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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. JJ

    Maybe they wouldn't allow him to bring his boyfriend so he decided to bail.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • meifumado

      It's more like his agent told him to keep his fundie views to himself.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  2. CLT

    Initially his religion drew positive attention to him in college, but once he hit the NFL he has realized that the religion thing is destroying him.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
  3. EDDIE

    BABYUNK-Where is your proof that your God exist's?It's kinda hard to believe in something when you have absolutly no proof that he or she existed.Why not believe in the easter bunny,Ron L Hubbard.If you believe in god that's perfectly fine but it's only a belief and no fact's.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Jimbo

      It takes "faith" to get into the gates of heaven, not "facts." Regardless someone is right whether it's those who have faith or those who don't and will only find out in death. My point is you better be sure that the no "facts" is fact.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:23 pm |
    • JWT

      Not everyone cares about god and heaven.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  4. GatorDude

    Smart move. Tebow should just work hard and shy away from controversy. After the meteor hit, Iranian bomb, or zombie apocalypse, he will also need to pull a sword from a stone so that he can fulfill his destiny to become King of America.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • Mike

      First he should work on being a good quarterback.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  5. sally

    Tebow Mania!!

    Sally
    acct exec at http://www.whatisautomobileinsurance.com

    February 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
  6. nytw

    Another example that freedom of speech and freedom of religion only applies to Obama and his liberal drones.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Mark

      I am not biased towards or against Obama one way or the other but I fail to see the connecting you are failing to make? How is he connected to any of this?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
    • DB

      What the hell are you talking about?

      Even Tebow doesn't want to be associated with this angry preacher of hate. Doesn't eveyone have the right to disagree with Jeffress?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • KJ9

      Whatever. loser

      February 21, 2013 at 12:09 pm |
    • The serpent

      Another neo-con, idiot, crybaby. You're WAY off on this one. This has nothing to do with freedom of speech, moron. Let me guess, you're from Texas?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      you know bearing false witness is a huge no-no right nytw?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Antonio666

      What??? Where do you get this stuff? Tebow pulled out of the speech of his own accord. I swear, if you could, you idiots would blame Lincoln's assassination on President Obama.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Iconify

      This is not a freedom of speech issue. The First Amendment only restricts the government from prohibiting or limiting speech. It does not apply to private businesses or private citizens. A business or organization has the right to limit your speech because there is no requirement that you participate in the business or the organization. If the government prohibited speech in this case then it would be a First Amendment issue – otherwise, it is a private organization or private citizen exercising their rights.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      your freedoms end when you decide to discriminate and deny rights to a group of people based on their orientation.

      Is this really that hard to understand?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • snowboarder

      tebow cancelled because it was controversial. he apparently does not stand up for his convictions.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Dan

      ...and yet another right-wing nut who makes absolutely no sense.Your team lost.There's still a black man in the white house.Get over it.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @nytw,

      Tebow was free to speak at the church if he so chose. The simple reality is that he would become less marketable, because few these days want to buy products sold using someone seen to anti-gay or to be associated with movements against specific religions. This is just a market issue, and the market spoke. Tebow was free to go against the market if he was willing to lose some cash.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:49 pm |
  7. ectopic

    Hey babyunk,
    Do me a favor and stay on your side. It would be a big help to people who can think.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  8. Texas sucks

    Typical garbage coming out of Texas.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  9. truthabouttebow

    Can we all just admit Tebow is in the closet?

    February 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      There is nothing wrong with being gay. It is a shame that religions lead in making people feel shame for being gay.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:05 pm |
    • Charlie Dominguez

      Hope you are right in that it would advance equality once he comes out.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • J

      and you're a dope

      February 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
  10. lover of freedom

    good call tebow. you may believe in cloud spirits but don't need to associate yourself with a cloud spirit person who is also evil and psycho.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:01 pm |
  11. Jeebus Chreebus

    Is Tebow stil "saving himself for marriage"?

    Why doesn't he just come out of the closet already?

    February 21, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • mr chow

      You mom locked the door

      February 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
  12. Grundoon

    @babyunk

    You can't even write a complete sentence yet have the audacity to call non-believeers stupid? Seriously, it is obvious you lack the mental capacity to understand physics and biology so there is no use in anyone explaining it to you.

    February 21, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  13. DB Cooper

    Mr. Tebow is grossly delusional, as are other bible-thumpers, if he and they think God gives a hoot about football. It's a sport, not a religion. If you people want to mix the secular with the religious, move to Iran – that's their way of like, not the American way of life!

    February 21, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Really?

      @DB Cooper, are you REALLY that stupid? That's not the American way of life? Try educating yourself fool. Religion has been a part of America since its inception. Amazing that little minds have such big mouths.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
    • Bluto1941

      @DB Cooper, are you REALLY that stupid? That's not the American way of life? Try educating yourself fool. Religion has been a part of America since its inception. Amazing that little minds have such big mouths.

      @Really Wow, what typical Christian style oral sewage you spew. Big distinction between allowing freedom for all religions and the theocracy DB is referring to and to which a scary number of Christians would love to have in place.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
  14. Turp

    Put your seatbelts on, here comes the stupid...'babyunk', for example...

    February 21, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  15. AvdBerg

    Spiritual Truth

    For a better understanding of spirit Tim Tebow serves and the word 'Christian', we invite you to read the article 'Can Christianity or Any Other Religion Save You?' listed on our website http://www.aworlddeceived.ca

    All of the other pages and articles listed on our website explain how this whole world has been deceived as confirmed in Revelation 12:9.

    Ask, and it shall be given you (Matthew 7:7).

    February 21, 2013 at 11:56 am |
    • Antonio

      Place ads much? Belief doesn't need to be explained.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
    • meifumado

      Religion does not save you, you only think it does. this is known as wishful thinking which is delusional.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  16. bear

    babyunk we may be stupid but most of know how to spell believe without Spell Check. are you from Texas or Mississippi?

    February 21, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  17. Sly

    Only fools knock heaven. Wise men among us know there are thousands of gorgeous virgin teenage chicks in heaven who unfortunately never got Adam and Eve's opportunity to enjoy the fruits of the human body.

    And there are no laws. No Marriage. NO FOOTBALL! Means plenty of time (almost an enternity!) to break Wilt the Stilts '10000' record, still one of the most respected records in sports.

    February 21, 2013 at 11:54 am |
    • Surprise

      Sly
      The RCC have obtained the franchise for the chtistian heaven, you have to promise to be celibate to get in. What you are looking for is Pastafairian heaven, an all you drink beer fountain and a stri*per factory and you can shoot hoops for eternity.

      PS: No three point line, we do it the old way.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Doobs

      I hope the cute guys in heaven aren't virgins. Inexperience is overrated.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Sly

      RCC be damned! If I can just get Rush Limbaugh and his package of Viagra up there, I think we'll all be back in business.

      Disappointed to hear about the 3-point line, but can we at least use those old red-white-blue ABA balls?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • Surprise

      Your choice of balls, but if you remember those old timey short shorts you may want to put a restraint on your balls.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
  18. Jeebus Chreebus

    With all that prayin' Teebow does, why doesn't he just ask God to make him a better quarterback?

    February 21, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Reality Check

      He's also asked the Easter Bunny, Santa, Satan, and that 'Chocolate Rain' kid. At least the kid was real, but alas, unable to assist Tebow.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • mr chow

      please get me out of trunk. you stupid.

      February 21, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
  19. Ancient Texan

    Is Tebow ashamed of his faith? No, I don't think so and I see nothing controversial about First Baptist Churc of Dallas. Bowing to critics of religion should not happen, stand up for your faith.

    February 21, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • Reasonably

      Stand up for hatred and bigotry in the name of your god! Booyah!

      February 21, 2013 at 11:52 am |
    • Science

      Education works .

      Separation of church and state

      New science standards created by 26 states (majority) for 2013 and beyond,, .. It is called Stem standards for public schools....

      No god(s) required
      By the way creatoin/ID LOST DEPUNKED at the Dover trial in 2005

      Peace

      No god(s) required for graduation n the US

      Facts work best.

      The End is here.

      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.

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130213132323.htm

      Peace

      February 21, 2013 at 11:53 am |
    • Brian

      Standing up to a hate-filled church is not standing up for faith

      February 21, 2013 at 11:55 am |
    • bthumble

      I couldn't agree more. If your religion teaches you hatred and bigotry then you should announce it proudly and never give into pressure to be something you aren't.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:04 pm |
    • Sage

      Nothing controversial? This pastor says that Islam "promotes pedophilia" and called Catholicism a "fake religion".

      At least Tebow had the sense to realize this man is not really a Christian at all.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:01 pm |
    • Excitizen

      Wonder if you would feel the same if idiots put up a picket line at your loved one's funeral. That's not spreading the word of god, it's spreading hatred – pure and simple!

      February 21, 2013 at 2:32 pm |
  20. babyunk

    for all of u non beleivers i would like to hear a logical reason as to y you dont beleive... i mean u guys cant be that stupid to beleive that a man created this world and and all the universe can u... u cant be so stupid that u dont see the perfection of this world can u? for starters how is it that everything that reproduces itself does it the same way the male knocks up the female and shazaam we got babys and that goes for humans dogs cats rats birds squirrels ect thats an act of perfection if u ask me but i would love to hear one of u non believers explain this to me. we may not be perfect but the design of this world is...

    February 21, 2013 at 11:47 am |
    • Reasonably

      I believe someone needs an English lesson. That's what I believe.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • Elperro

      Beyond that, I think some basic lessons in thought organization and biology.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • Believe What I Will

      I believe Reasonably makes a very good point.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:57 am |
    • JJ

      It's so hard sometimes to tell if you are just a stupid ignorant Christian or a troll pretending to be one.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • Doug

      Perfection in the world? Over 80% of the world is uninhabitable for humans. Humans sinuses didn't adapt to our bipedal motion. The sun destroys our retinas and kills photoreceptors. Cancer kills people in months. I could go on and on with the 'imperfection' of the human body.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:58 am |
    • db

      Whether or not there is a "Creator" is irrelevant. What drives non-believers mad is the pompous belief of "the believers" that they know "the truth". You know NOTHING. You cling to whatever belief your parents drilled into since birth and childishly fear anybody who challenges your nonsensical and scary religious ideology. You stop progress and quite frankly you are downright scary.

      February 21, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • Bob

      i see no reason to believe in a god. if you want to call me stupid, have at it.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      It's easy – there is not a single bit of independent, factual, verifiable or objective evidence for any god, the divine jesus myth or the truth of The Babble. No evidence should lead to non-belief but most children cling to the fairy tales their parents forced upon them. Others are just mentally ill.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
    • Excitizen

      I would laugh at your post if your obvious lack of education and intelligence wasn't so terribly real. Question: are you stupid enough to believe that Jesus teaches hatred? I knew you were!

      February 21, 2013 at 12:08 pm |
    • Doobs

      i mean u guys cant be that stupid to beleive that a man created this world and and all the universe can u..

      No one has said that a man created the universe.

      Man has created an organized system of spelling, grammar and punctuation, though. Learning and using it makes your arguments a bit more coherent.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • bthumble

      lol - you cannot be serious.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • You want logic?

      THERE IS NO GOD. If there was – he'd have told me. He didn't.

      THAT is logic.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:10 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'for starters how is it that everything that reproduces itself does it the same way the male knocks up the female and shazaam we got babys and that goes for humans dogs cats rats birds squirrels ect '

      actually you know thats not true right? male pipefish, seahorses and sea dragons bear the young.
      bu no matter, it is obvious from your post that you have no clue.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • The serpent

      There is zero evidence for a god.
      That was easy.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:18 pm |
    • Akira

      Oh, my. You do your cause no good at all.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:19 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.