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Donald Trump’s Presidency and False Prophecy

A guest editorial by Christian historian William De Arteaga. Readers are invited to respond by including respectful comments on the article page.

This editorial was updated in January 2021 under the new title, “Why So Many Evangelicals and Pentecostals Were Beguiled by False Prophecies about Trump and his Second Term.”

 

Recently, the Mark Galli’s op-ed piece in Christianity Today created uproar among Evangelical Christians.[1] He asserted that President Trump should be removed from office for his lack of moral character. Many Christians were offended, but many others affirmed his view as theirs. It seems clear that most Evangelicals understand that Trump is a deeply flawed and a personally immoral person. The divide then is between those who find this to be disqualifying for the office of President, as the Rev. Galli, and those to whom Trump’s immorality is lamentable, but not important as President. This latter group strongly believes that Trump has been called by God to be President in spite of his character flaws. For his defense, the “Forever Trump” Christians cite his pro-family and pro-Christian tilt in the White House, and especially his court nominations, Supreme Court and lower courts, and his across-the-board support of Israel as indicators that this is true.

When criticism is given about Trump’s behavior, as in his shameless boasting,[2] lying or insulting tweets, the Forever Trumpers often cite that biblical heroes, men and women called by God, were often imperfect, or had some deep areas of immorality. For instance, Samson could not resist pagan women and destroyed the fullness of his ministry with this sin but still carried out much of God’s call on his life.

To be transparent, I side with the Rev. Galli’s opinion.[3] Galli commented the following week that the mass of email and letters disagreeing with his op-ed followed this line of thought, and refused to argue or discuss the specifics of Trump’s immoral or arbitrary acts.[4] Like Galli, I too have found that the Forever Trumpers most often do not bother to defend Trump’s action or irrational tweets, but rather cite the biblical injection, “do no touch my anointed” (1 Chr 16:18).

The acceptance of this disjunction between Trump’s personal morality and intemperate, rude, uncharitable tweets, etc. and his support by most white Evangelical Christians[5] is due in part to a series of prophecies, by a previously unknown prophet, Mark Taylor, which were assisted by Mary Colbert, an influential Christian writer and editor. This prophetic message and a belief that Trump was especially called out by God has been reinforced among Charismatic Christians by Mr. Steve Strang, CEO and President of Strang Communications, which publishes charismatic books and the influential Charisma magazine.[6]

Paul encouraged prophecy in the New Testament Church and recommend it to Christians as the most important gift of the Spirit.

In this essay I want to look the issue of prophecy, especially the discernment of prophecy from biblical viewpoint and from the expedience of the Church over the ages. I will be taking into account various instances of false prophecy that have cropped up throughout Church history. Were the prophecies that propelled Trump to the Presidency true prophetic messages from God, or false prophecies to divide and undermine the moral standing of the Evangelical and Charismatic community, or something in between?

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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2020

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include Quenching the Spirit: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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