Jeffress in 2011
Robert James Jeffress Jr.
November 29, 1955
|Alma mater||Baylor University (BS)|
Dallas Theological Seminary (ThM)
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (DMin)
Dallas Baptist University (DDv)
|Occupation||Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas|
|Spouse(s)||Amy Lyon Renard Jeffress|
Robert James Jeffress Jr. (born November 29, 1955) is an American Southern Baptist pastor, author, and radio and television host. He is the Senior Pastor of the 14,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas and is a Fox News Contributor. 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.
Personal life and education
Robert Jeffress’ father was Robert Jeffress Sr. (1925–1990). Jeffress and his wife, the former Amy Lyon Renard, have two daughters. Jeffress received a B.S. 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. In May 2010, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree from Dallas Baptist University.
In 1986, Jeffress was a contestant on the syndicated nighttime edition of the popular game show Card Sharks, hosted by Bill Rafferty, and he won $4,550 as a four-day champion. The episodes originally aired Monday through Thursday, September 15–18, 1986. Jeffress grew up under pastor W. A. Criswell of First Baptist Dallas and cited him as an influence on his own ministry.
On August 12, 2007, he was elected pastor of First Baptist Dallas, now a church of 13,000 members. He succeeded 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. In 2006, Jeffress received the Daniel Award from Vision America. In 2011, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary awarded Jeffress a distinguished alumni award for the impact of his ministry in Texas.
First Baptist Church of Dallas
Under his leadership, the First Baptist Church of Dallas broke ground on the construction of a new 3,000-seat Worship Center. As of 2013, it was the largest Protestant church building campaign in modern history. The $130 million church campus officially opened for Easter Sunday worship on March 31, 2013.
While the modern trend for many growing churches is to either relocate from downtown areas to, or open satellite campuses in, neighboring suburbs, First Baptist Church Dallas decided to keep the entire church in Downtown Dallas, where it has been since its inception in 1868.
In the aftermath of the racial unrest in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, Jeffress condemned white supremacy: "Let there be no misunderstanding. Racism is sin. Period." In a separate interview, he also stated that white supremacy and neo-Nazism are "repulsive and totally contradictory to the teaching of God."
During an interview with CBN, Jeffress further addressed racial issues: "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."
In the summer of 2017, addressing the issue of DACA and children born to illegal immigrants, Jeffress said the "president is one of the most compassionate people I have ever been around, and he was sincerely torn between his sincere compassion for the DACA recipients and the oath of office he took on January 20th to execute all the laws of the land." Commenting on the future for those who would be affected by a change in DACA policy, Jeffress added, "I think [the president] came up with the perfect solution of delaying the ending of DACA and allowing Congress, the rightful people, to make the laws to fix this problem." Jeffress summed up his views by stating, "Like nearly every pastor in America, I want to see a solution for children threatened with deportation...I believe it is unbiblical to tear apart families and to punish people who are in our country illegally through no fault of their own."
In 2008, Jeffress, in his sermon "Gay Is Not OK," 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." He declared: "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."
After the Las Vegas massacre in October 2017, Jeffress appeared on the Fox Business network and said, "Evil is real, but evil is also temporary." After the church shooting in Charleston in June 2015, Jeffress was on Fox News and referred to the attack as "pure, unadulterated evil."
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. In a sermon in August 2010, Jeffress said that Prophet Muhammad and Islam promoted pedophilia referring to Aisha's age at marriage. Also in 2010, Jeffress referred to Roman Catholicism as a "Satanic" result of "Babylonian mystery religion". 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." 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.
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." In December 2016, Jeffress said in an interview that he believes Christians are being "marginalized and attacked" in the United States and all around the world.
Political activity and endorsement
Jeffress supported Governor Rick Perry in the Republican presidential primaries for the 2012 presidential nomination. 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 Rick Perry's rivals, Mitt Romney, of Massachusetts, is opposed to Christianity. According to Jeffress, Romney's Mormonism contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jeffress had previously made a similar statement during the 2008 presidential primaries. Nevertheless, in April 2012, Jeffress endorsed Romney for president and strongly opposed the re-election of Barack Obama.
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."
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." 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.
On June 21, 2016, candidate Trump named Jeffress as a member of Trump's Evangelical Advisory Board and White House Faith Initiative. 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."
In March 2018, Jeffress appeared as a Fox News contributor to discuss allegation 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." stating it is irrelevant as policy matters more than the president's personal life.
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." President Trump later paraphrased Jeffress' quote in a Tweet.
- 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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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.
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- Haag, Matthew (May 14, 2018). "Robert Jeffress, Pastor Who Said Jews Are Going to Hell, Led Prayer at Jerusalem Embassy". The New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2018.
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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.
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- Vazquez, Maegan. "Trump circulates quote invoking 'civil war-like fracture' if he's removed from office". CNN. Retrieved March 23, 2020.
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