Is Ted Cruz a Dominionist or Not?

Cruz Cruz BartonRob Gagnon and Edith Humphrey writing at Christianity Today say no.
Gagnon and Humphrey respond mainly to John Fea’s writings on the subject.
I think Cruz likes to hang out with seven mountains dominionists, including his father and David Barton.
What would be nice is to hear from Cruz himself. I would like to know if he agrees with his father that he is a “king” who will help bring about a great transfer wealth from the pagans to the Christians, or at least the dominionist Christians. Does Cruz believe all that seven mountains stuff?
I wish Cruz would give a speech or an interview where he addresses the matter. This will dog him until he clears it up. I am much less interested in Gagnon and Humphries opinion and more interested in hearing him talk about his views of seven mountains dominionist teaching.
UPDATE: John Fea responds to Gagnon and Humphrey on his blog. As usual, John raises some key points. Like me, he wants to hear from Cruz about his reliance on his father, David Barton and Glenn Beck. Here’s what Fea has to say about Cruz and Barton:

Cruz needs to answer for his connections to David Barton.  Over the last couple of weeks Barton has been talking openly about Seven Mountains Dominionism.  He is opening schools at Bible colleges around the country to teach this view. Let’s not forget that Barton runs a Cruz super-PAC.  This means that Barton, an outspoken dominionist, is raising a lot of money to get Cruz in the White House.  Guilty by association?  Perhaps.  Only Ted Cruz can set the record straight. Let’s remember that this guy is running for President of the United States.  I think he needs to come clean on his connections to people like Barton and Beck.

Gagnon and Humphrey quote Robert George as saying that calling someone a dominionist is McCarthyism and a smear tactic. I suppose it could be a smear to some (if you call me a dominionist, it would be a smear) but we should remember that Cruz’s father and his close advisor David Barton embrace the seven mountains teaching of Christian dominion. Cruz is surrounded by people who see it as their Christian duty to take dominion over the culture and the government.

Gospel for Asia Claims Allegations Are False But Then Claims Changes Are Coming; Still Keeping the Audit Secret

If Gospel for Asia wants to show change, then the board of directors should release the most recent audit…
In early March, Gospel for Asia’s board of directors (we still don’t know who they are) posted a statement to donors about how they are responding to GFA’s loss of ECFA accreditation and the resulting questions about their financial integrity.
In it, I find some good signs, if indeed the statements are accurate. GFA claims to have instituted new procedures to insure money is spent where it should be spent. However, on the down side, GFA claims that the allegations which led to the need for these changes are false. Shorter GFA: We never did anything wrong and we won’t do it again.
You can read the statement in full at the GFA website. Below, I intersperse my reactions throughout the statement.

Strengthening Our Commitment to You

Wills Point, Texas – March 10, 2016: A positive effect of a malicious internet attack—and a subsequent series of false accusations—against Gospel for Asia has been the overall review and fine tuning of our administrative and financial processes in order to insure we are above reproach.

My carefully documented posts since April 2015 have been vigorous but not malicious. I have all along the way asked for comment and information from Gospel for Asia. GFA stopped responding to me in May of last year. At one point, a rumor was spread that I was offered a chance by GFA leaders to go to Texas and see the operation. That was false but I indicated that I would be willing to do that. There has been no effort to set the record straight with me or any other Christian media source. Christianity Today, World, Christian Today, etc. have all tried but gotten no answers of substance.
GFA board of directors, I ask you, what allegations are false? You keep saying that publicly and privately but you don’t provide evidence. The ECFA report documents numerous problems, many of which came from this blog. If you are going to make an allegation like that, you should be prepared to back it up. I have provided documentation via publicly available documents, internal budgets, staff meeting disclosures, etc. On the other hand, you have answered with denials without evidence.
The fact that you continue to spin what is obvious to everyone is not a good sign that you are actually following through with all of the “fine tuning” you claim. If you can spin this, then there is no assurance that you are doing what you say you are doing. For years, GFA promised to be following ECFA guidelines. You were not doing that. For years, GFA promised to follow the guidelines of the Office of Personnel Management. You did not comply which resulted in the OPM evicting you from the Combined Federal Campaign. Did you forget about that? Donors are not going to forget. If you really want to fine tune, then stop blaming the messenger for false allegations when it is obvious that many of the allegations have already had consequences in the real world.

On February 12, the board of Gospel for Asia issued a statement regarding our relationship with ECFA. Over Gospel for Asia’s thirty-six-year history with ECFA, our ministry underwent a number of reviews, all of which we passed, but our most recent review (which ECFA initiated as a direct result of false accusations originating on the internet) cited several recommended areas of improvement. Gospel for Asia contested ECFA’s conclusions, but simultaneously values our relationship with ECFA, especially as a founding member of the organization.

Seems pretty clear in this statement that it is fine with you to accuse media of making false allegations but then to ingratiate yourself with ECFA. When I make a claim, you call it a “false allegation.” When ECFA includes the same information in their review and validates my work, you change your tune.
Have you forgotten about your former board member colleague, Gayle Erwin? Erwin was a part of the GFA board for 30 years. He pulled back the curtain and validated media reports. In fact, he provided even more detail about how the board was misled. Are his allegations false? If so, please explain.

Compliance with ECFA standards are a benefit—but not a requirement—for a charity to operate ethically and legally. Even so, Gospel for Asia is working to comply with recommendations made by ECFA.
Today, Gospel for Asia, is pleased to announce we as a ministry have implemented—or are well on our way to implementing—each of these recommendations for improvement.
Some of the changes being implemented include the following:

  1. While Gospel for Asia has always undergone an annual and independent financial audit from a reputable firm, the ministry has now contracted a new auditing firm that ECFA specifically recommended. This firm is well equipped to assist Gospel for Asia in navigating the increasingly complex demands presented by the varying international environments within which we operate.
  2. The aforementioned audit—which is underway—has identified additional safeguards that can be applied to GFA’s accounting and reporting processes. Till now, Gospel for Asia has fully implemented approximately forty percent of these recommendations, and is in the process of implementing all of the recommendations.
  3. In order to assess our overall operations and management, we have engaged a national non-profit expert to conduct an additional management review and in turn recommend changes to policies, procedures and practices throughout the entire organization.
  4. With the help of the auditors and experts referenced above, we have created—and are in the process of implementing—an improved agreement with our field partners. This will allow GFA to more efficiently deploy resources and better communicate regarding the use of all resources.
  5. We are in the process of adding more staff to key administrative and financial divisions in order to strengthen our overall operations.

We believe these changes will strengthen our work and insure that all of it is accomplished according to standards that are above reproach.
Gospel for Asia remains undaunted in its mission to bring the love of Christ to those who have yet to hear his name. We believe the best is yet to come and that now, more than ever before, is the time to share the love and message of Christ among the world’s least reached. These changes will allow us to be even more effective.

Statement from Gospel for Asia’s Board of Directors on Recent Developments

If you really are doing these things, then show some good faith to the public by releasing the now completed audit. If you want to demonstrate that you have turned over a new leaf, then release the audit. I know you have been asked for it and have denied the request. It is business as usual at GFA. You have it but you won’t release it.

GFA board members, you need to realize that donors don’t have to support GFA. There are other organizations which are more transparent and more focused. You must earn the trust of donors again. This spin job isn’t a good start. Just saying you are going to do things doesn’t cut it anymore. You must do something to demonstrate you have learned something.

For starters, release the most recent audit.

I'm a Republican and I Need a Mechanic. Who Should I Choose?

Let’s play I’m a Republican and I need a…

This won't be cheap...
This won’t be cheap…

I’m a Republican and I need my car fixed. I could go to a guy who isn’t a mechanic but says he can fix anything, a guy who says he’s a mechanic but hasn’t fixed anything, or a guy who has been a successful mechanic for over 25 years.
Who should I pick?
Lately, I think most Republicans would pick the overly confident non-mechanic or the guy who is a mechanic but hasn’t fixed many, if any, cars.
Or I’m a Republican and I need major surgery. I could select a guy who isn’t a surgeon but says he can cure anything, a guy who says he’s a surgeon but once closed down the operating room, or a surgeon who has been doing surgery well for over 25 years.
Who should I pick?
Lots of Republicans are saying we don’t like the mechanics and surgeons we have now. GOP voters are turning to those who have little or no experience, instead of finding a well qualified and experienced mechanic or surgeon. They seem to be willing to roll the dice with someone who unrealistically thinks he can fix anything (Trump) or someone who hasn’t fixed anything much (Cruz)  instead of the person who has a record of fixing things (Kasich). This doesn’t seem like a strategy for long term success.

Ted Cruz Misleads on Climate Science

A video going around Facebook again (first posted back in September 2015) shows Ted Cruz answering an impatient questioner on climate science. Cruz displayed a calm demeanor but he played loose with the facts. The questioner asked Cruz if he denies climate change. Watch:
[youtube]https://youtu.be/WOrmMq5IC-s[/youtube]
Unfortunately the questioner got in his own way at first. However, once Cruz got to answer, he claimed three things.

  1. Thirty to forty years ago, there was a group of liberals and scientists who claimed the world was getting cooler. The consensus was that the Earth was cooling and required massive government intervention to stop it.
  2. Then when the data disproved global cooling, the same scientists started to claim the Earth was warming.
  3. According to the satellite data, the Earth has warmed over the past 18 years. Because of that, the preferred term now for those who urge massive government control is “climate change.”

There is irony in Cruz lamenting liberals who he claims have the same answer to every problem because Cruz rarely varies in his analysis of national issues. Nearly every problem comes down to the liberals in Washington who want to exercise over the people.
Cruz is wrong on each point and like his Super PAC president David Barton, constructs a false narrative which he uses to deflect attention away from inconvenient facts.
First, there was no consensus that the Earth was cooling complete with liberals calling for government control of U.S. citizens. A review of scientific papers published in the 1970s on climate found that only seven articles from 1965-1979 proposed “global cooling” as a theory. Forty-four articles supported the idea of a warming planet during that same period.
Second, Cruz said the scientists went to the “global warming” next when global cooling didn’t work out. Third, Cruz said the data shows no warming over the past 18 years. However, he refers to satellite data for his conclusion. Surface and ocean temperature warming are much more accurate indicators of what is happening on the surface of the Earth. Generally, satellite data records conditions in orbit and must go through conversions to approximate surface temperatures. Cruz apparently relies on satellite data because they support his views. The earth has been warming and the last couple of months have been the hottest on record.
This is a very brief narrative from Cruz but in just a couple of minutes, he made everyone who heard him less knowledgeable about climate change. He is wrong about some “global cooling consensus.” He is wrong about the reason climate scientists began warning about global warming and he is wrong about the direction of the temperature over the past 18 years. He sounds smooth and smart but is way off the mark.
Because accuracy regarding the climate is a critical scientific issue going forward, Cruz’s stance is one of the reasons I think he is not ready to be president. I outlined the remaining reasons yesterday.
 
*I want to thank Christian scientists John Abraham, Katherine Hayhoe, and Erik Anderson for helping me locate and understand data for this post.

Why I Won't Vote for Ted Cruz – #NeverCruz

Cruz Cruz BartonIn this crazy GOP primary season, I have come out frequently for John Kasich although I could have lived with Marco Rubio as well. Given the available choices, a Kasich/Rubio ticket would be a pretty formidable duo to face either Clinton or Sanders in November.
For me, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are non-starters. In this post, I want to outline why I can’t vote for Ted Cruz.
Cruz promises to deport 12 million illegal immigrants
Not only does Cruz hold a morally reprehensible policy in my view, but he toughened his position to pander to the pro-Trump crowd. In February, Cruz told Bill O’Reilly that he would deport all undocumented immigrants who are in the U.S. However, in January, he said he wouldn’t send immigration authorities to homes to round them up. Furthermore, he made a point to say that those he evicts won’t be allowed to try for legal entry later as favored by Trump.
Watch Cruz on the O’Reilly Factor:
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDFmpTbTPpc[/youtube]
In practice, I believe the forced eviction of 12 million people would be a humanitarian disaster, comparable to the forced migration of Native Americans during the Trail of Tears between 1830 and 1850. It is conceivable that some will resist deportation setting up possible violent stand-offs with authorities. Many have children who were born here. I can imagine children left behind in makeshift arrangement with many tragic stories. I can also imagine myself taking some kind of action to protest mass deportation; I certainly won’t vote to make it more likely to happen.
In addition to the logistical and moral problems, it would be quite costly, Forbes Magazine estimated that the deportation of approximately 12 million people would cost $114 billion. More recently, a Wall Street Journal analysis pegged the cost at around $400 billion, In addition, the hit to the GDP would be about $1 trillion.
I have to believe that Cruz is aware of the costs but is making the pledge to deport anyway for political reasons. This leads me to my next problem with Cruz
Cruz surrounds himself with people who have a problem with truth
David Barton and Glenn Beck immediately leap to mind. Barton was one of those who anointed Cruz in 2013 and Glenn Beck has been Cruz’s surrogate in the media and on the campaign trail since Beck endorsed Cruz during the Iowa primaries. Space doesn’t permit an examination of Barton’s historical and current misadventures but you can read about them here.
At Cruz’s rallies in Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada, Beck floated several fraudulent stories about George Washington (see here, here, and here). Beck issued a statement admitting the deception to Huffington Post, but he blamed HuffPo for his mistakes on his own website and never apologized or admitted the truth to Cruz’s supporters.
Barton and Beck aren’t peripheral figures in the Cruz universe. Barton heads one of Cruz’s Super PACs and Beck has become a spokesman for Cruz. Along with foreign policy advisor and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney, Beck and Barton as close advisors call into question Cruz’s judgment. An administration full of these appointments is unthinkable.
Despite Cruz’s religious tones, I don’t trust him – In part because of his advisors, I don’t trust Cruz. Their claim that Cruz is God’s candidate is icing on the distrust cake. His father, his wifeDavid Barton and Glenn Beck have all expressed in one way or another that Cruz is divinely anointed to be president. In Israel’s history, God intervened and chose kings. However, America is not Israel and those who claim to know God’s will on this matter immediately arouse my suspicion.
I became more keenly aware of how little I trust Cruz when he recently said in a town hall meeting that one should be skeptical of a candidate who claims God’s favor. He was essentially holding himself up for scrutiny since he is the only candidate with that platform in this campaign.
Cruz has not spoken much about how his belief in special knowledge would inform his policy decisions. There is no religious test to become president but since Cruz has previously gotten direction through interpreting “words” given to his wife, I want to know if he will continue getting directions on big decisions in this manner as president.
To me, how he makes decisions is important because Cruz’s willingness to compromise (something he hasn’t shown much willingness to do) might be hindered by a believe that his position is God’s position. One of his advisors, David Barton, believes man’s law cannot contradict God’s law. He also believes the Bible speaks authoritatively on public policy. It is a fair question to ask: Will Cruz run the country as a pastor or politician? Given his rhetoric and advisors, I can’t support a candidate who thinks his positions are gospel rather than the offerings of a fallible man who is open to give and take.
Cruz dismisses climate change as religion
He has made several false statements about climate change science, including that the Earth has not warmed over the last 18 years (it has) and that there was a scientific consensus about “global cooling” in the 70s (not true). He seems to be on the same page as that great climate scientist David Barton.
He does with climate science what Barton and Beck do with history and social science. While some might feel that a candidate’s position on this topic shouldn’t disqualify, I believe Cruz’s approach signals how he would approach other similar issues. Instead of approaching climate change objectively, he views the topic through his religion. He views climate science as an ideology to be defeated. In other words, to me, it looks like his religious views compromise his ability to be objective about the science — not a quality that inspires trust and confidence.
Cruz’s behavior toward Arab Christians
For the American Conservative, Rod Dreher wrote about a Cruz appearance before an Arab Christian audience where Cruz walked off in the middle of his speech. Dreher wrote:

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!

Cruz’s promise to carpet bomb ISIS is reckless
Cruz promised on more than one occasion to carpet bomb ISIS. Either he doesn’t know what carpet bombing is or he intends to target civilians. Either possibility is a serious problem. I also think his uninformed tough talk does little to build alliances in the Muslim world just when we need them the most. This problem is probably the result of my next serious concern.
Cruz would have to learn on the job
The Republicans rightly criticized Barack Obama’s lack of experience in 2008. Cruz is open to the same concern. When Barack Obama left the Senate in November 2008, he had served just shy of four years. If Cruz wins the presidency, he will have served the same amount of time in the Senate. Most of what Cruz talks about is theoretical since he has no strong record of legislative accomplishment. Shutting down the government and alienating most GOP colleagues doesn’t seem like a solid foundation for the kind of wise, experienced leadership one hopes for in a president. As is true of Trump, Cruz would not be ready to be president on day one.
I could go on and I might add to the list. Generally, Cruz is to the right of Ronald Reagan while he claims to be a Reagan Republican. I would not trust or feel safe with Cruz as president. I do not believe a mass deportation is moral and I don’t believe the economy would survive it. Imagining his advisors as administration officials is frightening. There is no reason to expect that the partisan divide in D.C. would do anything but expand. Cruz has been unable to forge a working relationship with his own party, let along the political opposition. He seems to put his religious ideology ahead of sound science and political compromise.
Besides all of these considerations, Cruz consistently loses to Hillary Clinton in polls asking about voter preference in the general election. It should not be hard to see why Cruz’s positions won’t be attractive in the general election.
For all of these reasons, I simply can’t vote for Ted Cruz in PA’s primary or in November.

Wayne Jolley, Leader of The Gathering, Has Died

Bob Smietana at Christianity Today was all over The Gathering story and has a good summary of the controversial mind control movement that once boasted Christian producer and songwriter Ed Cash as a member.
According to Bob and my contacts with former members, members have been gradually getting out of the movement since CT published the first article.
My posts on The Gathering are here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

World Magazine Examines John Kasich's Chances for a GOP Convention Upset

I appreciate World for taking a serious look at John Kasich’s chances for a GOP convention upset.
In one article earlier this week, political scholar Henry Olsen told Marvin Olasky there is a pathway for Gov. Kasich to the nomination.
In a second article by J.C. Derrick, the possibility of a Kasich-Cruz partnership is examined. While I really want to see Trumped stopped, I can’t see Kasich or Cruz going for it. Kasich is dead set against deporting 12 million illegal immigrants and Cruz wants to do that and never let them back in — women and children and all. Kasich understands the humanitarian disaster that would be. Cruz seems oblivious to these concerns.
Cruz polls poorly against Hillary Clinton while Kasich beats her handily. Adding Cruz to Kasich may take away that edge. Kasich has been saying lately that the GOP has had 10 contested conventions and in seven of them the candidate with the most votes going in didn’t get the nomination.  Kasich hopes for lightening to strike again this year.