DALLAS — Since its founding in 1868, the center and sole focus of the First Baptist Church of Dallas has been the Bible. Under its direction and influence, all other ministry takes place. During that time its pastors preached the Bible, preached all of the Bible, preached it everywhere they could—and when called upon, they defended the Bible against critics from without and skeptics from within.
In a day when some churches focus on feel-good messages drawn as much for pop psychology as from the Bible, First Dallas, pastored since 2007 by Dr. Robert Jeffress, has been committed to preaching all the Bible, never shying from or shading what it says — even its most controversial and confrontational teachings. In this commitment, Jeffress stands in a long line of pastors like Dr. George W. Truett and Dr. W.A. Criswell who were committed to the verse-by-verse teaching of the Bible. It was this commitment that led the great evangelist Billy Graham to be a member of the church for 54 years — even though he lived in North Carolina.
This commitment to the Bible brought growth, and it also generated controversy. But First Dallas has never been afraid of standing up for what’s right. It’s what led Dr. W.A. Criswell, pastor of First Dallas in 1975, to debate the existence of God on television with the most famous atheist of the day, Madalyn Murray O’Hair. It’s what has led Dr. Robert Jeffress to advocate for biblical truth on programs as diverse as ABC’s “Good Morning America” and HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher.” It’s what has led Jeffress to be named as a Fox News contributor, appearing regularly on programs like “Fox and Friends,” “Hannity,” “Lou Dobbs Tonight,” “Varney & Co.,” and “Judge Jeanine.” And it’s what has led First Dallas to be a church that welcomes skeptics and unbelievers.
The church’s commitment to the Bible caused it to rise up with other churches and
repel forces within its own Southern Baptist Convention that called into question the inerrancy of Scripture.
For First Dallas, this commitment to the Bible to preaching the Bible has always met using the latest technology to spread the message. The church first broadcast its messages via radio in 1922 and expanded to include television in 1951. Today, the media ministry of First Dallas, Pathway to Victory, was established in 1996 to “pierce the darkness with the light of God’s Word using the most effective media possible.” It broadcasts Dr. Jeffress’ messages daily on 1,000 radio stations and 16,000 television stations and cable systems in multiple languages in all 195 countries.
First Dallas not only broadcasts on radio and television, it also publishes books. Its “iCampus” is an online experience that allows tens of thousands of believers, searchers, and doubters to virtually join and interact with the First Dallas family every week for worship and Bible teaching.
It’s no surprise then that First Dallas, with its legacy of faithfully and fearlessly teaching God’s Word, 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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