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.”
This church and the man that runs it are so bigoted even Tim Tebow won't preach there. At least Jeffress is honest with his views so we know that those that attend his church are as bigoted as he is. If their are gay members that attend that church, they should be so deeply ashamed of themselves for giving that man money to deny them dignity.
And together we say Amen and thank-you Father that Mr. Tebow is truly a man of The Word and not another venomous bigot.
Go back in history–say 1960 election and see what this church had to say about Kennedy and the Catholic church. The elections of 08 and 12 proved that in Texas the worst thing one can be is Black.
Mormons are no more a cult than Baptists are.
No less, either.
Yeah, they are. Do some real history research.
There's just more historical proof of the existence of the LDS cult leader.
LOOK at that picture! It just SCREAMS "gay"! Tebow will never admit, not even to his most inner soul that he is gay, but he will be tormented and unhappy all the days of his life. All due to believing such hate-filled baloney. Poor guy.
check out the very orange picture of Donald Trump on the cnn article about his beef with Maher talking about him being the offspring of an Orangutan.
So you can tell from a picture whether a person is gay or nort? Get real.
Observer~ It's called "Gaydar" and mine is good. I knew George Michael wasgay in those skimpy white shorts with his "Choose Life" t-shirt in his "Wake me Up" video. Ricky Martin, too. And yes, Tebow, too.
Breaking news...Christians are hateful...go figure.
If you are not a practicing Christian that shows your love for Jesus, then you automatically belong to satan's team. My toilet has been broken for six months but I just got back from Costco. You have the chance of repenting for your sins to Jesus, ask Him if you can get closer to Him, and of course, sin no more.
Some are. Most aren't.
I can't tell if HeavenSent is a troll or just a schizophrenic who hasn't taken their medication before going online. Does anyone else know?
heavensent is a failed artificial intelligence bot that is still maintaining a small electrical charge.
Five city blocks. It must be the TRUE path to salvation then.
The bigger and more expensive the church, the more god loves it.
"The bigger and more expensive the church, the more god loves it."
He need's large facilities for his penis since they all claim it's a he and it's God and all, so huuuuuuge trunk to store...
They'll probably use Salt Lake as a model and move to full citadels. A massive 5-block church with 3 food courts, a 3-level shopping mall, auto dealer, etc. They'll incorporate townhouses, etc. Full indoor cities, with all proceeds going to the church. It'll be like the days when coal miners lived in coal towns and continually owed more than their paycheck to "the company store."
Five city blocks. It must be the TRUE
The John 14:6 quote that Jeffress alludes to is, first of all, hearsay. But second of all, do you seriously think that the rabbi Jesus would have said that no one can be saved unless they went through him? Think about it. The majority of the world's population, both in Jesus' time and in our own, does not know Jesus Christ. So you truly believe that the majority of the world's population will not be saved?
That's such a silly interpretation - not to mention a hateful interpretation - of a hearsay account of someone's speech that it defies acceptance by any thinking human mind.
Please don't bring that to their attention. It is downright offensive to bring logic and reason to their beliefs. That, and they don't care about what anyone else says, lest they be deceived by vain philosophies and reasonings of mere men.
I wonder if the same people were upset about Obama attending Jeremiah Wright's church.
I was if that helps.
I was not pleased.
I always have to hold my nose before voting for ANYONE who is a church member.
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one finds out who their Father is on Jerry Springer except through me...
Weak,gullible, hypocritical,small minded bigots that love hitler, worship guns to save their dark souls and dress up on sundays to empress themselves and deceive others into believing anything they might utter from their uninformed little minds.. sad and pathetic people that already live in their own hell and will never go to that gold domed city in the sky.. HATEFUL EVIL FASCISTS
Just remember denis, they are all of those things, but don't let yourself return their hate, for that would make the rest of us just as bad. What they need is pity and a little bit of empathy and a hand held out while telling them it's okay to let go of their security blanket faith that has made them feel warm and fuzzy and special since their parents convinced them they were God's little angels. Just give them time, for as we unravel the mysteries of the universe they will have little choice but to let their blanket go as it disintegrates in their hands.
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.
Omega 3 I hope.
What what? Some one say my name? Holler!!
So Science, what exactly is the beginning and the end?
I am the alpha and I'll bite you if you don't agree. Who needs an omega?
Did not post above someone used hanlde for above post but here is the end
he END IS NEAR and HERE !!! Facts work Best
A War Without End, With Earth's Carbon Cycle Held in the Balance
Feb. 13, 2013 — The greatest battle in Earth's history has been going on for hundreds of millions of years – it isn't over yet – and until now no one knew it existed, scientists reported Feb. 13 in the journal Nature.
How many poor people could be helped with the $130 million (tax free) spent on that building?
And trust the money to the so called athiests? That money is right where it needs to be, to honor His Glory! Ill bet your from Canada with those low life ideas thats ok youll get what you deserve come Judgement Day.
What is the difference between an atheist and a "so-called" atheist?
Quite a leap there, Football.
Football can't even spell atheist.
And he uses "your" instead of "you're." Does this guy have a measurable IQ?
It's in negative numbers.
There sure is a lot of intolerance displayed out here today.
Free will, right or wrong. Unless people plan to put people in re-education camps.
It's their right to express their opinions, I just wish they could express more informed and/or tolerant ones.
It is a shame that people are intolerant like that. Tim Tebow should not be bullied for going to speak at any church, especially by bullies who do not attend said church or watch football. LGBT activists are some of the most bigoted people in (social) media.
There are, but they are no less bigoted than the people on the other side of the aisle.
Being intolerant of intolerance is not bigotry. Would a black person be a bigot if they spoke out against a racist organization?
LBGT activists are no more bigoted than the people who are continuously trying to marginalize them. I'd say it's about even, actually.
Christianity – The belief that a cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
Someone loves urbandictionary
And yet, if a little gray alien came out of a flying saucer and said it was all true, except that all the "magic" was done via evolution, genetic engineering and bio-chemistry you'd believe him/it at face value.
Can you say "Straw Man"?
@haguest: My managerial "gut" tells me that I'm right and it is seldom wrong.
(Clue ya in: I manage the guys that do the math and science and I can read you guys like a book. I have all the "data" I need to make my assumptions.)
1) I doubt you're a very effective manager.
2) You have words written anonymously, that may be for satire or not, so you cannot verify your data at all.
3) Your "gut" means absolutely nothing, and merely shows the height of your own arrogance.
Hey, you can count to three – can you say your ABCs as well?
Yea you can avoid addressing any points. Oh wait we already knew that.
Pathetic b4, just plain pathetic.
It doesn't matter what Tebow says. It doesn't matte what a Pastor says. What matters is what God says! And He is quite clear on all these subjects. They are not open to debate. Read the Bible for yourself. Its not hidden. He made it clear for all to see. Some will receive, others will reject. God will sort this all out on judgment day, are you ready for that day?
What matters most is that there is no God. So now it doesn't matter what your fictional book says, what any pastor says, or why Tebow feels inspired by imaginary creatures. All of it is just made up.
If you mean the bible, which was written down by mortal men in an attempt to understand and codify God's teachings, then no. Unless you want to cherry pick certain books and denominations, there is no account of Christian teachings that does not clash or contradict with other books and denominations.
The god of the bible is a mass murdering, genocidal maniac. I don't listen to those.
So men kill one another and God is to blame??? So how about Hitler...is that God's fault??? Men murder one another because they are in rebellion against their creator...and since man is made in the image of God men who are not of God are trying to kill each other...don't EVER try to blame your SIN on God...if you hate your neighbor (without cause that is righteous) then you are guilty of murder...check the bible and be informed...you should repent...
"So men kill one another and God is to blame???"
It might help if you actually read the bible before posting.
Tebow probably realized they hypocrisy about his speaking out against gays.
Pastor Jeffress is not a man of hate. On the contrary, he is a man of love. He loves people enough to tell them the truth. Hell is a real place. It is a place of eternal punishment. Pastor Jeffress loves people enough to endure all of these attacks in order to try to keep people from spending eternity in hell. I understand that the concept of hell is not popular but I have to inform you that God does alter His will based on popularity polls. He does not bow to pressure applied by special interest groups. There is only one way to have peace with Him and that is through Jesus Christ.
Why does god neet Jeffress? He can't tell us all this himself?? What a poor excuse for a god or is he just too lazy?
Danny you sound like you'd make a great Nazi! Congrats!
Sorry for the typo – God does not alter his will based on popularity polls. I should proof read better.
It is sad how liberals somehow associate Christians with Nazis. The Nazis were enemies of God. How you could look at that movement and think otherwise is baffling. The Nazis venerated Nietzsche, so I am confused how a thinking person associate Nazism with Christianity.
The Nazis manipulated and contorted Nietzsche's writings to fit their own sick philosophy. I hope you are not associating Nietzsche with Nazi ideology.
Danny, I wasn't associating your crummy religion with Nazis, just you. However, now that you've brought it up you may want to look at a neutral source concerning Hitler. You may be frightened at what you learn about him, what compelled him and his troops.
Nietzsche made it with only one woman in his entire life and he chose a whore with syphilis.
Hitler was a christian. Just another terrible christian.
Considering Nietzsche's wife is the one who misrepresented and corrupted his philosophy, well her along with Richard Wagner, I won't defend her.
Jeffress is pure, hateful garbage.
to David V – there is no question that the Naziis were influenced by Nietzsche.
to ER – If you really want to delve deep into Nazism you will discover the strong connection to eugenics. Educate yourself regarding the T4 program and you will learn the truth.
They were influenced by a gutted, watered down, by-the-numbers version of his philosophy.
The Ubermensch is someone who REJECTS any authority that tells him what morals to have and how to live his life. The Nazis were all about obedience and following the whim of the state. Nietzsche never spoke of the Ubermensch in racial terms. Nietzsche is more similar to Ayn Rand than he is to Adolf Hitler.
To David V – I think you miss my point for including Nietzsche in this conversation. No group that venerates him could be considered Christian.
I like how Danny conflates liberals with Nazis. Cracks me up every time. As a matter of fact it cracks me up when anyone conflates either of our political parties with Nazis, and then tells us to educate ourselves...lol.
I'm just peeved that you're associating Nietzsche, a proto libertarian thinker, with the Nazis, the most authoritarian government in human history. By associating the two, you're prescribing to a view that is thirty years out of date. Anyone who has read Nietzsche will tell you that associating him with the Nazis is a very erroneous assumption.
Whether or not you agree with his opinions, associating him with Nazism is simply uninformed aside from the fact that his sister and Wagner adulterated his works to fir their racist and anti-Semitic views.
Danny, the problem with what you write is a long way from proof-reading. It's more content related.
David V – The reality that the Nazis venerated Nietzsche has nothing to do with historical interpretation. It is a fact.
I'm wondering if you have anything even approaching a point.
The point is very simple. I do not remain silent when people associate Christianity with Nazism
Does "Gott Mit Uns" ring a bell?
You can whine and moan and bitch all you want, but the fact remains that Hitler (who claimed to be a Christian) used religion to unify and give purpose to the Nazi army.
Oh let's not foget that Hitler was a confirmed Catholic (May 22 1904), and was never excommunicated.
Are you really trying to make the case that Hitler was a true Christian. In order to be a leader in the SS you had to deny faith in Christ. Does it really make sense that if Hitler was really a Christian he would make SS soldiers deny Christ.
Danny, Hitler was a true Christian.
Let's see, god decides who he will have mercy on and save and who is condemned to everlasting torment from before the foundations of the world (Romans 9). God is the one who made a place of fiery torture for his enemies (while he commands that you love yours). God is the one who carries out the judgment.
Can we think of anyone who more closely exemplifies that perspective than the embodiment of Hitler?
ER – I know this may come as a shock, but constantly repeating a mantra does not make that mantra true. The left has repeated the lie that Hitler was a Christian so many times that they believe it. The facts do not support that conclusion. You can repeat the lie a million times and it will still be false.
By all means, keep repeating your lie to yourself, Danny. Nobody here imagined you wouldn't.
mobster schtick, you're upside down in yer thinkin'. God judges you. Your judgment of Him is a joke. Now quit makin' it worse on yasef by messin' with the bride. He's Jealous.
MS – I am glad that you have at least read some scripture. God is the only qualified judge. He sees every sin and He knows the times He has tried to extend His grace into the lives of people. He also knows who has denied that grace. I will admit that there are things regarding predestination that I do not understand. I do however trust in His unfailing love.
1) Do you have evidence of your claim?
2) The definition of "true christian" is as numerous as the number of christians, so what makes you so arrogant as to think you are the authority to define that?
3) Nowhere did I say anything about "true christian". Perhaps you should try some reading comprehension.
SS General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski who was the chief of antipartisan units in Russia stated in an interview in 1946, that in order to join the SS he presented a certificate saying that he had left the Lutheran Church. He also stated that he could not practice his religion as a member of the SS.
Heaven sent us tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, and famines, plus cancers, typhoid, meningitis, lupus, and other horrible diseases that cause horrid suffering and death to millions of people worldwide.
And then he wants to torture you in hell forever if you suspect that he doesn't exist, even given that there is no specific evidence for his existence and that he apparently hasn't shown his face for at least 2000 years if ever.
Wow, god would be quite the azzhole if he existed. Good thing he doesn't exist.
You are the atheist that hijacks my handle to spew your lies huh tommy tom, cough, scotty. Scotty was thrown off his other website for running off all the christians, just like my bosses. My 12-year-old finally quit smoking in her kids room. Keep stealing my handle to post your evil and find yourself on the other side of the tracks.
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.