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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Real Problem with Tim Tebow

A lot of people question my "criticism" of Tim Tebow.  How could someone named "The Rev" dare to question a fellow Christian?  How could one "Man of God" criticize another?

It's not Tebow that annoys me nearly as much as his fans.  He didn't ask anyone to fight his battles or

Let me be clear:  The majority of my criticism has absolutely nothing to do with Tim Tebow as a person, or even as a Christian.  In fact, I don't have a lot of problems with Tim Tebow as a football player.  He is actually a fantastic football player.

The problem is that there are a lot of fantastic players out there.  James Harrison is a fantastic football player.  Ray Lewis is a fantastic football player.  Michael Turner, Antonio Gates, Darrelle Revis, and Troy Polumalu are all great football players.  But I don't think one of those guys can play quarterback in the NFL.

No matter how hard they work or how bad they want it or how long they prayed for it, none of those guys will ever be a solid starting quarterback in the NFL.  And there is my problem with Tim Tebow.

This is a guy that has the potential to play any number of positions in the NFL because he is a great athlete with a great work ethic.  H-back, fullback, running back, tight end, and perhaps a little slot receiver are all possibilities.  He could be a jack-of-all-trades/master-of-none.  And his Christian witness would not suffer one bit if he moved into that role instead of being an quarterback.

I once heard Tebow talk about how he prayed, as a child, to become an NFL quarterback.  But he seems to forget that you don't always get it just because you pray for it.  Sometimes, God says no to your requests.  Always, God asks that we finish our prayers by saying, "Not my will, but yours."  God promises to hear us and help us, not give us our way.

But that's not Tim Tebow's "brand" of Christianity.  The young man seems honest and sincere while being incredibly naive about the nature of certain things within the faith.  He is unintentionally telling people that he is going to be an NFL quarterback because he prayed hard enough for it.  And God just doesn't work that way.

Some have stated in more eloquent ways just what it is that troubles some of us about Tebow's religion.  Kurt Warner was a fine example of Christian faith, but he lived that faith without wearing it as a badge of entitlement.  Tim Tebow is receiving more advantages than 70% of NFL draft picks ever receive, and he is getting a chance to play quarterback without one piece of solid evidence to support giving him that opportunity.  He now has to reach down and pull up his faith, because things are not going his way in spite of his privileged position.

How Tebow reacts to his lack of success will say more about his Christian faith than anything else he has done.  Will he show the humility that he purports to have and be grateful for the chance to play in the NFL at all?  Or will he stubbornly hold to the fact that he somehow has a special birthright to be an NFL quarterback, just because he asked his Father for it?

The most Christ-centered message that Tim Tebow can send would be a willingness to play any position that he might be asked to play.  Sincere Christian faith is not demonstrated by getting your way.  It is found in how we react when we don't.

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