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Published at: 10/08

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Pursuing supernatural power

For an earlier article on a different aspect of this subject visit witchcraft in church

Postmodernism was a reaction against modernism. Modernism was generally based on idealism and a utopian vision of human life and society and a belief in progress. Modernism saw trends in architecture, fashion, music and art breaking free from established rules and concepts to experiment with styles and approaches that were experimental, non functional and provocative. Rock music, avant garde ideas such as free love, hallucinogenic drug experimentation, shorter and tighter women's clothing were popular.
The church responded in kind. The Roman Catholic church abandoned centuries of Latin mass to move to a vernacular style. Christian music moved away from hymns to songs that reflected popular music with electric guitars and drums instead of piano or organ. There was a surge of modern Bible translations and paraphrases that pushed away the Authorised Version with its poetical but Elizabethan English. Frequently there was an underlying idea that modernising the style of church worship would make it more appealing to the younger generation who were abandoning the church en masse. Coffee clubs, youth activities, seeker sensitive services, trendy looking preachers were part of a trend.
Postmodernism in a church context reflected the shocks that western society had experienced during the 1970s and 1980s. The Vietnam War had given young people a distaste for politics and government. In Margaret Thatcher's Britain major unemployment had soured the future propects of many young people and punk rock followed by ska had been an expression of the nihilistic, unfavourable climate of hope in society. Career prospects were dogged by uncertainty, off-shoring and globalisation meant that manufacturing work was not the easy fallback that people had been used to.

Postmodernism problems

Criticisms of postmodernism, while intellectually diverse, share the opinion that it lacks coherence and is hostile to the notion of absolutes, such as truth. Postmodern philosophy is also a frequent subject of criticism for obscurantism and resistance to reliable knowledge. Instead of belief in impirical evidence, conspiracy theories (the moon landings were fake) and a preference for personal experience over established reason (personal experience over Bible teaching) were sought after. Thus it became possible to say you loved Jesus because you experienced his presence when doing meditation during a yoga class or taking drugs. There was no sense of truth or right or wrong because each person could have their own understanding of these things.

Give me experience not substance

For the Pentecostal or charismatic wing of Christianity this has given rise to growing mega-churches that cater to the expectations of experience. A church service becomes a performance not dissimilar to a rock concert or for those looking for a personal supernatural experience (a high) healings, orgiastic shakings and laughter seemed to demonstrate the presence of the Divine. Church leaders were promoted or exalted on the basis of success in attracting a large following or reliably having people rolling about and shaking. Godly character and solid exposition of the Word of God was no longer cool. All these developments were not confined to the USA or first world nations but were eagerly pursued around the world. Anyone who had some personal revelation of the date and time of the return of Jesus Christ could get attention. Ministers used whatever giftings they had to feed their financial, sexual or attention-seeking appetites.

The video that follows is the account of how a Pentecostal pastor used black soap and other occultic practices to develop power to achieve fame and women lovers as a preacher.

Using the occult to gain power in church

Bethel Church in Anaheim California has often been faulted for the practice of grave-sucking, where its members visit graves of famous preachers to extract power from the spirit of the deceased person.

Senior Pastor Bill Johnson repudiating grave sucking

Alleged members of Bethel Church responding to a street preacher

Where he leads me I will follow

David Wilkerson

2 Corinthians 11:4

You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of gospel than the one you believed

David Wilkerson on New Gospel

church growth at any cost; follow the formula

Watch this

This Kingdom written by Geoff Bullock

I would like to finish on an uplifting note

Images for this post from Unsplash by United Nations Covid-19 Response and Volodymyr Hryshchenko