No Apologies
Newsweek|January 28 - February 04, 2022
The Christian prophets who predicted Donald Trump would be reinstated as president in 2021 aren't ready to admit defeat yet
By Julia Duin, Photography by Chad Batka, Illustration by Britt Spencer

Whatever happened to the “trump prophets,” those charismatic/Pentecostal Christians who said God told them that President Donald Trump would win a second term? There were hundreds of prophets—famous and obscure—whose predictions about Trump being restored to his rightful place in the White House provided a theological framework for the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol last year.

Demonstrators carry a cross to the Capitol on January 6, 2021

The smoke had barely cleared when a few of the prophets repented for being wrong. Their websites and Facebook feeds were inundated with vulgarities, recriminations and even death threats. Jeremiah Johnson, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based prophet who said Trump would win in 2020, admitted on January 7 that he was wrong and said he got “multiple death threats” and “thousands” of angry emails. He added that he “never dreamed” that such a barrage of “satanic attack and witchcraft” would come from charismatic/Pentecostal people.

Trump addresses a law-and-order rally in October 2020

He also said in a Facebook post, “To my great heartache, I’m convinced parts of the prophetic/ charismatic movement are far SICKER than I could have ever dreamed of. I truthfully never realized how absolutely triggered and ballistic thousands and thousands of saints get about Donald Trump.”

Michael Brown, a leader in a 1990s movement known as the Brownsville Revival and a Charlotte-based scholar with a decades-long history of prophetic involvement, said it “was the largest-scale deception I’ve seen in 49 years of following Jesus.”

Die-hard prophets began shifting their timelines backward. After President Joe Biden was inaugurated on January 20, some prophets said that Trump would be restored in March. Robin Bullock, a pastor from Birmingham, Alabama, resorted to Shakespeare to prophesy that Biden would be out by the “ides of March.” Others said that the military was going to remove Biden by the end of April, at the latest, or that Trump was still president in an alternate spiritual reality taking place in heaven.

A year later, most of the prophets who made these predictions have not apologized.

Rather, they have dug in and are fighting to protect their relevance despite the massive failure of their movement to predict who would get inaugurated as the 46th president. They thrive in a political climate where nearly one in five Republicans believed as recently as December, according to polling, that Trump would be reinstated in 2021.

‘Moving the Goalposts’

JAMES BEVERLEY, A RESEARCH PROFESSOR AT TYNDALE University in Toronto and author of the 2020 book God’s Man in the White House: Donald Trump in Modern Christian Prophecy, said that by August, prophets had wised up about naming exact dates.

“If you name a specific date, you can fall pretty flat when Trump doesn’t show up,” he told Newsweek.

Some still believe that Trump will be miraculously reinstalled. Others have joined the anti-vaccination movement. Others are pouring their energies into revival meetings, and one is broadly hinting that Biden will die in office.

Charlie Shamp, president of Destiny Encounters International in Moravian Falls, North Carolina, who prophesied last year that Trump’s eventual victory would hinge on certain events in Pennsylvania, was in the crowd outside the U.S. Capitol on January 6. In a September 16 YouTube broadcast honoring the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, he obliquely predicted Biden’s death in office.

“I saw the flag of the United States begin to lower, and I saw Joe Biden’s health diminish,” he said. “The administration that sits in the White House is under the judgment of God, and we are going to see the health of the man who sits in the White House begin to diminish,” he continued. “And I saw the American flag lowered to half-staff.”

As if to press home the point, on December 19 he posted on Instagram photos from last March of Biden stumbling on the steps of Air Force One. He wrote: “I heard the Lord say, ‘A greater fall is coming to Biden.’”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM NEWSWEEKView All

‘Division of the World Is Inevitable'

Countries need to choose whether to align with autocrats or democracies, says a former NATO Secretary-General

10+ mins read
Newsweek
May 20 - 27, 2022 (Double Issue)

City of Water

As climate change triggers sea-level rise and extreme weather, even New York, one of the world's best-prepared cities, may not be doing enough

10+ mins read
Newsweek
May 20 - 27, 2022 (Double Issue)

Bans Off Our Bodies

MoveOn and Abortion Access activists rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on May 3 after the leak of a draft opinion overturning the Court's landmark Roe v. Wade decision.

1 min read
Newsweek
May 20 - 27, 2022 (Double Issue)

Slower Ways to See the World

Travel should be an act of discovery, not a checklist to complete. Slow travel is an invitation to explore things at a pace that allows you to absorb your surroundings as you move through them-on terms that are meaningful for both you and the people and places you encounter. It may seem counterintuitive that by doing less, you will see more, but that's exactly the idea we propose in our book, Kinfolk Travel (Artisan). Following are a sampling of the destinations from the book, meant to inspire thoughtful travel and spark deeper ways of thinking about new journeys and destinations.

4 mins read
Newsweek
May 06, 2022

Faith and Murder

Under the Banner of Heaven explores both a brutal crime and the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

4 mins read
Newsweek
May 20 - 27, 2022 (Double Issue)

Crypto In Your 401(k)?

Just because you may soon be able to buy Bitcoin in your workplace retirement plan doesn’t mean you should.

6 mins read
Newsweek
May 20 - 27, 2022 (Double Issue)

Emmy Rossum

PARTING SHOT

2 mins read
Newsweek
May 20 - 27, 2022 (Double Issue)

Summer Music Festivals to Get Your Groove On

What seemed a relic of the past amidst COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing precautions are now back in full force. This summer promises a music festival resurgence, with events taking place all over the world. Across festivals, lineups are both highlighting international talent and championing local artists. From Afro Nation on the pristine Portuguese seaside to Glastonbury in rural England to Fuji Rock in a Japanese forest, live music lovers of every genre have a lot to anticipate. Let the music play!

3 mins read
Newsweek
May 20 - 27, 2022 (Double Issue)

Blue -or Bluer

In Pennsylvania and Texas, democratic voters face clear ideological choices that could signal the party's direction

5 mins read
Newsweek
May 06, 2022

Betrayers in Blue

HBO's We Own This City tells the true story of the crooked cops who preyed on Baltimore for years

5 mins read
Newsweek
May 06, 2022