Lance Wallnau, a “prophetic” author and speaker who declared before the 2016 election that Donald Trump was God’s anointed “chaos candidate,” this week promoted Texas congressional candidate Jeff McFarlin via a Facebook live video. “God is calling a new generation of faith filled statesman to go to Washington,” declared Wallnau’s Facebook post. “Here is someone who is stirring things up in Texas.”
The 31-year-old McFarlin is pitching himself as an oil-and-gas businessman and as a conservative who is willing to work across ideological divides. A campaign theme—that the GOP and the country need “a new sound”—reflects language used in “prophetic” circles. McFarlin says too many politicians are interested only in fighting, and he portrays himself as more of a father than a fighter. But he’s also a big defender of the biggest fighter of them all, President Donald Trump, and he says his candidacy could help Trump win the district.
The 23rd Congressional District is huge, stretching from San Antonio to El Paso and including a long stretch of border territory. It is a true swing district, giving Republican and Democratic candidates alternating victories over the last four presidential elections. In 2018, incumbent Republican Rep. Will Hurd won by less than 1,000 votes, while Democratic Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbot both won in the district.
Hurd, currently the only black Republican in the House of Representatives, announced on Aug. 1 that he would not run for re-election. That same month, McFarlin and his wife met with Sean Feucht, who was soon to announce his own congressional candidacy. McFarlin’s wife Morgan said on a Dec. 12 Facebook video announcing her husband’s candidacy that Feucht’s encouragement was a big reason they got into the race. “Now is the time,” she said Feucht told them. Both McFarlin and his wife say they feel called by God to take this plunge into politics.
McFarlin has plenty of company: nine candidates filed to run in the March 3 Republican primary. Wallnau’s large audience could be an important source of visibility and financial support for McFarlin, and he is not the only family member backing McFarlin. Wallnau’s daughter-in-law Jamie Lyn Wallnau, a Christian podcaster, is a close friend of McFarlin’s wife Morgan and appeared with her in a Facebook video announcing the campaign.
In this week’s interview, Wallnau said he has known McFarlin for years, suggesting that they initially got in touch through business circles. Wallnau, a promoter of Seven Mountains dominionism and a member of the POTUS Shield council, is a speaker and coach for conservative Christian business leaders. He described McFarlin as an “ambassador for the kingdom” within the business community. In September, McFarlin posted that he had spent a “great day” at David’s Tent, a tent for 24-7 worship and prayer that is connected to a broader movement with its own big plans for 2020.
Wallnau asked McFarlin to talk about the separation of church and state. “The left is trying to completely separate God from the government, government from God,” McFarlin said. “They’re trying to say they have no relation, get him out of here, what are you talking about?”
“And on the right, we’ve said, ‘There’s really not separation, we need it all together,’” said McFarlin, “and I agree with that to some extent. And one of the things I’d like to propose is that there are distinct and separate roles of the church and the state.” McFarlin said, “We don’t want our local church pastors executing people—criminals—and we don’t want our federal judges forgiving everybody.”
The idea of “sphere sovereignty”—that God has given the government, the church, and the family distinct arenas of responsibility—is widely shared among religious right leaders like Wallnau. This ideology is cited by those who argue that the government has no biblically legitimate role in caring for the poor, for example, because that role belongs to the church.
The church is good at helping people in their time of need, McFarlin told Wallnau. “One of the things that’s going on right now is the left, they want to get rid of God, and therefore all benevolence and charity is placed on the government’s shoulders. And it lends itself to government overreach. It lends itself to abuse in many ways.”
McFarlin cited Bethel pastor Kris Vallotton saying that the church’s job is to bring peace through love and the government’s job is to bring peace through strength. Vallotton recently preached that God would give Trump a second term because ‘The Lord wants it” and warned Christians not to find themselves in opposition to an angry God who has set aside humans’ free will to assert his sovereignty at this moment in history.
McFarlin told Wallnau about a church that he said is providing food and other services to people being held in an immigration detention center. He said that they negotiated with a nearby “bus station” to add $5 to the cost of every ticket so that “illegals who are buying bus tickets end up paying for the detention center that they’re staying in.”
Asked by Wallnau about the Second Amendment, McFarlin said, “We should not ever touch the Second Amendment. It is a right and it’s not to be infringed upon. And I’ll defend it with everything I have.” He said that he got gun safety and hunter safety courses in fifth grade, and suggested that teachers should be empowered to teach students about the constitutional purpose for and proper use of guns.
There’s been a boom in oil and gas production in the district, and Wallnau and McFarlin talked about U.S. energy production having freed the U.S. strategically from dependence on oil from the Middle East. Yet McFarlin warned, “We are in grave danger of not having anyone with oil and gas experience on the floor of Congress” at a time when climate change activists are traumatizing children and the New Green Deal is being promoted in Congress.
McFarlin said that there are other good candidates in the race, but added, “We really need representatives in Congress who aren’t just loyal to oil and gas, they’re not just defenders to some level, they actually have the skills and ability and intelligence to articulate how the industry works, why the industry is important, and what it’s doing for our people, our economy, and our strength around the world.”
In her video announcement, McFarlin’s wife Morgan described him as having “very conservative” views—“pro-life,” “pro-liberty,” “pro-family,” and “pro-business.” She said he’s a peacemaker, but assured viewers that “When he needs to fight for conservative values…he will fight.”
Among the videos McFarlin has posted is one celebrating the success of the anti-abortion movement and declaring, “We will see this end in our generation.”