Prosperity Bishop aims for US Senate

Charisma magazine is backing a pastor-candidate for the US Senate:

Ordinarily a national publication such as Charisma makes endorsements only for president and vice president-the only offices voted on by all Americans. But Charisma is endorsing Keith Butler for U.S. Senate from the state of Michigan. We urge all our readers to support his candidacy.

Butler had announced his run for office last year; a Charisma profile from back then tells us a bit about his religious work (links added):

A native of Detroit, Butler was a liberal arts major at the University of Michigan, studying social sciences and minoring in political science. He worked at IBM and General Motors before he founded Word of Faith with his wife, Deborah, after attending RHEMA Bible Training Center. Today the church has more than 20,000 members and has planted 15 satellite churches across the United States, and in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Scotland and London. Butler also oversees some 950 ministers through his Word of Faith Ministerial Alliance.

The Rhema Bible Training Center was founded by the late Kenneth Hagin, and promotes the “Prosperity Gospel” of wealth for faithful believers. According to this hostile site, Butler was ordained by Hagin’s son-in-law, Buddy Harrison. A 2001 report in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin provides some quotes from Butler on the subject of wealth:

From Psalm 50: “The beasts are mine, the world is mine and the fullness thereof is mine,” and, said the preacher, “that includes the money in your pocket. God has placed his prized possessions in our hands. He’s saying, ‘I give you the ability to get it.’ He is making us stewards of it.

“I’ve got a Mercedes, my wife has a Mercedes, my daughter has a Mercedes. It all belongs to God and he’s letting me use it,” said Butler. “There is nothing wrong with having a large house and car, with taking trips around the world … as long as you do what God wants you to with it.”

…He referred them [his audience] to the Book of Malachi: “See if I do not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out an abundant blessing for you. I shall forbid the locust to destroy the produce of your soil. All the nations will call you blessed for you will be a land of delights.” And he quoted Psalm 75: “God is judging the upright, bringing some down and raising others.”

Butler also believes that 2006 is a prophetic year, during which “complete fulfillment” will take place. Fellow prosperity-preacher Kenneth Copeland explains:

What we saw in 2005 were the very first manifestations of some major, major changes in the world. I’m not talking about just the blessing of God. I am talking about breakthrough that has to do with God’s properties—breakthrough of the reservoirs of God’s goods that have been dammed up by Satan. Release of the things he has stolen through his schemes and threats—things he conned people into yielding to him by giving up their authority.

The cracks are already in the dams that are holding back God’s goods, God’s money, God’s properties. Those who listen can become wealthy beyond their wildest imagination.

In the spring of 2005, I heard Bishop Keith Butler say by the Spirit that 2006 is the year of total fulfillment. And that word literally exploded in my heart. It has been ringing in my spiritual ears ever since. The year 2006 is the year of more overflow—the year of complete fulfillment, the year of the glory.

What we have seen in 2005 is not going to stop.

Butler is a member of the “Arlington Group“, a Christian right lobbying-group founded by Paul Weyrich and Don Wildmon, and he has political experience going back to the 80s:

In 1984, Mr. Butler ran for the office of Precinct Delegate and won. In that same year, Michigan Reagan/Bush Chairman, Mr. Paul Gadola, appointed Mr. Butler to be the State Chairman of Blacks for Reagan/Bush. Two years later, Mr. Butler served as Statewide Director of the Urban Coalition for Bill Lucas for Governor campaign. He was also selected one of Five Outstanding Michiganians in 1988 by the Michigan Junior Chamber of Commerce… In 1989, Mr. Butler was elected in a city-wide vote to the Detroit City Council… President George H.W. Bush also selected Mr. Butler to be Deputy Chair of the Republican National Convention. At the convention, Mr. Butler also delivered the introductory speech for then Congressman, Newt Gingrich.

His views on “the issues” can be seen here.

If Butler gets the nomination, he will be up against Debbie Stabenow, a Methodist who has been a Senator since 2000. His current Republican rivals are Jerry Zandstra – himself a pastor with the Christian Reformed Church and a director of the Acton Institute (a conservative Christian “free enterprise” think-tank) – and Sheriff Mike Bouchard.