Tim Tebow and the Theology of Glory

Here is the problem with Tim Tebow. The focus of the discussion is squarely on him. It is rarely, if ever, on Christ. I am not trying to nitpick. I am trying to examine why the whole thing is bothering me, when I should probably be thankful that there is a Christian in a place of prominence in an otherwise shady sports world. And it is true that Tebow is a fine athlete and a strong leader. But the media narrative is troubling. The whole story is about Tim. It is not about the Gospel. It is not about sin and redemption. It is always about what he said or what he did. It is never about Jesus.

Some people might suggest that Tebow cannot control what ESPN says about him. That is true up to a point. He cannot control what Mike Patrick says while calling a game, but he can control media access to his activity. He could keep the cameras away while he is ministering in a prison. He could ask his parents to take down that lengthy biography of Timmy on the Bob Tebow Evangelistic Association website. He could quit referring to his teammates as “my players.” And frankly, with all of the media attention, he could just once state that his good works are utterly worthless in the sight of God. He could explain to all of the fans and the media that his noble work in the third world and here in America – and his work is quite noble – is completely and utterly worthless in the sight of God. He could say that if someone’s life is changed by being around him, it is only because of the work of Christ, and not of Tim Tebow. He could say that his only claim is the blood of Jesus, and that it, whatever “it” is, is not about teaching kids to do the right thing. It is not about being positive or setting a good example. It is about God made man in the person of Christ and his death on the cross. Please do not tell me the media will not allow it. This young man his won two national championships and a Heisman Trophy, and might win one more of each. He has the forum. All he needs to do is use it.

I wish Tim Tebow well. I hope he succeeds in all he does, except of course when Florida plays Alabama in next year’s SEC Championship game. I hope others are in fact drawn to Christ through this discussion, but I cannot deny that this whole thing leaves me uneasy. Until Tebow and his family and his support cast are crystal clear – just once – that Tim Tebow (and the rest of us, as well) know no righteousness but the blood of Christ, then he is, with all good intentions, promoting a Gospel that is off the mark. And in an age of the Secret and the Shack and Joel Osteen, we must be plain and up front in declaring a theology of the Cross, and not a theology of Glory.

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One Response

  1. Good stuff, Matt. Glad to see you back at blogging.

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