Beyond the spiritual test of unfulfilled prophecies, there are very earthly issues here: Under Mr. Strang’s leadership, Charisma has grown from a church magazine to a multi-faceted institution with a multitude of best- New York Times sellers, millions of podcast downloads and one foot remaining in print, with a circulation of 75,000 copies for its first magazine. It is widely regarded as the flagship publication of the growing Pentecostal world, which has over 10 million people in the United States. With her mix of political and prophetic themes, Charisma had tapped into a considerable market and electoral force. In 2019, a poll found that more than half of White Pentecostals believed Mr. Trump was divinely anointed, with additional research highlighting the importance of prophecy voters in the 2016 election.
In his new book, Mr. Strang only mentions the former president in passing, with much more attention on such topics as the coming Antichrist and the hated government overlords seeking to eradicate religion en bloc.
Mr. Strang summed it up: “The point is, there are people who want to annul Christianity.
“Christians and other conservatives must wake up and stand up,” Strang said in an interview. “It’s written on the cover of the book.”
The supernatural and the mass media have long been fused in the history of Pentecostalism. In 1900s Los Angeles, Aimee Semple McPherson broadcast news-style reports of miracles and prophetic words on her own radio station in Echo Park. Oral Roberts has led healing crusades across the television screen. The Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker duo mastered the flashy style of prime-time talk shows.
Mr. Strang’s journalistic career began in Florida as a junior reporter at the Sentinel Star, where he covered more mundane topics like police and town halls. In 1975, Mr. Strang founded Charisma, then a small periodical published by Calvary Assembly of God, an Orlando-area congregation he attended with his wife. Mr. Strang bought the magazine from the Mother Church in 1981 and embarked on religious publishing.
Over time, Charisma flourished. The editorial voice had the sunny boosterism of a hometown newspaper, covering leading figures from the Pentecostal world, an audience Mr. Strang believed to be woefully underserved. While competitors such as today’s Christianity courted the button-down elite of American evangelicalism, Charisma cornered a niche market of so-called charismatic Christians, distinguished by their interest in the gifts of the Church. spirit, including things like healings, speaking in tongues, and modernity. prophecy of the day. Mr. Strang has eschewed questions of stifling dogma for mind-boggling stories about the Holy Spirit moving through current events. Editorial meetings would focus on finding what a former employee called “the spiritual warmth” behind the headlines of the day.
“We didn’t want to become the kind of boring publications that many ‘religious’ journals are,” Strang wrote in an editor’s first note. “That’s why we went first class with this post.”