2015 Archives

SMU religion professor: ‘Hate speech’ coming from First Baptist’s Jeffress will hurt Dallas

Excerpt

The following is from the Nov. 23, 2015, edition of The Dallas Morning News, as well as from Fox 4 News and CBS 11 News. Robert Hunt is director of Global Theological Education, professor of Christian Mission and Interreligious Relations, and director of the Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies at SMU.

November 24, 2015

By Robert Wilonsky

There’s a blog item making the virtual local rounds bearing the headline “The Darkness in the Heart of Dallas.” It’s about a familiar figure — First Baptist Church’s senior pastor Robert Jeffress, most recently seen laying hands on Donald Trump — and how he’s giving Dallas a bad name by saying things like “Islam is a false religion, and it is inspired by Satan himself,” which Jeffress uttered from the pulpit the Sunday following the massacre in Paris. 

“My city, Dallas, wants to be something,” reads the item. “It wants to be an international hub of commerce. It wants to be a cosmopolitan center for the cultivation and appreciation of the arts. It wants to be a place whose citizens or all races thrive, whose families are safe from violence, and whose children excel. And this cannot happen yet. Because in the heart Dallas, in one of its biggest churches, pastors like Robert Jeffress (and others like him across the city) systematically attack the foundations of a diverse society by attacking its foundation of tolerance and respect for religious minorities.”

The piece was written by Robert Hunt, the Director of Global Theological Education at SMU’s Perkins School of Theology. He is also the director of its Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies.

It’s not the first time Hunt has taken a stand against Jeffress. Probably won’t be the last. But with armed protesters showing up outside the Islamic Center of Irving and with Jeffress’ buddy Donald Trump calling for the registering of Muslims and with Gov. Greg Abbott calling for the closing of Texas’ borders to Syrian refugees, he says he felt it necessary to take a stand against the pastor’s “abusive use of scripture, very specious use of scripture to justify his views.”

Read the full blog.

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Related Link:

PatheosThe Darkness in the Heart of Dallas