Jeffress, the pastor of 14,000-member First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas, said some in his congregation had been wondering what his response would be to the headlines in the last few weeks.
“As Christians, when we look at what’s happening in our nation, we need to look at the situation through a unique prism,” Jeffress told his congregation: “the word of God.”
Jeffress said he’s making three statements in light of Floyd’s death, protests and the “defund the police” movement.
“God hates racism,” Jeffress said of the first point. “To hate a person because of the color of his or her skin is to hate the God who gave that person the color of their skin.”
He said it’s blasphemy against God to hate someone because of their skin color.
“If we’re honest, we have to admit, our own First Baptist Church of Dallas, has been wrong in this area in years past,” Jeffress said. “Like many churches in the South, our church was on the wrong side of history and it certainly was on the wrong side of God when it came to the issue of race and segregation.”
He said, to applause, that all are welcome to the church today, regardless of race, unless they hate others because of their race: “You need to go find another church. You are not welcome here.”
“God hates lawlessness,” Jeffress said of the second point, adding that protests are good but there is a big difference between peaceful protests and looting and rioting, especially burning down buildings, including churches.
“The call to completely dismantle or defund the police is completely contrary to the teachings of the Bible,” he said.
“Racism is not the root problem in America today. Lawlessness is not the root problem in America today,” he said for his final point. “Racism and lawlessness are symptoms of the root problem. The root problem in America today is sin, rebellion against God.”
Jeffress said churches that are having listening sessions and posting things on social media are only putting Band-Aids on the problem.
And the solution, “the only cure,” is “faith in Jesus Christ,” he said. “The only person who can change their heart and their behavior.”
“We are dealing with the problem, not the symptoms of the problem,” he said. “Be reconciled to God.”