Book, International, Theology

Review: Trumpocalypse

[Disclaimer: We have not read the book in full and are mainly relying on the advertising material and our extensive knowledge of “end times” activism]

“Trumpocalypse” is the title of a book by “internationally recognised prophecy expert speaker and author” Paul McGuire and Troy Anderson. We decided to check out these claims first off and are unsure if either of the authors really are internationally recognised, or at least in a widespread way, as we have never heard of either of them. Wikipedia lists Paul McGuire as “an American conservative radio talk show host…the host of the syndicated McGuire Report, broadcasting for over 100 years (sic)…a frequent guest on the Fox News Network and CNN”. Whilst Troy Anderson is “president and editor in chief of the World Prophecy Network” (according to their own web site) and “a former Los Angeles Daily News reporter who writes for Reuters, Newsmax, Christianity Today, Human Events, Watchdog.org, Charisma and other media outlets…”. What is reasonably clear is that these people are largely not recognised in the mainstream church internationally, which sets the stage for the rest of this review as they are probably only really well known within the small and fanatical circles of “end times” prophecy.

The key theme of “Trumpocalypse” is a a familiar one to students of “end times” dispensationalist theology. A US president has been elected who will be the leader of the free world who helps fulfil the purported events of end times prophecy and thereby usher in the age of the second coming of Christ. To that ends, it is simply the latest of many books and claims made over centuries. As none of these various timelines and scenarios have yet been fulfilled, this book is no more in tune with the actual “end times” than any of its numerous predecessors. The book is more of an attempt to justify the conservative Christian support of Donald Trump as US president, just the latest in the never ending quest of this segment of the Church for political power, along with many portrayals of the current (always Republican) president as some sort of equivalence to an Old Testament king and used by God in the same way as some of them were.

In order to entertain the many claims of “Trumpocalypse”, readers are enjoined to enter into specific interpretations of the Bible along with the specialist and highly niche “dispensationalist” theology. This book was drawn to our attention whilst watching a TBN Christian TV channel as such fare is staple fodder of these major US Christian TV networks even though they largely represent the highly conservative Christian Right / Moral Majority branch of the Church which adheres to the theology of “Dominionism”, in which America is God’s chosen instrument of His purposes in the world, chosen to rule and reign the nations for the millenium mentioned in Revelation 20. It’s for this reason that we choose only to watch the TBN Pacific channels ACCTV and Hillsong Channel, along with Shine TV, as much of the programming on these channels is much more mainstream and rejects the more extreme viewpoints of the “end times” movement.

The main plot of “Trumpocalypse” sees Donald Trump fighting a righteous battle against the worldly elite, the 1% of the world’s people who are the top income earners and are fighting for world domination and control. They are preparing to usher in a future age of slavery and servitude in which the ordinary masses will have no democratic or human rights as all of their property and income will belong to this elite group. There is at least a thread of reality in parts of these claims in that such a group of people does exist and they are amassing ever greater fortunes at the expense of the masses who have indeed seen their incomes and net worth plummet as a result of these activities. Furthermore it is a recognisable fact that the constant drive towards online cloud-based IT services and the rise of surveillance capitalism via the Internet is giving greater opportunities than ever before for mass surveillance to be instituted and become a part of everyday life. World events do in reality point towards a future in which a small group of people are likely to be able to dominate or take over governments and remove many of the personal freedoms we currently enjoy. Whether or how this results in the apcalypse long referred to in “end times” literature is a question of considerable debate however. This is why publications such as this one enjoy only a small following in theological circles generally and the wider Church, even in evangelicalism. A key assumption of the book, as in much “end times” literature, is that the Bible contains some kind of code to future events that has to be interpreted by some specially chosen people that have received a specific revelation. In that respect there is actually little difference between this theological school and many others, and the lack of widespread acceptance throughout the Church as a whole, even in the evangelical branch of the Church, results from the many previous attempts to interpret the Bible in this way which have not been fulfilled in the predicted timeline, or at all to date. One of the biggest problems with promoting Donald Trump as this supposed agent of righteousness is his own personal aspirations to join the ranks of the 1% which he has coveted for many years, and the policies he has promoted which have further enriched many billionaires and further impoverished the masses, such as the tax cuts he enacted recently and the repeal of Obamacare. This alongside his own personal moral failings which are perpetuated on a daily basis in his administration.

In essence then, this book is mainly about a group of conservative “Dominionist” Christian leaders who have sought political power by an alliance with another Republican president in a familar way. This seeking out of political leadership is a key hallmark of the Christian Right in America and elsewhere, as generally political leadership is a key right wing cause, due to their attitude as business owners that they are born to rule over the rest of us. However their cause is not inherently morally or spiritually superior to that of the rest of the Church, and as usual, the danger of becoming over-obsessed with “end times” prophecy and teaching is that it results in short-term thinking about the future with the result the churches and families drawn into these theologies become hollowed out by the constant overwhelming dominance of these themes. We reiterate that a key Biblical teaching that remains important and is usually glossed over or undermined by these prophets is that Jesus himself stated clearly that no-one was to know the time at which He would return. When He gave this word the disciples thought that He would come back in their own lifetimes, which of course never happened. So in fact the best way to interpret the “end times” themes is to point out that “end times” in the Biblical sense has actually lasted for more than 2000 years of recorded history so far and that truly, no one actually knows when Christ will return. The most that any of us can be assured of is our own personal “second coming” at the end of our lives when we ascend with Christ into the heavenly realms.