Tebow cancels appearance at FBC Dallas
Feb 21, 2013
By TIM ELLSWORTH/ JERRY PIERCE
Updated Thursday, Feb. 21, 4:10 p.m. Eastern with addition comments form Jeffress
DALLAS (BP) -- After recent criticism, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow has canceled a scheduled appearance at First Baptist Church in Dallas.
| BP Photo by Mickey Noah|
Tebow announced the cancellation in a series of tweets Thursday (Feb. 21).
"While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ's unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my upcoming appearance," Tebow wrote. "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!"
Dallas First issued a statement in response to Tebow's cancellation:
"The leaders and congregation of First Baptist Church Dallas are disappointed that New York Jets' Quarterback Tim Tebow has announced he will no longer speak at First Baptist Church Dallas on April 28, 2013, as part of the month-long celebration events surrounding the grand opening of our new $130 million, state-of-the-art campus on Easter Sunday," the statement read.
According to the statement, Tebow called Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, on 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."
The statement continued: "We are saddened that Mr. Tebow felt pressure to back out of his long-planned commitment from numerous New York and national sports and news media who grossly misrepresented past comments made by our pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, specifically related to issues of homosexuality and AIDS, as well as Judaism.
"As a Christian pastor, Dr. Jeffress takes a biblical approach to moral and social issues, closely following his duty to preach 'the whole counsel of God,' and not just address issues that are politically correct. First Baptist is a church built on the truth of Scripture, even though at times that approach can be perceived as controversial or counter to the prevailing winds of culture. The reason for the recent media firestorm is not because the Word of God has changed, but because society has changed.
"More important, contrary to editorializing in the media, Dr. Jeffress shares a message of hope, not hate; salvation, not judgment; and a Gospel of God's love, grace and new beginnings available to all."
Tebow had been criticized by liberal publications for scheduling the April 28 talk at the church, which the Huffington Post described as "virulently anti-gay, anti-Semitic."
"In March 2012, The New York Times
described Tebow as 'a preacher in a football player's body' who wears his religion on his sleeve but rarely discusses controversial issues," wrote The Huffington Post
's Meredith Bennett-Smith. "This polite strand of evangelicalism stands in sharp contrast, however, with the barnstorming, hate-filled rhetoric of the church where he is scheduled to speak in April."
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