Aside from the spiritual test of unrealized prophecies, there are very earthly interests here: led by Mr. Strang, Charisma had grown from a church magazine to a comprehensive institution with a slew of New York Times bestsellers, millions of podcast downloads, and a remaining foothold. in print media, with a circulation of 75,000 for his top magazine. It is widely regarded as the flagship publication of the fast-growing Pentecostal world, numbering more than 10 million in the United States. With his mixture of political and prophetic themes, Charisma had tapped into considerable market and electoral strength. In 2019, one poll found that more than half of white Pentecostals believed that Mr. Trump was divinely anointed, with: additional research noting the importance of so-called prophecy voters in the 2016 elections.
In his new book, Mr. Strang the former president only in passing, paying much more attention to topics like the coming antichrist and abhorred government leaders who want to wipe out religion en masse.
Mr Strang summed it up: “The fact is that there are people who want to cancel Christianity.”
“Christians and other conservatives need to wake up and stand up,” Strang said in an interview. “That’s what it says on the cover of the book.”
The supernatural and the mass media have long been fused into the Pentecostal story. In 20th century Los Angeles, Aimee Semple McPherson broadcast newsworthy reports of miracles and prophetic words through her own radio station in Echo Park. Oral Roberts ran healing campaigns through the TV screen. The duo Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker mastered the flashy style of prime time talk shows.
Mr. Strang’s journalism career began in Florida as a budding reporter at The Sentinel Star, where he covered more mundane topics such as police and town hall meetings. In 1975, Mr. Strang Charisma, then a small magazine published by Calvary Assembly of God, a congregation in the Orlando area that he attended with his wife. Mr. Strang bought the magazine from the Mother Church in 1981 and delved into religious publishing.
Over time, Charisma flourished. The editorial voice had the sunny rousing air of a hometown newspaper, covering the personalities of the Pentecostal world, an audience that Mr. Strang believed was woefully understaffed. While competitors like Christianity Today courted the buttoned-up elite of American evangelicalism, Charisma captured a niche market of so-called Charismatic Christians, distinguished for their interest in gifts of the spirit, including things like healings, speaking in tongues, and modern-day prophecy. mr. Strang shunned matters of dusty dogma from dazzling tales of the Holy Spirit moving through current events. Editorial meetings would focus on looking for what one former employee called “the spiritual heat” behind the headlines of the day.
“We didn’t want to become the kind of boring publications that many ‘religious’ magazines are,” wrote Mr. Strang in an early editor. “That is why we have become first class with this publication.”