The biggest problem in America is a “lukewarm church” that is “bowing at the altar of race,” megachurch pastor and prominent Latino evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez believes.
"Somehow, race just became God," the 51-year-old pastor of the Sacramento, California-based New Season Church said in an interview last week with Dave Rubin of "The Rubin Report."
The pastor, who is of Puerto Rican heritage, noted that some pastors speak more about race than they do about Jesus, Moses or Abraham.
"Race and sexuality became idols," he elaborated, "And we are worshiping on the altar of the gods created by culture."
The principle of separation of Church and state has been heavily misconstrued to mean that the Church should not have any influence in society, he continued.
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the famous phrase "separation of church and state," it was in a letter addressed to Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut. The Founding Father was stressing that the government had no right to hinder worship and faith expression.
"Jefferson is saying government better not touch faith and religion, not the other way around," Rodriguez said.
Yet at present, the government is telling Christians that they must change their theology to accommodate generationally-specific cultural shifts, he said. He added that "social justice" must be distinguished from biblical justice as defined in Micah 6:8 and Psalm 89:14, which is an extension of God's righteousness.
When the riots broke out last year following the death of George Floyd in police custody, Rodriguez told his church — which is 40% White, 40% African American, and 20% Hispanic and Asian — that they would address any vestige of bigotry with the authority of Scripture, but not in the name of any movement that contravenes their core values.
"When churches begin to drink the Kool-Aid of social justice as interpreted by the ideological left, it's not just troublesome. It's the beginning of the slippery slope," the head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference said.
Church leadership is to blame for this moral slide, he contended, noting that repentance is needed since this is a 2 Chronicles 7:14 moment.
The famous Old Testament passage, which is often used as a call for Church-wide repentance, reads: "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."
Many are more committed to social media followers and "likes" than they are to the truth, Rodriguez warned. And when that happens, he believes the truth is watered down, and the next generation reaps the consequences.
"Today's complacency is tomorrow's captivity,” the preacher asserted. “And right now, we are complacent and we're comfortable, and it's a shame because our children are watching and they're going to pay the price of secular totalitarianism, of socialism, of communism, of anti-science. There's no biology. Human physiology doesn't matter. Science doesn't matter. They're going to reap the consequences of our activities in our generation.”
Asked if he was surprised at how people were willing to surrender their rights amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the increase of government power that came with it, Rodriguez said he was "blown away" by the speed with which it happened. He warned of an emerging mindset that constitutional freedoms are not absolute and seem to apply only if there is no government-deemed "emergency."
"It's revealing,” he said. “It's exposing some weaknesses in the collective of what we call the American experience and the global human experience.”