|Rev. Jeffress' comments about 'wimping out' appear to be aimed at Tebow. (YouTube/Getty)|
Rev. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas has taken to YouTube to respond to Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, who was scheduled to appear at the megachurch this April but canceled last week due to "new information." That new information undoubtedly included the realization that Jeffress has a history of controversial comments about nonbelievers.
On Sunday, First Baptist Dallas posted a 10-minute YouTube clip titled "Dr. Jeffress Responds to Tebow Controversy." Tebow isn't mentioned by name but we can assume that this passage (which begins around the 7:20 mark in the video) is referring to the former Heisman Trophy winner.
"I am grateful for men of God like these who are willing to stand up and act like men rather than wimping out when it gets a little controversial and an inconvenient thing to stand for the truth," Jeffress said. "God bless men like that."
"There are some people who would say 'God's given me a different ministry. God has called me to go preach about the love of God. … I'm not called to preach about sin and controversial things. I've been called to talk about the love of God. And they're sincere when they say that. But they are sincerely wrong. The fact is you cannot talk about the love of God. The love of God has no meaning whatsoever unless you understand the judgment of God that all of us deserve.
"There is no such thing as good news unless you understand the bad news as well," Jeffress continued. … "But the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is it doesn't matter who you are or what you've done. It doesn't matter whether you're a Jew, a Baptist, a Catholic, a Muslim, a Hindu, a homosexual, an adulterer, a thief or a cheat -- it doesn't matter what you've done, you can be forgiven of your sins if you trust in Jesus Christ. That's not a message of hate, it's a message of hope."
Many of the groups identified above might disagree. In the past, Jeffress has claimed that Islam promoted pedophilia, said Judaism "leads people to an eternity of separation from God in hell," and reportedly reduced Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and others to members of cults. Jeffress also denounced the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by observing that "It's a fact that [AIDS is] a gay disease so there's a reasonable reason to exclude gays from the military.”
And it's these sentiments, we're guessing, that has everything to do with Tebow's decision to cancel.
Last week, the church released this statement (via USA Today): "Mr. Tebow called Dr. Jeffress Wednesday evening saying that for personal and professional reasons he needed to avoid controversy at this time, but would like to come to First Baptist Dallas to speak at a future date."
Given the pains Tebow has gone through to cultivate his squeaky-clean image, there probably won't be a "future date." But who knows, maybe he'll issue a YouTube rebuttal.