Apparently, Jets quarterback Tim Tebow is now as popular with evangelical Christians as he was with his team’s offensive coordinator last year.
Tebow, arguably the nation’s most prominent evangelical athlete, withdrew from speaking at First Baptist Church in Dallas on April 28 due to pressure regarding some of the church’s stances on hot-button issues of the day. Dr. Robert Jeffress, the senior pastor of the church, has not shied away from addressing issues such as abortion and homosexuality from a Biblical worldview.
Speaking to his congregation this past Sunday for the first time since Tebow withdrew from the engagement, Jeffress was greeted with a standing ovation after what he said “has been a wild week, it really has been, but it’s been a great week.” He cited prominent evangelical leaders who had lent him support in the wake of Tebow’s defection, including president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Al Mohler in addition to Dr. James Dobson, the former founder of Focus on the Family.
Then without mentioning the name of Tebow, Jeffress took a shot at the Jets quarterback.
“I am grateful for men of God like these who are willing to stand up and act like men rather than wimping out when it gets a little controversial and an inconvenient thing to stand for the truth,” Jeffress said. “God bless men like that.”
It was a week of attention for Jeffress, who had several national television appearances in light of Tebow’s decision to withdraw from the speaking engagement. While he never mentioned the Jets quarterback by name, Jeffress opened his sermon with roughly 10 minutes dedicated to the past week and the falling out from Tebow choosing to stand on the sidelines and cave into the public pressure.
In closing, Jeffress again made his feelings clear with regards to Tebow’s decision, leading to another standing ovation from his congregation.
“I had a little revival and recommitment in my life this week,” Jeffress said. “I recommitted to God and to this congregation that as long as I’m the pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas we’re not going to kneel before the altar of political correctness and convenience.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.