Post-Jesus Christians are “Christians” who have decided to postpone following Jesus’s teaching until Jesus returns and ushers in 1000 years of peace.
Post-Jesus Christians hold that Jesus’s teachings do not need to be followed in our present era if they are a hindrance to obtaining the power they fear they need to help usher in the Kingdom of God.
Post-Jesus Christians (privately) hold that Jesus’s teachings are a nice thing to follow when dealing with the in-group of their fellow PJCs but may be disregarded when dealing with non-PJC neighbors.
Prophecy: What God Can Do For You
Post-Jesus Christians talk a lot about about prophecy, and unlike the Biblical Prophets, when they do, they punch down, rather than up:
You will know them by their fruit, because they only have one key message – God is going to “enlarge your tent” and “expand your influence“, he’s going to “give you great favor” and “bless you mightily”.
Later Craig Greenfield writes:
In Biblical times, there were two types of prophets.
- Firstly, there were those who feasted at the King’s table because they had been co-opted to speak well of evil leaders (1 Kings 18:19). They were always bringing these smarmy words of favor and influence and prosperity to the king. And the king lapped it up. Like a sucka.
- Secondly, there were those who were exiled to the caves, or beheaded (like John the Baptist) because they spoke out about the injustice or immorality of their leaders (1 Kings 18:4). The king didn’t like them very much. He tried to have them knee-capped.
An Inversion of Ben Franklin’s Morality
While many Post-Jesus Christians appeal to a historical “Christian Nation” , Post-Jesus Christians appear to be an inversion of founding father Ben Franklin, who in historian John Fea’s description, wanted to discard Jesus’s Divinity but retain and celebrate his ethical teachings.
So what does this look like in practice?
Below are public quotations from prominent Court Evangelicals. These quotations are less extreme that I would expect to hear in private. A friend of mine speaks to supporters in private. He reports that they would (privately) celebrate the stuffing of election ballots in favor of their preferred candidate as a righteous act.
1) Court Evangelical: Anti-Sermon on the Mount
John Fea wrote about a conversation he had with Rob Schenck for the “Schenck Talks Bonhoeffer” podcast @ 19:27. Here’s a quote from Schenck talking about a conversation he had with a prominent evangelical at the Trump Inaugural Prayer Service:I must tell you something of a confession here. I was present at the Trump Inaugural Prayer Service held at the National Cathedral — not the smaller one held at Saint John’s Episcopal church across from the white house, but the one following the inauguration at the National Cathedral and I saw one of the notable Evangelicals that you’ve named in in our conversation. One of them, I won’t say which and we had it short exchange and I, I suggested to him that we needed to recalibrate our moral compass and that one way to do that might be to return to The Sermon on the Mount as a reference point. And he very quickly barked back at me. “We don’t have time for that. We have serious work to do.”
2) Jerry Falwell Jr: Anti-Turn the other cheek
We have blogged about Liberty University’s Falkirk Center before. The more I learn about this center the more I am convinced that it does not represent the teachings of Christianity. Recently someone on Twitter pointed out this paragraph in the Falkirk Center mission statement:
Bemoaning the rise of leftism is no longer enough, and turning the other cheek in our personal relationships with our neighbors as Jesus taught while abdicating our responsibilities on the cultural battlefield is no longer sufficient. There is too much at stake in the battle for the soul of our nation. Bold, unapologetic action and initiative is needed, which is why we just launched the Falkirk Center, a think tank dedicated to restoring and defending American ideals and Judeo-Christian values in all aspects of life.
John Fea’s Update:
Several smart people have suggested that I may have misread Liberty University’s statement. They have said that the Falkirk Center was not denying that Jesus’s call to “turn the other cheek” is “insufficient” for individuals. Instead, the Falkirk Center is saying that we should not “abdicate” (the key word here) our responsibilities to engage on the “culture battlefield.”
I think this is a fair criticism, and I indeed may have misread the statement. For that I am sorry. But I don’t think I want to back away too strongly from what I wrote above. While several have correctly pointed out that Liberty University is not saying Jesus’s command to “turn the other cheek” is “insufficient” for individual Christians, the Falkirk Center does seem to be suggesting that it is “insufficient” for culture engagement.
President Donald Trump delivers a private, prophetic warning to Christian leaders about what’s happening in the country and how the midterms are going to be a referendum on your religion.
Christians are so fragmented and scattered we don’t have a coherent mechanism for sharing messages like the left has. That needs to change! We must spread the word, and take over these midterm elections.
Bill Bright and Loren Cunningham both received the same vision for America and the church in 1976. It was the 7 sphere’s of influence that God wanted to take for the kingdom. This series will deal with how we can do that through kingdom authority.
The Dark Ages have a certain appeal to some. It was a time when good and evil was white and black. Church overruled state. And the word of priests was as law.
It was when the Roman Catholic church effectively ruled the whole of the Western world. Under idealised eyes, it controlled every aspect of civil life. Parish priests held sway over small towns and communities. Cardinals and Popes could bend kings and nobles to their will.
In reality, things rarely worked out that way. But it was the accepted doctrine of the times.
Now, some evangelical groups want that all-encompassing power back.
They call themselves Dominionists.
Their declared goal is to take control of society. And the US government is in its sights.
It wants ‘One nation, under God’ … their god.
Only once this is achieved, followers believe, will Jesus return in the Second Coming, initiating the End of Days and the prophecies of the Book of Revelation.
It’s a cross-denominational movement which appears to have been born among television and radio evangelists in the 1970s. They cite one passage, Genesis 1:28, as justification:
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
It is interpreted as being God’s mandate for his followers to control every aspect of life.
Now new apostles are preaching a message which puts church above state, and their interpretation of Christian lore above secular law.
And they have a plan to have this enforced.
SEVEN HEADS ARE SEVEN MOUNTAINS
The argument goes something like this:
The long-awaited Second Coming has not yet happened as the criteria outlined in the Bible have yet to be met. Christians have not been taking part in their communities. Instead, they’ve been huddled in their own churches. This has exposed the very pillars of society susceptible to the influence of the devil.
It’s up to believers to change this, they argue, by seizing control of key institutions.
Some evangelical movements believe this is demanded by prophecy. They argue the Bible verses of Isiah 2:2-3 instruct their followers to take control:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
Many people shall come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths.”
It argues there are seven such ‘mountains of the Lord’.
The key to this thinking is Revelation 17:1-18, which hinges on verse 9:
And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains
The prophetic passage talks of an evil woman ‘drunken with the blood of the saints’ who rides a beast of ‘seven heads and 10 horns’. It ends telling how this beast will be turned against the woman, destroying her.
Most theologians see the reference to ‘seven’ as being Rome — famously built upon seven hills
But some evangelicals argue this beast — and its seven heads that are mountains — represents the structure of society itself.
“So this is now called the Seven Mountain Prophecy,” says advocate David Barton. “If you’re going to establish God’s kingdom, you’ve got to have these seven mountains, and again that’s family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government.”
RELIGION: “With a plethora of categorised religions around the world, it’s the Church’s responsibility to reach the lost with the love and Gospel of Jesus Christ, and expand the Kingdom in ministerial efforts, both nationally and internationally.”
FAMILY: “God is calling fathers and mothers (both spiritual and biological) to bring order to the chaos that the enemy has unleashed against families in America.”
EDUCATION: “A reintroduction of biblical truth and Bible-centric values is the key to renewal and restoration in America’s failing educational system.”
GOVERNMENT: “We must see a shift in this arena in order to preserve the Christian heritage that America was founded upon. The goal is to put in place righteous political leaders that will positively affect all aspects of government.”
MEDIA: “ … the arts and entertainment industries wield significant influence. The body of Christ needs powerful, righteous men and women who are not afraid to take their God-given talent into the arts and entertainment arenas.”
BUSINESS: “We believe it is the Lord’s will to make his people prosperous and that He desires for His Church to use its wealth to finance the work of Kingdom expansion. Simply put: Prosperity with a purpose.”
SEVEN MOUNTAINS MANDATE
White Christian evangelicals in the United States remain a powerful voting bloc. Though they are a diminishing group.
In the 1990s, they represented about 27 per cent of the total US population, Now, they amount to some 15 per cent.
And that loss of prominence has proved galvanising.
Dominionist thinking is becoming mainstream among this minority group, and Seven Mountains is regarded by many as a road-map to ‘regain’ control of the country.
The idea first emerged In 1975 when Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, founder of Youth With a Mission (YWAM), had what they describe as a miraculous revelation. Both had been given a dream by God, they declared. Its message revealed the need to dominate the Seven Mountains (or Spheres) of influence.
Since then, the theology has been pushed into political circles through media events, youth movements and campaign activities.
Central to its teachings is that members must build the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. And that starts with turning the United States into a Christian state.
The movement first met with some sympathy under the Presidency of Ronald Reagan.
At the 1980 Republican National Convention, attended by some 17,000 evangelical Christians, Ronald Reagan famously declared: “I know you can’t endorse me, but … I want you to know I endorse you and what you are doing.”
Reagan won in a landslide, primarily attributed to a ‘Moral Majority’. And his governance has since been called ‘the God strategy’ after evangelicals were appointed as Secretary of the Interior, Surgeon General and to the Department of Education.
But, under the Bush Republican presidencies, evangelical influence waned.
The Seven Mountains movement’s leaders felt they had been betrayed. Despite encouraging words during their campaigns, Presidents George H. Bush and George W. Bush just did not follow up with the desired appointments.
President Trump, however, represents a new opportunity: an opportunity that has been delivering.
THE KING CYRUS FACTOR
The Seven Mountains movement experienced something of a revival in the early 2000s under evangelist Lance P. Wallnau and political activist David Barton.
Wallnau is one of the theology’s most vocal prophets. He is a forceful advocate of the need to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’.
But, now that only a few remote tribes in South America’s Amazon and the Bay of Bengal’s the Andaman Islands have not been ministered to, Wallnau is endorsing a broader interpretation of the passage. He sees it as an instruction to inject his version of Christianity into the way societies are run.
And President Trump is the vessel for such change.
Wallnau has declared Trump has a ‘Cyrus anointing’ upon him — a reference to the ancient Persian King Cyrus who, despite being no friend of Israel, defeated the Babylonians and set that nation free. Cyrus was therefore blessed by God for doing his work.
In the modern context, the ‘anointing’ of Trump means evangelical Christians can also set their religion ‘free’.
To that end, Wallnau boasted to fellow evangelical leader David Barton that he had ‘ninja sheep’ working with activists, politicians — and members of Donald Trump’s presidential transition team.
OF ‘NINJA SHEEP’ AND ‘UNDERGROUND’ AGENTS
Wallnau asserts Satan is in control of academia, entertainment, politics and business: “Our real enemies are the ones that are shaping laws, shaping media, and shaping the next generation.”
To fight them, he’s promoting what he calls the ‘7M Underground’ — an affiliation of producers, directors, attorneys, politicians and economists.
“We should be moving to the top of these mountains,” Wallnau said. “Christians are called to go into proximity to the gates of hell. That’s why they’re showing up in government. They should be showing up in journalism …
“I’m working with believers that I call ninja sheep — those are believers that are actual believers but have to maintain discretion with their public profile.
“And what we want to do is we want to reinstall a culture that honours God and that revives again a morality that’s essential to the survival of America as a Christian-influenced nation.
“So the underground is where we meet and we basically have now mobilised nationwide believers to intercede pray and be informed and then show up at the decisive flashpoints in culture where there can be a presence behind what Trump’s assignment is. So it’s pretty exciting.”
Barton seized upon the Seven Mountains as the logical outcome of his controversial (but incorrect) belief that the Founding Fathers of the United States were all born-again Christians. This means, he says, that the Constitution should be interpreted through Christian — not secular — eyes. This can be done through the Seven Mountains.
“ … those are the seven areas you have to have, and if you can have those seven areas, you can shape and control whatever takes place in nations, continents, and even the world,” Barton said in a 2011 radio interview. “Now that’s what we believed all along is you got to get involved in this stuff. Jesus said ‘you occupy ‘til I come.’ We don’t care when he comes, that’s up to him. What we’re supposed to do is take the culture in the meantime, and you got to get involved in these seven areas.”
‘TAKE BACK THE COUNTRY FOR CHRIST’
Separation of Church and State is enshrined in the US Constitution. Though this has always been an intense arena of dispute.
It’s intended to prevent the repeat of the crises many fled during the founding of the United States: combinations of individual churches and states that oppressed other faiths.
The Constitution itself specifies “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”.
The First Amendment reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof …”
Seven Mountains and Dominionist evangelicals don’t see this as a problem. The United States is a Christian country, founded by Christians, they argue, so the Constitution should be interpreted through a Christian perspective. The Country’s motto is ‘In God We Trust’, after all.
“We realised that it only takes 3-5 per cent of a leadership operating at the top of a cultural mountain to shift the culture’s view of an issue,” the promotional page of an upcoming 7 Mountains ‘International Culture Shapers Summit’ declares. http://www.7culturalmountains.org/
Under Trump, they’ve been getting more than that.
His Vice President, Michael Pence, is an outspoken evangelical. The former conservative talkback radio host has even been declared a ‘covenant man’ — putting him alongside the likes of Moses, Jacob and Noah — for his apparent obedience to God in a corrupt and sinful political arena.
Trump’s new Attorney-General, Matthew Whitaker, once proposed banning non-religious people from being appointed to the judiciary. He also said judges needed a ‘biblical view of justice’: “What I know is that as long as they have that worldview, that they’ll be a good judge. And if they have a secular worldview, that ‘this is all we have here on Earth’, then I’m going to be very concerned about how they judge.”
The President regularly trumpets the Christian character of his cabinet.
His first Chief-of-Staff, the since-sacked Reince Priebus, was a devout member of the Greek Orthodox Church. Ousted Adviser Steve Bannon came from an Irish-Catholic background, as did disgraced National Security chief General Michael Flynn. Former Attorney-General Jeff Sessions is a Methodist, while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is Presbyterian. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos belongs to the Christian Reformed denomination. Former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was born into a Sikh family but converted to Christianity and now attends a Methodist congregation.
That’s just a sampler.
But Trump’s even given an evangelical group open access to the White House — Capitol Ministries — to conduct bible study groups.
This is why — despite the never-ending cloud of controversy surrounding the president — his support among evangelical leaders has remained steadfast.
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN
Charismatic, Pentecostal and Evangelical Christians are among President Trump’s most devoted supporters. And he knows this.
He won 81 per cent of their vote in 2016. A poll published shortly before the 2018 midterm elections by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 72 per cent of white evangelical Protestants still had a favourable opinion of him.
And Trump continues to tell them what they want to hear.
In a closed-door meeting with more than 100 evangelical leaders in August, President Trump said he had repealed a law preventing them from preaching politics from the pulpit. He hadn’t, though it is something he sometimes talks about.
He also said he had dismissed a law that prevents US religious and other tax-exempt institutions from endorsing political candidates. He hadn’t, though he has signed an executive order smoothing the way for religious groups to engage in politics.
It was enough to motivate the religiously conservative groups focused on abortion rights, a conservative majority in the Supreme Court, and support for Israel, to back his midterm election campaigns.
But US progressive churchgoers are increasingly bristling at Trump’s brash character, and divisive approach to race, immigration and women.
They’ve started to push back.
Among those raising their voice in opposition is Anglican bishop Michael Curry, who officiated at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. He’s pushing a manifesto — Reclaiming Jesus — and warning of a “dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches”.
The manifesto rejects white nationalism, calls out political exploitation of racial bigotry, denounces misogyny and sexual misconduct, defends immigrants and refugees — and advocates renewed focus on the poor.
“Representatives of Christianity were buying into political agendas that very often do not reflect the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth,” Bishop Curry said.
But the religious right is showing little sign of being moved.
And Trump’s keen to keep them on side.
Elections, he warned, were “a referendum on your religion, it’s a referendum on free speech and the First Amendment.”
“We’re going to protect Christianity,” Trump declared. “I can say that. I don’t have to be politically correct.”
the mission has little to do with what most Americans would call religious freedom. This is just the latest attempt by religious extremists to use the coercive powers of government to secure a privileged position in society for their version of Christianity.
.. The idea behind Project Blitz is to overwhelm state legislatures with bills based on centrally manufactured legislation. “It’s kind of like whack-a-mole for the other side; it’ll drive ‘em crazy that they’ll have to divide their resources out in opposing this,” David Barton
.. more than 70 bills before state legislatures appear to be based on Project Blitz templates or have similar objectives.
.. allows adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate on the basis of their own religious beliefs. Others, such as a Minnesota bill that would allow public schools to post “In God We Trust” signs on their walls
.. The first category consists of symbolic gestures, like resolutions to emblazon the motto “In God We Trust” on as many moving objects as possible (like, say, police cars).
Critics of such symbolic gestures often argue that they act as gateways to more extensive forms of state involvement in religion. It turns out that the Christian right agrees with them.
“They’re going to be things that people yell at, but they will help move the ball down the court,” Mr. Barton said in the conference call.
What is going to happen to American Evangelicalism in the wake of the Roy Moore defeat? Christianity Today editor Mark Galli, in an editorial, says nothing good.Excerpts:
No matter the outcome of today’s special election in Alabama for a coveted US Senate seat, there is already one loser: Christian faith. When it comes to either matters of life and death or personal commitments of the human heart, no one will believe a word we say, perhaps for a generation. Christianity’s integrity is severely tarnished.
.. The Christian leaders who have excused, ignored, or justified his unscrupulous behavior and his indecent rhetoric have only given credence to their critics who accuse them of hypocrisy.
.. David Brody, a correspondent for the Christian Broadcasting Network, has noted the desperation and urgency felt throughout much of conservative Christianity. “The way evangelicals see the world, the culture is not only slipping away—it’s slipping away in all caps, with four exclamation points after that. It’s going to you-know-what in a handbasket.” The logic is then inexorable: “Where does that leave evangelicals? It leaves them with a choice. Do they sacrifice a little bit of that ethical guideline they’ve used in the past in exchange for what they believe is saving the culture?”
.. If evangelical means that, it has serious ramifications for the work of Christians and churches.”
That notion is bewildering to evangelical leaders who see Mr. Trump as their champion. They say that Mr. Trump has given them more access than any president in recent memory, and has done more to advance their agenda, by appointing judges who are likely to rule against abortion and gay rights; by channeling government funds to private religious schools; by recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; and by calling for the elimination of the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches and charitable groups from endorsing political candidates.
.. “I believe that God answered our prayers in a way we didn’t expect, for a person we didn’t even necessarily like,” said Stephen E. Strang, author of “God and Donald Trump” and founder of Charisma Media, a Christian publishing house.
“Christians believe in redemption and forgiveness, so they’re willing to give Donald Trump a chance,” said Mr. Strang, who is a member of the president’s informal council of evangelical advisers. “If he turns out to be a lecher like Bill Clinton, or dishonest in some kind of way, in a way that’s proven, you’ll see the support fade as quick as it came.”
Mr. Strang said that those who talk about Mr. Trump tarnishing the evangelical brand “are not really believers — they’re not with us, anyway.”
.. You cannot underestimate the impact of being raised to think that morality was so important that impeachment was justified, and then see the very same people who instilled that belief in you to jump into bed with Donald Trump–a man just as morally debauched as Clinton, but without the advantage of competency or even enough of a sense of decency to know that his lecherous behavior isn’t something to brag about.
.. The key problem is in, as Galli says it, “the desperation and urgency felt throughout much of conservative Christianity.” The New Testament tells us repeatedly, in many different ways and through the examples of the apostles, that Christians should not fear or worry — and certainly not feel desperation! — even in the face of persecution. I was glad to see that he addressed the proper scriptural ways of dealing with such situations: turning the other cheek, forgiving, and doing good to our enemies.
Christians who rationalize compromising our testimony out of desperation are simply not trusting the one they claim to follow.
.. for the first time I can remember, the appearance of Danielite and Johannine apocalyptic imagery in both sermons and discussions on the left. (This isn’t entirely unwelcome, and I think it’s totally appropriate about environmental stewardship, but I am more interested in seeing the left pull the right out of their foxhole than in the left digging our own.)
.. “evangelical” seems to have been co-opted as a political label and makes no distinction between a theological disposition and a cultural identifier. It seems, anymore, to simply mean “non-mainline Protestants,”
.. The older Evangelicals are treading on dangerous ground and alienating their next generation by putting political power over living by Christ’s example.
.. The fault line in the schism is whether one takes a culture war-dominionist posture or faithful minority counterculture posture. This fault line — which also divides Christian generations — has lain hidden for a while, but Trump has exposed it, because the dominionists think they can use the Strongman for their own purposes and, maybe, by being his chaplaincy, even make a true believer of him.
The counterculturalists — usually younger evangelicals — think that’s a delusional misreading both of Trump and of the actual standing of Christianity in our nation, and that in the meantime going all-in with this Administration means shredding theological clarity and moral credibility.
.. In terms of Trump he is politician and in a rare moment of listening to his advisers, Paul Manafort was right that Mike Pence was correct choice for VP to ensure the evangelical vote came out for him.
.. But as they explain it, it was because of the supreme court, lesser of two evils, etc. Fine. I get that. What I don’t get is people trying to make Trump out to be the last best hope for the evangelical church.
.. In this sense, Trump and Roy Moore are in the tradition of the Emperor Constantine, whose interest in Christianity was purely for its use as a political tool. Ever since Constantine, there have always been Machiavellian leaders who used the Church for their own cynical purposes, and there will always be such leaders.
.. I suspect “evangelicals” were among the many “Christians” a few years ago who professed to see no contradiction between Christianity and the ideas of Ayn Rand. In other words, many self-identified “evangelicals” are really just identifying their cultural background, not their theology. (And they don’t know their theology.)
.. However, I think that evagelicals were already hated by elite culture
.. “There is no way we can please them, they are going to hate us no matter what. We might as well support the bad ass who will fight for us, or at least not ramp up the persecution of elite culture against us.”
.. This strategy will also most likely fail, since Trump is likely to fail, and horribly. But I understand the despair and desperation that motivates it.
.. I’m one such libertarian, who recently left the PCA for the ECUSA. I felt that the social conservatives were becoming a professional liability for me. If I agreed with them, that would be fine. But I don’t. I don’t believe in criminalizing early-term abortion and I’m fine with civil same-sex marriage. And I’m not willing to suffer socially for views that I don’t hold and that IMO represent bad policy.
In the early morning hours of November 9, 2016, God told Frank Amedia that with Donald Trump having been elected president, Amedia and his fellow Trump-supporting “apostles” and “prophets” had a new mission. Thus was born POTUS Shield, a network of Pentecostal leaders devoted to helping Trump bring about the reign of God in America and the world.
Amedia described the divine origins of POTUS Shield during a gathering that spread over three days in March 2017 at the northeastern Ohio church he pastors. Interspersed with Pentecostal worship, liturgical dancing, speaking in tongues, shofar blowing, and Israeli flag waving, Amedia and other POTUS Shield leaders put forth their vision for a Christian America and their plans to bring it to fruition through prayer, political engagement and organizing in all 50 states. Among the many decrees made at the event was that Islam must be “completely broken down.”
POTUS Shield’s leaders view politics as spiritual warfare, part of a great struggle between good and evil that is taking place continuously in “the heavenlies” and here on earth, where the righteous contend with demonic spirits that control people, institutions and geographic regions. They believe that Trump’s election has given the church in America an opportunity to spark a spiritual Great Awakening that will engulf the nation and world. And they believe that a triumphant church establishing the kingdom of God on earth will set the stage for Christ’s return. Amedia says that the “POTUS” in the group’s name does not refer only to the president of the United States, but also to a new “prophetic order of the United States” that God is establishing.
Conservative Christian leaders are nursing a more-than-half-century grudge against the federal courts for rulings on school desegregation, separation of church and state, abortion, equality for LGBT people and more. Amedia has spoken repeatedly about a vision God gave him of a giant broom sweeping up and down the Supreme Court building. God, he said, is going to sweep the entire federal court system of unrighteous judges and “change the laws of the land.”
POTUS Shield members are, like other Religious Right figures, ecstatic about the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and they are sure—because God has told them—that Trump will have at least one more Supreme Court vacancy to fill in the near future. Amedia also insists that Justice Sonia Sotomayor is going to have “an encounter with the living God” that will transform her outlook on the law.
In an appearance on Jim Bakker’s television show the week of July 4, Amedia said that he is telling activists to bring cases into the lower courts now, because by the time they get to the Supreme Court, its membership will have changed and it will be more favorable to their causes. “We are going to re-establish the Judeo-Christian doctrines of this country,” he declared. “It’s coming and can’t be stopped.”
.. Who Are These People?The prophets and apostles taking part in POTUS Shield are not, for the most part, household names to people outside their spheres of influence. Many of them are part of what religion scholars call the fastest-growing form of Christianity in the U.S. and maybe the world—a nondenominational, network-oriented Pentecostal Christianity, a strain of Protestantism that emphasizes direct supernatural experience through “the gifts of the spirit,” which are manifested in ways such as speaking in tongues, miraculous healing, and prophecy... Many of the “prophets” associated with POTUS Shield are part of an “apostolic” movement within Pentecostal and charismatic Christianity known as the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). The Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders (ACPE), meant “to build positive and ongoing personal relationships among nationally recognized prophetic voices,” was birthed at a January 1999 meeting in Colorado Springs called by C. Peter Wagner and attended by 18 people, including Rick Joyner, Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Sheets, Chuck Pierce and Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer..The movement’s theology is grounded in a verse from the biblical book of Ephesians, in which the apostle Paul describes five kinds of leadership callings that Christ granted to people in Christianity’s founding era in order to build up the church: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. NAR believes that for centuries the church had abandoned the first two. But, they believe, God has moved in our time to re-establish the ancient roles for apostles and prophets who will transform Christianity and bring about the kingdom of God on earth.
.. NAR is meant to be disruptive to the rest of the Christian Church. It views “denominationalism” as a sin and views established denominations and leaders as resistant to the reestablishment of the offices of prophet and apostle. Wagner, who died last year, believed that today’s apostles and prophets would bring about the most radical changes to Christianity since the Reformation in the 16th century, changes that were meant to allow the church to fulfill its true mission. A triumphant, dominion-taking church, Wagner’s disciples believe, will establish the kingdom of God on earth and set the stage for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Among their concrete goals:
- get rid of federal judges whose rulings are not to their liking;
- end legal abortion;
- stop same-sex couples from getting married;
- bring “official” prayer and Bible reading into the nation’s public schools;
- and make America the Christian nation they believe it was meant to be.
.. Engle believes it is the church’s vocation to “rule history with God.”
.. Here’s an excerpt from his teaching guide, “Keys to Dominion”:
The same authority that has been given to Christ Jesus for overwhelming conquering and dominion has been given to the saints of the most high. … We’re God’s rulers upon the earth. … We will govern over kings and judges will have to submit. … We’re called to rule! To change history! To be co-regents with God!
.. At the March POTUS Shield gathering, Engle prayed for God to “sweep away” Supreme Court justices and federal judges who uphold Roe v. Wade, clearing the way for Trump to nominate their replacements. Engle suggested that God could either kill or convert the judges in question, and he had some words for people who might be squeamish about praying for God to “remove” bad judges:
I tell you, the church can’t be humanistic right now. I feel this in my spirit. We’re so concerned about these Hamans [Haman is the evil adviser to the king in the biblical book of Esther] that we’re not concerned about the millions of babies! I say that we believe that Donald Trump, President Trump, is a Jehu as well as a Cyrus. And I’ve been praying, ‘remove the house of Ahab.’