Christianity,  Sports

Why is Tebow’s cancellation significant?

In a series of tweets, Tim Tebow has announced that he has cancelled his upcoming appearance at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. In his own words:

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. 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!

Tebow leaves this “new information” undefined. For those who have been following this story, you know that Tebow has been under fire for agreeing to speak at a church that The Huffington Post calls an anti-gay, anti-Semitic church. Gregg Doyel at CBS Sports has warned that Tebow was about to make “the biggest mistake of his life” by speaking at the church.

What are we to make of this? I am a big Tebow fan—for reasons that go beyond football—and I think he’s more than earned the benefit of the doubt. He left his reasons ambiguous, and absent further clarification I don’t think this move should be interpreted as an expression of support for gay rights or some liberalized distortion of Christianity. In fact, I’m confident that he is an orthodox believer in Jesus Christ. I have a hunch that he’s probably just trying not to get entangled in the culture war. At the end of the day, I don’t know why he cancelled. Perhaps he will elaborate on his decision at some point.

In any case, it is impossible to ignore the context in which this decision was made. There will be some—despite Tebow’s ambiguity—who will assume that the “new information” is that which emerged in articles like the ones linked above. These articles criticize not just the church’s pastor, but the church’s views: that Jesus is the only way of salvation, the certainty of eternal judgment for those who die outside of Christ, the definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

These teachings are not the innovation of a single pastor but are the established consensus of the Christian Church over its entire 2,000 year history. If this church’s views on these matters cannot be tolerated (and I encourage you to read the overt intolerance expressed in Doyel’s article), then we are in a scary place. In short, to marginalize this church for holding such views is to marginalize Christianity itself. It means that the tolerance police have finally achieved their ironic end—the intolerance of Christianity in American culture.

Christianity in America does not rise or fall on whether or not Tim Tebow speaks at First Baptist Church of Dallas. Nevertheless, this moment will appear to many as another marker of Christianity’s cultural marginalization. In the broad tolerance of views in our public discourse, many people are wondering who’s in and who’s out. What voices are allowed in the cacophony that is American democracy? Which voices should be excluded? Christian voices have long been a part of the din, but moments like these make it seem like those days are coming to an end.


  • Justin Rader

    I am sure they would be equally as outraged if he were speaking on Bill Maher’s show, right? Cause that guy isn’t hateful at all.

  • David Thomas

    It grieves me so deeply when young Christians, flush with fame and fortune and standing in the limelight, buckle to this kind of pressure. The list is a mile long. Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Katy Perry–all raised in godly homes. Then Hollywood tapped them and once in that world their internal spiritual temperature just conforms. Now you see Kathryn Webb, girlfriend of Bama QB A.J. McCarron, posing for the SI Swimsuit edition–which (let’s be frank) is a wink shy of softcore porn. It puts an entirely new–and pathetically sad–meaning on her posting Matthew 5:16 on her Twitter account.

    Tim Tebow has stood for something. What did he ever have that Christ didn’t give him? What does he expect to gain by withdrawing? Did non-Christians ever love him? Will he play football any better by playing the PC card?

    He shouldn’t have withdrawn. If he is concerned about appearances, this looks /very/ bad to the very community that has supported him to fiercely.

    • Lynn Burgess

      What if Tim were concerned not about appearances, but simply about having a job? Some were calling for Roger Goodell to fine Tebow for behavior detrimental to the NFL.

      Earlier this month, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Culliver was forced to take sensitivity training after making disparaging comments about gay players during a radio interview.

      He cancelled a speaking engagement; he did not deny Christ.

  • Lee Munger (@Suthrn_Shepherd)

    I do think churches and pastors need to be more winsom and helpful in their comments concerning controversial subjects like this. But at the same time i think this response from Tebow shows that he’s the Joel Osteen of Athletes. Avoiding any controversial talk or media backlash concerning things the bible speaks against. It honestly doesn’t surprise me much. Tebow has always been the kind of “Christ is nothing but love” kind of Christian most of his career, at least thats how he comes off to me lately.

    • Lynn Burgess

      Lee, Ya know, I Cor. 13 tells us that love always thinks the best and it seems like you are thinking the worst of Tim. I would encourage you to rethink that… For my part, I salute the young man and have prayed night and day all this week that this controversy would not keep an NFL team from trading the Jets for him at the Combine this week.

      Some were calling for Roger Goodell to fine Tebow for behavior detrimental to the NFL.

      Earlier this month, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Culliver was forced to take sensitivity training after making disparaging comments about gay players during a radio interview.

      Tim needs are prayers right now not our condemnation.

  • Matt Martin

    Like it or not, it was a wise move for Tebow.

    Tebow seems to focus on spreading the gospel in loving ways while Jeffress tends to resort to the “turn or burn” method. Jeffress has created a lot of enemies and the negative headlines would indeed damage Tebow’s credibility and impact.

    • Lynn Burgess

      Matt: Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! The Jets are trying to trade Tim at the Combine this weekend. He is simply trying to be employed. Tim’s life has taught me much about Lifestyle Evangelism and it really is amazing how God has used him. I for one am thankful he did not throw that away for fear of how Christians would stone him on the internet.

    • Nathan Bowles

      Just like gay was a word for wonderful or beautiful, or Mother meant someone who brings life, marriage was between a man and a woman, life began at conception and choice to choose what is right. Sounds like George Orwell’s 1984 the redefinition of words. If you keep someone from driving drunk, beating their wife, or living a lifestyle that leads to destruction, and there is a hell to be turned from. Is that hate? I think that we are throwing our pearls before swine, trying to tell the truth.

  • Cameron Cloud

    He may have maintained his credibility, but he also sent a message that he agreed with the media about FBC Dallas. This is being perceived by the secular media as a “wise PR” move. There is a thin line between “protecting your platform” and affirming falsehood.

    We may find out that there was something far worse in his “new information,” but at this point it seems like he caved under pressure. Disappointing.

    • Matt Martin

      You’re right, there is a thin line.

      Tim Tebow is known more for loving Jesus than his views on homosexuals, muslims, catholics and mormons. Jeffress is very much the opposite. Tim is just sticking to his style rather than letting Jeffress overshadow it.

      And I think that’s what many folks here don’t understand. Culture won’t accept biblical views until they declare Jesus Christ as their personal savior. Preach Jesus. Then let Jesus change their hearts – not US law. And that’s what Tebow is doing.

      • J O E B L A C K M O N

        Tim Tebow is known more for loving Jesus than his views on homosexuals, muslims, catholics and mormons. Jeffress is very much the opposite.

        Nonsense. The only people who think Jeffress is the opposite are those who think Christians need to shut their pie holes about what the Bible clearly teaches about false religion and homosexuality–namely that both will send you straight to hell. If Jeffress is hateful, then I’ll gladly wear that badge.

        • Elizabeth Anscombe

          Hear hear! I mean, wait… are you sure we’re not giving Christianity a bad name? Jesus said we should give everyone a loving hug and that doesn’t sound very loving.

        • Brian Sanders

          Joe: You might be wrong this time. I am sure Jeffress does not mean to be hateful, but he is perceived that way far and wide. I would suggest to you that he is not wise about his presentation. You don’t win a Roman Catholic to telling him how evil is his church, but by showing him the truth and likewise the rest of the groups he has railed against.

          Look elsewhere in this discussion thread for a former First Baptist Dallas member who left the church and what she says. My own pastor preached on Lifestyle Evangelism for months and I thought it was an excuse to not present the gospel until I saw Tim Tebow’s life. He is truly influencing people for Christ. He could be the poster child for Lifestyle Evangelism.

      • Robert I Masters

        The problem with that view is that the Bible says the opposite. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His Righteousness”. So the command is to seek both of those things first even if they,the unrighteous, reject his righteous. So how do we remain faithful to Scripture and still seek His Righteousness. Through His law. In Psalms it says the law of the Lord is Perfect reviving the soul. I believe what Robert Jeffries is doing is exactly what we as the Church need to do and I love that one Pastor is using his pulpit to thunder forth the righteousness of Christ to the nation.

        BTW-have you noticed that Robert Jeffries seems to be getting more and more opportunities to spread the kingdom of God and His righteousness.

        I Love Tim Tebow too…..what a great testimony for Christ. Lets hold him up in Pray and trust that Christ will continue to use him mightly for his Glorify . Even with Dr Jeffries in the future.

      • burgess100

        Matt: Yes! Yes! Yes! Tim Tebow’s lifestyle evangelism is far more effective at reaching a lost world than is the likes of well-intentioned flame throwing evangelicals (of which, sadly, I once was one).

      • Lynn Burgess

        Matt: Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Tim Tebow’s lifestyle evangelism is far more effective at reaching a lost world than is the likes of well-intentioned flame throwing evangelicals (of which, sadly, I once was one).

    • Lynn Burgess

      Cameron: Tim did not affirm anything; he cancelled an appearance, that is all, nothing more. I prayed all week that Rev. Jeffress would have the wisdom to cancel himself and let Tim off the hook. That in my mind would have been the loving, wise, self-sacrificing thing to do for the sake of Tim’s witness and platform. Anyone with half a brain could see this was a terrible professional problem for Tim and doubly so when he is praying the Jets can trade him at the Combine this week.

    • Brian Sanders

      If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal… Love is patient and kind… Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

      Are you loving Tim friend? He’s had a very rough spell and he needs our love and our prayers.

  • Justin Rader

    I actually agree with you, Matt, I see all sides of it. I don’t fault him for cancelling, but I think he could have been more clear in his explanation, and he should have, in my opinion.

    • buddyglass

      I agree with other posters that, on some level, Tebow agrees with the media criticism of Jefress. I’m fine with that. Like you, though, I wish he’d been more explicit. I might have put it this way:

      “Lest there be any misunderstanding about my decision to cancel this speaking engagement I have chosen to elaborate. Based on my understanding of the Bible what my experiential knowledge of the God it describes, I remain convicted of the fact that the Church’s traditional view toward homosexual relationships is correct. Namely that they are, just as many heterosexual relationships also are, an example of human beings falling short of God’s vision for human sexuality. They are therefore accurately described as ‘sinful’.

      However, in saying that, let me be absolutely clear on one thing: to whatever extent any gay man or lesbian woman has fallen short of God’s glory, so have I also. Do not misconstrue anything I have said to imply that I consider myself ‘less sinful’ or ‘more holy’ than anyone else. The central message of the gospel is that we are all sinners in need of God’s infinite grace. For my part, I count myself with the Apostle Paul who once termed himself the ‘chief of sinners’.

      So if my decision to cancel was not born out of any disagreement with Rev. Jefress over whether homosexual relationships are sinful, why did I cancel? I did so because, despite the ways in which our understandings of God’s word intersect, we seem to disagree greatly when it comes to the question of how Christians should treat gays and lesbians. Rev. Jefress has made certain statements in the past that, to my knowledge, he has not disavowed, and that strike me as hurtful and incompatible with the Church’s mission to love the lost.

      My cancellation is neither an attempt to scold the Reverend nor an attempt to avoid the disapproval of those outside the Church and in the media who recoil at the very notion that God might circumscribe human sexual activity. Far from it. Rather, I am unable to speak at First Baptist because in doing so I would create confusion and communicate to a watching world that I agree with the manner in which Rev. Jefress has chosen to treat those sinners who happen to be gay or lesbian.”

      • Lynn Burgess

        Buddy, dear friend, Tim got the job done. You know, one of his quotes is, “every day preach the gospel and when necessary use words.” Tim Tebow lives his Christianity in such an authentic way that he does not need a lot of words.

        Furthermore, there is nothing that plays more into the hands of the devil than Christians rebuking one another in a public forum, and contrary to what you seem to think, that is what you are suggesting Tim do. He does not owe us any explanation. Love always thinks the best. I for one salute the Kid. My hat is off to him. He is an example to me and his life of faithfulness to my Savior is a rebuke to my own failure to do likewise.

        • Shaun DuFault

          Fascinating since it was the Apostle Paul who said, “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? (Rom 10:14 ESV)

          It would seem that the Apostle Paul would have an issue with the idea that the viewing of good works will save lives when it is the actual preached Word that has the power to do so.

          The right thing would have been to honor his commitment. Who knows, maybe the people of the church needed to hear what Tebow had to say (especially if what every person here who unlovingly believes that the pastor is an unloving guy). We are forgetting that there is more here than meets the eye. The biggest winner here is the media and its ability to push Christianity further away from the public square. Sadly, Tebow allowed that to happen.

          • buddyglass

            Actually, that’s a good point. If he truly felt Jeffress was doing a disservice to the Gospel then go ahead and honor the speaking commitment, but devote his time behind the pulpit to speaking out against Jeffress’s approach and promoting what he (Tebow) considers to be a more Christ-like alternative.

            It probably wouldn’t win him any friends at FBC Dallas, but he couldn’t be accused of reneging on his promise to speak there.

  • Daryl Little

    Creating enemies and spreading the gospel in a loving way are not necessarily opposites for a believer. Christ said that the latter is a requirement and the former is an inevitability.

    I think Tebow owes the public an explanation given the necessary confusion this causes.

    Is he avoiding Jeffress because he unnecessarily creates enemies, or because his biblically faithful beliefs create enemies?

    It’s an important distinction.

    • Brian Sanders

      Daryl: Tim does not owe anybody an explanation. I know Tim Tebow and if what he did was absolutely wrong, and it was not, I would stand with him as a brother in Christ.

      I have also heard Robert Jeffress in the media; actually, I have not heard him all that much because I turn him off. But what I read on the sports forums tells me many unbelievers listen to him in detail and it is not pretty how they have been impacted. Somehow those people know nothing of the loveliness of Christ.

      When you read Tim’s autobiography and picture most of the UF football team gathered in his motel room for 2-3 hours of Bible study and praise choruses before a Championship Game, you know that Tim is doing something very right about how he lives for our Savior.

      If you think Tim should publically chasten Rev. Jeffress for his actions maybe you have never read Matt. 18. Tim handled this beautifully. Someday we may see him publically fail, he is a sinner saved by grace like you and me, but that did not happen this week. Daryl, pray for Tim, love him, think the best.

  • Tim Webb

    I’m more surprised that nobody here has criticized Dr. Jeffress in any way, for anything he has said, or for the _manner_ in which he has said it. I cringe at some of the things that he’s said about Islam, for example. Or at the thought of FBC Dallas spending $130 million on a new worship center.

    • Julie Sanders

      Tim: I so agree with you. We will never win a Muslim by telling them the evils of Islam, but by sharing with them the loveliness of our Savior and the gospel of Jesus Christ. There is a time and a place to call sin sin, but to have a reputation for hating so many groups as Jeffress does is problematic. Does he truly hate them, I hope not, but he is surely lacking in wisdom for a man in his position.

      This is a good opportunity for all of us to consider how we represent our Savior to the world. Pride, self-righteousness, and condemnation do not go far in evangelism. How quickly we forget that we are called to love our enemy and to suffer for the gospel. The Christians I see whining about persecution in sports blogs is a sad comedy. Do we really think that is going to influence the lost for Jesus?

      • akash charles

        again some people here believe warning your church about the dangers of islam (sin) is now hateful
        soon warning about the dangers of the devil will become hateful
        I guess Jesus was a very hateful evil person when he warned about the devil and EVEN CONFRONTED HIM!!!!-shocker

        warning people about evil is not hateful it is loving

        no good parent tells their child to continue lying-instead they correct them out of love- now this is being classified as hate!!!??

  • Cameron Cloud

    Though at first glance it looks as though he caved to pressure, I have to wonder what role his football contract played in this. He remains under contract to the Jets. What kind of legal pressure might they have brought to bear on him about this? Could this involve an ethical decision to not break his contract requirements? Anyone familiar with sports contracts have a thought on that?

    • Lynn Burgess

      Cameron: Some were calling for Roger Goodell to fine Tebow for behavior detrimental to the NFL.

      Earlier this month, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Culliver was forced to take sensitivity training after making disparaging comments about gay players during a radio interview.

      Tim needs are prayers right now not our condemnation.

      • James Stanton

        Should he have had to take sensitivity training if he had made similar remarks about disabled or “developmentally challenged? individuals? Point being that the situations aren’t similar. Not even knowing the content of the comments I wonder about the spirit in which they were given. Sometimes sensitivity training is warranted. Of course, it’s best when we come to such conclusions on our own without national embarrassment.

        I’ll say the same thing about Rev. Jeffress. I support his right to make biblical criticisms and defend the tenets of the church. However, I question the tone and the content of some of those criticisms which sometimes go too far. Is it necessary to have a Christian Rush Limbaugh?

      • Cameron Cloud

        Thanks for the info, Lynn. I’m not condemning Tebow, just trying to give the benefit of the doubt that there might be more to this decision than simple cowardice. With his track-record, I think he’s earned that much.

        I’m disappointed that the message sent (regardless of his motivation) was perceived the way it has been by the media. I’m more disappointed that Tebow was put into that kind of lose-lose situation. He certainly remains in my prayers.

  • Steven Lynch

    Hey… It’s not like the guy was running for President or something… right?

    Because I was told by Billy and Franklin Graham that a President’s Religion doesn’t matter.

    I mean… I’d hate for folks to dismiss a FOOTBALL PLAYER on a moral issue.

  • Chris

    I am with Denny in that the most concerning thing is how mainstream media is treating this. I first read this on Yahoo! and there was this:

    “The primary reason First Baptist Church draws controversy is because of Jeffress’ views that all those not pursuing his particular brand of Christianity are destined for Hell, a group that includes not only non-Christians such as Jews and Muslims, but also other denominations such as Catholics, as well as Mormons.”

    Jeffress’s brand of Christianity is orthodox, biblical Christianity. This was followed by a the writer using Leviticus and saying that if Tebow were following the Bible, Tebow should not even touch a football since it is made of pigskin. This statement has now been taken out of the article and an update added that Jeffress says Tebow will be appearing at a later date after the “current controversy dies down”.

    • Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard)

      First, I think the Giglio incident threw the door open wide for bullies and hatemongers like Doyle to bully Christians into conforming to their liberal orthodoxy. Now that they’ve gotten away with silencing two prominent Christians, the sky is the limit.

      Doyle said, “Tebow’s religious views are not mine, but lots of us don’t care about that.

      Doyle spends the entire article contradicting that statement. Tebow has been pretty clear that he believes in the exclusivity of the Christian faith, which is what Doyle finds so offensive about Jeffers.

      I was reading Nehemiah 6 today and this situation reminds me of Sanballat plotting against Nehemiah:

      “Now when I went into the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home, he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple. Let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you by night.” But I said, “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.” And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me.”(Nehemiah 6:10-13 ESV)

      While I understand the desire to avoid controversy and protect the “brand,” like Nehemiah, I think Christians in the public eye need to be wise as serpents and consider the motives behind such attacks. They don’t care about Tebow and his status in the NFL. They want to eradicate the parts of the Bible they don’t like from the public square. And they’re getting away with it.

      • Stephen Beck

        Paula, I am right there in seeing the parallel to the Giglio Inauguration stuff. Matt Martin said above that “Tim Tebow is known more for loving Jesus than his views on homosexuals, muslims, catholics and mormons.” Simply switch out Giglio for Tebow and you have a man who has worked even harder at promoting a positive, loving emphasis of orthodox Christian doctrine and has even done more good in the world with a smaller platform than Tebow. Yet Giglio was completely trashed by the media. If Tebow wants to keep his orthodox faith, he should be reminded of the Giglio story. He may have avoided the media thrashing today (I’m avoiding discussion of his athletic ability or lack thereof, keeping it to his faith) but the world will continue to look for him to screw up in their eyes.

        • Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard)

          Stephen….And just to be clear, I’m not saying there is anything inherently evil or sinful about Tebow wanting to maintain a positive public image. He is an employee of the Jets and commercial sponsors and may have contractual obligations, etc.

          In his private life, Tebow may very well speak the full truth of the gospel (including the uncomfortable parts about sin and judgement) in his private life and in private speaking engagements out of sight of the media. Jesus and the apostles didn’t preach judgement to every audience but they also didn’t avoid the issue every time they preached.

          But again, we can’t be ignorant of the swirling flames of cultural change around us and the evil motives of those who are working overtime to silence Christians. Tebow, perhaps unwittingly, participated in that and provided a bit of kindling for their fire.

  • Karen Hubbard

    I do not know why Tim Tebow decided to cancel his appearance at First Baptist Dallas Texas . He did not say why . He may have gotten some information that he did not agree with and you know sometimes there is a still small voice that tells you not to do something that maybe why he is not saying what it is but honestly is it anyone’s business why he decided not to go, It is like you are condemned if you do something and then condemned if you do not maybe everyone needs to back off of him and let him do his thing ,

    Karen Hubbard

  • Chris Poe

    Like you, I don’t have all of the facts. But if Mr. Tebow thinks that this is going to make things easier for him, I suspect that he couldn’t be more wrong. Since people like Doyel will see this as a win, the pressure will be ratcheted up even higher the next time, presuming there is a next time.

  • Bobby Marchiani

    Karen- well said. Those trying to tear Tebow down because of this most have some other motives. Some of the commenters are treating him as if he has committed a sin.

  • Robert I Masters

    Is it not possible the new information that came to light was that either his Jets contract or NFL rules preventing him from associating with entities that they deem “incompatable” with the leagues values?

    Remember only back to the last superbowl!

    • Julie Sanders

      The Jets are trying to shop Tebow at the NFL Combine this week even while some were calling for Roger Goodell to fine Tim for behavior detrimental to the NFL.

      Earlier this month, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Culliver was forced to take sensitivity training after making disparaging comments about gay players during a radio interview.

      Tim needs are prayers right now not our condemnation.

    • Shaun DuFault

      Even if that is true, what does that say? My job is more important than the truth? It is similar to the teacher who claims that they cannot bring their Bible in school unless they get fired.

      When does Paul’s warning deserve merit, ” Indeed, all who desire to alive a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, “(2Ti 3:12 ESV)

      • Lynn Burgess

        Shaun: We are not called to invite persecution.

        We are fighting each other and we are fighting the very ones we are supposed to be winning to Christ… and if we are honest, our motive is likely in great part selfish. It seems like our concern is much more about losing our personal freedom than it is for a lost and dying world. Maybe the political system that we esteem and gives us as individuals so much power is really hurting us as the Church of Jesus Christ. Somehow, I don’t see the church in China or Iran consumed with culture wars.

        I know where Tim Tebow stands; I don’t need him to fall on his sword to prove it to me. He did not forsake the gospel or do some horrific thing he simply sidestep a controversy that was not necessary. As such, he protected both his job and his testimony and actually left himself more future potential for the gospel than he would have had he kept the engagement.

        Tim is living in the world in a way that men in the pulpit do not. He is also living under the constant glare of the media. By God’s grace he is doing amazingly well I would say. Everyday our brethren around the world suffer in very real ways for the gospel but they are suffering prison and death because they will not renounce their Savior, or because they shared the gospel with someone in their home, not for something like this. We Americans talk much about persecution and we really know little of the meaning of the word. Sometimes we have a martyr complex, which by the way, does not go unnoticed by the world.

        I will tell you something else; the way Tim was lambasted in the Christian media this week was far more harmful to the gospel of Jesus Christ than Tim cancelling a speaking engagement… And I cannot even imagine the pain it brought to Tim’s heart and to his family.

        • Shaun DuFault

          I did not say anything about seeking out persecution. A hypothesis was that he was receiving pressure from the sports media and NFL that if he goes will bring retribution. I am sorry but how is that looking for persecution?

          I guess when your boss tells you that if you associate with any person who claims that homosexuality is a sin or you lose your job, that is not persecution? What is it then? And if you tell your Christian friend adios because your job is more important is that not buckling under the pressure of persecution?

          I enjoy watching Tebow play and hope he does well in the NFL. Tebow made a poor decision by not living with his commitment no matter where the pressure was coming from. Does this mean that he has changed his mind on the Scriptures, absolutely not. I still cannot figure that one out. But, it is demonstrative as Dr. Mohler pointed out in his article on CT that there is much more to this than meets the eye.

          So far Christianity 0 Media 2

  • chris jeffus

    Isn’t Tebow a member at FBC Jacksonville and his pastor Mac Brunson. He has spoken there before and Mac does not mix words.

  • Scott terrell

    Maybe he just doesn’t want to lend support to a church with such extremely misguided priorities. 130 million on a building, a building?!?

      • Scott terrell

        And the temple was replaced by an emphasis on prayer and the synagogue after it wa destroyed not once, but twice. But, then again, if you think God is impressed or pleased with a 130 million dollar building then you need to read up some things

        • Robert I Masters

          Nowhere do I say that God was impressed with any building.
          Please do not put words in my mouth.
          I am still waiting for you to explain from Scripture why I a 130 million dollar building is unbibilical.

  • Lynn Burgess

    I am reminded today how quickly Christians throw their own under the bus. Thank you, Dr. Burk, for saying you will give Tim the benefit of the doubt. Knowing how Tim seeks the Lord and desires to live for His glory it is not difficult for me to stand with him… and without any further explanation.

    I agree with Matt Martin, “Tim seems to focus on spreading the gospel in loving ways while Jeffress tends to resort to the “turn or burn” method. Jeffress has created a lot of enemies and the negative headlines would indeed damage Tebow’s credibility and impact.”

    I have been following this matter for several days on the sports blogs and this was much bigger than a LGBT issue. Virtually everyone not an evangelical was outraged and maybe the Catholics most of all; they hate Jeffress. Some were calling for Roger Goodell to fine Tebow for behavior detrimental to the NFL.

    The gospel itself is offensive and that makes it even more important that the messenger of the gospel not be offensive himself. I would suggest to you that it is the Rev. Robert Jeffress who has brought the black mark against our Savior in this matter and not Tim Tebow.

    Remember that Tim was hosted by Shadow Mountain Community Church last Father’s Day and the press reported positively about his message to some 15,000 people. It was recently announced that Tim will address Liberty College in March and assorted other ministry events throughout the spring. For all of these there was no public opposition, only with his appearance scheduled at First Baptist Dallas, the home of Rev. Robert Jeffress.

    I agree with you that the tolerance police have made great strides in America. But I would suggest to you that this particular situation speaks volumes about a certain pastor who is bold, but not always wise, moreso than it does about culture at-large.

      • Lauren Bertrand

        I’m sure as a conservative Evangelical, everything that Jeffress says sounds hunky dory to you. But Catholics, Mormons and for that matter Jews/Muslims value their religious faith just a much, so how on earth does he expect to win hearts and minds through this overtly divisive stuff. The LGBT issue is just the tip of the iceberg. Tebow now plays in NYC, which has very few Evangelicals–but lots of Catholics and Jews (and gays too). It would be a very unwise career move to alienate yourself from 85% of your fans.

  • Melissa

    The criticism isn’t about the theology – it’s the pastor. Tebow makes no apologies for his faith, but he probably doesn’t want to be tied to someone who seems so overly disrespectful of other views. I know – I was a member of First Dallas for many years. I agree with the theology but left because of Jeffress’ leadership style and preaching antics. Tebow made a smart decision.

    • Julie Sanders

      Melissa: I hope that Dr. Burk allows your post to remain. I have noticed that some that do not use a first and last name are deleted. Thank you for graciously speaking the truth. I hope, as we are admonished in scripture, that you told Rev. Jeffress why you changed churches. If not, now would be a very good time.

  • Walter Rykard

    I am a big Tebow fan also. It is so frustrating that the Media can control so much today, they have done their best to fry Tim for his belief. Christians are being ridiculed by the media, have you heard from the media about the two Christians beheaded by a Muslim in up state NY, I learn of it on the internet. The Muslim are treated better by the media and our Government better than a Christian of course God tells us about this, and as Christians we have to stand fast in our faith and still go out and spread Gods word to the lost. The people of America are going in the wrong direction, I never thought I would live to see the day God was not wanted as part of the Democrats Convention plat form. The church needs to get up off their seats and start standing up for God, and spreading the word of God here in the good old USA.

    • Paula Bolyard (@pbolyard)

      I think there is a media aspect to this that many don’t consider. Blog traffic = $$$. When someone writes something this inflammatory, he gets millions of hits on his website which translates into income. He may not even believe or care about what he wrote, but attacking one of the most popular athletes in the country is a guaranteed traffic generator.

  • coramdude

    Most of the comments here fall under either, “He should have cancelled because he thinks Jeffress is a jerk and he is” or “He shouldn’t have cancelled because he thinks Jeffress is a jerk and he isn’t.” Trouble is, Mr. Tebow said not one word about why he cancelled. Whether a man should speak at Jeffress church or not has nothing to do with what we know about Tim Tebow. “I have received new information” tells us nothing about what the information is. All this speculation is unseemly, on both sides.

  • Steven Mitchell

    I’m no fan of Tebow, so no one could accuse me of trying to defend him, but… The rampant speculation is bad enough; now we’re commenting on the speculation? To steal a phrase used above, that strikes me as just ‘a wink shy’ of gossip.

    One has no way to answer the post’s title question unless one knows first why he cancelled. Since we don’t actually know why he cancelled — it might just as well been because he thinks Jeffress rhetoric is un-Christian, despite the orthodoxy of the content — I would suggest the commentary on the speculation is simply out of place.

  • James Harold Thomas

    FBC Dallas has released a statement —

    Here’s a portion:

    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. 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.

    • Elizabeth Anscombe

      What does that mean? That he plans to come back when he retires? In ten years or something?

      I’m still disappointed.

  • Daryl Little

    Carl Trueman has really good things to say about this whole situation.

    I need to remember that this is a football player with a load of fame who is making a tough decision under great pressure.
    I’d be more concerned if Denny or RC Sproul or someone like that pulled the plug.

    Tim is not a Bible teacher, he’s a football player.

    Not saying that he made the right decision, but he shouldn’t be someone to whom we look for guidance, he should be someone we look to in order to pray for…

    • Akash Charles

      I find it sad that the majority of people here thinks that standingfor their beliefs and telling people what the right thing to do is “Hateful”

      I am pretty sure the loving thing to do is to prevent people from doing wrong rather than accepting wrong and “tolerating it”

      Also if Tim cancelled his appointment because of the “gay marriage issue” so as to protect his unemployment- says a lot about his relationship with God

      I always thought God was first and not “employment”

  • Rob Tisinai

    Once you look at what Jeffress has said about gays, Catholics, Jews, and Mormons, the double standard here becomes hilarious.

    Apparently it’s fine to call someone a Satanic, heretical pervert from the pit of Hell, but if your target calls you a bigot in reply then you get to be all, “OMG, Can you believe what he just said??”

  • Sonny Johnson

    I knew it would ony be a matter of time before something like this happened. The world loves to destroy any “celebrity” that speaks out for Christianity. I have heard Dr Jeffress speak and he speaks the truth. He did not come across as hateful but truthful. The sports writer who started all this had a hateful article, spewing lies and hate. If you haven’t read it you need to educate yourself.

    I challenge anyone to give info proving Dr Jeffress is hateful or proving anything he has said is a lie. I would much rather have someone tell me the truth than hug my neck, lie to me and tell me I’m OK and have nothing to worry about. Which person cares more about about you???

    Christians need to continue to pray for Tim, Dr Jeffress and for revival in our country!!

    • Lauren Bertrand

      Dr. Jeffress only comes as truthful if you are thoroughly entrenched in his outlook on the world. Plenty of people who consider themselves devout Christians would disagree with him vehemently, and yes, his statements against Catholics, Jews and Mormons border on slander. Frankly, he has moderated his views on gays in recent months–but the anti-Catholic statements still linger.

      It is no wonder that the secular media/entertainment culture seems better organized that the sacred world. (And I call them secular media and not “liberal media” because, unlike many true liberals, the entertainment industry is just as smitten by free-market capitalism–and how it can wield capitalism to gain power and influence–as any Republican business person.) How couldn’t the secular media be more organized when Christianity itself has become so internally fractious? Catholics and Evangelicals probably agree on more of the concerns about contemporary culture than they disagree, and yet through an influential (and extremely wealthy) figure like Jeffress, we have one routinely calling the other “pagan”.

      Jeffress is hardly part of the solution if his doctrinaire gospel manages to alienate 70% of the population, thereby diluting the ability for Christians to witness in aggregate.

      • Debbie Mosley

        Dr Jeffress doctrine pin different then most pastors in the sbc. Mac brunson confirmed that yesterday to fox news. Jeffress is more in the media than anyone else. That’s why he’s getting the most ridicule.

      • Robert I Masters

        In a tolerant pluralistic society one should easily be able call someone from another religion “pagan” while at the same fight the battle of evangelical co-belligerency against the vile and wicked abortion mandates of President Obama.

        You do realize all protestants are anti-catholic right. Hello Robert Jeffries is a Southern Baptist!

        • Lauren Bertrand

          I recognize that Protestants and Catholics are denominations of Christianity–thus they are, by basic semantics, the same religion. I’m not sure where you get the idea that all Protestants are anti-Catholic. Have you attended any other church besides the SBC? Very few Protestants are as fixated on castigating other Christians as the Southern Baptists are. Such judgmentalism is typically roundly condemned.

          I’m not vouching for what Mormons, Catholics, Episcopalians, Methodists, Pentecostals, UCCs, Disciples of Christ etc all do in their homes, at the dinner table, or in the anonymous blogosphere. But you won’t hear name calling of the type for which Jeffress is notorious, at least not in the church.

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