(OPINION) Queensland police say a deadly shooting in the rural community of Wieambilla was a “religiously-motivated terrorist attack” and that the trio responsible were influenced by an extremist Christian belief system.

Nathaniel, Gareth, and Stacey Train shot Constable Rachel McCrow, 29, Constable Matthew Arnold, 26, and neighbor Alan Dare at their property in the Western Downs on December 12.

According to an Australian Affiliate, Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Tracy Linford said an investigation into the Train family had now concluded they were religious extremists who subscribed to “a broad Christian fundamentalist belief system known as premillennialism”. Here’s what we know about the Christian ideology that an expert says is growing in momentum around the world.


Premillennialism is the belief that after a period of extreme suffering, Jesus Christ will physically return to Earth for 1,000 years. “In its basic interpretation, there was a belief that Christ will return to the Earth … and provide peace and prosperity but it will be preceded by an era, or a period of time of tribulation, widespread destruction and suffering,” Deputy Commissioner Linford said.

“They started preparing for the end of days. “Christian extremist ideology has been linked to other attacks around the world, but this is the first time we’ve seen it in Australia.”

Josh Roose, an associate professor of politics and expert on far-right and religious extremism at Deakin University, said the trio would have believed the world was “corrupt” and fast imploding.

“It is a Christian belief that in effect, the world is so corrupt, so evil, so beyond repair that at some point, in the near future, we’re facing the implosion of the world effectively … an apocalyptic event and that Jesus will return to Earth,” Dr Roose said.

“Historically, cults and apocalyptic cults and so-on have always looked to what’s going on in the world around them and drawn upon that as evidence for the world ending.”


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