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.
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“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.”
The faster one can get away from the sinking ship of religion, the better. Tebow made a smart move distancing himself.
Arc can not take the bs anymore it is going down .
And nothings says Christian like a 130 million dollar building.
Hey Jeffres – and Tebow – how many hungry people could you feed with 130 million?
How many could the Cowboy fed with the Billion dollar stadium they built?
These fundamentalist Christians are wolves in sheeps' clothing.
Carnal atheists. You have no eyes to see or hear His truth. You will be blotted out for eternity. I ran out of cooking spray but I have plenty of Raid. Snakes in your belly, keep writing your father's filth while true Christians go to heaven.
Someone is stealing again.
The entire MO behind the atheist is to throw out as many lies and see what sticks. Debating is the atheists game. My 12-year-old daughter finally switched to Makers Mark. Christians are on these articles to ensure Jesus Christ's truth is posted.
I had carnal asada yesterday for dinner. It was delicious.
..and I;m sure you will find plenty of like-minded people up there.Um-exactly where is heaven?I always wondered about that.
Good choice, now that Maker's Mark decided not to water it down.
Statistics prove that the more devout someone is, the higher IQ they have. Read the Bible. It is 100 percent accurate in every facet. My camel-toe hid the couch cushion from the police. It makes me smile to know that people will be tortured in hell for eternity while I sit next to the Lord.
It's sad that you can't possibly fathom an existence without the great lie of divine order. Tragic that you must hinge your happiness on some archaic stalled evolution of thought. Emotional cripples. Your world would crumble if not for your fairy tale.
Studies prove just the opposite. Devout religies have lower IQs than atheists.
I expect foolish thinking from an atheist. Jesus’ wisdom is roaring it's ugly head throughout the world. I can't reach the bathroom anymore but there is still room in the freezer. Another Pharisees jealous that Jesus is God and not them.
Give the computer back to the nice nurse and take your meds!
Not sure if serious...
At least Tim got the chance to pull out of something.
I sent Tim Tebow an email and asked him if he could come to my bar mitzvah but he didn't reply ya'll.
You need to send it in save-the-date video form.
Now that's the mad note yo. Why aren't you dancin' ?
Why are Christians so dumb?
In a liberated society, freedom of conscience facilitates the progression of civilization. A purport of the notion of freedom of mind, Science provides an analytical method for our mere human minds to come to grasp with that which is the beauty of the infinitesimal universe around us. That is, until ignorant folks attempt to squash, main, and silence the voice of reason.
Take the bible belt where and any droplet of intellectual curiosity is squandered by the religious right. Free thinkers are herded by the sheep of the masses into conforming to the norm. From a young age children are taught not to question authority, not to question morality, not to question the essence of life. Scientific methods are obfuscated in favor of Creationist dribble.
It is not unusual for a “teacher” in the South and Midwest to be incessant that evolution is wrong and to try to prove to students that the geological record supports the theory of a great flood while abridging the great 4,600,000,000 year span of geological time into a mere 6000. Religion seeps into the classroom to perverse the minds of the student body.
Christianity is a moral puppet and anyone who had a different world view was ostracized. Furthermore, many children can't grasp the basic fundamentals of modern science that allow us to live in such a technologically progressive society. How are they to be imparted upon lessons of logic and analytical reasoning when they believe in the fairy tale of god?
How sad, another hero shows his feet of clay. Which is worse- injecting performance-enhancing drugs or denying your faith to increase your net worth. Both were done out of love for money.
I can't say I blame Tebow. I grew up around Jeffress before he made the move to Dallas and believe me, he's horribly intolerant of anyone who isn't a Christian. Created a lot of problems for our synagogue. People shouldn't be so quick to see him as a "saint".
Crap in one hand and pray in the other... see which one fills up first.
God tests people all the time, right? What if putting that one single verse in Leviticus was a test of humane treatment? What if He wanted to test how his followers would treat those not like them? What if He wanted to test compassion and all of the other rules in the Bible that teach love?
"God has already given us the criteria for what it takes to go to heaven when you die."
– Rule#1 – No s ex before marriage, not that disqualifies almost 90% of his followers.
The definition of a khristian is a person who believes that all of the imaginary deity's basic rules are negotiable, and that you can do anything you want as long as come Sunday you tell the nimrod in the Liberace costume and put some money in the basket. Fideism is not a philosophy for life, it's a genetic defect.
Tebow cancels his football career after realizing he's really not that good and that the media blew him up to be the superstar he's not.
Yeah. Came off the bench and won 7 straight games with an NFL team that was 1 and 5! Then went on to lose only twice in his first 10 NFL starts!
NOT THAT GOOD HUH!? Thats a better win record than RGIII.
Yeah. Came off the bench and won 7 straight games with an NFL team that was 1 and 5! Then went on to lose only twice in his first 10 NFL starts! And brought the Broncos to its first NFL Playoff game in a decade!
The main difference there is that RGIII is a decent person.
It would seem that money is Tebow's god after all. Bad publicity apparently drowned out that other voice Tim claims to hear. Not a great intellect... and we already knew he isn't a great QB. On the bright side, he can always get a job suckering the rubes after his brief football career fizzles.
Maybe he just doesn't think his god embraces the hate this church does.
A real Christian would have used caps AND red letters.
Wow, 130 million dollars taken by Mr.Jeffress from the frightened, the angry, the greedy and the ignorant to build his Temple of Hate and he didn't even have to wear a ski-mask, or cut and paste one of those ransom notes out of magazine characters.
I guess crime really does pay.
I suppose you could call it his 'Wages of Sin'.
I'm pretty sure his bar tab comes due come Judgment Day and
he will be called to account for the evil he has perpetrated on his flock.
Dont you feel like you are apart of something BIGGER than yourself hawaiiguest?
1) Learn to use the reply button.
2) That doesn't answer my question at all.
3) What would what I feel matter to what the reality of the situation might be?
I think you mean a part not apart. Keep breaking the stereotype of uneducated Christians.
I doubt Tebow is Islamic.
Are people figuring out that he is the false idol the Bible states not to put above God?
Why are you so against faith, God, Jesus, and all? We all have brains, and if you THINK about it, who created that brain? Your parents? who created them? Who created all of this? Do you think that you are just here to live and then die and be put in the ground to rest forever? Do you not believe that you have a purpose? You seem like a very angry person. Id like to know what has made you lose your faith and Id like a better answer than "I have a brain", as I feel that is a very easy escape to answering the question.
Im very disappointed in all the negative comments. So many opinions and they are all so negative. No wonder this world is in shambles. No one wants to believe in God, and they want Him out of their lives, so I guess he is listening.
What makes you think anything has some kind of purpose given by a super being that you can't demonstrate?
Nothing wrong with God.
But people using God as a crutch to propel themselves with, while cherrypicking the Bible so that people will blindly swallow what the heathen is saying...
Of course, if Christians read every word in the Bible, they might actually think as to why there is so much contraction, why it is pro-slavery, why it even states bad things about THE WEALTHY and what's more likely going to enter the kingdom of God...
All the Bible does is tie into human drives and emotions and whittles out a self-perpetuating story that hopes you don't look at every passage, since in doing so you'd see how fake it all sadly is.
Do you believe Jeffress is a positive force? Do you support how he expresses his opinions? I didn't see anything, could have missed it, that has you admonishing his approach. Few things upset most people more than hypocrites and intolerance.
Yes – everyone has a brain. Sadly not everyone uses their brain. Most religious types choose to ignore "critical thinking" for simple dogma: hate gays, hate diversity. How do you use your brain?
A comment section on CNN is enough to make you think the world is in shambles? Like everything else in your post wasn't dumb enough to begin with....
Why do you think the creator has to be a "who"? Can't get past the mythology it seems. How sad for you.
Having a brain is good, but to realize Jesus didn't live thru his brain is the Key. You must find your heart no matter if you believe in God or not. That is the misconception of the Bible everyone keeps it in there head instead of realizing living Godlike is living thru the heart. Jesus in the bible accepted all with his heart. Those who use the book to satisfy their ego(and thats alot of people) have totally missed the mark
There is and never has been any reason for me to believe in any of the gods. It is not necessary for anything useful.
For the life of me I can't understand why people don't worship Poseidon.What is wrong with people these days?
@Life and death are in the tongue!
Truth = Angry? I don't think so. I am not angry. This is a blog to discuss beliefs and that is what I am doing.
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.