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.”
It is 2013 and people still pretend to believe in a god. How embarrassing for humankind.
You are embarrassing Dave, I am an atheist too but relax. It's a crazy world and it helps a lot of people who may have had different experiences than you. Like anything else, only the crazy ones make the news. You are no better than the people who annoy you trying to convert you to religion if you just attack others for believing all day.
@Dave : It is 2013 and people still pretend to believe in a god. How embarrassing for humankind.
Why is it embarrassing for humankind?
Steve, if you are an atheist (I rather doubt it), then you are well aware of the efforts religion is making to force your children to learn creationism in school, and to repress gays, amongst many other things. I know you are aware of their attempts at revisionist history in their claim that America is a Christian nation. I would think it certain you know they blamed the kindergarten slaughter on atheists taking god out of school.
THey are hardly as benign as you seem to think. They are actively using politics to force their religion on the country.
@Gullible4Him: When you come to learn that early Christian apologists could not come up with a better excuse for the gospels looking very much like older pagan stories than – "satan did it" – he wrote the earlier fake stories – in advance.
Plagiarism in anticipation they called it.
@clarity : Gullible4Him:
When you can be civil, I'll respond to the issues you raise. Until then, I'll ignore you.
@Jerry : then you are well aware of the efforts religion is making to force your children to learn creationism in school, and to repress gays, amongst many other things.
Some religion is trying to force their beliefs upon others, be it Christianity (i.e. creationism) or humanism (i.e. evolution). Why should one be preferred over the other?
"Why is [believing in a god] embarrassing for humankind?"
It creates simpletons like Lie4It.
Wow. that's just insane. Let's forget the Christianity humanism part because it's completely irrelevant and not at all a true dichotomy like your implying. Evolution is demonstrable science backed by mountains of evidence. Creationism is an assertion based on absolutely nothing. That's why evolution is taught in science classes.
Not as embarrassing as it is frustrating. How ignorant and gullible can people be?
LOL. Gullible4Him – all talk and no evidence. As usual.
You take care of yer embarrassment. I'll take care of mine, ya busy little beaver. Get back to work, gubmint worker.
Tebow is the Ronald McDonald of evangelicalism: he's the smiley clown in the commercial.
Ya left out Gacy.
Hatred, intolerance, a vituperative reaction to others personal beliefs and right to free speech-ladies and gentlemen, here are your posters.
Who are the hypocrites here?
Oh! Oh! Let me guess: the ones who don't think exactly as you do! Did I get it right? Did I? Did I?
Anti-gays are ALWAYS WHINING that their intended victims are "the real haters," but we all know that's just another anti-gay LIE.
Hey! You did get it right! The only difference is I'm not bashing their point of view!
Remember, "To each his own," UNLESS you have the temerity to believe something I don't.
"Anti-gays are ALWAYS WHINING that their intended victims are "the real haters," but we all know that's just another anti-gay LIE."
Yeah, their argument is pretty much "I should be allowed to hate anyone I want, you hater!"
you just did wmay.
The only people on here spewing hate that I see are the anti Christians. They have a real groupthink thing going on here.
Ooh, someone is flexing their vocab today. Sexy!
Actually, I don't care what other people believe, and I don't bash people for their beliefs. Do you?
@wmay : Hatred, intolerance, a vituperative reaction to others personal beliefs and right to free speech-ladies and gentlemen, here are your posters.
Just count the posts attacking Christians that are full of hatred.
"Hey! You did get it right! The only difference is I'm not bashing their point of view!"
Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize that hateful, intolerant, vituperative, and hypocritical were compliments.
"Hatred, intolerance, a vituperative reaction to others personal beliefs and right to free speech-ladies and gentlemen, here are your posters.
Who are the hypocrites here?"
Yeah, just count the posts from Christians who hate anyone that doesn't believe in their god and they lie about others too. They are nothing like their Christ.
Just for the record, I don't care what others think. I just think it's ironic when people bash others for intolerance b/c they don't believe what they believe.
Zero tolerance is the latest fad in educratist circles. Wish they'd apply that to the budget and drop some zeros on the ledger. Zero tolerance for zeros!! The pwogwessive solution is to just make another Darwinian classification and call em zeroes.
"Just for the record, I don't care what others think. I just think it's ironic when people bash others for intolerance b/c they don't believe what they believe."
OK, here's what happened.
1. Group A (Jeffress and company) criticized Group B, gay people
2. Group C (including members of Group B) criticized Group A
3. You criticized Group C for criticizing Group A
Do you see why we aren't taking your high and mighty att itude as too deserving?
Keep in mind, though, that many believers seem to equate disagreement with 'hatred' and 'a war on christianity', so it's pretty hard to keep track.
Christians are so proud that they think they know what is in the Bible.
What Christians should do is read up on the history of both the religion
and the Vatican.
Its a very scarey story, full of politics, deceit, backstabbing, murder and torture and death.
The Catholic church has enough realestate, gold, and money to feed
every human being on this planet for years, yet they let thier followers die of starvation
The next pope will be the last one, before the church crumbles into history.
Saint Mallechy was right.
Yes, they should read up on the Catholic Church, as it is the Church Christ founded on Peter in Matthew 16:18. It is the Church that wrote, under God's guidance, the books of the New Testament, and decided which ones should be included in the Holy Bible. It is God's Church and thus, yes, so-called "Christians" should be (1) knowledgeable of it and (2) members of it, as should you.
Nicely stated Rev. You're exactly right. The Vatican continues to hoard tens of billions of dollars while the Dope appears in public wearing priceless robes and wielding solid gold props. Disgusting.
It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so, and will follow it by suppressing opposition, subverting all education to seize early the minds of the young, and by killing, locking up, or driving underground all heretics.
– Robert Heinlein
play football or go into the ministry. it's your choice tim
He's got a much better chance in the ministry.
Not completely; the way things are going – he may not have the pro football option for long... Nothing wrong with ministry.
This is divine intervention. I'm a Christian and believe that Jeffress does not represent anything more than his own agenda by hiding behind the scripture, hiding behind his flock of sheep, and coveting the hollow walls of the brick and mortar mega empire he takes credit for in Dallas. And primarily – his ego. He is a weak charlatan whose "authenticity" will be revealed one day soon.
Sound decision Tim Tebow. Don't let Father Jeffress manage this public relations in his favor at your expense. He's not used to losing.
And he's not a true Scotsman, either!
There is no freakin' god, you stupid moronic idiots. What a bunch of crap!!!
How do you know there is no God? Seriously, how do you know?
Now the next step is for Tebow to come out of the closet.
The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.
Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.
(from A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America [1787-1788])
Some one help me ! I feel threatened by those Christians
"Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited! Every member would be obliged in conscience, to temperance, frugality, and industry; to justice, kindness, and charity towards his fellow men; and to piety, love, and reverence toward Almighty God ... What a Eutopia, what a Paradise would this region be."
–Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, Vol. III, p. 9.
"The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite, and these Principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United: And the general Principles of English and American Liberty, in which all those young Men United, and which had United all Parties in America, in Majorities sufficient to assert and maintain her Independence.
"Now I will avow, that I then believe, and now believe, that those general Principles of Christianity, are as eternal and immutable, as the Existence and Attributes of God; and that those Principles of Liberty, are as unalterable as human Nature and our terrestrial, mundane System."
–Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, excerpt from a letter to Thomas Jefferson.
"The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever."
–Adams wrote this in a letter to his wife, Abigail, on July 3, 1776.
'Some one help me ! I feel threatened by those Christians'
Ask Sarah Good if she felt threatened by those christians.
It's true that most of the key founders, even if highly Deist, believed in God, although it's difficult in light of their Deism to determine what they really thought their God was like. But when it comes to discussion regarding rights and our laws, I tend to stay away from quotes that exhibit a ceremonial or only very personal involvement, and opt for quotes from them where they lend their thinking on law or how government might best succeed.
@Duke: regarding the first quote and what it says about self-support, why can't these massive congregations pay taxes as any other business would? In Texas, Reverend Jeffress' congregation pays no property taxes on church-owned land (and the church's business interests are likewise exempt from taxes, including paying hotel taxes when traveling in the state). Surely congregations which can pay ministers upwards of seven-figure incomes (there are at least two in Houston alone) can help support the public infrastructure which makes commuting to them possible. Also police services, education, etc.
"If Christian Preachers had continued to teach as Christ and his Apostles did, without Salaries, and as the Quakers now do, I imagine Tests would never have existed; for I think they were invented, not so much to secure Religion itself, as the Emoluments of it. When a Religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its Professors are obliged to call for help of the Civil Power, it is a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one." Benjamin Franklin, 1706-1790, letter to Richard Price, Oct. 9, 1780; from Adrienne Koch, ed., The American Enlightenment: The Shaping of the American Experiment and a Free Society, New York: George Braziller, 1965, p. 93.
"The faith you mention has doubtless its use in the world. I do not desire to see it diminished, nor would I desire to lessen it in any way; but I wish it were more productive of good works than I have generally seen it. I mean real good works, works of kindness, charity, mercy, and public spirit, not holy-day keeping, sermon-hearing, and reading, performing church ceremonies, or making long prayers, filled with flatteries and compliments, despised even by wise men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity"
Benjamin Franklin, 1753, letter to Rev. George Whitefield. Works, Vol. VII, p. 75
"I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies."
Benjamin Franklin, Toward The Mystery
1823 April 11. (Thomas Jefferson to John Adams). "The truth is that the greatest enemies to the doctrines of Jesus are those calling themselves the expositors of them, who have perverted them for the structure of a system of fancy absolutely incomprehensible, and without any foundation in his genuine words. And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors."
Seriously, Duke, do you think most of our founders had more in common with modern conservative evangelicals or with skeptics and theological liberals? Most of the founders would've been deemed "cult" by Reverend Jeffress for the same reasons he redresses Mormons and others: they openly rejected the doctrine of the trinity, the virgin birth, the deity of Jesus, miracle legends, etc. In Jefferson's case, it was to the point that the Christian "orthodoxy" of his day handed out tracts during the 1800 election that called him an atheist (though he was a deist).
Pathetic wastes of oxygen consumption! ALL OF THEM!
And you are a zero.
Let's hope you don't own a Bushmaster.
Jeffress was here in Wichita Falls for a number of years. He is a grandstander and not a nice person. You do not want to be a waiter/waitress serving either of them.
Jeffress is not only against the gays, muslims and the mormons but he apparently does not like waiters/waitresses
Jeffress is a boot licker to those above him and an abuser of those below him. His wife is the same way.
Me thinks it's mostly about image.
I bet it's about marketability – money.
Shunning a church for any reason is great news. This means whereas previously it was a social positive to be endorsed by a preacher, it is becoming more and more socially negative to be associated with a church and instead to have "one's own personal god". He's helping kill his own religion by making it socially unacceptable. Thanks, Tim!
I'd prefer not to get my religious sermons from an internet meme anyway.
Based on these comments, what group is really intolerant of those who don't believe as they do?
I'll tell you...after I get done preaching some more about how gay sex is evil.
Based on these comments only, I might go with atheists. However, if I were to base it on the bible(s), history and/or this article, I would go with Christians.
Both groups are.
What was that inquisition thing? Religious wars? Torturing and killing for heresy, blasphemy and apostasy?
Yeah, that was the atheists.
Intolerance has many faces and many expressions.
I think the christians are just edging it.
Atheists don't want to write laws to limit peoples rights and legally create an underclass of citizens. Believe whatever you want, but don't use your invisible sky-man that listens to you whisper to yourself at night to put down other people.
No Guts !
It took guts to do the appropriate thing and shun this church.
Yeah, real guts.
All that bad Publicity would affect his bank account.
Tim made a wise business choice and a wise life choice. The church makes a horrible life choice, choosing hate over love.
The press would like to have us think that Tim Tebow is having second thoughts about his faith. I'm sure that nothing is further from the truth having read his biography "Through My Eyes". I'm sure Tim will speak in many churches in the future Including this one!
Oh yes, he believes all the same hateful rubbish my church does. He was just worried about losing money over a tarnished image. He'll own up to his faith as soon as it's safer for his pocketbook! He's faithful like that.
Well of course we expect he's being a hypocrite. That's what the church teaches. But for now, he's making church seem socially unacceptable, and isn't that what we all want? Let's sing together!
I agree that Tim will be speaking in churches in the future because his football career is all but over, unless he goes to Canada.
The press would like to have us think that Tim Tebow is having second thoughts about his faith
The only one who thinks that is you.
Tims just concerned about bad press.
I hope ('cause praying is bullsh!t) that Dim Tim has enough success in the National Felons League to keep him in the USA and out of Canada, so as not to regress the progress we are making shedding silly religious myths.
The educratists got the kids writin' ET. Dad's mad. He saw mama kissin' one underneath the missile glow last nite.
God has been a bigot since very early in his "known" history. Just look at his stance regarding handicapped people. He didn't want any of them, no matter how insignificant the handicap, to set foot in his houses of worship because they would defile them by their very presence. He also chose the Jews over everybody else and led them in slaughtering other peoples so that his beloved peopl could have their land for themselves. So why are we surprised when his worshippers turn out to be bigots. If you wosrhip a hateful god, you will hate.
Darwin has a solid case.
Well, no. God hasn't been anything at all, you have to exist to be something at all, you see.
Yep, God is sovereign. Not you. Not me. Good luck on judgment day.
Oh, ooooohhh, an x powice. Good cop bad cop.
It is a good thing to ridicule xstians for their delusions and stupidity. It's also PATRIOTIC. We are a secular nation and xstians need to SHUT UP and practice their 'beliefs" behind closed doors. We need to start taxing religion.
The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus…will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter.
“Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man.”
_ Thomas Jefferson
I am a direct descendant of the founding fathers and I know their intentions fully well, they were against those Christians
Well said! Religion is for the weak minded!
Reason and Logic, I mean no disrespect, but how many Founding Fathers are you a descendant of?
There would be at least 7 generations between you and any founding father, so how would you claim to know their intentions better than anyone else, and how is a lineal descent a transmitter of knowledge and intent?
"There would be at least 7 generations between you and any founding father"
After reading quite a bit about our founders I believe that "Reason and Logic" was alive and well back then, and though it took a vacation for a few years, it's back and ready to kick the a$$ of any lazy theocrat who's gotten fat taking advantage of the plague of ignorance that spread throughout America borne mainly on the infected blankets of faith brought over from the failed religious hierarchies of Europe and the Mediterranean.
"...those who live by mystery & charlatanerie, fearing you would render them useless by simplifying the Christian philosophy, the most sublime & benevolent, but most perverted system that ever shone on man, endeavored to crush your well earnt, & well deserved fame." – Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Priestley, Washington, March 21, 1801
The Joker's bloodlines went way back, too. He learned quite sufficiently the art of livin' off the gubmint, er neighbors.
To find the truth go to http://www.gaychristian101.com
Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find (Matthew 7:7).
Spamalot rides again.
Spamming for Jesus.
I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.
Religion. It`s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.
It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.
I am not ashamed my enemy is the C H R I S T I A N
Claiming ignorance or yer dog ate yer Bible ain't gonna work.
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.