Tim Tebow was unjustly pressured by the media to back out of his speaking appearance at the controversial First Baptist Church in Dallas ... at least according to the church.
A rep for the church tells TMZ, "We are saddened that Mr. Tebow felt pressure to back out of his long-planned commitment from numerous New York and national sports and news media who grossly misrepresented past comments made by our pastor, Dr. Robert Jeffress, specifically related to issues of homosexuality and AIDS, as well as Judaism."
Rev. Jeffress has been quoted as saying, "70 percent of the gay population" has AIDS -- and has described Judaism, Islam and Mormonism as religions from the "pit of hell."
According to the church, Tebow called Dr. Jeffress Wednesday evening to say that for "personal and professional reasons he needed to avoid controversy" ... and would be canceling the appearance which was scheduled for April 28.
The church says Tebow told Rev. Jeffress he'd still like to come speak at First Baptist Dallas sometime in the future -- and adds, "Dr. Jeffress shares a message of hope, not hate."