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Robert Jeffress speaking at the 2011 Values Voter Summit
|Born||Robert James Jeffress, Jr.|
(1955-11-29) November 29, 1955
|Alma mater||Baylor University|
Dallas Theological Seminary
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
|Occupation||Pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas|
|Spouse(s)||Amy Lyon Renard Jeffress|
|Children||Julia S. Jeffress|
Dorothy Fielder Jeffress
Robert James Jeffress, Jr. (born November 29, 1955) is an American Southern Baptist (Evangelical) pastor, author, and radio and television host. Jeffress hosts the program, Pathway to Victory, which is broadcast on more than 1,200 television stations in the United States and 28 other countries. He also has a daily radio program, Pathway to Victory, heard on 764 stations. He is the pastor of the 12,000 member First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas.
Jeffress's father was Robert Jeffress, Sr. (1925–1990). Jeffress and his wife, the former Amy Lyon Renard, have two daughters, Julia Sue Jeffress and Dorothy Fielder Jeffress. Jeffress received a Bachelor of Science degree from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Jeffress grew up under pastor W. A. Criswell of First Baptist Dallas and cites him as an influence on his own ministry. In 2006, Jeffress received the Daniel Award from Vision America. On August 12, 2007, he was elected pastor of First Baptist Dallas, a megachurch with 11,000 members. He succeeded Mac Brunson. Previously, Jeffress had been the pastor of First Baptist Church in Wichita Falls. On January 20, 2017, Jeffress preached the sermon at a private service at St. John’s Episcopal Church, attended by President-elect Donald Trump, on the day of the latter's Inauguration. He has been described as "one of Mr Trump’s favourite pastors".
An outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, Jeffress has described such marriages as being "counterfeit." While a pastor in Wichita Falls in 1998, Jeffress sought to have two children's books about children with gay or lesbian parents removed from the public library by checking out the books and paying for them rather than returning them to be recirculated. Following publication of the story by news media, the library received multiple copies of the books as donations and demand for the books increased significantly. In 2008 Jeffress, in his sermon "Gay Is Not OK," stated, citing Romans 1:27: "And the males likewise gave up natural relations with females and burned with lust for one another. Males did shameful things with males and thus received in their own persons the due penalty for their perversity." Declared Jeffress: "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."
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 September 2010, Jeffress called Islam an "evil, evil religion," and in December 2010 established a "Naughty and Nice List" in which businesses were identified based on whether or not they openly celebrated Christmas: "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 another interview that same year, he said, "Mormonism is wrong, it is a heresy from the pit of Hell; Judaism, you can't be saved being a Jew, you know who said that by the way, the three greatest Jews in the New Testament, Peter, Paul, and Jesus Christ, they all said Judaism won't do it, it's faith in Jesus Christ." 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 the statement, but did not retract it despite Mitt Romney's request for him to do so.
Jeffress supported Governor Rick Perry in the Republican presidential primaries for the 2012 presidential nomination. On October 7, 2011, he provoked a national controversy when he introduced Perry at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC, by indicating that one of Perry's rivals, Romney, of Massachusetts, is opposed to Christianity. According to Jeffress, Romney's Mormonism contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ. He had previously made a similar statement during the 2008 presidential primaries. Nevertheless, in April 2012, Jeffress endorsed Romney for president because of the pastor's strong opposition to the re-election of Barack Obama. In September, Jeffress warned Romney that he was risking defeat by concentrating solely on economic issues in the campaign: "Up to this point, the Romney strategy has been to focus on the economy. Well this isn't working out well for him, is it? Because the economy is improving, and it fails to recognize that many of the Republican base, many of them are social conservatives who care about the economy, but we also care about the moral and spiritual deterioration of our country." On November 4, 2012, the Sunday before the 2012 election, Jeffress commented on Obama and the Antichrist: I want you to hear me tonight, I am not saying that President Obama is the Antichrist, I am not saying that at all. One reason I know he's not the Antichrist is the Antichrist is going to have much higher poll numbers when he comes. President Obama is not the Antichrist. But what I am saying is this: the course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist. Jeffress has further questioned the commitment of the conservative clergy to the preservation of traditional societal morality. In an interview on The O'Reilly Factor, which aired on December 11, 2012, on the Fox News Channel, Jeffress questioned why many clergy falsely perceive Christ as this little, wimpy guy who walked around plucking daisies and eating birdseed and saying nice things, but never doing anything controversial. The fact is, Jesus did confront his culture with truth – and he ended up being crucified because of it.... Wimpy pastors produce wimpy Christians – and that is why we are losing this culture war. I believe it's time for pastors to say, You know, I don't care about controversy, I don't care whether I'm going to lose church members, I don't care about building a big church. I'm going to stand for truth regardless of what happens. For the 2016 US Presidential election, Jeffress endorsed and appeared at rallies for the Republican candidate, Donald Trump, though he initially endorsed Dr. Ben Carson. Jeffress also declared that Christians who would not vote for or support Trump as the Republican nominee were "fools" and "motivated by pride rather than principle", despite Trump's lack of an evangelical or Christian background. Jeffress also stated that if a candidate ran on the principles found in the Sermon on the Mount, he "would run from that candidate as far as possible" and would still vote for Trump. On June 21, 2016, candidate Trump named Jeffress to participate in an advisory board of evangelical leaders.
Not All Roads Lead to Heaven, Baker Books, 2016 (208 pages) ISBN 978-0-8010-1875-6 Countdown to the Apocalypse: Why ISIS and Ebola Are Only the Beginning, FaithWords, 2015 (144 pages) ISBN 978-1455563043 Perfect Ending: Why Your Eternal Future Matters Today, Worthy Publishing, 2014 (224 pages) ISBN 978-161795-183-1 Twilight's Last Gleaming, Worthy Publishing, 2012 (256 pages) ISBN 978-193603-458-1