Morgan Guyton (Associate Pastor at Burke United Methodist Church) has an interesting article at the Huffington Post on the theology of Rafael Cruz, father of senator Ted Cruz. I blogged on Rafael in July, after Andy Miller of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition wrote about meeting him at an anti-Islam event organised by Frank Gaffney: he is the director of Purifying Fire Ministries, the narrator of a Spanish audio Bible, and a member of the Tea Party speaker circuit
Guyton draws attention to a sermon preached by Cruz on 26 August 2012 at Larry Huch’s megachurch New Beginnings in Irving, Texas. Huch is part of a movement that emphasizes the “Jewish roots” of Christianity. This does not just mean understanding the Jewish context of Jesus and the creation of the New Testament, or repudiating anti-Semitism: Jewish cultural forms are appropriated; Christianity becomes a set of esoteric “mysteries” that are unveiled in reference to Judaism; and the stories of the Hebrew Bible are used to create a pastiche of Israelite theology that is then applied to the USA. The most successful exponent of this kind of thing is Jonathan Cahn, whom I’ve discussed a number of times.
Guyton has transcribed part of Huch’s introduction:
It’s not a coincidence that in a few weeks, we go into what’s called in the Bible Rosh Hashanad [sic]… It will be the beginning of the spiritual year 2012. The number 12 means divine government… The rabbinical teaching is… that in a few weeks begins that year 2012 and that this will begin what we call the end-time transfer of wealth. And that when these Gentiles begin to receive this blessing, they will never go back financially through the valley again. They will grow and grow and grow. It’s said this way: that God is looking at the church and everyone in it and deciding in the next three and a half years who will be his bankers…
This is certainly a bold attempt to reconcile Christian apocalypticism with both Dominionism and the Prosperity Gospel, and Cruz warms to the same theme:
Priests were anointed primarily to minister the glory of God. They were anointed to pray for the people, to offer sacrifices, to care for the temple, to be God’s representatives before the people… Kings were anointed to take dominion. Kings were anointed to go to war, win the war, and bring the spoils of war to priests so the work of the kingdom of God could be accomplished. The king needed the blessing of the priest in order to be successful in battle… The priest also needed for the king to be successful in battle because the priest needed the spoils of war in order to repair the temple, in order to carry out the ministry that God had entrusted him.
Guyton is not impressed: he notes that the Bible “expressly forbade the Israelites from going to war for spoils”, and that Cruz appears to have mis-translated of the Book of Revelation:
Revelation 1:5-6, which says, “To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father–to him be glory and power for ever and ever!” In Rafael’s translation of the Bible, it says “kings and priests” instead of “a kingdom and priests.” In the Greek, the word is basileian (accusative singular) and no manuscript variants are indicated, but never mind that.
Given the warning in the final verse of Revelation, that’s bad news for Cruz.
Guyton notes that Cruz is also an enthusiast of a “Black Robe Regiment” of soldier-pastors inspired by the Revolutionary Era; the idea has been promoted by the pseudo-historian David Barton and by Glenn Beck.
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