Tim Tebow canceled his speaking appearance at FBC Dallas

After recent criticism, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has canceled a scheduled appearance at First Baptist Church in Dallas.

  • Alan blogs at Downshore Drift, where this article was originally published.

After opposition arose against First Baptist, Dallas, TX and pastor Robert Jeffress for what were called “controversial” stands against homosexuals, Muslims, Mormons, and other groups, Tim Tebow, who was scheduled to speak there, has just cancelled his appearance in a series of tweets.

@TimTebow: “While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic…First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my…upcoming appearance. I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those……needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support.” God Bless!Sent Feb 21, 09:09 AM

The opposition to him speaking there has come from groups like Change.org who launched a petition on their website calling for Tebow to not speak at First Baptist:

“This church’s pastor has made several openly anti-gay and anti-Semitic comments. By speaking at this church, Mr. Tebow would be legitimizing the opinion of that pastor and those in the church that are homophobic and anti-Jewish.”

https://www.change.org/petitions/tim-tebow-please-don-t-speak-at-first-baptist-dallas

I don’t know everything about Robert Jeffress or all that he has said. But, First Baptist, Dallas, TX is hardly a fringe church in Evangelicalism. The fact that it is being treated as a “hate group” and that Tebow was both pressured and gave in to the pressure to not speak there is a huge development in the advance of secular forces and their impact on the church. Louie Giglio could not pray at the Inauguration because of a message preached 15 years ago where he called homosexuality sin and now Tebow won’t speak at a church that promotes conservative positions. Even if you disagree with First Baptist on some of these positions, the climate that is emerging here is very troubling, to say the least.

Less than a year ago, President Obama was still AGAINST gay marriage. Think of how much has changed since then.

After recent criticism, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has canceled a scheduled appearance at First Baptist Church in Dallas.

Why is Tebow’s cancellation significant?

from Denny Burk by Denny Burk

In a series of tweets, Tim Tebow has announced that he has cancelled his upcoming appearance at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. In his own words:

While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my upcoming appearance. I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!

Tebow leaves this “new information” undefined. For those who have been following this story, you know that Tebow has been under fire for agreeing to speak at a church that The Huffington Post calls an anti-gay, anti-Semitic church. Gregg Doyel at CBS Sports has warned that Tebow was about to make “the biggest mistake of his life” by speaking at the church.

What are we to make of this? I am a big Tebow fan—for reasons that go beyond football—and I think he’s more than earned the benefit of the doubt. He left his reasons ambiguous, and absent further clarification I don’t think this move should be interpreted as an expression of support for gay rights or some liberalized distortion of Christianity. In fact, I’m confident that he is an orthodox believer in Jesus Christ. I have a hunch that he’s probably just trying not to get entangled in the culture war. At the end of the day, I don’t know why he cancelled. Perhaps he will elaborate on his decision at some point.

In any case, it is impossible to ignore the context in which this decision was made. There will be some—despite Tebow’s ambiguity—who will assume that the “new information” is that which emerged in articles like the ones linked above. These articles criticize not just the church’s pastor, but the church’s views: that Jesus is the only way of salvation, the certainty of eternal judgment for those who die outside of Christ, the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

These teachings are not the innovation of a single pastor but are the established consensus of the Christian Church over its entire 2,000 year history. If this church’s views on these matters cannot be tolerated (and I encourage you to read the overt intolerance expressed in Doyel’s article), then we are in a scary place. In short, to marginalize this church for holding such views is to marginalize Christianity itself. It means that the tolerance police have finally achieved their ironic end—the intolerance of Christianity in American culture.

Christianity in America does not rise or fall on whether or not Tim Tebow speaks at First Baptist Church of Dallas. Nevertheless, this moment will appear to many as another marker of Christianity’s cultural marginalization. In the broad tolerance of views in our public discourse, who’s in and who’s out? What voices are allowed in the cacophony that is American democracy? Which voices should be excluded? Christian voices have long been a part of the din, but moments like these make it seem like those days are coming to an end.

CNN Belief Blog: Quarterback moves to trademark ‘Tebowing’

“I believe that homosexuality is a sin just like adultery is a sin, just like I believe premarital sex is a sin, because it’s a deviation from God’s standard,” Jeffress said.

“God’s plan for sex is that is should be between a man and a woman in a marriage relationship and any deviation from that is wrong.”

While he believes any sex outside a heterosexual marriage is wrong, he adds, “I never single out homosexuality as the only sin or the unpardonable sin. I think homosexuality, just like adultery, can be forgiven if we ask God for forgiveness.”

Jeffress said he thinks there is a genetic disposition toward homosexuality, a stance on sexual orientation taken by many theologically conservative Christians and one scorned as scientifically flawed by the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Jeffress said he is sure there are gay members in his church.  “We don’t ask all the gay members to stand up, but I’m sure that there are people who are gay in our church simply because of the letters I have received,” he said.  “We have people who’ve committed adultery and who lie and who steal, but that doesn’t mean they’re not welcome to come to our church.”

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

As for comments about Mormons, Jews and Catholics, he is quick to point out that he believes “no one goes to hell in a group.”

“I’m not the one who decides who goes to heaven and hell. God does that. God has already given us the criteria for what it takes to go to heaven when you die. Jesus said in John 14:6, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the father except through me.’  When I quote that verse I like to remind people that Jesus who said that was not a Southern Baptist evangelist but a Jewish rabbi. Yet as a Jewish rabbi he said there is one way to heaven, and that is through faith in me.”

The controversy surrounding Tebow’s appearance won’t dampen the church’s plans, Jeffress said. He said Tebow, while escaping the spotlight now over his beliefs, will continue to face controversy.

“I think Tim is going to discover that no matter how hard you try to hide from controversy, if you stand for the simple truths of the Bible, like faith in Christ, necessary for salvation, and sex (being acceptable only) between a man and a woman in marriage, you can’t avoid controversy.  That’s something Tim needs to discover on his own.  We in no way want to impugn him.  He’s a great man of God who sincerely loves the Lord.”

 

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About Charles e Whisnant

Youth Pastor since 1964.Pastor/Teacher 1971-74, 1980-2001, 2008-2015. Seminary, College, On line training, 50 years of study. A student of of the Bible. Expositional in my teaching. Married for 45 years. Four children and three granddaughter. Currently pastor - teacher in Minford, Ohio. No published books. No TV program. Favorite preachers Spurgeon, Calvin, MacArthur, Lloyd-Jones, Packer, Edwards, Baxter, Puritans.
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