Audible

Tim Tebow grows a conscience? Cites "new information" in canceling talk at anti-gay church

Tim Tebow grows a conscience? Cites "new information" in canceling talk at anti-gay church

Tim Tebow
After leading the Denver Broncos to the playoffs, Tebow was traded to the New York Jets, where he has barely played. businessinsider.com
Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas
A spokesperson said that Tebow spoke with pastor Robert Jeffress on the phone and was open to appearing at First Baptist Dallas "at a later date." Photo courtesy of First Baptist Dallas
News_Tim Tebow_Jockey ad
Tim Tebow is known for his squeaky clean image.  Jockey
Tim Tebow
Tebow's practice of praying on the football field created the phrase (and brief Internet craze) "Tebowing."  washingtonpost.com
Tim Tebow
Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas
News_Tim Tebow_Jockey ad
Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow called a timeout on his scheduled appearance at First Baptist Dallas, canceling the April 28 speaking engagement via Twitter.

The word came in a series of tweets beginning around 9 a.m. Thursday, just three days after the news of his gig was released. At the time of Tebow's tweets, his name still appeared on the church's website. It was removed around 10 a.m. 

The New York Jets quarterback and outspoken evangelical was to close a month-long celebration for the church's behemoth new campus — a $123 million facility that opens March 31.

But Tebow's planned appearance at the church drew a slew of negative attention related to First Baptist Dallas pastor Robert Jeffress, who in the past has taken a number of controversial theological positions. 

Jeffress has made headlines for his view of homosexuality, including the bluntly titled 2008 sermon series "Gay is not OK." Jeffress has also publicly denounced other world religions such as Mormonism, which he called a cult, and Islam, which he branded evil.

In a statement addressing Tebow's cancelation, First Baptist Dallas spokesman John Grable said the congregation was disappointed. 
We are saddened that Mr. Tebow felt pressure to back out of his long-planned commitment from numerous New York and national sports and news media who grossly misrepresented past comments made by our pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, specifically related to issues of homosexuality and AIDS, as well as Judaism.

Grable said that Tebow spoke with Jeffress on the phone Wednesday evening and was open to appearing at First Baptist Dallas "at a later date." This would have been the NFL quarterback's first appearance at the church.

Grable rejected the notion that Jeffress takes any position that could be described as "hateful," calling that characterization "editorializing in the media."

Nevertheless, Tebow credited "new information" brought to his attention for changing his mind about the upcoming speaking engagement.