Isolated from the American people and surrounded by an army of 25,000 National Guard troops, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn into the presidency and the vice presidency on January 20. There was no elaborate military coup, surprise arrests, martial law, bombshell revelations of corruption, foreign invasion, supernatural intervention, or any of the myriad of theories circulating social media these past few months. For some this comes as no surprise; but others are devastated, confused, and embarrassed. Regardless of our emotional state, we are all now experiencing a reality-check. In short, we must now accept responsibility.
In October 2017 posts from an anonymous user referring to himself simply as “Q” appeared in the online message board 4chan, claiming to have unique access to the president and awareness of an elaborate military plot. Despite the failure of Q’s original prediction that Hillary Clinton would be arrested and massive riots would erupt nationwide on October 20, 2017, his followers developed a cult-like obsession with his posts, known as “Q drops” or “breadcrumbs.”
QAnon, as Q came to be known, regularly reminded his followers to “trust the plan.” For years, adherents to QAnon assured others that President Trump was “waging a secret war against elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles in government and the media” which would result in hundreds of thousands of arrests throughout government and mass executions for treason. Jeff Sessions, William Barr, and John Durham are only some of the many figures QAnon touted as the heroes who would expose corruption, trigger a cascade of indictments, and release President Trump to usher forth an age of prosperity and righteousness in America. However, as we approached the end of President Trump’s presidency on January 20, it seemed this was nothing more than a pipe dream—then thousands of National Guard troops began arriving in Washington D.C.
Immediately, QAnon proselytizers provided daily intelligence updates of a planned military coup that would result in the arrest of Joe Biden, along with perhaps 250,000 others in government, and the continuation of a Trump presidency. Not only would this shocking event purge evil from the American government, but it would also trigger a global purge that would free the world of its corrupt oppressors. All that was required of QAnon’s followers was faith in President Trump and his plan. They were asked to patiently stand by in anticipation of the military’s big reveal.
Needless to say, this is not what transpired on January 20. Multitudes of Christians devoted to seeing truth and justice prevail stood idly by for years, having outsourced to President Trump their civic responsibility to fight for these biblical virtues. During those years, numerous revelations of systemic corruption in our nation’s most trusted institutions—including the Justice Department—resulted in virtually no accountability, indictments, or meaningful reforms because our nation’s elected officials did not feel sufficient pressure to seek truth and justice at the risk of their political careers. One can’t help but question how this might have been different if the followers of QAnon had actively engaged in the political process rather than passively watch, believing President Trump’s “plan” absolved them of civic responsibility.
Voice of the Prophets
While some Christians placed their faith in a secret plan of the military, many others placed their faith in a secret plan of God. Just as the prophets of QAnon provided insight and regular assurance to their followers, so also self-titled prophets of God provided insight and regular assurance to Christians. Among these prophets, there was no lack of fresh prophecies, dreams, and revelations promising a second Trump administration whose victory would be so unexpected that it would compel even the most rebellious in America to recognize the sovereignty of God. In turn, this would trigger a revival through our country. Such a revival would see truth and justice prevail, permitting President Trump to establish righteousness in our government that would restore our Christian heritage, along with the blessings and favor of God.
This too did not happen on January 20. Unlike QAnon, adherents of these Christian prophets were not entirely passive. Christians across our country fell to their knees in prayer. Nevertheless, they ultimately succumbed to the same temptation as the followers of QAnon. They chose to outsource their Christian responsibilities to the president.
Revival is not the responsibility of the president. Neither is it the responsibility of God. Revival is the responsibility of the church. It is the church that is tasked with turning the hearts of people toward God. If ever there was an opportune moment to reach the hearts of our fellow citizens, it is now. Faced with a pandemic, rampant fear and despair, national riots, censorship, widespread allegations of fraud and corruption, the loss of personal wealth and freedoms, and so much more, people are uniquely positioned to hear the good news of the kingdom of God with fresh ears. But how will they hear if nobody is bringing them this gospel message (Rom. 10:14)? It is only after we are faithful to do our part and to preach repentance that God should be expected to provide spiritual enlightenment of that message, which leads to revival.
Likewise, it is the church that is tasked with preserving our Christian heritage. God’s people cannot ignore the rise of critical theory and Cultural Marxism in our educational system, politics, news coverage, and even our churches without undermining our Christian heritage. Neither can God’s people separate politics from the message of the church without denying our Christian heritage. Our government was intentionally and uniquely crafted in accord with Biblical principles and as a compliment to the Christian life.
When God’s people were given a choice between one political candidate who embraced a party platform rooted in Christian principles and another whose platform denied these principles, what was the response of far too many? It was to remain silent while trusting in prophecies that promised a second Trump administration. And when this victory was jeopardized because of apparent widespread fraud, these same Christians were emboldened in their silence because of the assurance of prophets that God would supernaturally intervene. All that was required of God’s people was to stand idly by, passively watching and awaiting God’s big reveal.
Nobody can be blamed for being confused in these turbulent times. Neither can anyone be blamed for trusting in something that never materialized. There should be no shame in this. Yet one cannot help but question how the events of January 20 may have differed if fewer people had assumed the role of observers and had instead personally engaged in fighting for truth and justice.
Of course, these observers are not limited to the followers of QAnon and the Christian prophets. How many Christians outsourced their responsibility to the courts—believing that President Trump’s aggressive appointment of conservative judges would restore what God’s people had failed to defend? Or how many other Christians allowed leaders like John Piper and David Platt to convince them to outsource to God’s providence their civic responsibility to vote? Refusing to use their vote in a meaningful way, far too many Christians figuratively flipped a coin, trusting in the faithfulness of others to elect the better candidate in accord with God’s mysterious will.
Today we are stripped of our illusions. In this election season, the courts have failed to uphold truth and justice by refusing to hear difficult cases on their merits, hopefully stripping us of our illusion that the courts will somehow make difficult rulings that will restore to our country morality and righteousness. QAnon and the prophets will continue to hold out hope and assurances that victory remains possible—the accuracy of which only time will reveal—but we are hopefully stripped of our illusion that someone else will fight our battles in our stead. And the resignation of Donald Trump from the presidency has hopefully stripped us of our illusion that revival can come through a politician or government policies instead of the work of the church.
Let us resolve today to take personal responsibility. Righteousness cannot emerge from any other agency than through the people of God. Therefore, let us be the ones to uphold truth and to demand justice. Let us be the ones to defend our nation’s Christian heritage. Let us be the ones to uphold morality and righteousness in our culture. Let us be the ones to preach repentance and to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God. Let us be the ones to sow the seeds of revival. Let us be the ones to eagerly tell God, “Here I am! Send me” (Isa. 6:8).
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2. Pentchoukov, Ivan. “Biden Sworn in as 46th President of the United States.” Politics. Epoch Times, January 20, 2021. Last updated January 20, 2021. https://www.theepochtimes.com/biden-sworn-in-as-46th-president-of-the-united-states_3664308.html?utm_source=news&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-01-20-2.
3. Wendling, Mike. “QAnon: What Is It and Where Did It Come From?” News. BBC News, January 6, 2021. https://www.bbc.com/news/53498434.
4. Kristian, Bonnie. “QAnon Is a Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing.” Christianity Today, August 26, 2020. https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2020/august-web-only/qanon-is-wolf-in-wolfs-clothing.html.
5. Wendling, Mike. “QAnon: What Is It and Where Did It Come From?”
6. Menn, Joseph, Elizabeth Culliford, Katie Paul, Carrie Monahan. “‘No Plan, No Q, Nothing’: QAnon Followers Reel as Biden Inaugurated.” Reuters, January 20, 2021, 5:51 p.m. Last updated January 21, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-biden-qanon/no-plan-no-q-nothing-qanon-followers-reel-as-biden-inaugurated-idUSKBN29P2VO.
7. Wendling, Mike. “QAnon: What Is It and Where Did It Come From?”
8. Simon Parkes Website, https://www.simonparkes.org.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.