Hi and welcome back! Yesterday, I showed you a story about evangelical pastor Greg Locke. In early January, all the cool evangelical leaders were making big ol’ prophecies about Donald Trump staying in power, and he wanted to join the Cool Kids’ Club by doing the same. But he didn’t want to face a lot of consequences for being wrong. So he wiggled out of that difficulty with Christianese! Well, he was definitely wrong about his prophecy, just like those other leaders were. Today, let me show you the tools a false prophet uses to get out of the consequences of being wrong.
(I joke about evangelical leaders and influencers being part of the “Cool Kids’ Club.” As far as I know, that’s not a formal thing. They just act like high-school students trying to get invited to the lunch table where the cool kids all sit. Also, no offense intended to wigglers. Or weasels. You’ll see.)
Greg Locke’s Prophecy.
As we saw recently, during his January 3rd church sermon, Greg Locke offered his flock some very specific prophecies. Strangely, his god’s laser focus on American politics mimics his own! Here’s the short list of prophecies I noticed right off the bat from his YouTube and Twitter accounts.
January 3rd sermon video:
- On the video, he declared Donald Trump would remain President for the next four years.
- Joe Biden would not become President. Period, point blank.
- Nancy Pelosi would be “dethroned.”
- If New York State — and, of course, NYC — refused to comply with Locke’s demands, both would be completely demolished — “laid waste,” “destroyed,” etc.
- Also, the world itself will end in 2021 if it continues to reject Greg Locke’s demands.
On Twitter leading up to January 10th:
- On January 5th: “God is about to dethrone some wicked people that have been in power.”
- He acts like the insurrection attempt is already a done-deal success.
- Finally, he ominously warns, “God will not be mocked.”
- January 8th: “An awakening is here.” So clearly, New York’s compliance is totes coming soon. Whew!
And how certain was Locke of his predictions? In a December 2020 tweet, he said: “I have 100% clarity and absolute resolve.” This language looks similar to what he used in his January 3rd sermon.
Clarity implies divine visions — which means prophecy. The flocks wouldn’t have taken it any other way. Clarity comes from something. In this case, that source isn’t the news. It’s going to be his god, talking personally to King Greg Locke. If you keep your ears open, you hear him phrase a lot of borrowed authority in similar weaselly ways.
Greg Locke will — er, Greg Locke’s imaginary friend will not be mocked!
Oops. None of That Actually Happened.
It’s not like people didn’t mock Greg Locke before his bold predictions — or hold him in utmost scorn — or both really. He’s so hilariously obvious as a conjob looking for power. But afterward, he gained orders of magnitude more negative attention from people in and out of the sheepfold.
As we know, Joe Biden DID get inaugurated. Donald Trump DID scuttle back to his trashy pleasure-palace the moment he could manage the trick. The only “wicked people” who got metaphorically “dethroned” were the ones supporting Trump — and Trump himself. Nancy Pelosi never had a throne, but she’s definitely still in office.
Needless to say, New York State seems to be intact still, as does New York City.
And most of all, ohh, are Greg Locke and his god getting mocked.
Authoritarians get completely undone by mockery. They take themselves so incredibly seriously that when someone else doesn’t, they have to bend themselves utterly toward destroying that person. So by January 10, Locke had to respond to all the mockery online about his false prophecies.
And oh honey, that is exactly what he did in a January 10 livestream.
Hold onto your hat. This one’s worth all the setup I gave it, I hope. Dude completely lost his mind. But in his ranting, we see almost every technique imaginable in the false prophet’s toolbox.
1) It’s Still Gonna Happen. Really.
First and foremost, a false prophet can insist that they weren’t wrong at all.
After insisting that he’s never, ever gonna stop being a conspiracy wingnut, Greg Locke launches into a tirade about those mocking his false prophecies (about 34 minutes into the livestream). Then, he pulls out the easiest tool in the false prophet toolbox:
Everything I said last week is still gonna happen. I believe with all my heart. I’m not giving up.
Oh, really? From where the rest of us sit, we sure think his attempt at stoking an honest-to-goodness insurrection against his government didn’t work at all. How’s that gonna work, Greg Locke? Oh, well, see, the American government will somehow stage a “fake inauguration.”
You know this whole thing is a smoke screen to make you think that some fake inauguration is going to take place. Now let me stop and say this: if by chance these bunch of demons and devils allow this to take place, don’t lose heart. It’s all smoke and mirrors. This whole thing is a massive game of chess.
Interestingly, he described his earlier prophecy as looking like a chessboard. Conspiracy wingnuts always see convoluted Rube Goldberg machines in their enemies’ activities. That makes the completely counterintuitive elements seem more reasonable.
Overall, this technique works on gullible fundagelicals. They have a huge investment in their prophecies being correct. They want to believe prophecies. And who knows? Maybe the insurrectionists will pull something out of their asses after all and then he’ll be totes not a false prophet at all!
2) I Must Be Right Because Our Enemies Fear Me.
In his January 10 sermon, the second tool Greg Locke reaches for is the Argument from Persecution. He’d already been whining up a storm on Twitter for days already about the Twitter Gods supposedly “taking” followers from him. Somehow. Because that’s totally a thing Twitter actually does. It was a hilarious trio of tweets. I dare you to read them and not crack a grin:
Every day, Twitter takes away 1,000 followers from my account. This will be the year when we find out who’s really going to take a stand. ( 3:58P, Jan 8)
Just lost another 2,500. This is not America. (5:22P, Jan 8)
Just lost 3000 more within two hours. (7:44P, Jan 8)
Even his own followers, people who like this guy, tried to correct him here. But he didn’t listen. A couple of days later, in that January 10 sermon, he really got going on his fantasies of persecution:
They’ve [he never names this “they”] already taken away 15,000 followers, which is, you know, small potatoes [. . .] I’m done with them. They ain’t going to intimidate me.
“Intimidate?” How would that even work? (Also, 15k followers sounds like pretty big potatoes for a guy who has about 100k followers now. He apparently can’t math, either.) Later on, though, Greg Locke outdoes himself by insinuating that his enemies are “threatening” his family — his wife, his child, even his church. He doesn’t say how, of course, only issues more dire warnings of his own future violence in retaliation. Blessed are the
He’s very obviously trying to claim religious persecution here. That lends credence to his prophecies, gullible fundagelicals think, because why-oh-why would their enemies go to so much trouble if he was just a wackadoodle conspiracy wingnut spewing lies?
OMG y’all, THEY’RE so scared of him they’re trying to scare him and shut him up! THEY want to silence TRUE CHRISTIANS™! But THEY won’t succeed!
3) Confuse ‘Em and Lose ‘Em.
A good way to avoid the consequences for false prophecies is to just issue a bunch more. That’s next in his sermon.
At 39 minutes, Greg Locke launches into a very confused-sounding rant about the evils of the Catholic Church, the Pope, and just in general how pedophiles are totally going down. Soon. Totally. He knows.
His last predictions didn’t pan out very well, so why not add more predictions to the mix? Maybe he thinks that if he makes enough predictions, something’s got to turn out correct sooner or later.
4) Drill Down Harder.
Next, Greg Locke simply drills down harder. After his rant about Catholicism, he says he wants to bring up his previous week’s sermon (the one on January 3rd where he made the bulk of his insurrection prophecies and indirectly threatened New York State with divine “leveling”). It is absolutely priceless. Read through the lens of complete conjob grifter trying to save his ass, suddenly his flopsweat becomes crystal-clear. He’s probably had this topic on his mind for days now. Here is his beginning:
So all the stuff I said last week [weird blublublublublu sound effect, swirlie hand gesture; I think he’s trying to do the “rewind” thing from Wayne’s World]. We rewind it, it’s going to happen. I don’t know if it’s going to happen today or sometime this year, but it’s going to happen. So I’m still going to tell you right now, based on what I know, and based on DEEP levels of CONVICTION that at this point I’ll die for, Donald Trump will remain the President of the United States for the next four years. [lol ok]
His audience cheers throughout this speech, by the way. As we’ll see, he touches on this theme throughout his sermon.
5) Moving the Goalposts — err, Refining the Prophecy.
As you might have noticed up there, he also moved some goalposts. Maybe Greg Locke was wrong about the timing of everything he predicted. But don’t you worry! It’s totally happening still! Totally!
What’s hilarious about this goalpost-moving is that a few minutes later, he’ll declare that “prophetic preaching” (like what he did on January 3rd, I guess) “never did anything for us” because it just took place so much further in the future!
He also drilled down harder on the idea of a “revival” coming Any Day Now™ as long as TRUE CHRISTIANS™ refuse to wear face masks and follow social distancing rules.
Toward the end, he refines his prophecies even further:
I still believe God’s got this whole thing. And by the way, I believe it to such a degree that if we don’t get our way, God’s still gonna have his way. The church is still going to see revival in America. [. . .] God’s still going to thin out the ranks and raise up an army.
Ah, okay. So even if Donald Trump doesn’t retain his office, even if Joe Biden does indeed get sworn in, even if Nancy Pelosi is not “dethroned” and New York State is not “leveled,” that’s still okay.
Except it’s not.
He said he had perfect “clarity” about this. He said it was 100% totally going to happen. Like a “mural” and a laid-out “chessboard” in play. He left no room for wiggling. No room for mistakes.
See, this is why most prophets are smart enough not to go long like that. They’re smart enough to leave the dates completely open and not get too specific. But even when their ambition overrides their common sense, they’ve got this tool ready to deploy. The flocks cheer when this tool comes out. They forget that it only gets pulled out because their prophet is a false one.
0) But Before Everything Else, Redefine Prophecy.
Remember the other day, when I mentioned how remarkable it was to see Greg Locke using all the weasel words he could find in his Dictionary of Christianese? It was astonishing. He wanted to issue a prophecy about the Inauguration just like all the other Cool Kids in his tribe were doing, but he didn’t want to face any blowback if his predictions didn’t pan out.
Well, our perceptions were spot-on.
Near the beginning of his January 10th sermon (about 23 minutes in), Greg Locke trotted out his first and foremost weapon against consequences: A dodgy, spurious, disingenuous redefinition of prophecy itself:
But I need to explain a couple things to you because now what’s floating around on the internet is all of these people that, let me use the word loosely, prophesied [uses “air quotes” fingers to scare-quote] that Trump was going to remain in the Presidency for the remaining four years. Now they’re all being called “false prophets” and so here’s what they’re doing now. They’re sending out these letters and these statements saying “well, somehow or another, we got it wrong,” which, by the way, they’re going to feel very very stupid in a couple of weeks.
So let me just say something. If you go back and watch every video from this platform or any video that I’ve done, even the one from the tree that I shared a couple of months ago or a month and a half ago about the dream [? IDK, IDC], you will notate [sic] that I am very careful not to say “the word of the Lord told me to tell you that Donald Trump is going to remain the President for the next four years.”
I have said “I have good authority, I believe with all of my heart, I am a thousand and ten percent confident.” But never one time did I say that Donald Trump is going to remain the President because the Lord told me that he was. Now, I may have a strong opinion on that, but I’ve been careful not to willy-nilly use those phrases.
He goes on a bit longer along those lines, but you get the idea. He’s like a sovereign citizen or a rules lawyer, but about prophecy. He seriously thinks if he just avoids using the super-special wording that turns PIDOOMA into A True and Honest Prophecy From Yahweh, then he didn’t officially issue an official prophecy.
And thus, all those meaniepies lumping him in with the Cool Kids are doing so in error. He didn’t make a prophecy. Just a set of predictions about the future that sounded in every single conceivable way exactly like one and which he implied many times came from a divine source.
It’s downright hilarious, especially when this cowardly blowhard then launches into the other tools mentioned earlier.
Greg Locke: Still a False Prophet.
In an evangelicalism that even slightly cared about reality or even their own credibility, nobody’d let him get away with these attempts to deflect blame from himself. Greg Locke’s not-a-false-prophet-omg-I-would-never act, along with his attempt at a vindication/redemption arc, would both end the moment the flocks realized his predictions hadn’t worked out.
But that’s not the evangelicalism we have now. It never really was, but it really isn’t now.
Greg Locke is the perfect representative of the current incarnation of evangelicalism. As long as he’s allowed to spew misinformation and retain an audience, we know evangelicalism is nowhere near facing its many problems — much less fixing them.
That’s fine with me.
So far, this numnuts is running a solid zero on his prophetic success rate. That means he’s about on par with all the other self-styled prophets in his religion.
If that’s actually okay with evangelicals, then it can only mean good news for the rest of us.
NEXT UP: Let’s check out the Christians trying to turn prophecy into a reputable science — and how they’re reacting to all the false Donald Trump prophecies. See you soon!
Please Support What I Do!
Come join us on Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, and Twitter!(Also Instagram, where I mostly post cat pictures.)
Also please check out our Graceful Atheist podcast interview!
If you like what you see, I gratefully welcome your support. Please consider becoming one of my monthly patrons via Patreon with Roll to Disbelieve for as little as $1/month! My PayPal is firstname.lastname@example.org (that’s an underscore in there) for one-time tips.
You can also support this blog at no extra cost to yourself by beginning your Amazon shopping trips with my affiliate link — and, of course, by liking and sharing my posts on social media!
This blog exists because of readers’ support, and I appreciate every single bit of it. Thank you. <3