Many Christians were surprised by the fact that Robert Jeffress is a rather outspoken opponent to religious exemptions for the COVID vaccine. However, were there not ample warning signs that pointed to this by his behavior in 2020 and prior. In continuing our series on exploring Branch Covidianism in the church, Evangelical Dark Web is touching up on one of the most politically influential pastor, Robert Jeffress, peddling the same or similar message as the world.
Robert Jeffress is best known or famous to this day in large part because of his involvement in the Moral Majority political movement which cemented Evangelicals as a formidable voting block in the country, as well as assembled a pro-life coalition. Robert Jeffress also has strong connections with Donald Trump as a religious advisor.
In 2020, Robert Jeffress would lock his church down at the government’s behest, contrary to Scripture. FBC Dallas would also accept between $2-5 million in PPP loans, a forgivable loan program created to alleviate the lockdowns.
And in April of 2021, Robert Jeffress touts the vaccine as the cure to the pandemic, in an interview with Redeeming Babylon, a YouTube ministry devoted to preaching Branch Covidianism. Note: the fact that he was on this channel is a red flag. He tells Curtis Chang that he was so excited to get the vaccines and Donald Trump called him while he was on his way. He then goes on to suggest that his vaccination status helps other people and therefore cites Philippians 2:4 as his operative verse on the issue.
The problem with using this verse is that all of Jeffress’s assumptions about the vaccine were incorrect. What’s even worse is that it was obviously foreseeable that this vaccine would work as well as a flu shot, at the time Jeffress made those comments. However, since then the COVID vaccine has proven to be neither safe nor effective.
Yet none of this has stopped Robert Jeffress from opposing religious exemptions from the vaccine. He told the pagan Associated Press, “There is no credible religious argument against the vaccines” and made clear that his church was not encouraging nor offering religious exemptions from vaccine mandates. This is friendly fire on many believers in his congregation or otherwise indirectly influenced by his platform.
Robert Jeffress is not widely believed or accused of being woke. In contrast, he’s widely known for being an ardent Trump supporter. This makes his behavior less expected than that of someone like Tim Keller, Rick Warren, or JD Greear, due to their varying degrees of theological liberalism. However, his outspoken, often sycophantic, support of Donald Trump along with his acceptance of government money via PPP loans provides all the necessary ingredients for Branch Covidianism.