Issachar Training mobilizes 'God's people of faith' for 2016 election

by Karen L. Willoughby, |

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (Christian Examiner) – Texas Senator Ted Cruz believes in "God's people of faith," the 2016 presidential contender wrote in a recent letter to pastors across the nation. The letter was an invitation for recipients to participate in Issachar Training today and tomorrow -- May 21-22 -- in Oklahoma City.

The unique training, offered in various cities throughout the year, provides information and motivation for at least 1,000 pastors across the nation in 2016 to run for an elective office at the local, state or national level.

The event takes its name from I Chronicles 12:32: "Men who had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do."

"There is a growing tolerance for immorality in our nation as well as a strategic plan to attack the Judeo-Christian heritage and foundation we have in this country," Mike Gonzalez told the Christian Examiner. He is pastor of Columbia World Outreach Church, in Columbia, South Carolina, and incoming executive director of the South Carolina Pastors Alliance of more than 500 evangelical pastors across the state.

"The reason the unrighteous are in government is that the righteous people of God have not been salt and light," Gonzalez continued. "Judgment begins in the house of God -- 1 Peter 4:17 -- and we as the people of God must understand that the Gospel is to penetrate every area of society including government."

David Lane, a prominent evangelical political activist, "has been encouraging pastors through the American Renewal Project to consider running for public office so that more righteous men and women will be engaged in leading our nation in government so as to affect public policy," Gonzalez told the Examiner. "It's clear throughout scripture especially in Romans 13 that God has ordained government; it's part of the way He leads."

Senator Cruz and Oklahoma Senator James Lankford are set to participate in the Issachar Training, just as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Lankford did in a January event in Baton Rouge.

Two hundred people participated in that event, which was followed by a day of prayer and fasting led by Jindal. More than 200 have registered for the Oklahoma City Issachar Training, and nearly 250 have registered already for the event set for June 12 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Jindal will host the Charleston event. Presidential contender Mike Huckabee is to host the Issachar Training July 9-10 in Orlando, Florida.

"The Promise of America is rooted in the revolutionary idea on which our country was founded," Cruz wrote in his invitation to the Oklahoma City Issachar Training. "Our rights don't come from man. They come from God Almighty.

"But this promise appears to be slipping away," Cruz continued. "America urgently needs to raise up grassroots leaders of faith. Our country is inundated with crises of biblical proportion. ... America urgently needs leaders of faith, saturated in the Word of God, to accept the challenge and restore the public square with biblically-grounded conviction."

Cruz encouraged pastors to pray for 30 days to see if God is calling them to elective office.

As Lane explained to the Christian Examiner, the reason for a call to 1,000 pastors to seek elective office is two-fold: to restore righteousness by electing men with God-fueled wisdom to government, and to galvanize congregations to vote.

"The thought that came to me," Lane told Christian Examiner, "if the Lord called 1,000 pastors to run for an elective office, and each of them had an average of 300 volunteers, that would be 300,000 grass root, precinct-level, evangelical conservatives coming from the ground up, engaged in the political process. It would change America!

"Nobody's confused that politicians are going to save America," Lane continued. "These engaged evangelicals would be voting for their biblically-based conservative values."

Issachar Training is to include sessions on first steps to running for office, campaign mechanics, and "messaging your race."

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