Monday, January 9, 2012

Tim Tebow 316

I've been watching Tim Tebow over the past months as the Christian world has flocked to him (i.e "Tebowing" which the Bible and I'm pretty sure Tim Tebow just call it praying...) and the, largely, unregenerate world has attempted to socially crucify him for being an unashamed believer in Jesus Christ.  Let me begin by saying that I have been and continue to be impressed by Mr. Tebow and do not feel he has desired the increased attention he's receiving.  Thus far he has demonstrated an immense amount of Christian integrity.  Not to mention that in the face of his critics, even the most harsh critics, when most of us would have possibly given in to lash back, he has maintained a level of humility which I can only assume has been done because of him being a born again Christian.

Tim displays fruit with his life, thus far, that reinforces his profession of faith and for this I am truly grateful because there are far too many icons out there whose lives are completely opposite of that.

Now, that said, I am increasingly disappointed with the over-reaction of Christendom towards Mr. Tebow.  In his interviews he continually gives glory to Christ, points people to Christ, yet Christians seem more than excited and not at all shy about setting him up as the next best thing to Jesus Christ.

Let me also state that I am not saying we shouldn't support, encourage, pray for, or be a fan of Tim Tebow.  I just think that many are taking it to an idolatrous extreme.  If your first reaction to that is anger towards me, perhaps you should first do a check to be sure you aren't one of those bowing to a Tebow idol in your heart...

It seems to be the nature of our flesh to want to supplement Jesus Christ with an idol.  The thinking goes like this.  We love Jesus. Tebow loves Jesus. So everyone should love Jesus.  Make sense?  It shouldn't... Christ doesn't need me, Tebow, or even a Spurgeon, MacArthur, Piper, and so on to be effective in this world.

I am so thankful first and foremost that Jesus Christ has saved Tim Tebow.  I would be thankful for that regardless of his fame.  Secondly, I am thankful that not only has Christ saved Tim Tebow but He has also seen fit to give him a National, and most likely global play, platform with which to represent Christ and take the Gospel!  Tim Tebow is a witness for Christ, but he is just that.  A witness.

I do not believe that Tim is at all ok, or at least I would hope he isn't ok, with all this idol worship of him.  He really doesn't seem like a person who wants the glory over Christ.  I believe him to be humble and genuine because he has not demonstrated otherwise.

So let's do him a favor and spur him on as his brethren in Christ and not idolize him.  In the end our idolatry will only pressure him to the point of falling even more so than the pressure we all deal with as Christians.  The unregenerate world is rooting for him to fail, let's be sure that we aren't aiding them by making him out to be something more than human... let's pray for him and encourage him to "fight the good fight" (1 Tim 6:12-14) and to "keep the faith" (2 Tim 4:7).  To defend the Gospel (Jude 3) and continue seeking first the glory of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6:33; 1 Cor 10:31).

Which brings me to a perfect example of how we've gone overboard.  After Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Stealers it was released that Mr. Tebow threw for 316 yards.  Immediately a large portion of Christendom responded by saying that God was obviously sending a message through Tebow; equating the number 316 to John 3:16.

I can't begin to unpack the silliness of that assertion in the first place.  To look to things like this is to look to things like signs, which is highly superstitious... But let's suppose that God was sending a message through the number 316 (which He wasn't, but let's suppose for fun).  How do we know that it was JOHN 3:16?  I realize that people gather that it was John 3:16 because of what was being worn under Tim's eyes. 

But what if it wasn't John 3:16?  What if it was Genesis 3:16?  After all, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't this Tim Tebow's first playoff appearance?  And since it was the "beginning" of his playoff appearances, and Genesis is about the "beginning" of the world, could that be God's message? (You're thinking that I am absurd to make a leap to tie those two things together, and you are right... that's absurd... makes about as much sense as thinking that it means John 3:16).

To the woman he said, “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”(Genesis 3:16 ESV)

I don't see anyone rushing to claim this verse for Tim's passing yard numbers...

How about Judges 3:16 that describes how Ehud made a concealable sword which he used to slay the evil King Eglon.  After all, just before slaying Eglon, Ehud did say that it was a message from God (Judges 3:20). If that was a message from God and 316 was a message from God... hmmm intriguing.

So maybe the message was that we should all wield swords of similar fashion and head out to slay evil Kings?

Maybe it was Ecclesiastes 3:16?  Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness. (Ecclesiastes 3:16 ESV)

Maybe it was a call for repentance?  Of course we could go on and on and on and the endless speculation would leave us all with no definite conclusion.

Instead, let's heed a word that we actually DO know is a message from God.      [7] Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; [8] for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. [9] The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance. [10] For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. [11] Command and teach these things. (1 Timothy 4:7-11 ESV)

I know the reaction some of you will have, it will be "Oh here he goes again, complaining about everything."  But before you offer me up on an altar of your self-righteousness or what you perceive to be mine, examine what I've said and see if it is true or not...

If we want to support our brother in Christ Tim Tebow, let's exhort him on and not set him up for a great fall.


  1. That was an interesting post, and you're right, we do need to examine ourselves.I'm just wondering to what extreme you would consider support of him idolatrous. We're fans, we get excited when he does well, tweet about it, talk about it, maybe make a few jokes, and then life goes on, but that doesn't necessarily mean we idolize him or see him as anything greater than human.I am not angry, I'm just wondering where you would draw the distinction.Thanks And God bless

  2. I'm staying a little distant from all the Tebow talk, but still am impressed. I think you have it wrong though. I am mixed about it. I don't want to be too involved in case it blows up and he's been a fraud - but then am guilty because if he's not then we are cowards.

    1) I think people see Tebow more as a representative, or ambassador - not an idol.

    2) I'm sorry but the John 3:16 reference is inescapable. It's what he gets slammed for primarily by those who just want to see him fail. It is what he paints on his face. Call it poetic justice or whatever, but we do serve a sovereign God, and I wouldn't write it off completely that it was some sort of message. Look at the media traction it's getting.

  3. Thank you for your thoughtful comments Stephen & ABrokenReed. I want to be clear on something that I may not have made clear enough in the post. I am not saying that everyone who is a fan or cheers for him is idolizing him. Not at all.

    Where would I draw the line? Somewhere around saying that God is sending messages through Tebow's passing yard totals or averages, that is at the least borderline idolatry.

    As I said, I believe him to be a Christian based on the only things I can judge and that is his fruit... even if he slips publicly, it wouldn't be enough to automatically label him a non-Christian. We all sin daily. To cast him off for a public sin would be unrighteous judging. Now, how he reacts publicly about a public sin, that's different... not definitive, but maybe it could give us a better idea of how to pray for him? not sure there.

    Tebow can be and is thus far being a fantastic representative for Christ. He's being a witness. That's amazing and I am thankful to God for using him in that capacity for sure. Especially in a profession that is typically filled with unbelievers or "believers" who act like unbelievers...

    It is refreshing to see someone living a life that backs their profession.

    Was God sending a message through his stats? I don't think we can look at it as if he were. The reference IS escapable, in my opinion, because we don't look to those types of myths and such. We don't look to signs and the like... that is borderline mysticism. We look to the completed word of God for a message. We don't need a cryptic 316 nestled into a football stats page.

    Yes, people are talking about it. The media is quoting it. That's great! Truly, it is! But does that mean it's proof of a message from God? Not at all.