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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.

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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.”

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Baptist • Christianity • Church

soundoff (2,828 Responses)
  1. Nietodarwin

    “The difference between faith and insanity is that faith is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence, whereas insanity is the ability to hold firmly to a conclusion that is incompatible with the evidence.”
    _ William Harwood, Dictionary of Contemporary Mythology

    February 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm |
    • Or . . .

      Religion is a widely held insanity, which give it the false patina of legitimacy.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm |
    • Reason and Logic

      The difference between faith and insanity is that a person of faith does not look for evidence on things hoped for, while insanity looks for evidence on things already ruled out as non-existent

      February 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Doobs

      while insanity looks for evidence on things already ruled out as non-existent

      You mean things like talking snakes, talking donkeys, and zombified "saviors"?

      February 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Wow

      You really didn't say what you thought you said, Mr. non-reason and illogic

      February 21, 2013 at 1:58 pm |
  2. Wrathbrow

    “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.”
    Hard to get a more cryptic statement than that.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:34 pm |
  3. MashaSobaka

    I wonder what the information was that had "just" come to his attention...that he was going to be speaking in front of a crowd of unrepentant bigots, or that many people in this country find doing so to be morally repugnant. (Wouldn't be the first time someone like him said "But I didn't realize that reckless hatred of other people was a *bad* thing.")

    February 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
  4. Nietodarwin

    Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived.
    Isaac Asimov

    There once was a time when all people believed in God and the church ruled. This time was called the Dark Ages.
    Richard Lederer

    Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.
    Seneca the Younger 4 b.c.- 65 a.d.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Reason and Logic

      That is why we have an overwhelming majority of atheists when compared to Christians

      February 21, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • Live4Him

      Friedrich Nietzsche : 'God is dead' – and he died insane.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
    • Sure. Right.

      Oh Live4Him, do you actually think you understand Nietzsche? Okay, tell us what Nietzsche meant when he said "God is dead." And without looking, tell me which work of his contains that phrase.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      'Friedrich Nietzsche : 'God is dead' – and he died insane.'

      which is ironic seeing as his statement was in fact a pro-god/pro-religion stance.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:48 pm |
  5. Chad

    Tebow is awesome, just needs to work on his throwing motion harder..

    February 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      He is truly a giant of mediocrity, a hero for all mediocre people everywhere.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • Permafrost

      Larry of Nazareth :

      winning the Heisman, two National College Championships and going 7-4 with Denver as a pro is mediocrity ?

      yikes. what standards are you using ?

      February 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • Hmmmmmm

      Even if there was a God which there isn't, Tim Tebow would be the very last thing on it's mind.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:57 pm |
    • Chad

      @Hmmmmmm "Even if there was a God which there isn't"
      @Chad "what evidence do you have to back up that claim?"

      =======
      @Hmmmmmm "Tim Tebow would be the very last thing on it's mind."
      @Chad "If the God of Israel is real (and He is), then Tim, like everyone else, is always on His mind."

      Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.[b] 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. - Matthew 10

      February 21, 2013 at 2:04 pm |
    • Hmmmmmm

      Here is my evidence Chad. On Dec 14th I prayed really hard to Jesus and said "Please Jesus, if you exist, prove it by letting us have one peaceful day in America without any kid's being shot." then I turned on the news and there was my answer.

      Then I turned it over to Fox News and instead of hearing my righteous religous brethren talk about how gun's have led to so much violence and hate in America, but instead I hear how they believe some scary cabal conspiracy is secretly going to try and take all our guns away which is again reaffirmed that God does not exist. Then I listened to the radio and heard a pastor tell us how it's not gun's that kill people but the lack of prayer and that reaffirmed that God does not exist. And then I stopped by my local Church and heard the Priest talk about how all those children will be missed, but then read in the paper how many children were abused by priests which were covered up by the Church, and it reaffirmed that God does not exist. Then I watched a program on children living in trash heaps in Mubai and it re-affirmed that God does not exist. Then I read the bible again and saw the glaring errors made in Genesis which claims we all decended from one original human Adam but then watched the nearly 80 hours of Nova presentations on the origin of life based on actual science instead of invented magic which reaffirmed to me that God does not exist. Then I started chatting on the CNN boards and ran into a complete self absorbed infantile sycophant named Chad who keeps asking the same farking question every day regardless of what answer he recieves which reaffirmed

      February 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm |
    • Hmmmmmm

      ...there is no God.

      February 21, 2013 at 3:03 pm |
    • Chad

      You believe that these two things prove the God of Israel doesnt exist?
      1. He didnt do what you told Him to do
      2. Humans do all kinds of horrific things

      that's it?

      February 21, 2013 at 5:19 pm |
  6. To all of the NON believers...

    BUBBA

    Your understanding in God is totally different then anyone elses. Where did i mention that God created Earth in a day. Go back to a church that is teaching truth. If you believe in creation and said God wouldn't put us on this Earth then where did he put us....Mars?

    February 21, 2013 at 1:25 pm |
    • Odin

      I laugh at your puny rhetoric.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Don Piano

      Let me guess, that would be your church...

      I'm not sure you have a real good grasp of 'truth'.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
    • atheistguy

      Listen man, your beliefs deserve scrutiny. I have always enjoyed this response to all religious claims. You are making a claim that god is real. The onus is on you to prove that just the same as if a person claimed that the tooth fairy is real. You cannot transfer the burden of proof to somethng you claim. If god is real, prove it. Do not ask me to disprove you claim. Therefore, people that do make outlandish claims of magic, supernatural, or unbelievable events, assume the responsibility of providing evidence for the claim. If this was not the case in modern society, we would not have a judicial system, rule of law and be stuck in the state of nature. You sir need to evolve and go through the introspective nightmare of realizing that your whole life is based on a lie. I bet you are crapping you pants hearing this, but the truth hurts. Grow up sir. You cannot experience your true potential untill you have the veil of ignorance lifted. I would pray for you, but I'm pretty sure that Zeus currently isn't taking calls.

      February 22, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
  7. Nietodarwin

    Why don't baptists do it standing up? They are afraid it will lead to dancing.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
  8. Bootstomper

    GOD?

    February 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
  9. SeeofChainge

    Seems like the media is out to destroy Chrisitanity once again. There's a whole large group of us out here, while not regular attendees at a church, that have no problem with what Jeffers is preaching. Some of us can't simply turn off the reasons we are against to men engaging in intercourse with each others stinky area. It's not something that should be done. Period.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Tommy

      The fact that you spend time thinking about it is pretty telling in and of itself.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
    • Wrathbrow

      So if you or members of a church speak out on something it is speaking what you believe is right. If others do the same and disagree it is a war on christianity.
      Got it.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Aezel

      "Some of us can't simply turn off the reasons we are against to men engaging in intercourse with each others stinky area."

      Stinky area? What are you 5 years old?

      February 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm |
    • Reasonably

      Just love being a martyr, doncha?

      Ooooo...dat media's at it again. But us believers gonna stick tahgether! Dey can't put us down, nosirreebob.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:28 pm |
    • The serpent

      The fact that you have no problem endorseing the hate-speech that Robert Jeffress preaches isn't a big surprise. You already said you're a christian. Your cult is all about hate and controlling others.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm |
    • Hmmmmm

      Well I think it is disgusting that we let ugly people like SeeofChainge mate with eachother. I want to vomit when I see someone as ugly as SeeofChainge sticking his wet protrusion at some unsuspecting ugly mate, it's disgusting, we should ban ugly people from being allowed to get married because it makes me sick to see them and me and people like me should be the only ones our laws should protect because i'm just so much better than everyone else...

      February 21, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • sam

      Oh my god, how much further is the bar going to get lowered in here, today?

      February 21, 2013 at 1:42 pm |
    • Live4Him

      @The serpent : Your cult is all about hate and controlling others.

      And yet you're here trying to control what others believe.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:43 pm |
    • oh no you didn't

      Apparently you need to learn how to wash your ass better. Maybe ask a gay guy how it's done.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:45 pm |
    • sam

      @Live4 – no, people are here correcting your bullshit.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @SeeofChainge
      I hope you realize that not all gay men engage in sod/omy and that plenty of hetero couples enjoy it?
      Do you think lesbians are icky, or is it just men?

      February 21, 2013 at 1:47 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @SeeofChainge

      Oh boo hoo people aren't just accepting your divisive, evil, hateful doctrines anymore. That must mean they're out to destroy you. Quick we need all your money now!

      Persecution complex at its finest.

      And there's Lie4Him taking the Luther route and lying for Jeebus!

      February 21, 2013 at 1:50 pm |
    • Doobs

      Some of us can't simply turn off the reasons we are against to men engaging in intercourse with each others stinky area.

      Is that why Teblow is showing off his stinky pits in the photo?

      February 21, 2013 at 1:54 pm |
    • Ancient Texan

      True- The 14% that doesn't believe attempt to discredit and recruit the 86% that do believe.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
    • mk

      The only thing that you can equate with gay people is the type of s@x that they are having. There's your problem right there.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:00 pm |
    • Mass Debater

      "discredit and recruit" just like all those round earthers did to the flat earth society folks...

      February 21, 2013 at 2:24 pm |
  10. Jerry

    He speaks the simple truth, but people don't and sometimes cant hear it. However, there is hope for everyone in Jesus Christ.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Wrathbrow

      Saying something is a truth does not make it so. It also tends to be a sign that someone wants others to have their same beliefs without question.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:30 pm |
    • Casey

      The simple truth is the Bible does not condemn h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l-i-t-y when it is put in historical and cultural context and is read using reason, as Jesus did.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:51 pm |
    • Ancient Texan

      I was only 14 when I converted to Catholicism. Needless to say my father, an Israeli was quite upset.

      February 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm |
  11. Aezel

    So what we have here is a disagreement about who's version of an imaginary friend is better.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:23 pm |
    • Wrathbrow

      I was always partial to Harvey.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:37 pm |
  12. NorCalMojo

    He scares as easily as a GOP senator. He should go into politics.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:22 pm |
  13. EastCoast Mike

    Tebow is no fool....He's a religious man who doesn't see the need to belittle those of other faiths or lifestyles. No good could have come out of his visit to this church and this hateful man.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm |
    • SokrMom

      That or he takes it personally when people bash gays...

      February 21, 2013 at 1:24 pm |
    • Wrathbrow

      "Tebow is no fool....He's a religious man".
      Irony.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
  14. K-switch

    The book of SEC championship, Verse 2009:

    Tebow wept.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
    • jim

      unfortunately, there's a new gospel, and he's not in it...

      February 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm |
  15. Kirk

    Tim Tebow pulls out.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  16. tony

    The collection plate is inductive proof of the non-existence of god or gods.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:14 pm |
    • Flint Fredstone

      No, it's only proof that Jesus isn't any good at miracling up cash for his churches, and they must rely on a form of panhandling instead.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm |
  17. information has made humans slaves

    "celebration of the megachurch’s completion of a new building campaign, a $130 million dollar project that encompasses five blocks of the downtown." ~
    a celebration of hate ~~ at least it is in the right town.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:12 pm |
    • Platypus Rex

      Dingbat bigots in Texas? Who ever would have thought . . .

      February 21, 2013 at 1:19 pm |
  18. Jeebus Chreebus

    Yes but when is he going to come out of the closet?

    February 21, 2013 at 1:11 pm |
    • Mike

      Life was so much more fun when the jocks stayed in the closet and just came over after dropping their girlfriends off.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:18 pm |
  19. Atheist Libertarian

    This guys is as dumb as a box of rocks. Can't stand the fool. Maybe he talked with his invisible friend and the sky fairy told him no to do this. Dummy...

    February 21, 2013 at 1:10 pm |
    • Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3

      Is Ratty back under a slightly different name?

      Hey Atheist Libertarian! What do you thing of Tom, Tom the Piper's Son?

      February 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Angry much?

      February 21, 2013 at 1:32 pm |
    • Hmmmmmm

      "What do you thing of Tom"

      Someones sinuses must be all stuffed up with semen...

      February 21, 2013 at 2:44 pm |
  20. Eliot's handful of dust

    Good for Tebow. If he isn't comfortable in speaking there, then he does not only himself a good thing by not speaking but for those people as well.

    February 21, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • ol cranky

      read the Pastor's statement carefully: "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,”

      This indicates that Tebow not only agrees with the Pastor and church's controversial stances but that the only reason Tebow's not speaking there now is that it could hurt his financial bottom line.

      February 21, 2013 at 1:34 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.