In her commentary for radio segment number 77 of Chicago Public Media's This American Life, episode 77, Pray, Alix Spiegel described herself as a secular Jew who, admittedly, did not understand Christianity. But what was going on at Ted Haggard's New Life Church in Colorado Springs in 1997 had, according to World Christian Trends AD 30 - AD 2200, "no connection to historic Christianity."
In his 1998 book The Life Giving Church, Ted Haggard describeda 1992 meeting in California during which it was agreed that Haggard would materially support C. Peter Wagner. In 2001, Wagner declared the advent of a second Reformation... At 928 pages of minute, triple-spaced text, World Christian Trends AD 30 - AD 2200, published in 2001, was reportedly the most exhaustive single research study of Christianity since the religion was born.
Widely considered one of the standard reference works on the subject, the tome was produced by the Protestant evangelical U.S. Center For World Mission and, for that, there might be reason to suspect it's objectivity. But the very point of the mammoth effort that produced the book was to generate accurate data to facilitate more effective global evangelizing efforts. Thus, it's authors took considerable pains to maintain relative academic neutrality.
World Christian Trends AD 30 - AD 2200 features clinically precise definitions of the myriad branches of worldwide Christianity which currently encompasses roughly 2.1 billion of the world's people. Ted Haggard's church, which calls itself "non-denominational," would most likely fall into a broad stream of Christianity that World Christian Trends calls Postdenominational.
Beginning on page 303 of the book, World Christian Trends lists 280 dichotomies which separate Denominational from Postdenominational Christianity. As one of those, Postdenominationalism has, according to the book, "no connection to historic Christianity."
It's a tendency that, over the last several decades, has washed over world Christendom. According to World Christian Trends, by AD 2000 Postdenominational Christianity represented 385 million Christians globally.
And within Postdenominationalism, an even newer an more radical faith has erupted: the Third Wave.
Since the tendency emerged in the early 1980's, Third Wave Christianity came to encompass, by 2000, over four percent of the Earth's total population, some 295 million people. There are few historical precedents for such a seismic shift.
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.
One of the more distinctive characteristics of Third Wave Christianity, which World Christian Trends calls "radical" and "disturbing" is its 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.
To listen to This American Life episode #77, "Pray", is to hear the march of the new Christian Right. In 1999, Jane Lampman, for the Christian Science Monitor, wrote two back-to-back stories about the World Prayer Center and the global prayer movement, then coordinated from the WPC which was created as a joint effort between Ted Haggard and C. Peter Wagner. One is still publicly available: Targeting cities with 'spiritual mapping,' prayer
Lampman's ground-breaking story began with:
Can the 'spiritual DNA' of a community be altered?" That's the question posed in a Christian video called "Transformations."
Muthee was a star in the Transformations video series. In 2005, he blessed and anointed Sarah Palin.
The single best public source of research on the evolution of the ideology that's now propelling much of Third Wave Christianity is Rene' Holvast's 2005 three hundred page doctoral dissertation, Spiritual Mapping: The Turbulent Career of a Contested American Missionary Paradigm, 1989-2005 ( file is a 1.9MB PDF )
In November 2008, Brill Academic Publishers released Holvast's re-worked dissertation as a book: Spiritual Mapping in the United States and Argentina, 1989-2005: A Geography of Fear . Brill's description of the book is the following:
Spiritual Mapping is a U.S. Evangelical and Neo-Pentecostal movement (1989-2005), which developed its own religious technique to wage a 'spiritual' war against unseen non-human beings. These 'spirits' were identified along the lines of geographical territories and put on a map, whence 'Spiritual Mapping'. Its intended function was to boost the numerical growth of Christianity. This book offers a comprehensive historical-descriptive approach of both the movement and the concept, with special attention for theological and anthropological concepts. Its historical roots, relation with Argentina, self-understanding and critics are being described. The reader is presented with a unique insight into Spiritual Mapping as an expression of Americanism, as well as the socio-political concept of Manifest Destiny and U.S. religious marketing.
77: Pray | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)
77: Pray | 3 comments (3 topical, 0 hidden)