[Image of New Life Church by David Shankbone]
Bruce Wilson at Talk 2 Action has, for some time, been involved in an extensive investigation as to how Christianity is in flux.
In an article entitled, "Pray," Wilson offers an overview as to how Christianity is changing into something quite different historic forms of the religion.
For example, he notes that prayer has generally been considered a private matter. But that's not true anymore. Consider what prayer means at Ted Haggard's former church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. From information derived from author Alix Spiegel, we learn that the pray-ers at New Life Church not only take prayer public but do so because of one certain conviction: Colorado Springs is infested with "teeming territorial demons," and said demons are a plague on the city.
Members at New Life, therefore, have established a plan to combat these demons: Spiegel said "they use maps, and computers, and statistics to chart out what parts of their city need prayer, for what reasons ..."
So, as Wilson put it, "Ted Haggard's New Life Church members were - street by street and block by block, toiling to expel, one by one, with prayer, the teeming territorial demons ... And they were maintaining, twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, a prayer shield over their city to prevent those evicted spirits from re-infesting Colorado Springs."
And yes, you are still living in the 21st century!
This is, for Wilson, one example as to how Christianity is changing. Or, maybe not. Christianity has from its inception believed in demons and evil spirits and has used prayer to overcome same. The Roman Church has a bloody history of killing people it believed were infested by demons. Today, exorcists represent a growing profession within the Roman Church.
On the other hand, it is probably true to say that within mainstream Protestant Christianity, demons and demon-possession have generally been relegated to their rightful roles as manifestations of psychological trauma and thought to be better dealt with by science than by the magic of prayer.
However, there's much more. Within the last generation has grown up a new form of Christianity, of which Haggard's church is a part, called Postdenominational by the U.S. Center for World Missions, which, in 2001, published a massive research study of the Christian religion since its inception. The study is titled World Christian Trends AD 30 - AD 2200.
According to the book, Postdenominationalism is something quite new and has "no connection to historic Christianity."
What Postdenominationalism is doing is rabidly moving across the face of the earth garnering converts by the millions. Wilson notes World Christian Trends estimated this movement had grown to 385 million people by 2000 C.E.
The situation becomes even more stark when we come to realize that within this larger movement is another, "even newer and more radical faith" - the Third Wave.
Note, please, that Sarah Palin is part of the Third Wave!
Wilson says, "A rupture has occurred. Several hundred million Christians worldwide, more every day, are sailing into the uncharted waters of a theological system that has nothing to do with historic Christianity and which might have been, during the Medieval period, considered the wildest form of heresy."
The Third Wave believes, among other things, that through prayer they can change the "spiritual DNA" of a community. One of the leaders of this nonsense is Thomas Muthee, a self-appointed religious fruitcake from Kenya who appears in "Transformation" videos which promote the notion enough of the right kind of prayer can "transform" the essential character of a city or town or community. [Which is precisely what the pray-ers in Colorado Springs were trying to do.]
You will recall, that, in 2005, Muthee "blessed and anointed Sarah Palin."
But that's only part of it. This bunch of morons actually holds to the "doctrine that average Christians can learn to raise the dead. It's a claim one can hear promoted from the pulpit of Sarah Palin's most significant church, the Wasilla Assembly of God."
There's much more and it's important to have some understanding of this movement for it's not going away; it's growing. And it's not benign; it is cancerous. It is deadly. It is, to coin a phrase, demonic.
Read Wilson's article here. And he has another insightful piece here.
More on Thomas Muthee here, and an article by Jane Lampman of the Christian Science Monitor, here.
Update: My friend, Grandpa Eddie, has a scintillating post on this same topic today. Click here.
If you haven't seen the video of Palin's anointing and blessing by Muthee, watch below: