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.
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.
While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ's unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic...— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) February 21, 2013
... First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my...— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) February 21, 2013
...upcoming appearance. I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those...— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) February 21, 2013
...needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) February 21, 2013