Important insights from First Baptist Dallas Pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress on the Southern Baptist Convention, politics and preaching from an interview with Todd Starnes.
‘I don’t know anybody under the age of 70 who cares about what is happening in the denomination.’
Are we in a post-denominational age where only the local matters?
Dr. Robert Jeffress blasted the President of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, and other critics who seek to isolate preaching from moral and political issues. He pointed out spiritual convictions must be preached and must guide how Christians vote during an interview with Todd Starnes on Starnes’ Fox Radio Show Thursday. His comments on what people think of the Southern Baptist Convention are important for judging if the Southern Baptist Convention can be rescued from its leftward drift.
Politics and the Pulpit
Jeffress told Starnes that a Christian should let his faith shape his politics.
“I think the sin is not having your Christian faith impact how you vote,” Jeffress told Starnes.
Jeffress said he would agree with Greear that the pulpit shouldn’t be partisan. However, he strongly endorsed preaching and Christian involvement with moral issues like abortion. He pointed to past examples of Christian morality transforming society for the better.
Jeffress told Starnes,
“JD and others are talking about keeping politics out of the pulpit, so that we don’t limit the reach of the Gospel message—well, I’m all for keeping politics out of the pulpit if you correctly define what you mean by politics. Is talking about abortion, the murder of the unborn, is that political or is that spiritual and moral? I think that it is all three. I think it is ludicrous to say that our moral and spiritual convictions should somehow be isolated and separated from how we vote.
“Thank God the leaders of the American Revolution didn’t buy into that. The Black Robed Regiment, pastors, led the way in the American Revolution. I’m glad Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t keep politics out of the pulpit. He allowed his Christian faith to lead him and be an advocate for Civil Rights. Or, look at those who abolished slavery. It was Christians who allowed their spiritual convictions to shape their politics that removed slavery from our country.”
Can the Southern Baptist Convention be saved from progressives?
For those who want to save the Southern Baptist Convention from its leftward, progressive drift, there were troubling words from Dr. Jeffress.
Starnes asked what the people of First Baptist Church Dallas think about the issues in the Southern Baptist Convention. Jeffress said people don’t care.
Jeffress told Starnes,
“They don’t pay any attention to it. I think we are living in a post-denominational age, and I think whether it is Southern Baptist or any other mainline denominations, I don’t think people relate any more to large masses of ecclesiastical bureaucracies. I think it is kind of like Tip O’Neil said one time, ‘All politics are local,’ and I think that is true about the church as well. I know our members are concerned about First Baptist Church Dallas and what we are doing to change the world for the better by introducing people to faith in Christ and I don’t know anybody under the age of 70 who cares about what is happening in the denomination.”
For those who want to stop the leftward drift of the Southern Baptist Convention, we must recognize some powerful obstacles that Jeffress identified. Namely, the intensely local focus of today’s church members.
Can conservatives overcome the myopic view of the Church? Is Jeffress right that we are in a truly post-denominational age? What does that mean?
It raises a couple of interesting questions that I’d love to hear Dr. Jeffress on: Would First Baptist Dallas consider leaving the Southern Baptist Convention if it continues this leftward slide? Does he see any benefits in staying within the Southern Baptist Convention today? And do the people of First Baptist Dallas see any benefits from being SBC?
I’ve spoken with several small church pastors about what happened in Birmingham, and while it will be covered in a longer report, the leftward drift like the resolution approving the use of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality could suppress their turnout at future conventions. More than one asked for a copy of the resolution so they could present it to their church with recommendations for decreased SBC involvement.
As we’ve reported before, liberal politics kills churches.
Stooges for the Republican Party and President Trump?
Jeffress rejected the idea that any of Trump’s evangelical advisers were ‘stooges’ for the president.
Jeffress told Starnes, “I agree 100% that no pastor should be a stooge for a political party or for government leader. I agree 100% with that, but I don’t know anyone on the current team that is. If he is insinuating and I think he is that those of us evangelical leaders who support Trump are somehow being coopted by him that is absolutely not the case at all.”
Jeffress said conservative evangelicals use access to President Donald Trump to encourage the president and advocate for Christian-influenced policies.
Jeffress told Starnes, “Every evangelical leader I know who has a relationship with President Trump uses that proximity to encourage President Trump and the tremendous Christian policies he has implement regarding abortion, religious liberty and move of our embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. I don’t know anyone that has been a stooge for the Republican Party or President Trump. “
Check out the entire interview. It was important and offers something Southern Baptists leaders must ponder. Also, check out the Todd Starnes Radio Show website and ToddStarnes.com for more conservative news.