I was going to include this in my MAGA evangelicals post this morning, but I decided to save it for a separate post.
The Falkirk Center at Liberty University just tweeted a video of an Eric Metaxas speech:
Almost everything Metaxas says in this clip is wrong. The defenders of Metaxas might say I am taking the clip out of context. I am not. This speech comes from Metaxas’s book If You Can Keep It, a book that I have reviewed in six long blog posts back in 2016. I summarized that six part series in a Religion News Service article. You can read it here.
But today I offer an even more pointed critique, based on the claims he makes in the aforementioned clip. The Falkirk Center was right to pick this clip, because it really reveals the deep historical problems with Metaxas’s view of American history and, by extension, American identity.
Metaxas says crime went down in Philadelphia after Whitefield preached in the “1740, 1750s, and 1760s.” Indeed, Whitefield preached several times in Pennsylvania from 1739 to 1769. But his claim that crime dropped in the city is not supported by evidence. Jack Marrietta did meticulous work on crime rates in colonial Pennsylvania. Marrietta found 7 homicides in the colony in 1740. That number had almost quadrupled by the 1760s. The homicide rates also rose in the city of Philadelphia over this period. The number of violent assaults in the colony also rose. Whitefield’s preaching did nothing to stop crime in Philadelphia.
Metaxas also seems unaware of the fact that the Great Awakening badly divided the Christian community in colonial Pennsylvania. As I argued in The Way of Improvement Leads Home, many of the Awakening’s most ardent supporters apologized later for their divisive behavior during the height of the awakening. Gilbert Tennant, the evangelical itinerant and Whitefield wanna-be, is the best example of this.
Metaxas says, “everything bad decreased” after Whitefield came to town. This is not true in the least. For example, I am assuming that Metaxas thinks slavery and the slave trade was bad. (As he reminds us every day, he wrote a book about William Wilberforce). Both slavery and the slave trade increased steadily in Philadelphia during the years Whitefield visited despite the pleas of Quakers and some anti-slavery evangelicals to end the practice. (Whitefield, I might add, was not one of those anti-slavery evangelicals).
In 1780, Pennsylvania passed a gradual abolition act, but slavery remained legal in Pennsylvania until 1847. I could also write several more paragraphs about how the abolitionist community was not welcome in Philadelphia during the early 19th century or the successful attempt to disenfranchise free blacks in the state in 1837-1838 even as the so-called Second Great Awakening was raging in the United States. (You tend to learn such things when you teach a regular course on Pennsylvania history).
Metaxas says that “domestic abuse,” “alcoholism,” and “gambling” decreased in Pennsylvania and the other colonies after Whitefield arrived. He has no evidence to support any of these claims, but it sure fires up the base and gives him evangelical street cred as a “historian.”
Metaxas says that “there is no America without the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” He adds that this statement is true “historically” and “ideologically.”
Would the American Revolution have happened without Whitefield and the Great Awakening?
While a few historians still cling to the notion that there are ideological connections between the Awakening and Revolution, I don’t know of any historian who would claim that the American Revolution was dependent upon the First Great Awakening. Metaxas, once again, is manipulating the complexity of the past to promote his own political agenda. I critiqued Metaxas more fully on this point here.
Much of the evangelical MAGA movement, promoted by the likes of David Barton, Eric Metaxas, and Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, is built on an irresponsible and unsustainable view of American history. There are few days that go by in which Eric Metaxas does not push this erroneous vision of the American founding.
Their rage has turned to Biden, Limbaugh haters, Timothy Keller, Twitter, Ted Cruz haters, and those controlling the seven mountains of influence. Here we go:
David Brody on Trump’s “traditional biblical values.”
Tweets like this explain why so many evangelicals support Trump and do not support Biden. Whatever “biblical values” Trump tried to advanced during his presidency were advanced out of political expediency. Does anyone believe Trump cares one iota about the unborn or religious liberty? He only cares about power. Having said that, I think Biden has a lot of work to do on abortion. I hope to write about this soon. I am still in the research phase.
Jenna Ellis is criticizing Tim Keller. Trump has really emboldened her. Of course she has no idea what she is talking about.
Hey Liberty University, is this the way you encourage your Falkirk Center fellows to engage on Twitter?
Ellis also has a few things to say about Ted Cruz:
Ellis doesn’t care that Cruz left for Cancun while people froze to death, but lying seems to bother the former Trump election fraud attorney. Shouldn’t someone who became popular by indulging in poisonous fruit from the tree of Trump’s pathological dishonesty be careful before she condemns the practice of lying? I guess it doesn’t matter if you land a gig as part of the former president’s evangelical lost cause movement:
We haven’t checked-in with Independent Network Charismatic prophet Lance Wallnau in a while. Lance is still pushing his Seven Mountain Dominionism as the way to win back America in the post-Trump age. Here is what he wrote yesterday on his Facebook page:
The spiritual forces opposed to us are unified in their occupation of the high places in media, government, academia, etertainment (sic) and finance. Call them mountains, spheres, or Santa’s deers, they are the gates of influence that can quickly become the gates of hell. There has been much prayer already made. God has already gone before us into the future and will lead us just as He led Israel when they were up against giants and adversaries He told them were “greater and mightier than you.” He promised them victory if they obeyed what He told them to do. This entire situation can turn out for our deliverance and a great harvest – IF we humbly seek and align with what the Spirit is sayng. We simply don’t have time to chase the wrong issues. We need a unity like the Continental Congress and the Jerusalem Counsel that met to settle issues in the First Century Church.
And in this FB post Wallnau invokes Tom Paine in The Crisis to praise fellow prophet Mario Murillo:
These are the times that try mens souls.” Thomas Paine wrote about the “sunshine patriot” who shrinks in the crisis. General Washington so loved the writing that he had Paine read out loud to his troops. We are in such a time like that now. Mario Murillo is like Thomas Paine. As he communicates, he strengthens the soul of the upright and agitates the false shepherds of compromise.
Charlie Kirk, Liberty University Falkirk Center founder and frequenter of pro-Trump evangelical megachurches, is looking for anything to stir the pot and keep the flames of the culture war burning. The more they burn, the more power, influence, and money he gets:
Here is Jack Hibbs at Facebook: “RUSH LIMBAUGH DIES AT 70.”
Hibbs, of course, is not the only member of the Christian Right to offer eulogies for Limbaugh. The real question, which historians have already explored in much detail, is this: Why would an evangelical clergyman post the death of an extremely divisive talk radio host on his public platform? How did we get to this point?
I have followed politics every day of my life from when I was 9 years old. The inauguration was 4 weeks ago today. I have NEVER EVER seen a man do more to destroy a nation (immoral policies, hatred for life in the womb, disdain for the family, devastating the economy, loss of jobs, loss of morale in the military, censorship, a vendetta, not to mention the overall ineptness) than what has happened in the last 28 days. It is stunning how much damage one person can do. Biden holds the record for destruction of godly values.
Eric Metaxas once met Rush Limbaugh and the talk radio star inspired him to turn against John McCain. In other Metaxas news, Twitter suspended him for a MyPillow tweet.. Just to be clear, Twitter is a private business. The government did not suppress Metaxas speech, Twitter did. By the way, Metaxas is saying all of this on a nationally syndicated radio program and he is currently on a national book tour.
Robert Jeffress update: I haven’t seen him on Fox News since Lou Dobbs was fired.
Gary Bauer believes Donald Trump is an unstoppable force. It appears the old culture-warrior has finally found his man. Here is Bauer at Facebook: “Respectfully to Mitch McConnell: Do you really believe that you and others can destroy Donald Trump and that his voters will turn out for you in 2022 and 2024? That’s insane!” This post comes complete with a link to a Breitbart article.
“There was a generation of Christians who used to listen to Moody or Family Life radio all day, and sometime around 1990 they decided to listen to Rush five times a week instead. And here we are.”–TWOILH reader.
Limbaugh seldom talked about religion. He was not a Christian Right leader. But the Christian Right loved him.
Franklin Graham will miss Rush:
Gary Bauer at Facebook: “Heartbroken by this devastating news.”
Jim Garlow at Facebook: “An enormous loss. Brilliance. Staggering brilliance! The dispenser of truth. So glad he was honored by the President and the First Lady.”
Yesterday I noted that Calvary Chapel-Chino Hills has emerged as a prominent site for Trump’s evangelical lost cause movement. Today I highlight (once again) the “think tank” associated with this movement: Liberty University’s Falkirk Center.
It continues to baffle me that the Falkirk Center keeps championing “truth” while at the same time giving oxygen to the Trump’s “Big Lie” and carrying water for one of the most deceitful presidents in American history:
Charlie Kirk supported and enabled a president who most U.S. Senators, even many of those who voted to acquit Trump during his impeachment trial, believed had something to do with the insurrection on January 6, 2021. Now he wants the troops to go home. He is partially responsible for this $500 million bill.
Does Liberty University know that one of their spokespersons is tweeting stuff like this. Do they care?
I am guessing that in the minds of the Liberty University brass, the Clinton tweet is offset by the following tweets:
One of the Falkirk Center fellows appears to be taking course on racism at Princeton Theological Seminary. A quick Google search reveals that the four-week online course is taught by Dr. Carolyn Helsel. I wonder if Dr. Helsel knows that one of her students is on Twitter trashing her course. Which leads me to ask: Why is Darrell Harrison taking this course?
Another Falkirk Center fellow, David Harris Jr., is firing-up the base for 2022:
The Falkirk Center director prefers “biblical” over “evangelical or “Christian.” If the stuff the Falkirk Center spews regularly on its social medial platforms is “biblical,” this evangelical says “no thanks.”
Folks at the Falkirk Center are still questioning the validity of the election. Here is Christian Lasval. He holds the position of “Influencer Administrator” at the Center:
If Mitch McConnell is right, the Democratic House managers proved that Donald Trump committed high crimes and misdemeanors. The former president survived his impeachment trial because forty-three senators, all Republicans, voted to acquit. Several of these senators, including Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, James Lankford, Tom Cotton, Tim Scott, Rick Scott, Bill Hagerty, Marsha Blacburn, James Inhofe, John Thune, and Marco Rubio, are evangelical Christians.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Last night the Falkirk Center at Liberty University called Christians to take up the call of the Great Commission:
We were talking about the Great Commission this past week in my Created and Called for Community class at Messiah University. The context was a conversation about the relationship between the “gospel” and social concern. Traditionally, evangelicals have thought about the Great Commission in terms of evangelism. The goal is to get people “saved” or “born-again” so they can have assurance of eternal life. (Think Billy Graham).
The Great Commission calls Christians to baptize people in the name of the “Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Baptist evangelicals argue that the born-again experience should be immediately followed by baptism. (I am not sure how non-Baptists evangelicals, such as Presbyterians or Methodists who baptize infants, understand these verses). In other words, the call to “baptize” people is closely connected to evangelism. Get them saved and then get them in the river.
But as one of my students pointed out, the Great Commission also says to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.” In other words, the Great Commission requires Christians to live-out the teachings of Jesus. So what are some of the things Jesus “commanded” his disciples during his earthly ministry? Let’s take one example: the so-called “beatitudes” of Matthew 5. In this passage Jesus calls Christians to be poor in spirit, mournful, meek, righteous, merciful, pure in heart, and peacemakers.
Back to the Falkirk Center.
Take a look at its Twitter feed. Take a look at the Twitter feeds of co-founder Charlie Kirk and “fellow” Jenna Ellis. Do you see humility (“poor in spirit”), mournfulness, meekness, righteousness, mercy, purity in heart, and peace? I see an institution that seems to make no distinction between the Great Commission and the culture wars. Notice how director Ryan Helfenbein’s tweet about the Great Commission is framed in combative way.
There’s nothing in the Constitution that allows them to do this—they’re just making the rules up as they go. It’s obvious that Donald Trump‘s enemies are terrified that he might have a political future that would threaten their positions and their agendas. Let’s pray for our country and our leaders in Washington today. This impeachment is just further dividing our country when they should be focused on so many other issues. President Biden could take the leadership and speak out to condemn this evil hypocrisy.
Here is Gary Bauer on his Facebook page:
The Democrat impeachment managers took a totally normal statement about fighting for our country, rhetoric that I guarantee virtually every senator has used in their own speeches, and twisted it into a call for physical violence.
If that is incitement to violence, then every leftist who urged progressive activists “to fight for social justice” is responsible for the rioting in our cities last summer.
Need further proof that they deliberately took the president’s remarks out of context? The Democrat impeachment team censored the part of Trump’s speech where he rejected violence, telling supporters to march “patriotically and peacefully” to the Capitol to “cheer on” congressional conservatives.
If any jury in a court of law was shown a doctored video like that, defense attorneys would demand a mistrial and it would be granted.
There’s no question that a relatively small number of people involved in the January 6th rally on Capitol Hill did tremendous damage to the rule of law. But tremendous damage was also done to the rule of law yesterday by the Democrat impeachment managers and the senators who tolerated that video.
The pastor who hosted the “Evangelicals for Trump” rally in January 2020 (I wrote about it here) turns out to be a charlatan. This picture was taken at his church on that day:
David Brody of Christian Broadcasting Network continues to confuse me:
In the last several days we have seen the Republican Party get closer to the breaking point. Trumpism in the form of Marjorie Greene and her enablers is pitted in a war for control of the party against the likes of Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and Mitch McConnell.
Meanwhile the nation mourns the unnecessary death of Brian Sicknick, the U.S. Capitol police officer killed in the January 6, 2021 insurrection.
We are less than a week away from Trump’s second impeachment trial and we now have a good idea how the Democrats will prosecute their case against the former president. Whether or not Trump specifically incited the riot during his speech on January 6, it is fair to say that the riot happened because Americans elected him president in 2016. If Donald Trump was not president of the United States, and did not spend four years fanning the flames of white supremacy, Christian nationalism, and conspiracy theories, Brian Sicknick would still be alive. (So would tens of thousands of other Americans who died of COVID-19).
What have Trump’s most diehard Christian supporters said over the course of the last few days? These lost cause evangelicals are complaining about the 2020 election, impeachment, free speech, and religious liberty. They are trying to sell books. They are finding “cancel culture” and conspiracy theories in the Bible. They are worried about their “Christian nation” under the Biden administration. Let’s check in on them:
Franklin Graham continues to foment division. For all his talk of unity and coming together, he is still driving the wedge.
Who is James Robison talking about here? Marjorie Greene? Andrew McCarthy? Lindsey Graham?
Tony Perkins found a new way to interpret the Old Testament prophetic books. In a recent video he used Jeremiah 11 to give his followers a lecture on “cancel culture.” Perkins says that “Jeremiah revealed the conspiracy and they responded by wanting to silence him.” Translation: “Tony Perkins revealed Democratic voter fraud and the Left wants to silence him.”
It looks like YouTube let Eric Metaxas back on its platform. In this clip from his show, he talks about the book launch of his memoir, Fish Out of Water. He tells people to write positive reviews on Amazon (because “the haters” will write negative reviews without reading the book). He then urges people to buy the book this week because “it makes a big, big difference.” (Translation: He wants it to be on best-seller lists). Metaxas suggests that his book simply chronicles “what happened” in his life. I am sure it will be completely objective with no interpretation or spin whatsoever. 🙂 This entire fifteen minute video is a combination of self-promotion (buy my book!) and victimization (social media and the “anti-American Left” are after me so please, please buy my book before it gets canceled).
In this video, Metaxas’s producer interviews him about his memoir.
In this video, Dinesh D’Souza interviews Metaxas. Notice how Metaxas seamlessly connects his own autobiography to his evangelical Trumpism.
Last night Metaxas did a Q&A as part of his book launch. If you paid $99.00 you could ask Metaxas a question. Watch it here. During this session Metaxas continues to spread the “big lie” about election fraud. He refuses to admit that Biden won the election and calls the GOP a “sham” for not defending the former president with greater vigor. As he has done several times in the past, Metaxas compares himself to Bonhoeffer: “God is telling us we need to fight.” He adds: “God put the Bonhoeffer’s story in my life” for “such a time as this.” He also compares advocates of critical race theory and systemic racism to the Nazis. He knows that CRT and systemic racism are errors because his Black friends tell him so and he once wrote a book about William Wilberforce. Finally, Metaxas tells people that they need to “raise hell” against the Left.
Metaxas seems to believe that God has been preparing him his entire life–through his book on Bonhoeffer, his Greek-American upbringing, and his media platforms– for the moment when he would enlist as an officer in Trump’s populist army.
Again, let’s get the facts straight. Multiple courts, including the Supreme Court and Donald Trump’s attorney general. said that there was no election fraud. The Democrats did not steal the 2020 presidential election. Metaxas is a conspiracy theorist and may even be delusional. Every now and then he suggests that God told him (or God told one of Metaxas’s favorite charismatic prophets, such as Dutch Sheets) that the Democrats stole the election. If this is true, then Metaxas is a perfect illustration of why the founding fathers built this nation on the Enlightenment, not Christianity. The Enlightenment requires citizens to base their public proclamations and engagement in the political arena on reason, evidence, and verifiable truth rather than on direct, extra-biblical revelation or prophecy. In America one cannot argue that an election was fraudulent because so-called “prophets” said that it was fraudulent. This is why we have the separation of church and state.
Let’s move on:
Charlie Kirk believes churches who defy COVID-19 restrictions are heroes for Christ:
Lance Wallnau retweets Marco Rubio:
Here’s a question for the Falkirk Center at Liberty University: Where does it say in the Bible that we have the “right to bear arms?”
Let’s make sure we protect our freedoms, like the right to be on Twitter and other social media platforms:
Evangelical pro-Trumpers were roundly defeated in November. They hitched their hope–both politically and ethically–to one of the most corrupt and immoral presidents in American history. Most of Trump’s diehard evangelical supporters believe that evil forces stole the election. preventing four more years of a God-appointed president who was born to restore America to Christian greatness. Trump lost the election, but his cause was just. Over the next months and years, such a belief will be disseminated through what I have called a lost cause evangelical infrastructure.
As it is now shaping up, Eric Metaxas and Charlie Kirk will use their platforms as the most prominent evangelical defenders of the lost cause. Former Minnesota congresswoman and GOP presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann will educate young men and women in the evangelical lost cause from her new position as dean of the Robertson School of Government at Regent University. The Falkirk Center at Liberty University will be an institutional home for this movement as it continues to provide a platform for pro-Trump evangelicals Metaxas, Kirk, Jenna Ellis, Sebastian Gorka, and others. On the Independent Network Charismatic front, “prophets” such as Lance Wallnau will continue to use their large social media presence to rally the faithful in a Trump-inspired Christian populism.
And dozens and dozens of evangelical churches will continue to host lost cause events like the one we saw earlier this week at Calvary Chapel-Chino Hills with Jack Hibbs and Kirk. Watch:
Let’s remember that this event took place in an evangelical megachurch. Listen to the cheering evangelicals in the audience as Kirk spins the election results and thanks the congregation for “doing the right thing” at the ballot box. If you want to get a picture of what Trump’s presidency has unveiled, it is all on display here. Hibbs has an open Bible on his lap as he and Kirk talk about Christians winning back the culture for Christ. Trump is gone, but the conversation is still all about the pursuit of political power.
Both Kirk and Hibbs continue to suggest, through Kirk’s “funny” joke about hand-gestures, that Democrats stole the election from Trump. Like other lost cause movements, these evangelicals believe that Trump’s agenda for America was righteous and just.
Kirk claims that every one of “the left’s” policies “run contrary to God’s laws and God’s nature.” Hibbs agrees. The crowd cheers. Those in attendance are obviously happy that their pastor has allowed a political rally to break-out in the Calvary Chapel sanctuary. Both Kirk and Hibbs sit back and grin with satisfaction.
Hibbs, trying and failing to show he is some kind of historian or political philosopher, claims that “the Bible is the birthplace of the Constitution, one feeds the other and one defends the other.” I wrote about these kinds of Christian nationalist claims extensively in chapters 9 and 10 of Was America Founded as a Christian Nation?: A Historical Introduction.
At around the 18:00 mark, Hibbs implies that those churches that have not stayed open during COVID-19 or failed to “stand” with Trump during the election will “not get a chance to stand again” in 2021. Notice how Hibbs connects the ability of the church to “stand” with those in political power. He then moves into evangelical fearmongering mode by suggesting that the “powers-that-be” want to shut down churches and are “sharpening their swords as we speak. He adds:
If you [are a church] that didn’t make the cross over into the new year standing, I don’t know if you are going to get a chance to stand again…I want to put a cry out to churches: you really need to open-up now because there is a high probability that you may never be granted the freedom to do that from the government again, and if you are waiting for permission from the government to open-up again I don’t think it is going to come from this administration.
Kirk then attacks my new friend, Christian rapper Lecrae. He says that Lecrae “should never be allowed to perform at another church after he supported Rafael Warnock” in the January 5, 2021 Georgia Senate runoff. He adds: “Lecrae wanted to be loved and accepted by the Democrat power establishment instead of standing-up for truth.” Again, Hibbs’s white middle class audience cheers.
Kirk then calls for a “battleship Christianity” that will fight to save American culture. A twenty-something loudmouth with no pastoral experience or formal education has the audacity to lecture pastors about how to run their churches, read their Bibles, and engage in public life. Kirk says that if a church does not preach politics, its congregants cannot trust it’s pastor’s teachings on other matters. This reminds me of the early 1740s when Presbyterian evangelical Gilbert Tennent barnstormed around the colonies preaching a sermon titled “The Danger of an Unconverted Ministry.” Tennent told Christians to leave their churches if their pastors had not experienced the new birth. A few years later, he wrote a series of pamphlets apologizing for his role in dividing the Christian churches in the colonies. One of them was titled The Danger of Spiritual Pride Represented.
At this point, the event is the equivalent of a full-blown Trump rally as Kirk makes a direct connection between Hibbs’s willingness to preach pro-Trump politics and the numerical growth of Calvary Chapel-Chino Hill. For the record, I have no doubt that Calvary Chapel-Chino Hill is growing because Hibbs uses his platform to preach politics. I also can’t think of a better window into the current state of American evangelicalism.
And it was only a matter of time before Godwin’s Law kicked-in. Like the New England Federalists of the early 19th-century who believed Thomas Jefferson was coming to close their churches and confiscate their Bibles, Kirk says that Biden’s government will soon be coming to do the same thing. Hibbs responds to Kirk’s claim: “He’s just speaking history. It’s exactly what Hitler…did.” The level of fear-mongering and conspiratorial rhetoric reaches its height as Hibbs starts comparing the Biden administration to the Nazis and Soviets.
At the end of the talk, Hibbs says that he expects the Holy Spirit to bring a revival to America like it has never seen before. After listening to his conversation with Kirk, it is unclear whether this will be a revival that will transform people spiritually or a “revival” that will drive the Democratic Party from power and restore America to its supposed Christian roots. As I asked this summer, “if a spiritual revival leads to more Christian Trumpism, it is really a spiritual revival? Or is it something else?”
Finally, Kirk announces a new program he is starting at Turning Point USA to help rally churches to become more like Jack Hibbs and Calvary Chapel-Chino.
Hibbs ends the night in prayer, sending a message to his congregation that God was pleased with everything that was said at this event.
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.”
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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:
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?”
New York Times religion reporters Elizabeth Dias and Ruth Graham just published a piece on evangelicals and the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday.
Here is a taste:
Lindsay French, 40, an evangelical Christian from Texas, flew to Washington after she had received what she called a “burning bush” sign from God to participate following her pastor urging congregants to “stop the steal.”
“We are fighting good versus evil, dark versus light,” she said, declaring that she was rising up like Queen Esther, the biblical heroine who saved her people from death.
“We are tired of being made out to be these horrible people,” she said, acknowledging there was some violence but insisting on the falsehood that Antifa was behind it.
Oren Orr, 31, an arborist from Robbinsville, N.C., where he goes to Santeetlah Baptist Church, rented a car to drive to Washington. He carried his American flag right up below the officers on the bleachers, and his wife had a Christian flag. Mr. Trump could be the last president to believe in Jesus, he said. (Mr. Biden speaks often about his lifelong Catholic faith, and unlike Mr. Trump, attends church services frequently.)
Mr. Orr said he brought a baton and a Taser to Washington but did not get them out. “I know the Lord has my back no matter what happens,” he said.
Are Lindsay French and Oren Orr representative of American evangelicals? No. Most white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 not because they liked him, but because Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden were pro-choice and posed a threat to religious liberty. Most of them are horrified by what happened at the U.S. Capitol last week, but few of them see any connection between their vote in 2016 and the events of January 6. At the same time, many also believe the Democrats stole the election. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of evangelicals embrace the views of people like Lance Wallnau, Eric Metaxas, Charlie Kirk, and the rest of the Liberty University Falkirk Center and court evangelical crowd.
Here is Dias and Graham again:
In a Facebook video shot in Washington on Monday night, Tennessee pastor Greg Locke referred to himself as part of the “black robe regiment,” a reference to American clergy who were active in the American Revolution. At a rally the next night, Mr. Locke preached to a crowd of Trump supporters in Freedom Plaza, predicting “not just a Great Awakening, but the greatest awakening that we have ever seen.”
There is a lot going on in this excerpt. We have written about Locke’s “black robe regiment” before. This reference to eighteenth-century patriotic clergy got traction during the Tea Party movement that emerged in the early Obama administration. It also draws upon QAnon conspiracy theories that predict a national and religious revival is coming to America.
Most evangelical pastors are not like Lindsay French’s pastor or Greg Locke. They do not preach politics from the pulpit (even though many of them voted Trump in 2016 and 2020), they do not encourage their congregations to “stop the steal,” and they do not invoke the Black Robe Brigade in their sermons. I have communicated with dozens and dozens of evangelical pastors over the last month or so. Most of them never mentioned Trump’s name (or Joe Biden’s name) in official church settings. (Nor did they condemn Trump or Biden). Most of them are striving to steer their divided congregations toward some form of Christian unity as they try to figure out how to respond to the power that Fox News (and now Newsmax and One America) and social media have over their congregations. They wonder if their congregations will come out of the COVID-19 pandemic in tact. Many of them are trying to educate their congregations about race. Whether you are sympathetic or not to the struggles that these pastors are facing, they are an important part of the larger story of evangelicals in the age of Trump.
The best histories of evangelicals in the Trump era will tell a complex and complicated narrative.
Roughly 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump in both elections. History will show that they enabled this president. I stand by every word I wrote inBelieve Me.
But history will also show that evangelical support for Trump took on different levels of commitment. Some followed him deeper into the abyss than others. It is important for future historians to capture this nuance and avoid the media’s efforts to paint evangelicals with broad brushes.
There is a good chance that by the end of the week Donald Trump will be the first president in United States history to be impeached twice.
Once again, I am reminded of Billy Graham biographer Grant Wacker’s words about Graham’s relationship with Richard Nixon at the end of Watergate:
The details of the low-level crime and high-level mendacity that led to Nixon’s impeachment and forced his resignation in August 1974 have been rehearsed many times and need not detain us. The crucial point is that Graham continued to defend Nixon long after most Americans smelled a rat. When the first hint of something amiss came to light in 1972, Graham dismissed it as pettifogery. He pointed out that illicit undercover behavior was no stranger to the White House. Through 1972 Graham allowed that the Watergate events themselves were troubling but insisted that Nixon had nothing to do with them. As late as December he privately assured Nixon of his personal affection and “complete confidence in your personal integrity./” Graham maintained that posture through January 1974.
OK, what’s the CRAZIEST conspiracy you’ve heard lately? I’ll start: The American voters elected Joe Biden to the presidency. Of course it’s embarrassing to admit, but I know people totally CONVINCED it happened, despite the obvious lunacy of it & all the evidence to the contrary.
Metaxas is also trusting God to save him from this Satanic conspiracy. Again, on Facebook:
When the left is THIS desperate, be sure their end is nigh. They have pushed their narrative as far as it can go & many have been blinded to anything else. BUT GOD IS ABLE TO DELIVER. This is a spiritual battle. God alone can deliver from this Satanic conspiracy. He will do it.
And more attacks from Metaxas on the purveyors of evil who do not believe the election was stolen (and a Hitler reference for good measure):
The idea that the left (and some lost souls on the right) are trying to demonize everyone who supports Trump as violent insurrectionists TELLS YOU EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW. All liars cast their lost with the father of lies. Please make a note of it. FYI, Hitler did this.
Jack Graham is concerned about his grandchildren. I am also concerned about my grandchildren. As an evangelical Christian, I do not want my children to grow up in a world where evangelicals empower someone like Donald Trump.
At a time when Liberty University’s Falkirk Center should be thinking again about the fruits of their culture-war approach to Christianity, they have decided instead to double-down with “courage” and “boldness.”
Charlie Kirk, the co-founder of the Falkirk Center at Liberty University, may be partially responsible for what happened on January 6. He apparently deleted this January 4 tweet in the wake of the insurrection:
Lance Wallnau, who believes the insurrectionists were members of Antifa (and not Trump supporters), does not like Twitter’s decision to remove Trump:
When Metaxas writes on Facebook he gets a few hundred views, maybe a couple thousand on a good day. Wallnau gets a quarter million views and more the 10,000 comments on an average day. In the video linked in the last sentence he essentially tells his followers that he may have to go into hiding because the social media companies are after him.
Court evangelical journalist David Brody is interviewing Alan Dershowitz. (Who is the “Senator Tom Cruise guy?”). Dershowitz believes the House of Representatives’ attempt to impeach Trump is unconstitutional:
Brody, the guy who has been lobbying softballs to the court evangelicals and their friends for four years, is criticizing CNN:
Hey Samuel Rodriguez—were your children “watching” the last four years of the Trump presidency?
More and more evangelicals are telling their followers how to stay in touch with them because they are suffering persecution at the hands of social media companies. Jack Hibbs is one of them. Here is Hibbs today on his FB page:
DEAR ONLINE FAMILY: we will be posting and streaming today’s messages (all three services) but we are now aware that we may soon not be on FACEBOOK or YOUTUBE due to the fact that we preach the truth and that we are relevant (to relevant apparently) as a church. KEEP YOUR EYES ON JESUS. we will inform you to the best of our ability as to where we are going to preserve the going forth of His word from Calvary Chino Hills.
One of Hibbs’s followers wrote in response: “They will never be able to stop the word of God, men and the Devil have tried for centuries to no avail the word of God will live forever! God bless you Pastor Jack!”
Robert Jeffress is on Fox News talking about healing. He is the last person who should be talking about this right now. He empowered and enabled the president who, in turn, empowered the insurrectionists. Robert Jeffress is not above this. But at least he believes that Biden is the president-elect. Watch:
Here is James Robison talking about how Satan is trying silence him. One wonders what how he got his message out before Twitter and Facebook.
Eric Metaxas, the evangelical author, radio host, and “fellow” at Liberty University’s Falkirk Center, has been one of the most outspoken defenders of the belief that Joe Biden and Democrats rigged the 2020 presidential election. We have covered him extensively over the last several years.
Nero demonized Christians as the ones who burned Rome down. Hitler demonized Jews as the real reason for Germany’s woes. Dems are demonizing Trump supporters because we dare to object to the monstrous theft of a presidential election. And bc we love liberty & our country & God.
On December 9, 2020, Metaxas appeared on Charlie Kirk’s podcast. Kirk is a fellow court evangelical and colleague at Liberty University’s Falkirk Center. During that show Metaxas said, in the context of supposed election fraud, that “we need to fight to the death, to the last drop of blood” to preserve Trump’s apparent victory in the 2020 election. You can watch that conversation here.
On January 6 in Washington D.C., pro-Trump rioters invaded the United States Capitol building. Who is responsible for this insurrection? I see four levels of complicity:
Of course the men and women who stormed the U.S. Capitol deserve blame and should be arrested. Many of them already have.
Those Trump-supporters with platforms who are pushing this election fraud narrative deserve blame. I place Metaxas in this category, along with Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Newsmax, One America News, and a bunch of other folks, including many evangelical leaders.
Those who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020 are complicit. You helped him get into office despite all the warnings. Of special note here are all those who refused to criticize Trump during his presidency. This includes many evangelicals.
Recently, Simon & Schuster re-issued an edition of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship. Someone at the venerable publishing house asked Eric Metaxas to write the foreword. As some of you know, Metaxas wrote a popular biography of Bonhoeffer that was widely panned by Bonhoeffer scholars.
Your embrace of Trump is eerily reminiscent of German Christians’ attachment to Hitler in the early 1930s. I make this point not to convince you that Trump is Hitler but to remind you of the troubling ways Christians have compromised themselves in endorsing political movements in which they perceived the hand of God. I developed a scholarly interest in the churches’ role during the Nazi era in part so I could help ensure that Christians would never repeat the mistakes they made under Hitler. Similarly, Dietrich Bonhoeffer is one of my heroes in part because he was able to resist the wave of Hitler worship that swept up many German Protestants.
Being familiar with this history, I have been struck by how reminiscent many of your responses to Trump are of the way Christians in Germany embraced a strong leader they were convinced would restore the country’s moral order. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, many Christians in Germany let themselves be persuaded that Hitler was a deeply pious man, placed in power by God through a graceful act of intervention in German history. Hitler encouraged these ideas not by claiming any allegiance to Christ but by employing vague religious language, promising a return to the “good old days,” and posing for photographs as he left church, prayed, and entertained ecclesiastical leaders.
Here are a few examples of how Protestant Christian leaders in Germany spoke about God’s role in Hitler’s accession to power:
• “With National Socialism an epoch in German history has begun that is at least as decisive for the German people, as for example the epoch of Martin Luther.” • “No one could welcome January 30, 1933 more profoundly or more joyfully than the German Christian leadership.” • “Adolf Hitler, with his faith in Germany, as the instrument of our God became the framer of German destiny and the liberator of our people from their spiritual misery and division.” • “[Hitler is] the best man imaginable, a man shaped in a mold made of unity, piety, energy and strength of character.” • “[Hitler], the most German man, is also the most faithful, a believing Christian. We know that he begins and ends the course of his day with prayer, that he has found in the Gospel the deepest source of his strength.” • “If the German who truly believed in Jesus could find the Spirit of the kingdom of God anywhere, he could find it in Adolf Hitler’s movement.” • “In the pitch-black night of Christian church history, Hitler became like a wonderful transparency for our time, a window through which light fell upon the history of Christianity.” • “[God has granted us an] hour of grace . . . through Adolf Hitler.” • “God has once again raised his voice in a singular individual.”
Compare these statements with those made in recent months by American charismatic and evangelical leaders
• “God raised up . . . Donald Trump” (Michelle Bachman). • “God has righteously chosen [Trump] to affect the way that this nation goes forward” (Chuck Pierce). • “Donald Trump represents a supernatural answer to prayer” (James Robison). • “God had raised up [Trump] for such a time as this” (Stephen Strang). • “Donald Trump actively seeks God’s guidance in his life” (James Dobson). • Trump’s victory “showed clear evidence of ‘the hand of God’ on the election” (Franklin Graham). • “[Trump is] a bold man, a strong man, and an obedient man” (Kenneth Copeland). • “I see this as a last-minute reprieve for America, and the Church” (Rodney Howard-Browne). • “[Trump] does look like he’s the last hope” (Phyllis Schlafly). • “God was raising up Donald Trump as He did the Persian king Cyrus the Great” (Lance Wallnau). • “[Trump is] a man of faith . . . truly committed to making America great again through principles that honor God rather than defy Him” (Stephen Strang). • “In the midst of . . . despair, came November the 8th, 2016. It was on that day . . . that God declared that the people, not the pollsters, were gonna choose the next president of the United States. And they chose Donald Trump” (Robert Jeffress). • “We thank God every day that He gave us a leader like President Trump” (Robert Jeffress).14
How is Trump able to convince these Christian leaders that he is worthy of their support? Mostly by paying attention to them, inviting them to Trump Tower, and indulging their need to be listened to in an increasingly post-Christian culture. It is truly remarkable that they have been taken in by Trump’s vague and barely comprehensible statements about his “faith,” such as “I’ve always been spiritual,” “belief is very important,” and “I’m going to do a great job for religion.” Honestly, Hitler was better at pretending to be a Christian.
Metaxas thinks he is following Bonhoeffer’s example by challenging the results of the 2020 election. He believes that Democrats are the Nazis and he and his fellow conspiracy theorists are the resistance.
But there is another angle to this story. Last week Simon & Schuster canceled the book contract of Missouri senator Josh Hawley after he objected to the results of 2020 Electoral College. In a public statement, Simon & Schuster said:
“As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: At the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.”
Eric Metaxas may actually have more influence over rank and file Americans than Josh Hawley.
Let’s hope Simon & Schuster does the right thing here.
One final note. The Amazon page for the Metaxas edition of Cost of Discipleship says the edition with the Metaxas foreword was published in 2012. The Simon & Schuster page lists the publishing date as 1995. The 1995 listing cannot be the Metaxas edition because he did not write his Bonhoeffer biography until 2010. So I’m confused. Did Metaxas write the introduction to Cost of Discipleship in 2012, or did he write it more recently? Either way, I think it is time to remove his foreword.