“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a basket. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” —Jesus, Matthew 5:14-16
Pastor Rafael Cruz, father of Texas Senator Ted Cruz, took to the pulpit in Santa Ana, California, on Saturday, May 2nd. Cruz had an important message to share. He wanted to motivate the faithful to increase their efforts in promoting biblical morality in the public sphere. Too many, according to Cruz, are hiding their lights. This invites darkness. And darkness must be dispelled.
Sharing a Burden
Pastor Cruz started his talk by sharing a burden, informing his audience that a large percentage of evangelical Christians are not registered to vote. And, of those who are registered, only half of them vote! “The character of Christ,” Cruz asserted, “is a life of contribution.” He clarified his meaning, adding, “Invest your life into the lives of others.” He meant, of course, that we must teach others how to live as responsible citizens.
Losing Our Safety to Act
Not enough has been done to pass wisdom on from one generation to the next. This is causing the erosion of America’s worship communities, a dangerous trend. Cruz made reference to Psalms 11:3: “If the foundation is destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Churches across America, Cruz maintained, “are trying to attract the world by being more like the world, and they lose their impact.”
A New God
By not promoting an agenda that is different from that of popular culture, these institutions fail to shine the light of God that would give spiritual seekers a reason to show up for services. And the religious platform, from which meaningful action can be safely staged, is being slowly washed away. And thus we lose ground to calls for more socialism in America, which means government dependency and a mentality that “government is God.”
Filling the Void
People need to fill the spiritual void they find in life, and, if the churches and synagogues will not do it, the government surely will. Instead of asking for God’s help, people will ask, more and more, for the helping hand of government to be extended to them. People will find something to fill the void. The only question remains: Who will fill it—God or government?
America Is Unique
“America is unique,” Cruz proclaimed, “because it was formed on the word of God!” Invoking the Constitution, Cruz insisted that freedom to act according to one’s religious conscience is guaranteed in public, as well as in private. And religious people need to take advantage of this fact.
A One-Way Wall
Cruz raised the issue of Thomas Jefferson’s Wall-of-Separation Letter to the Danbury Baptists, because this letter contains a reference to a “wall of separation between church and state” which has become famously misapplied, ever since Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black’s twisting of its meaning beyond the limits of its original context, in the 1947 case Everson v. Board of Education.
Black’s malappropriation of Jefferson’s “wall-of-separation” metaphor has, unfortunately, become much-used shorthand for referring to the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the US Constitution, while, in all actuality, the clause is there solely for the purpose of restraining the federal government from infringing the right of “We the People,” and not the other way around.
The Establishment Clause reads as follows: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. . . .” All can see that only the government is restrained by this clause. Justice Black, however, seems to have preferred the “wall-of-separation” metaphor to the legal clause, because it could be recontextualized to impose his own two-way concept of religious restraint—potentially shutting down all freedom of religious expression.
According to Pastor Rafael Cruz, it is time for patriots to reestablish Jefferson’s original idea of a “one-way wall.” But this will not likely occur, unless religious people decide not to be intimidated by the politically-correct crowd.
The Light of the World
Cruz encouraged his listeners by quoting Matthew 5:14, saying “You are the light of the world.” He then exhorted his audience to “take the church outside the four walls and into a dying world.” Those who sit idly by, choosing not to cast their lights, enable the darkness to grow. Cruz alluded to Proverbs 17:15 to help make his point: “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, are both an abomination to the Lord.” Cruz then asked, “Aren’t those who say nothing justifying the wicked?”
Let the People Rejoice
Once lost, a just world is difficult to regain. And happiness is lost to future generations, as well as to those living in the present, for, as Proverbs 29:2 states, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked man bears rule, the people groan.”
Choosing the Right Leaders
In order to decrease injustice, good leaders must be chosen. So who qualifies as a good leader? According to Jethro, in Exodus 18:21, the right leaders are “able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness.” Pastor Cruz advises that, in order to best judge these qualities in our candidates for leadership, it is time to stop listening to what they say and to start watching what they do. Jesus, in Matthew 7:16, advises, “You shall know them by their fruits.”
“Every grievance listed in the Declaration of Independence, ” continued Cruz, “was first preached against from the pulpit.” Cruz recounted some history, unknown to most Americans today, that it was a Christian pastor named Jonas Clark who stood with five dozen of his minuteman congregants of the Church of Lexington, on Lexington Green next to the church where they worshipped, on Sunday, April 19, 1775. Eight of his men were shot down by a British contingent of 800 men, whereupon they returned fire, beginning the American Revolutionary War.
John Peter Muhlenberg was pastor of a Lutheran flock in Woodstock, Virginia. After Bunker Hill, Muhlenberg held forth on Ecclesiastes 3 from the pulpit: there was “a time for war and a time for peace,” he preached. In conclusion, Muhlenberg said there was “a time to preach and a time to pray, but those times have passed away.” Then the pastor declared, “There is a time to fight, and that time has now come!” Pastor Muhlenberg removed his vestments, displaying his colonel’s uniform. He marched to the back of the church, where he asked, “Who among you is with me?” And 300 men stood up and joined him. (Read more about America’s pastor warriors here: http://www.dailypaul.com/308117/jonas-clark-the-pastor-who-started-the-revolution.)
Benjamin Franklin and the Power of Prayer
The Framers of the US Constitution were about to fail in their task, when Benjamin Franklin stood and asked, “[H]ow has it happened . . . that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of Lights to illuminate our understandings?” Upon conclusion of Franklin’s remarks, a motion was passed that daily prayers be said for the remainder of the Constitutional Convention. These prayers took place and led to a successful result. Praying for our country is important.
From God to the People
Pastor Cruz reminded listeners that “authority flows from God to the people to the government; not from God to the government to the people.” The fact that many in the press are trying to change this means that we have failed to properly teach an entire generation of Americans. “If the press lacks moral discrimination,” claimed Cruz, “the pulpit is responsible.” For too long, pastors have stood idly by, failing to comment or to act against repeated abuses and moral failings in our nation. We must work hard to change things, before it is too late and we are left with a country wherein “the wicked elect the wicked. ” We must stop being passive.
Who Has a Pulpit?
While trained pastors have the greatest responsibility, it is also true that every American has a “ pulpit. ” Everyone has a place where their circle of family and friends might be addressed and influenced. And everybody must enlighten others. No one can chance abdicating one’s individual responsibility. This is the only way the darkness can be dispersed.
Our Lives, Our Fortune, and Our Sacred Honor
At the end of his sermon, Pastor Rafael Cruz called upon everyone present to work to banish the darkness. Among other promises made by audience members, in a group effort to bring enlightenment to America, we all agreed to “mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
So help us God!
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