DES MOINES, Iowa (Christian Examiner) – Presidential candidate Senator Marco Rubio was delighted to be asked to explain his faith before an audience of about 100 pastors, and what he said amazed them.
Raised initially in a Roman Catholic home, Rubio attended a Mormon church for two years before returning to Catholicism because he was curious about theology. As an adult, he confessed to failing to be a spiritual leader of his family but then receiving rejuvenated faith because of his family's alignment with a Southern Baptist church in Florida, Christ Fellowship of Miami.
"I didn't learn about the Catholic Church until I went to a non-Catholic church and became infused in the Bible and became infused in the written word of God and then, and only then did the liturgy of the church start even making sense," Rubio told the pastors in the closed-door session reported on by CBN.
Rubio said he began to understand theology when he started to read the Bible, adding too many Catholics do not understand their faith. "I am fully, theologically and doctrinally aligned with the Roman Catholic Church and we attend it. But we retain our relationship with Christ Fellowship and I'll tell you why: because they preach from the same Bible."
Denominational differences among Christian faiths are lessening, Rubio said. He remains involved in the Christ Fellowship community and appreciates the way Pastor Rick Blackwood "does an excellent job of applying Biblical truths to everyday life," occasionally attending services or listening to the pastor's podcasts.
He implied his encounter with different denominations brought him to a greater understanding of his personal theological beliefs, which now align with those of Roman Catholicism.
DOUBTING HIS FAITH
Rubio spoke about doubting his faith and searching for peace, explaining that failing to trust God with even small decisions is a form of doubt.
He said he finds comfort in knowing Jesus Christ faced every fear and doubt before he did—and Jesus overcame them. "Imagine the fear of knowing you're about to be scourged, nailed to a cross, hung naked, humiliated, spit upon, rejected by your friends," Rubio said. "There is nothing that we will ever face that He did not face times [an] infinite amount."
The politician's thorough understanding and lucid explanation of his faith was spoken with respect from his passionate heart.
He explained what he meant by having a personal relationship with Christ. "To me, that is the personal relationship. It's a personal relationship with a God that knows anything we faced because He faced it more than we are able going to be able to face it."
Rubio also testified to the audience of pastors about the importance of living a life infused with the Holy Spirit as a path to peace. Faith, said the senator, "has to be infused by the Holy Spirit because the gift of the Holy Spirit is transformative... it's not just about having a relationship with Jesus, it's about allowing the Spirit to infuse you, to completely control you and guide you."
Peter exemplifies the way the Spirit can turn a weakness into a strength, Rubio said. When Peter's impulsiveness led him to cut off the officer's ear in Gethsemene, he was acting in doubt and fear. But later, "once he was infused in the Spirit, that impulsiveness was used as a tool for God's plan. All the gifts that God had given him that at one time were a liability God turned into strength.
"And so that's where the Spirit comes to play in our life. We are all gifted with different things, and they could very well be a weakness today, but God can turn that into strength."
SEARCHING FOR PEACE
God's peace, Rubio said, is different from "the hippie peace" or a mere lack of chaos. The type of peace that attracts others to Christianity is not influenced by external factors.
Supernatural peace requires two things, Rubio said.
After ten minutes of speaking simply and eloquently about his beliefs in the foundations of his faith, Rubio apologized and laughed. "I know I've gone too long, now I sound like the preacher, so let me close with this. I apologize, but I rarely get to talk about this at campaign events," he said with obvious pleasure in the subject.
Rubio ended his testimony by saying God's peace was what he believed helped grow the early church despite heavy persecution. "And when that peace is true in you, people want to know about you. They're curious: What is it about you? What does that person have because I want some of that? And that's how you bring so many people to the faith. It really is."