When he showed up at his office Friday morning, there was a message blinking on the answering machine from the night before. Someone wanted to know if the marquee sign outside First Baptist Dallas had been vandalized.
In bold black letters, the sign reads: “The church that makes God vomit.”
It very well could have been a protester angry at Jeffress, who is a Fox News contributor and an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump as well as the lead pastor of First Baptist Dallas, which two years ago hosted a patriotic event during which the church choir sang a song based on Trump’s “Make America Great Again” motto. But it’s not: it’s a teaser for the next part in his sermon series on the New Testament book of Revelation.
“God said to [the church in Laodicea], ‘I wish you were hot or cold, but since you are lukewarm, I want to spew you out of my mouth,’ and literally, that word ‘spew’ means to vomit,” Jeffress told Faithwire. “So I just decided that would be a good title for the sermon.”
“It’s a warning for all churches and all individual Christians against the danger of being lukewarm in your commitment,” he added.
Jeffress, who is no stranger to ruffling a few feathers when it comes to blending faith and politics, said the message from Revelation 3:14-22 is just as relevant today as it was when it was written by the apostle John some 2,000 years ago.
The opposite of love, the pastor explained in his thick Texas drawl, isn’t hate, but apathy — a philosophy that perhaps lends itself to why he is so outspoken about his political preferences and enthusiasm for Trump.
“When Jesus called us to be ‘salt’ in Matthew 5, he was calling for us to influence the world, and you know, salt doesn’t do any good if it stays in the salt shaker,” Jeffress explained. “To impact the meat, it has to get out of the shaker and actually penetrate the meat. I think Christians are supposed to penetrate every part of this world.”
He went on to say Christians wary about engaging politically need to consider three things: whether they are OK with the “rampant immorality engulfing our country,” if they are concerned with “God’s name being outlawed from mention in the public square,” and if they believe it’s “God’s will for 1.2 million children to be butchered in the womb every year through abortion.”
Asked if he’s concerned about alienation, Jeffress said those who are speaking truth based on God’s Word should “expect to be criticized,” noting the gruesome torture the first century Christians endured for their faith.
“The only person we need to live in fear of is God, and that’s why the Bible says, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,’” the 64-year-old Texas pastor said, referring to Proverbs 9:10.
As far as the criticism goes, Jeffress said he’s gotten pretty used to it and no longer gives it “a second thought.”
“If you’re gonna stand up for truth, you know, you’ve gotta have the hide of a rhinoceros,” he added. “Gentle as a dove but as tough as a rhinoceros, I guess.”