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If I Were Jewish

... this would unnerve me. Ted Cruz's connection with fringe Christian theology

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNa5w9js48s?rel=0]

Shoot, I’m a Christian and I don’t get this at all. That video is up on Drudge now. It was taken four years ago at a Dallas-area Pentecostal megachurch, New Beginnings, pastored by a husband and wife team, Larry and Tiz Huch. Everybody’s talking about how, in his appearance at the church, Rafael Cruz, father of Ted and a Pentecostal evangelist, preached about Dominionism, and how, in his view, it is God’s will that Christians take the property of non-Christians, and rule over them. John Fea wrote about this in the Washington Post:

Anyone who has watched Cruz on the stump knows that he often references the important role that his father, traveling evangelist Rafael Cruz, has played in his life. During a 2012 sermon at New Beginnings Church in Bedford, Texas, Rafael Cruz described his son’s political campaign as a direct fulfillment of biblical prophecy.

The elder Cruz told the congregation that God would anoint Christian “kings” to preside over an “end-time transfer of wealth” from the wicked to the righteous. After this sermon, Larry Huch, the pastor of New Beginnings, claimed Cruz’s recent election to the U.S. Senate was a sign that he was one of these kings.

According to his father and Huch, Ted Cruz is anointed by God to help Christians in their effort to “go to the marketplace and occupy the land … and take dominion” over it. This “end-time transfer of wealth” will relieve Christians of all financial woes, allowing true believers to ascend to a position of political and cultural power in which they can build a Christian civilization. When this Christian nation is in place (or back in place), Jesus will return.

Rafael Cruz and Larry Huch preach a brand of evangelical theology called Seven Mountains Dominionism. They believe Christians must take dominion over seven aspects of culture: family, religion, education, media, entertainment, business and government. The name of the movement comes from Isaiah 2:2: “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains.”

Now, it is unfair to Ted Cruz to assume that everything his father believes, he also believes. But this stuff is so extreme that he has to talk about it publicly, and either defend it or separate himself from it in a clear way. What’s striking to me about that video is that this megachurch has no cross above its stage, but rather a menorah. Again, don’t blame Jews for this; I’m sure most Jews are as mystified by that as most Christians would be.

Larry Huch’s ministry is focused on Christian Zionism. I went to his ministry website to find out what I could about the church’s theology. Here’s what I found. Excerpt:

We believe in restoring the Jewish roots of the Christian faith; that as believers we are grafted into Israel and the revelation and heritage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through faith in the Messiah. We believe in celebrating Shabbat and the Biblical Holidays and in the importance of restoring the biblical symbols of faith including the Tallit and the mezuzah.

To be sure, most of this is standard New Testament Christianity (e.g., the “grafted into Israel” part). What is unusual is the overt claiming of Hebrew symbolism, and the heavy focus on the nation of Israel.

More from the website about Pastor Larry:

Larry Huch is the founder and senior pastor of New Beginnings Church in
Pastor Larry’’s signature combination of humor, dynamic teaching style and deep understanding of the Bible have made him a much sought after guest on television programs, conferences and various forms of media. Pastor Larry is a pioneer in the area of breaking family curses and has written a bestselling book on this subject, Free at Last. His successful follow up book, 10 Curses That Block the Blessing, is also a bestseller. As a renowned and respected author, Pastor Larry has been honored by the testimonies of tens of thousands of people whose lives have been impacted and forever altered by his anointed teachings.

Pastor Larry is also a prominent authority and ground breaking teacher on the subject of Jewish Roots. His book, The The Torah Blessing, was followed by the sequel Unveiling Ancient Biblical Secrets and the most recent 4 Blood Moons contains new prophetic revelation of the hidden truths within God’s Word and the Torah. He is whole-heartedly committed to bridging the gap between Christian and Jews and restoring the Church to its Judeo-Christian foundation. He firmly believes in studying, understanding and teaching the Word from a Jewish perspective. Pastor was honored to have spoken at the Israeli Knesset, and has received awards from the Knesset Social Welfare Lobby for his and his ministry’s generosity toward the needs of the Jewish people in Israel, especially Holocaust survivors.

Let me be clear to readers of this blog who harbor anti-Semitic views: don’t even try to post them here. Anti-Semites are among the vilest people This background, however, gives important context to Ted Cruz’s unspeakable trolling of the Arab Christians from the Middle East who gathered in Washington in the autumn of 2014 to figure out how to save their own people from genocide at the hands of ISIS. Our Jon Coppage broke that story. Excerpt:

Last night Ted Cruz stood up to offer the keynote address to a room full of Middle Eastern Christians and their allies at a somber but celebratory gala dinner dedicated to Christian unity in the face of persecution and genocide. Soon thereafter he stalked off under a chorus of boos, with the senator declaring the room to be full of hate and saying, “If you will not stand with Israel and the Jews, then I will not stand with you.” The entire transcript of his remarks is included below, along with the complete audio I recorded 20 feet from Senator Cruz and the stage.

The plight of Christians in the Middle East has swept to the fore of public consciousness in recent weeks as ISIS and related organizations have systematically persecuted and murdered Christians, driving them from homes that date back to the very beginning of Christendom. The In Defense of Christians Summit was organized to bring together Christians of every sect and denomination to stand in solidarity with their persecuted brethren. Summit participants spent Wednesday on Capitol Hill, meeting with members of Congress to drive home their message.

Ted Cruz, however, fractured that unity. Hours before his keynote yesterday, the Washington Free Beacon ran a customarily nuanced headline blaring, “Cruz Headlines Conference Featuring Hezbollah Supporters.” The story referenced several of the leading Middle Eastern Christian leaders present and their own remarks about their region’s politics, taking particular pains to note that Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Raï has an open dialogue with Hezbollah, the Shi’ite Lebanese political party and State Department designated terrorist organization. Lebanon has a long history of inter-religious conflict and is split between Sunni, Shi’ite, and Christian communities. Many Christians in the region have either allied with or received shelter from Shi’ite Muslim communities in the face of radical Sunni organizations like al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Personally, I strongly believe in the US-Israel alliance. But it is not unlimited and unconditional, and you have to be out of your mind to expect Arab Christians to share the views of American Christian Zionists on the Israel issue. The idea that Ted Cruz would take the opportunity of these Arab Christians meeting in Washington to raise awareness of the genocide being perpetrated on their people — sorry, our people, the Arab Christian people — tells me everything I need to know about his sorry character. Whenever people talk about what a sleazebag Donald Trump is, I find myself nodding along in agreement, but then I remember that Ted Cruz did this to some of the most desperate people in the world. His own people! Christian people!

So who’s the bigger sleazebag?

Larry Huch’s church is not Rafael Cruz’s church, but he’s preached there before. Does Rafael Cruz share the same sort of Israel-focused theology that Huch’s church does? And if so, does his son Ted? What about Dominionism?

I am usually quick to jump on secular liberals for making far too big a deal over Christian religious expression that they don’t understand, and that looks more alarming than it is. In this case, maybe I’m overreacting — and if so, I welcome your correction. But this aspect of Ted Cruz’s life deserves a lot more scrutiny than it has received, especially because of what it might telegraph about his foreign policy.