A California pastor and a North Carolina pastor are speaking out against the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory, saying it's their job to protect their members from false teachings and false teachers.
"I don't like to get off track and off the Bible," Kendall said during the sermon. "But as a pastor, I do have to guard the flock."
QAnon alleges that well-known politicians and Hollywood figures are worshipping Satan and are running a child sex trafficking ring – and that former President Trump was elected to stop it. The QAnon theory wrongly said President Trump would be inaugurated on January 20, and when that proved wrong, said he would re-take power on March 20. In 2016, a supporter of QAnon fired a weapon inside a Washington D.C. pizza restaurant, falsely believing it was a front for a child sex trafficking ring. The conspiracy was dubbed "pizzagate."
Despite the false predictions, the QAnon conspiracy has not died.
"The Biblical worldview is that there's a God who's in control of the whole world. And one day Jesus is going to come back, he's going to judge the wicked," Kendall said, according to CNN Business. But with QAnon, "there is a Q that knows everything, and Donald Trump is going to come back and judge the wicked, set up his rule, and his followers are going to live in their little Utopia... It's easier for Christians who already have that belief system to make that jump over into believing [QAnon]."
Kendall told CNN Business about members who embrace QAnon, "A lot of times they're not really open to hearing my side of things or explanations."
Kendall, though, says he has a biblical obligation to speak out.
"The Bible tells us, there's always going to be false teachers in the church," Kendall said. "My job as a pastor is [to] protect the sheep from the wolves, and to not just point them to the truth, but to warn them when these false teachers come in and try to take people away."
Ben Marsh, the pastor of First Alliance Church in Winston-Salem, N.C., also has spoken out against QAnon. After the January 6 attack on the capitol, Marsh told his members that the rioters' pastors "had lied to them."
Marsh is part of a Christian Missionary Alliance online support group, according to CNN Business. QAnon, he said, has spread in many churches.
"There were pastors," Marsh said, "that were driven to their knees in prayer over and over again because they didn't know what to do."
Photo courtesy: ©RNS/AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.