How to assess the religious worldview of the Assemblies of God church that Sarah Palin grew up in, and how it may have shaped her own view of the world? The Religion News Service’s Kimberly Winston offers a balanced view of the pedal-to-the-metal premillennialism that the church seems to embrace via a theology known variously as Third Wave, the New Apostolic Reformation, Latter Rain, and Kingdom Now. As Winston points out, Jeff Sharlet and others have been on the case for a while now, and it won’t be long before the MSM begin pulling on this thread. For the moment, there’s been only indirect information about what Sarah Palin’s personal religious views are, apart from her religiously informed (one presumes) positions on abortion, homosexuality, and stem cell research.
But a picture of her governing style is emerging pretty clearly–see the comprehensive stories in today’s WaPo here and NYT here–and it shows a person who sees the world as divided into good versus evil, us against them, you’re with me or against me; with a certain inclination to demonize those on the other side and, if public officials, get rid of them. This bears a certain affinity with the Third Rain outlook, which emphasizes the presence of demons at work in
American society, and the need for Christians to defeat them. Here’s a couple of paragraphs from the website of MorningStar Ministries, a South Carolina Third Rain parachurch organization headed by Rick Joyner with which Wasilla Assemblies of God has been closely connected:
In 1990, several prophetic friends and myself all received the same revelation that the very demonic powers that had seduced Germany had been sent to the United States to seduce our country. Because of this revelation, I have spent a considerable amount of time trying to understand what happened in Nazi Germany. I have been astonished by what I have learned and how true this revelation was. I will be writing a lot about this in the future, but it is my basic belief that when we are shown the schemes of the enemy, it is so we can thwart them. This will not be done just by writing articles or books. The church must begin to walk in the authority that we have been given over demonic forces on every level.
There is another great awakening coming to America. It is right at the door. With this outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the disguises of the evil one which are gripping so many in America and Europe, are going to be stripped away. As we read in the Book of Revelation, when the devil was cast out of heaven, his high place, he came to the earth with great wrath. This is going to stir up a lot of things we need to be prepared to deal with.
Joyner goes on to say that Hurricane Katrina “was the answer to the prayers of many Christians to clean up their region.”
I have no idea if Sarah Palin shares such sentiments, and have no doubt that she would not own up to them if she did. But if you have been raised with this kind of a dualistic view of the world, in which Christians are supposed to act to cleanse society by defeating demons through the authority they possess in Jesus’ name, it can shape the way you behave in secular leadership positions. By their deeds shall ye know them.