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Dr. Robert Jeffress, senior pastor at the First Baptist Church of Dallas says God has used the Tebow speaking controversy as a springboard for spreading the gospel.
Pastor Jeffress came under fire for his traditional evangelical stance after it was announced that the openly-Christian NFL quarterback Tim Tebow would speak at the grand opening of the new campus for the Dallas megachurch on April 28.
Both Jeffress and Tebow received pressure from national media outlets and sports commentators for not only the pastor's biblical convictions on such matters as the exclusivity of the gospel and homosexual sin, but for Tebow's decision to speak to a church known for such beliefs.
Gregg Doyel of CBS Sports warned, "Tim Tebow is about to make the biggest mistake of his life" by speaking at "a hateful Baptist preacher's church," going so far as to liken Jeffress with the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas.
While Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post offered his own warning to Tebow: "After a season on the sidelines, the ball's in your hands, Timmy. Better not fumble this one."
The pressure forced Tebow to back out of the engagement via Twitter on Feb. 22.
"Due to new information that was brought to my attention," Tebow said he decided to cancel stating he wished to "share a message of hope and Christ's unconditional love."
But despite the cancellation, Jeffress is using the attention to spread the Good News.
The Huffington Post writer, Paul Brandeis Raushenbush even conceded, "while Dr. Jeffress has a tendency not to sugarcoat his feelings," his teachings are nonetheless accepted by mainstream Evangelicals and it's what Christians "have been saying for a long time."
On Sunday, Jeffress was unapologetic as he addressed his congregation, after a standing ovation, during his first time back behind the pulpit since the controversy began.
He thanked everyone for their support and tremendous Christian leaders who have been vocal about their support like Dr. Al Moeller, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Dr. David Jeramiah, Dr. James Dobson.
Jeffress said that despite the fact that he does not love controversy--he loves the chance to "share the gospel of Jesus Christ with as many people as possible,... everywhere from CNN to TMZ."
"There's no such thing as good news" he told his congregation, "unless you understand the bad news as well. And the bad news is there is such a thing called sin."
"As long as I am the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, we are not going to kneel at the alter of political correctness and convenience," proclaimed Jeffress. "We're going to stand up and boldly proclaim the grace of God and the truth of God without compromise so help me God."
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