Last week controversy swirled when the secular media found out about Tim Tebow’s scheduled speaking engagement at the First Baptist Church Dallas. The church had asked Tim to speak this spring as they opened their new church building.
The historic church has come under fire recently because of its Biblically informed positions regarding homosexuality, Islam, and Mormonism. When sportswriters such as Gregg Doyel of CBS and Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel heard about Tim's impending speaking engagement at FBC Dallas, they criticized Tim for agreeing to speak at such an "intolerant" church.
Tim decided not to speak at FBC Dallas. Now, Tim is being criticized by some brothers and sisters in Christ who feel like he has compromised his convictions and has caved into the politically correct police.
So, how should we think about Tim, FBC Dallas, and the critics?
We should praise God for the amazing platform that He has sovereignly chosen to give Tim Tebow. He has been a source of encouragement to millions of believers for his courageous and passionate loyalty to Jesus and His Word.
We should see that both Tim and First Baptist Dallas have become targets of the politically-correct intolerance of the self-appointed media police.
Personally, I feel confident that Tim has prayed and sought counsel regarding his decision not to speak at First Baptist Dallas. I am also confident that Tim has not changed his Biblically informed position regarding the sanctity of marriage or any other moral issue.
Tim made a difficult decision involving many nuanced factors that most of us who are not in the media spotlight cannot fathom. Rather than castigating him, we should continue to pray for and encourage him.
The media controversy surrounding this issue has given the Christian community an opportunity to show support for both Tim and for First Baptist Dallas. But many of us are, sadly, failing to stand with our brothers.
After telling His followers in the Upper Room discourse that the world will hate us, Jesus prayed for the unity of His church so the world will know that Jesus is the One whom the Father sent. The public criticism of Tim and his decision by his brothers in Christ seems, at least to me, to violate the passionate longing expressed by Jesus in His high priestly prayer.
God has surrounded Tim with Godly parents, faithful siblings, spiritual confidants, loving pastors, trusted advisors, and accountability partners who will stimulate him toward love and good deeds (Hebrews 10:24-25) as well as admonish him when necessary (Colossians 1:28).
The rest of us should pray for Tim and his team while living according to the command found in I Corinthians 4:5, "Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God."
Tim, like all of us, will be standing before God one day. Only God can see the intents of his heart regarding this decision. But based on his past public bold stand for Jesus, I believe Tim's heart is good. Tim has many, many times taken a courageous stand in public settings when many believers might have cowered.
I believe that Tim's decision not to speak at First Baptist Dallas does not mean that he is allowing the world to squeeze him into its mold. I believe Tim is still passionately seeking to live his life in a way that will merit the "Well done" from the lips of the One whose opinion matters most.
The late Dallas Theological Seminary prof, Howard Hendricks, encouraged us to ask, "Is the Lord well-pleased? Is the Word well-used? Is the work well-done?" So far, when it comes to Tim Tebow, I believe the answer is a resounding "Yes!" And we have reason to believe that Tim will continue to live in a way that will leverage his public platform in the best possible way for the glory of Christ and the advancement of the gospel.
So, disagree with Tim's decision, if you must. But stand with this young man in your prayers and with your support as he seeks to live his life for Christ in an exceedingly complex and controversial world.