Diverting Christian Thinking
Once Rev. Hal Lindsey and countless other authors had successfully gotten Christians to start looking for a single Antichrist leader under every bush and tree, the real Spirit of Antichrist was free to do what he was wanted to do all along. He created a group of "power pastors" to further centralize and divert Christian thinking. We saw the beginnings of this with the advent of Bishop Sheen, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, Oral Roberts, Rex Hubbard, Jack Coe, A.A. Allen, and William Branham. These men began to gain huge followings as they traveled the world preaching the gospel. These men were all controversial in one way or another. However, by the 1960s, the Spirit of Antichrist realized that his leaders needed to follow his program instead of teaching the Bible. Billy Sunday was already dead, Bishop Sheen was clearly in the Roman Catholic camp, and Billy Graham often cooperated with Roman Catholic and other mainline denominations when conducting his crusades. Even though Rex Humbard went through a lot of troubles in the 1970s, his ministry was effectively purchased by Trinity Broadcasting Network, and he appeared on TBN's flagship show: Praise the Lord multiple times.
Even though Jack Coe had problems with the Assembly of God Church, which ordained him, he maintained a biblical stance to his ministry, but died in 1958 of Polio. A.A. Allen died in his room at the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco in 1969, allegedly of alcohol poisoning, though the county coroner's report said his blood alcohol level was at .36%? It also should be noted that he had several ambitious people working in his ministry, who desired to hi-jack the ministry once he died. Eventually, Don Stewart wrested the ministry from Allen's family and went on to form his own radio ministry. A.A. Allen's descendants have also formed their own ministry.
The most curious case of all is William Branham. Throughout most of his preaching career, he attacked the denominational churches for their deviations from the teaching of scripture. His only affiliation was with the Full-Gospel Businessmen, International, which sent him around the world to hold meetings. He also did meetings for individual pentecostal churches and other Christian organizations. He was also one of the first preachers to tape a lot of his messages, which survive to this day. Even though he taught at a lot of his meetings, he also held a lot of healing services and had a success rate that far exceeded other ministers of his time. Many people though, took exception to some of his teachings and prophecies. He ran into trouble with the Internal Revenue Service in the 1950s, which caused his ministry to stumble for a time, but by the 1960s, his ministry was again doing pretty well. He was not inclined to build a mega-ministry like his counterpart: Oral Roberts. He preferred to "remain poor, just like the people he ministered to." It seems that by 1965, the Spirit of Antichrist had him in his sights. Unlike most of the other evangelists of his time, Branham did not try to sell himself as a brand of Christianity and refused ademately, to form up another denomination. He also tried to dissuade people from being a part of the denominational church system, warning that they were nothing more than "harlot daughters of the Roman Catholic Church." He further warned that if Christians joined them, they would become "bastard children" and not real Christians. Since the Antichrist System depended upon Christians falling into their vast denominational system, William Branham could no longer be tolerated. On December 17, 1965, while returning to Jeffersonville, Indiana from his home in Arizona, he station wagon was struck by a car driven by a intoxicated soldier on leave near Fiona, Texas, southwest of Amarillo, Texas. Severely injured, Branham and his family were taken to the Parmer County Medical Center. When he was stabilized, he was transported to Amarillo, Texas where he died on December 24, 1965. Numerous authorities on demonology have pointed out that when people are intoxicated, they become easy targets for demons seeking to enter and sometimes posses them. It seems, the Spirit of Antichrist had put a contract out on William Branham. Prior to leaving Arizona, he had told officials of the Branham Tabernacle in Jeffersonville, Indiana that he would be preaching a sermon to them titled, "On the Trail of the Serpent."
By 1970, the Spirit of Antichrist had either killed or compromsied almost every independent preacher. The only one that seemed to remain was Jimmy Swaggart, but he seemed inconsequential at the time. They were in the process of developing three mega-ministries to gain control of the Christian world. The first of these was Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), founded by Marion "Pat" Robertson around 1965. Working in that network was Jim and Tammy Bakker who would later leave to form PTL, and Paul and Jan Crouch, who would later leave to join PTL and then form Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). While Rex Humbard, Oral Roberts, and Bishop Sheen had already created television shows and bought time on television stations to air their programs, CBN, PTL, and TBN began to form their radio and television networks. The Spirit of Antichrist trapped these ministries by contolling the financial inputs into them. These ministries were forced by financial expediency to hold telethons several times a year to maintain their financial standings. Even then, they were forced to incessantly ask for money throughout their broadcasts. In time, they became suspectible to the "Prosperity Gospel" teachings of E.W. Kenyon. This gospel taught that if people gave them money, that God was somehow obliged to bless them financially for their giving.