America's False Pastors, Prophets, and Teachers
Updated: Apr 28, 2022
In the Bible pastors, prophets, and teachers have a solemn and sacred responsibility: to teach the people God's truths, and to support them in their walk with Jesus (Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17; James 3:1; Jeremiah 3:15). However, not all professed Christian leaders are from God. Paul warned Christians that after his departure "ravenous wolves" would come into the church and not spare the flock (Acts 20:29). John wrote that there were already "many antichrists" in the first century (1 John 2:18). In the Old Testament, false prophets told the king what he wanted to hear, and true prophets, who spoke for God, were abused and often killed. The false prophet Hananiah, for example, told King Zedekiah that in two years Israel would be free from Babylonian oppression. The true prophet Jeremiah counseled the king to surrender to Babylon if he wanted to save himself and his subjects (Jeremiah 28). But the king did not listen to Jeremiah's message, and as a result, Jerusalem was destroyed, Hananiah was executed by God, and King Zedekiah blinded and led in chains to Babylon after witnessing the execution of his sons. A false prophet had brought about the ruin of Israel, and they continue to mislead the people today, as Jesus warned (Mathew 7:15; 24:4-5).
In America today, there are many false pastors, prophets, and teachers. The prosperity gospel, for example, claims that holiness is rewarded with material benefits, and since the pastor is the most holy of all, he or she should, of course, reap the most benefits. So Joel Osteen, according to Celebrity Net Worth has $100 million dollars, and Ken Copeland rakes in $300 million, according to the same source. Yet Jesus teaches that it is more difficult for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Mathew 19:24). Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:10 that the love of money is the root of all evil. Proverbs 19:17 teaches us to be generous towards the poor, but we see television evangelists today hoarding wealth for themselves and living in mansions. I doubt Jesus would approve of such lifestyles considering many of the donations come from the poor in these very churches.
When an abusive, greedy conman and liar, multiple divorcee, and accused serial rapist ran for president in 2016, he was supported by the majority of white evangelicals: 81% voted for him, according to Pew. In 2020, the number was 78%. He was called the "chosen one", like Cyrus in the bible, who would lead America back to greatness. Evangelical pastors supported him, and argued that his personal failings were irrelevant. And years earlier, when Jimmy Carter, considered by many to be the most pious of presidents was elected, he was resoundingly rejected by Republicans, viciously attacked politically, and only served one term. And so religious Republicans were really only interested in power. Claims of "Christian values" were just empty lies. And now, Donald Trump was their champion. He would lead America back to greatness. He would ensure that white evangelicals held the power they deserved. White evangelical pastors, like Robert Jeffress, became regular visitors to the White House, seemingly enjoying their access to power.
But Donald Trump turned out to be the charlatan he always was. He lost the 2020 popular vote to Joe Biden by over seven million and the electoral college by 306-232, all the while claiming the election was rife with fraud and had been stolen from him. Yet he was making these claims, without evidence, even prior to the election, as he did in 2016. It was a lie. The 60 lawsuits filed by him or his representatives, all failed to show any significant fraud. But it set him up to be the grieving loser and he began fundraising immediately. According to Forbes, he has raised $250 million since the election as of January 31, 2021, and tens of millions since then. As Trump carries on this Big Lie, as it is called, and raises millions of dollars, America's false prophets have claimed that somehow, he is 'coming back', or will be 'reinstated'. According to Politico, John Enslow prophesied that Trump would return to power soon in 2021. Greg Locke, a Nashville pastor, prophesied that Trump would "100 percent remain president of the United States for another term." There are dozens of other examples, but this fact remains: a prophet who prophesies falsely is a false prophet. Like Hananiah, they are not from God. And like Hananiah, they are in deep jeopardy regarding God's purposes: Yahweh, the creator of the universe, does not take lightly a false prophet who speaks falsely in His name.
Conservative pastors take pride in their support for the military. Many supported George Bush's invasion of Iraq, for example. Yet Jesus taught his followers to "turn the other cheek", "pray for your enemies", "don't return evil for evil", "put away the sword", and "blessed are the peacemakers" (Matthew 5:9; 5:38-40, 44; 26:52; 1 Peter 3:9). It's very difficult to see how one can obey these commands of Jesus and yet support a war which turned out to be founded on lies: Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction, was not working on a nuclear bomb, and posed no real threat to America. The 9/11 attackers, despite Bush's lies, were almost all from Saudi Arabia, an old oil friend of the Bush family. But the 'Christian' support for unchristian wars goes back many years. Paul Johnson, in A History of Christianity (Atheneum, New York, 1985) writes that in the lead up to the American Civil War, pastors on both sides used the bible to condemn the other side. After an estimated 600,000 died and perhaps a million injured, the North won, and the two sides made up (p. 437-9). But where is the accountability for this? What lessons were learned? None apparently. The wars continue, the defense industry makes billions, and conservative pastors continue to support it.
Conservative pastors and prophets claim that Israel is God's country and Jews are God's people, so America must support Israel no matter how it behaves. Yet the Apostle Paul tells us that if you belong to Christ, you are of Abraham's lineage (Galatians 3:29). The Israel of God is comprised of the people of faith, as Abraham had, not some genetic marker. Jesus, after trying and failing to convince Israel's religious leaders to repent, finally pronounces the verdict: "Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!" (Matthew 23:38). He then follows up with a prophecy in Chapter 21 of Luke: Jerusalem will be surrounded by foreign armies, and completely destroyed. The Temple would be burned to the ground. This all came true in 70 CE via the Romans. Jesus also said: "You will know them by their fruits. A good tree produces good fruit, but a rotten tree produces rotten fruit" (Matt 7:15-20). Israel has stolen most of the land from the Palestinians, and treated them like prisoners of war, locking them in ghettoes and ensuring they never become self reliant. In 2020, Israel had three times the number of condemnatory resolutions as all other nations combined. It's government is not religious--it is a secular democracy, and it's last Prime Minister, Netanyahu, was indicted for fraud and bribery. One must ask: if these are God's people, where are the Godly fruits? Authentic Christians would do well to reject this false theology.
When Donald Trump locked up children in cages and deported their parents, where was the Christian outrage? Not among conservative Christians who voted for him. When Trump lied continuously, and the Bible says that Satan is the father of the lie (John 8:44), where were conservative Christians? Supporting him wholeheartedly! When Trump lost the election, and then tried to overturn the results, where were the conservative Christians? Supporting him of course. And in fact some were even at the riot of January 6th, 2021.
Authentic, biblical Christians reject lies and liars. Trump lost the election fair and square, is a liar and a conman, and is making millions of dollars off his fake grievances. Real Christians are not fooled by him. Authentic, biblical Christians know that a prophet who prophesies falsely is a false prophet. They will not listen to such people who claim Trump is "coming back" and keep revising the date when their prophesies fail. Authentic, biblical Christians know that every human is created in the image of God, and so is sacred and must be respected and cared for no matter what the color of their skin happens to be. Authentic, biblical Christians know that Israel and its racist and violent policies towards the Palestinians and theft of their land is not from God. Authentic, biblical Christians know that war and violence is condemned by Jesus and always work for peace. Authentic, biblical Christians reject America's false pastors, prophets, and teachers.