From Cyrus to Jezebel: Conservative evangelicals have a biblical character for every political occasion

Over the past four years, conservative evangelicals have compared Donald Trump to King Cyrus, Queen Esther, Daniel, David, and Sampson.

And now they have a biblical character for vice-president Kamala Harris: Jezebel.

For those unfamiliar with this biblical character, she appears in the books of Kings and is referenced in the book of Revelation.

In 1 Kings 16 we are introduced to Jezebel, the Phoenician wife of Ahab, the king of the northern kingdom of Israel. According to the text, Ahab “did more evil in the eyes of the Lord than any of those before him.” He was a Baal worshipper and thus aroused the “anger of the LORD.”

Ahab’s immorality results in the prophet Elijah’s confrontation at Mt. Carmel with the prophets of Baal. This is described in 1 Kings 18. Here we also learn that Jezebel was responsible for “killing off the Lord’s prophets” and entertaining the prophets of the pagan god Asherah.

After Jezebel learned that Elijah had killed the prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel, she threatened Elijah’s life. Elijah fled into the wilderness where an angel ministered to him.

In 1 Kings 21, Jezebel arranged for the stoning death of Naboth, a man who refused to give-up his vineyard to Ahab. After Naboth’s death, Elijah confronted Ahab in the vineyard and told him that “dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.” This prophecy was fulfilled in 2 Kings 9.

Before she was killed by Jehu, a commander in Joram’s (the new king of Israel) army, Jezebel “put on eye makeup, arranged her hair and looked out of the window of the palace.” Two eunuchs threw her out the window. Her blood splattered on the wall of Jezreel and horses “trampled her underfoot.” After Jehu took a break to eat, he ordered his soldiers to bury Jezebel’s body. But as prophesied by Elijah, it had already been devoured by dogs. The book of 2 Kings ends with these words: “Jezebel’s body will be like dung on the ground in the plot of Jezreel, so that no one will be able to say ‘This is Jezebel.'”

In the New Testament, Jezebel is mentioned in Revelation 2. It is unclear to me whether the “Jezebel” mentioned here is an actual person in the Thyatira church or is a reference to the Old Testament character, but I am not sure it really matters for this discussion. The angel of the Christian church in Thyatira writes:

Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophet. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.  I have given her time to repent of her immorality, but she is unwilling. So I will cast her on a bed of suffering, and I will make those who commit adultery with her suffer intensely, unless they repent of her ways.  I will strike her children dead. Then all the churches will know that I am he who searches hearts and minds, and I will repay each of you according to your deeds. Now I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, to you who do not hold to her teaching and have not learned Satan’s so-called deep secrets, ‘I will not impose any other burden on you, except to hold on to what you have until I come.’

So who is comparing Kamala Harris to Jezebel?

Just for the record, the first American “Jezebel” was 17th-century Massachusetts Bay troublemaker (good trouble, to echo the words of the late John Lewis) Anne Hutchinson. Massachusetts governor John Winthrop called herthis American Jezebel,” an “instrument of Satan,” and the “enemy of the people” for resisting the political authority and theological certainty of the colony’s officials and ministers.

Some fundamentalist churches used to call women “Jezebels” if they wore too much makeup or jewelry. As southern fundamentalist John R. Rice wrote in his 1941 book Bobbed Hair, Bossy Wives, and Women Preachers:

Surely we all agree that a Christian woman who does not live as the world lives and does not follow the world’s ideals should not make too much effort to look like worldy women. Of wicked Queen Jezebel we are told that “she painted her face, and tired her head…(II Kings 9:30). The Bible does not give detailed instructions about lipstick and rouge and painted fingernails. But the most spiritual Christians among women usually feel that they cannot go to the extremes that wordly women follow in painting the face, in use of lipstick, in plucking eyebrows, and in other unnatural fads. Great numbers of the most spiritual women feel that to follow such a pattern is worldliness and hinders a Christian women’s influence. Besides, the women of the best taste know that they are only temporary fads and do not aid real beauty.

As far as I can tell, the charismatic “prophet” Lance Wallnau was the first to compare Kamala Harris to Jezebel. In August 2020, Wallnau said that Harris had a “Jezebel spirit.” He described her as a “chameleon” who was secretly working as an “Obama surrogate.” (I don’t see a Kamala Harris/Jezebel commemorative coin coming anytime soon). The so-called “Jezebel spirit” is often used in charismatic circles to describe a man or a woman who is a false prophet and, as Revelation 2 says, seduces God’s people “into sexual immorality.” These charismatic prophets have been writing books about the “Jezebel spirit” for years.

Today, thanks to the twitter feed of Washington Post religion journalist Sarah Pulliam Bailey, I learned that Tom Buck, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lindale, Texas, has also played the Jezebel card:

Here is more from Buck’s twitter feed:

Thanks to Pulliam-Bailey for this response:

Maybe Buck believes Biden is the Ahab to Harris’s Jezebel.

I took the liberty (Southern Baptists believe in liberty, right?) to look at more of Buck’s tweets over the last month or so:

Tom Buck. What a guy!

Biden replaces Andrew Jackson with Ben Franklin

Donald Trump did not find Andrew Jackson; Andrew Jackson found him. When historians and pundits began to compare Trump the populist with Jackson the populist, the candidate took notice. Moreover, Jackson was a favorite of Steve Bannon, Trump’s political adviser and 2016 campaign manager. By the time Trump entered the White House in late January 2017, an 1835 Ralph E.W. Earle portrait of Andrew Jackson was hanging in the Oval Office.

As of January 20, 2021, the Ralph Earle portrait of Jackson is gone. Joe Biden replaced it with a portrait of Benjamin Franklin.

Here is Sarah Cascone at Artnet News:

Biden’s team swapped a portrait of Andrew Jackson—a populist president revered by Donald Trump—for one of Founding Father and inventor Benjamin Franklin, a switch that has been seen as symbolic of Biden’s reverence for science.

The Franklin painting, a 1785 canvas by Joseph Siffred Duplessis, was actually already on view in the Oval Office during Trump’s tenure, but is now in a more prominent position next to the Resolute Desk. The work is on loan from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, along with a Martin Luther King Jr. bust by Charles Alston that has been at the White House since the year 2000 and is now on display on the mantlepiece.

On the day of Biden’s inauguration, Trump evangelical John MacArthur tweets that the U.S. is officially “one nation in rebellion to God”

The Biden administration is here. What are the last president’s most loyal evangelicals saying about the inauguration?

John MacArthur, the pastor of Grace Community Church in Los Angeles, fired the first shot:

I will just let this one sit for a while…

Eric Metaxas did not do a live show today.

The Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, the center of Trump evangelicalism, thanked Donald Trump:

And then the Liberty’s Falkirk Center offered a backhanded offer of prayer to Joe Biden:

Charlie Kirk, the co-founder of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, just couldn’t take a day off from his vitriol:

Liberty University Falkirk Center fellow Jenna Ellis was in rare form today:

I am guessing that Jenna Ellis believes she spent the last several months doing the “will of God” as Trump’s “election fraud” lawyer:

This one is rich:

God and country. Christian nationalism at its worst:

Ellis retweeted the aforementioned John MacArthur tweet about the kingdom of darkness.

I don’t have time tonight to process Lance Wallnau’s latest one hour reflection about whether the prophets got it right or wrong, but it is here if you want to see it.

Christian Broadcasting Network journalist David Brody liked Biden’s speech, to a point:

I don’t remember Richard Land praying to support Donald Trump “when we can do without violating our consciences”:

I hope Land is right about this. As a never-Trumper, praying for Trump was hard. It’s not going to be easy for conservative evangelicals to pray for this president.

On his Facebook page, Jack Hibbs concludes that Biden’s decision to change the U.S. Ambassador to Israel into the “U.S. Ambassador to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza “insults the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”

Jim Garlow is still holding his election integrity prayer meetings. Here is Garlow at his Facebook page:

Today was painful. To watch a nation take gigantic steps toward self destruction was overwhelming. The undoing of wonderful prolife policies (as one example) of President Trump by Biden is heartbreaking and will result in even more deaths. Then to watch some “evangelicals” and people from the “holiness movement” (not sure how much “holiness” has survived…and not sure if it is a “movement” anymore) falling all over themselves in delight, ushering in a man who is ….how do I say this respectfully? ….who is, at best, mentally challenged (I think he should be cared for medically & helped; do you REALLY believe this man can handle the world’s most difficult job??), it has been a challenging day. 74,000,000 of us love our country too much to see it end.

And here is Garlow reflecting on his court evangelicalism:

APPROXIMATELY NOON EASTERN TIME – JAN 20, 2021 – I will forever be grateful for the wonderful privilege of serving on (1) the Trump Faith Advisory Board during the 2016 election, (2) the White House Faith Leaders during much of Mr. Trump’s presidency, and (3) as a Stakeholder with Evangelicals for Trump during the 2020 election. It was one of the great honors of my life. The two pictures were sent to me on Election day, November 3, 2020, taken at the same moment – from opposite angles – by two different friends. I did not know these pictures existed until I received them two months ago.

Here is one of the aforementioned pictures of Garlow in the court:

Robert Jeffress had a word or two at Fox News:

Ralph Reed is already spinning the pro-Trump legacy narrative:

Johnnie Moore wished Biden well:

Gary Bauer thanks Trump, says nothing about Biden:

Tony Perkins give an unqualified call to pray for Biden:

Jack Graham also offers an unqualified offer of prayer:

The same goes for Jentezen Franklin:

Franklin Graham:

Joe Biden is the 46th President of the United States

It’s official. The Trump presidency is over. The Biden presidency is here. Here are a few thoughts, with the help of my Twitter feed, on today’s inauguration ceremony:

I began the day with a reminder. It’s been a long four years chronicling Trump and the evangelical response to his presidency. Thanks for joining me on the journey:

There were some snow flurries today in Washington D.C. Perhaps Minnesota Senator Klobuchar, who was one of the major organizers of the ceremony, brought the flurries with her:

Did you notice Biden’s massive Bible?

Bernie seemed to be enjoying himself:

So was Biden’s Secretary of Treasury nominee Janet Yellen:

Lady Gaga was amazing. Since I tweeted this I have learned that the bird on her outfit was actually a dove carrying a olive branch.

The first Latina swears-in the first female, African American, and South Asian-American vice president:

My friend Scott Hancock tweeted seconds after Harris was sworn-in:

Biden was inaugurated at 11:48 AM EST. Twelve minutes too early:

Echoes of Langston Hughes:

What a difference four years make:

This was telling:

Biden comes into office after four years of lies:

Biden quoted St. Augustine:

Presidential historian Jon Meacham, who helped to write Biden’s speech, has been using this Augustine quote for several years:

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” This has a ring of Reagan’s “morning in America“:

Biden asked for a moment of silent prayer for COVID-19 victims:

Apparently this is not the first prayer in a presidential inaugural address.

Here is Eisenhower in 1953:

What shall be our legacy?

What will our children say?

Let them say of me I was one who believed

In sharing the blessings

I received

Let me know in my hear

tWhen my days are through

America

America

I gave my best to you

Hope over fear. I’ve heard that before:

A general take on Biden’s speech:

Poet Amanda Gordon stole the show:

Then Missouri senator Roy Blunt came back on stage:

Inauguration days are days for civil religion:

I finished it this afternoon. Also got in that nap:

Biden was ready to go on day 1:

The last night of Trump court evangelicalism

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.

What?

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:

Jack Hibbs is hosting Charlie Kirk at his church. Hibbs is also joining the boycott of Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Kohl’s after these big box stores dumped the My Pillow Guy.

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.

Franklin Graham is calling for peace:

“You never want to be ranked below William Henry Harrison, who was only president for one month.”

The quote in the title of this post comes from presidential historian Douglas Brinkley. He adds, “if you rank below [Harrison], it means you’ve harmed the country…Now you’re getting into James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson territory. Trump will automatically be in that category.” Over at The Washington Post, several historians discussed the Trump presidency with reporter David Nakamura.

Matthew Dallek:

Trump’s relentless attacks on civic institutions, provoking of racial and social divisions, trampling of political norms, broadsides against the free press and impugning of America’s international allies have raised profound questions about the nature of American governance and the endurance of the values the United States has long professed to cherish, scholars said.

“Trump and Trumpism have brought those flaws into sharp relief,” said Matthew Dallek, a political historian at George Washington University. “The fact that 74 million people could vote for someone who is a conspiracy theorist and a perpetual liar and encouraged violence and the Proud Boys and white supremacy — in that sense, the Trump presidency will be important for those reckoning with: ‘What does it mean to be an American?’ And also: ‘What does it mean to live in what a lot of people thought was the world’s greatest experiment in democracy, when it turns out that experiment is incredibly fragile?’ ”

Joseph Crespino:

Yet scholars said other records, such as memos and interviews with aides, are more tenuous. Some worried that Trump and his associates will destroy documents despite laws meant to preserve them, while others voiced concerns that White House aides, who like their boss have a record of misleading the public, will be unreliable narrators of his presidency.

“I wonder if there will be the same documentation of Trump’s own decision-making and processes that we have with other presidents,” said Joseph Crespino, a history professor at Emory University in Atlanta. “He’s not a reader or a note-taker or a memo writer. That will be a challenge.”

Nicole Hemmer:

Historians “will think less in terms of analogy [to past presidents] and think more in terms of puncturing the mythic past that both Trump and the people opposed to him alight on — that America had a pure form of democracy that we either lost because of Trump or that Trump brought back,” said Nicole Hemmer, a historian who specializes in conservative media and is working on the Obama Presidency Oral History at Columbia University.

“There’s a lot more continuity here than we might think,” Hemmer said. “We might not be able to pluck one person out of the past and say that is what Donald Trump is like. But we can understand that throughout American history there has been racism and fascism and anti-democratic forces and say he is drawing from those powerful influences.”

Leah Wright-Rigeuer:

To Leah Wright-Rigueur, associate professor of American history at Brandeis University, Trump’s presidency has been a case study in the “naked, unadulterated pursuit of power and self-interest, at the cost of 400,000 lives and at the cost of the American union.”

She added that Trump’s four years have dramatically exposed what racial minorities and other marginalized Americans have long understood — that the nation’s democracy has always been “brutal, exclusionary and flawed” for many citizens.

Read the entire piece here.

Will the GOP abandon populism?

Michael Gerson, the evangelical columnist at The Washington Post, hopes so. Here is a taste of his most recent column:

In the United States, our core political commitment is to a system of self-government based on the rule of law and the protection of the rights of political minorities. This is a different view of politics than many Americans now hold. They think the main purpose of politics is to vanquish some grave evil or defeat ruthless enemies. This is a temptation on left and right, but it has metastasized on the right. Many right-wing populists believe that they are fighting conspiratorial globalists, or child molesters, or oppressive secularists, or “woke” elitists, or the “deep state.” If this is their defining purpose, then constitutional processes are actually obstacles to effective action. A strongman would be more efficient.

This conception of politics is badly and dangerously mistaken. The primary purpose of the American form of government is not to defeat evil; it is to allow people of diverse views and backgrounds to live in peace with one another and find common purpose. That practical arrangement is also a moral commitment. We have a patriotic passion for constitutional procedure — to honor the principle of equal rights and to prevent the exercise of abusive power.

Too many political leaders — most notably in the Republican Party — have allowed these ideals to rust and rot. They have accommodated illiberalism out of selfish interest or abject fear. And this failure has associated people and causes they care about with some of the worst human beings in America. The refusal to defend procedural democracy has put economic conservatives in the same political movement as neo-Confederate thugs. It has placed pro-life Catholics and evangelicals under the same political banner as QAnon and the Proud Boys. Can traditional conservatives not see the massive reputational damage to their deepest beliefs?

For the sake of their party, their ideology and their country, it is essential for elected Republicans to publicly and dramatically distance themselves from authoritarian populism. This means repudiating the lie of a stolen election. This means supporting the Senate conviction of a justly impeached president and ensuring he can never run for office again. This means giving our new president room to govern in the midst of a deadly health crisis.

Read the entire piece here.

What should we make of Trump’s 1776 Commission Report? Part 1

Yesterday, in his final days in the White House, Donald Trump released the results of his 1776 Commission. He describes the report as a “historic and scholarly step to restore understanding of the greatness of the American founding.”

The report is not “historic” or “scholarly.”

It is not “historic” because the document is meaningless. It will not be implemented in any way. Trump leaves office on Wednesday.

It is not “scholarly” because the team who created it does not include a single American historian.

But I imagine that there will be many on the right who will appeal to this document to advance a conservative political agenda. So let’s take a few blog posts to examine it, starting with the “Introduction.”

The 1776 Commission wants to promote an American history that is “accurate, honest, unifying, inspiring, and ennobling.” Were there moments in American history that were “unifying, inspiring, and ennobling?” Of course there were. But an “accurate” and “honest” look at the American past will also require an acknowledgement of where Americans have failed, and failed miserably, to live up to its founding ideals. For conservatives who believe in the limits of human potential and the flawed character of human beings, the authors of this document should understand that any history of the United States must contain the good, the bad, and the ugly. The Introduction references the “imperfect” nature of human beings, but it also seems to assume that Americans have overcome these imperfections. There is a Francis Fukuyama “end of history” feel to the Introduction.

The authors reference America as a shining “city on a hill.” (There is no section in the report on colonial America. This reference to John Winthrop’s words is all we get). I would encourage the authors to read Daniel Rodgers and Abram Van Engen on the original meaning of the phrase “city on a hill.” And by the way, the word “shining” was added to John Winthrop’s words by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

The 1776 Commission report says that the “facts of our founding are not partisan.” But while the founding fathers united around the need for American independence from England, they did not agree on how to apply the principles of their revolution to everyday life. In fact, the history of the American “founding,” if you define the period as the years between 1765 and 1789, was a very partisan and divisive affair. This fierce debate over the meaning of America continued into the 1790s and still continues today.

The statement that “the American people have ever pursued freedom and justice” is just not true.

The rhetoric improves as we get to the end of the Introduction when it says that the story of America is the “struggle” to create a free society. Yes. And the struggle is not over.

My next post will deal with section 2: “The Meaning of the Declaration.”

The court evangelicals love Martin Luther King Jr. (and other stuff)

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.

New video: January 6 insurrectionists pray in the Senate chamber

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:

Watch:

Thoughts:

  • 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:

Conservative website “American Thinker” retracts articles on Dominion software’s role in supposed “election fraud.”

On November 16, 2020, court evangelical Eric Metaxas shared a story from the conservative website “American Thinker” on his Facebook page. The story was titled “The Dominion software story keeps getting worse.” The piece claimed that Dominion software “churned out impossible pro-Biden results in the wee hours of November 4 in Democratic-run states following a Trump wave.” The Dominion story was an important piece of Donald Trump’s “election fraud” claims and was propagated by Michael Flynn’s lawyer Sidney Powell.

Yesterday we learned that “American Thinker” has retracted all of their Dominion software conspiracy theory posts:

American Thinker and contributors Andrea Widburg, R.D. Wedge, Brian Tomlinson, and Peggy Ryan have published pieces on www.AmericanThinker.com that falsely accuse US Dominion Inc., Dominion Voting Systems, Inc., and Dominion Voting Systems Corporation (collectively “Dominion”) of conspiring to steal the November 2020 election from Donald Trump. These pieces rely on discredited sources who have peddled debunked theories about Dominion’s supposed ties to Venezuela, fraud on Dominion’s machines that resulted in massive vote switching or weighted votes, and other claims falsely stating that there is credible evidence that Dominion acted fraudulently.

These statements are completely false and have no basis in fact. Industry experts and public officials alike have confirmed that Dominion conducted itself appropriately and that there is simply no evidence to support these claims.

It was wrong for us to publish these false statements. We apologize to Dominion for all of the harm this caused them and their employees. We also apologize to our readers for abandoning 9 journalistic principles and misrepresenting Dominion’s track record and its limited role in tabulating votes for the November 2020 election. We regret this grave error. 

But let’s get back to Metaxas. After he shared the false Dominion story, his Facebook followers responded with enthusiasm. Here are few of their comments:

  • “I believe that we need to pray not only that fraud will be exposed but that it also will be repudiated and cancelled, i.e., nullified.”
  • “The name says it all. They are guaranteeing that they get dominion over Americans, knowing that they have to cheat do it.”
  • “I am dumbfounded that every American is not outraged about this.”
  • “This explains everything…because its so vast, so easily done, and how the pattern of votes all seemed to reverse themselves in unison after the close of the election centers…it’s all the more tragic the media across the board has so resolutely put on blinders.”
  • “I’m in the UK and I think the media blackout of this is intentional and orchestrated.”

These followers believe the Democrats stole the 2020 election, a belief built on debunked conspiracy theories that Metaxas and others have spread.

This is why we teach history students to read critically, evaluate sources, and consider bias.

History and Trump’s White House records

Historians are concerned that the Trump administration record-keeping habits are going to leave a “hole” in history. Here is Deb Riechmann at the Associated Press:

The public won’t see President Donald Trump’s White House records for years, but there’s growing concern the collection won’t be complete, leaving a hole in the history of one of America’s most tumultuous presidencies.

Trump has been cavalier about the law requiring that records be preserved. He has a habit of ripping up documents before tossing them out, forcing White House records workers to spend hours taping them back together.

“They told him to stop doing it. He didn’t want to stop,” said Solomon Lartey, a former White House records analyst. He said the first document he taped back together was a letter from Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., about a government shutdown.

The president also confiscated an interpreter’s notes after Trump had a chat with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Trump scolded his White House counsel for taking notes at a meeting during the Russia investigation by former special counsel Robert Mueller. Top executive branch officials had to be reminded more than once not to conduct official business on private email or text messaging systems and to preserve it if they did.

And now, Trump’s baseless claim of widespread voter fraud, which postponed for weeks an acknowledgement of President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, is delaying the transfer of documents to the National Archives and Records Administration, further heightening concern about the integrity of the records.

“Historians are likely to suffer from far more holes than has been the norm,” said Richard Immerman at the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations. In the Trump White House, “not only has record-keeping not been a priority, but we have multiple examples of it seeking to conceal or destroy that record.”

Read the rest here.

James Dobson on Biden’s election: “America and Western Civilization will never be the same.” (And other court evangelical news)

As I write, Washington D.C. is an armed camp. 25,000 National Guard members are ready to defend the U.S. Capitol during Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony on January 20.

Meanwhile, people are still dying of COVID-19. Incoming President Joe Biden is doing his best to deal with the pandemic and its effects while outgoing twice-impeached president is holed-up in the White House meeting with MyPillow guy Mike Lindell.

How are the court evangelicals responding?

Eric Metaxas is tweeting about martial law:

Ayanna Pressley has alopecia. But that doesn’t stop Eric from doing this:

The other night Eric Metaxas talked about those willing to die for conspiracy theories as courageous martyrs for Christ. He also shared this.

Not specifically court evangelical news, but one Trump evangelical apologized.

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).

Here is Garlow on Facebook on January 13:

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”
  • “Backstabbers”

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”
  • “Shame forever”
  • “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:

The International Bonhoeffer Society calls for Trump’s removal

While court evangelical Eric Metaxas is invoking Dietrich Bonhoeffer to “stop the steal,” the real Bonhoeffer scholars are calling for the removal of Donald Trump from office. Here is the official statement by the executive board of the International Bonhoeffer Society:

January 11th, 2021

In light of the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol and Congress of the United States of America, fueled and facilitated by white supremacy, invigorated by false narratives about what was a free and fair election, and incited by President Trump himself, the Executive Board of the International Bonhoeffer Society – English Language Section calls for the immediate removal of Donald Trump from office by the invocation of the 25th Amendment or impeachment.

In February of 2017, the IBS-ELS Board of Directors expressed our grave concerns about the rise of hateful and divisive rhetoric, violence, and distrust that came in the wake of Donald Trump’s election (February 2017 Statement). In January of 2020, we leaned into Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s legacy to see the world from the perspective of those who suffer, and expressed our concerns about threats the Trump administration posed to the most vulnerable among us, including people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, religious minorities, immigrants, and the poor. We called for “ending Donald Trump’s presidency” (January 2020 Statement). In both statements, we offered theological and ethical insight from Bonhoeffer on discerning responsible actions in times of crisis. The threat posed to American democracy by this insurrection amplifies the need for immediate action.

On the day of the baptism of his godson, in May of 1944, Bonhoeffer speaks into a context much like our own, where the dominant church, consumed by the pursuit of its own power and preservation, has not only tolerated but supported authoritarian leadership. Bonhoeffer argues that given this troubling reality, Christians have lost their ability to proclaim a life-giving word to the world. Because “the words we used before must lose their power … we can be Christians today in only two ways, through prayer and in doing justice among human beings.” We call on Christians to band together with all persons of conscience and all institutions dedicated to truth and justice to fight for the preservation of democracy and seek justice for all human beings by holding accountable the leaders who have threatened American democratic foundations.

Jennifer M. McBride, President IBS-ELS
Lori Brandt Hale, Vice President IBS-ELS
Gaylon Barker, Treasurer IBS-ELS
John Matthews, Secretary IBS-ELS
Christian Collins Winn, Board Member
Michael DeJonge, Board Member
Stephen R. Haynes, Board Member
Matthew K. Jones, Board Member
David Krause, Board Member
Michael Mawson, Board Member
Keith Clements, Emeritus Board Member
Clifford J. Green, Emeritus Board Member
Barry Harvey, Emeritus Board Member
Michael Lukens, Emeritus Board Member

How are evangelical colleges are responding to the January 6, 2021 insurrection?

Several colleges have released statements:

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).

Charismatic prophets at war

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 Times published 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.”

Let’s pray that on January 21, 2021 conservative evangelical extremists don’t act on Eric Metaxas’s prayer for martyrdom

This is very disturbing. It comes from a pro-Trump prayer meeting organized by court evangelical Jim Garlow. Thanks to Right Wing Watch for capturing it on video.

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.

Franklin Graham “shames” the ten Republicans who voted to impeach Trump

Evangelicalism is an activist faith. Historically, evangelicals have preached a life-changing gospel. They have done amazing acts of service and justice in the world. We can’t ignore these things. Evangelicals have been a source of good.

At the same time, as Mark Noll reminded us in his 1994 book The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, evangelicals are a largely anti-intellectual bunch. This anti-intellectualism results in, among other things, a shallow Christian politics that leads them into the hands of populist leaders like Donald Trump.

If you want an illustration of all this, just look at Franklin Graham’s twitter feed today:

So far so good. A lot of good ministry and service here. This is what evangelicals do best.

And then, about thirty minutes ago, Graham drops this beauty:

It is worth noting that Graham is shaming at least three fellow evangelicals.

Meanwhile, Jenna Ellis of Liberty University’s Falkirk Center is asking Wheaton College writer Ed Stetzer a question:

I would offer some answers to Ellis here.

Notice how Ellis defines evangelical Christianity. How could Stetzer possibly think evangelicals sold out to Trump, Ellis believes, when Trump is pro-life, loves America, and believes in limited government? Again, Ellis’s tweet speaks volumes about the current state of conservative evangelicalism. I don’t know what church Ellis attends, but there is nothing in the Bible about American liberty or American patriotism.