“My soul,wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.” Psalm 62:5
Earlier this month, the Pulpit & Pen explored the dominionist ties of Texas Senator and Presidential candidate Ted Cruz and his father Rafael. Those ties were confirmed yesterday as the Cruz campaign announced that Mr. Cruz had been endorsed by dominionist and International House of Prayer (IHOP) leader Mike Bickle, a major figure in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). Bickle released the following statement about Cruz:
“Our nation is in a great crisis in this hour. We need a president who will first be faithful to honor God’s Word. We need a president who will work to defend religious liberty, uphold our Constitution, keep our country safe and our economy sound, and speak truth to the nation. We have been praying for righteous leaders, and Ted Cruz is such a leader. I am enthusiastically endorsing Ted Cruz.”
Cruz glowingly accepted Bickle’s endorsement, stating
“I am grateful for Mike’s dedication to call a generation of young people to prayer and spiritual commitment. Heidi and I are grateful to have his prayers and support. With the support of Mike and many other people of faith, we will fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith.”
Bickle’s “call to spiritual commitment” to which Cruz refers is viewed as an enticement into a cult or cult-like movement by others. Bickle is one of the Kansas City Prophets, a group that Christendom has been warned about by discernment ministries such as Got Questions, the Watchman Fellowship, and the Christian Apologetics Research Ministry. The problems with IHOP are legion, as this first-person testimony demonstrates. So why would Ted Cruz, a Southern Baptist, speak glowingly of IHOP? An obvious reasons would be that Cruz needs the votes of those people over whom Mike Bickle holds sway.
A political candidate can’t be necessarily be faulted for who endorses him. The United States is a democracy and people with a wide array of backgrounds have a right to vote as citizens of this (somewhat) free country. If a cult member endorses Ted Cruz (or any other candidate), it’s not necessarily because there is some problem with Mr. Cruz. Yet, it’s not incumbent on Cruz to issue a press release for every endorsement he receives. Were he to receive an endorsement from LDS President, Thomas Monson, he would be all but guaranteed to carry Utah…but would he issue a glowing statement of appreciation of that particular cult leader? Were to he receive an endorsement from the White Knights of the Klu Klux Klan, he would likely be happy to receive their votes, but he almost certainly wouldn’t publicize the endorsement. So why speaking so glowingly of Bickle?
It’s yet another example of theological compromise in the face of political machinations. More and more, it seems, Christians willing to hitch their wagon to the stars of people who are almost Christian for the sake of political gain. In other words, Cruz certainly isn’t alone. Southern Baptist leaders such as Russell Moore and Albert Mohler have lent their religio-political muscle to Roman Catholic presidential candidate Marco Rubio as faith advisers. Southern Baptist pastors David Jeremiah and Robert Jeffress have literally laid their hands upon Donald Trump, who seems as Hell-bound as any heathen on planet Earth. It seems that Republican politicians are scrambling gather evangelical influence. Since Rubio, an avowed Roman Catholic, and Trump are obviously lost, it’s no surprise that these men, they are politicians after all, would resort to pandering. It would be disappointing to see such pandering from Ted Cruz, a confessed Christian. However, his dominionist ties seem genuine. Cruz promises to “fight the good fight, finish the course, and keep the faith.” Christians will recognize this statement as the words of the Apostle Paul himself. Many Christians use this language to describe their personal Christian walk, however, this phrasing has greater meaning in the NAR. In that movement, the office of Apostle (Paul’s office) has been restored and it is to be filled with individuals who take dominion over culture. Filling office of President would be a major coup for the NAR. One is left to wonder if Cruz was using the phrase innocuously or sending a clear message to his NAR supporters, “I am one of you.” Further support for the idea that Cruz is himself a dominionist plays out graphically. His campaign logo is a flame, very similar to the logo of IHOP.
Whether Cruz is dominionist or is merely courting them, the sobering fact is that dominionism is making inroads into the Southern Baptist and greater evangelical community. Experiencing God co-author and LifeWay employee, Claude King, is currently making the rounds to local Baptist associations to put on prayer “boot camps” to train prayer warriors (who will, no doubt, purchase resources from LifeWay). These prayer warriors will be encouraged to pray for the 7 Cultural Mountains, a very important dominionist prayer “strategy.” Before putting on these boot camps, King was busy promoting the prayer-themed movie War Room to local pastors. While most Southern Baptists likely reject the 7 Mountains eschatology of IHOP (an eschatology which posits that taking over culture will usher in the Second Coming of Christ), they are no less hopeful in the horses and chariots of government power. Teaming with dominionists, as Southern Baptist President Ronnie Floyd has done, is symptomatic of the disease of patriotic worldliness. As citizens of heaven, Christians have been taught by Jesus how to pray. The Lord Jesus taught his disciples to pray that His kingdom would come (dominionists seem determined to bring it themselves). Christ’s disciples were further taught that in this world they would have trouble, not power and influence. Taking dominion over culture isn’t a part of a Christian’s marching orders, nor is doing so a reasonable expectation; a “prayer strategy” which involves “Christian” movies and “anointed” politicians will not bring Christ’s kingdom nor set up a Christian government here on earth. Jesus will do that in His own time. Christians should look forward to a Heavenly kingdom that will be established outside of the political maneuvering of men. A Christian should, of course, vote for the best candidate available, the one who best represents his own political view. However, Christians would be better served await the return of Christ without hope in the chariots and horses of a secular government…chariots and horses which are arguably piloted by the god of this world.
[Contributed by Seth Dunn]
*JD Hall of the Pulpit & Pen was asked by the Cruz campaign for an endorsement and he gave it. (Pulpit & Pen wasn’t mentioned in a Cruz press release). Various writers of the Pulpit & Pen generally support the political positions of Ted Cruz and are not seeking to derail his political campaign. Our interest in this story is of a theological nature.
**Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.