Robert Jeffress

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Robert Jeffress
Born Robert James Jeffress, Jr.
(1955-11-29) November 29, 1955 (age 59)[1]
Alma mater Baylor University
Dallas Theological Seminary
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Occupation Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas
Political party
Republican
Religion Southern Baptist (Evangelical)
Spouse(s) Amy Lyon Renard Jeffress
Children Julia S. Jeffress
Dorothy Fielder Jeffress

Robert James Jeffress, Jr. (born November 29, 1955) is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, United States.[2] He hosts the program, Pathway to Victory, which is broadcast on more than 1,200 television stations and dozens of radio outlets as well.[3]

Biography[edit]

Jeffress's father was Robert Jeffress, Sr. (1925–1990). Jeffress and his wife, the former Amy Lyon Reynard, have two daughters, Julia Sue Jeffress and Dorothy Fielder Jeffress.[4]

Jeffress received a Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.[3]

Jeffress grew up under pastor W. A. Criswell of First Baptist Dallas, whom he cites as an influence on his own ministry.[5]

In 2006, Jeffress received the Daniel Award from Vision America.[6] On August 12, 2007, he was elected pastor of First Baptist Dallas, a megachurch with 11,000 members. He succeeded Mac Brunson. Previously, Jeffress had been the pastor of First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls.[7]

Controversial statements[edit]

While a pastor in Wichita Falls in 1998, Jeffress sought to have two children's books about children with gay or lesbian parents removed from the public library by checking out the books and paying for them rather than returning them to be recirculated. Following publication of the story by news media, the library received multiple copies of the books as donations and demand for the books increased significantly.[8]

Jeffress has claimed that Islam "promoted pedophilia" and has been accused of reducing "Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and virtually everyone else" to members of cults.[9][10]

In 2008, Jeffress, in his sermon "Gay Is Not OK",[11] stated that "What they [homosexuals] do is filthy. It is so degrading that it is beyond description. And it is their filthy behavior that explains why they are so much more prone to disease."[12]

In September 2010, Jeffress called Islam an "evil, evil religion".[13] and in December 2010, Jeffress established a "Naughty and Nice List" where businesses are identified based on whether or not they openly celebrated Christmas, saying "I wanted to do something positive to encourage businesses to acknowledge Christmas and not bow to the strident voices of a minority who object to the holiday."[14][15]

Also in 2010, Jeffress referred to Roman Catholicism as a "Satanic" result of "Babylonian mystery religion".[16]

In October 2011, at the Values Voter Summit, Jeffress called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) "a cult". He received widespread criticism for his statement, but has not retracted it despite U.S. presidential candidate and church member Mitt Romney's request for him to do so.[17]

An outspoken opponent of gay marriage, Jeffress has described such marriages as being "counterfeit"[1].

Political views[edit]

Jeffress supported Governor Rick Perry in the Republican presidential primaries for the 2012 presidential nomination.[18] On October 7, 2011, he provoked a national controversy when he introduced Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., by indicating that one of Perry's rivals, former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, is opposed to Christianity. According to Jeffress, Romney's Mormonism contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ.[19] He had previously made a similar statement to this effect during the 2008 presidential primaries, when Romney lost the nomination to U.S. Senator John S. McCain of Arizona.[20] Nevertheless, in April 2012, Jeffress endorsed Romney for president because of the pastor's strong opposition to the reelection of U.S. President Barack Obama.[21]

In September, Jeffress warned Romney that he was risking defeat by concentrating solely on economic issues in the campaign: "Up to this point, the Romney strategy has been to focus on the economy. Well this isn't working out well for him, is it? Because the economy is improving, and it fails to recognize that many of the Republican base, many of them are social conservatives who care about the economy, but we also care about the moral and spiritual deterioration of our country."[22]

On November 4, 2012, the Sunday before the 2012 election, Jeffress commented on Obama and the Antichrist:

I want you to hear me tonight, I am not saying that President Obama is the Antichrist, I am not saying that at all. One reason I know he's not the Antichrist is the Antichrist is going to have much higher poll numbers when he comes. President Obama is not the Antichrist. But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist.[23]

Jeffress has further questioned the commitment of the conservative clergy to the preservation of traditional societal morality. In an interview with The O'Reilly Factor, which aired on December 11, 2012, on the Fox News Channel, the Jeffress questioned why many clergy falsely perceive Christ as

this little, wimpy guy who walked around plucking daisies and eating birdseed and saying nice things, but never doing anything controversial. The fact is, Jesus did confront his culture with truth – and he ended up being crucified because of it. ... Wimpy pastors produce wimpy Christians – and that is why we are losing this culture war. I believe it's time for pastors to say, You know, I don't care about controversy, I don't care whether I'm going to lose church members, I don't care about building a big church. I'm going to stand for truth regardless of what happens.[24]

Books[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Texas birth index
  2. ^ "Perry supporter says Romney's religion 'a cult'". CNN. October 8, 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  3. ^ a b "Who is Dr. Robert Jeffress?". Ptv.org. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  4. ^ "Robert James Jeffress". familytreemaker.genealogy.com. Retrieved December 12, 2012. 
  5. ^ Ledbetter, Tammi Reed. "Criswell's leadership, vision, influence cited by Jeffress, Patterson, Hawkins". Baptist Press, 1/17/2002.
  6. ^ "Our Senior Pastor". First Baptist Church.
  7. ^ "FBC Dallas elects Jeffress new pastor". Baptist Press, 8/13/2007.
  8. ^ "After Protest by Pastor, Interest in Gay Books at Library Grows". The New York Times. May 24, 1998. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  9. ^ Bleacher reporting. "Tim Tebow to Speak at Controversial Church". Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  10. ^ Salt Lake City Tribune. "Romney's LDS faith makes him a 'cult' member, Texas pastor says". Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  11. ^ The Savior Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas
  12. ^ "How First Baptist's Robert Jeffress Ordained Himself to Lead America", Michael J. Mooney, D Magazine, January 2012
  13. ^ Jillian Rayfield (September 7, 2010). "Dallas Pastor Defends Claim That Islam 'Promotes Pedophilia'". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  14. ^ "December 7, 2010 Podcaset". Christian News Weekly. 
  15. ^ "First Baptist's Robert Jeffress to Publicly Shame Stores That Don't Celebrate Christmas". Dallas Morning News. December 7, 2010. 
  16. ^ "Jeffress Says Satan Is Behind Roman Catholicism". Right Wing Watch. October 8, 2011. 
  17. ^ Karen Brooks and Peter Bohan (October 9, 2011). "Texas pastor stands ground on 'cult' comment about Mormons". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  18. ^ "Jefress endorses Perry at Values Voter Summit". The Washington Post. October 7, 2011.
  19. ^ Burns, Alexander. "Perkins: Perry camp approved Jeffress". Politico,.
  20. ^ Roche, Lisa Riley. "Prominent Dallas minister says Romney no Christian". Deseret News, October 20, 2007.
  21. ^ Walker, Joseph (April 17, 2012). "Rev. Jeffress endorses Mitt Romney and shared values". Deseret News. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  22. ^ "Pastor Robert Jeffress Warns Romney of Losing Evangelical Base on Social Issues, September 28, 2012". The Christian Post. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  23. ^ Gryboski, Michael (November 8, 2012). "Texas Megachurch Pastor Says Obama Will 'Pave Way' for Antichrist". The Christian Post. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  24. ^ Butts, Charlie (December 13, 2012). "Pastor: 'Wimpy' won't cut it in culture war". onenewsnow.com. Retrieved December 14, 2012.