“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” – Matthew 24:24
For decades, I believed, like most white evangelicals, that the above Bible verse—and many others like it—referred to liberal Christians. They are, I believed, the ones who will be deceived by false prophets. I was wrong. So, who are these “elect” who will be misled by false Christs and false prophets? They are the folks I lived beside, worshiped with, learned from, and taught. They are the white evangelicals who proudly proclaim their righteousness and decry the sinfulness of anyone outside their homogenous circle.
The Real They
They are the MAGA folks promoting Christian nationalism. They are the believers who are certain they are the sheep who truly follow the Messiah while liberal believers are the goats. They are the crazies who now openly proclaim that Donald J. Trump is the new messiah.
For years now, I have referred to Trump as white evangelicals’ new messiah. I suspect many thought I was exaggerating. But there is no longer any room for doubt. A new book by Helgard Muller openly and unashamedly bears the title President Donald John Trump, the Son of Man, the Christ. Meanwhile, Pastor Johnny Enlow declares that human history should no longer be referred to as BC and AD. That division should be replaced by BT (Before Trump) and AT (After Trump). Enlow also claims God told him that Trump is—not will be, but already is—President of the entire world.
In previous posts I detailed how these bizarre beliefs came about, so I won’t cover that here. (If you’d like to read more about the evolution of these blasphemous beliefs, see “The Rotten Core of Christian Nationalism,” “Nothing Will Tarnish the Messiah’s Crown,” Trumpism Is Not Over,” and “Prepare Ye the Way of the Theocrat.”)
Deceiving the Elect
Who are the elect according to the Bible? That is a question not easily answered. Depending on the context, the term can refer to the nation of Israel, Jesus the Messiah, those who follow Jesus the Messiah, or anyone favored by God. Most modern evangelicals interpret the term as referring to themselves and their fellow evangelicals. Whether Jesus’ reference to the term “elect” as recorded in Matthew 24 refers to modern-day evangelicals is up for debate. (I believe Jesus was literally referring to people in a still-future era, but the principle behind the statement transcends time and cultures.)
So, with that overarching principle of “God’s chosen ones” in mind, we can try to identify “the elect” who are currently being misled. Are these misled ones true or false followers? Do they follow a true or false messiah?
Here’s how the Christian apologetics website GotQuestions answers the question “Can the elect be deceived”:
Being deceived is a mark of the unregenerate: “At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures” (Titus 3:3). After salvation, we may stray from the truth at times, but the Bible makes it clear that the elect of God cannot be deceived to the extent of being finally lost. If God’s chosen ones could be deceived in such a way, God’s choice of them would be defeated, and that is not possible.
If this analysis from GotQuestions is accurate, then the millions of white evangelicals who have anointed—tacitly or explicitly—Donald Trump as their new messiah aren’t and never were true Christians. They’ve assumed themselves to be the elect while, all along, they’ve been deceived.
The irony, then, is both comical and sad. The folks who have labeled themselves the true Christians and assumed all others were lost to the horrible fate of eternal punishment were and are the deceived ones who, according to GotQuestions, are “unregenerate.” The term unregenerate refers to those who are not—in biblical parlance—“born again.” But woe betide anyone who might dare to warn these folks that they have been duped and are not the true "born-again" Christian believers.
Yet these deceived folks—deceived by the reckoning of the Bible they claim to follow as well as by virtually all rational human beings—are the ones who want to impose their beliefs and customs on everyone else in the land.
This is the scourge of American Christian nationalism and its craven and ironic capitulation to its cult leader whose lifestyle opposes every principle and custom they claim to hold dear.
We must counter the counterfeit elects’ influence on elections. Resist! Vote! Volunteer!
 We can only guess at what percentage of the tens of millions of Trump-supporting evangelicals have crossed the line into Trump worship.