OK, I’m breaking my Tim Tebow fast to give the iMonk community an opportunity to discuss the latest news.
I’ve assembled a few quotes from people who give various angles on the story of the NFL quarterback accepting, then declining an invitation to speak at First Baptist Church in Dallas. Read these perspectives and opinions and then you can weigh in.
My question is: Does this mean anything at all? Or is this all fluff and bluster, on the level of cheap celebrity gossip?
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While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my upcoming appearance. I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!
- Tim Tebow
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Fast food Christian CEO bullied. Pastor bullied out of praying publicly. Today,athlete bullied out of speaking AT A CHURCH!
- Rick Warren, @Rick Warren
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So, while it was not surprising that First Baptist Dallas would want one of America’s most beloved and celebrated evangelicals to be part of their church opening, it was surprising that a petition began to circulate through Change.org urging Tebow to cancel — and it is positively a miracle that Tebow decided to cancel.
As recently as yesterday Jeffress seemed certain that Tebow would speak at his church and told conservative radio host Janet Mefford: “I believe as long as he listens to the Holy Spirit and to God’s voice and maybe not that of his handlers, you know, I think he will stand firm.”
But I believe that Tim Tebow was listening to the Holy Spirit when he made the decision to not associate himself with Jeffress and his worldview. Tim Tebow has joined the ranks of many Christians who are refusing to be associated with a particular strain of religious faith that is publicly connected with an anti-gay stance and flagrantly hostile to other faith traditions.
Like many evangelical young people, Tebow seems to care more about loving and being loved by Jesus than the politics that too many automatically associate with Him.
In his press release Tebow mentions that he was looking forward to sharing “Christ’s unconditional love” at First Baptist Dallas. Apparently Tebow, like so many of his evangelical brothers and sisters, now feels that the religious right is no longer a place where that can be done.
- Paul Brandeis Raushenbush,
“Tim Tebow Officially Puts Evangelical Right on the Sideline”
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Evangelical Christians are now called upon to think strategically about what it means to speak truthfully and lovingly to a society that increasingly sees us as the moral outlaws. Clearly, we must watch our speech carefully, measuring every word for truth and tone and avoiding incendiary sound bites. We must also guard our hearts toward the persistent temptation towards self-righteousness. But, at the same time, even the most humble statement of biblical truth can now be turned into a sound bite described as hate speech and a refusal to affirm the normalization of homosexuality is turned into repulsive intolerance. We now face no shortage of arguments for capitulation, but abandoning the truth of God’s Word is not an option. We deny the gospel if we deny the sinfulness of sin. That sin. Every sin. Our sin.
Further, evangelicals should not miss this opportunity to rethink our focus on evangelical celebrities in popular culture, including sports heroes. For now, the controversy is over Tebow’s withdrawal from an invitation extended by an historic church. The pastor’s statements have been the center of the controversy. Inevitably, the controversy will shift to Tebow’s own statement, which he will eventually have to make. There will be no escape.
Before long, the ball will be thrown back to Tebow. I hope and pray he does not fumble it. I pray the same for myself and for every Christian in the midst of this tumultuous cultural landscape. Sooner than later, the ball will be thrown to each of us.
- R. Albert Mohler, Jr., “Tebow’s Big Fumble”
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Oh, look, I would never say anything disparaging to Tim Tebow. He is a fine Christian who is trying to do what he thinks is right, and I do think Tim will learn in time that you can’t appease some of the severest critics of Christianity by compromising with them.
But we salute this great man of God. We wish him the very best.
- Pastor Robert Jeffress, quoted in The Daily Beast