Tebow’s Pastor Defends QB, Rips Anti-Christian Media
By Todd Starnes
Tim Tebow’s pastor said the recent outrage over an upcoming speaking engagement at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, is further evidence of an all-out attack on Christianity by the media as well as supporters of same-sex marriage.
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“The events of this past week show us just how difficult these days can be,” said Mac Brunson, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Fla. “There is clearly a bias in this country when it comes to evangelical Christianity.”
Tebow and his family are members of the prominent mega-church, Brunson told Fox News.
Prior to assuming the pastorate in Jacksonville, Brunson was the pastor at the First Baptist Church of Dallas – a church now at the center of a national controversy over their biblical beliefs about salvation and traditional marriage.
Tebow announced on Twitter that he had decided to pull out of an April speaking engagement at the church “due to new information that has been brought to my attention.”
Tebow did not elaborate on what that “new information” might have been. But sources close to First Baptist Church tell Fox News the NFL quarterback cancelled his appearance in part over the uproar surrounding the church’s position on traditional marriage.
Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church, has been an outspoken leader in the nation’s culture wars – affirming from the pulpit traditional marriage and salvation through Jesus Christ.
The national media labeled Jeffress as anti-gay and anti-Semitic – and accused the church of being guilty of hate speech for affirming the biblical definition of marriage.
CBS Sports columnist Gregg Doyel compared the historic Southern Baptist church to the radical anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church.
“I don’t consider Robert Jeffress’ theology to be Christianity, a religion built on love,” Doyel wrote. “Jeffress speaks hate. Robert Jeffress wouldn’t have saved Mary Magdalene. He would have stoned her.”
Pastor Brunson said the attacks on Jeffress and the church are extremely unfair.
“Anyone with an unjaundiced eye can see how there is now not just a bias, but an all-out attack on Christianity,” he said.
Brunson pointed that Tebow’s home church and the First Baptist Church of Dallas share the same beliefs on both traditional marriage and salvation.
“There would not be a wisp of difference between the theology of FBC Dallas and FBC Jacksonville,” he told Fox News. “We do believe in marriage between one man and one woman just as we see in Genesis, reiterated in the New Testament and what every culture for 8,000 years of recorded history has demonstrated. While holding up the standard of God’s Word we love all people because God in Christ has loved us. The forgiveness of God in Christ is available to all.”
Brunson called on Christians to pray for Tebow as well as the pastor and congregation at FBC Dallas.
“In the midst of media scrutiny, spin and relentless analysis, Tim Tebow’s testimony has captivated the faithful, the unbelieving and everyone in between,” Brunson said. “He has taken bold stands for Christ repeatedly that would have withered the best of us.”
Brunson defended Tebow against other Christians who accused him of caving to the pressure from gay rights supporters.
“This is not a person who capitulates,” he said. “There is a lot going on right now, but Timmy trusts the Lord to lead him and he has committed his life to following Jesus.”
Brunson praised Jeffress and the FBC Dallas congregation for taking “a courageous stand for our Lord.”
“Christ himself told us that we would be hated by the world because the world hated him,” Brunson said. “These are days to be bold for Christ and to love one another.”