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Liberal churches “are following the Jesus of their imagination rather than the Jesus of the Bible.”

Liberal churches “are following the Jesus of their imagination rather than the Jesus of the Bible.”

iuThe Revd Robert Jeffries is the senior pastor of 1st Baptist Church, Dallas. 1st Baptist is a Southern Baptist mega-church in downtown Dallas with between 11 and 12,000 members. Jeffries was asked recently to appear as a debate participant on FOX and Friends on the local DWF FOX News channel. The topic of debate was regarding “sanctuary churches.” Jeffries was asked by the commentator a hypothetical question inquiring if an illegal immigrant showed up at the church door hungry, perhaps with a child in tow, would Jeffries turn them over to ICE – US Immigration and Customs Enforcement? Jeffries responded that his church wouldn’t be checking the immigration status of folks who attend the church, but neither would they harbor illegal immigrant criminals as he claims some liberal churches are doing.

“Jesus was not this wimpy little guy who walked around munching sunflower seeds and saying nice things to people,” Jeffress said. “The real Jesus of the Bible said, ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.’ That is: Obey the government.”

FOX News reported that there were sanctuary cities across the country. These are cities that have declared themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants and some have passed local laws instructing their local law enforcement agencies not to cooperate with the federal agencies by detaining and release immigrants into federal custody. Fox then reported an inflammatory story about one of those cities, San Francisco, which had freed an illegal immigrant from jail without detaining him for ICE. That immigrant has since been charged with allegedly killing a women while on the street. The show then made a leap between two ideas of providing sanctuary by reporting that there were also dozens of churches across the US who had declared themselves sanctuary churches. It was this false connection to which Jeffries was responding.

Jeffries has a reputation of making controversial statements;

  • Jeffress has claimed that Islam “promoted pedophilia” and has been accused of reducing “Catholics, Hindus, Buddhists and virtually everyone else” to members of cults.
  • In 2008, Jeffress, in his sermon “Gay Is Not OK”, stated that “What they [homosexuals] do is filthy. It is so degrading that it is beyond description. And it is their filthy behavior that explains why they are so much more prone to disease.”
  • In September 2010, Jeffress called Islam an “evil, evil religion”.
  • In December 2010  he established a “Naughty and Nice List” where businesses are identified based on whether or not they openly celebrated Christmas, saying “I wanted to do something positive to encourage businesses to acknowledge Christmas and not bow to the strident voices of a minority who object to the holiday.”
  • Also in 2010, Jeffress referred to Roman Catholicism as a “Satanic” result of “Babylonian mystery religion.”
  • In October 2011, at the Values Voter Summit, Jeffress called The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) “a cult”. He received widespread criticism for his statement, but has not retracted it despite U.S. presidential candidate and church member Mitt Romney’s request for him to do so.
  • An outspoken opponent of gay marriage, Jeffress has described such marriages as being “counterfeit.”

The information in this story was gathered from FOX News, HuffPost Religion and the Wikipedia.

Photo from dallasvoice.com

Posted by David Allen

 

 

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Rev. Mark H. Hatch

Sorry, but can someone please tell me why this jamoke is appearing on Episcopal Cafe? What is the point? Thank you.

Jon White

Sure, essentially his critique is a critique of the Episcopal Church. Not just TEC of course, but certainly of churches like ours. We feel it is important to understand those who critique us as much as those who agree. It appears here because we feel it is important to understand the perspectives of those who disagree with us. The Cafe, though not an advocate, does have biases (they’re at the bottom of each page, BTW) and Rev Jeffries is probably at the end of the spectrum of religious belief where we don’t spend much time, but as St Paul wrote: “As it is, there are many members, yet one body. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” His statements and beliefs are odious (from my perspective) for sure, and yet we are called to reconciliation. If we are to spread a gospel of love and empowerment, then it is necessary to understand who would be opposed and why so that their fears can be overcome. That sir, is why this jamoke is appearing on Episcopal Cafe. the Editor

Aelred Dean, BSG

Render unto Caesar = obey the government. That can be a possible interpretation when governments follow the will of God, such as caring for the poor, orphans, widows, immigrants, and practicing justice equally to the poor as to the rich. But that is not the type of rendering that is popular in the United States, especially by conservative secular religionists. Plus, if rendering to Caesar means obeying the government, does that apply to obeying the government when it comes to marriage equality as that is now the law of the land, or do these conservative secular religionists pick and choose what to believe, reducing “obey the government” null and void when it doesn’t fit one’s personal beliefs.

Yet, when I read this passage I read it with the word “image” in mind. Is humanity created in the image of God or of Caesar? If humanity is made in the image of God then humanity needs to render all to God, but if to Caesar then all to Caesar. What does rending all to God looks like? It means loving God, loving self, and loving all people in the same manner we claim to love God.

Interpretation of scripture does not happen in a vacuum but is a process that happens through “a priori” beliefs and understandings. Maybe our interpretation of scripture speaks more about humanity both collectively and individually, then it speaks about God.

William Moorhead

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Jeffress said. “The real Jesus of the Bible said, ‘Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.’ That is: Obey the government.” Right. That must be why Pilate crucified him.

Raising “Just Not Getting It” to an art form…..

JC Fisher

“That is: Obey the government.”

He says that on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, it’s “Dictator Obama’s taking away our Precious Religious Liberteeeeee!”

[Saturday, he’s blocking the door to the abortion clinic, of course (obey the government?). Then Sunday, he tells us how biblical he is. Repeat.]

Marta Sigmon

Did someone die and promote Jeffries to be God?

Kenneth Knapp

The self-righteous are just as obnoxious as the self-lefteous. That shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. What is a little surprising is that they don’t seem to understand that they are just mirror images of each other.

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