In the article in the February 15 issue of the Standard Bearer (p. 226), quite a bit of ink and paper was expended in writing about Donald Trump’s specious religious claims. I have been waiting for a sequel exposé of Senator Rafael Edward (“Ted”) Cruz, but so far in vain.
The readers and subscribers of the SB, I believe, are astute enough to recognize that Mr. Trump’s Presbyterian claims are not credible. It is no feat to recognize error when it is so wrong.
However, Mr. Cruz’s Christian claims are not so easily discerned. He and his father have connections to Pentecostal/Charismatic churches with unusual (to put it mildly) theological positions. At least to me, his blatant use of his faith to attract “evangelical” voters is reprehensible, and contradicts the spirit of the antiestablishment clause of the Constitution, as well as the express reminder of our Lord that His Kingdom is not of this world.
Would you please consider writing this sequel, and teaching us the much-needed art of discernment? We could also learn much from an authoritative comparison of Dr. Abraham Kuyper’s political career to that of Mr. Trump and Mr. Cruz. More light, please!
My article was a simple matter of timing and publicity. When I commented on Mr. Trump, many media outlets used much ink, paper, and Internet space to report about his claim to be a Presbyterian. The time came for me to submit an article for the “All Around Us” rubric, and I selected what I considered to be a timely topic.
Your letter seems to assume it was my purpose simply to expose Mr. Trump’s religious claims as “specious.” I share your confidence in the ability of the readers of the SB to be able to identify Mr. Trumps “error.” However, I am equally confident that they are also astute enough to discern the theological errors of Ted Cruz (and I would add, of his father, who masquerades as an evangelical minister). Pentecostalism is radically different from Presbyterianism. Many of the readers probably already know the points of difference between Ted Cruz’s beliefs and the Reformed faith. If they do not, it is likely only due to the fact that they have not taken the time to examine his beliefs.
But I did not and do not intend to write an “exposé” of Mr. Trump or any of the other political candidates. To do so would give the impression that I am giving political advice to our readers, which I am loathe to do. It is not my goal to add or subtract votes for any of the candidates by unmasking their theological or moral failings. Readers of the SB know that they have to look elsewhere for political advice. In these pages we promote and defend the glorious doctrines of the Reformed faith and hope to be a tool to help our readers develop theological (not political) discernment.
Writing about Donald Trump gave me the opportunity to write about the important subjects of seeking the forgiveness of sins and of the necessity of church membership—important for all of our readers, especially the younger ones. It also gave me opportunity to say something about the sad decline of denominations whose heritage is historically more closely connected to the readers of the SB than the churches with which the other candidates associate. Sadly, these denominations are uninterested in doctrine but very much interested in politics. Little to no ink is spilled to denounce a heretic. But much ink and hot air are expended to denounce a presidential candidate for his political views. This is a warning to us, and we must heed it: that the church must proclaim and defend the gospel and stay out of politics. This is why Dr. Abraham Kuyper’s political career has never met any approval in the SB, nor should it.
—Rev. C. Spronk