Congregants at First Baptist Dallas church celebrate Freedom on June 30, 2019. Credit: Ilana Panich-Linsman / Getty

A God who does his best work in the dark hours is integral to the story of American evangelical Christianity. The stuff of country music songs and conversions in roadside motels, Jesus tends to come to people at their lowest and loneliest. The only problem is that some of God’s most pernicious modern apostles understand this all too well. At a time when fewer and fewer believers are going to church, it is consumption, in these dark times, that illuminates a deeply antisocial shift in evangelical Christian beliefs.

Chief among the new doctrines is the idea that God rewards “seeding”—that is, the “sowing” of financial donations to churches, or favored online preachers—with a material harvest in return. The prosperity gospel might sound as old-fashioned—and feel as familiar—as a preacher in a three-piece suit, but a new and cynical version is making a comeback across ministries both old and new; among people who go to church […]

Read the Full Article