Now that it is certain that vice-President Joe Biden will be sworn in on January 20th, it is time to reflect on why so many evangelicals, and especially Pentecostal and charismatic leaders, fell into false prophecy and proclaimed repeatedly that Trump really won the election, and that the election results would be reversed.
Many pastors, including some of the most popular TV evangelicals/Pentecostals such as Pat Robinson, Kenneth Copeland, Sid Roth and many others prophesied both Trump’s initial election (2016) and his reelection in 2020. Others, such as Paula White and Kenneth Copeland continued to prophesy the 2020 election would be overturned and Trump would serve a second term. Some of the latter prophecies took bizarre forms such as Paula White’s ranting and Kenneth Copeland long laugh at the claim that Biden was the winner of the 2020 vote. God was not surprised and knew that Biden would win. Thus, the TV pastors who prophesied Trump’s second election victory fell into a mass false prophecy. Why did this happen?
I believe there are three principal reasons for this. The first is the “demographic illusion.” That is, white evangelicals and Pentecostals mostly congregate among themselves and unthinkingly assume they represent most of America. The second reason is a lack of an understanding and appreciation of the entire span of Christian history and experience with false prophecies. The third is the formation of the new Christian cult, the “Forever Trump” cult. These are conservative white Christians that listen only to their own news outlets and social media sites and dismiss any negative information about Trump and his policies as “fake news.” This is a tragic and complex issue that I will deal with in the immediate future. For now, let me deal with the other two issues, especially the issue of false prophecy.
The Demographic illusion:
My first civilian job out of the Army back in 1970 was as a public school teacher in Atlanta (1970-1973). I taught social studies at a predominantly African American high school in Southwest Atlanta. Most of the students there believed that Nixon won the White House by cheating. They lived in an African American section of town and knew few people who voted for Nixon. So how could he have won Georgia or the other states? I could not convince them otherwise, as reasonable arguments would not overcome their personal (and limited) experiences.
Similarly, in the current situation, white evangelicals and Pentecostals live mostly in predominantly white counties or towns, go to predominantly white Churches, etc. They have little contact with other demographic groups, as for instance, the African American Pentecostals, Latino Pentecostals and AME churches that are in the other parts of town from where they live. Thus, white evangelicals and Pentecostals formed a “gut” feeling that few people voted for Trump, other than the crazy people in the “Left Coast” and New York, etc. Certainly, Trump could not possibly have lost Georgia. (The recent election of two Democratic senators from Georgia proves this wrong.)
All of which is to say that white evangelicals and Pentecostals projected their limited life experience as a broad demographic misunderstanding of the American population. This was flamed by Trump’s initial rejection of the election results and then conservative white evangelicals and Pentecostals proceeded with enormous energy to find (mostly fictitious) faults with the election process. The fact that many Republicans judges and the conservative-dominated Supreme Court threw out the volumes of supposed election violations as rumor and passionate, but secondhand accounts, has made no impression of the Trump followers. It will take years for the damage done to our electoral system to be healed.
The Acceptance of False Prophecies about Trump:
The second major factor involved in the white evangelical and Pentecostal rejection of the Trump defeat was their heavy emotional investment in the prophecies that occurred as far back as 2015 that Trump would be the “Cyrus-Messiah” of America who would lead the country out of its slide into anti-Christian humanism and socialism. The uncritical acceptance of this prophetic bundle was predicated on a flaw in Evangelical theological education and understanding. It mostly dismisses the history and experience of Church history that is not Protestant or current. Thus, most Evangelical and Pentecostals have little or no access to the classic discernment literature of the historic liturgical churches, principally the Roman Catholic, and their experience in false prophecy, cultic prophetic movements and the discernment of prophecy.
This book is not just about President Trump. It is about every empire in history that has tried to usurp and use the Church in its political agenda. It is about the Last Days bewitchfull silencing of the true prophetic voices and replacing them with those of the false prophets. The ones who have sold out their anointing for political influence, financial gain or simply to be noticed in the vast wilderness of this present world. But ministry especially in the prophetic is not for sale. God still guards His Word with jealousy.
The author, William De Arteaga, Ph.D. is no small-time scholar. His best-selling book “Quenching the Spirit” has crossed many denominational boundaries transcending into the Biblical Charismata and advancing the work of the Kingdom. His historical essay on Agnes Sanford speaks to the women ministering in Pentecost opposing the cross-gender agenda. The recent publication on The Public Prayer Station proposes a new open paradigm for Christian ministry in the midst of physical and spiritual pandemic. And the book on Graceful Aging completes his public theological address to all generations touched and transformed by the eternal Spirit of God.
In a sense, this book is long overdue as it covers a much-needed research starting with the early forming of the historic evangelical vote prior to the 2016 presidential elections. Each chapter was birthed on the pages of the largest Pentecostal discussion group on the internet, PentecostalTheology.com. Each page was shaped by the painful reality of cross-genderism, racial protests, political unrest and hostile secularism in post-Christian America. Which also makes it a very timely book that transcends our current political and historic reality and speaks against every future empire aggressively enchanting the Christian Church into a spiritual agenda for globalism and world order that opposes the already, but not yet coming Kingdom of God.