Tebow’s pastor in Jacksonville asks for prayer
Feb 22, 2013
By JONI B. HANNIGAN
Managing Editor

JACKSONVILLE (FBW)-The day after New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow cancelled a scheduled appearance at First Baptist Church in Dallas, his pastor has called for prayer for him and those “hated by the world” because of the stands they have taken.

Mac Brunson, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, is the former pastor of First Baptist Dallas. In 2006 Brunson left Dallas to lead the downtown Jacksonville mega-church, where the Tebow family are members.

Tebow announced via twitter Feb. 21 he would not speak April 28 at the church’s grand opening celebration of its new, $130 million campus in downtown Dallas. “I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day,” Tebow tweeted.

A media onslaught about Tebow’s speaking engagement hit after a New York Daily News headline called Tebow’s appearance a “hate date” and Huffington Post characterized FBC Dallas in a headline as the “Virulently Anti-Gay, Anti-Semitic Church First Baptist Dallas.”

The pastor at First Baptist Dallas, Robert Jeffress, has been nationally prominent in stating his biblical views regarding marriage, homosexuality, and during the presidential campaign last year, Mormonism, according to the Southern Baptist Texan newspaper.

In a statement to Florida Baptist Witness, Brunson said the media attacks on Jeffress, the church and Tebow are without merit. “Clearly there is a bias in this country when it come to evangelical Christinity,” he said.

Further, Tebow’s home church and First Baptist Dallas share the same beliefs, Brunson said.

“There would not be a wisp of difference between the theology of First Baptist Church Dallas and First Baptist Church Jacksonville,” Brunson said. “First Baptist Church Jacksonville holds to the inerrant, authoritative Word of God. We hold to the traditional historic doctrines of the faith.

“We believe in marriage between one man and one woman just as we see in Genesis, reiterated in the New Testament and what every culture for 8,000 years of recorded history has demonstrated,” Brunson continued. “While holding up the standard of God’s Word, we love all people because God in Christ has loved us. The forgiveness of God in Christ is available to all.”

Brunson pointed out that Tebow has been no stranger to controversy and has stood strong to promote his views.

“In the midst of media scrutiny, spin, and relentless analysis, Tim Tebow's testimony has captivated the faithful, the unbelieving, and everyone in between,” Brunson said. “He has taken bold stands for Christ repeatedly that would have withered the best of us. This is not a person that capitulates. There is a lot going on right now, but Timmy trusts the Lord to lead him and he has committed his life to following Jesus.”

And finally, Brunson asks for prayer for the 25-year-old athlete who slips in and out of church whenever he’s at home in Jacksonville.

“We need to pray for Tim. I spoke with Timmy recently and he still believes deeply in the Gospel we all hold dear. As an NFL football player, God has blessed him with a platform to share the love of Jesus Christ with millions.  He will address other issues in his time,” Brunson said.

“We need to pray for the good people and pastor at First Baptist Church of Dallas. They too have taken a courageous stand for our Lord,” Brunson said. “Christ Himself told us that we would be hated by the world because the world hated Him. These are days to be bold for Christ and to love one another.”

andrews2357 (2/23/2013)
I am so happy to see someone standing along side Tim. This poor kid cannot do anything right! He can't play football right, he can't pray right, he can't backout of speaking engagments right. Just leave this kid alone! It is sickening to see Christians going after and condemming him in such a public way. If they know anything at all about Tim they know what he stands for and all that he has done to be a witness for Jesus. There is no excuse for that they are doing to him. Shame on them all! I think most are just jealous of his popularity. I wonder what God thinks of them, not much I'm sure. - Roxanna Andrews, orlando, FL
MBRFBCD (2/24/2013)
I am a member of First Baptist in Dallas. Go to www.firstdallas.org and on the Broadcast Ministry Page and see Dr. Jeffress' Statement this morning. Our Pastor is our spiritual leader and we stand by him as his stands by Tim Tebow. Tim has a ministry and platform beyond what most anyone could even dream of and he has never softened his stance. We would love to have him here but support his ministry and his decision. - Kirk Eklund, Dallas, TX

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