Last night I came across a Christerson op-ed explaining the links between INC prophets and the January 6, 2021 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. Here is a taste of the piece from The Conversation published at the Pennsylvania Capital Star:
A key part of the Jericho March events has been a group of INC Christians who claim to be modern-day “prophets,” including Lance Wallnau, Cindy Jacobs and Jonathan Cahn. Charismatic Christianity, similar to Pentecostal Christianity, emphasizes the “gifts of the Holy Spirit,” which include healing, exorcism, speaking in spiritual languages, and prophecy – defined as hearing direct words from God that reveal his plans for the future and directions for his people to follow.
Scholars use the term Charismatic to describe Christians in mainline or independent churches that emphasize the gifts of the spirit as opposed to Pentecostal Christians, who are affiliated with official Pentecostal denominations. Independent Charismatic Christians tend to be more unorthodox in their practices, as they are less tied to formal organizations.
In our research, we found that in most Charismatic churches, those who receive visions or direct words from God that make predictions that later correspond to events or have uncanny insights into people’s lives are seen to have the “gift of prophecy.” Some particularly gifted “prophets” are seen as being able to predict world events and get directions from God regarding entire nations.
While most Charismatic churches do not engage in this world-event predicting type of prophecy, some independent, high-profile leaders that do have become increasingly important in INC Christianity.
Southern Baptist leader Richard Land once boasted that evangelicals had “unprecedented access” to the Donald Trump presidency. I hope he and the rest of the evangelicals enjoyed it.
The court evangelicals got their Supreme Court justices and some executive orders on religious liberty that will be quickly overturned by Joe Biden. They taught their followers to privilege a politics of fear over a politics of hope, a politics of power over a politics of humility, and a politics of nostalgia over a politics informed by good American history. In exchange, they will be forever connected to a president who demonized his enemies, lied incessantly, engaged in endless acts of narcissism, separated immigrant children from families, got impeached twice, enlisted foreign officials to help his re-election campaign, said there were good people on “both sides” during a white supremacy invasion of Charlottesville, refused to contribute to an orderly transition of power, incited an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol, tried to end the Affordable Care Act, promoted conspiracy theories about election fraud and raised money on them, ignored racial injustice in the wake of George Floyd’s death, alienated our global allies and made us a laughingstock in the world, benefited financially from the office of president, failed to lead the country through the worst pandemic in American history, and pardoned criminals.
Far too many evangelicals became Trump’s useful idiots.
Just for the record, my lists of court evangelicals includes: Franklin Graham, James Robison, James Dobson, Jentezen Franklin, Jack Graham, Chris Hedges, Alveda King, Paula White, Greg Laurie, John Hagee, Tony “Mulligan” Perkins, Gary Bauer, Johnnie Moore, Ralph Reed, Robert Jeffress, Jack Hibbs, Eric Metaxas, Jim Garlow, Guillermo Maldano, Tom Mullins, Alberto Delgado, David Barton (honorary “historian”), Harry Jackson (deceased), Jay Strack, Luke Barnett, Richard Land, Samuel Rodriguez, David Brody (honorary court evangelical journalist), Charlie Kirk, Lance Wallnau, Jenna Ellis, and Jerry Falwell Jr., and Mike Evans. I am sure that there are more, but these are the men and women who I have been covering for the last four years.
So let’s see how the court evangelicals are finishing-up their term:
Yesterday, You Tube removed Eric Metaxas’s interview with Mike “My Pillow Guy” Lindell. Today he reminds his audience that Kohl’s and Bed, Bath and Beyond have removed Lindell’s products from their stores. Metaxas tells his listeners not to shop at these big box stores and is outraged that these companies are “canceling” Lindell, a man who is just “trying to do what is right.”
Metaxas goes down swinging. He starts his show today by saying, “tomorrow morning people are getting prepared for the inauguration of someone that millions of Americans don’t think actually won the election.” He compares our current moment to the evils of communism in the former Soviet Union and Cuba and the horrors of the Holocaust. He suggests that Fox News is now parroting the “party line,” which he defines as both the Mitch McConnell “party line” and the Chinese communist “party line.” He implies that his beliefs about election fraud come from Independent Network Charismatic prophets such as Dutch Sheets.
Metaxas laments the fact that “old family friends” recently e-mailed him to tell him that they can no longer remain friends with him. He asks his listeners to pray for him so that God would protect him from the “wicked cancel culture” of the Democratic Party, which he compares to Hitler and the Nazis. In the process, he plugs his new memoir at least three times.
Metaxas then says that he punched a protester in Washington D.C. last summer “in self-defense.” And he claims that he was being metaphorical when he said he would fight the election results “until the last drop of blood.” From now on, Metaxas tells his audience, he “will be more careful about how he speaks” because people on the Left twist his words. Actually, Metaxas needs to be more careful about how he speaks because there are many Trump supporters who take him seriously and literally.
Tonight Metaxas is speaking at Liberty University. It is a Falkirk Center-sponsored event called Courageous Pastors. I do not see any masks in this picture:
For a little more than a year, the Falkirk Center at Liberty University, founded by the former Liberty president Jerry Falwell Jr. and Trump wonder-boy Charlie Kirk, has become the center of pro-Trump evangelicalism. Apparently, they now have a magazine (booklet?) with short culture-war pieces written by Metaxas, Jenna Ellis, John MacArthur, and others Falkirk Center “fellows.” They are calling it a “journal.” In an article titled “Why I’m Proud to Keep My Business in America,” entrepreneur and Falkirk fellow Erika Frantzve writes:
God is sovereign, and even though things right now aren’t necessarily good, God will work all things together for good for “those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” As an entrepreneur, I know there is an opportunity to be found in the middle of adversity. The “Made in the USA” label is the new quality standard. It is not a compromise–it is an investment in our citizens, our freedoms, and our country’s future.
And I am still trying to figure out this line from Falkirk Center fellow and Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis in a piece titled “Why is Truth?: Standing for Truth in a Relative Culture”:
Why is truth? Why does truth exist? Logically, truth is self-existent. Any other conclusion is self-defeating. If it can be said with absolute certainty that truth is relative, then such reasoning has logically defeated itself. Biblically, truth is self-existent because it is God’s nature and character.
Between November 3 and January 6 Jenna Ellis fought to disenfranchise millions of Black voters. Today she retweets Sarah Huckabee Sanders on racism:
Johnnie Moore got his embassy. I guess the court evangelicals are now one step closer to the Second Coming.
And if I am not mistaken, Moore removed the phrase “modern day Dietrich Bonheoffer” from his biography! Only regular readers of this series over the last four years will understand why I pointed this out. This blog is making an impact! 🙂
Gary “think of the children” Bauer believes the guardsmen in Washington D.C. are there to “shut down” free speech. Here is what he wrote today on Facebook:
The incursion into the Capitol Building two weeks ago was awful. It was wrong. The people responsible not only smeared all those who came to Washington to demonstrate peacefully, but they empowered the left to cast aspersions on all 75 million Americans who voted for Donald Trump and Mike Pence.But I also don’t like what I am seeing in the nation’s capital today. While every inauguration is a high security event, at least 25,000 troops have been deployed to Washington, D.C., with the explanation being the fear of violence. But what they have effectively done is to shut down free speech and the right of assembly. Washington, D.C., looks like an occupied war zone. Entire blocks of the capital have been locked down and closed off. Just two areas, limited to 100 people, have been designated as “First Amendment zones,” an Orwellian term if there ever was one.
Perkins is still talking about Russian collusion. He can’t stop fighting the culture war.
I stood in my living room motionless and stunned Jan. 6 as I watched an attempted coup happening in real time. Raging insurrectionists fueled by racist rhetoric and conspiracy theories had besieged and forced their way into the U.S. Capitol, intent on disrupting and halting a fundamental democratic process: the peaceful transfer of power. Their perceived loss of privilege and political power sparked violence that would result in the deaths of six people, including two U.S. Capitol Police officers.
I’d begun that morning with joy when I learned of the Rev. Raphael Warnock’s historic win as the first Black senator from my home state of Georgia. However, upon hearing about the events taking place at the Capitol, all I could feel was dismay. This was not only an attack on democracy, but a violation of where democracy lives.
My joy gave way to disgust when I saw the unruly mob scaling the walls of the Capitol to implement their seditious act on Congress. My thoughts turned to the historical significance of the building and those who helped build it. The walls they were climbing, upon which they would unfurl their insurrectionist banners, were originally made of sandstone built by enslaved craftsmen.
Enslaved and free Black craftsmen were a critical labor force used by the U.S. government, as authorized by President George Washington, to build the Capitol. The commissioners of the District of Columbia were assigned by the executive branch to oversee the Capitol construction project. Although their records indicate the number of enslaved craftsmen fluctuated over years, it climbed into the hundreds: “We believe more than 800 mechanics and Labourers [sic] employed on public and private account in improving the City.”
Donald Trump is getting out of town on Wednesday morning. The coward is escaping to Mar-a-Lago before Joe Biden is inaugurated the 46th President of the United States at noon. News outlets are reporting that Trump will drop dozens and dozens of additional pardons before he leaves.
As Trump loses power, so do the evangelicals who have supported him and made regular visits to the White House for photo-ops, prayer, and “advising.” For the last four years we have called them court evangelicals. Let’s see what some of them have been saying today, Martin Luther King Jr. Day:
Eric Metaxas has nothing to say about MLK Day, but he continues to deny that what happened at the U.S. Capitol on January 6 was an insurrection. Even after watching The New Yorker video he still believes that those involved in the riots were not Trump supporters. Metaxas is worth millions, but that does not stop him from using his platform to complain that he is losing money from the cancellation of speaking engagements. Of course there are millions of Americans out of work due to COVID-19. They are on food lines and wondering how to pay the rent.
On Friday, Mike Lindell, aka “My Pillow Guy,” visited the White House in a last ditch hope to save the 2020 presidential election. Today Metaxas had him on his show. Metaxas asks Lindell if he has evidence of election fraud. Lindell says he has legitimate evidence that China, Iraq, and Iran were involved in undermining the election. Metaxas claims that the real problem is that Americans don’t respect truth and virtue. Yes, you read that correctly–a diehard Trump supporter is complaining about America’s lack of truth and virtue. The rest of the video is Metaxas boilerplate stuff on “cultural Marxism, “cancel culture,” and “American naivety.” Lindell says that two big box stores will no longer sell his pillows. He believes that the communists are attacking our country. Metaxas agrees. Maybe his next book will be a biography of Joseph McCarthy. In the time it took me to write this post, YouTube removed the video.
Metaxas is also pushing his new memoir. Here he is on Facebook:
I am THRILLED my new memoir, titled FISH OUT OF WATER: A Search for the Meaning of Life, has been given a starred review by Booklist, who called it “A profoundly moving memoir”! UNTIL FEB. 2nd, you can get a SIGNED copy for $25. Take advantage. An unsigned copy is $32.95 at Amazon. It’s the story of my life — literally — and is by turns wistful and funny, and ALL TRUE — and would make a great gift for someone NOT on the same page as many of us here, either politically or theologically. Which is why I wrote it.
The Falkirk Center at Liberty University is appropriating Martin Luther King Jr. today:
In this tweet, the Falkirk Center at Liberty University, the center of pro-Trump evangelicalism, is appropriating Martin Luther King. Jr. to talk about “character”:
Jenna Ellis, a fellow at the Falkirk Center at Liberty University, is no longer working for Trump:
Lance Wallnau believes that people who embrace the “progressive jihad” of “race, gender, and sex” are a satanic force trying to undermine America. Too many evangelical Christians are buying into this “jihad.” As a result, Wallnau believes, they “are not showing up for the spiritual battle of their lifetime.” The reason Trump lost, Wallnau says, is because the church did not stand with him when the going got tough. Wallnau still believes that Trump has the “anointing of Cyrus upon him” and encourages his followers to join the “war” against the Democrats so that evangelicals can reclaim America in 2022. He also says that “Q” is not a real prophet. He adds that Q is “80% accurate and 20% nut zone.”
Here are some of the sixteen thousand comments on the aforementioned Wallnau Facebook video:
“It’s not over for Trump…God is doing something.”
“Please don’t call [Harris] VP…she is not.”
“Yes. President Trump is still President and yes he will have a second term another 4 years. God’s will and prophesized (sic). If you go against God that is the worse (sic) thing you can ever do. God bless America. God bless President Trump.”
“I would feel more comfortable about what you are saying if you didn’t show your book 3 or 4 times a video. I believe and trust you until you push the book.”
“I am soooo confused! I have been listening to prophets since Nov. 4 and President Trump was suppose (sic) to remain in office, serve his second term! What has happened?!!!”
“We need an earth quake here on the day Biden try (sic) to take over our country our America! AMEN
Court evangelical journalist David Brody wants to put an asterisk next to Joe Biden’s name:
Robert Jeffress preached a sermon on Sunday titled “How Should Christians Respond to President Biden.” He warned his congregation about “increasing persecution” against Christians. The Biden administration, he added, might “restrain our ability” to preach God’s word “without consequence.” Read more here. Watch the service here.
I wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would say about Tony Perkins’s ardent defense of Donald Trump during these past four years:
Here is Paula White using King to tweet about justice:
Franklin Graham remembers MLK’s relationship with his father. What he doesn’t say is that many white evangelicals did not like the fact that Graham let this “liberal” preacher join him on the platform. Would Franklin Graham allow Martin Luther King Jr. to join him in one of his crusades today? I have no doubt that Franklin would answer “yes” to this question, but his answer would reveal his failure to truly understand King’s message.
The New Yorker just released new footage taken January 6, 2020 from inside the U.S. Capitol. Watch the entire video here.
A group of rioters, led by Jake Angeli, the so-called “QAnon Shaman,” said a public prayer from the desk at the front of the Senate. I clipped The New Yorker video to highlight the prayer:
Angeli prays like an evangelical. He begins by saying “thank you heavenly father for gracing us with this opportunity….” The phraseology is clearly evangelical.
If you still don’t know what Christian nationalism sounds like, just listen to the way this blasphemous prayer blends American nationalism with Christian faith.
Angeli seems to have an elementary, albeit flawed, understanding of Christian theology. At one point he refers to a “divine, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent creator God.” The fact that this language just rolls off of Angeli’s lips suggests he has been around the evangelical block a few times.
He thanks God for “allowing the United States of America to be reborn.” This comes straight out of the QAnon playbook. Followers of Q, many of whom are evangelical Christians, believe that America will experience a “Great Awakening” after the evil “Deep State” is defeated. This idea of a “Great Awakening” has meshed very well with evangelical calls for a spiritual revival and evangelical claims that the First Great Awakening of the 18th century precipitated the American Revolution.
Does anyone see any similarities between Angeli’s prayer and the stuff going on here:
Yesterday a Liberty University graduate published a piece at The Bulwark that called the Falkirk Center a “slime factory.”
Apparently the Falkirk Center believes that American companies are “the left.” So much for free enterprise. Businesses can refuse to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple, but they do not have the right to silence conspiracy theorists?
Charlie Kirk forgets about the time the MyPillow guy bailed out Kyle Rittenhouse:
Lance Wallnau tells his followers that impeachment is really about the elites screwing the working class. The elites currently control the “seven mountains” (as in Seven Mountain Dominionism), but the Christian working class will overthrow them. Wallnau claims that in 2014 the late “prophet” Kim Clement prophesied the words “impeach, impeach.” The interpretation? Trump would be impeached twice by elites in both political parties and the people would rise up in a “new kind of war.” According to Wallnau, this all has something to do with China and COVID-19. It also has something to do with a Jezebel-spirited “witch” in the White House.
Court evangelical David Brody talks with “presidential historian” Doug Wead about Trump’s legacy. Wead expounded a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton trying to get control of the Catholic Church. He also claims that Amazon is no longer selling the books of “distinguished” theologians. Wead says that “two impeachments will only get historians to notice all of Trump’s great accomplishments.” I beg to differ. I think two impeachments will get historians and millions of school children to notice that Trump was the only president to be impeached twice. 🙂 Wead calls for national unity. He says Biden doesn’t care about national unity because he called U.S. Capitol insurrections “terrorists.” Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up!:
I am not sure what is happening, but something is going on with Samuel Rodriguez and Twitter:
On Facebook, Jim Garlow calls attention to Trump’s “accomplishments” and still manages to get in a shot at the tech corporations who are persecuting him. He writes: “Never has a modern President accomplished so much (and been hated for doing so much good). If you want to see this before others (those who are re-writing history) remove it, you need to copy it now.” (He links to this article).
What happened today? 1. Highest number of Covid deaths in the US ever. Horrific. But Congress obviously had more important (and nefarious) things to do than to care about the American people. 2. And… 232 “Benedict Arnold” traitors of the US Constitution killed our precious Constitution this day, defying it’s very meaning … and – filled with hatred unlike anything we have ever seen – they are trying their best to destroy Donald Trump and the more than 74,000,000 people who voted for him. What a disgrace. Other than that, not much happened today.
On the same day, Garlow said this about the ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump: “Remember the story of the 10 wimps who went into the Promised Land but they had no courage? “Well – they now have competition.” (He then lists their names). Here are some of his follower’s comments:
“They just flushed their career down the drain.”
“Every single one of them need to be aggressively primaried”
“Hope they enjoy their shortened career.”
“They betrayed our president”
“Just pray we have an election in 2020”
Garlow also shared this post on Facebook from a “friend”:
Today is a day that will live in infamy. One of the greatest Presidents of all time, probably top 10 and certainly the greatest since Reagan, was for the second time the victim of a purely petty, partisan, pathetic, vindicate and groundless impeachment. That Trump has endured 4 years of illegal investigations, spying, lying and corruption and then had the election stolen in the most blatant and obvious fashion and HE is attacked for the VERY things they have done for the last 5 years! It is truly breathtaking and history will show that Trump was correct and that the Left, the Media, and the pathetic spineless RINO’s are the most shameful group of corrupt cowards ever to stain the floors of our Capitol. These are the 10 Republican lawmakers who supported the move to impeach Trump for incitement of insurrection”
Again, this post drew some interesting comments, including:
“Disgraceful and utterly absurd. The evil in the hearts of men is actually beyond my comprehension in this current day.”
“Well, they are soon going to regret their act of treason. They need to repent quickly.”
“Definitely top 10 and I would say top 5!! Republicans who voted to impeach, NOTED.”
“I hope every single one of them is voted out. They are nothing better than traitors”
“Not just spineless. Traitorous.”
Robert Jeffress had a run-in with Illinois GOP congressman Adam Kinzinger. In a now deleted tweet, Kinginger wrote: “I believe there’s a huge burden now on pastors and clergy who openly spread the conspiracies of a stolen election, like @robertjeffress @beholdIsrael @FranklinGraham among many others, to admit their mistakes and lead their flocks out of darkness to truth.” Jeffress claimed he never said the election was “stolen.” (This is true. Although he came close). Jeffress, always ready to turn the other cheek, responded:
And Kinzinger’s response:
Jeffress’s exchange with the congressman seems to have re-empowered him. He was back on the Lou Dobbs show on FOX News last night to defend Trump’s legacy. Jeffress doesn’t regret a thing about his support of Trump and calls the twice-impeached, insurrection-inciting leader the greatest president in his lifetime. He talks about an “axis of evil” that tried to take Trump down and tells Dobbs to keep exposing the “darkness” and “lies” that are “sure to come” in the Biden administration.
Ralph Reed just can’t seem to let go. Trump lost. Loeffler lost. Perdue lost. This is a pretty risky thing to say in light of January 6, 2021. Does Reed really think that Biden’s inaugural will not be “marred by violent protests?”
Like Jim Garlow, Gary Bauer also turned to Facebook to call out the ten House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump. Here are some of the comments from his followers after he shared this Washington Examiner article:
“Remember that next Election Day; oh, I forgot–there will never be a fair election again.”
“They are so blind and deaf, they are Democrats in wolfs clothing, I call for them to be removed/recalled and even kicked out of the GOP”
“praying for their hearts and eyes to be lifted up to Jesus to bring healing and deliverance from deception and unbelief…”
“Satan worked on their emotions and won. Their hearts were hardened.”
“Wicked doesn’t even describe what they have done and will continue to do. The evil devils in the demonkkkrat (sic) party along with their friends the liberal activists in the media have no qualms about using and abusing some one else for power.”
A moderate Democrat and devout Roman Catholic will be inaugurated President of the United States on January 20, 2021 and James Dobson believes that “America and Western Civilization will never be the same.” Here is a taste of his monthly newsletter:
The Left has now achieved ultimate power in the White House, in the House of Representatives, and in the Senate. Consequently, as I warned in December, there will be no checks and balances within our system of government. The most radical ideas promoted by President Joe Biden and his majority party will be enacted. We can infer from what they have told us that the years ahead will bring more regulation, less freedom, more taxation, less religious liberty, more socialism, less democracy, more funds for abortion, less support for the sanctity of human life, less funding for the military, more illegal immigration, more restrictions on speech, less patriotism, more wasteful spending, less support for families, more regulations on business, more appeasement of China, Iran, Russia, and North Korea, less support for the electoral college, trillions more dollars for climate nonsense, more LGBTQ propaganda, less moral compunction, more governmental corruption, less oversight of elections, more “cancel culture,” fewer police officers, more gun control, and less government of the people, by the people and for the people. We can also anticipate quick passage of the horrendous “Equality Act.” You might want to keep track of these items as they occur. This is just the beginning.
America and Western civilization will never be the same, because it is not possible to back up on a freeway. Once radical changes are implemented, they will become ensconced in law and culture. I am most concerned about what all this means for the next generation. Children are extremely vulnerable to leftist curricula in the public schools. Specifically, I am worried about parental rights and the legality of home schooling. It is the only protection for kids.
In conclusion, I will let you interpret this Franklin Graham tweet:
Shirley Hoogstra of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities acknowledged the insurrection’s connection to “systemic racism” and “racial disparities.” She also affirmed the Electoral College results. (Sadly, we need to mention this because so many evangelicals believe the election was stolen). Nothing in her statement references Trump’s role in inciting the riot.
Wheaton College lamented “the way perpetrators used the name of Jesus” to promote violence, but the official college statement says nothing about Trump’s role in inciting the riot.
Paige Comstock Cunningham, the interim president of Taylor University, condemned the violence, racism, and use of Christian symbols. The statement says nothing about Trump’s role in inciting the riot.
Robert Whitaker, the president of Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina, lamented the violence and the contentious nature of American politics. He seems to defend Trump against the critics who do not respect the office of the president and thus undermine civility. He reminds the Anderson community that Christians should not place their hope is not in politics.
Corban University (Salem, Oregon) laments the violence. The vague statement says nothing about Trump’s role in inciting the riot.
Most evangelical colleges did not issue formal statements about the January 6, 2020 insurrection. Those who did issue statements were careful not to condemn Trump. Why? I think the answer is obvious. Many of these schools have pro-Trumpers in their constituencies.
ADDENDUM: (11:49 AM): Since I published this post I have learned that the Wheaton College faculty also issued a statement:
The January 6 attack on the Capitol was characterized not only by vicious lies, deplorable violence, white supremacy, white nationalism, and wicked leadership—especially by President Trump—but also by idolatrous and blasphemous abuses of Christian symbols. The behaviors that many participants celebrated in Jesus’ name bear absolutely no resemblance to the Christian teachings or ethics that we submit to as faculty and staff of Wheaton College. Furthermore, the differential treatment displayed by those with a duty to protect in their engagement with rioters who trespassed on the Capitol grounds illegally, when compared to recent protests over police brutality in D.C. last summer, illustrates the ongoing reality that systemic racism in our country is tragically and undeniably alive and well. These realities are reprehensible. Our Christian faith demands shining a light on these evils and the simultaneous commitment to take appropriate action.
In the days and weeks preceding January 6, many more leaders, including many evangelical leaders, could have spoken truth to the disillusioned supporters of President Trump—diminishing the prospects for violence and bolstering the witness of Christian love and the call for justice in our civic life. Some did. However, many wittingly propagated lies, or were unduly silent in a just cause. Our Christian faith demands greater courage.
We repent of our own failures to speak and to act in accordance with justice, and we lament the failures of the Church to teach clearly and to exercise adequate church discipline in these areas. Moreover, we grieve over the inadequate level of discipleship that has made room for this type of behavior among those who self-identify as Christian. We pray that the Holy Spirit will reveal to us all manner of idolatry, and we commit to speaking plainly against it wherever and whenever we find it. We commit ourselves to a more faithful witness in our callings as the faculty and staff of Wheaton College, and will work diligently to provide ample opportunities to show students, as well as the larger Wheaton College and Christian community, how to practice discernment in civic engagement, to demonstrate the connections between love and justice, and to courageously communicate the truth—even and especially when the truth is difficult to hear.
We pray that, in so doing, we will fulfill the Lord’s requirement of us: “To do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before our God” (Micah 6:8).
In Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, I wrote extensively about the so-called Independent Network Charismatics (INC). According to scholars Brad Christerson and Richard Flory, INC is the fastest-growing Christian movement in both the Western world and global south. INC Christians are outside the network of traditional Pentecostals. Unlike the Assemblies of God, Church of God (Cleveland), International Pentecostal Holiness Church, International Pentecostal Church of Christ, Foursquare Church, and the Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church, INC Christianity is not a denomination. Nor are its networks affiliated in any way with the National Association of Evangelicals.
INC Christianity is a network of authoritative spiritual leaders with very large followings. They are closely related to the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). If I understand these movements correctly, INC Christianity it more open to the prosperity gospel than NAR Christianity, but there is a lot of overlap. Both groups believe in the traditional Pentecostal “gifts” (speaking in tongues, healing, miracles, and prophecy). They expect a great revival of the Holy Spirit will take place shortly before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, and God will raise up “apostles” and “prophets” to lead this revival.
Some of the more prominent INC prophets include Che Ahn (Harvest International Ministries in Pasadena, CA), Bill Johnson (Bethel Church in Redding ,CA), Chuck Pierce (Glory of Zion Ministries in Corinth, TX), Cindy Jacobs (Generals International in Red Oak, TX), Mike Bickle (International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO), Lou Engle (The Call in Colorado Springs, CO), Dutch Sheets (Dutch Sheets Ministries in Dallas, TX), Lance Wallnau (Lance Learning Group in Dallas, TX), Jeremiah Johnson (Jeremiah Johnson Ministries in Charlotte, NC), Kat Kerr (Revealing Heaven Ministries of Jacksonville, FL), and Shawn Bolz (Bolz Ministries of Studio City, CA).
INC prophets and apostles believe that they have been appointed to serve as God’s agents in ushering in his future kingdom, a process that many describe as God “bringing heaven to earth.” They are thus deeply attracted to Seven Mountain Dominionism, the belief that Jesus will not return until society comes under the dominion of Jesus Christ. Drawing from Isaiah 2:2 (“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains”), INC prophets want to reclaim seven cultural “mountains”: family, government, arts and entertainment, media, business, education, and religion. The goal is to place God’s appointed leaders atop these cultural mountains as a means of setting the stage for the time when God will bring heaven to earth.
As early as 2007, INC prophet Kim Clement received a word from God: “Trump shall become a trumpet. I will raise up Trump to become a trumpet, and Bill Gates to open up the gate of a financial realm for the church.” Early in the 2016, Wallnau received a similar words: “Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness.” When Wallnau’s prophecy caught the attention of Trump’s evangelical supporters, he was invited to attend a meeting with the candidate and other evangelical leaders in Trump Tower. As Wallnau listened to Trump talk about his desire to give evangelicals a more prominent voice in government, he sense that God was giving him an “assignment”–a “calling related to this guy .” One day, while he was reading his Facebook page, Wallnau saw a meme predicting that Trump would be the “45th president of the United States.” God told Wallnau to pick up his Bible and turn to Isaiah 45. On reading the passage, Wallnau realized that, not only would Trump be a “wrecking ball” to political correctness, but he would be elected president of the United States in the spirit of the ancient Persian king Cyrus. In the Old Testament, Cyrus was the secular political leader whom God used to send the exiled kingdom of Judah back to the Promised Land so that they could rebuild the city of Jerusalem and its holy Temple. Wallnau was shocked by this discovery. “God was messing with my head,” he told Steven Strang, the editor of Charisma, a magazine that covers INC and other Pentecostal and charismatic movements.
In early 2015, Cindy Jacobs claimed that God said to her, “I have a trump card in my hand and I’m gonna play it and I’m gonna trump the system.” When Trump announced his candidacy in 2016, Jacobs supported his candidacy through “prayer walks” through seven swing states. Jacobs was one of the religious leaders who stood behind Trump on the White House lawn when he announced an executive order on religious liberty on May 4, 2017.
Frank Amedia, an INC apostle who claims to have presented Trump with a note at a campaign stop in Youngstown, Ohio, telling the candidate that God had revealed to him that it was a “forgone conclusion” that he would win the GOP nomination, worked as Trump’s “liaison for Christian policy.” Amedia has led several of these INC leaders in the formation of an organization called POTUS Shield. The clergy associated with this organization gather regularly to pray for Trump to protect them from the Satan-inspired attacks of his political opponents. The POTUS Shield prophets seldom appeared at the White House, but they served as a kind of spiritual support group for God’s new Cyrus, who will lead America back to spiritual and economic prosperity and help to set the stage for the dominion of Jesus Christ over all the earth.
Prior to Trump, INC and NAR prophets were on the fringe. The secular media didn’t even know they existed. The only outlet that covered them on a regular basis was Right Wing Watch, a project sponsored by People For the American Way. But in recent days, the Washington Post and New York Times have recognized the influence of these Christians and their massive followings. Yesterday we posted about Michelle Boorstein’s piece at The Washington Post. A few hours ago, David Brooks of The New York Timespublished a column that referenced Jeremiah Johnson.
As might be expected, INC and NAR prophets prophesied a Trump victory in 2020. Some of them, including Johnson, apologized. Over at Religion Unplugged, Julia Duin has a piece on how Trump’s loss has divided the INC and NAR community. Here is a taste:
At least 40 charismatic Christian leaders predicted Trump’s reelection starting around 2018, according to J. Gordon Melton, 78, the venerable compiler of the Encyclopedia of American Religions and an American religious studies professor at Baylor University.
“Only a handful [of prophets] got it right on the 2016 election,” said Melton, “so they all jumped into this election and with one exception,” a Black prophet from North Carolina whose name he did not recall, “they were wrong.”
This is the second major hit this movement has taken in less than a year, he added. The first was during a prophetic summit last year.
“Last November when [evangelist] Cindy Jacobs had her meeting in Dallas, none of the prophets at that meeting – and it was the elite who were there – none of them hinted that anything like the coronavirus was coming,” Melton said. “That has come back to haunt them.”
Some in the movement are still holding out for some kind of last-minute miracle from God that would magically reverse the election and install Trump as president on Jan. 20. The Dallas-based Kenneth Copeland Ministries is one. On Jan. 7, host Gene Bailey and several other prophets appearing on a ministry broadcast known as Flashpoint, floated conspiracy theories about the Jan. 6 attacks on the U.S. Capitol. All of them encouraged listeners to continue believing in prophecies of a Trumpian victory.
“Many are on the side of, ‘Let’s attack one another. Let’s get on social media and attack the prophets. And let’s draw the sword on one another,’” said the Rev. Hank Kunneman, pastor of Hosts Church in Omaha, Neb. “And I think that is the greatest mistake we can make as true patriots, true Christians, those of us that are in the body of Christ.”
God had personally assured him there would be a miraculous outcome, he added.
“I’m telling you that’s what we’re getting ready to see,” he said. “I don’t know how that’s going to play out. I just know this thing is not over.”
I am not one to criticize people’s prayers, but what Metaxas does here deserves some interpretation.
I am not sure what to call a prayer to God premised upon the belief in a false conspiracy theory.
The Metaxas’s introduction to the prayer, and the prayer itself, is filled with words of victimization. Metaxas complains about losing his Twitter feed and getting criticized by The New York Times. Is losing one’s social media accounts for promoting a false conspiracy theory the mark of religious persecution? Metaxas speaks like he is now part of an underground evangelical congregation in Stalin’s Russia. He says that he and the other Trump evangelicals are experiencing “oppression.”
Metaxas reaffirms his belief that it was probably Antifa who invaded the U.S. capitol last week. He says that liberals have “seized on” the insurrection “in the same way the Nazis seized on the Reichstag fire to use it as a way to demonize their political opponents, an incredibly wicked thing.”
Metaxas reaffirms his belief that the 2020 presidential election was stolen. He repeats several debunked stories.
Metaxas really believes that when he prays against the Democrats and the Left he is praying against satanic evil.
I’ve written this before, but I believe Metaxas is under the delusion that he is the Dietrich Bonhoeffer of this generation. (By the way, that makes two court evangelicals who believe this. The other is Johnnie Moore). At one point he prays that God would help his fellow evangelicals to have “the courage” of Bonhoeffer and the early Christian martyrs who “went to their deaths singing hymns.” I will be praying tonight that some crazy pro-Trump evangelicals do not show-up at the inauguration with hymn books to “courageously” die in order to help God answer Metaxas’s prayer.
Metaxas prays for a miracle to take place between now and January 20. He doesn’t specifically mention the nature of the miracle, but everyone watching this prayer meeting knows he is praying for a second Trump term.
The days of the Trump court evangelicals are ending. Right now the big question is whether their king will make it to January 20. The House of Representatives impeached Donald Trump today. Ten members of Trump’s own party voted to impeach him, making this the most bipartisan impeachment in U.S. history. We are now waiting to see how the Senate will respond.
The court evangelicals do not usually respond to current events in real time, but there a few things to report.
The Twitter feed at the Falkirk Center at Liberty University is saying nothing about the impeachment or the insurrection. The feed is filled with tweets about free speech.
Jenna Ellis believes conservative principles are founded on God’s word. (I assume she believes “liberal” principles are not). The verses she quotes in tweet below are all about paying “evil” with “evil.” So apparently she believes that the impeachment of Donald Trump was a form of evil. Ellis wants you to think she is taking the high road here, but she is really manipulating scripture to take yet another shot at her enemies. I don’t expect to see tweets of love toward Joe Biden anytime soon.
Blessed are those who lose their Twitter and Facebook feeds for promoting conspiracy theories:
Richard Land is preaching moral equivalence:
Jim Garlow is still holding his “election integrity” prayer meetings:
Today on his Facebook page, Garlow wrote: “The House of Representatives vote. Despicable.”
Robert Jeffress is gearing-up for Sunday morning:
What does White mean by this tweet?:
Actually, forgiveness, redemption, and restoration begins with taking a hard look at the mistakes of the past:
This morning I listened to the debate on impeachment that took place on the floor of the house. The defenders of Donald Trump were arguing that the impeachment of Donald Trump would divide the country and undermine national unity. Mike Pence said essentially the same thing last night when he refused set in motion the process to invoke the 25th Amendment.
p.3: “Americans faced an overwhelming task after the Civil War and emancipation: how to understand the tangled relationship between two profound ideas–healing and justice.”
p.3: “Human reconciliations–when tragically divided people unify again around aspirations, ideas, and the positive bonds of nationalism–are to be cherished. But sometimes reconciliations have terrible costs, both intentional and unseen. The sectional reunion after so horrible a civil war was a political triumph by the late nineteenth century, but it could not have been achieved without the resubjugation of many of those people whom the war had freed from centuries of bondage.
p.53: “In 1866-67, all sides in the epic Reconstruction debates seemed to hear and speak in the tones of requiem. But this requiem was badly out of tune, its harmony discordant.”
p.55: “But in the minds of radical leaders healing could wait. As the House of Representatives was about to vote on the Fourteenth Amendment., [Thaddeus] Stevens declared: ‘in rebuilding, it is necessary to clear away the rotten and defective portions of the old foundations, and to sink deep and found the repaired edifice upon the firm foundation of eternal justice….’ The tragedy of Reconstruction is rooted in this American paradox: the imperative of healing and the imperative of justice could not, ultimately, cohabit the same house.”
Here is Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, and Annie Karni at The New York Times:
For Vice President Mike Pence, the moment of truth had arrived. After three years and 11 months of navigating the treacherous waters of President Trump’s ego, after all the tongue-biting, pride-swallowing moments where he employed strategic silence or florid flattery to stay in his boss’s good graces, there he was being cursed by the president.
Mr. Trump was enraged that Mr. Pence was refusing to try to overturn the election. In a series of meetings, the president had pressed relentlessly, alternately cajoling and browbeating him. Finally, just before Mr. Pence headed to the Capitol to oversee the electoral vote count last Wednesday, Mr. Trump called the vice president’s residence to push one last time.
“You can either go down in history as a patriot,” Mr. Trump told him, according to two people briefed on the conversation, “or you can go down in history as a pussy.”
The blowup between the nation’s two highest elected officials then played out in dramatic fashion as the president publicly excoriated the vice president at an incendiary rally and sent agitated supporters to the Capitol where they stormed the building — some of them chanting “Hang Mike Pence.”
Here is the statement from the Historians and Legal Scholars for Impeachment.
As American historians and constitutional scholars, we support the impeachment and removal of President Donald J. Trump. Throughout his presidency, Trump has defied the Constitution and broken laws, norms, practices, and precedents, for which he must be held accountable now and after he leaves office. No future president should be tempted by the example of his defiance going unpunished.
One of Trump’s earlier abuses of power did result in his impeachment on December 18, 2019, for attempting to coerce a foreign power to interfere in the U.S. presidential election of 2020. But since November 2020, Trump has refused to accept the results of a free and fair election, something no president before him has ever done. Instead of engaging in the peaceful transfer of power, he encouraged an insurrection by a mob of his supporters on January 6, 2021, urging them to march on the U.S. Capitol, to “fight,” in his word, and halt the constitutionally prescribed process of counting the Electoral Votes that would confirm former Vice President Joseph R. Biden as President-Elect.
By fomenting violence against the Congress and seeking to subvert constitutional democracy, which resulted in the killing of a Capitol police officer and the deaths of several rioters, Trump has violated his oath of office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. He is a clear and present danger to American democracy and the national security of the United States. He has disqualified himself from continuing to serve out even his few remaining days as president, as well as from ever again holding, according to the Constitution, “any Office of honor, Trust or profit under the United States.” We urge members of the House of Representatives to conduct a speedy impeachment and the Senate to hold a prompt trial as the Constitution stipulates.
Signers include: Eric Alterman, Fred Anderson, Rick Atkinson, Sarah Barringer Gordon, Mia Bay, Thomas Bender, Mary Beth Norton, David Blight, Claire Potter, Patricia Bonomi, Eileen Boris, Taylor Branch, John Brooke, Richard D. Brown, Kathleen Brown, Jon Butler, David Chappell, Ron Chernow, Joseph Crespono, Robert Dallek, Andrew Delbanco, Gregory Downs, Mary Dudziak, Jeffrey Engel, Michael Dyson, Nicole Eustace, Ann Fabian, Daniel Feller, Michael Flamm, Francois Furstenberg, Neal Gabler, Gary Gerstle, Jonathan Gienapp, Todd Gitlin, Lawrence Glickman, Adam Goodheart, Eliga Gould, Edward Gray, Steven Hahn, Karen Halttunen, Andrew Hartman, Nicole Hemmer, Eric Hinderaker, Martha Hodes, David Hollinger, Benjamin Irvin, Meg Jacobs, Karl Jacoby, Jacqueline Jones, Joseph Peniel, Jane Kamensky, David Kennedy, Kevin Kruse, Christine Heyrman, Dahlia Lithwick, Staughton Lynd, Louis Masur, Kevin Mattson, John McWhorter, Steven Mintz, Timothy Naftali, Mae Ngai, Rick Perlstein, Jack Rakove, Eric Rauchway, Daniel Rodgers, Renee Romano, Doug Rossinow, Jonathan Sarna, Virginia Scharff, Stacy Schiff, Kevin Schultz, Robert Self, Rick Shenkman, Manisha Sinha, Jason Sokol, Thomas Sugrue, Jeremi Suri, Sam Tanenhaus, Gil Troy, Ted Widmer, Sean Wilentz, Alan Wolfe, Conrad Wright, Rosemarie Zagarri, Jonathan Zimmerman, and Michael Zuckerman.
Here is the letter he sent to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi:
The next to last paragraph caught my attention. Pence quotes part of Ecclesiastes 3. He writes, “The Bible says that ‘for everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven…a time to heal…and a time to build up.'”
Here is the entire passage:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3 a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, 6 a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7 a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8 a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace
There are a lot of ways one could manipulate this passage. For example, one could say that it is time to “uproot” this president and “tear down” his administration so we can “build up” democracy. Or perhaps this verse is telling us that it is a time to “weep” and “mourn” for what Trump put the nation through during the last four years. For Pence and the GOP, maybe the last four years was a “time to speak” instead of a “time to be silent.” And so on. This is why I hate it when politicians try to use Bible verses to justify their specific political decisions.
Pence goes on: “In the midst of the global pandemic, economic hardship for millions of Americans, and the tragic events of January 6, now is the time for us to come together, now is the time to heal.”
But is it really?
Pence’s call for healing rings hollow. It comes from a man who stood faithfully behind Trump for four years. The Trump administration, including Pence, had a lot to do with the spread of the global pandemic, the economic hardship Americans are now facing, and the events of January 6.
Yes, we need to heal, but first we must remove Trump from office and crush his ability to get back into the political arena, a place where he can continue his divisive and disruptive ways. If Pence is serious about healing, he would do his part to cast Trump into the dustbin of history and make sure that his attempts to propagate a “lost cause” movement are weakened.
Eric Metaxas, radio host and fellow at Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, is encouraging everyone to trust God in midst of this intense period of persecution for the church. The persecution, he claims, is coming from Marxists who removed him from Twitter for twelve hours yesterday. He quotes Patrick Henry famous phrase, “give me liberty or give me death.” The difference between Henry and Metaxas is that Henry was responding to facts and Metaxas is responding to a conspiracy theory about the supposed stealing of the 2020 presidential election. He is still expecting God to perform a miracle that will allow Trump to stay in office and restore all social media accounts. Finally, Metaxas says not to “demonize” people. This is rich coming from a guy who has has used his platform to demonize Democrats for four years, even calling them Satanic. When he demonizes others he quickly says that he was “joking” about it. Watch:
One of Metaxas’s guests today was former Minnesota congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. She was apparently in the U.S. Capitol as part of a “prayer force” when the insurrection took place on January 6, 2021. She was there to pray that Congress would not certify the 2020 Electoral College votes. Both Metaxas and Bachmann once again suggest that very few of the insurrections were part of the “happy” and “joyous” Trump supporters in Washington that day. Bachmann describes the entire riot as “identity theft.” The Left, by spreading this narrative of the violent Trump supporter, is stealing Trump’s identity as a great leader. What happened during the 2020 election, Bachmann believes, was a political coup–a takeover of a legitimate government. She is 100% sure that the Democrats stole the election. Metaxas and Bachmann are preparing for persecution.
Metaxas and Bachmann say that evangelicals who criticize them for their views on election fraud are “conforming” to the world. Neither of them present any evidence of election fraud. Metaxas just has a feeling about it based on the way Biden behaved in the weeks before the election.
Bottom line: The Trump presidency may not make it to January 20. Metaxas and Bachmann are going down with it. Metaxas is positioning himself as the evangelical voice of Trump’s lost cause. Bachmann is doing the same thing from her new post at Pat Roberston’s Regent University.
The Falkirk Center at Liberty University is also talking about free speech. White evangelicals are in full victimization mode.
Believe it or not, Falkirk Center (Liberty University) founder Charlie Kirk did not tweet today. Did he get banned?
Kirk is now calling for unity. Over the last four years Charlie Kirk has been one of the most divisive people in the United States. As David Blight taught me years ago through his book Race and Reunion, calls for unity often ignore the unjust things that happened in the immediate past. They tend to paper over injustice. Historians will hold Kirk and his rhetoric partly responsible for the first attack on the U.S. Capitol in American history. These commentators on Majority Report are absolutely correct:
Samuel Rodriguez says repentance begins with him:
On Sunday, Rodriguez called the evangelical church to repentance for making “the person who occupies the White House more important than the one who occupies our hearts.”
Court evangelical journalist David Brody says that the insurrectionists did not represent “#MAGA Nation”:
A quick word about this tweet. As I argued earlier today, I don’t think those who stormed the U.S. Capitol represent American evangelicals (Brody’s primary audience). Nor do they represent all Trump voters. But they certainly represent the kind of people who attend rallies and scream “Make America Great Again.” I would like Brody to explain the difference between these people and the people he calls #MAGA Nation.”
I am still wondering what evangelicals did before Twitter and Facebook. At a time when they should be mourning the near collapse of American democracy and reflecting on how their view of Christian politics led to the enabling of Donald Trump, they are playing the victim. This is par for the course. Here is court evangelical Richard “unprecedented access” Land complaining about free speech.
Jack Hibbs, in an apparent act of protest, has left Twitter. He is fleeing persecution by retreating to his personal web page.
Robert Jeffress has no clue that he empowered this twice-impeached president. History, however, will remember.
You can’t make this stuff up. Franklin Graham asks “Where does this hate come from?”
If you asked me this question twenty four hours ago I would have answered, “probably not.” But now I am not so sure.
Today we learned that Mitch McConnell, the outgoing Senate majority leader, said that Donald Trump did commit an impeachable offense by inciting the January 6, 2021 insurrection. He is pleased that the House will impeach (again) the president tomorrow. But will he allow a trial to take place?
Here is The New York Times;
Senator Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader, has told associates that he believes President Trump committed impeachable offenses and that he is pleased that Democrats are moving to impeach him, believing that it will make it easier to purge him from the party, according to people familiar with his thinking. The House is voting on Wednesday to formally charge Mr. Trump with inciting violence against the country.
It is tempting to consider Wednesday’s assault on the U.S. Capitol an exception in U.S. history, but the presence of Confederate flags and Sen. Ted Cruz’s ill-founded reliance on the 1876-1877 election crisis to justify baseless challenges to the 2020 electoral results remind us that anti-democratic violence has deep roots here, especially in the period of the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Public invocations of American ideals of democracy and the peaceful transition of power serve some good purposes. Yet our country also has a long history of authoritarianism, white supremacy and political violence, one that cannot be ignored without misunderstanding the depth and endurance of the problems we face as a nation and the breadth of the solutions these problems require.
The shocking scenes Wednesday at the Capitol remind us that there have always been Americans who have little regard for procedures established by the Constitution. When Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, political leaders in South Carolina refused to accept the result, fearing that a Lincoln presidency would lead to the weakening of Southern political power and ultimately to the elimination of slavery. Ten other Southern states eventually joined in rejecting the election’s outcome and declaring that they intended to form a nation of their own.
Peter Manseau, the Lilly Endowment Curator of American Religious History at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, is collecting tweets documenting the use of religious rhetoric at the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Read them or share your own at #capitolsiegereligion. Here is a taste: