(RNS) — Among a certain cohort of popular evangelical Christian preachers and other conservative personalities, there are some bedrock truths that come not from human reason, they say, but Almighty God.
Among them: Donald Trump is the U.S. president, and those who persecute him face death. Joe Biden, the antichrist, should be in prison for treason. Christians should rule over unbelievers.
This month, a troupe of these pro-Trump “prophets” are headlining seven election-year live events called FlashPoint LIVE to spread the above gospel and “rescue America,” according to ads for the tour.
The personalities and themes of the tour are borrowed from “FlashPoint,” a Christian current-events program that appears on the VICTORY television channel, owned by controversial Texas televangelist Kenneth Copeland.
Hosted by Gene Bailey, a pastor at Copeland’s Eagle Mountain International Church, the show, which debuted in 2022, has become a waypoint for established and rising conservative stars. Trump has appeared on the show six times, and viewers can expect to see former Trump White House strategist Steve Bannon, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and former National Security Adviser Gen. Michael Flynn, as well as Senators Josh Hawley and Rand Paul and U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on a 2022 episode.
Bailey’s website says the show’s news and commentary is delivered “under the anointing,” a phrase meant to indicate that its human guests speak for God. A “Behind The Scenes” video says episodes present “the mind of Christ revealed” and disclose “what God is doing.”
But Bailey is frank about his other influences and goals. “We do have an agenda, and that is I am a Christo-fascist, Christian Nationalist,” he has said. Branded “FlashPoint” merchandise includes a “Patriot: Taking Back America” coffee mug and a “United Saints of America” T-shirt, beanie, and backpack.
Bailey did not respond to phone and email requests for comment.
The FlashPoint Live road show kicks off Feb. 8 at Charis Bible College, a school near Colorado Springs, Colorado, that was founded by the televangelist Andrew Womack. The show will make stops in Tulsa, Okla.; Virginia Beach, Va.; and Fort Worth, Texas, among other cities, before ending in New Orleans in October. Evening sessions will be streamed live.
The show is slated to include the familiar Trump supporter and My Pillow founder Mike Lindell, but the heart of the speaker roster is Pentecostal preachers, notably Lance Wallnau, a promoter of Seven Mountain Dominionism, which claims Christians should rule over unbelievers, and Hank Kunneman, a pastor from Omaha who claims “an incredible accuracy in the word of knowledge and prophecy concerning nations and world events.”
These self-styled prophets preach that God wants believers to exercise dominion over sinners, and they embrace the dominionist Watchman Decree, which claims that the church is God’s “governing body on Earth” with “legal power from heaven.”
Dominionism’s claims to earthly power are a move away from earlier, more otherworldly generations of charismatics and Pentecostals, who believe that prophecy, speaking in tongues, and other miraculous gifts portrayed in the New Testament book of Acts remain active today.
But Pentecostal involvement in politics is now the norm, said Elle Hardy, a journalist who wrote the 2022 book, “Beyond Belief: How Pentecostal Christianity Is Taking Over the World.”
“Pentecostals and Charismatics have become the center of gravity in the wider evangelical movement,” said Hardy. “It’s not that they were especially late to evangelical politics, it’s that they’ve become so influential in these circles that they can now speak with a much louder voice.”
The New Apostolic Reformation, a Pentecostal and charismatic movement separate from the dominionists, has also taken on an increasingly political hue in the Trump era, Hardy said, thanks in part to Pentecostals who became advisers to Trump in his first presidential term. Paula White-Cain, a charismatic prosperity televangelist, prayed at Trump’s inauguration and was later appointed to lead the White House faith-based office.
Wallnau came to fame for prophesying Trump’s 2016 victory when it seemed a long shot. In 2020 more than 150 self-proclaimed prophets missed the boat with false prophecies of a “red wave” and second Trump administration.
In 2021, Kunneman prophesied that Trump’s loss would be overturned and the former president would return to the White House. “Look to the Skies of Your 4th of July!” he proclaimed on July 2, 2021.
Evangelist Mario Murillo, a former regular panelist on FlashPoint, said he stepped away from the show because he didn’t want to appear alongside “false prophets.”
Kunneman has responded to rebukes like these with further pro-Trump prophetic utterances:
“God, people have laughed at you. They’ve laughed at your prophets, they’ve laughed at your church, they’ve laughed at your intercessors, they’ve laughed at the patriots, they’ve laughed at those that voted for 45,” he said, referring to Trump by his numerical place among U.S. presidents. “Now I’m praying that their laughter would be turned into silence as you laugh. It’s your turn now, God, to laugh out of the heavens and to show the Earth that you’re a just God.”
But if not everyone is buying what FlashPoint’s political prophets are preaching, its organizers claim that it only takes a few Holy Spirit true believers to move, and perhaps rule, mountains.
In his 2013 book, “Invading Babylon: The 7 Mountain Mandate,“ Wallnau wrote, “Minorities of people can shape the agenda, if properly aligned and deployed.”
(This story was reported with support from the Stiefel Freethought Foundation.)