Tebow backs out of Dallas church visit
FEB 21, 2013 9:18a ET
But the Tebow Tour 2013 won't be making one of his scheduled stops. The New York Jets quarterback has backed out of an event at the First Baptist Dallas Church in April, Tebow announced on his Twitter account.
The church is the home of pastor Robert Jeffress, who is no stranger to controversy based on his views of other religions and homosexuality.
Tebow's scheduled appearance drew immediate criticism. He addressed the situation on Twitter in a series of posts.
"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." Tebow tweeted. "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!"
The Dallas Morning News first reported on Monday that Tebow was scheduled to appear as part of First Baptist's month-long celebration of the new $130 million expansion and renovation of its downtown Dallas campus, which is home to over 11,000 members.
Jeffress has labeled both Islam and Mormonism as "heresy from the pit of hell," and even called for Mitt Romney to be removed from the most recent Presidential election because he considered Mormonism to be a "cult."
On Thursday, the First Baptist Dallas Church released a statement in regards to Tebow's canceled appearance. While the church was disappointed that Tebow will no longer speak at its event, Jeffress and the establishment did not apologize for their thoughts and views that led to this controversy.
"We are saddened that Mr. Tebow felt pressure to back out of his long-planned commitment to First Baptist Dallas 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," the statement read. "As a Christian pastor, Dr. Jeffress takes a biblical approach to moral and social issues, closely following his duty to preach 'the whole counsel of God,' and not just address issues that are politically correct. First Baptist is a church built on the truth of Scripture, even though at times that approach can be perceived as controversial or counter to the prevailing winds of culture.
"The reason for the recent media firestorm is not because the Word of God has changed, but because society has changed."
This would have been Tebow's second speaking engagement in Dallas this offseason. Tebow spoke on Monday in Dallas at the American Airlines Center as part of a large "GameChanger Coaches Leadership Summit."