Why Don’t More Christians Like Tim Tebow?

By Julie Roys
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He’s successful, yet humble; polite, but still willing to take an unpopular stand.  Moral. Congenial. Unabashedly Christian.  So why are so many Christians critical of Denver Quarterback Tim Tebow?

The football sensation has led the Broncos to six remarkable come-from-behind wins.  As one reporter admitted, it’s “a streak even non-believers are calling miraculous.”  Not only do non-believers appreciate Tebow’s record, they also admire his character.  Dan Lebowitz, executive director of Sport in Society at Northeastern University, says Tebow exemplifies a “new construct of manhood.” He’s “tough as heck on the football field, but still . . .  kind, compassionate, respectful of women.”  As sports reporter Dan Wetzel wrote, “You don’t have to be religious at all to enjoy Tim Tebow.”

But certainly, one would expect those of us who are religious to love Tim Tebow even more.  And, I have yet to hear anyone take exception with his character or ability to rally a team.  It’s his public displays of devotion that make many Christians squirm.  Tebow is quick to thank Jesus after every victory.  And, on the field, Tebow’s habit of kneeling for prayer has become so well-known that doing so is now called “Tebowing.”

Some say Tebow’s public displays unnecessarily offend non-Christians and urge him to be more tactful about his public witness.   Others say Tebow’s practice of praying in public violates Scripture.  After all, didn’t Jesus instruct his followers to pray in private?

Of course, in Jesus’ day, society valued devotion to God and such displays would only invite personal praise; today, they invite scorn.  And, it seems to me, that’s really at the heart of why we Christians criticize Tim Tebow.   We don’t want to risk public embarrassment and have tons of excuses for why we should mute our public witness.  Tebow confronts these excuses.  And, he reminds us of the importance of confessing Jesus before men.  That makes us uncomfortable.  Too often, we’d rather play armchair quarterback than actually get in the game.


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2 thoughts on “Why Don’t More Christians Like Tim Tebow?”

  1. I think most Christians realize that God has more important things to worry about than whether or not the Denver Broncos win a football game. Tebow has been a great story this year, but his on-field praying for NFL success completely diminishes the importance of prayer.

  2. I think you are wrong… just my opinion. I think prayer should be a part of everything we do. We keep referring to his prayer during football games but I believe prayer is a part of his life.. he glorifies God for both his successes and failures. I believe God has shown him favor, despite the fact that his talents are not that of a typical NFL quarterback, and that God would show him favor in all things he does so long as God is put 1st. While I admire watching his football accomplishments, what his story reminds me is that all is possible with God on your side. There are to many closet Christians, I don’t believe Tebow is being anything more than genuine in professing his love of Christ our God…

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