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Trump Questions Ted Cruz's Evangelical Credentials

December 14, 2015

It was a hilarious moment. Donald Trump, who doesn't even understand what an evangelical is, questioned whether Ted Cruz was an evangelical. He had the nerve to say this about Ted Cruz last night on national TV: "I do like Ted Cruz. But not a lot of evangelicals come out of Cuba. In all fairness - it's true. Not a lot come out. But I like him nevertheless."

Trump said in a 2012 interview that he goes to church “when I can. Always on Christmas. Always on Easter. Always when there’s a major occasion,” He has been associated with two Liberal denominations - neither of them evangelical. So where does he get off questioning Ted Cruz's evangelical witness?

Cruz, on the other hand is very open about his faith in Jesus Christ. In his very first campaign ad, he said, “Were it not for the transformative love of Jesus Christ, I would have been raised by a single mom without my father in the household." His father, an alcoholic, accepted Jesus and the family was saved. The ad shows Cruz leading his family in prayer. This is not an Easter and Christmas Christian. He lives his faith.

Let's look at Trump's statement. "I do like Ted Cruz," he says, just before he rips into him. "Not a lot of evangelicals come out of Cuba." First, Cruz was not born in Cuba. Second, this is a transparent ploy to play to people who hate Communism and others who are prejudiced against Catholics. Finally, he says, "But I like him nevertheless." In other words, I'll give him a pass even though I don't consider him an evangelical.

As I said earlier, Trump doesn't have a clue what an evangelical Christian is. He only knows that evangelicals are an important voting bloc, and that he needs to pander to them. Let's define "Evangelical Christian." A Christian is a "believer in and a follower of Christ." We believe that if you are Christian you will spend eternity in Heaven; if not, you will go to hell when you die. An evangelical is a person dedicated to promoting the good news about Jesus Christ, that everyone who asks can have eternal life." In other words, they work hard to keep people from going to hell. Therefore an Evangelical Christian is "A believer in Jesus Christ who is faithful in sharing and promoting the good news of salvation."

Cruz is faithful to share his faith in Jesus. Trump admits that he goes to church "when I can." I have never heard him utter the words Jesus Christ in public. Cruz has never criticized Trump's version of faith. How does Trump have the gall to call Cruz's faith into question?

By the way, this is not a political discussion. I do not endorse either candidate (not that my endorsement would make any difference!) nor am I encouraging you not to vote for either. I just think the record should be set straight when one person falsely impugns another regarding their faith in the Lord.

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Dr. Tom Barrett is a pastor, teacher, author, conference keynote speaker, professor, certified executive coach, and marketplace minister. His teaching and coaching have blessed both church and business leaders. He has been ordained for over 40 years, and has pastored in seven churches over that time. Today he “pastors pastors” as he oversees ordained and licensed ministers in Florida for his ministerial fellowship.

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