Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. – Matthew 7:15
Beloved, don’t believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. – 1 John 4:1
American Evangelicalism has been taken over by hypocrites. It is not new as this trend started several decades ago, but now we can see clearly the corruption before us. Conservative Christians, who claimed to be standing up for “traditional Christian/family values” supported a rich, womanizing con-man for president. People like John MacArthur, Wayne Grudem, and many leaders of American Evangelicalism made claims that Trump was the lesser of two evils since he was supportive of “traditional Christian/family values” despite being a flawed candidate. MacArthur in particular likes to take shots at LGBT people and said that he endorsed Trump in 2020 due to Trump’s social conservative views. However, Trump doesn’t seem to agree with MacArthur:
John MacArthur, like many of the leaders of American Evangelicalism, is a hypocrite and false prophet. Which I know this is strong language, but I am genuinely upset over the sad state of the Evangelical Church, and its hypocritical ways. How these people claim to follow Jesus but seem to ignore everything he said. How they are “pro-life” while against welfare services, pro-war, and anti-pandemic relief.
The 2020 US Presidential election revealed a lot of false prophets within the American church. In addition to the many, many Evangelical leaders who endorsed Trump for president, these other false prophets took it a step further – they said that God has guaranteed that Trump would win the election. They were wrong, and most of them simply doubled-down. Some, such as Kenneth Copeland, have behaved like maniacs. In one sermon Copeland can be seen laughing like a cartoon super villain. However, I think anyone that follows Copeland knows his corruption. Jesus tells us to give all that we can to the poor, but Copeland is worth about $600 million.
These are just a few celebrity pastors. They are well-known examples of a major, wide-spread problem within American Evangelicalism. I know of so many local pastors in my area who have preached the same false gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not synonymous with the Republican Party platform or American capitalism. These are the same sorts of people who have sold Christianity out to imperialism in every generation – from Rome to Britain to America.
Then, if the hypocrisy and false prophecy wasn’t obvious enough. American Evangelicals constructed a golden statue of Trump similar to the one described in Exodus 32:4.
The man who made this statue is a former youth pastor. He says that it isn’t an idol and shouldn’t be compared to the golden calf in Exodus. However, the clear partnership between Church and Trump that we have seen certainly makes the comparison to the golden calf very appropriate. Yes, they aren’t literally worshiping the statue as a god, but they are claiming that Trump is God’s choice. They are using the same rhetoric as many Medieval Christians did in support of monarchies – the divine right of kings. And just as many ancient Romans followed the imperial cult.
One organization that I am a member of is considering dropping the term “evangelical” from its name. This is why. “Evangelicalism” in the United States is no longer a Christian movement. It is a political cult comparable to ancient Rome’s. Jesus is not followed in mainstream Evangelicalism anymore, and we must fight against these tendencies. Early Pentecostal/Charismatic Christians knew well the counter-cultural nature of the Gospel. They were anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-war, and anti-materialist. We need to reclaim that tradition to save the Gospel from these false prophets.
Rev. Kevin R. Daugherty is an Elder in the Convergent Christian Communion, Abbot for Kindling Fires: A New Monastic Order, Curate (Assistant Pastor) for Solomon’s Porch, and works as a clerk in Elizabeth, PA.
Pentecostals & Charismatics for Peace & Justice is a multicultural, gender inclusive, and ecumenical organization that promotes peace, justice, and reconciliation work among Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians around the world. If you like what we do, please become a member!