Dallas megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress issued a warning to his congregation Sunday, arguing that there might be “increasing persecution” during the Biden administration. He urged Christians to “be prepared” for a possible “restrain on our ability” to teach God’s word “without consequence.”
In a sermon delivered ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony Wednesday, the senior pastor of First Baptist Dallas told congregants that the New Testament book of Matthew speaks of how, in the last days, “savage times will come as people cast off all moral restraint and society begins to disintegrate.”
“Doesn't that describe the time we're living in right now when people have cast off the restraints that God has put into place?” Jeffress, a prominent supporter of President Donald Trump and a Fox News contributor, asked.
“You see that all around you — whether it's regarding gender fluidity, same-sex marriage, unrestricted abortion. All of these things are the result of a society that has thrown off God's restraints.”
The pastor contended that “unspeakable things” that were once condemned by society are now “celebrated.”
He added that if the Church “refuses to join in the celebration of immorality and ungodliness,” it could run into problems.
“If you've got the culture celebrating while the Church is condemning, you know what that produces? It produces friction,” the 65-year-old conservative preacher explained. “There is going to be pressure whenever the Church condemns what society is celebrating. And I believe that's what we're going to see happen very, very quickly over these next four years.”
Jeffress argued that the Democratic Biden administration will promote “the right of people to choose their own gender and choose the gender of their children.” He further contends that the government will “go after organizations that refuse to celebrate their expansive view of marriage.” He also fears that the government will support “the slaughter of an unborn child for any reason.“
“So when you've got an administration, a government, that is celebrating what God has condemned, and the Church condemning what they are celebrating, ladies and gentlemen, there's going to be friction,” he repeated. “There's going to be pressure. There's going to be persecution.”
“We need to be ready for the fact that there's going to be pressure, governmental pressure, to restrain our ability to preach and teach the eternal truths of God's word without consequence,” he continued.
Jeffress, one of the earliest evangelical supporters of the president going back to the 2016 Republican primary election, has spoken out against far-right protesters who stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. He said the storming of the Capitol was carried out by “despicable human beings” who need to be prosecuted “to the fullest extent of the law.”
“They weren’t doing God’s work; they were doing Satan’s work,” he said. “I denounce it with every fiber of my being.”
But the answer to such disarray isn’t limiting free speech, the pastor declared.
“Once you allow the government to start controlling speech, it’s not a very long trip to the persecution of the Church at all,” he stated. “We need to get ready for it. It is coming.”
While the Church must “push back” against persecution, the body of Christ can still be “hopeful” because “terrible times” are temporary and simply a prelude to the return of Christ, he said.
Though the Church will be forced to navigate “choppy waters” in the coming years, God is in control — “and no election can change that," Jeffress reminded his congregation.
Earlier in the sermon, the pastor touched on God’s sovereignty, stressing that God “didn’t slap his forehead” when Biden won the election.
“There was no panic in Heaven over the election,” he asserted. “There is nothing that happens outside the sovereign plan of God.”
God can also use “imperfect people” to carry out His will, Jeffress said, emphasizing that Christians “do not have that right to resist government authority” because doing so is resisting “God Himself.”
“We are to obey the governing authorities; that's our first responsibility,” Jeffress remarked. “Secondly, we're to pray for the government leaders. We’re to pray for Joe Biden, and we're to pray for Kamala Harris, and we’re to pray for every elected official.”
The most important prayer a believer can pray, Jeffress said, is that government leaders “would leave us alone to practice our faith.”
“Many people are concerned about the future and what this … new administration might mean to us,” he said. “You are in the grip of God if you're a Christian, and no election is going to change that. God has a plan He's working out, and that plan is for your good.”