Robert Jeffress

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Robert Jeffress
Robert Jeffress.jpg
Robert Jeffress speaking at the 2011 Values Voter Summit
Born Robert James Jeffress, Jr.
(1955-11-29) November 29, 1955 (age 61)[1]
Alma mater Baylor University
Dallas Theological Seminary
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Occupation Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Amy Lyon Renard Jeffress
Children Julia S. Jeffress
Dorothy Fielder Jeffress

Robert James Jeffress, Jr. (born November 29, 1955) is an American Southern Baptist (Evangelical) pastor, author, and radio and television host. Jeffress hosts the program, Pathway to Victory, which is broadcast on more than 1,200 television stations in the United States and 28 other countries. He also has a daily radio program, Pathway to Victory, heard on 764 stations.[2] He is the pastor of the 12,000 member [3] First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.[4]


Jeffress's father was Robert Jeffress, Sr. (1925–1990). Jeffress and his wife, the former Amy Lyon Renard, have two daughters, Julia Sue Jeffress and Dorothy Fielder Jeffress.[5]

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.[2]

Jeffress grew up under pastor W. A. Criswell of First Baptist Dallas and cites him as an influence on his own ministry.[6]

In 2006, Jeffress received the Daniel Award from Vision America.[7] 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.[8]

On January 20, 2017, Jeffress preached the sermon at a private service at St. John’s Episcopal Church, attended by President-elect Donald Trump, on the day of the latter's Inauguration.[9][10]

Doctrinal Positions[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.[11]

Jeffress has claimed that Islam "promoted pedophilia" and has been accused of reducing "Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and virtually everyone else" to members of cults.[12][13]

In 2008 Jeffress, in his sermon "Gay Is Not OK,"[14] stated, citing Romans 1:27: "And the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity." Declared Jeffress: "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."[15]

In September 2010, Jeffress called Islam an "evil, evil religion,"[16] and in December 2010 established a "Naughty and Nice List" in which businesses were identified based on whether or not they openly celebrated Christmas: "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."[17][18]

Also in 2010, Jeffress referred to Roman Catholicism as a "Satanic" result of "Babylonian mystery religion".[19] In another interview that same year, he said, "Mormonism is wrong, it is a heresy from the pit of Hell; Judaism, you can't be saved being a Jew, you know who said that by the way, the three greatest Jews in the New Testament, Peter, Paul, and Jesus Christ, they all said Judaism won't do it, it's faith in Jesus Christ."[20]

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 the statement, but has not retracted it despite Mitt Romney's request for him to do so.[21]

An outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, Jeffress has described such marriages as being "counterfeit."[22]

Political views[edit]

Jeffress supported Governor Rick Perry in the Republican presidential primaries for the 2012 presidential nomination.[23] On October 7, 2011, he provoked a national controversy when he introduced Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC, by indicating that one of Perry's rivals, Romney, of Massachusetts, is opposed to Christianity. According to Jeffress, Romney's Mormonism contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ.[24] He had previously made a similar statement during the 2008 presidential primaries.[25] Nevertheless, in April 2012, Jeffress endorsed Romney for president because of the pastor's strong opposition to the re-election of Barack Obama.[26]

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."[27]

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.[28]

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, 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.[29]

For the 2016 US Presidential election, Jeffress endorsed and appeared at rallies for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, though he initially endorsed Dr. Ben Carson. Jeffress also declared that Christians who would not vote for or support Trump as the Republican nominee were "fools" and "motivated by pride rather than principle", despite Trump's lack of an evangelical or Christian background.[30] Jeffress also stated that if a candidate ran on the principles found in the Sermon on the Mount, he "would run from that candidate as far as possible" and would still vote for Trump.[31] On June 21, 2016, candidate Trump named Jeffress to participate in an advisory board of evangelical leaders.[32]


  • Not All Roads Lead to Heaven, Baker Books, 2016 (208 pages) ISBN 978-0-8010-1875-6
  • Countdown to the Apocalypse: Why ISIS and Ebola Are Only the Beginning, FaithWords, 2015 (144 pages) ISBN 978-1455563043
  • Perfect Ending: Why Your Eternal Future Matters Today, Worthy Publishing, 2014 (224 pages) ISBN 978-161795-183-1
  • Twilight's Last Gleaming, Worthy Publishing, 2012 (256 pages) ISBN 978-193603-458-1


  1. ^ "Free Family Tree, Genealogy and Family History - MyHeritage". 
  2. ^ a b "Who is Dr. Robert Jeffress?". Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  3. ^ "About · First Baptist Dallas". 
  4. ^ "Perry supporter says Romney's religion 'a cult'". CNN. October 8, 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  5. ^ "Robert James Jeffress". Retrieved December 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ Ledbetter, Tammi Reed. "Criswell's leadership, vision, influence cited by Jeffress, Patterson, Hawkins". Baptist Press, 1/17/2002.
  7. ^ "Our Senior Pastor". First Baptist Church.
  8. ^ "FBC Dallas elects Jeffress new pastor". Baptist Press, 8/13/2007.
  9. ^ Bailey, Sarah Pulliam (January 20, 2017). "‘God is not against building walls!’ The sermon Donald Trump heard before his inauguration.". Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2017. Following the example of President Obama and George W. Bush before him, Trump attended the private service at St. John’s Episcopal Church, which is near the White House. The morning worship service on Inauguration Day tradition began with President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933. 
  10. ^ Burr, Thomas (January 20, 2017). "Pastor preaching to Trump on Friday has called Mormon church a ‘cult’". Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved January 20, 2017. Robert Jeffress, a Southern Baptist, is set to address Trump and his family Friday before the incoming president takes the oath of office — a moment that will be preceded by a performance by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. CNN first reported Jeffress will preside at a ceremony at St. John's Episcopal Church a block from the White House. 
  11. ^ "After Protest by Pastor, Interest in Gay Books at Library Grows". The New York Times. May 24, 1998. Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  12. ^ Bleacher reporting. "Tim Tebow to Speak at Controversial Church". Retrieved 19 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Salt Lake City Tribune. "Romney's LDS faith makes him a 'cult' member, Texas pastor says". Retrieved February 19, 2013. 
  14. ^ The Savior Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas
  15. ^ "How First Baptist's Robert Jeffress Ordained Himself to Lead America", Michael J. Mooney, D Magazine, January 2012
  16. ^ Jillian Rayfield (September 7, 2010). "Dallas Pastor Defends Claim That Islam 'Promotes Pedophilia'". Talking Points Memo. Retrieved 2011-10-08. 
  17. ^ "December 7, 2010 Podcaset". Christian News Weekly. 
  18. ^ "First Baptist's Robert Jeffress to Publicly Shame Stores That Don't Celebrate Christmas". Dallas Morning News. December 7, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Jeffress Says Satan Is Behind Roman Catholicism". Right Wing Watch. October 8, 2011. 
  20. ^ "Jeffress: Jews, Mormons, Muslims And Gays Are Going To Hell". Retrieved 2016-09-14. 
  21. ^ Karen Brooks and Peter Bohan (October 9, 2011). "Texas pastor stands ground on 'cult' comment about Mormons". Reuters. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  22. ^ "Pastor Robert Jeffress: Gay Marriages Are ‘Counterfeit’ –". 
  23. ^ "Jeffress endorses Perry at Values Voter Summit". The Washington Post. October 7, 2011.
  24. ^ Burns, Alexander. "Perkins: Perry camp approved Jeffress". Politico.
  25. ^ Roche, Lisa Riley. "Prominent Dallas minister says Romney no Christian". Deseret News, October 20, 2007.
  26. ^ Walker, Joseph (April 17, 2012). "Rev. Jeffress endorses Mitt Romney and shared values". Deseret News. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  27. ^ "Pastor Robert Jeffress Warns Romney of Losing Evangelical Base on Social Issues, September 28, 2012". The Christian Post. Retrieved December 13, 2012. 
  28. ^ Gryboski, Michael (November 8, 2012). "Texas Megachurch Pastor Says Obama Will 'Pave Way' for Antichrist". The Christian Post. Retrieved 2012-11-12. 
  29. ^ Butts, Charlie (December 13, 2012). "Pastor: 'Wimpy' won't cut it in culture war". Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  30. ^ Blair, Leonardo (March 2, 2016). "Robert Jeffress: Christians Not Voting for Donald Trump If He's the Nominee Are Foolish, Prideful". The Christian Post. Retrieved July 26, 2016. 
  31. ^ Gettys, Travis (July 13, 2016). "Megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress would vote for Trump over Jesus: The Bible calls for a 'strongman'". The Raw Story. Retrieved July 26, 2016. 
  32. ^ "Trump Campaign Announces Evangelical Executive Advisory Board" (Press Release). Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. June 21, 2016. Trump-Pence website. Retrieved February 5, 2017.