"I am just amazed at the number of Christians who want to put themselves under the Old Testament Law...folks, we are not under the law, PERIOD! So quit trying to live like you're under the law. Quit picking and choosing what you want to obey in the law. None of the dietary restrictions apply, none of the religious restrictions apply. We have been set free. We are under the New Testament, the New Agreement, praise God!"I have been critical of Robert Jeffress over the past year, but I have to say the more I listen to him the more I think he really is one of the better preachers in the SBC. He is not theatrical and overbearing in his preaching, and he does a good job of sticking to scripture.
A case in point about why I like Robert Jeffress is his latest "Ask the Pastor" service on 8/28/11.
About once a year he has a service entitled "Ask the Pastor" where a moderator reads questions to Jeffress that have been emailed or written by church members to the church on controversial topics. Jeffress speaks to the issues without notes, and he gives some great biblical advice, mixed with humor and some just plain ole common sense.
In this session there were some things I agreed on, and some others I didn't but there were three questions that really stuck out to me that I wanted to share with my readers - three things that I think Jeffress was right on the money, when most pastors who are asked these questions will probably be off the mark.
The first was his emphatical statement (see above) that Christians absolutely are not under the Old Testament law, and that they should stop trying to live under the law. You won't hear many pastors say this so clearly and forcefully, because many of them still like to hang the Old Testament tithe and "curses" around the necks of their people by misusing Malachi 3. Thank you, Robert Jeffress, for affirming that Christians are not under ANY of the Old Testament law, we are under the New Covenant. You said it without reservation, and with passion.
Secondly, he was asked what a wife should do if her husband verbally abuses her. He was very clear: a woman has absolutely no responsibility to stay in even a verbally abusive situation in her home. He said:
"I think that is a perversion of submission..I think there is every reason in a marriage relationship, if you are being abused - I'm talking about real abuse here. I'm talking about cursing and belittling and all of this on a continual basis. I think when that continues a wife has every right to say to her husband 'God hates violence Genesis 6 says. He hates physical violence, he hates verbal violence. Unless you change, I'm not going to live in this situation, we're going to separate until you change.' I'm not talking about divorce or remarriage, I'm talking about saying 'I'm not going to live in this situation, here's some conditions that will have to be met for you to change'.
What a contrast. Many SBC pastors will tell a wife they have to suck it up, and they have to pray and win their husbands to the Lord through their submission. Even Paige Patterson told a story once of a woman who came to him seeking council about her abusive husband, and Patterson advised her to stay with her husband and pray for him, acknowledging that he might become violent. Sure enough he was, she became a punching bag, and she came back to him with black eyes, for which Patterson expressed delight that she suffered for her obedience. Thank you Robert Jeffress, for being crystal clear with the women in your church that they don't have to take the nonsense their husbands dish out.
The third thing that I wanted to mention is his response to a question about whether the earth is 6000 years old, or much, much older. He basically said he didn't know himself, but that sincere Christians differ on this topic. He acknowledged in his church are many "young earth" believers, and others who believe the earn is much, much older. He ended this question with a quote I first saw on the Wartburg Watch when they were writing about Ken Ham: "In the essentials, unity. In the non-essentials, diversity. In all things, charity."
If you want to watch the entire "Ask the Pastor" session, click here, and then click on the "Evening Services" tab and scroll to the 8/28/11 service.
Or, see the three excerpts below: