Publisher and author Stephen Strang, founder of Charisma Magazine and CEO of Charisma Media, knows the perils and the potential payoffs of mixing prophecy, politics, and publishing. His was among the faith-based voices that forecast Donald T. Trump to win in 2016 and lo and behold, those prophecies aligned with Trump's victory. In 2020, however, it was a no-go for Strang and others who had written that God had ordained a second Trump term in 2020.

Regardless of the questionable accuracy of many prophecies, Strang says the possibility of a direct line to God is reassuring. There's also a big audience, particularly among Pentecostal and charismatic Christians, for books that speak of spiritual gifts, miracles, and "how God is very involved in human life," he tells PW. These readers are the focus of Charisma Magazine and Charisma Media.

Previously a newspaper journalist, Strang turned to publishing in 1975 with the relaunch of a small church magazine as Charisma Magazine. The New York Times described it as eschewing "matters of stuffy dogma for eye-popping tales about the Holy Spirit moving through current events." Today, Strang's company publishes 50 books a year across three imprints—Frontline for politics and current events, Charisma House for theology, and Siloam Press for health and wellness titles from a Christian perspective. Charisma also publishes the Modern English Version of the Bible, in addition to audio, e-books, and podcasts, all housed under the Charisma Media umbrella.

Among Charisma's 2,000 backlist titles are bestsellers such as Jonathan Cahn's The Harbinger, which has sold over two million copies across all platforms since its publication in 2011, according to the company. The novel is centered on a prophet sent to warn the world of dangers ahead, but since writing that book and its bestselling sequel, The Harbinger II (Frontline, 2022), Cahn has mostly moved away from a fiction format. Recent titles including The Josiah Manifesto are based on mining Scripture for signs and patterns that foretold catastrophic events happening today. Cahn wrote eight of Charisma's 18 New York Times bestsellers. And in February at the annual meeting of the National Religious Broadcasters Strang says Cahn will announce the title and topic of his ninth book, to be published later this year.

Strang says Cahn, a Messianic Jewish rabbi/pastor with a New Jersey temple and a vast social media following, resonates with readers because, "in a confusing time when people are afraid, he connects the dots, he shows that God has a plan, and people feel reassured that God is very involved in human life and that God gave us the free will to follow him."

Strang's own new book, Spirit-Led living in an Upside-Down World, was released in May under the Charisma House imprint. "My whole life and career has been about a life led by the spirit of God. I'm writing now about today where good is called evil and evil is called good and there is religious discrimination like I've never seen in my life before. The whole Woke Agenda is anti-God and anti-religion and promotes that anything goes," he says, echoing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Rolling Stone made note of Strang's support for DeSantis last year in a profile headlined "The 'God Emperor' who could cost Trump the election."

As the 2024 presidential race moves to high gear, prophecy publishing may be more reserved. As the first national election cycle since a Charisma author, Michael Brown, put out a call in 2021 for "prophets" to police each other by agreeing to standards for their spiritual proclamations. Charisma published news about it under the headline Kingdom Leaders Make Unified Call for Prophetic Accountability. This led to a Prophetic Standards Statement, which warns against spiritual "fortunetellers" and manipulators. Each standard is tagged to a Scriptural reference beginning with "WE BELIEVE that the general function of the gift of prophecy, as it relates to the church, has to do with edification, exhortation, and comfort (see 1 Cor. 14:3). As this gift relates to unbelievers, it can reveal the secrets of their hearts and bring them to repentance, demonstrating God’s reality to them (see 1 Cor. 14:24-25)."

Despite Charisma Magazine publishing stories about this effort, Strang is not among the over 1,000 signatories. The 72-year-old publisher says he has reservations about mere mortals claiming they can police who is genuinely hearing and sharing the voice of God. "It's scary when you put restrictions on ideas. There are charlatans out there and people who jumped on the Trump bandwagon. And there is a small industry of people who make a living bashing people of a different theological ilk." Still, he defends the stance he took in his 2020 book, (God, Trump, and the 2020 Election: Why He Must Win and What's at Stake for Christians if He Loses). "I said he would be elected twice but I didn't say twice in a row."

Does he prophesize that DeSantis, who ran second to Trump in Monday's Iowa Caucus, will eventually triumph in the Republican primaries and beat President Biden in November? Strang's answer is open-ended. "God has plans and purposes more important than whether some prophecy came true. God reveals things and usually, those revelations are mysterious. Now we see through a glass darkly. I think that's a useful word picture. We don't totally understand what we see."