Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Ted Cruz, Dominionism, and the Dangers of ‘Sola Scriptura’

As the years pass on, one thing the [u]nited States may well be remembered for (unhappily) is being a breeding ground for a great multitude of new sects of Christianity.  At the heart of this continuous fracturing is the idea that the Bible alone (Sola Scriptura) is to be the foundation and rule of the Christian life.  As we have noted before, however, there can be as many interpretations of the Holy Scriptures as there are people who read them, and with no other guiding principle than one’s private opinions, schism is sure to multiply.  And it has.

One of the latest fruits that the crooked tree of Sola Scriptura has borne is Seven Mountains Dominionism.  We mention it here because so many well-meaning Christians in the South and elsewhere have fallen in love as it were with Sen Ted Cruz, who espouses this false teaching (as does Glenn Beck and some other notables).

 . . .

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.”

Barton’s Christian nationalism is a product of this theological approach to culture.  Back in 2011, Barton said that if Christians were going to successfully “take the culture” they would need to control these seven areas. “If you can have those seven areas,” Barton told his listeners to his radio show, “you can shape and control whatever takes place in nations, continents and even the world.”

Seven Mountains Dominionism is the spiritual fuel that motors Cruz’s campaign for president.

 . . .

Source:  John Fea, ‘Ted Cruz’s Campaign Is Fueled by a Dominionist Vision for America’, http://www.religionnews.com/2016/02/04/ted-cruzs-campaign-fueled-dominionist-vision-america-commentary/, posted 4 Feb 2016, accessed 23 March 2016 (thanks to www.infowars.com for posting their story about this)

Some things to note:

First, Christ’s kingdom is not of this world (St John’s Gospel 18:36).  Treating it as though it were, that Christians must conquer worldly institutions and wield worldly power in order to bring about Christ’s Second Coming, is playing straight into the hands of the devil, whose Antichrist would fit quite nicely into this scheme of the Dominionists.

Second, the Kingdom of God is already near at hand, and even within us, and may be experienced here and now in this age, if only we would look for it in the right way: 

Third, we must safeguard ourselves against false teachers by taking a different approach to the Holy Scriptures than that of the Protestant churches.  The teachings of the Orthodox Church, she which has kept unimpaired the Faith given by Christ to His Holy Apostles, are our only sure hope.

From the Council of Jerusalem of 1672:

Decree 2

We believe the Divine and Sacred Scriptures to be God-taught; and, therefore, we ought to believe the same without doubting; yet not otherwise than as the Catholic Church [not ‘Catholic’ as in ‘Roman Catholic’ but ‘catholic’ as in ‘complete’ or ‘full’ or ‘lacking nothing’--W.G.] has interpreted and delivered the same. For every foul heresy accepts the Divine Scriptures, but perversely interprets the same, using metaphors, and homonymies, and sophistries of man’s wisdom, confounding what ought to be distinguished, and trifling with what ought not to be trifled with. For if [we were to accept Scriptures] otherwise, each man holding every day a different sense concerning them, the Catholic Church would not  by the grace of Christ continue to be the Church until this day, holding the same doctrine of faith, and always identically and steadfastly believing. But rather she would be torn into innumerable parties, and subject to heresies. Neither would the Church be holy, the pillar and ground of the truth, {1 Timothy 3:15} without spot or wrinkle; {Ephesians 5:27} but would be the Church of the malignant {Psalm 25:5} as it is obvious the church of the heretics undoubtedly is, and especially that of Calvin, who are not ashamed to learn from the Church, and then to wickedly repudiate her.

Wherefore, the witness also of the Catholic Church is, we believe, not of inferior authority to that of the Divine Scriptures. For one and the same Holy Spirit being the author of both, it is quite the same to be taught by the Scriptures and by the Catholic Church. Moreover, when any man speaks from himself he is liable to err, and to deceive, and be deceived; but the Catholic Church, as never having spoken, or speaking from herself, but from the Spirit of God — who being her teacher, she is ever unfailingly rich — it is impossible for her to in any wise err, or to at all deceive, or be deceived; but like the Divine Scriptures, is infallible, and has perpetual authority.

Source:  http://www.crivoice.org/creeddositheus.html, accessed 12 April 2016 (thanks to Michael for sharing this web site with us)

And in the Institutes of St John Cassian (+435) we find this:  If we wish to understand the Scriptures aright, then we must first acquire purity of heart, which requires much labor (love of enemies, fasting, prayer, etc.).

Chapter XXXIII.

Of the solution of a question which Abbot Theodore obtained by prayer.

Chapter XXXIV.

Of the saying of the same old man, through which he taught by what efforts a monk can acquire a knowledge of the Scriptures.

For more on the Orthodox view of Sola Scriptura:

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