DALLAS — During the Obama years, it was easy to get the impression that evangelicalism in America was a spent force. Numbers declining, inclined to political apathy, banished in the public square, punished in business, and feeling the loss of leaders like Dr. Jerry Falwell. There was one place where this narrative didn’t fit—a place that was no stranger to coming against the liberal onslaught, a place that hadn’t lost energy for the fight—that place was First Baptist Church of Dallas, pastored since 2007 by Dr. Robert Jeffress.
In 1980, a Baptist Sunday school teacher by the name of Jimmy Carter was running for re-election. Despite his Baptist roots and moral life, Jimmy Carter was a champion of abortion, in favor of ripping unborn babies from their wombs, in favor of their murder. In that moment of outrage, First Baptist took a leading role in combining preaching with politics to stop liberal encroachment and defend the rights of the unborn.
First Dallas was no stranger to politics: presidents from Woodrow Wilson to George Bush had sought out the pastors of First Dallas for counsel and advice. But this time,
grassroots political organization was the order of the day, and so, First Dallas pastor, Dr. W.A. Criswell, acting in concert with notable leaders like Falwell, Dr. James Dobson, and Dr. Pat Robertson, founded the Moral Majority. Determined to defend Judeo-Christian ethics and repel liberal judicial activism, the Moral Majority turned to a seemingly unlikely candidate: twice-married actor turned politician, former Democrat and sometime churchgoer Ronald Reagan. But Reagan had the right policies and did the right things. At that moment, both the Reagan revolution and the effort to return our country to its Christian origins and ethos began.
Today, First Baptist, led by Pastor Robert Jeffress, continues that tradition of cultural and political activism to return America to its Christian roots. As in 1980, First Dallas and its Pastor focused their efforts on electing an unlikely choice: a thrice-married businessman turned politician, former Democrat and sometime churchgoer Donald Trump. As in 1980, Trump’s election has ushered in another revolution: the president’s conservative Supreme Court nominations mean Roe v. Wade is on the verge of collapse, Christians serve in key governmental positions, and the public square is no longer hostile to the faith of its Founding Fathers.
Dr. Robert Jeffress, now a Fox News contributor, has been a vocal and visible proponent of President Trump’s policies and an accurate observer of the hypocrisy and double-dealing of the left. He serves on President Trump’s informal evangelical advisory board and has had the privilege of advising and praying for the president.
Conservative leaders are regular attendees at First Dallas events. President Trump attended and spoke at First Dallas’ “Celebrate Freedom” rally at the Kennedy Center in Washington in 2017. Texas Governor Greg Abbott will be attending the 150th Anniversary services Sunday, July 29. Conservative luminaries and Fox News personalities such as Sean Hannity, Ainsley Earhardt, Lauren Green, and Todd Starnes have all spoken at the church.
It’s no surprise then that First Dallas, with its legacy of leadership in the public square, is often referred to as “America’s church.” First Dallas is planning a massive celebration of its 150 years of ministry Sunday morning, July 29. Joining Pastor Jeffress and the congregation in the services will be Texas Governor Greg Abbott. Every family who attends will receive a free leather commemorative Bible and the book Tales of First Baptist Dallas, and every child will receive a copy of the church’s brand-new children’s book, The Promise.
To learn more about the 150th Anniversary, visit www.firstdallas150.org.
Dr. Robert Jeffress is a best-selling author of 24 books, a nationally and internationally syndicated TV and radio host and the senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas, one of the largest and most influential churches in America. Pathway to Victory, Dr. Jeffress’ broadcast ministry, airs daily nationwide on more than 900 radio stations and is broadcast live to 195 countries. His latest book, “A Place Called Heaven: 10 Surprising Truths About Your Eternal Home,” is available in bookstores everywhere. He is an evangelical adviser to the president of the United States, Donald J. Trump.
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