It’s easy to look at Robert Jeffress defending President Trump again on Fox News and wonder how the First Baptist Church of Dallas got so political.
Jeffress, the pastor of the Texas church since 2007, has supported Donald Trump without any sign of hesitation. He continues, unwavering, through scandal after scandal. His church of 12,000 even has a Trump-inspired song, a hymn to “Make America Great Again.”
But the First Baptist Church of Dallas didn’t just get political. It’s been that way for a long time.
Monday marked an anniversary for the church. It was founded on July 30, 1868, by three men and eight women. That was 150 years ago. It’s been political for almost as long.
Before Jeffress, there was W.A. Criswell. When Criswell died in 2002, his obituary from the Associated Press said the preacher “mostly eschewed politics.” But that’s not true. He ran up to politics and gave it a great big hug.
Criswell was called to the pulpit of First Baptist Church in 1944. The next year, he preached a sermon on Christian America. “How indebted we are to the Almighty God for the government under which we live,” he said. “On the personality of God our forefathers launched our great ship of state.”
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