The Cinematic Arts department at Liberty University has enlisted students to help produce a film depicting President Donald Trump as ordained by God to lead the United States.
According to Vox, The Trump Prophecy is based on the story of Mark Taylor, a Florida firefighter who claims God told him Trump would become president – a story that Taylor turned into a book, published by a small Christian company.
> Liberty students and staff regularly work on Christian-themed films as a form of career-development-training, with about one film made per year in partnership with outside film companies, according to the Christian Post. Previous faith-based films have included relatively anodyne fare like Extraordinary, the story of a Christian couple running a marathon together. The Trump Prophecy is funded and produced by Charlotte-based ReelWorks Studios, with a budget of about $2 million.
> But an explicitly political film, suggesting that Donald Trump’s presidency was divinely ordained, is striking for the university.
Liberty University president Jerry Falwell, Jr. is an unapologetic Trump supporter, making the choice in subject matter less than shocking.
And the film fits well with the narrative of some evangelical Trump supporters that he was chosen by God in the same manner as the biblical King Cyrus – a less-than-godly man nevertheless used by God to commence the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem.
This view is most often expressed by those associated with the New Apostolic Reformation, which as Vox notes is a "loosely-conceived umbrella group of Christians that tend to focus on the power of individual prophecy and the authority of charismatic leadership figures believed to be possessed of distinct spiritual gifts.”
> Paula White, the prosperity gospel preacher who is one of the most influential members of Trump’s unofficial evangelical advisory council, is associated with this movement.
> The idea that Trump is a prophesied figure — often compared to the Persian King Cyrus — is a ubiquitous one in those circles (Lance Wallnau, another self-proclaimed prophet, made that very case on Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network during the presidential election campaign.)
The Trump Prophecy is due to be released in fall 2018.