Why I’m still bullish on Tim Tebow

Tim Tebow has been under attack from all sides since cancelling his speaking engagement at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas. On one side, those on the secular left have castigated him for not coming out strongly enough against Pastor Jeffress and his views. On the other side, some Christians have criticized him for caving in to pressure from the left. As I wrote Thursday morning, I am confident that Tebow is an orthodox believer in Jesus Christ and that no one should jump to the conclusion that he has jumped the evangelical ship. I am grateful to see that some of his closest friends are indeed confirming this impression.

Pastor Jimmy Scroggins is a lifelong friend of Tebow and has a must-read article today reminding everyone that Tebow is not afraid to take controversial stands. He concludes his article with this exhortation:

Many Christians have been critical of Tim’s decision. Others have been critical of his explanation for his withdrawal. I’m sorry if Tebow can’t meet your standard for speaking in public. This young man stands up for Christ, tries to do what is right, and proves with his actions that his faith is more than words.

We should remember that Tim is a football player. He is not a trained theologian, philosopher, apologist, or public policy expert. It is unfair to expect Tebow to speak competently and comprehensively to the complex and nuanced set of issues surrounding homosexuality. Certainly he has an opinion about God’s design for sex and marriage. I am confident that he will share his view at a time of his choosing.

I know Tim Tebow. I’ve been friends with his family since I was eight years old. I was his friend before he got famous, and I’ll be his friend after the media machine gets through with him. I am proud to hold him up as a role model for my sons. Because here is what I know about him – he isn’t a coward and he has not “caved in” under pressure. Feel free to agree or disagree with his decisions about where he speaks. But for Pete’s sake – cut the guy some slack.

Tebow’s pastor Mac Brunson also confirms that Tebow has not “caved” under pressure. He writes:

In the midst of media scrutiny, spin, and relentless analysis, Tim Tebow’s testimony has captivated the faithful, the unbelieving, and everyone in between. He has taken bold stands for Christ repeatedly that would have withered the best of us. This is not a person that capitulates. There is a lot going on right now, but Timmy trusts the Lord to lead him and he has committed his life to following Jesus… We need to pray for Tim. I spoke with Timmy recently and he still believes deeply in the Gospel we all hold dear. As an NFL football player, God has blessed him with a platform to share the love of Jesus Christ with millions. He will address other issues in his time.

Even without these personal affirmations of Tebow’s continuing commitment to Christ and His word, Tebow deserves the benefit of the doubt—not the condemnation that some are doling out. Yes, the cancellation sent a mixed signal, but I don’t believe that it was intentional. Christians especially need to be open to the possibility that his cancellation was not for the nefarious reasons that some people are assuming. I’m confident that Tebow will make that clear in the coming days.

As I have prayed for Tebow over the last few days, Jesus’ words to Peter in Luke 22:31-32 have been on my mind:

Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.

What must it have meant for Peter to know that Jesus sought to strengthen his hands at the moment of his greatest trial? Should we not offer such support to brother Tebow as well? For me, anyway, the answer is clear. I hope it will be for you too.

26 Responses to Why I’m still bullish on Tim Tebow

  1. Dan Phillips February 23, 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    I’m always a sucker for loyalty. But “sends out a mixed signal,” given the loud, loud context, seems overmild.

    Scenario: I announce I’m having lunch with (gasp!!) The Denny Burk.

    Out of the woodwork come Tweeters and commenters, decrying my dignifying such a knuckle-dragging, coat-hanger-loving, woman-hating, anti-choice, keep-’em-barefoot-and-pregnant Troglodyte, who also hates “gays” and probably favors public stonings and thinks the Taliban is too limp-wristed.

    So I announce that, due to information I only recently learned, I’m cancelling Lunchtime with Denny.

    “Mixed message”?

    Absolutely not.

    Now, suppose the information I allude to is… I dunno, that Jim Hamilton won’t be my friend anymore if I have lunch with you. I’m reaching, here. But that might sway me.

    Yet still, in that case it isn’t a “MIXED” message, it’s a CRYSTAL-CLEAR message. That it isn’t my message isn’t the point, unless I’m to be treated as if I was an absolute moron.

    • Shaun DuFault February 23, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

      Good thoughts on that , Dan.

    • Elizabeth Anscombe February 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

      LOL.

    • Paul Reed February 24, 2013 at 10:34 am #

      Dan Phillips, +1

      The writing on the wall here is pretty easy to read. It’s depressing to read, sure. But it’s still easy to read.

  2. J.M. LaRue February 23, 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    Tebow doesn’t *want* to be controversial.

    He didn’t accept the speaking invitation in order to be controversial and at the center of yet another scenario.

    Its understandable to back out considering the problem it became.

  3. Eric Carpenter February 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    I agree with much of what you say here. Tim Tebow has been put in a tough spot, and we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

    My big criticism is not of Tebow but of FBC Dallas. I have no idea how they can justify spending over a hundred million dollars on a church building. It is reprehensible. That money could be used in many better ways such as caring for the poor and needy, and supporting more missionaries. FBC Dallas is the one who should be criticized, not Tim Tebow.

  4. George Wisley February 23, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Dr Burk, thank you for posting this. Both sides in the culture war have been incredibly unfair to Tebow. He’s been a faithful witness and doesn’t deserve this criticism. He has to endure enough of that from his job as a pro football player, so the Christian community should pray for him instead of castigate him… This SBC pastor is tired of us shooting our own wounded. Thanks!

  5. Mark Lamprecht February 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Tebow did cave to something, but we don’t know exactly what that something is. Either way, Jeffress’ comment on the situation indicates that Tebow will speak at FBC Dallas in the future. Tebow may just think it is just too sensitive a time for some reason.

  6. cb scott February 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm #

    This is just my conviction and no one else’s, nor does it have to be.

    I have known Bob and Pam Tebow for more years than many of you have been on the planet. They both have a solid biblical faith and are made of pure grit and steel. They reared all of their children to be of the same metal.

    I do not know all of the circumstances between Timmy and FBC Dallas. I do know that his daddy, Bob, is a righteous man with a bullheaded, immovable nature about standing for biblical truth and he once stood by me during a hard time in my life when many others who had called themselves my friends threw me under the bus. Bob Tebow was my friend for a long time.

    Therefore, I shall stand by the Tebow family and if it is proven that I am a fool for doing so, then so be it — won’t be the first time, nor, I am sure, the last.

  7. Reg Schofield February 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm #

    Lets be frank , Tebow’s football playing career is in a it of limbo . I still think he lacks many tools to be a big league Quarterback but that is another debate. Perhaps the advice he received boils down to this , go speak and be labelled a homophobic , hateful bigot and good luck with getting a NFL franchise to look at you kid. So in my circles , pretty much to a fault everyone said money . If he speaks , the endorsements gone , NFL teams hesitant . But before we throw him under the bus , lets be honest with ourselves as well . There is coming a day when our association with biblical Christianity will conflict in our work place and what will we do? Will we stand or deny . Keep praying for this young man , the eyes of a hateful world is on him , waiting for him to fall .

  8. Bruce Armstrong (@brucearmstrong1) February 23, 2013 at 7:55 pm #

    Tim Tebow lied to FBC Dallas and Dr Jeffress (yes, going back on your word is lying). It was dishonorable. When forced to choose between his fellow Christians and the anti-Christian media, Tim made his choice. He took the broad way and not the narrow.

    • Daryl Little February 23, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

      Wow, it’s lying to change you mind? Everything you agree to is set in stone, come what may? Really?

      It does look like he took the easy way out, but we don’t know for sure, give the kid a chance.

      • Matt Svoboda February 24, 2013 at 12:23 am #

        Daryl,

        I have seen Bruce trolling on several blogs about Tebow. He is saying the same nonsense everywhere. It is best to ignore these types of guys.

  9. Matt Svoboda February 24, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    Denny,

    I really dont see the big deal here. He decided to not follow through with a speaking engagement that had nothing to do with the gospel and was creating a TON of unneeded controversy. He was speaking to usher in a 130 million dollar building, being a pawn for FBC Dallas.

    It was creating a lot of controversy, which is hurting his career, and it has nothing to do with Tebow not willing to stand for biblical convictions. It merely showed he didnt believe speaking at this particular engagement, for this particular pastor, was a hill worth dying on. I agree 100% with Tebow and believe it to be a very wise move.

    • Robert I Masters February 24, 2013 at 2:04 am #

      Matt Svoboda
      He is coming back to speak later…..I suspect the 130 million dollar will still be there when he speaks at that time.

      BTW-Do you use a Mac computer ?

      • Matt Svoboda February 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

        What is your point?

        Just because he will speak later and the building will obviously still bet there doesnt mean he isnt simply being a pawn to show off an absurd building worth 130 million.

        Yes.

      • Brian Sanders February 25, 2013 at 2:23 am #

        No real Christian uses a MAC; that would equate to denying the gospel. Right?

  10. Adam Gupton February 24, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    Tebow fanboys unite!

  11. Robert I Masters February 24, 2013 at 7:13 pm #

    Matt Svoboda
    That the cost of a building is not a an Essential of the Faith.!
    You are posting on here and other blogs like its a legalistic requirement for all churches to have the same vision of building stewardship as you. Its a tool for His Glorify.
    No Matt Svoboda tithe money was used in the making of that building!

    Back in 2009, Jared Wilson did a post on this topic. Even in his criticism he still made these statements.

    “Jared C. Wilson
    November 5th, 2009 | 2:32 pm | #30
    I want to repeat one thing and introduce another hopefully as help towards understanding where I’m coming from:

    1) There’s nothing wrong with building a building. Not even with building a big one.

    2) I am not anti-megachurch. :-)”

    My point on the Mac is that Apple cost 50 percent of more than a Linux with exactly the same or better specifications. So buying/using a Mac means you are extravagant. But I have no desire to go on a anti-Mac crusade.

    Bottomline: I believe you do not like Dr Jeffries vision for the Church in America.
    I think Tim is a great guy and I think Dr Jeffries has a great vision for the Church.
    I pray they can come together for the Gospel.

    • Scott terrell February 24, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

      A Mac cost no more thn what, $1500? You’re really going to compare that to a 130 million dollar building? There is nothing about that which glorifies God, even in the slightest. It’s hubris. Nothing more or less. It’s also symptomatic of the opulence characterizing Dallas churches.

    • Matt Svoboda February 26, 2013 at 12:04 am #

      Robert,

      I didnt purchase my Mac. Nothing about my life is extravagant. Good try though.

      Again, we arent just talking about any ole building. We are talking about a church showboating by building a 130 million dollar building. Not everyone has to hold my view, obviously. With that said, how anyone can be okay with spending that much on one church building is simply baffling.

      I agree with Wilsons points above. I also believe that the extravagancy of FBC Dallas’ building is ridiculous.. These are not contradictory in any way.

  12. Robert I Masters February 24, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    Scott terrell

    No….. A Mac Book Pro with Retina display is 2,799 dollars.

    I can call his ownership of his mac extravagant compared to a my linux system.

    But that really was not my point…….There simply is no set Biblical standard for buildings in Scripture.
    For you or anyone to set such a standard is pure legalism.

    • Brian Sanders February 25, 2013 at 2:29 am #

      Robert: I think you bring up an interesting point, but I would take it a different direction. There is no set standard for when/how a believer can/should decline a speaking invitation short of denying our Savior, Jesus Christ. I believe that Tim Tebow’s critics are judging him by a standard they have set themselves and not one we find in our Bibles.

      • Robert I Masters February 25, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

        Brian:
        You have the chronology wrong. Tim accepted the invitation then canceled after the secular media put pressure on him.

        Even the TMZ people said Tim wushed out on this one!

        http://tinyurl.com/ao9yd6s

    • Matt Svoboda February 26, 2013 at 12:06 am #

      Robert,

      You can think 130 million on a building is perfectly fine. That is your opinion. It is my opinion that it is sinfully extravagant and ridiculous. Yes, sinfully. Its in the same ball park as Pastors who make over 10 million dollars a year from their church. It is absurd and christians ought to call it out as absurd.

  13. Robert I Masters February 26, 2013 at 12:31 am #

    Matt Svoboda

    I will be glad to accept your opinion of this building as sinful if you if can show the Scripture.

    Otherwise I fail to see this as anything but legalism—-and Jesus condemns your new law.

    BTW-I hope you have extravagant love for your wife, Dr Jeffries ,Tim Tebow , and Robert Masters.

    Love you bro

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