Evangelicals should be deeply troubled by Donald Trump’s attempt to mainstream heresy

The liberal Washington Post has an excellent piece by Michael Horton who is an author, speaker, and J. Gresham Machen professor of Theology and Apologetics at Westminster Seminary.  Dr. Horton expresses his concern that Donald Trump’s inauguration will help to mainstream the heretical Word of Faith (WOF) movement. He points out that “Trump has surrounded himself with cadre of prosperity evangelists who cheerfully attack basic Christian doctrines. The focus of this unity is a gospel that is about as diametrically opposed to the biblical one as you can imagine.” According to Dr. Horton, WOF is “another religion.” Clearly, WOF is not historic, orthodox biblical Christianity for the reason that in the Faith system man is glorified and the God of the Bible is humiliated.

Now listen as a Christian theologian examines WOF teaching and reveals the reasons evangelicals should be alarmed by the people President-elect Trump chose to pray during his inauguration.  Dr. Horton writes:


Donald Trump and Paula White. Photo credit: Christian Today

Donald Trump’s upcoming inauguration will include Paula White and possibly other members of his inner circle, Darrell Scott, “Apostle” Wayne T. Jackson and Mark Burns. They’re all televangelists who hail from the “prosperity gospel” camp. They advocate a brand of Pentecostal Christianity known as Word of Faith.

Inaugurations are always curious rituals of American civil religion. It would not be surprising to see a non-Christian religious leader participating. But what’s problematic for me as an evangelical is how Trump’s ceremony is helping to mainstream this heretical movement.

The prosperity gospel — the idea that God dispenses material wealth and health based on what we “decree” — is not just fluff. It’s also not just another branch of Pentecostalism, a tradition that emphasizes the continuation of the gifts of healing, prophecy and tongues. It’s another religion.

In terms of religion, this inauguration exhibits the confluence of two major currents of indigenous American spirituality.

One stream is represented by Norman Vincent Peale’s longtime bestseller “The Power of Positive Thinking” (1952). The famous Manhattan pastor is Trump’s tenuous connection to Christianity, having heard the preacher frequently in his youth. For Peale and his protege, the late Robert Schuller of Crystal Cathedral fame, the gospel of Christ’s death for human sin and resurrection for justification and everlasting life was transformed into a “feel-good” therapy. Self-esteem was the true salvation.

Another stream is represented by the most famous TV preachers, especially those associated with the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, T. D. Jakes, Joel Osteen and Paula White are the stars of this movement, known as Word of Faith.

The headwater for both streams is New Thought, formulated especially by Phineas Quimby, a late 19th-century mesmerist whose mind-cures attracted Mary Baker Eddy, founder of Christian Science. The basic idea of his “gnostic medicine” was that we’re sick only because we think bad thoughts. Illness and death are an illusion.

Harvard’s William James took note of the phenomenon in his 1902 classic, “The Varieties of Religious Experience.” He described it as “an optimistic scheme of life” rooted in Emerson and “spiritism,” suggesting that even “Hinduism has contributed a strain.” “But the most characteristic feature of the mind-cure movement is an inspiration much more direct,” he surmised. “The leaders in this faith have had an intuitive belief in the all-saving power of healthy-minded attitudes as such …”

The Word of Faith movement was largely the brainchild of E.W. Kenyon (1867-1948), who blended Quimby’s Emersonian transcendentalism with his more evangelical “Victorious Life” beliefs. “I know that I am healed,” he wrote, “because [God] said that I am healed and it makes no difference what the symptoms may be in my body.” Kenyon shaped many of the distinctive Word of Faith teachings, including the central idea of “positive confession.” “What I confess, I possess,” he said — in other words, “name it, claim it.”

As a student of Kenyon, Kenneth Hagin, revered as “granddaddy” in Word of Faith circles, gave the faith-healing movement its theological core. It included odd teachings about us all being “little gods.” Those who are born again, Hagin said, “are as much the incarnation [of God] as Jesus of Nazareth.” “You don’t have a God living in you,” says Hagin’s student Kenneth Copeland. “You are one.” Creflo Dollar adds, “[The] only human part of you is the flesh you’re wearing.”  Continue reading

See our White Paper on the Word of Faith movement

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29 Responses to Evangelicals should be deeply troubled by Donald Trump’s attempt to mainstream heresy

  1. Jenny Johnson January 7, 2017 at 2:58 pm #

    Just a couple of comments…

    First, I agree with you regarding the WOF ministries–not biblical, misleading and false doctrine. However, I am not troubled by Donald Trump pushing this doctrine into the mainstream. If Donald Trump is a believer, he is a new believer in Christ and we should show much grace toward him. We should be (and you probably already are!) praying for him most earnestly and sincerely.

    Another thought is that most likely Mr. Trump doesn’t know the difference between the fundamentalists and the charismatics so if he is pushing the WOF doctrine, it’s not on purpose. He is trying to unify the Christian community. May God teach us discernment through His Word.

    Regarding Mr. Trump as President, I have great comfort in knowing that he has chosen a few Godly, evangelical men to surround himself with (Mike Pence, Ben Carson and Mike Pompeo). I also believe that where uncertainty prevails in his mind, God will guide Mr. Trump’s heart (“like rivers of water…”).

    In closing, I have great hope about the future of America with Mr. Trump at the helm. I think that believers are ultimately responsible for discerning truth and error and we will be judged accordingly. (“Study to show thyself approved…”) In recent years, much of the American church leadership is weak and we need to pray for truth to prevail and the enemy to be exposed. We need to pray for our pastors, teachers, church leadership, our government, and, as always, Israel.

    Thank you for sharing your viewpoints. I always learn something new from your blogs but please remember that it is good to extend grace especially to new believers in Christ Jesus. Let’s continue to pray earnestly for these folks in leadership that you call out by name in your blog posts. If the Lord gave time to Jezebel to repent (Rev 2:21), I believe that we should do the same.

    Thank you, again.

  2. nannette January 7, 2017 at 3:43 pm #

    I believe this is part of the attempt to reverse the reformation! These apostates have already joined with Rome unbeknown to the apostate church who have been fed pack of lies happily. We saw it when the pope came to America. Donald Trump attended Fordham University a Jesuit School. Norman Vincent Peale was a 33 degree freemason. He met with Cardinal Dolan and he is the one who will be delivering a bible reading at his inauguration. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/01/03/cardinal-dolan-will-deliver-bible-reading-at-trump-inauguration/ I have already been shot down by many Christians when warning to be cautious of Donald Trump, and in no different way than you can say anything about Barak Hussein Obama to the left people get in your face and start yelling.! They say ‘Judge not’! Well let me just say, I’m not following the pied piper (reminds me of Daniel 3:6&7), Trump who buy the way does the 666 hand sign frequently. Donald’s name means ‘Ruler of the World’. I’m not saying he is the anti-Christ, he can’t save us only Jesus saves~ 1 Thess. 5:3

    • Edwitness January 7, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

      Thank you Nannette,

  3. Manny1962 January 7, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

    The politicization of Churchianity continues…….. One day a leader will arise who will meld all religions under the umbrella of acceptance, tolerance and the human family. Don’t trust any political leader, pragmatism is their god.

    • obj January 15, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

      i trust this will be of help

      • Manny1962 January 15, 2017 at 9:16 pm #

        What will be of help?

  4. Sola Scriptura January 7, 2017 at 5:29 pm #

    If I use the scriptures to analyze Trump’s words and actions (as we are told to do) then I can come to only one conclusion….Donald Trump is NOT a believer, and it isn’t a close call. He has said that he doesn’t need God’s forgiveness and instead simply focuses on the positive things in his life. Joel Osteen and word of faith anyone? He shows no humility and a great deal of pride, with zero attempts at mitigating those serious and well-documented issues publicly.
    If one is actually saved by the spilt blood of Jesus Christ then they, at a minimum, understand their desperate need for a savior from the filth of sin, and that the God of heaven and earth stepped off his glorious throne to live 33 years as a dirty, sweaty man only to be brutalized and then murdered to pay a debt that we could never, ever pay. Trump shows zero understanding of this concept.
    None of us are even close to perfect, but in order to be saved, we must know and be able to articulate the above, and then, slowly begin to walk in those precious truths. As for unity in Christ, it cannot be based on vague christian-sounding words or phrases. It must be based on a mutual understanding of our wickedness and desperate need for a savior. False unity is on the way, and many people who think they are christians, but only know bits and pieces of the word out of context, will join in and attack those who don’t. Daniel, the apostle Paul and Revelation tell us clearly that apostasy, persecution and death are coming to true believers, not “revival.” While it is fun to be positive, the scriptures are only positive about one thing….eternity in paradise for those who surrender their hearts to Jesus Christ, and at the end of the end, if you are with him, you will watch as he finishes off this wicked world and treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of God almighty. Until such time, trust only the scriptures.

  5. Edwitness January 7, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

    As Nannette said this does portend a move forward toward the ecumenism the rcc is trying to bring to the world. And like Sola says, positive confession is not the answer. It can not in any way bring the eternal life (relationship with God) we so badly are in need of that only faith in Christ can bring. Amen Sola, Manny, and Nannette.
    “Trust only in the scriptures.”

  6. James January 9, 2017 at 1:11 am #

    Apostle Wayne T. Jackson, Who made Wayne T. Jackson an apostle? By what authority? Has he seen the risen Lord?

    Mark Burns, was called on the carpet concerning his military background, and education.

    Darrell Scott, or Dr. Darrell Scott. His site states he received his Doctorate in 2004, from St. Thomas Christian College (Now University). St. Thomas is not accredited by any Department of Education or Higher Education accreditation agency. St. Thomas is currently unlicensed in the state of Florida. Scott’s degree is an “Honorary” degree, not earned. I believe this should be stated on his site. Joyce Meyer had to change her site, because she had an earned Ph.D on her site, but it was a “Honorary”

    Paula White, besides her Word Faith teachings, she could of helped many individuals with the money she spent on buying TD Jake’s a Bentley convertible for his 50th birthday.

  7. Manny1962 January 10, 2017 at 3:13 pm #

    Anyone putting their hope in any man will be sorely disappointed. And to be frank, “make this nation great again?” Will they reverse Roe vs Wade? Undo sodomy as the law of the land? Clean up the cesspool known as DC? Replace the corrupt judges? Stop the worship of Mammon? Anyone believing our nation is special before the eyes of The Lord is being unrealistic. We have no covenant with Him, and the only nation that does is blinded until His return. He’s been more than gracious to a nation that does not want Him, who has murdered over 57 MILLION children. This nation needs to put politics aside, get on its knees and ask for forgiveness, repent and stop killing the innocent……Then we can talk about politics.

    • rascott247 January 10, 2017 at 4:09 pm #

      Hi Manny! That’s all, I just want to say HI God bless ya!

      • Maggie January 10, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

        Hey, rascott–I appreciate that you (and Berlorac and others) take on the tough theological issues.

        • rascott247 January 10, 2017 at 4:23 pm #

          Thank you Maggie I truly appreciate what you have said.

        • Manny1962 January 10, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

          Amen sister, these brothers are truly defending the faith! May God strengthen and bless these men ( and our fellow sisters who labor for the faith.) Truly we’ve seen an increase in attacks against the veracity of scripture. Remember this will increase as The Lord gets closer.

      • Manny1962 January 10, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

        Hey brother! God bless you! May our amazing Lord bless you and yours abundantly in this new year! We need more like you!

    • Maggie January 10, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

      Unless there is a true spiritual awakening in this country (and NOT the bogus NAR dominionist kind) where many people are brought to faith in Jesus Christ and to repentance with resulting fruit of the Holy Spirit, I don’t see this nation getting on its knees and asking for repentance. There are many seared consciences enabling people to overlook the murder of over 57,000,000 babies.

      • Manny1962 January 10, 2017 at 4:35 pm #

        Amen Maggie……..What are the odds of that happening? Unless there’s heavenly intervention, I don’t see it. What is seen as mainstream Christianity by the masses is corrupt and apostate. It is my opinion the tipping point has been reached and surpassed, from now on the slide down gets faster.

        • Edwitness January 10, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

          Amen to that Manny.

        • Maggie January 11, 2017 at 2:18 am #

          Manny, even as we watch for and see the signs of Christ’s return, there is still the possibility of a spiritual awakening by the sovereign move of the Holy Spirit. And it could take place especially since the visible church is corrupt and apostate. I think church history bears this out.

          In a spiritual awakening, individuals are brought to salvation, not a nation (although I would expect an influence on society as a result). In contrast, the dominionists’ agenda is to Christianize nations and personal salvation is not required.

          • Manny1962 January 11, 2017 at 9:48 am #

            I agree with you, I do believe individuals are being woken up by the Holy Spirit these days, that’s why you see people leaving Churchianity in droves, I believe the departing is part of, or could be the revival as The Lord seperates! Maggie, I’m in awe of all the things that are coming together so fast, from countries dropping currencies and going cashless to the king of the north coming to the middle East along with Persia, Turkey and the kings of the East…….They’re showing their intent, also Europe is in the throes of economic and political failure as countries want to exit……It is my belief a reconstituted Europe will arise shortly with a very persuasive leader. As Rome tries to gather all religions together. Maranatha sister, and God bless you!

          • Edwitness January 11, 2017 at 7:13 pm #

            That was so good Manny.
            I love the way you put all these things together in such a concise and understandable way. The deepest earthquake ever happened today too. It was right up next to the magma in the earth.
            We are surely in the very last times before the Lord takes us home.
            Blessings:-} brother

          • Manny1962 January 11, 2017 at 7:20 pm #

            Hi Ed, things are beyond wild. The economy and politics in Europe are coming to a head quickly. The middle East is coalescing. Russian has ” officially” called Syria a success, they’re withdrawing, but leaving behind a warm water port and a base, Turkey is letting Russia use our former air base Incirlik, where we once flew out of and stored nuclear bombs. The Bible says hooks will be used to bring the king of the north back! Exciting days in deed!

    • Robbie January 13, 2017 at 10:52 pm #

      Three words ….watch and pray.

      We can’t see ahead so our expectations must rest in the Lord’s hands. He knows what he’s about.

      As time passes many things will unfold and if we have read the Word we will recognise the characters in position.

      My own limited understanding is that Donald Trump is a key player for Jerusalem … not sure how or what … but as I said earlier …with peace in our hearts look up… watch and pray!

      • Edwitness January 14, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

        You are not alone in that thought Robbie. At nowtheendbegins.com Geoffrey Grider has written some very good articles on that subject. Trump’s plans for Jerusalem, if he follows through, will certainly start a war.

  8. berlorac January 10, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

    Thank you, Maggie. God never promised the Body of Christ a nation. The Body is heavenly, not earthly. We do pray that not one more baby would be murdered; we pray that the homosexual agenda would be exposed for what it is before any more children are perverted. But we must look only to the Gospel.

    The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The word of the Cross is to those who are perishing foolishness, but we must preach it. We proclaim that Christ died for sins, was buried, was raised three days later, was seen in the flesh by hundreds of people before returning the heaven. That is the only hope for anyone. This nation doesn’t need platitudes or water-down messages about “hope.”

    God isn’t interested in reforming a nation, as such. He is interested in regenerating the ungodly, for Christ died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6, Romans 4:5). Until one sees that he is ungodly, dead in his sins, there is no hope for him. But that is the work of the Holy Spirit by means of the Gospel, the power of God unto salvation. Politics only muddies the waters.

    • lyn January 10, 2017 at 8:25 pm #

      Good answer Berlorac. I also agree with Nanette’s comment concerning the RCC and its influences on religion. Do some research on the Jesuits, their influence on infiltrating the Protestant churches with ‘free will’ theology through Jacob Arminius – this book sheds a lot of light on how the Jesuits used Arminius to infiltrate doctrines of demons into Protestantism – https://elijah1757.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/swarms_of_locusts.pdf

      The Jesuits have used wrong views of eschatology in an attempt to steer others away from seeing Roman Catholicism for what it is – the great harlot and an anti-christ system.
      Cardinal Dolan is a Jesuit as well, read their ‘oath’ – https://www.biblebelievers.org.au/jesuits.htm

  9. Manny1962 January 11, 2017 at 7:34 pm #

    Ed read this:


    “Specific attention should be paid to the reform of the international monetary system and, in particular, the commitment to create some form of global monetary management, something that is already implicit in the Statutes of the International Monetary Fund. It is obvious that to some extent this is equivalent to putting the existing exchange systems up for discussion in order to find effective means of coordination and supervision. This process must also involve the emerging and developing countries in defining the stages for a gradual adaptation of the existing instruments.

    In fact, one can see an emerging requirement for a body that will carry out the functions of a kind of “central world bank” that regulates the flow and system of monetary exchanges, as do the national central banks. The underlying logic of peace, coordination and common vision which led to the Bretton Woods Agreements needs to be dusted off in order to provide adequate answers to the current questions. On the regional level, this process could begin by strengthening the existing institutions, such as the European Central Bank. However, this would require not only a reflection on the economic and financial level, but also and first of all on the political level, so as to create the set of public institutions that will guarantee the unity and consistency of the common decisions.

    These measures ought to be conceived of as some of the first steps towards a public Authority with universal jurisdiction; as a first stage in a longer effort by the global community to steer its institutions towards achieving the common good. Other stages will have to follow in which the dynamics familiar to us may become more marked, but they may also be accompanied by changes which it would be useless to try to predict today.”

    Calling for one world currency, one administrator!

    • Edwitness January 11, 2017 at 9:46 pm #

      This is what the scripture means when it says “….. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns……”
      We are seeing what it looks like for the woman to ride the beast. Thanks brother.

  10. BlueCat49 September 18, 2020 at 1:56 pm #

    “The liberal Washington Post has an excellent piece”
    You mean the Fake News, lying, make it up, Trump-hating Washington Post?
    A broken clock might be right sometimes, but we need to start with the assumption that the WP is always lying.

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