Cruz Welcomes Endorsements From His Current and Childhood Pastors
HOUSTON, Texas – Presidential candidate Ted Cruz today welcomed the endorsement of Pastor Gaylon Wiley, who led him to the Lord as a youth, and Pastor Gregg Matte, his current pastor. At eight years old, Cruz accepted Christ as his Savior and was baptized by Pastor Gaylon Wiley of Clay Road Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. Cruz attended Second Baptist High School in Houston as a teenager.
Gaylon Wiley has been an evangelist for more than 40 years. Now retired and living in Tennessee, he still preaches the gospel.
“Ted was just like all the other kids,” Wiley remembered. “Except he had the IQ of his father – he was three stages ahead. I baptized both of his parents and had the privilege of baptizing Ted and leading him and his cousin Bibi to the Lord. I believe he is God’s man for this hour, for such a time as this. He is the most constitutional, conservative candidate in either party. The hand of God is on him, and if God’s people rise up, he will be the man.”
Gregg Matte is the senior pastor of Houston’s First Baptist Church. Under his leadership, the church, founded in 1841, has experienced tremendous growth. Matte also founded Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M University, which has become the nation’s largest college Bible study. He is a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and the author of Unstoppable Gospel.
After returning to Houston in 2008, Cruz and his wife Heidi began attending Houston’s First Baptist Church. When the sermons and personal communications of five Houston pastors were subpoenaed by the city mayor last year, Pastor Gregg Matte and Ted Cruz rallied pastors and local Christians in protest. The mayor’s office subsequently backed down.
“I consider it an honor to be the Cruz family’s pastor,” Matte said. “We all know Senator Cruz as a brilliant, strong, and confident leader, unswervingly handling the Constitution with respect and wisdom. But I also know him as a husband, father, and friend. We have eaten hot dogs in our church’s gym as our kids played, walked in the park as our kids rode bikes together and our wives talked, and eaten pizza by the pool on a summer evening as our children swam. Ted Cruz is in touch with the normal routines of every day life while also being outstanding in dealing with the complex issues of our day. This combination of character and competence gives me confidence that, under Ted’s leadership, America can once again head in the right direction. Because of what I have seen of Ted Cruz, as a father, a husband, and a Christian, both in and out of the political arena, I heartily give my personal endorsement to Ted Cruz as our next president.”
“I am honored by this support from two pastors that I respect so deeply,” Cruz said. “I will always be grateful for the way Brother Wiley challenged my father in 1975, leading him to redemption in Jesus Christ and paving the way for a reconciliation between my parents. Inviting Christ to rule my life with Pastor Wiley’s encouragement at eight years old is the best decision I have ever made. As an adult, Pastor Matte has been a mentor and a friend. Early this year, when Heidi and I were making a decision about whether or not to run for president, we met with Pastor Matte, his wife, and my top advisors for a time of prayer. We are grateful for his advice and encouragement.”
“We are honored to have the endorsement of Pastor Gregg and Kelly Matte in Ted’s bid for the Presidency in 2016,” Heidi Cruz said. “Our family has been deeply blessed by Gregg and Kelly’s ministry and friendship over the years, and know that Gregg and Kelly have had a tremendous impact on many lives, including our own, through their loving, practical, and genuine spiritual leadership in our community. We know that God will continue to use their talents as we seek to show His face of grace, freedom and individual liberty to this country. Thank you Gregg and Kelly for joining arms with us in seeking to restore our nation!”
*Titles and affiliations of both pastors are provided for identification purposes only.