Robert Jeffress

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Robert Jeffress
Jeffress in 2011
Robert James Jeffress Jr.

(1955-11-29) November 29, 1955 (age 68)
Texas, U.S.
Alma materBaylor University (BS)[1]
Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM)[1]
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (DMin)
Dallas Baptist University (DDv)[1]
Occupation(s)Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas and Fox News Contributor
SpouseAmy Lyon Renard Jeffress

Robert James Jeffress Jr. (born November 29, 1955) is an American Southern Baptist pastor, author, radio host, and televangelist. He is the senior pastor of the 14,000-member[2] First Baptist Church, a megachurch in Dallas, Texas,[3] and is a Fox News Contributor.[4] His sermons are broadcast on the television and radio program Pathway to Victory, which is broadcast on more than 1,200 television stations in the United States and 28 other countries, and is heard on 900 stations and broadcast live in 195 countries.[5][6]

Jeffress has frequently engaged in political activity, in sermons and on national news. He has endorsed Republican candidates for president, including Donald Trump, and has spoken at Republican conventions. He has also been critical of Democratic politicians, including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The extent of this activity has been controversial.

Personal life and education[edit]

Robert Jeffress, Jr. was born to parents Robert Jeffress, Sr. (1925–1990) and Julia Caroline "Judy" Fielder (1931–1986). Jeffress and his wife, Amy Lyon Renard, have two daughters.[7] Jeffress received a B.S. degree from Baylor University; a Master of Theology degree from Dallas Theological Seminary; and a Doctor of Ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.[5] In May 2010, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree from Dallas Baptist University.[1]

In 1986, Jeffress was a contestant on the syndicated nighttime edition of the popular game show Card Sharks, hosted by Bill Rafferty, winning $4,550 over four days.[8] Jeffress grew up under pastor W. A. Criswell of First Baptist Dallas, citing him as an influence on his ministry.[9] Like Criswell, Jeffress teaches dispensationalist theology.[10]

On August 12, 2007, he was elected pastor of First Baptist Dallas, a megachurch of 14,000 members, succeeding Mac Brunson. Previously, Jeffress had been the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls since 1992. He had been the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Eastland, Texas, from 1985 to 1992.[11] In 2006, Jeffress received the Daniel Award from Vision America.[12] In 2011, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary awarded Jeffress a distinguished alumni award for the impact of his ministry in Texas.[13]

On January 20, 2017, Jeffress preached the sermon at a private service at St. John's Episcopal Church, attended by President-elect Donald Trump the day before his inauguration.[14][15]

First Baptist Church of Dallas[edit]

Jeffress oversaw the construction of the First Baptist Church's 3,000-seat pavilion.[when?] The $130 million church campus officially opened for Easter Sunday worship on March 31, 2013.[16]


Social issues[edit]

After the August 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one woman dead, Jeffress condemned white supremacy: "Let there be no misunderstanding. Racism is sin. Period."[17] In a separate interview, he stated that "all racism" is "repulsive and totally contradictory to the teaching of God".[18]

In an interview with CBN, Jeffress commented on racial issues, saying that "There has been a failure on the part of the Church, even a failure on conservative Christians in decades past, to denounce racism, to embrace segregation, which is so wrong." He added, "I think we did have some catching up to do but I think that in this environment, we need to say clearly, that racism is abhorrent in the eyes of God."[19]

A staunch opponent of same-sex marriage and LGBT rights, Jeffress has claimed that gay marriage is "counterfeit"[20] and has repeatedly targeted homosexuality in his sermons, saying that gay individuals are "filthy", "degrading ... beyond description", and "so much more prone to disease". In a 2008 sermon entitled "Gay Is Not OK,"[21] Jeffress quoted Romans 1:27, saying that "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." [22]

After the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Jeffress appeared on the Fox Business network and said, "Evil is real, but evil is also temporary."[23] After the church shooting in Charleston in June 2015, Jeffress was on Fox News and referred to the attack as "pure, unadulterated evil."[24]

Jeffress supports COVID 19 vaccination, Jeffress stated, “There is no credible religious argument against the vaccines.”[25]

Other religions[edit]

Jeffress believes that the teachings of Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, and Hinduism reject "the truth of Christ", and that their adherents "will go to hell if they do not accept Christ."[26][27] In a sermon in August 2010, Jeffress said that Muhammad and Islam promoted pedophilia, referring to Aisha's age at marriage.[28][29] Also in 2010, Jeffress referred to Roman Catholicism as a "Satanic" result of "Babylonian mystery religion".[30] In another interview the 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."[31] 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 did not retract it despite Mitt Romney's request for him to do so.[32]

In December 2010, Jeffress 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."[33][34] In December 2016, Jeffress said in an interview that he believes Christians are being "marginalized and attacked".[35] On April 27, 2023, he was awarded the Friends of Zion award in Jerusalem where he asserted the neighborly relations with Saudi Arabia would improve if Donald Trump was elected U.S. president in 2024.[36]

Political activity[edit]

Jeffress with President Donald Trump in May 2017

Jeffress' political activity is considerable, with political comments in sermons and frequent appearances on television news shows to defend Donald Trump and others, and to defend or discuss political issues.[37]

A staunch conservative, Jeffress supported Governor Rick Perry in the Republican presidential primaries for the 2012 presidential nomination.[38] On October 7, 2011, he provoked a national controversy when he introduced Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC, by suggesting that one of Perry's rivals, Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, is "opposed to Christianity." According to Jeffress, Romney's Mormonism contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ.[39] Jeffress had previously made a similar statement during the 2008 presidential primaries.[40] Nevertheless, in April 2012, Jeffress endorsed Romney for president and strongly opposed the re-election of Barack Obama.[41]

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."[42]

On November 4, 2012, the Sunday before the 2012 election, Jeffress said that Barack Obama was "paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist."[43]

For the 2016 US presidential election, Jeffress endorsed and appeared at rallies for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump although he initially endorsed 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."[44] Jeffress also stated that if a candidate ran on the principles found in the Sermon on the Mount in dealing with foreign enemies of the United States such as ISIS, Iran or North Korea, Jeffress "would run from that candidate as far as possible" and would still vote for Trump.[45]

On June 21, 2016, then-candidate Donald Trump named Jeffress as a member of Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board and White House Faith Initiative.[46] Jeffress has described the Board's relationship with Trump as "This isn't so much our advising the president as it is the president seeking our perspective on a number of issues."[47][48]

In March 2018, Jeffress appeared as a Fox News contributor to discuss allegations that Donald Trump had an affair with a former adult film star Stormy Daniels, saying, "Even if it's proven to be true, it doesn't matter." He argued that these allegations are irrelevant, as policies matter more than the president's personal life.[49]

In September 2019, after the impeachment inquiry into Trump had been announced, Jeffress declared on Fox News: "I have never seen the Evangelical Christians more angry over any issue than this attempt to illegitimately remove this President from office... If the Democrats are successful in removing the President from office, it will cause a Civil War-like fracture in this nation from which our country will never heal."[50] President Trump later paraphrased Jeffress' quote in a Tweet.[51]


  • Faith at the Crossroads: Responding to the Challenges of Life by Robert Jeffress, Baptist Sunday School Board, 1989, ISBN 978-0805450736
  • Choose Your Attitudes, Change Your Life, Servant, 1992 ISBN 978-0896931237
  • The Road Most Traveled: Releasing the Power of Contentment in Your Life, Broadman & Holman, 1996 ISBN 978-0805462661
  • Say Goodbye To Regret by Robert Jeffress, Multnomah, 1998 ASIN: B01F9GCVUQ
  • As Time Runs Out: A Simple Guide to Bible Prophecy, Broadman & Holman, 1999 ISBN 978-0805420197
  • When Forgiveness Doesn't Make Sense, WaterBrook, 2001 ISBN 978-1578564644
  • Hearing the Master's Voice: The Comfort and Confidence of Knowing God's Will, WaterBrook, 2001 ISBN 978-1578562480
  • The Solomon Secrets: 10 Keys to Extraordinary Success from Proverbs, WaterBrook, 2002 ISBN 157856249X
  • I Want More!, WaterBrook, 2003 ISBN 978-1578565191
  • Coming Home: To the Father Who Loves You, WaterBrook, 2005 ISBN 978-1578568574
  • Grace Gone Wild!: Getting a Grip on God's Amazing Gift, WaterBrook, 2005 ISBN 978-1578565214
  • The Divine Defense: Six Simple Strategies for Winning Your Greatest Battles, WaterBrook, 2006 ISBN 978-1400070909
  • Second Chance, Second Act: Turning Your Messes into Successes, WaterBrook, 2007 ISBN 978-1400070916
  • Outrageous Truth: Seven Absolutes You Can Still Believe, WaterBrook, 2008 ISBN 978-1400074945
  • Twilight's Last Gleaming, Worthy Publishing, 2012 ISBN 978-193603-458-1
  • Clutter-Free Christianity: What God Really Desires for You, WaterBrook, 2009 ISBN 978-1400070923
  • Bible Studies for Life: Honest to God - Bible Study Book, LifeWay, 2013 ISBN 978-1430028956
  • How Can I Know?: Answers to Life's 7 Most Important Questions, Worthy, 2013 ISBN 978-1936034598
  • Pathway to Discovery, Pathway to Victory, 2014 ASIN: B074WMPGTX
  • Perfect Ending: Why Your Eternal Future Matters Today, Worthy Publishing, 2014 ISBN 978-161795-183-1
  • Countdown to the Apocalypse: Why ISIS and Ebola Are Only the Beginning, FaithWords, 2015 ISBN 978-1455563043
  • Not All Roads Lead to Heaven, Baker Books, 2016 ISBN 978-0-8010-1875-6
  • A Place Called Heaven: 10 Surprising Truths About Your Eternal Home, Baker Books, 2017 ISBN 978-0801018947


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  5. ^ a b "Who is Dr. Robert Jeffress?". Retrieved November 12, 2012.
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  7. ^ "Robert James Jeffress". Archived from the original on April 4, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2012.
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  9. ^ Ledbetter, Tammi Reed. "Criswell's leadership, vision, influence cited by Jeffress, Patterson, Hawkins". Baptist Press, January 17, 2002.
  10. ^ Hummel, Dan (May 15, 2018). "Robert Jeffress was a natural choice for the invocation at the Jerusalem embassy". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 2, 2023.
  11. ^ "FBC Dallas elects Jeffress new pastor". Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  12. ^ "Our Senior Pastor". First Baptist Church.
  13. ^ "Southwestern honors distinguished alumni from Texas | Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary". Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "Read the Sermon Trump Heard Before Becoming President". Time.
  16. ^ Cole, Kristin. "How Robert Jeffress Justifies $130 Million Church Campus". Charisma News. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  17. ^ "'Racism is sin. Period': After Charlottesville, Christian leaders from across the US condemn white supremacy | Christian News on Christian Today". Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  18. ^ "Pastor Robert Jeffress Tells CBN's Faith Nation: White Supremacy Is Totally Repulsive, All Racism Should Be Denounced". - The Christian Broadcasting Network. August 16, 2017.
  19. ^ "'Charlottesville Declaration' Calls on Evangelicals to Condemn White Supremacy". August 25, 2017. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  20. ^ "Pastor Robert Jeffress: Gay Marriages Are 'Counterfeit' –".
  21. ^ "The Savior Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas".
  22. ^ "How First Baptist's Robert Jeffress Ordained Himself to Lead America," Michael J. Mooney, D Magazine, January 2012
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  25. ^ Conservative Baptist Pastor Sees “No Credible Religious Argument” Against Vaccines
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  27. ^ Scott, Eugene (May 14, 2018). "Analysis | A look at Robert Jeffress, the controversial figure giving the prayer at the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem today". Washington Post. Retrieved June 18, 2018. God sends good people to Hell. Not only do religions like Mormonism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism — not only do they lead people away from God, they lead people to an eternity of separation from God in Hell.
  28. ^ Burke, Daniel. "Inflammatory pastor preached to Trump before inauguration". CNN. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
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  30. ^ "Jeffress Says Satan Is Behind Roman Catholicism". Right Wing Watch. October 8, 2011.
  31. ^ Haag, Matthew (May 14, 2018). "Robert Jeffress, Pastor Who Said Jews Are Going to Hell, Led Prayer at Jerusalem Embassy". The New York Times.
  32. ^ Karen Brooks and Peter Bohan (October 9, 2011). "Texas pastor stands ground on 'cult' comment about Mormons". Reuters. Retrieved October 9, 2011.
  33. ^ "December 7, 2010 Podcaset". Christian News Weekly.
  34. ^ "First Baptist's Robert Jeffress to Publicly Shame Stores That Don't Celebrate Christmas". Dallas Morning News. December 7, 2010.
  35. ^ "Pastor: Christians Are Being 'Marginalized & Attacked' in the U.S. & Around the World". Fox News Insider. December 23, 2016. Retrieved October 5, 2017.
  36. ^ Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman. (5 May 2023). "Mega pastor: If Trump re-elected, Saudis will normalize Israel ties ". Jerusalem Post website Retrieved 5 May 2023.
  37. ^ August 2019 54, Michael J. Mooney (July 23, 2019). "Trump's Apostle". Texas Monthly. Retrieved December 6, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
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  39. ^ Burns, Alexander. "Perkins: Perry camp approved Jeffress". Politico.
  40. ^ Roche, Lisa Riley. "Prominent Dallas minister says Romney no Christian". Deseret News, October 20, 2007.
  41. ^ Walker, Joseph (April 17, 2012). "Rev. Jeffress endorses Mitt Romney and shared values". Deseret News. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
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  43. ^ Gryboski, Michael (November 8, 2012). "Texas Megachurch Pastor Says Obama Will 'Pave Way' for Antichrist". The Christian Post. Retrieved November 12, 2012.
  44. ^ 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.
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  50. ^ "Dr. Robert Jeffress on Pelosi calling for prayer over Dems pursuit to impeachment President". Fox News. September 29, 2019. Retrieved September 30, 2019 – via YouTube.
  51. ^ Vazquez, Maegan (September 30, 2019). "Trump circulates quote invoking 'civil war-like fracture' if he's removed from office". CNN. Retrieved March 23, 2020.