In all the sturm und drang of the Kavanaugh-Ford hearings, a Religion News Service story by Steve Rabey (an early GetReligion contributor) on a new Christian film about Donald Trump escaped many peoples’ notice.
Which is unfortunate, in that secular America doesn’t get how vehemently many people believe that God orchestrated President Trump’s 2016 victory. And what’s more, many of those people believe God has mandated another victory for Trump in 2020.
You’ve not heard this? Folks, you’re not reading the right web sites. More below:
(RNS) — Mark Taylor is sure he knows why Donald Trump became president.
Forget Hillary hatred, white anger, Russian interference or voter turnout. Trump’s victory was God’s will, said Taylor. Taylor said he knows this because God told him so.
In 2011, while watching an interview with Trump on TV, Taylor says he heard a voice saying, “The Spirit of God says I’ve chosen this man, Donald Trump, for such a time as this.”
And the Almighty is just getting started, said Taylor, a former firefighter who has published 23 “prophetic words,” many about Trump’s presidency.
The presidential prediction is detailed in “The Trump Prophecy,” a new film produced with the help of faculty and students at Liberty University — some of whom later rejected its message — that will be shown in some 1,200 theaters on Oct. 2 and 4.
It’s not so much evangelical Protestants who are pushing this idea, but a daughter movement made up of charismatics and Pentecostals (linked up with Liberty University film people). I’ve been amazed over the years how few religion reporters follow these folks, even though this demographic was instrumental in getting Trump elected. Plus, a growing percentage of world Christianity is Pentecostal/charismatic (see this classic major Pew Forum study). Visit Brazil, if you don’t believe me. And much of Africa.
The film is part of a small but influential “Trump prophecy” movement that proclaims the current administration is divinely ordained and condemns its critics as servants of Satan.
A number of high-profile evangelical and charismatic leaders — among them evangelist Franklin Graham, Baptist preacher Robert Jeffress, pollster George Barna and presidential adviser and televangelist Paula White — have claimed that God intervened in 2016 to ensure the election of Trump.
I’ve written in the Washington Post Sunday Magazine about the part that White played in Trump’s alliance with evangelicals. I wish Rabey’s piece had had the time or space to go into more detail.
There’s a site known as the Elijah List where there’s everything from prayers against “the devilish agenda against President Trump” plus an interview with female prophet Kat Kerr — taped in January — saying not only will Trump be in office eight years, but Vice President Mike Pence will be in president after him, also for eight years. (Kerr is the lady with the pink hair. Start the tape at the 5.40-minute mark).
A number of charismatic leaders, including Wallnau, Cindy Jacobs, Alveda King, Steve Shultz, Rick Joyner, Frank Amedia, and Lou Engle, work with POTUS Shield, which organizes prayer for the Trump administration.
The group recently called for an around-the-clock vigil for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. In announcing the vigil, Amedia repeated a prophecy from 2016 that claims Trump will appoint three new justices to the high court.
OK, now we’re naming names of charismatic leaders who are in the midst of this movement. POTUS Shield is here. Stephen Strang, publisher of Charisma magazine (a go-to place for charismatics), said a year ago that Trump will get more 400 electoral votes in 2020. Laugh at them if you want, but no one thought this time two years ago that there’d be a President Trump.
Now Taylor is saying elsewhere that Trump will win in 2020. I assume he didn’t say that in the film, as Rabey would have told us that. The writer did list the following:
Taylor’s Trump prophecy was just the beginning. His 22 other “prophetic words,” all available on his website, mirror his political ideology and key planks of Trumpism:
Other details in this vision include:
Trump will serve two terms and appoint a total of five Supreme Court justices.
The landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision on abortion in Roe v. Wade will be overturned.
The “most important midterm elections in American history” will lead to a “red tsunami” that will help Republicans strengthen their hold over both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
Thanks to the book Rabey wrote 20 years ago about the Pensacola (Fla.) revival, he is very familiar with the Pentecostal/charismatic universe and its many players. Near the end of his piece:
The film has its critics, even among some of the Liberty University students who worked on it, who have launched an online petition titled “Cancel the Liberty University Film Program’s Heretical Film Project.”
“Mark Taylor claims to have received prophecies directly from God that do not align with the Bible’s message,” reads the petition. “Mark Taylor has claimed God told him that electing Trump will save the world which is unbiblical at best and heretical at worst.”
The article ends with a discussion of prophetic words and which ones may be right and which ones are dead wrong.
This is territory few religion reporters dare to tread. Since I happen to specialize in this topic, I know this stuff is not hard to dig up. There are a bunch more people out there –- other than Mark Taylor -– who are saying similar stuff.
One is a Nashville-based minister, who calls himself “Prophet Charlie Shamp.” I interviewed him for an April 2016 piece for RNS, and he wasn’t calling himself a prophet so publicly at that point. I know a lot of folks look askance at anyone who calls himself or herself a prophet (the more acceptable term is to be ‘prophetic’) but stay with me on this one.
Anyway, he says here that there will be a massive win for conservatives –- his wording was also a ‘red tsunami’ — this coming November; that Republicans will gain nine seats in the House and that Trump will win a second term in 2020. Today (Sunday as I am writing this), he posted a request to pray and fast for Kavanaugh this coming week.
Disagree as you may, but within three hours of the post, he’d gotten 1,600 comments, 505 shares and 8,800 views. There’s a hidden segment of America out there that is way under the media radar.
While I was interviewing White and her family last year for the aforementioned Post piece, her son, Bradley, told me that it’d been prophesied that Trump will win again in 2020. We were walking somewhere and I wasn’t taking notes, but he clearly said that Trump will appear to be losing (as he was on the eve of the 2016 election) but he’ll pull out a second victory.
We will see. As John Kass of the Chicago Tribune says here, the media just doesn’t get the 63 million people who came out of nowhere to vote for Trump and it sure doesn’t get the religious folks in that group. But if that “red tsunami” happens in November, reporters would do well to give themselves a reality check as to where the stories really are.