Trump-Boosting Megachurch Pastor Mocks Those Who Skipped Church For Fear of Coronavirus

There was a crowd at Guillermo Maldonado's church Sunday, but he wasn't happy about those who stayed home. (Image from King Jesus Ministry video)

(Update 3/18/20): Since the publication of this article, Maldonado’s King Jesus International Ministry announced that services are suspended “until further notice” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Guillermo Maldonado, the Florida megachurch pastor and self-declared apostle who hosted President Donald Trump at a January rally for the president’s reelection campaign, defied recommendations by public health officials, urging his congregants to attend church Sunday. During the service, he mocked those who stayed away and declared that fear of the coronavirus is a “demonic spirit.”

The January campaign rally Maldonado hosted at his King Jesus International Ministry church in Kendall marked the launch of the president’s Evangelicals for Trump campaign.

Maldonado said that the coronavirus is a sign of the End Times, a fulfillment of biblical prophecy that God would “shake” the nations. The current “shaking” is not from the devil, but from God himself, Maldonado said, adding that it is the fear that is demonic. Maldonado challenged people to demonstrate their faith in the power of God to protect and heal them by coming to church in spite of public health warnings.

On a since-deleted Facebook video showing Maldonado making similar comments, according to the Miami Herald, the pastor had previously told followers who might feel sick and were thinking about not coming to church, “You have two choices. Come in and receive your healing, or stay home and miss out on it.”

Echoing those remarks during the two-and-a-half hour service on Sunday morning, Maldonado noted that the church was not as packed as it usually is, and mocked those who are “home in the cave afraid of the virus.”  He told members of the congregation watching at home via livestream that he expected to see them at the 6 p.m. service.

“Do you believe God would bring his people to his house to be contagious with the virus?” Maldonado asked. “Of course not.”

While guest speaker Renny McLean—a Texas-based “apostle”—was speaking to those attending church, Maldonado broke into the broadcast feed and told people watching from home that closing churches is “the plan of the enemy.”

Maldonado was part of a group of religious leaders who met with Trump in the White House in October to express their support and criticize the impeachment inquiry. As Right Wing Watch reported, in January:

Maldonado is associated with dominionist “prophets” and “apostles” like Lou Engle, Ché Ahn, and Cindy Jacobs. Pro-Trump “prophet” Lance Wallnau promoted the Evangelicals for Trump launch during a “2020 Prophecy” video livestream on New Year’s Day, portraying the 2020 election as a spiritual battle and repeatedly urging his supporters to attend the Friday night rally.

Like other pro-Trump “prophets,” Maldonado believes that God has raised up President Donald Trump as part of his plan for the End Times and the second coming of Jesus Christ. Speaking at the 2019 Global Prophetic Summit hosted by Jacobs’ Generals International in November, Maldonado said God told him, “America, I have prepared this time, I have raised somebody in office to open the doors for my gospels.”

“And the Lord said, ‘America, open your eyes. Do not miss the time of your visitation. Do not miss the time of your visitation,’ says God,” Maldonado continued.

Maldonado said God had revealed to him the order of events taking place in the End Times cycle we are now in. There will be “shaking” around the world that will cause people to seek God, Maldonado said, bringing about a global revival. Part of the shaking will be civil wars as well as a holy war between the “seeker-friendly artificial church” and “the real, supernatural remnant church.”

Maldonado said God told him that civil war was coming to America. “The Lord showed me what is going to happen in America,” he said. “The Lord said, ‘What you saw, there’s a white horse that has been released upon the earth of civil wars,’ and then he said, ‘That horse is coming upon America.’”

Visiting apostle McLean’s message was heavy on prosperity gospel theology, urging people not to hold back their financial support over concerns about the impact of the virus on their personal finances. He urged people to tithe and then make a generous “seed” offering on top of that if they want to avoid struggles in the future and partake of the “glory” that he said will come after the shaking, during which the righteous will “possess the wealth of the wicked.”

As Right Wing Watch has reported, Maldonado is just one of many religious-right figures urging people to ignore public health officials’ social-distancing recommendations.