In his Facebook post from yesterday, Jeremiah Johnson said that the viciousness with which people have responded to his apology leads him to think that he also might need to publicly repent of promoting what Beth Moore recently called “Trumpism.”
“If I helped to prop up this idealogy [sic] concerning him,” said Johnson, “I will need to repent again and stir up even more hell.” The minister said that going into 2021, “By God’s grace I will walk in a greater measure of humility and repentance than ever before. I will learn from my mistakes and seek correction from Godly leaders always.”
Jeremiah Johnson Is Not Alone
Jeremiah Johnson is not the only church leader to issue an apology for making a false prediction about who would win the presidential election. Kris Vallotton, a Senior Associate Leader with Bethel Church, originally published an apology video on Nov. 7, but soon took it down. Vallotton explained this decision by saying that he had reason to believe there had been election fraud and that he wanted to “wait until the official vote count.” On Jan. 8, he reposted his apology video, congratulating Biden on his win and saying he would be praying for the president-elect as he has prayed for every president.
“I really want to apologize, sincerely apologize, for missing the prophecy about Donald Trump,” said Vallotton. “I was completely wrong, I take full responsibility for being wrong, there’s no excuse for it. I think it doesn’t make me a false prophet, but it does actually create a credibility gap.”
Vallotton said he has broken people’s trust and is going to look into the reason why there was a “disconnection” between what he thought he heard God say and what actually happened. He said that this is the first time in 14 years of ministry he has had to make an apology for a false prediction, and he described the experience as “humiliating.”
“This was a very big mistake,” said Vallotton, “and I hope that you’ll forgive me, and I hope that we can all learn from it.”
R. Loren Sanford, senior pastor of Newsong Church and Ministries, also saw Congress’s certification of Biden‘s win last week as confirmation that his prophecy of a Trump victory was proved wrong. In an apology published Thursday, Sanford said, “This is a confession and an explanation, not an excuse or justification.”
The pastor said that his prophetic predictions have been “accurate for decades” and that the reason for their accuracy has been due to his practice of seeking God before paying attention to what other people are saying. He said, “My first confession is, therefore, that I departed from that discipline. I allowed myself to be caught up in a prevailing stream and to be carried along by it. In doing that, I actually compromised what the Lord had already told me years before.”
Sanford said that what God had told him years before was actually that it was not certain that Trump would be re-elected. “I should have stood on that word of uncertainty,” said the pastor. “I didn’t. I was wrong not to. Many who have a lot more fame and widespread credibility than I do were confidently prophesying a victory, and it fed into my own insecurity and need to belong or fit in.” Sanford said he should have followed the example of the Old Testament prophet Micaiah, who spoke God’s truth to the king of Israel even though 400 false prophets contradicted him.
Sanford implied that another reason for his false prediction was that he listened to his own desires over God’s voice. “Another element of how I got it wrong: The tendency we have to hear what we want to hear. Strong desire and strong opinions play a huge role in distorting the words we believe we hear, if we allow that to happen.”
The pastor concluded,
I apologize for allowing my own focus to be skewed. I ask forgiveness for allowing myself to be caught up in the stream of the 400 when God has called me to stand as a Micaiah. I apologize for allowing my own insecurity about belonging among other prophetic voices to carry me into error.
And finally, our obligation now as a whole body of Christ is to obediently pray for Joe Biden and his administration, whether or not we like the outcome, their agenda or their party.