It was interesting the other day to find out a bit more about Ted Cruz, who, it seems, is a man of prayer whom very few seem to like very much. The Israeli press have given him a hard time because he’s been endorsed by a pastor called Mike Bickle. I came across this guy years ago when he was one of the so-called Kansas City Prophets, and founder of the Kansas City International House of Prayer (IHOP). Mr Bickle caught people’s attention because he is on the record as saying things about the future of the Jewish people that seriously offend, hurt and probably frighten many Jews unfortunate enough to stumble across his teachings. Amongst other things, he’s preached in time past about the Holocaust being God’s judgement on the Jews for rejecting Jesus and Hitler’s persecution of Jews being an expression of God’s will which really goes down well at Shabbat dinner, I imagine. Some are screaming ‘antisemite’ at him, which, surprisingly enough, isn’t true. His is a literalist, premillenial doctrine where the scary bits in Zechariah 14 are taken as written and at face value. His cherry-picking and lopsided interpretation can do a great deal of damage, especially to many well-meaning but credulous voters who sit at his feet.
I make a point of not being offensive, directly critical, invoking ridicule, ad hominem or straw man arguments against people with whom I disagree, since the facts are usually enough to speak for themselves, but I have to confess to having to bite my tongue a little bit on this occasion. Pastors of megachurches might preach to thousands of people at a time. Consequently, just like politicians, they have a delusional sense of their own popularity, and, by implication, doctrinal rectitude, especially when they carry an additional, prophetic label which is often laughable but oftener than not, scary. Who in their right mind self-proclaims as a ‘prophet’?
Endorsing politicians is always a double edged sword, since you may say something that will enrage those who plan to vote for them and they on the other hand say something which runs counter to everything you stand for and why you endorsed them in the first place.
Best plan, Ted. Read the small print. A Mike Bickle endorsement mightn’t be such a smart move after all.