Tim Tebow and How To Be A Bad Christian Witness

He is the super football hero poster boy for adulating young boys and fawning middle-aged women. He’s a lightning rod of criticism for the skeptical media and scorning masses. He’s a flamboyant winner who wears his faith and emotions on his sleeve.

He’s now 6-1 7-1 as a starting QB and crowned as the comeback King of the NFL.

Tim Tebow is actually not the primary subject of this post (I know the title is a bit subversive.) We are. More specifically, “we” as in: The Christians who may put Tebow-like characters on a lofty pedestal OR on unwarranted blast are the ones who need to heed our “Christian witness”.

You could replace “Tebow” with “Bieber” or “Newton” and it could have the same effect.

The way we could be potentially bad “Christian Witnesses” would be by publicly mishandling very public Christian personas such as Tebow. There are two ditches we can fall into, both equally treacherous.

Tebow is a hypocrite

Read any article on a major internet news source that sheds a slightly positive light on Tebow’s faith and core values. Then scroll down to the comments sections and witness the vitriol spewed in Christianity’s direction on account of Tebow’s public persona. An all-around nice guy and solid role model is painted as a fanatically religious loon with ulterior motives.

The last thing a Christian should do is to jump into that fray (personally guilty on that account). The world of moral relativism has enough reason to hate the absolute truth claims Tebow utters in nearly every interview like “Jesus is Lord…” Most Christians who would beseech Tebow to tone it down take issue with his methodology. When he talks, or bows, or points to the heavens after a big play all of it can seem a bit showy.

But just because these displays are not the way we would do it does not make them inherently bad. Trust me, as a Florida State fan I spent four years searching for legitimate reasons for personally disliking the Heisman and National Championship winner. Other than him being a proud Gator and 4-0 against my beloved team, I couldn’t find any juicy material that stuck.

There is a list a mile long of drug addicts, sex objects, and women abusers who are propped up as legitimate role models in our culture.

Tim Tebow may be many things, but a fraud doesn’t appear to be one of them.  What he is, in my opinion, he is sincerely. Herculean sports achievements and earnest Christian boldness may be joined together without contradiction.

There is no reason to hate on this phenomenon, Christian, just enjoy while it lasts. If the world will know Christians by how they “love one another”, then a good witness would be to love Tebow by praying for his perseverance in the faith, strength to withstand temptations before him, and even deeper grace to walk out the good confession he’s made.

Tebow is a god

This position takes the previous argument, kicks it to the curb, and runs wildly a million miles in the opposite direction.

I can’t prove this, but I have a sneaking suspicion. Let’s say tomorrow, *God forbid* Tebow was indicted on a seedy scandal of epic proportions that involved illegal drugs and illicit sex. I’m afraid the faith of many within contemporary Christendom would be almost irreparably shaken. I fear Tebow is the last vestige of purity and passion in sports and religion for too many. That’s a shame. Because that is way too much pressure for a young man to bear all alone. We have an unhealthy tendency to put legitimately good people on pedestals they never were created for. This is to their demise.

Look, I know Tebow can get Chick Fil A on Sundays. I know he has been a heart donor….twice. I know when Alexander Bell invented the telephone he had three missed calls from Tim Tebow.

But seriously, doesn’t our hyperbole speak volumes about what we really want to be true?

If you are a Tebow apologist/admirer here is a revelation you may or may not be able to process: Tim Tebow has morning breath. He puts on his Chuck Norris pajamas one leg at a time like the rest of us. He may even have serious bouts with pride and insecurities. And he certainly wouldn’t want to be considered as a substitute to the Savior he so boldly claims.

The minute any man is elevated to mythical status prepare to be thoroughly disappointed. As I’ve heard one saint say from the pulpit, “There aren’t any great men of God…only a great God Who has lavished His great grace on great sinners.”

An effective Christian witness doesn’t merely point men to other men.

There is a way we may talk about Christian leaders that neglects the grace of God in their lives and exalts rather some hidden virtue of character within them. But what does any man have that he did not receive?

If we are not careful our objects of worship will begin to look more like handsome young ripped carefully promoted studs instead of a weak abandoned terrifying bloody mess of Lamb on the cross. That would be a tragedy of eternal consequence.

So, thank God for Tim Tebow. But thank God even more for His Son who died on a cross so filthy sinners like us (you, me and Tebow) could be forgiven and free forevermore in His presence.

Let’s pray that would be the all consuming vision Tebow detractors and supporters would get from his life and message.

Bryan Daniels

John the Baptist Eats Bear Grylls Babies For Breakfast

I appreciate the ministry of Paul Washer. He has a cutting way of encouraging young men to…man up. Yet Washer is considered by many in cultural Christianity to be a bit rough around the edges, too extreme, and too passionate in his plea for sinners (like me) to repent and cast themselves on the mercy of Christ.

I submit that those charges sound eerily familiar to a biblical character of the New Testament:

John the Baptist.

John the Baptist called seemingly sincere people seeking to be baptized by him a “brood of vipers.” He exclaimed vehemently the uncompromising message of broken repentance before the Messiah to any one with a functioning ear (Luke 3:7). He caused a curious stir among communities in Israel and garnered radical disciples to his ministry. He resided in desert caves, ate locusts and wild honey for breakfast, and dressed himself in camel-hair. I’m pretty sure he’d make Bear Grylls look like a cake eating mamma’s boy. John the Baptist was the original Chuck Norris, the only difference being that he was actually good at acting (according to Jewish historian, Josephus; )).

Now think of the ministers you know.

I am not suggesting preachers should take their dietary and fashion tips from a first century Nazarite Jew, but think about the ones you know or have seen on television. What strikes you most about them? Clean cut, with an inordinate amount of hair gel? Politically correct? Bleached teeth? Funny jokes? Nice suits and polished shoes? Great story tellers? Agreeable disposition? Typically, the sermon consists of three crisp points with a couple of relevant illustrations thrown in for good measure (maybe a lighthearted anecdote or two). None of these characteristics are bad in and of themselves, but unashamedly displaying them from the pulpit doth not a preacher make.

John was a real man.

A man’s man. A wild man. A real wild man’s man. A…you get the picture. His tone was blood earnest. His conviction unwavering. For the sake of the Bridegroom he chose to tear into his audience instead of tickling them (Luke 3:3). His weighty material directly flowed out of his love for Christ. Without displaying the sinful state of his audience they could never see their need for repentance, and without repentance they would never see their need for grace. He spoke the truth in love. But he spoke the truth. John loved his audience enough to tear their world apart in order for the Bridegroom to come and gently pick up the pieces. It was his prophetic calling.

Docile manners are not a virtue Scripture esteems greatly (neither am I saying niceness is a vice in Scripture).

The perfect man, Jesus, loved deeply, but he never was deemed “nice” by his closest followers. He was a table turning blasphemer to the most religious folk of His day.

The prophets of old loved their Jewish brethren, but none of their hearers would suggest “nice” as being one of their primary attributes. Broken hearted, men of sorrow, who spoke of shocking judgment coming to the unrepentant nation. Not nice. Not safe. Not sanitary.

The mighty blazing seraphim do not fly around the throne of God in exalted worship singing “NICE! NICE! NICE! Is the Lord of Hosts!” (read Isaiah 6:3, just read that whole chapter for a mindblow!)

Political correctness is the not an utmost concern of the Bridegroom’s friends. A tranquil American church currently majoring in manners watches as the world is dying under the weight of its own sin. It’s not nice to allow the winds of culture to dictate the force of our gospel message, especially when eternal life is at stake.

Sometimes a good sermon is like a roundhouse kick to the soul…just ask my boy John.

Bryan Daniels

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