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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.”

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.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Baptist • Christianity • Church

soundoff (2,828 Responses)
  1. mary

    Am i the only one who thinks Tim is in the closet?

    February 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • The Dude

      Most fervent Christians are, even the ones with 6 kids. Probably even a higher number of those are.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Badda Bing

      He shares a closet with Douglas.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • Marlin Gaven

      It is good to be in the closet and clean up the clutter once in a while. if not, u probably might end up on the hoarders show eventually

      February 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • meifumado

      @Marlin Gaven

      Rotfl

      nice!

      February 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm |
  2. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    I'm glad he pulled out of that anti-gay church thing. Winsome boy looks particularly fetching in that top.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  3. Jay

    Tim Teabow is a false christian. He needs to read when Jesus condemned his type of showy prayer. He imagines hes getting heard, but he really just enjoying the praise of men.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  4. B. Bopalula

    Religion: How crappy football players get more money.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • epaphras03

      Speech or no speech, I somehow have the idea that he's a better man than you'll ever be

      February 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • The Dude

      He is talking about talent not character. He is right. Tebow is a mediocre talent at best. Elevate him for his playing, not because he belongs to your cult. The fact that he is only celebrated for his faith, not his talent, says all you need to know about him AS A TALENT.

      I have no idea what his character is like, and I do not care.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
  5. Sydney

    When I see someone say I am stupid for being a believer in God creating all things, I wonder this, how stupid not to believe when you obviously see all the wonder of the universe, babies, animals, flowers, seasons, moon, stars, sun, and all this, "just happened" ??? Come on, it is very easy for me to be a believer in the fact that God did all this and no, it is not stupid to believe but very stupid, "not to believe" ???

    February 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • snowboarder

      that is the indoctrination talking. not the reasoning.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Marty

      So they didn't teach science at your school?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      if the bible were true, why did god need to build the rest of the universe, not just our planet and sun?

      by your logic, zeus should still be around !

      February 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Brian

      So your argument boils down to – because rainbows are pretty, God must be real.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      That's just a rehash of pascals wager.

      In order to have faith, you must ignore logic and reason, otherwise faith would not be necessary, so yes, you must make yourself stupid to make a leap of faith.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • bob

      Hi Sidney: I think it's great that you or anyone else believes in God. Where most people have an issue with this is when those who "believe" can't allow other s to believe differently. Like the issue of gays as equal or women as equal or FRANKLY anyone but your own flock being seen AND treated as equal. There seems to be a disconnect there. Not with you personally perhaps, but with most. I left the church over this. When children in my family ask about it I tell them that they are free to believe as their hearts lead them but when you are lead to believe others are not equal because they are different from you, you are being lead astray. Respect is all anyone wants.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Science

      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

      February 21, 2013 at 12:36 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Neither belief is stupid in itself. What's stupid is assuming that you know enough about an entire class of beliefs, be they "god believer" or "god disbeliever" to call all in that class stupid.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Theo Noh

      It sure saves you a lot of that pesky thinking stuff, not having to actually learn something and instead just brainlessly saying "Flower! God dun itt!" Unfortunately, you miss out on so fascinating stuff about what really does happen, but simple solutions for simple minds does fit you.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Mike

      How about tsunamis? Did he make those too?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:39 pm |
    • skytag

      You believe God "just happened" or "just exists." All you've done is replace one unanswered question with other unanswered questions such as, where did God come from? If he always existed, why did he suddenly, after existing for an eternity with no universe, decide to create the universe? Why is there no evidence of his existence? Yeah, it is kind of stupid to believe that since we can't answer some questions about the origin of the universe and life to believe their must have been an all powerful, all knowing, but completely undetectable being to explain everything.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
    • meifumado

      You do not need gods to enjoy the beauty of the universe.
      As a matter of fact, The universe is even more incredible when you think about it (with no gods)!

      February 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "My response is that when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that's going to make him blind"

      David Attenborough.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:07 pm |
  6. Andrew

    Only in 2013 America can a known wife beater/murderer/animal abuser of a football player get more respect than a openly religious football player.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • snowboarder

      we see openly religious actions from players constantly at every game. tebow has simply turned it into his trademark.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • The Dude

      If your imaginary friend was real (jesus) I do not think he would like being used to elevate someones personal wealth.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eqKb5ViN_Q&w=640&h=390]

      February 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • KC

      Perhaps the reason is that Mr. Vick is, was and admits he is a sinner and has repented and been punished for his sin.

      Mr. Tebow acts as if HE were sinless, yet he acts in public exactly the opposite of what Jesus commands...""And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full." Praying is to be in private, not in the middle of a football field to "celebrate" your own achievements, pretending that athletic prowess is bestowed on you in higher measure due to your beliefs.

      That, and Mr. Vick actually can throw a football.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm |
  7. DiatribesAndOvations.com

    I remember a time when football players were "dumb jocks" that stayed out of the news. http://wp.me/p1se8R-21m

    February 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
  8. kevin

    People really listen to this fool speak??

    February 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Sure they listen to this fool...they are in church after all...they went there for the purpose of listening to fools (clergy) speak, so why not one more fool.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm |
    • Dave in Jax, FL

      No more than we read other fools' opinions.....

      February 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  9. Will4203

    That it took him this long to bail makes him suspect...

    February 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
  10. Rob

    Religion, hatred and intolerance... Go so well together...

    February 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
  11. religion; a way to control the weak minded

    babyunk Said:

    "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."

    And you cant be that stupid to not understand the MEN wrote the bible. Or can you? or is gullible the more correct term?

    February 21, 2013 at 12:22 pm |
    • manhandler1

      Go back to the dark ages.

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

      Yeah. And George Washington was not a president. I mean, that was hundreds of years ago. Men just wrote that down and we believe it today. Oh, and Christopher Columbus, those men just wrote that down. He really didn't exist. Oh, and then there was .........

      February 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Yeah. And George Washington was not a president. I mean, that was hundreds of years ago. Men just wrote that down and we believe it today. Oh, and Christopher Columbus, those men just wrote that down. He really didn't exist. Oh, and then there was ........."

      Please learn the history of your religion and the authors of the bible. They wrote about Jesus 50-100 years AFTER his death. big difference.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "Go back to the dark ages."

      No, you get out of the dark ages

      February 21, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • meifumado

      @aparatrooper
      There is a difference between actual recorded history and man made fairy tales who's soul purpose is to control you.

      If you do not now the difference you may suffer in life.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      and sorry but none of the people who wrote about washington or columbus claimed they were inspired by god....your religion is a complete and utter joke.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:42 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @aparatrooper, Do you really not see a difference between the evidence we have for George Washington's major achievements, birth, family, and personal history and that we have for Jesus' major achievements, birth, family andpersonal history? If you don't, you are seriously ignorant of the field of history and what counts as historical evidence.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:48 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'aparatrooper – Yeah. And George Washington was not a president. I mean, that was hundreds of years ago. Men just wrote that down and we believe it today. Oh, and Christopher Columbus, those men just wrote that down. He really didn't exist. Oh, and then there was ........."

      Let me know when those same historians claim that Washington walked across the Delaware.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:11 pm |
    • Laurie in Spokane

      To Saraswati about Washington's achivements and Jesus achievements.

      There is no absolutely verifiable historical proof of Jesus' achievements – only what different MEN wrote down, even centuries after supposed events took place, and solely for their political/religious control purposes. Jesus may have been a wise man, with novel and different ideas for that time, but give me a break – walking on water?

      Washington's achievements on the other hand have many many ways to be verified, or, in some instances, debunked – think cherry tree....

      February 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  12. Rich

    please no more preachin...

    February 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
  13. MagicPanties

    If Tebow supports, for example, gay rights, then have the gonads to stand up and say so.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • train9004

      or if he doesn't support gay rights.... this still America... let him believe where his convictions carry him

      February 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • Saraswati

      @train9004, And if he supports enslaving anyone with an IQ under 100 or forced sterilization for Jews or whatever, let let him believe where his convictions carry him?

      Sure, legally let him believe amd say anything he wants. But if you are asking that people be free from criticism whatever their beliefs you need to really consider what you are saying.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:51 pm |
  14. SirToYe

    Thanks for the shot of his underpits. Really nice.

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

      Can you smell it?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
  15. cvryder2000

    This doesn't really show character, just awareness of his "image". The fact that he was going to speak there in the first place shows more about his character and what he really thinks.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:17 pm |
    • meifumado

      Agree

      February 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • DiatribesAndOvations.com

      I agree. He stopped being a "person" and became a "product" some time ago. http://wp.me/p1se8R-21m

      February 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
    • John

      I'm not a Tebow fan and don't really care what his religious views are, but I think it MAY say something about his character to pull out. I didn't know who this Rev was prior to this story and maybe he didn't either. I'm sure he accepts speaking engagements all the time and doesn't necessarily check out ever detail about who it is to. Once he found out he either said "I don't agree with them so sorry no thanks" or "It will be a giant stink bomb on my reputation to speak here so I'm out".

      February 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • Saraswati

      In that case it would still show character – a character for whom image was more important than following his religious beliefs.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:53 pm |
  16. Laurie in Spokane

    Never have I seen in print such basic head-in-the-sand comments. There is not a "god" who created all.
    People have a right (in this country anyway, for now anyway) to believe or not believe however they want. I don't understand the blind faith in Christianity/Catholicism/Judaism/Islam et al, but that's OK. Just DO NOT TRY TO FORCE your beliefs on me.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      please tell me how you know there is not a god? I would love to hear this logic

      February 21, 2013 at 12:24 pm |
    • Laurie in Spokane

      I DON'T know there's not a god. I only know I've never seen proof of one, and that's logical isn't it?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • VanHagar

      Laurie...nobody's forcing anything on you. Relax.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Ken

      but thanks for forcing your beliefs on us Laurie!

      February 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm |
    • Laurie in Spokane

      Nobody is trying to force anything on me. I'm just tired of all this mindless bickering over a mindless belief. Might as well discuss the pros and cons of pigs flying.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:30 pm |
    • meifumado

      @ Ken

      She is giving her opinion not forcing anything.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Pastor O'Brien

      As an ordained Pastor I totally support your belief or lack of belief. One thing people of faith forget is that faith is a gift from God and if we believe that then we should accept it as a gift and not destroy that gift with anger, hate, or pure nastiness because someone else doesn't have the gift of faith.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:32 pm |
    • Laurie in Spokane

      Thank you Pastor O'Brien. Well said. Enough said.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • meifumado

      @Pastor O'Brien
      Your "gift of faith" is nothing more then wishful thinking and it means your delusional, Please seek help now.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • skytag

      @Pastor O'Brien: What a load of drivel. Religion puts faith on a pedestal because it needs a way to convince people it's somehow superior, even noble to embrace beliefs for which there is no evidence whatsoever. In this respect religion makes people stupid by convincing them it's somehow better to ignore facts, reason and logic when deciding what to believe.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:55 pm |
    • Laurie in Spokane

      If people want to believe their "faith" is ia gift from a god, fine, let them.

      You know, people who hear voices in their mind are labeled schizophrenic and many times they to hear voices telling them to do bad things. You never hear people who say a god or Jesus has spoken to them called schizoid unless they do something evil, but really, aren't they just hearing their own mind? and as someone else wrote here, they're delusional. If they're harlessly delusional, OK, but watch out for the fanatics.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
  17. Randy, San Francisco

    Smart move on Tebow's part not to associate with a faux Christian church that is aligned wtih Satan.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      take your tin foil hat off randy.

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

      So tell us Randy, what church is not false?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
    • meifumado

      Sorry, Faux not False

      Lol

      February 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm |
    • God Fearing

      No Randy, YOU are aligned with SATAN!

      February 21, 2013 at 2:37 pm |
  18. Madtown

    he was canceling his appearance “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.”
    -----------
    Good job Tebow. No one, regardless of their position on spirituality, should associate themselves with this hateful POS preacher.

    February 21, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
    • Jim

      Agree. Smart move by Tebow to give the middle finger to the haters. I am not a religious person myself but still admire the guy.

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

      I love how he doesn't specify exactly which part he objects to...allows him to slip and slide without anyone knowing what he really believes.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:54 pm |
  19. Mountain Goat

    Maybe he is a secret muslim?

    February 21, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
  20. bclone

    What is going on? Who the hell is Tim Tebow?

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

      A person with high morals who lives according to his faith and conscience. The world would be a far better place with more people like Tim Tebow.

      February 21, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
    • Doobs

      A mediocre quarterback who became famous for thanking jeebus for touchdowns and tried to copyright kneeling.

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

      Did he really try to coyright Kneeling? Fine, I'm gonna TM pooping; now all of you MotherF#@Kers have to pay up before you do Number 2!

      February 21, 2013 at 12:26 pm |
    • Laurie in Spokane

      And , more to the point, who cares what he thinks – about anything?

      February 21, 2013 at 12:27 pm |
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About this blog

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.