Feb 28, 2013

Robert Jeffress Questions Tim Tebow's Manhood

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.

It's getting ugly between Robert Jeffress and Tim Tebow. Well, Robert Jeffress is getting ugly. Tim Tebow seems like a decent enough guy. But he bowed out of a scheduled appearance at the First Baptist Church in Dallas, when Jeffress's record was made clear to him. And Jeffress, who made a series of more politic statements in the immediate aftermath, seems to have finally snapped. Some of the statements in the sermon posted above seemed to be aimed a bit south of the belt-line.

Jeffress is no stranger to controversy. During the Republican primary, for instance, his anti-Mormon views created a little trouble for his good friend Rick Perry. But his belief that Mormonism is a cult wasn't as controversial as his belief that Catholicism is "a Babylonian mystery religion that spread like a cult," which demonstrates "the genius of Satan."

He says things like that but somehow he always manages to look completely mystified when he gets push-back. In the video above, for instance, he explains that he just doesn't understand why anyone thinks he's antisemitic simply because he believes that all Jews will go to hell unless they accept Jesus. It's not like he's singling Jews out. He believes Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, atheists... they're all going to hell, too. He's not antisemitic. He's anti-everything that isn't Christianity, because it's all evil and hellbound. What's wrong with that? And he doesn't know why people think he's anti-gay just because he says that sex should only be between a man and a woman.

You see? It's so crazy the way people take the things he says out of context like that.

This little dust-up is further evidence of a growing divide in the evangelical community that is, at least partly, defined along generational lines. As I wrote here, young evangelicals are not so much about the social issues that defined the rise of the Christian right. That's puts someone like Jeffress at odds with a growing segment of what he fully expects to still be his base.

Tim Tebow is well-known for his Christian views and it's a little unclear where he stands on all the various issues that were cited after he agreed to appear at the dedication ceremony for Jeffress's new church in April. But something in Jeffress's documented history of hate speech pushed him too far and he canceled his scheduled appearance in a series of tweets.

At around the 7:00min mark in the video, Jeffress takes on Tebow's namby-pamby, lovey-dovey faith for the wimpianity it is. Oh, he doesn't mention him by name. He doesn't need to. He makes it abundantly clear what a "real man" of God is.

"I am grateful for men of God like these who are willing to stand up and act like men rather than wimping out when it gets a little controversial and an inconvenient thing to stand for the truth," said Jeffress, who received a standing ovation before he spoke. "God bless men like that."

. . .

"There are some people who would say,'God's given me a different ministry. God has called me to go preach about the love of God. I'm not called to preach about sin and controversial things. I've been called to preach about the love of God.' And they're sincere when they say that. But they are sincerely wrong. The fact is you cannot talk about the love of God. The love of God has no meaning whatsoever unless you understand the judgment of God that all of us deserve."

Is it terribly wrong of me to think that deep down this is about this guy making Robert Jeffress feel like about a half a man?

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