I’ve seen this up close and personal, so it’s not just wild propaganda condensed from news sources. I’ve worked on staff of churches and been involved in denominational politics with several different backgrounds.
The big and successful churches today have taken the entrepreneurial path. Their product is entertainment that provides a distinct religious feel to it. The product varies across a wide spectrum of theological backgrounds, but the basic business plan is the same.
One critical element is to engage in worship that squelches individual expression from anyone except the approved professional performers. The only teaching and training activities are those that are carefully structured to keep a tight focus on the entertainment aspect. Each one has their founding curriculum that is inserted back into everything. It’s all designed to distract and dampen the urging from the Holy Spirit to be more spiritually active. The only volunteer activities permitted in these churches are pretty lightweight stuff, such as facility setup, moving chairs and tables, and the like.
In these churches, the entire message can be summed up as a distinctly middle class cultural form of Christian religion. The preachers will pretend to be thought provoking, but the whole purpose is to dumb down the meaning of spirituality, and to numb people from feeling drawn into an independent path. It’s all about keeping that captive audience, their enthusiasm, their money and free advertising. All of them strive to capture celebrities that raise the organization’s public profile.
On top of this, most of the big religious entertainment franchises have a political agenda. How honestly they admit to their agenda varies widely. There is a particular group of these organizations with a very sinister, almost secret agenda that his hidden behind the scenes. Their leadership have deep connections to a series of para-church organizations that mimic the kind of shell game you get with front companies and deceptively named advocacy groups.
There is a large collection of these groups who bear a common agenda that has been around for centuries, in one form or another. They are planning to simply take over all governments of the world. They honestly believe this is the gospel message. The intent is to shape society and culture so that the a critical mass of the population will be on board with this political agenda. From the church as a core activity of influence, they have invested in private schools from day care up through postgraduate levels. The intent is to get their people into the right places to exert leverage on national and international policy.
Up to a certain point, this is all simply competing with other cultural and political agendas. The problem is that it hijacks the gospel message to do it. While the names and branding of these religious groups have come and gone over the centuries, with each succeeding generation the agenda becomes more secretive and elitist. They are keeping alive a brand of Christian religion that is progressively shallower and more worldly in focus.
Thus, the likelihood of corruption in the leadership increases. We have seen large evangelical church franchises engage in child sex trafficking, drug running, money laundering, and influence peddling. Some have been offering cover for the likes of the CIA in so-called mission areas for the purpose of assassinations and worse. Even where individual pastors and other major figures have generally good intentions and clean hands, they are still suckered into belonging to these political agendas and providing cover for the darker agenda.
Older generation churches and denominations are being eclipsed by this entrepreneurial brand of religion. The older groups aren’t necessarily going away, but their numbers are declining and their influence fading into irrelevance. This is the future of Christian religion in America, in particular.