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Millennialism and Charisma - Roy Wallis

Roy Wallis, a sociologist and Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at The Queen’s University of Belfast, has collected six lengthy studies on the relation between the theology of millennialism and social characteristics of charismatic leadership in new religions.

Robert Balch describes how Bo and Peep, leaders of a UFO cult, arrived at a self-awareness of their charismatic leadership. Wallis contributes a thoughtful study of Moses David, leader of the Children of God. In that essay he argues that the organizational cohesion in the Children of God can only be understood through a study of David’s charismatic leadership. Donald Stone provides a paper discussing Werner Erhard as the »exemplary prophet« who offers power to individuals, as opposed to the »ethical prophet« who demands righteous world reform.

Essays on the Unification Church and radical Bahai sects are also included. A technical yet helpful essay by Peter Lawrence concludes the collection. It discusses parallels between medieval European Chiliasm and Melanesian Cargoism. Although not immediately relevant to Western flew religions, that final essay does suggest how views of time and space influence religious movements.