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Dr. Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas, releases the following statement in response to a question posed to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders at Tuesday's press briefing, accusing Jeffress of being "viciously anti-Catholic."
Newsweek reported Jeffress said Catholicism is a "cult-like pagan religion" and the success of the religion is due to "the genius of Satan."
Jeffress vehemently disputes that.
"It's no accident that the liberal media started this line of attack after I appeared on Lou Dobbs Tonight in support of President Trump and General Kelly against the unwarranted attacks being made on them by Congresswoman Frederica Wilson.
"I am delighted though, to reiterate what I've said many times when people ask me if Catholics are going to be in heaven or are Baptists going to be in heaven: Nobody goes to heaven in a group—it's one by one, based on our relationship with Christ. And I can tell you this: there will be millions of Catholics in heaven who have trusted in Christ for their salvation.
"I love my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are Catholic. I work with them often on issues of religious liberty and the pro-life movement. I walk alongside Catholic priests in pro-life demonstrations. As recently as this past Sunday, I welcomed Sean Hannity to First Baptist to discuss his journey of faith.
"In the past, I've noted that there were theological aberrations in the Catholic church that needed to be corrected. But there have been aberrations in the Baptist church that need to be corrected as well."
Popular talk show host Sean Hannity, a Catholic himself, who spoke in Jeffress' church Sunday, defended Jeffress against the false charge of being anti-Catholic:
"Dr. Jeffress is a personal friend and colleague. Over the many times that I have had him on my radio and TV shows, we have agreed on the fact that we are Christians. We believed in our Lord, Jesus Christ, and how we pray to him, in whatever way, denomination or format is not important; the fact that we pray is what matters. I was raised a Catholic, I was even an altar boy and attended seminary, and I can tell you that Dr. Jeffress has expressed to me both privately and publicly that he agrees Catholics are Christians.