Is Donald Trump an Antichrist?”

Trump iN Dallas

D. Stephen Long is the Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics at Southern Methodist University. In his recent piece at the religion and ethics website of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, he makes the case that we should start calling Trump “antichrist.” Here is a taste:

Anyone who grew up in evangelical circles in the Midwest, as I did, will be well-aware of this kind of end-times theology. Hal Lindsey’s The Late Great Planet Earth was a staple in the movement, predicting how a clash between the United States and the Soviets would usher in Armageddon. When the Cold War ended, putting an end to his interpretation, Lindsey then speculated that the antichrist would create a one world government through a cataclysmic war. The antichrist will be smart, well-educated, and attractive, which means at least that one should be very wary of education. Films like A Thief in the Night (1972) and songs like Larry Norman’s “I Wish We’d All Been Ready” prompted evangelicals in the 1970s and 1980s to be ever vigilant against the threatening reign of the antichrist. How odd, then, that when one appears, they have lost the religious sensibility to recognise him.

Yet I think it appropriate that reasonable people of faith begin to refer to Trump as antichrist. I don’t come to that conclusion lightly. When Trump was elected, I regularly referred to him as the “Orange Vulgarian.” I still find that reference descriptively accurate, but a friend admonished me that calling the president names was not the best strategy to win over his supporters. Since many of those supporters are family, friends, college classmates, and others, I thought it best to refrain from such epithets and attempted to make reasonable arguments on behalf of a different kind of Christianity and politics than the one that gained ascendancy with Trump.

Recent events, however, have led me to conclude that such a strategy leads us nowhere, especially when it comes to the war Trump and his allies are waging on black America. The necessity to stand with black neighbours against the current injustices that repeat old patterns requires something different. The obvious contradiction between Trump and his administration’s response to white supremacists and to those protesting on behalf of black lives demonstrates a demonic force at work that must be named by all of us who at baptism pledged to resist sin, death, and the devil, “the spiritual forces of wickedness,” or “the evil powers of this world which corrupt and destroy the creatures of God.” It is time that we call Trump what he is, an antichrist, and pastors and faithful Christians must start doing so from their pulpits, Sunday School classes, bible studies, and whatever means are available.

Read the entire piece here.

Trumps Critics are “Satanic” and Other Evangelical Craziness on the Eve of Impeachment Hearings.

 

baker Bookhouse

 

Two books on evangelicals and Trump on the shelf at Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI

Newsweek is calling attention to a televangelist named Irvin Baxter who believes that Donald Trump is the only thing standing in the way of the coming of the Antichrist.  Anyone who does not support Trump is working for Satan.

Here is a taste:

 

Evangelical pastor Irvin Baxter, a televangelist who is the founder and president of Endtime Ministries, said Donald Trump’s critics are “satanic” while claiming that Satan was angry that the president is “messing up” his goal of creating a unified global government.

Baxter, who hosts a nationally syndicated biblical prophecy program on TV, End of the Age, made the remarks during Monday’s Jim Bakker Show, as first reported by Right Wing Watch. He argued that Trump is hated because he stands in opposition to a “satanic” plot that has been in the works for 100 years to create a world government system.

“All of a sudden this guy by the name of Trump comes along,” Baxter said. “He starts campaigning against their globalistic system. The first thing he did was pull us out of the Paris climate change accord, which was—.” The evangelical leader was then cut off, as the studio audience erupted in applause.

Read the rest here.

Meanwhile, court evangelical Steven Strang, the author of God and Donald Trump, has a new book coming out describing the 2020 election as “spiritual warfare” and claiming that “satanic schemes are so brazen on key issues that the book was written to explain what’s at stake.”  Strang is the CEO of Charisma magazine.  I wrote about him in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.

Learn more about Strang and his new book at Right Wing Watch.

The Politics of the “Chosen One”

Trump inauguration

My daughter was quick to tell me that “Antichrist” was trending on Twitter today.  Then I got a call from Emily McFarland  Miller, a reporter for Religion News Service, to talk about the meaning of words like “Antichrist” and “Chosen One.”  Here is a taste of Miller’s piece (co-authored with Jack Jenkins and Yonat Shimron):

Somebody had to take on China on trade, Trump told reporters Wednesday.

“I am the chosen one,” he said, glancing heavenward with outstretched hands.

Supporters have excused that comment as a joke.

Others used words like “blasphemy” and “idolatry.”

Bass tweeted that the phrase refers to Isaiah 42:1: “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.” Christians understand the Bible verse as a prophecy referring to Jesus.

“The chosen one” isn’t necessarily a biblical concept, said John Fea, professor of American history at Messiah College. It also has been used to refer to everyone from basketball star Lebron James to fictional wizard Harry Potter.

But in the context it’s difficult to ignore, Fea said.

“The phrase ‘chosen one’ is probably part Christianity, part science fiction, part myth, part fantasy, part Harry Potter,” Fea said. “But at the same time, there is embedded within that phrase this idea that God chooses certain people — and evangelicals will believe this — that God chooses certain people for particular moments in time to serve his purposes.”

Read the entire piece here.

Is Donald Trump the Antichrist?

Donald J. Trump, Taking Over The Big Apple

Check out Sarah Jones’s playful piece at New York Magazine in the wake of Trump’s recent “chosen one” comments.

So could Trump be the Antichrist? Look, anything is possible. I will tell you what my father once told me. Satan walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (For the record, I don’t recommend saying this to a child, especially not after she tells you that she had a dream about a witch who eats people.) The point is that Satan is devious, and his works can be found anywhere. Trump could indeed be his agent, and that would make him an antichrist, if not the Antichrist.

The distinction is relevant. As Hannah Gais pointed out in the Outline last year, the term initially identified “those who refused to confess Christ’s presence on Earth or his divinity.” But the eschatology popular with many conservative Evangelicals holds that there is one Antichrist, who will bring about Armageddon. Biblical literalists of a certain stripe have long speculated that a president would make an ideal Antichrist, though this interpretation is not universal. The Left Behind series, which terrorized Christian youth groups in the late 1990s and early 2000s, gives us an Antichrist from Romania, who exists thanks to genetic experimentation by a Satanic cult.

Read the rest here. I don’t know if Trump is the Antichrist, but one could certainly make the case that he is anti-Christ.

Why Aren’t Evangelical Christians Saying Trump is the Anti-Christ?

trump-with-evangelical-leaders
Now that the title of this post has got your attention, I want to point you to historian Walter G. Moss‘s piece at Newsweek: Trump’s A True-Believing Christian?  Tel Me, How Does That Work?

Moss begins:

Shortly before his death in 1900, the Russian philosopher and poet Vladimir Soloviev completed “A Short Story of the Anti-Christ.”

He described his fictional twenty-first century character (based on the Biblical antichrist) this way: “He loved only himself. . . . This man would bow down before the power of Evil as soon as it would offer him a bribe.”

His “conception of his higher value showed itself in practice . . . in seizing his privilege and advantage at the expense of others . . . . The moral achievement of Christ and his uniqueness were beyond an intellect so completely clouded by self-love as his,” which displayed “a complete absence of true simplicity, frankness, and sincerity.”

I was reminded of Soloviev’s story by a recent History News Network article in which Ed Simon asked, “If the anti-Christ is supposed to be a manipulative, powerful, smooth-talking demagogue with the ability to sever people from their most deeply held beliefs, who would be a better candidate than the seemingly indestructible Trump?”

Simon admitted that accusing Trump of being an anti-Christ is giving “the president far too much credit. At his core he is simply a consummate narcissist with little intelligence and less curiosity, one who has somehow become the most powerful man in the world.” Soloviev’s anti-Christ is also far more gifted than Trump.

And yet, as Simon notes, it’s ironic that evangelical Christian leaders, who have often warned of liberal anti-Christs, “seem to lack the self-awareness to identify something so anti-Christian in Trump himself. Or worse yet, they certainly recognize it, but don’t care.”

Granted, I have played-up the sensationalist parts of Moss’s piece, but the rest of the piece offers a good analysis of Trump’s claim to Christian faith and the court evangelicals who believe him.