Though this post may be of interest to some people outside of Dallas, it’s really intended for members of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. It is widely known and reported (see here and here) that Dr. Robert Jeffress will be preaching in view of a call this Sunday morning at First Dallas. The membership of First Dallas will vote whether to call him as pastor after the service.
In a congregational church, the membership has a critical role to play in the calling of a pastor (they are the ones who call him!). That means the membership should be well-informed before casting that critical vote. The church has made available some personal information about Dr. Jeffress, but of course the critical qualification of a pastor is his doctrine and his teaching (1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9).
The best way to become familiar with a man’s doctrine and teaching is to listen to him preach. That is why Baptist churches typically listen to pastoral candidates’ preaching before voting. That is precisely what will happen this Sunday morning at First Dallas, but members have ample opportunities to hear Dr. Jeffress’ preaching before the sermon that he will deliver this Sunday morning. Not only is Dr. Jeffress a regular on KCBI FM in Dallas, but many of his sermons are also available for free online.
I would like to recommend that members take a listen to some sermons if they haven’t done so already. I recently listened to a sermon that I very much enjoyed: “God’s Sovereignty and Your Decisions.” The message is practically oriented, but it is deeply rooted in a theology that affirms God’s sovereign control over all of his creation, including over the decisions of humans. In a short article on the same topic, Jeffress writes:
“I’m continually amazed at the number of people who argue with the idea that God has a detailed master plan that governs our lives. They picture God as passively watching and waiting for us to make our choices as free human agents and then adjusting His plan to fit our preferences. Do we really believe God would surrender control of His creation to the whims of His creatures? . . .
“God has a detailed plan for the universe that governs everything that happens in His creation. . .
“God’s design for your life not only includes those circumstances beyond your control but also those parts of your life that you assume are under your control. You may think youâ€™re in charge of how you spend your time, the route you drive to work, the items you purchase at the supermarket, or even whether you finish reading this book. But consider what the writer of Proverbs claims Man’s steps are ordained by the LORD, How then can man understand his way? (Proverbs 20:24) Every step we take has been planned by God? I agree with the writer that such a thought is beyond comprehension. Yet it only makes sense that God would exercise control over the most minute details of our lives if His overall plan is to be accomplished” (source).
Not only does Dr. Jeffress have a fairly reformed outlook on God’s sovereignty, but he is also a Complementarian in his view of gender roles. The sermon website includes a two-part series titled “Husbands Should Be the Leaders of Their Families” (July 24 and 25, 2007). I plan to listen to these two sermons next.
I hope to hear more sermons leading up to Sunday’s vote. For others who would like to do the same, you can download the sermons here. In the meantime, let’s all be praying for the Lord’s will to be done for His glory and for our good!