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Tim Tebow pulls out of speaking at Dallas church
February 21st, 2013
10:40 AM ET

Tim Tebow pulls out of speaking at Dallas church

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - NFL quarterback Tim Tebow has canceled an appearance at a controversial Dallas-area church. The outspoken Christian quarterback was scheduled to speak at First Baptist Church on April 28.

The church is led by Robert Jeffress, who has been widely criticized for views against homosexuality, Islam and Mormonism. Tebow, announcing his decision Thursday on Twitter, said that he was canceling his appearance “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.”

Tebow’s statement appeared over a series of four tweets on the social media site.

“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!” he wrote to his Twitter followers.

Tebow was scheduled to speak at the 11,000-member Dallas church as part of a monthlong celebration of the megachurch’s completion of a new building campaign, a $130 million dollar project that encompasses five blocks of the downtown.

“Tim called me last night and explained to me that because of some things going on in his personal life and his career he needed to steer clear of controversy right now, but that at some other date he would like to come and speak at our church,” Jeffress told CNN by phone from Dallas.  “Tim has to do what Tim thinks is best for him right now.”

The First Baptist Church of Dallas is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention.  Jeffress, who has been in its pulpit since 2007, is no stranger to controversy.

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After introducing Texas Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington in October 2011, Jeffress told reporters he believed Mormonism was a cult, expressing a personal position and one held by his denomination.  The move was seen as a particular slight to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, a lifelong Mormon.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, while acknowledging sharp theological differences with the Southern Baptist Convention, bristles at the term cult and says it is inaccurate.

Jeffress has also drawn fire for his comments about homosexuality, Judiasm and Catholicism.

“This in no way is going to diminish what our church is teaching about salvation being available to all through faith in Jesus Christ,” Jeffress said.

Jeffress pointed out that Tebow is a member of the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, a fellow SBC church.

“They certainly believe what we do, that salvation is through Christ alone, and about homosexuality.  Tim confirmed that to me last night, that they believe exactly what we do about homosexuality.”

Tebow and Jeffress differ dramatically in how they present their faith.  Tebow in talking about his faith has used much softer language, while Jeffress has no trouble going after less popular and culturally sensitive issues in Christianity.

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.”

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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.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Baptist • Christianity • Church

soundoff (2,828 Responses)
  1. faboge

    whether he is a good quarterback is immaterial! Let the man follow his faith! I am not a religious person but this is totally American; to do what your heart desires without some "perfect" people second guessing ya!

    February 21, 2013 at 4:13 pm |
    • meifumado

      Yes ,Enjoy your delusions at home or other private places.
      Please do not air your insanity in public.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
  2. christhopher e. hogan

    Somehow I don't think the God who created the entire universe13.7 Billion years ago cares about what I do in the privacy of my own bedroom, or whether my mate has a certain set of genitals.

    February 21, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The Lord is intimately concerned with what you do with your naughty bits.
      Just look at what happened to poor Onan.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
    • lol??

      Somehow I don't think you can think.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:29 pm |
  3. Warrior

    One day, you will see....hold on to your thoughts....Jesus Christ died for all your sins, accept Him today...You have heard the message...Why are you so angry?

    February 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Nope

      You're worshiping an idol in your cult.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • Mack

      What "message" are you referring to? There is so much infighting between christians – let alone across religions – that there can't possibly be one right answer amongst them all. I think we all have a pretty good idea what the honest to goodness truth is...

      February 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
    • End Religion

      2000+ years of "one day you'll see."

      February 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Jesus did not die for my sins. I would never allow another to take my just punishment if I deserve it.
      Christians on the other hand immorally allow another to take their punishment.

      If christ allegedly taught love and peace, why do so many christians choose names like warrior?

      Warrior...come out and play...

      February 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Warrior", but "Christ" and "Him" are elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      February 21, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • meifumado

      The Warriors? They shot Cyrus!

      Loved that flick when I was a teen.

      Nice reference Richard, I think the Baseball furies were my favorite as they were from the upper westside of Manhattan (which is where I grew up)

      February 21, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  4. Barry McKockner

    Is Tebow actually about to throw a pass in that pic, or is he flexing for the camera?

    February 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • lol??

      Don't know. Didn't read the article or look at da picture. Can't you tell??

      February 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm |
  5. akahn

    Why would this even be news? Teblows isn't even good enough for the NFL, his career ended in college. He shouldn't be part of any news story anymore

    February 21, 2013 at 4:04 pm |
    • frank

      true

      February 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You do realize that you are on the religion blog at CNN right?

      February 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • lol??

      Some 15 minutes are longer than others.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
  6. MarkinFL

    It ALL sounds very cultish to me. Mormon, Southern Baptist, Roman Catholic, etc., etc. all profess some VERY strange ideas and want blind obedience without question.

    February 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • lol??

      Did you subject them to a double blind test?? After all, the norm is two eyes.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
  7. emdub

    Why do christians feel the need to shove their ignorant lifestyle down everyones throat? Please keep your willful stupidity, bigotry and denial of truth in private where it belongs and away from the eyes of children. Christians do not deserve special rights. all hail the easter bunny

    February 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You do realize that Tebow was going to talk at a church right? How is that shoving anything?

      February 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm |
    • Rick O'Brien

      Here! Here! I, too, am sick of having to put up with willful ignorance and stupidity of not only Christians, but all religious people. How can anyone be trusted to run our businesses, our schools, our hospitals, our government when he openly admits to believing fairy tales? Wake up, fools! You know damn well that we created God in our own image! Stop polluting our children with your nonsense.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well Ricky, seems you have a whole bunch of no evidence there.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
    • lol??

      Bunny bigot...Bunny bigot...Bunny bigot...Bunny bigot...Bunny bigot...Bunny bigot...Bunny bigot. Now run along and tell Hugh Hufnnner how to have his bunnies stuff their costumes.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
  8. petena

    something will be comig out of the closet soon on Tebow. Just wait.

    February 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • frank

      For sure – following that shirt that is already out.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:02 pm |
    • Abbs

      And if something come out on him, so what?! Is that gonna annoy you and all the other perfect people?? Oh! Right...No one is perfect... lay off the guy. At least he's sticking to what he believes...fallen man and all.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • lol??

      OOOooohhhh, a closet prophet!

      February 21, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  9. m

    this is all so stupid. who cares. religion is just one more business and Tebow decided not to give them his business!
    Sort of like deciding to shop at Target instead of Walmart!

    February 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • joe

      I absolutely agree!

      February 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • lol??

      You gotta admit, it takes a lot of courage to play in a stadium of whackoed americultians, 'specially with all the A&A's that carry.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
  10. ttim

    EVOLUTION

    February 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  11. Vic of New York

    That's funny... I've had many conversations with God, and he pities people like Jeffress. God tells me that somehow humans have come to the conclusion that they know what He wants better than He does! He says, He created the world and man EXACTLY how He wants it. The only thing He ever asked with the Ten Commandments – followed by sending Jesus to lead by example – is for humans to "chill out" and "be cool" to one another. Seems like Jeffress and his followers enjoy **itting all over God's purpose.

    February 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • the AnViL

      flat fact: all gods have been the same in one respect – they're all flatly fictional.

      more ugly unhappy truths for the delusional retards who believe in imaginary men in the sky:

      if you have conversations with gods – or hear the voices of gods speaking to you... you are delusional.

      you're not having conversations with gods – you're not hearing the voices of gods.... you are conversing with yourself. you only hear yourself.

      gods are real only between the ears of the ignorant, stunted people who choose to believe.

      that's all there is to it.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Wow...I didn't think they let you have a computer in your padded cell.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
    • Robert Jeffress

      $130 mil of **itting, thanks!

      February 21, 2013 at 4:11 pm |
    • John

      You say you've talked to God but I think you haven't. God wouldn't have told you to come and speak in such a foul manner.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm |
    • Robert Jeffress

      John, reconsider. God made us to poop; and yea, we do it often.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:17 pm |
    • meifumado

      If you think you speak to an imaginary being that you have no proof of existing you suffer from delusions and wishful thinking.
      You should consider seeking help for this mental problem.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
  12. meifumado

    @DCBuck
    These people you mention committed these acts from a political stand point ,it had nothing to do with their beliefs or non- beliefs.
    Anyone who knows history will tell you this.

    Unfortunately we cant put a number on all the people who have been murdered by religion but if we could it would be higher then anything you could imagine.

    February 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
  13. kc

    So how is a church nonprofit when they can build a $130 million church? How many starving children could $130 million feed?

    February 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Susan

      Sadly, not their concern.

      February 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      What we say and what we do – totally different. You're welcome, that'll be 10% of your income.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
  14. ART

    The earth is flat, there s no such thing as evolution,dinasaurs never walked the earth,no such thing as Adam and Steve its Adam and Eve ,who spoke to a talking serpant, people can we grow TFU already

    February 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • ArchieDeBunker

      And you are smarter than C. S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Billy Graham and thousands of other men with I.Q. s about twice yours who have studied these matters in depth, who live or lived in the same world you do. Many of these men dis-believed just as you do – only they had the gumption (which you do not) to study the Bible and the traditions of other religions for years, and AFTER they studied the Bible they concluded that it was indeed true. What are your credentials?

      February 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Archie, Just because apparently intelligent people are deluded, that doesn't make the bible true; at best it is a guide to a particular faith as it evolced over hundreds of years. If you have independent proof of a god or of the questionable passages in the bible such as the creation myth and Noah's Ark, then it's just another book like Lord of the Rings or the Life of Pi.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Back when Billy was going door to door

      @ArchiedeBunker

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fuet7GRv7Bo&w=640&h=390]

      February 21, 2013 at 4:07 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      I can assure you that those whom you have mentioned do not have an IQ twice mine, and I too have studied the bible and other religions in great depth, and concluded that all religions are man made and false.
      So what is a short list of famous people concluded the opposite of what I have. They are all opinions, not fact and evidence of nothing.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'AFTER they studied the Bible they concluded that it was indeed true. '

      you cannot simply study the bible and declare it to be true. That would be like reading harry potter and claiming hogwarts exists.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
  15. Ken Mensah

    I do not see anything wrong with what Robert Jefferies has said. Jesus IS a Jewish Rabbi and Jefferies quoted him correctly. Tim Tebow should have stood his groung for Jesus.

    February 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Jeffress also made false statements regarding hom ose xuality and pe dophilia, falsely inflated the number of gay people with AIDs and preached on many other inaccurate topics. He's an idiot who cloaks his ignorant hatred with religion.

      February 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • Akira

      Tim Tebow has as much of a right to cancel an apperance as you have to express your views...why the condemnation? They way I see it, he did nothing wrong, either.

      February 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
  16. Warrior

    It's amazing the venom and hostility toward Christianity...One day every person posting on this article will have to give account for their words and actions.....the only forgiveness will be through Jesus Christ...God's only remedy for sin...Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!

    February 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Nope

      You're worshiping an idol and will burn for all eternity.

      February 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm |
    • Ken Mensah

      Thank you WARRIOR for standing up and firm for the Lord Jesus.

      February 21, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Maybe if you had to worry about whether you or your kid would be denied housing or a job based on their choice of spouse you might feel differently. Maybe if Christians had kept you and the person you loved from living in the same country you would. Maybe if you had to go without health insurance because you couldn't work and you lived in Virginia and couldn't get insurance through your partner due to the hateful votes of Christians.

      February 21, 2013 at 3:56 pm |
    • meifumado

      You do realize your delusional i hope.
      Why is your jesus my only chance at being saved?
      Why is it not Yog-Sothoth?

      February 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm |
    • Madtown

      every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!
      -------
      Except of course, those human beings that God placed in areas of the world who will never learn the first thing about Jesus. They won't confess he's Lord, because they've never heard of him.

      February 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      Warrior: Your proxy threats are empty. Your god is an impotent vindictive, petty pr1ck. And, you are nothing but a snivelling sycophant

      February 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • FlipFriddle

      When did Christianity forget "Love thy neighbor as thyself." The hate spewed from these places in the name of Jesus is what people are angry about. In regards to Tebow: he's either an idiot for not bothering to look into a places reputation where he was going to speak, or he actually approves of their venomous crap but his PR people told him to bow out. Which is it Timmy?

      February 21, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • sam stone

      Ken: Is the Lord Jesus so flaccid that people need to stand up for him?

      February 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • OTOH

      Warrior,
      ".Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!"

      This sounds much more like something that your megomaniacal "Satan" character would want...

      February 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Warrior", but "Christ", "God" and "Lord" are all elements of mythology, therefore your assertions are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your unfounded assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      February 21, 2013 at 4:00 pm |
    • Robert Jeffress

      Warrior... Ken... you are both welcome to my church. Come and kneel and open up wide and accept Jesus' blessed salvation all over your faces.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:16 pm |
  17. It was twenty five years ago today..

    Jimmy Swaggart gave his "I have sinned" speech.

    February 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
  18. Ungodly Discipline

    Tebow is destined for late night infomercials. Wait and see.

    February 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Akira

      Selling what, do you suppose?

      February 21, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • Zingo

      K-Tel Nerf Crosses?

      February 21, 2013 at 3:51 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Useless kitchen tools.

      February 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Akira

      Nah, it's going to be the Pocket Fisherman. Watch.

      February 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • sam

      He has to replace that ShamWow guy, I think he's in jail over hookers or something.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:14 pm |
    • lol??

      I actually bought a Butkus quick grill and burned newspapers. It was a hoot smokin' up the neighborhood.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
  19. Johnny Guitar

    And now for all those Christians who once again raise the debunked lie that atheism is responsible for the atrocities of communism, here is the truth.

    Communist regimes did indeed kill millions. Communism as one of it's tenets claims atheism. Is atheism the relevant factor? Let's find out:

    There are communist atheists, and there are non-communist atheists. For what you say to be true, the non-communist atheists would have to be murderers too. But studies find that they actually commit significantly less major crime than Christians, and you cannot find any similar non-communist incidence of atheist mass murder.

    So atheism is not the relevant factor. But let's expand this more What is the relevant factor, and when combined with christianity, does repressions and mass murder result?

    Is the relevant factor totalitarianism? Why yes! Totalitarian regimes represss, and they mass-murder opposition. Do christian totalitarian regimes do it too? Why yes! Trujillo in Dominican Republic, Somoza in Nicaragua, Salazar in Portugal, Franco in Spain . . . why yes! Christian totalitarian regimes do it to (and don't forget the Spanish Inquisition).

    So the relevant factor is not atheism, but totalitarianism.

    And once again, the lie is debunked. And Christians, being the liars that they are, will turn around and say it again and again and again after finding out it is a lie.

    February 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      As Karl Marx himself noted “Atheism as a denial of this unreality; has no longer any meaning, for atheism is a denial of God and tries to assert through this negation the existence of man; but socialism as such no longer needs this mediation...”

      February 21, 2013 at 3:44 pm |
    • Johnny Guitar

      Funny how all the Christians screaming about atheist murder suddenly got reeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaal quiet.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:25 pm |
  20. brian

    When people start promoting their religion in public I raise my guard because they always turn out to have some hidden agenda.

    February 21, 2013 at 3:42 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.