author: Peter Elliott

Abstract

The prevailing historiography of Australian Pentecostalism, as captured in Barry Chant’s 2011 publication, The Spirit of Pentecost: the origins and development of the Pentecostal movement in Australia 1870–1939, identifies three main formative influences on the movement. These are Wesleyanism, the Dowie movement, and evangelicalism. The 1870 date in the title refers to a small group in Portland, Victoria, which exhibited glossolalia at that time. Chant’s publication contains only one reference to the Catholic Apostolic Church, which formed in Britain in 1835, in the wake of Edward Irving’s proto-Pentecostal theology. This reference makes clear that Chant does not believe they practised glossolalia in Australia. This paper will argue that the Catholic Apostolic Church arrived in Australia in 1853 and taught and exhibited the charismatic gifts from at least the 1860s, but probably earlier. The evidence for this is to be found in contemporary newspaper accounts, but also, significantly, in the Angels’ Report Books, located in Bradford, West Yorkshire. The Bradford collection has been fully digitised and includes verbatim transcripts of prophecies and interpreted glossolalia. The Catholic Apostolic Church was an established denomination in Australia throughout the second half of the nineteenth-century, during which time they taught and practised the charismatic gifts. This evidence calls for a recognition of the role of the Catholic Apostolic Church as a significant precursor to Australian Pentecostalism.

In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements
Author: John Maiden

Abstract

The scholarly historical literature on the global Catholic Charismatic Renewal is sparse, particularly where the movement outside of the United States and its Midwest centres of South Bend and Ann Arbor is concerned. This chapter offers a case study of the CCR in the Australian city of Brisbane. Adopting a multi-scalar analysis, it examines the movement’s city-wide context, its transnational linkages with America, and its national and pan-regional connections and influence. It demonstrates the combination of local and American factors which established and shaped the movement in the city and argues that just as Brisbane CCR was shaped by globalising flows, so it also became a hub for renewal both nationally and pan-regionally. Brisbane, it concludes, had a key and largely overlooked role in the historical development of global CCR in the 1970s.

In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements

Abstract

For Bundjalung Pentecostals in northern New South Wales, some personal and social issues are characterised in terms of an aggressive tension between positive and negative forces. Such forces correspond to incorporeal entities within Christian cosmology. In this chapter, I explore Bundjalung Pentecostalism; the concept of faith as battlefield is central to my analysis – from referring to scripture and oral tradition to dealing with people’s lived experience. I critically engage with earlier anthropological studies of Bundjalung Pentecostalism by Malcolm Calley (in the 1950s) and Akiko Ono (in the 2000s) and conceptualise what Calley and Ono referred to as “backsliding.” Reflecting on Søren Kierkegaard’s and Edith Stein’s theological account, I investigate the paradoxical essence of faith and argue that continuity of faith and healing grace is in conjunction with lived experience.

In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements

Abstract

The epilogue by leading scholar of global Pentecostalism, Allan Anderson, locates the themes explored in the book within the larger literature on the subject. Anderson notes that Australia is both reflective of, and an active contributor to, global trends and the emergence of a century-long swing of Christianity towards the global south. Methodologically, he points out that generalizing theories about the growth and future of religion often fail to capture the theological and experiential drivers of movements such as PCCs, in which personal, heart-felt experience of God through the Spirit offered to all people without preconditions, enable them to be “powerful” and assertive in societies where they have been marginalised. Marginalized people are offered solutions to their felt needs in all their varieties, in ways which will continue to draw people to pentecostal churches. The case studies and theoretical explorations in this volume thus provide important contributions to the broader literature.

In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements

Abstract

For just over a decade the Australian headquarters of the Brazilian megachurch The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG) has provided spiritual solutions to end the daily suffering of its congregants. Situated in a Sydney working-class suburb, many of the UCKG’s migrant congregants suffer ailments of urban poverty, in particular familial breakdown, substance abuse, physical illness and mental health issues. These are further compounded by the socio-economic and residential precarity of their migration experiences. Twice a year a campaign of extraordinary sacrifice takes place across UCKG global networks. These campaigns are for those who have “impossible cases” – problems that seem to have no solutions. Drawing on two years of fieldwork with the UCKG, this chapter focuses on the 2016 “Mt. Sinai” Campaign of Faith. For congregants the sacrifice was extraordinary in terms of its size but most importantly its spiritual potency. At the end of the campaign, UCKG Bishops and Pastors from across the world gathered together to make the arduous journey up to the top of Mt. Sinai, in Egypt. There they presented the prayer requests of their congregants on the sacred “natural altar” of God. In this chapter, I argue that through the transnational network of the UCKG, congregants are able to imbue their sacrificial offerings with increased spiritual capital to better call the attention of God. This chapter will contribute a discussion of sacrifice in the UCKG that highlights the importance to local congregants of spiritual capital that flows via the UCKG’s global networks.

In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements
In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements

Abstract

This introduction argues that Australia has made and still makes important contributions to the ways in which charismatic Christianities have developed worldwide. However, there has been little work done on the critical role Australians have played in the rise of healing, prophetic and experiential forms of Christianity, many of which have been propelled out of this first post-Christian country. Here, we explain how this book aims to fill a critical gap in two important scholarly literatures. The first is the Australian literature on religion, in which the absence of the charismatic and Pentecostal element tends to reinforce now widely debunked notions of Australia as a sort of Benthamite utilitarian paradise, stripped of the religious tendencies of old Europe. The second is the emerging transnational literature on PCMs (Pentecostal and Charismatic movements), which has (in the application of the work of Castells, Anderson and others) moved beyond national frameworks into more sophisticated local modelling of emergent religious revitalisations.

In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements
Author: Cristina Rocha

Abstract

Post-Millennial middle-class Brazilians have been flocking to Hillsong International Leadership College for the past decade. Some start learning English as teenagers and fundraise for years to be able to have “the College experience.” Others defer their university studies and risk not having a job for the opportunity to join Hillsong. Drawing on three years of fieldwork research in Australia and in Brazil this paper explores why studying at Hillsong College has become a dream for this cohort. I argue that by making Pentecostalism cool, fun and fashionable on the one hand, and more amenable to middle-class sensibilities (with a focus on love and inclusion rather than on judgement and spiritual battle), Hillsong has been able to attract sectors of the Brazilian Pentecostal population who felt displaced in the very conservative, money-focused, scandal-prone local Pentecostalism. In Hillsong they see the possibility of living a global, successful and inclusive Pentecostalism, one where love for others, volunteerism and social inclusion are central.

In: Australian Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements