ready for the christianese class?
Reading Time: 9 minutes (Jeffrey Hamilton.)
Reading Time: 9 minutes

Hi and welcome back! I’ve been watching all these false prophets running around the Christ-o-sphere in recent weeks. They all had the same kind of prediction: that Donald Trump would remain in office for the next four years, even if they had to encourage their followers to violence to keep him there. And they were all wrong, every one of them. Today, I want to show you one of these false prophets, Greg Locke. He girded himself with Christianese in hopes of providing himself with plausible deniability. His predictions failed spectacularly, thankfully. However, his use of Christianese to do it caught my interest. Let me show you what he said, what it meant, and how cowards like him use this jargon to try to escape the consequences of their constant strings of failures.

ready for the christianese class?
(Jeffrey Hamilton.)

(Previous Fundagelical U posts.)

Sometimes I Realize Anew Just How Weird Christianese Is.

Christianese is simply the name for the bizarre jargon that evangelicals have evolved over the years. It consists of:

  • made-up words like flustrated (which is a less-angry-sounding way to say frustrated by combining it with flustered, because evangelicals try very hard to ignore big human emotions)
  • repurposed or redefined words like love (which doesn’t bear any resemblance whatsoever to anything normies call love)
  • strangely-placed prepositions that alter meanings, like love on [person] (which is a less threatening way to say love and is used on people who don’t have a close relationship with the speaker).

Thanks to Christianese, outsiders to evangelical culture can have entire conversations with evangelicals and come away having no clue what the other person thinks transpired there. You can’t count on any standard English words to mean the same things to evangelicals.

I spent my formative years in evangelical Christianity (in the Southern Baptist Convention, or SBC, and also the United Pentecostal Church, International, or UPCI). I’ve been following evangelicals for years professionally. So sometimes I lose a bit of touch with just how incredibly confusing and wackadoodle their jargon really is.

And that’s not a design flaw, folks. That’s how evangelicals like it. They can sneak through a lot of really scary stuff using Christianese. If someone isn’t familiar with the jargon, the ruse works.

Christianese 101 in Session: Prophecy Edition.

So I’m thankful I caught this video a while ago by atheist YouTuber Telltale:

YouTube video

“Pastor Greg Locke MELTS DOWN After Capitol Incident.” Uploaded January 14, 2021. Major hat-tips to him.

As you can likely see by the thumbnail, it concerns the habitually-regressive evangelical pastor Greg Locke. Locke is no stranger at all to outrageous behavior. (He’s got an entire tag over at Right Wing Watch! Holy moley!)

In the video, Locke struts around his stage, smirking and offering up the same prediction his peers were making at the time:

Sommmmmmmehow, Donald Trump would be keeping the presidency for another four years, denying the office to Joe Biden.

Another video by Holy Koolaid documents the great number of evangelical pastors, prophets, and “revelators” who trotted out the same prediction. I noticed that even Robby Dawkins showed up for the fun! (He’s the guy who lied about resurrecting a dead man at a church service. Dude has no shame whatsoever. No ambition’s too great, no lie too small for him.)

Almost all the big names in toxic Christianity show up in Holy Koolaid’s video. I wonder now if the leaders in this crowd felt compelled to issue prophecies — or risk losing their flocks to more daring charlatans.

And it was Telltale’s utter confusion at Locke’s language that made me realize that it might be useful to people to have Greg Locke’s Christianese translated into plainer English.

Prep for the Course!

The Right Wing Watch (RWW) video Telltale watched (link 1) came from Greg Locke’s January 3, 2021 church service (link 2), “Global Vision Bible Church Sermon.” Of course, Locke gave this sermon just a few days before he showed up to preach up a storm at the Capitol insurrection attempt. In his sermon, we learn that Greg Locke is 110% QAnon-addled and Trumpist — that is, if we didn’t already know that.

We also learn that he is a complete coward. Despite being such a pugnacious, chest-thumping bully, Greg Locke frantically does everything humanly possible to cover his ass in that sermon. It’s absolutely hilarious, in its way.

I do not recommend anybody waste the 90 minutes needed to watch his entire service. You can open a transcript easily if you prefer. Just tap/click the three dots next to “save,” then tap/click “open transcript.” It opens a transcript field and sets you at wherever your video’s paused right then. But seriously, the three-minute RWW video captures the highlights well. It comes from about 1:18:00 into the service.

Incidentally the sermon’s official topic was “Being Loosed from the Bondage of Satan.” Just before the RWW capture, Locke was rabbiting on about 2020 and 2021 being totally under the control of his imaginary friend. At about an hour in, he prays for “discernment” and insists that he’s not actually “some kind of amazing prophet or something.”

Oh, we knew that. But this pious performance goes well with his later disingenuous assertion that he’s “as country as cornbread.”

Finally, Locke discusses the election results, says he doesn’t accept them at all, and then we’re at the start of the RWW video excerpt.

Christianese 101: Gosh! I’ve Never Done THIS Before!

Greg Locke begins the end segment of his sermon by telling his flocks something that will titillate them:

I’m going to tell you some things you ought to expect this year. Now, I’m putting my neck on the line now.
I ain’t never done nothin’ like this. But I’m gonna obey. [Weird swirling hand gesture.]

This is amazing. I laughed out loud when I heard it. He’s priming his flock for his coming performance as a self-appointed prophet. And the crowds cheer him! They’re probably on the edge of their seats.

See, he’s indirectly telling them that his imaginary friend has directly commanded him to speak these words. He’s not saying it’s a formal prophecy using the actual P-word, but as we’ll see he’s definitely drawing upon that imagery. So what he’s about to tell them is something his imaginary friend showed him in a vision, and which he is now obligated to share.

And even though up till now he’s been sensible enough not to make specific prophecies, well, when Big J tells him to speak, gosh, what’s he gonna do?

Well, he’s danged well gonna obey, complete with [weird swirling hand gesture] as if to say and awayyyy we go!

Christianese 101: Comply or Perish!

After establishing his right to spit prophecies, Greg Locke moves on to the actual prophecy: everyone must comply with his god’s demands, which are strangely synonymous with his own demands, or else his god will completely level New York State. He says:

God Almighty is about to dethrone Nancy Pelosi! It’s about to happen! He’s about to dethrone that baby butchering mongrel, about to dethrone that woman! I’m telling you right now if New York doesn’t repent, if New York doesn’t turn around, if New York doesn’t get right with God, if New York don’t recall that crazy wicked vile mayor and governor they got, you better know something: God’s going to reach up! He’s going to destroy that place! It’s going to be desolate. It’s going to be laid waste.

Threatening cities with natural disasters comes very easily to evangelical leaders. Locke likely feels quite safe in making this threat. Evangelical leaders have predicted the downfall of disobedient cities for a while now, and somehow those cities have not fallen. (Heck, even the ones that supposedly fell in the Bible, like Jericho, didn’t really come down the way the Bible says.)

But that’s never stopped evangelical leaders from making threats about what their petulant, rage-filled god will do if sufficiently provoked by the disobedience of tiny little humans. This is a really big threat, reserved for their worst enemies. It also gets the flocks used to the idea of seeing entire cities laid waste to mollify the wrath of their imaginary friend, an anger which only just happens to look identical to that of the prophet issuing the threat.

(PS: Why does this god have to “reach up?” Isn’t Heaven supposed to be above Christians’ heads or something? That’s probably just a Freudian slip of the tongue. Locke’s god is just a bigger, more powerful version of himself, and Locke stands on the ground. He’d need to “reach up” to do anything to a state full of mountains and skyscrapers. Thus, so must his god.)

Christianese 101: Gettin’ ‘Em Terrified.

Having issued a terroristic threat against the State of New York, Greg Locke goes for his flocks’ jugulars:

And I’m telling you if we do not get right with god in 2021, we ain’t going to get another space of grace. This is it right here. This is this end.


That’s Endtimes talk. It’s supposed to get Christians thinking in terms of the very end of the world. They’ve been steadily amping up the importance of their culture wars over the past decade. Every year or so, there’s yet another Endtimes scare, though they seemed to fall out of favor for a while. Now that evangelicals feel like their dominance is well-and-truly threatened by their worst enemies, they’re ramping up the Endtimes talk again.

So Locke’s just trying to make the flocks feel like the stakes have gotten as high as they can possibly go.

Incidentally: after rabbiting on a bit more about how in-trouble New York is, Locke refers briefly to John Hagee to get his standing congregation to sit down again:

Y’all can sit down. I’ll be here all day. Y’all make me feel like John Hagee when you do that!

John Hagee, of course, is indeed a televangelist. He makes a lot of whackadoodle predictions that don’t come true. Locke might be trying to make himself look considerate and humble (UM-bull, as my old Pentecostal church pronounced it) before a much-more-important evangelical leader. Or he might be indirectly criticizing Hagee for allowing such shows of adoration.

Oh my goodness, I’ve sat through enough of those guys’ sermons to last a lifetime.

Christianese 101: The Shape of Prophecies.

So far, Greg Locke has established his suitability to make prophecies and offered up the general outlines of the threats he’s foreseen. Now, he’ll reveal the shape of his predictions. This is important, in prophecy circles.

People [are] like, You smoking a pipe dream [sic]? No! I’m telling you it’s gonna happen! I can see it! Like a chessboard, I can see it!

So his vision looked like a chessboard: moves upon moves, in set fashion, one side and then the other. He saw the offenses mounting up, and then his imaginary friend losing his top and tantruming across New York State.

There’s a few minutes of blahblah about QAnon, specifically “pedophile sex trafficking rings” apparently all over Hollywood. We’re at 1:20:10 in the main sermon — a bit past the RWW video now. A minute later, he sorta-apologizes for running so late with the sermon, then adds:

But I’m telling you right now: I can see it as plain as a mural on a wall!

Chessboards. Murals. Those are interesting word choices. The mural might allude to Daniel 5:5, the source of Christians’ beloved “writing on the wall” imagery.

He rambles on again about how his god will not just drain the swamp, but will soon “blow the whole swamp to smithereens.” And then he finally rambles on to an end.

How to Cover Your Ass in Christianese.

Well! So now let’s go back to see how Greg Locke did his best to deliver as safe a prophecy as he could.

  1. He only mentions the words “prophet” and “prophesied” once each, almost 20 minutes before delivering his actual prophecy. And he did so to distance himself from the general class of evangelical prophets.
  2. He never actually uses the word “prophecy,” for that matter. Instead, he uses visual references like “murals” and “chessboards” to indicate what he’s describing. It will still translate 100% to prophecy to his congregation.
  3. He offers no specific dates and uses only the vaguest language. He talks about Nancy Pelosi being “dethroned,” a possible reference to Revelation, which features a lot of that language. He’s also mentioned how he absolutely refuses to accept the results of the election. All of this points to something big happening soon. Evangelicals already sensed that the 6th was their last real chance to overturn the election through violence. Moreover, Locke mentions that he’ll be in Washington on the 6th. There’s definitely a sense of impending action in his words. This is one prophecy he’ll happily help make happen!
  4. Most importantly, he shrugs all responsibility onto his imaginary friend. He’s just followin’ orders, y’all! [Swirling hand gesture]

Alas for Locke and all his peers in evangelical leadership (but fortunately for everyone else), Joe Biden won the election. As far as I can tell, New York State still exists. Nancy Pelosi never had a throne to begin with, but she is certainly still in office and the Speaker of the House.

So Greg Locke very clearly asserted a number of things would happen soon, and they didn’t happen. None of them did. At all. At any point. Not even a little!

But Locke’s padded his landing as best he could possibly manage. There are so many ways he could [swirling] hand-wave away his prophecies’ failure here. We’ll take up there tomorrow. 

I hope you enjoyed this quick class in Christianese! Thanks for reading. Try not to smoke any pipe dreams, okay?

NEXT UP: How this huckster-for-Jesus dealt with his prophecies being totally wrong. See you soon!

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(Last note: regarding that UM-bull thing, my first Pentecostal church was located in Houston. Humble is one of the nearby towns, and people pronounce the town name UM-bull. So at some point, my churchmates and local leaders began pronouncing the word “humble” the same way. It’s sorta like how a lot of people misspell “champagne” as “champaigne” or “champaign” because of that town in Illinois.)

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ROLL TO DISBELIEVE "Captain Cassidy" is Cassidy McGillicuddy, a Gen Xer and ex-Pentecostal. (The title is metaphorical.) She writes about the intersection of psychology, belief, popular culture, science,...