Is Tim Tebow a Hypocrite?

Two days ago, a friend of mine put up a provocatively titled new post in which he dared to ask the question: is Tim Tebow a hypocrite?  Now most of you probably know who Tim Tebow is, but on the chance that you do not, let me take a moment to fill you in.  While there are many Christians in the National Football League (NFL), Tim Tebow has made a name for himself by regularly dropping to one knee in a moment of prayer.  He does this so often and so publicly, that “Tebowing” has actually become a word in common use.  To “Tebow” is “to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different.”[1]

So why am I sharing this with you?  Well, I want you to look at something.  My friend’s website is actually a very small blog, much like this one.  And on a typical day, a new post by my friend will attract an average of 9 readers, only 1 of which will take the time to comment.  But on the day that he posted this question about Tebow, 149 readers were drawn to the article, and 27 comments were made.

Why?  Because he dared to question an “evangelical icon” in light of Matthew 6:1, 5-6, which reads:

“Be careful that you don’t practice your religion in front of people to draw their attention. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. When you pray, don’t be like hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners so that people will see them. I assure you, that’s the only reward they’ll get. But when you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees what you do in secret will reward you.”

Now, today, less than 24 hours after Tebow’s victory[2] over the Pittsburgh Steelers, I am seeing something else that is worthy of note.  When Tebow comes to town, evangelical fans of the home team are finding themselves in a bit of a quandary.  Many have become so attached to the emerging legend that is Tim Tebow that they actually find themselves torn as to who they should support.  Do they root for Tebow and his “platform”[3] or do they root for the team that has occupied their hearts for many years?

Today, as we consider this phenomenon together, I want to ask several questions – many of which are particularly poignant in light of Tebow’s defeat of the Steelers.  For you see, the Pittsburgh Steelers are also quarterbacked by a famous individual; and like Tim Tebow, this individual entered the league talking about “platforms” and “evangelization.”

Have you ever heard of Ben Roethlisberger?  If you have, it’s probably because of the allegations of sexual assault that have been made against him, not once, but twice.  And while neither incident has been prosecuted due to a lack of compelling evidence,[4] there seems to be little doubt in the “court of public opinion” that Roethlisberger is guilty of “something.”

But take a look back at his rookie year?  What was his first infraction of the NFL code of conduct?  Not binge drinking.  Not sexual indiscretions.  No, Roethlisberger’s first infraction came when he tried to write “PFJ” on his football cleats?  And what does “PFJ” mean?  It means, “play for Jesus.”  That’s right.  When Roethlisberger first entered the league, he, like Tebow, wanted to be known as a man who stood for Christ.  In fact, in a 2005 interview that aired shortly before the Super Bowl, he was quoted as saying:

Sometimes you’re handed an opportunity to speak that you don’t even know you’re going to have. Only God could have brought me from third team as a rookie to a starter and Rookie of the Year … You don’t have to listen to what I have to say, but I will always have the opportunity to glorify God in all that I do.”

Later, in 2005, on the heels of being disciplined for the “PFJ incident,” Roethlisberger went on to say:

“I had to be a little more careful after that, but I’m always going to express my faith. Guys express all kinds of products here in the league, so I’m going to keep expressing my faith … It’s not tough be grounded in your faith, when the Lord is helping you. He has brought me through some tough times and I know His hand on me won’t slip.”[5]

Really?  Do you think Roethlisberger would still say that today?  Do you think he still believes that “It’s not tough to be grounded in your faith?”  I ask because when I look at his picture to the right, nothing jumps out at me speaking of the ease of faith.  So, as I said earlier, this brings me to a host of questions that have been bothering me all season long:

  1. Why do we insist on elevating young, publicly visible athletes to a position of spiritual authority in this world? 
  2. Why are we so quick to push Scripture aside when it calls into question the actions of a publicly visible Christian?
  3. Why do we believe that the power of the Gospel needs a “platform” of fame and adulation to be heard?
  4. Why is it that an article on Tim Tebow gets 149 hits, but an insightful article on American Christians living within the context of an empire receives a fraction of the attention?  What is it about celebrity that draws Christians and non-Christians alike?


[2] Another part of the Tebow phenomenon is the media’s insistence that every win or loss be discussed almost exclusively in terms of Tebow’s performance, and rarely the performance of the Denver Broncos team as a whole.

[3] Another feature of the Tebow spectacle is his consistent use of the word “platform.”  Tebow sees football as a means of evangelizing the world.  Inherent in that word “platform” is the idea that he has been given an elevated status within society.

[4] On April 12, 2010, district attorney Fred Bright announced that Roethlisberger would not be charged, by saying: “Looking at all the evidence here, I can not prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt”.  “D.A. Fred Bright Transcript plus the Post-Statement Interview”. National Sports Review. 04-12-2010.

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33 Responses to Is Tim Tebow a Hypocrite?

  1. mahoneyrm5150 says:

    I think Mark Noll answered your 4th question well in his book “Scandal of the Evangelical Mind.”

  2. Rebecca says:

    I have always wondered why Evangelicals need to have a cool kid to feel verified. They need politicians, celebrities, sports stars, etc. You don’t usually see this kind of silliness in the more liturgical veins of Christianity, and more liturgical/historical practice Christians tend to be a little less reserved with the whole thing (Rick Santorum excluded of course).

    I offer you this sports star in contrast on the field last night.
    http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11007/1116221-323.stm

    • Doug says:

      Great article. Thanks Rebecca.

      It seems to me that Christianity is a lot like ice cream: all kinds of flavors – orthodox, protestant, charismatic, etc – but it’s all still Christian. The challenge comes in when we think the “sprinkles” are what matters. To focus on the sprinkles is to not focus on the gospel and the essence of our faith.

      “Cool kids” are sprinkles. “Celebrity” is sprinkles. They might make the experience a little more enjoyable, but they aren’t essential. If we can use sprinkles to get people to love ice cream, however, why not do it? Just as long as we don’t make them sprinkle-addicts instead.

    • A buddy of mine (whom I reference in my article above) just put up a post on you might be interested in: http://christusvictoratonement.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/why-evangelicals-love-tebow-more-than-polamalu/

      • Eric Rowe says:

        Scott – How can you make the assumption that the reason that I or someone else responded to Ryan’s post was because he dared to question an “evangelical icon.” What is your evidence of that? I responded to the post because I studied the scripture, did not immediately completely agree with the conclusion; did more study and decided to post.

        • Morning Eric,

          Please understand that I am not suggesting that nobody thought about his question. But the posing of the question itself is what suddenly drove monstrous waves of traffic to his site. And honestly, in the two days since I’ve posted this on my site, the same thing has happened. In terms of “hit counts,” my previous high for anything I’ve written was 128 hits. I put up this post on Tebow, and it gets 300 hits in just over 24 hours. So all I’m suggesting is that there’s no denying that he is enormously popular right now; and openly questioning his actions in light of a passage is driving traffic. Does that make more sense?

          • Eric Rowe says:

            Scott – Morning. It is one thing to state that the reason traffic is being driven is because of Tebow being in the topic. I understand that. It is another to proclaim that the reason is because the post “dared to question an “evangelical icon” I would agree that my own interest was heightened because of the subject, “Is Tim Tebow a Hypocrite.” But my response was driven by the study of the scripture and not that someone dared to question an “evangelical icon.”

            To put it another way, your statement is a commentary on the two actions, reading and commenting. Tebow is driving the 149 readers. No doubt. However, your statement is also making a commentary that the 27 responses are most likely because someone dared to question Tebow. That is a big assumption. You may say that it was a subject of the post that was questioning Tebow and driving the readership. I disagree. If it said, Tebow is a Hypocrite, then yes, people are most likely flocking to the post to defend him. But even that is a big assumption.

            Anyway, since I responded to the post, you are lumping me into that characterization that I only responded to defend Tebow and blowing off scripture to do so. At the end of the day I could care less if you lumped me into that assumption. I am not here to say that you offended me or hurt my feelings by doing so. I am just responding to caution that when we make commentary that we refrain from general assumptions and making broad generalizations. I think some of the statements in the post and responses are no different than saying that all Catholics worship Mary and all Muslims are terrorists and on a more serious note, that all Iowans are farmers. We know that such characterizations are false. (If you did not know 4/5 Iowans live in metropolitan areas).

            Now as to why I commented on these posts and never on any that I had read before. I think it is because from the posts that I have stumbled upon, it was one where scripture was being applied to make a statement. It lead me to study the scripture which elicited my response. I have read many of the other posts, but many are purely intellectual. In the limited time that I have to engage in such dialogue, those that deal with scripture are more likely to elicit my interaction.

  3. beth says:

    I don’t know that you can answer the question about Tebow without knowing his motives and his personal life. In the Matthew passage, Jesus is addressing the tendency of the Pharisees to make a big show out of their prayer when the rest of their life was spiritually bankrupt – but they wanted to be sure everyone saw them being “holy”. Is that what Tebow is doing? Is he doing it simply to appear holy, or is he doing it because it’s where his heart it? I don’t think anyone can judge that but Christ.

    So it begs the question – does that mean that no one should take advantage of the opportunity to be a public Christian? If God gives you a talent that provides you a national platform, should you not take advantage of it? Should you not publicly express your gratitude to the One who gave the talent in the first place? And if the answer to that is no, where does it leave those with a talent for theological writing or speaking? Should they not practice their talent simply because it may cast them in the shoes of a hypocrite, out there praying loudly for show?

    I think really the issue boils down to people’s reaction – not Tebow himself. Do we worship Tebow, or do we allow Tebow to remind us to give our worship to the One who bestows all talents?

    • mahoneyrm5150 says:

      He is addressing His followers and not the Pharisees, and he does not make one single mention to his followers about the inner state of their heart in the passage. You are reading words into the passage that are simply not there. He is saying, “Don’t even look like them by drawing attention to yourself as you pray and fast.” It is not a blanket ban of all public prayer, but public prayer that is drawing attention of others to you.

    • Beth.

      In one sense, I would agree with you that he is addressing the Pharisees tendency towards “making a big show.” But, it is against this backdrop that he is addressing his own followers and is saying: don’t pray in public or you’ll end up looking like these hypocrites. So I think my friend’s question was a fair question. This passage advises against such behavior on the grounds that it leaves the practitioner open to charges of looking like an ego-maniac.

      As for your other question, I’m not sure where I land. On one hand, we are called to be salt and light to the world. At the same time, we seem to be called to do so in a manor that does not bring the attention to ourselves, but to the our Savior. And the tricky tight rope that those in the public eye have to walk is how to do this well.

      Thanks for stopping by the site. It was nice to hear from you.

  4. Doug says:

    Scott, I agree that the gospel doesn’t NEED a platform of celebrity or fame, but that doesn’t mean it’s always wrong to use celebrity or fame. I think problems arise when we believe that to “really” make an impact with the gospel we MUST have a celebrity speak. We live in a society that loves sports and at times worships sports. I don’t think we can say sports is evil because of this, just that our misplace loyalties are. The opportunity that exists for the church (and for us as believers) today is to effectively use sport (and opportunities threw celebrity) as one of those “all means” to further the gospel.

    I think in juxtaposing Rothisberger andTebow, you actually make a stronger case FOR Tim Tebow and the interest he has draw. Tim is outspoken and “in your face” so to speak with his faith. However, to date, his walk has emulated his talk. To some extent, I think that’s what the world is really thirsting for – Christians who will boldly, sincerely and consistently live their faith not just think it. From what I’ve heard and read from the Broncos’ players, what we see of Tim Tebow on Sundays is what they see when the cameras are off Monday through Saturday. Assuming this is correct, more power to him. In fact, more PRAYER for him – because you know his boldness makes him the perfect target for the evil one.

    Is Tim kneeling in the endzone or pointing up to heaven so that we will all think – “Wow, what a great person & Christian Tim Tebow is?” I hope not, and from what I’ve heard and observed the guy is sincere. Regardless, what I think we can take from “Tebow Mania” is a challenge to us as Christians to more boldly live out our own faith, to “pray without ceasing,” and to worship our Lord sincerely in whatever we are doing – football, baseball, teaching, cooking, etc. (Col. 3).

    • Hey Doug,

      Welcome to the site. Just read your comments, and I’m curious to know how my juxtoposition of Roethlisberger and Tebow made a stronger case for Tebow. In Roethlisberger’s rookie year, he made the same sorts of statements that Tebow makes. But look where he has landed. I think my concern is that we elevate these young men (man, that makes me sound old!) and then others laugh and mock the Savior when they fall.

      • Doug says:

        If we look at the careers of Ben Roethlisberger and Tim Tebow over the past 5-6 years, I think you’ll see my point. During that time, Ben’s words and actions have been inconsistent at best. However, Tim has pretty much remained the same. Whether it’s “Tebowing” this year, John 3:16 eye-black during college, or his profession of faith in high school (he “Tebowed” then, too). And eyes have been on Tim since high school. He’s been a “celebrity” during that whole time. In some ways, it’s been a more difficult road for Tebow to stay consistent. How many 18 year olds can stand strong in their faith when the trappings of celebrity come calling? Ben couldn’t even do it when he was 27. The University of Florida was a much more challenging and fame promoting place than where Roethlisberger went to college in Oxford, OH. Additionally, two National Championships and a Heisman trophy don’t allow for much anonymity. So, I would say from a fame and celebrity standpoint, Tim Tebow so far has proven to be consistent in his Christian character.

        To your last point I would agree that we must be careful of elevating anyone – young men or old men. I think of former MLB player Darryl Strawberry. He had/has a history of drug addiction. Shortly after leaving the METS for the LA Dodgers, he became a Christian. Immediately, he was thrown into the Christian limelight – speaking at churches, youth groups, etc. Then hit happened again – drugs. His “platform” was ruined. However, I think it was ruined not because it was a bad platform, but because he was forced upon it before he was ready and maybe in a way that wasn’t right for his story. I also think of the many pastors that were well past 40 that were highly respected, revered, honored, and then a personal scandal was revealed that crushed his ministry. Tim’s Tebow’s opportunity is no different. Fortunately for him, his foundation of faith has had more years to solidify than Darryl’s, and at least to date, the Sunday cameras haven’t changed him into something he wasn’t.

        As for mocking Jesus, we don’t think we should fear people mocking and laughing at our Savior per se. They are doing it right now, and Tim hasn’t stumbled yet (ex Bill Maher, SNL, etc.). But people also mocked and laughed at our Savior to his own face. Jesus promised these types of things would happen when we are faithful. So, in one way, the mocking to me confirms the message. Maybe I need to ask myself the question is anyone mocking Jesus because of my faithfulness?

        I love what’s happening with Tebow, even the bad stuff. The celebrity of it all is getting people to hone their faith like we are doing on your blog. It’s causing the mainstream media to speak about Jesus much more than they have traditionally wanted – “forcing” millions of people to hear the gospel. It should cause all of us to look at ourselves and ask the question, “Am I passionate about Jesus and consistently living out that passion in everything I’m doing.” We don’t all need to be as outspoken as Tim is, but I think we should all be as passionate.

  5. Bob Bryant says:

    Interesting post and questions being asked. Somehow I feel that by posting on this, I am simply prooving your point as I haven’t commented as of late. My thought is simply this, I agree with Beth to her point of knowing Tebow’s heart as opposed to the larger scope of western Christians that need to have a poster child to validate the gospel. It would appear that this is not simply a 20th century phenomenon, but rather an issue that the apostle Paul himself faced. “What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? (1 Cor. 1:12-13). The temptation is to put the focus on the messenger, rather than the message. Paul maintained a position and mindset of humility throughout his ministry. “Although I am less than the least of all God’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things.” (Eph. 3:8). Can Tebow remain humble in heart amidst a culture that seeks to elevate him to a spiritual icon?

    In answer to your 3rd question, I believe it will always be this way until the kingdom of fully realized. The gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing. I wonder if we truly believe that the gospel itself has the power to save, or if we get caught up in current practices to package it up in fancy and “relevant” packaging with the backing of a flashy and dynamic speaker.

    Just thoughts, have a good day.

    • mahoneyrm5150 says:

      Interesting comment regarding the celebrity among apostles.

    • While I suspect that “rock star status” has always been an issue, there is no doubt that the Modern life has magnified this problem in the extreme. What’s more, of the three major branches of the Christian church, evangelicalism seems to be the most prone to this problem. While the other two branches seem largely content to simply root their practice in history, evangelicalism seems to be constantly re-inventing itself, thus leaving itself exposed to coming off as a “flavor of the week” that is largely driven what is most popular at the moment.

      • Rebecca says:

        Well why is that? I would guess that because it does not, in fact, see itself encompassed by so great a cloud of witnesses (i.e. no saints, no tradition ergo no roots) so it has no idea what it wants to be when it grows up.

        Evangelicals don’t like Polamalu b/c he’s not one of them. As a culture, they don’t know what to do with Orthodoxy b/c they don’t know anything about it, it gives an alternative to Catholicism that makes Protestantism potentially unnecessary and it’s weird looking.

  6. Doug says:

    From Stephen to Paul to Peter, people have glorified God publicly out of the spontaneous outpouring of affection for Him. “Let your light shine before men”, says the Word. Paul said “Follow me as I follow Christ”. The Scripture from Matthew 6 is blatantly about motivations. “Be careful you don’t pray in front of people TO draw their attention.” Yep, true. But if you’re praying in front of people to communicate that the God you serve is very real and very deserving of praise in the public square? Well, then you’re simply joining the throngs of others that have found Him worthy of such public adulation.

    Do people go haywire and start worshiping the Christian instead of Christ? Yes. But that doesn’t make how Tim Tebow is conducting himself any less courageous or honorable.

    • Josh The Younger says:

      I completely agree. The pharisees were hypocrites not because they were praying, but because they were praying hollowly and even simply to gain attention and praise. I don’t know Tebow’s heart, but he seems to be a sincere, likable, not to mention extremely humble young man with a passion both for the game he plays and his “Lord and savior Jesus Christ”. Were Paul and Silas hypocritical for singing in prison? Are thousands of Christian families hypocritical for praying before they eat in a public restaurant? Are dozens of athletes hypocritical for pointing to God after they score a touchdown/hit a homerun/etc?

      As far as I know, Tebow has never tried to bring attention to himself. He constantly compliments his teammates and coaches (who coincidentally were very slow to be as supporting of him), and just as consistently attributes his success to God. I don’t think God makes the Broncos win because of Tebow (a. there are plenty of other Christians in the NFL and b. God doesn’t need a football game to witness for Him), or that Tebow believes that, but Tebow seems genuine in his belief that it’s only through God’s grace that he’s been blessed so greatly and his desire to thank Him for those gifts.

    • Rich Bennema says:

      Doug, I was thinking the same thing. But it isn’t just the Word that says “Let your light shine before men,” it’s Matthew 5, which provides context for Matthew 6.

      So, since Matthew 6:1,5-6 has been highlighted, let’s also look at Matthew 5:11-16

      “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

      So, how do you like Tim Tebow now? 😛

      In all seriousness, we need balance. If you only take Matthew 6, then Tebow is a hypocrite. But if you only take Matthew 5, then Tebow is a hero. He’s putting his light on the highest stand the world has. And he’s being persecuted for so publicly aligning himself with Christ, and thus piling up reward in heaven.

      Matthew 5 can also explain the lack of Polamalu love. Before reading that article this morning, all I knew about Polamalu was that he used Head & Shoulders. Is Polamalu hiding his light under a bowl (or in his case, a whole lot of hair)? Is Polamalu to be thrown out and trampled underfoot?

      So what is the balance? If we take Matthew 5 and 6 together, what opinion should we form regarding Tim Tebow and Troy Polamalu?

      • Morning Rich. What’s with you injecting proper hermeneutics into the discussion? Who needs context?! Find the passage that supports your pre-determined position and be done with it. Seriously, man, it’s like you want to actually have a thoughtful conversation. 🙂

        Alright, all kidding aside, I’m right there with you. The context of a passage is critical in cases like this; and I’m really glad you took the time to bring that up.

        Truth be told, I wasn’t actually interested in having a conversation on whether Tebow was a hypocrite. I was more interested in how this question drove traffic to my friend’s sight. And I was interested to see how quickly many people discarded the passage in question because they liked the man. And lastly, I was really interested in how obsessed we, as an evangelical culture, seem to be with finding someone who has a “platform.”

        Good thoughts, as always, friend.

        • Rich Bennema says:

          First of all: LOL!

          But second, I think one leads to another. There (usually) isn’t as much controversy in context. While at Wheaton, I don’t remember anyone getting riled up over a chapel speaker who thoughtfully and carefully applied a passage in context. It was the out-of-contextors that got a lot of play on the forum wall (both for and against).

          Same thing here. If your friend posts, “if Matthew 5 says shine your light for all to see while Matthew 6 says don’t draw attention to your prayers, then is Tim Tebow doing something right or doing something wrong or is he just doing something?” I’m not sure if that draws as much traffic and/or dismissal of the point as saying, “According to Matthew 6: Tim Tebow = Hypocrite” or “According to Matthew 5: Tim Tebow = Brightest Lamp on the Highest Stand.”

  7. Mark Notestine says:

    As a Reformed evangelical I can say that not all evangelicals “need a cool kid to be verified.” Seems like a very broad generalization.

    For example, I never heard of Tim Tebow until a month or two ago. I still have no idea what team he plays for or what postion he plays (I only know that his team beat the Steelers from your blog above). I have no strong opinion on his expression of faith since I don’t know anything about his character or the context of his expressions. Seems like it might be a “flash in the pan” phenomenon that will disappear as soon as he stops or people get bored with it.

    Regarding question 3, from my Reformed perspective no special “platform” is needed. God will bring to Himself those he as predestined through whatever people/circumstances He chooses; we only need to be faithful in our circumstances. Perhaps thinking there is need for a “platform” is a symptom of us wanting to take control and do things in our time and not fully trusting in God’s sovereignty to work out His plans.

    Regarding question 4, articles on sports figures are far less interesting to me than historical / political analysis. Perhaps celebrity attention is a symptom of lack of contentment in the lives of Christians and non-Christians. Celebrities and the media can certainly give the illusion of “having it all” in this world. The media seems very good at helping to implant discontentment in people to generate this celebrity craving which results in viewership/subscriptions, advertising revenue and merchandising revenue.

    • mahoneyrm5150 says:

      But Mark even the fact that you bothered to post here makes a little bit of Scott’s point. Correct me if I am wrong, but I have not seen you reply and comment on any of his other material previously.

  8. Nick Doherty says:

    As there is no way for anyone but God to truly tell if a person’s heart is sincere, nobody but God will know if Tebow is simply trying to draw attention to himself or actually praying to God. We will only know on judgement day. That being said, as a person who doesn’t follow football or even sports for that matter, to me it appears that Tebow is being legitimate. I’ve heard that he has a great attitude toward his team and that he is not afraid to talk about God in public/on camera.

    The other thing I noticed was the very interesting comment Rebecca made about Evangelical Christians needing a celebrity to feel good about themselves. My take on that is that everyone, Christian or not, wants the support of other people. When they don’t get it, many fall silent and simply go with the flow, so to speak. It is only those who have a much stronger resilience to the outside world who are able to proclaim their beliefs and stick with them even under fire. For that reason, it is always a good idea to surround yourself with people who support you, not attack you. The Bible itself says numerous times that you become like your friends. I myself have surrounded myself with not so good friends in the past, and I paid for it severely. But back to the point of Christian celebrities, having a Christian celebrity is like a morale boost to (most) other Christians. It shows that even people who are popular can still follow God, so why not they themselves? The effect can also be harmful as well, however. It gives people a person to point at and say, “Well look at Tebow, he’s a Christian.” Instead of using logic to support their belief, they use the logical fallacy of ad hominem. This results in a more shallow understanding of what the Gospel truly is instead of taking the time to look at all the evidence and theology that supports the Gospel.

    Anyway, those are the thoughts of a 16 year old. Thank you for the article, Scott.

    • Good morning Nick.

      First things first. It was great to sign on this morning and find this note from you. I still miss seeing you around school and I miss our time together going back and forth to kyuki-do. From your note here, it sounds as if things are going better right now. I’m glad to hear that, friend.

      I think you actually brought up an interesting point. If I may be so bold, I would summarize it as this. Some people are weak in their faith; and it helps them to know that someone else – someone both they and the world respect – is actually strong. It gives the weaker brother a sense of encouragement that they can go on. Is that a fair summary?

      If it is, my question about Roethlisberger is all the more troubling. What do you do with a guy like that who stands in strength and then plummets down? How many “weaker” people were watching him, saw him fall, and fell themselves?

      Again, it was great to hear from you.

      Your brother in Christ,
      Scott

      P.S. When I read your remarks about “ad hominem” logic, I thought to myself: “He may not be here at the CC, but he has been permanently marked by us.” And it made me smile.

  9. Wow, this is a hard one! To throw my opinions out, I think Tebow’s pretty genuine and to think that others are “mocking” him is kind of sad to me. But like Nick said, God only knows his heart and i hope he’s legit. Think about what would happen if he were to have an affair or steal from the White House (however that’s possible) or something of the sort…the reputation of Christians would turn major crappy.

    Anyways, I have a question: So Matthew 6 talks about not praying in public because praying should be private between you and God. I’m a little confused about that. What about group praying? With friends or groups of people? Is that necessarily qualified as praying to “draw attention to yourself?” Do you think it’s talking about praying outloud/leading in prayer or praying in front of a group of “mixed-religions”, like a store, silently?

    Sorry…I’m an overly-curious person. This verse seems to be a little ambiguous to me. I might need to re-read it over and over in order to fully understand it! Haha!

    • With regards to your question, I would argue that this is something that Christians in small groups honestly need to think about. You’ve been in groups where people pray, right? You ever have the feeling that some are praying as a performance? Ever have the feeling that they are talking to you and not to God? This absolutely applies to Christians praying in public, no matter how large or small the audience. Having said that, it’s not a ban on public prayer. It’s a ban on prayer that draws attention to oneself for the sake of oneself. Does that make sense?

      • Yes sir, that does make sense. I like it when pastors give us a few minutes to talk to God by ourselves. It seems more “real” in a sense and less distracting. Thanks for clearing it up!

  10. Wow, this is very thought provoking. As always Mr. Bryant, you’ve left me puzzled and wishing for answers 😀

    I think you definitely have a point in that we shouldn’t draw attention to ourselves in prayer. I don’t really think, though, that this is what Tebow is doing.

    As Mark 8:38 says, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.” (Luke 9:26 is very similar)

    With the great commission in mind, I think Tebow is simply expressing his faith in his own unique way. He decided to express it through open prayer to his savior. If he is praying to draw attention to himself, then I would agree with you. I don’t believe he is, though. I definitely see your point, though, and maybe he should find a different way to express his faith.

    • Morning Chris,

      One of the things that you are going to learn over the course of your life is that understanding how to ask good questions is often more important than arriving at simple conclusions. Yes, it can be time-consuming and frustrating at times, but the best learning happens through careful probing.

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