In the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, many wondered whether a vulgar, thrice-married, unapologetic serial adulterer could win the votes of America’s evangelical Christians. But, shocking almost everyone, Donald Trump continued to sweep primary victories with the help of the religious right. Then came the pussy grabbing tape—an October surprise so distasteful, so troubling, that Trump’s loyal God-fearing bloc seemed at risk.
Yet there was one man who never lost faith.
According to Lance Wallnau, an evangelical leader based in Keller, Texas, Jesus told him, “Donald Trump is a wrecking ball to the spirit of political correctness.” God, Wallnau said, knew what the polls did not: that Trump would win the election. So God, according to Wallnau, made a vision of Trump’s victory appear to him—not in a burning bush but in an internet meme—and Wallnau became Trump’s man.
Wallnau had just released his first book, God’s Chaos Candidate: Donald J. Trump and the American Unraveling, when the Washington Post published the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in which Trumped bragged about sexually assaulting women. Speaking last week on Pat Robertson’s “The 700 Club,” Wallnau explained that the man and the tape were all a part of God’s plan. “The only reason this could happen is because God allowed it because God is actually letting this man experience humbling because he really didn’t have anything he could think of repenting before, but now he’s got something,” Wallnau said.
Eight out of ten evangelicals went for Trump in the end.
In advocating for Trump’s election, Wallnau at various times had likened his candidate to St. Peter, King Cyrus, and Martin Luther, as well as non-biblical figures including George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and Winston Churchill. Now Wallnau is claiming Trump’s victory as evidence of his gift for prophecy and using the win, as Trump would likely appreciate, to further fund his mission and the business empire that fulfills it.
A self-described author, speaker, doctor of theology, and political and business strategist, Wallnau is most known for promoting Seven Mountains Dominionism, a belief that Christians shouldn’t relegate their faith to church, but should use it to take over the secular institutions of education, religion, politics, the arts, business, media, and family policy. In Wallnau’s view, Trump was chosen by God—whose followers were nudged by Wallnau—to help Christians rule over the earth, which will ultimately result to biblical law over us all. (It bears including here that Wallnau’s doctorate was earned from Phoenix University of Theology—an institution which gives students credit for “life experience” and doesn’t require that they enroll in actual classes. Religious scholar Warren Throckmorton has called Phoenix a “diploma mill,” while documenting its popularity with a number of evangelical superstars.)
“Jesus chose a businessman to give him governmental keys to restore the kingdom,” Wallnau said a week before the election. “Jesus is putting his hand on a Peter right now...Trump is a businessman with the keys of the kingdom right now to wreck what hell has been doing over the United States.”
A magnetic, media-loving entrepreneur who often speaks inexpertly, Wallnau maybe isn’t so different from Trump himself. Wallnau seems most himself in his study, speaking in a more charming Rush Limbaugh style into a portable mic in videos he broadcasts live to a loyal periscope audience—mostly about God and politics, and the terrible media.
This week, Wallnau made news when he claimed a cake made by a pair of “hookers” turned a gay bar owner straight. In a follow-up video, Wallnau, his feathered hair stuck with sweat to his forehead and tufts of grey chest hair fighting their way through the gap in his unbuttoned polo shirt, praised Andrew Breitbart and railed against the “fake news.”
“Liberals are crazy," Wallnau said on his Facebook page, which has a quarter of a million followers. Referring to the local coverage of his pray-the-gay-away dessert, Wallnau said, "[They] will look for any dangling participle of political impropriety and then fasten upon it with a zeal of an anaconda and then begin to squeeze the life out of you."
It was on these programs that Wallnau offered his most ardent support for Trump during the election and where he now continues to claim that the 45th president snatched the White House from actual witches.
“What I believe is happening is there was a deliverance of the nation from the spirit of witchcraft in the Oval Office,” Wallau said on Bakker’s Show in February.
And the protests following Trump’s win? All those millions of women in pink hats, chanting? Clearly witches.
“The spirit of witchcraft was in the Oval Office, it was about to intensify to a higher level demon principality, and God came along with a wrecking ball, shocked everyone, the church cried out for mercy and BAM—God knocked that spirit out, and what you’re looking at is the manifestation of an enraged demon through the populace,” he explained.
Like Donald Trump, Wallnau makes a good living, though also like Trump, just how much he earns from his multiple businesses is a bit of a mystery.
A number of businesses—both for-profit and tax exempt—fall under The Wallnau empire. He is the owner and director of Ninja Sheep Marketing Inc, The LanceLearning Group, 7MCity Corporation and also Lance Wallnau Ministries, a non-profit formed in the 1990’s that has brought in over $5 million in the last five years—half of which it annually spends on staff salaries, mostly to its two directors, Lance Wallnau and his wife Annabelle, according to the charity’s public tax forms. The couple made $286,000 in 2015 from the non-profit alone. The other half of its expenditures goes to travel, and various unnamed expenses, some of which could include other Wallnau products. Its largest offering of program services, according to the forms, are “meetings and presentations throughout world to staff, pastors and congregations to help them understand the transition and keys to building Christian community and encourage their continued growth and maturity.”
In addition to selling books and CDs, Wallnau’s websites operate on tiered membership systems. For access to things like more Wallnau videos, special newsletters, private Facebook group access, and curious events like “Lance’s Dream Trip,” the faithful can sign up for monthly recurring payments ranging from $25 for “Ascend Partners” to $1,000 a month for “Life Mastery Partners.” The logo beside each of Wallnau’s offerings is in the shape of a mountain, which also looks very much like a pyramid.
It’s unclear how much his various for-profit businesses bring in, but it appears that Wallnau needs more. This year, days before Christmas, Wallnau reached out on his Facebook page to apologize to his followers for not asking for enough money in the past. “Suddenly I am getting calls from other countries like Ethiopia, Africa, Israel and others but don't always want to tell these countries, ‘I can't afford to come. I can't afford the plane fares and hotels and the numerous other expenses required to share the 7m message and the gospel on a global scale,’” he said.
Days later, Wallnau sent another fundraising newsletter lamenting that “doors have opened into China and Africa but we don’t have a big enough budget to send the team that is needed.”
And maybe he got enough for that global expansion, because days later, Wallnau sent out yet another fundraising plea, asking members to “be an army rising up in the earth” and support his new media venture. “I need only $100,000 and I can start to BROADCAST WEEKLY FROM WASHINGTON D.C.” he wrote.
Wallnau subscribes to a brand of the prosperity doctrine favored by televangelists—simply, that God’s blessings come quickly to those with giving hearts (and open wallets). In one of many videos on the subject, Wallnau recounts how “sowing a seed” by donating $1,000 to a local preacher when he was poor—“It was like giving blood,” he said—activated in him a gift for prophecy and ministry.
“THIS WILL HAPPEN TO YOU!” he writes.
Wallnau may be confident in his prophecies and the power of donations, but the evangelist isn’t taking any chances when it comes to President Trump. In January, he joined a group of fellow “ministers” and founded The National Governing Council of POTUS Shield, which plans to pave the way for the country to “return and reaffirm its Judeo-Christian principles,” according to its website—an internet property which features the image of a glowing Capital building, with a sword, multiple shields, bursts of lighting, and a couple of lions roaring from atop its dome.
They accept donations.