In recent days, three high-profile public figures have come under increased scrutiny–Sarah Palin for her abrupt resignation from her position as Governor of Alaska, possible presidential hopeful John Ensign (R-Nev.) for his extramarital affair, and Bishop Thomas Wesley Weeks III for physically assaulting his wife in a 2007 incident. As a result, both Palin’s and Ensign’s chances at winning at Presidential race look to be severely lower than they were before. Bishop Weeks has seen a large backlash in the evangelical community, and his future influence and power seems to have a lower ceiling now as well.
What ties these three embattled figures together is their alignment with a relatively new wave in Christian Pentecostalism, that of the Charismatic, Third Wave, Full Gospel, or non-denominational church. In a July 25th piece on AlterNet, UNC Press author Anthea Butler offers a history of the movements and looks into how they affect the motives of worshippers.
When God is treated like “on-demand cable,” the most fervent believers will have trouble adhering to basic rules of propriety, let alone values.
For a movement that started out with a millenarian orientation, it has certainly become enamored with the world, and with retaining earthly power in every way. Whatever these new mutations of Prosperity Gospel and Apostolic leadership are, it is time to pay even closer attention to them, and to their relationships to the realms of social and political power they currently possess.