A self-proclaimed “prophet” has declared Donald Trump is the legitimate US president – and that the Pentagon is preparing a coup against Joe Biden.
Minister Jeff Jansen is one of a gaggle of US pastors and preachers who “prophesied” Donald Trump would overwhelmingly win the 2020 election. It was “God’s will”, they insisted.
When their prophecy fell through, many changed tack.
“You have to realise what’s taken place in our nation has been a hostile takeover,” Jansen, the founder of Global Fire Ministries, proclaimed on a YouTube interview earlier this month.
“It’s a tale of two presidents … because president Trump has never conceded. He never agreed to anything. Never stepped away. Never conceded. He basically stepped aside momentarily, while things are being sorted out.”
It’s just one of a multitude of inciting sermons that has the US Homeland Security Department concerned. It’s secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, last week warned violent extremism was the “single greatest terrorism-related threat”.
“We are focused on gathering intelligence and information and sharing it in actionable form with our state, local, tribal and territorial partners,” he said.
And there’s plenty of it out there, sitting in plain sight.
Today #ODNI, @TheJusticeDept, and @DHSgov released an unclassified summary of the joint comprehensive threat assessment on domestic violent extremism, view the full report here: https://t.co/k5tvEUnrr4 pic.twitter.com/8gOyuVOL7Z
— Office of the DNI (@ODNIgov) March 17, 2021
“The last defence is military,” Jansen told his YouTube audience.
“So the military … is in control right now. They’ve already made their determination. Now it’s about execution … There will be civil power restored in the United States. And that president will be Donald J. Trump.”
It’s precisely the sort of ministry that US intelligence agencies believe “will almost certainly” lead to more violence.
The report notably avoided mentioning religion as a leading form of incitement. Instead, it referred to “abortion-related”, “anti-government” and “racially or ethnically” motivated extremists.
But it didn’t pull any punches over the risk posed by conspiracy theories, whatever their narrative.
“Narratives of fraud in the recent general election” the “emboldening impact of the violent breach of the US Capitol” and “conspiracy theories promoting violence” will “almost certainly” prompt domestic extremists to act, an Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) report warned.
It’s a point not lost on Trump’s prophets.
Pastor Robin Bullock declared on YouTube that the combined power of “Christian prophets” would lead Trump back into power.
“Don’t mess with us, Satan,” he declared.
“Don’t mess with us, corrupt political regimes. Don’t mess with God’s people like that, because I’m going to tell you something: If you mess with us, we’ll call him back for three terms.
“Don’t mess with us.”
Pastor Rick Joyner last week used YouTube to implore “true disciples of Christ” to prepare for civil war with the “evil” forces that “stole” the November election.
White evangelical Christians have represented a key Trump voter base since before the 2016 election. Some 80 per cent backed him then. A similar number voted the same way in 2020.
Many cite issues such as reproductive and LGBTQ rights as their motivating concern.
“Trump really won by a huge margin. Maybe one of the biggest margins ever. How did it get stolen from us like it did?” Joyner said, despite many lawsuits in a multitude of states being thrown out of court for lack of evidence.
“It will be a civil war, and it’s going to be increasingly worse with the increasing time it takes for Americans to stand up and push back against this evil that has taken over our land,” he said.
“You know, there’s a time for peace and a time for war, it says in Ecclesiastes. Well, we’re not headed towards peace right now … and we need to prepare for it. We need to put out the word that people need to be prepared.”
There are signs people have already been heeding such preaching.
Christian iconography and messaging featured heavily during the January 6 Capitol Hill insurrection attempt.
Rioters carried large wooden crosses while Biblical quotes and ministry slogans adorned a host of placards. A “Jesus Saves” sign was set alongside a gallows erected on the US parliament’s steps.
“This is not only dangerous and unpatriotic but also blasphemous, presenting a picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ that isn’t the gospel and is instead its exact reverse,” Southern Baptist Convention president Russell Moore told US media.
Jansen has once again tried his hand at prophecy. He told his YouTube audience that Trump would be back in the White House “by the end of April”.
But he’s hedging his bets by attempting to redefine the meaning of the word prophecy itself.
He told US media: “Unfortunate people SWEAR they heard from God and when what we see in mainstream media doesn’t match that, they assume they missed it. A prophetic word is God’s DESIRES and His PLANS for what NEEDS to happen”.
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In other words, a prophecy is a proclamation – not a vision of the future.
Pastor Bullock has also hedged his bets.
“But you’re going to have to pray for the rightful president, whether he wants to walk back into this or not. You must pray that he wants to do it because God won’t make him do anything. Is it his will? Yes. Is he the president? Yes. That’s why he could just walk right back in, and God will supernaturally move things out of the way.”
But not all fallen prophets are so determined to rewrite history.
Christian “prophet” Jeremiah Johnson also proclaimed Trump’s destiny to win a second term as President.
When he got it wrong, he apologised.
He went so far as to end his ministry.
“I believe that this election cycle has revealed how desperately we need reformation in the prophetic movement,” Johnson said in a video.
“I have serious concerns for the charismatic-prophetic world that, if we do not wake up, if we do not humble ourselves, there is greater judgment to come.”
VOICES IN THE WILDERNESS
Christian nationalism is not always violent, writes Baylor University associate professor Samuel Perry.
“But Christian nationalist violence has been a presence during the Trump administration. More broadly it has been on the rise over the past few decades,” he said.
“When the demonstration outside the Capitol escalated into a siege, the violence mixed with Christian symbols in a way that recalled past acts of political violence and terrorism associated with Christian nationalism.”
Some US evangelical leaders agree.
“It is very important to understand we are not condemning being patriotic,” Evangelical Lutheran Church Reverend Elizabeth Eaton said.
Instead, she said, a believer shouldn’t conflate a love of country and a love of God into Christian nationalism.
“One of the barriers to speaking to these conspiracy theories is many pastors and leaders rightly recognise this stuff as crazy, so they assume it doesn’t need to be spoken to,” Mr Moore said.
Newsmax guest: "President Trump was the best thing to happen to the Christian church in America since maybe Jesus" pic.twitter.com/0m10LFMeZE
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) February 5, 2021
“But we live in a crazy time.”
Prof Perry pointed to the Ruby Ridge and Waco sieges, the 1995 Oklahoma City and 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombings and the murder of 11 people in attacks on abortion clinics as signs of the emerging Christian nationalist trend.
“Both the Christian right and right-wing white supremacist groups aspire to overcome a culture they perceive as hostile to the white middle class, families, and heterosexuality,” he said.
“It is important to note that the vast majority of Christian nationalists never engage in violence. Nonetheless, Christian nationalism does supply a vocabulary and narrative suggesting that unless Christians control the state, the state will attack or suppress Christianity.”
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