The odd theology of Ted Cruz’s dad

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Opponents of Ted Cruz link him to Dominionism, a little-known Christian theology espoused by his father, the Rev. Rafael Cruz, a traveling Pentecostal preacher and lecturer.

Rafael Bienvenido Cruz

Rev. Rafael Bienvenido Cruz

They’re circulating videos of a sermon that Rev. Cruz gave at a Dallas-area mega-church, New Beginnings, in 2012, about how true Christians are “anointed kings” whom God has appointed to take dominion over the earth.

When I watched the short version of the video, which at the top of this post, I found his ideas both strange and alarming.  When I watched the complete version, which starts at the one-hour point in the next video, my alarm was a lot less.

Rafael Bienvenido Cruz was born in Cuba in 1939 and raised a Roman Catholic.  He came to the United States in 1957, worked his way through the University of Texas and went into the oil business.  He married, fathered two children and divorced, then married a second wife, Eleanor Darragh Wilson.  They were in the oil business in Calgary, Alberta, when Ted was born in 1970.

Somewhere along the line Cruz lost his religion.  He had a drinking problem, left his wife and 3-year-old son and returned to Houston.   He accepted a co-workers’ invitation to join a Bible study group, had an epiphany and became an Evangelical Protestant.  He turned his life around and invited his wife and son to rejoin him.  Ted Cruz said that if not for his father’s conversion, he would have been raised by a single mother.

Rev. Cruz accepts a theology called Dominionism.  In the sermon, he said that God has created “anointed priests” and “anointed kings” with dominion over society  He said is the right and duty of the “anointed kings” to “go into the marketplace and … take dominion over it” as part of an “end-times transfer of wealth”.

That’s the short version.  If you have the patience to watch the long version, you’ll see that what this means in practice is that people become “anointed warriors” by being baptized in a church and pledging to turn over a large portion of their income to the “anointed priests,” the pastors of their.

The test of faith, according to Cruz, is how much of your income you are willing to turn over to the “anointed priest”.  A tithe (10 percent) is the minimum, half your income is desirable and there are those who give 90 percent.

When you make the commitment, you will move immediately from the “land of not enough” and “the land of just enough” to the kingdom of abundance.  The priest, of course, does not use the money for his own benefit, but to advance God’s purposes.

This is foolish and sad.  I don’t question Rev. Cruz’s sincerity.  But a lot of people who believe this will be disappointed.  I wonder what Rev. Cruz will say to poor people who give to the church at great financial sacrifice in the hope of becoming “anointed kings” and then find they are still poor.  Perhaps that their faith was not strong enough!.

The “end times transfer of wealth” was supposed to take place over four years beginning in late 2012.  So far as I can tell, the main transfer of wealth in the United States has been upward to a segment of the population that I don’t consider to be particularly religious.

∞∞∞

Another aspect is that Larry and Tiz Huch, the pastors of New Beginnings Church, are Christian Zionists.  One of the basic teachings of Christianity is that Christianity is a graft onto the stem of Judaism, but Larry and Tiz Huch preach that Christians are obligated to observe the Mosaic law and to give unconditional support to Israel.   Ted Cruz certainly is as unconditional a supporter of Israel as any American politician.

I don’t know how much of this Ted Cruz himself believes.  He is a Southern Baptist, but he accepts the support of Dominionist pastors and is happy to have his father campaign for him.

As a religious liberal, I don’t need to drag in Dominionism or Rafael Cruz to find reasons to criticize Ted Cruz.  His expressed views, which are stated with great frankness on his campaign web site, are reason enough.

LINKS

Rafael Bienvenido Cruz article on Wikipedia.

Rafael Cruz Argued With Pastor for Hours Before Surrendering to Christ by Samuel Smith for the Christian Post.

Five Facts About Dominionism by Daniel Burke of Religion News Service (via Huffington Post)

Ted Cruz’s campaign is fueled by a dominionist vision for America by John Fea of Religion News Service (via the Washington Post)

Dominionism Is the New Religious Freedom by Frederick Clarkson for Political Research Associates.

If I Were Jewish by Rod Dreher for the American Conservative.

New Beginnings Church web site.

 

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