Thoughts on FBC Dallas and Welcome Back Tim Tebow

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Yesterday, I wrote Farewell Tim Tebow? in response to Tebow canceling his appearance at First Baptist Church of Dallas. Today I want to say welcome back – I think. I also want to briefly address some of the charges leveled against the theology of FBC Dallas showing that the church fits into generally held Southern Baptist positions.

FBC Dallas released a statement in response to Tebow’s cancellation. In part, the church wrote:

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 Tebow’s unsure future in the NFL it is easy to understand his need to avoid controversy. Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition blog called on folks to cool down stating, “While Tebow has been an admirable witness for the faith, both secular and Christian media have reduced him into a culture war symbol. That’s no way to treat such an honorable young man.”

I understand and get Carter’s point though I don’t entirely agree. My bet is that if Tebow was not such an outspoken Christian (even his Tebowing on the side-lines) hardly anyone would even be talking about him right now.

But did Tebow give in to worldly pressure?

It seems that he did give in to the world based on his answer that he needed to avoid controversy. A friend speculated last night that Tebow may need to separate from Pastor Jeffress over his remarks on Islam just in case the Jacksonville Jaguars consider hiring him since Jaguar owner, Shahid Khan, is a Muslim. Khan faced anti-Muslim comments when he bought the team which he said made him “more determined” according to a 60 Minutes interview. However, there are no hints that a potential job with the Jaguars motivated Tebow’s cancellation.

Even so, I welcome Tim Tebow back because he did say he would like to speak at FBC Dallas in the future.

But what about some of Jeffress’ remarks on Israel, homosexuality, Mormonism, Islam and Roman Catholicism? Is he out in left field in his views on these topics? Since FBC Dallas is a Southern Baptist church let’s note few Southern Baptist resources on said topics.

Concerning Israel, the June 2008 resolution, “In Celebration of Israel’s 60th Anniversary” states Southern Baptists “join in prayer for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6-7), calling upon world leaders to renounce the growing tide of anti-Semitism.”

The official Southern Baptist website position statement on sexuality reads:

We affirm God’s plan for marriage and sexual intimacy – one man, and one woman, for life. Homosexuality is not a “valid alternative lifestyle.” The Bible condemns it as sin. It is not, however, unforgivable sin. The same redemption available to all sinners is available to homosexuals. They, too, may become new creations in Christ.

4Truth.net, an apologetics website of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention lists Mormonism under the “New Religions and Cults” section, Islam under the “World Religion” section and Roman Catholicism under the “Denominations” section.

In one article, the 4Truth website answers the question of whether or not Mormons are Christians:

From an evangelical perspective, Mormonism is not faithfully or soundly Christian because it deviates from historic, biblical standards of orthodox Christianity.”

Our intent is to draw attention to the serious differences between Mormonism and biblical Christianity in order that believers may be prepared to share the truth with their LDS friends and loved ones.

Among the many articles on Islam, 4Truth has one titled, “The Historical Muhammad: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly.” In the ugly category the article horrifically states:

Perhaps most disturbing of all is the fact that Muslims could have sex with girls who hadn’t even reached puberty. The opening verses of Chapter 65 of the Qur’an present Islamic rules for divorce. According to 65:4, if a Muslim divorces a girl who hasn’t yet reached puberty, he must wait three months to make sure she isn’t pregnant.

Muhammad himself had sex with a prepubescent girl. His courtship of Aisha began when she was only six years old.

Finally, under “Catholics and Salvation” 4Truth notes:

…Southern Baptists all agree that there are some serious errors in the Roman Catholic Church’s doctrine and religious practice that undermine or interfere with the gospel and actually allow many people in the church to think they are Christians when they are not. These problems include their views on the sacraments, their devotion to Mary and the saints, and their views on the salvation of non-Christians (which essentially ends up being that sincere people of any belief will be saved).

It appears Pastor Jeffress’ positions are those generally held by Southern Baptists. His positions do not seem to be that of a radical, but of conservative Christianity – biblical Christianity. As far as I know, Tim Tebow is acquainted with Southern Baptists and was even a member of one, First Baptist Church of Jacksonville. This does not mean Tebow is aware of all SBC positions, but they are certainly not kept in secrecy.

What the world does not understand is that from a Christian perspective the most loving thing a Christian can do is share the love of Jesus. We share Jesus’ love the same way He did by addressing sin and announcing the forgiveness of that sin and eternal life received by grace alone through faith alone in Him alone.

For what it’s worth…

Mark

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tagged as , , , , in apologetics,Christianity,Church Issues,Culture,Southern Baptist,theology

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Matt Svoboda February 22, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I would never preach there because of how much money they spent on that building. I dont know how anyone could walk into that and think, “Surely, this was God’s will.” 130 million- good grief. (apologies if that isnt the exact number)

2 Reg Schofield February 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Why I can understand 130 million seems out there , one must also think of all the work and jobs for contractors , carpenters , cleaners etc.. it created . Not that I’m justifying it but perhaps the Church is used well to help many people and maybe the members are enormously generous as well .

3 Matt Svoboda February 23, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Reg,

You can provide work and jobs for contractors without spending 130 million dollars on a building. Have you seen the building and all the other things along with it?

It is a very clear attempt at trying to show off, which in my opinion, has no place in the church.

4 Lynn Burgess February 24, 2013 at 5:55 am

What do I think? I think, “Even so, I welcome Tim Tebow back because he did say he would like to speak at FBC Dallas in the future,” does not sound much like our Savior. From where comes the arrogance that everyone and their mother think they can sit in judgment of Tim Tebow?

Tim actually owes nobody an explanation for his decision; he did nothing immoral. He actually, for my mind, was very gracious in the explanation he gave to Rev. Jeffress and although Tim explained that he needed to avoid controversy right now, Rev. Jeffress turned around and reported to the media that Tim would visit FBC-D another time. Fine friend!

I followed this in the sports blogs for several days before it hit the Christian sites and I can assure you the feelings against the Rev. Jeffress run deep and wide and far beyond the LGBT community. He has offended many people, not because of his beliefs, but because of how he presents them. May I remind you that Tim was hosted last summer by Shadow Mountain Community Church and the press reported positively on his speaking to some 15,000 people in attendance. More recently, the press has reported that Tim will speak at Liberty University in March and at numerous other Christian events this spring and none of them has evoked controversy. I am sorry, but the good Rev. Jeffress has some responsibility in this and I only pray that he gets the message. He has made it much more difficult for many of us to reach our Roman Catholic family members with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

5 mburatov February 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm

Thank you Lynn. Thou speakest the truth!

6 Mark February 25, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Lynn, Tebow has unsolicited, put himself in the spotlight as a representative of Christ. Many Christians support him and comment on his actions. There are not many upstanding Christians in the spotlight who take criticism as well as Tebow in both his words and actions. From where comes the arrogance that you think they can sit in judgment of those commenting on Tim Tebow? I digress.

I know some claimed Tebow did something immoral, or out of character, by going back on his word as they see it. I don’t see it that way. But I do wonder what the deal is because he has been so strong in his faith not wavering in confrontation and criticism. But who knows what choice any of us would have made in his position.

I don’t know how Jeffress normally communicates his beliefs. Could it be that he is simply out front with them rather than sugar coating them? Honestly, I’m asking. I wonder if Tebow would get push back for speaking Liberty if Jerry Falwell were still alive give Falwell’s outspokenness.

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