By Chelsen Vicari
Dear Tim Tebow,
I’m conflicted. Now, I don’t have all the facts, I’ll give you that. But I pray you aren’t being “advised” to conform to this world. You have a privilege and a platform to boldly stand for Jesus Christ. Don’t let your fans — young Christians — down now.
On Wednesday night, Tebow, I read that you made a phone call to Pastor Robert Jeffress of Dallas’ First Baptist Church to say that, despite promising to speak at the church in April, you were going to sit this one out on the sidelines. The snarky side of me wants to write, “What’s new?” However, I’ll refrain and consider the facts.
According to your official Facebook page, which no doubt is maintained by your staff, the reasons are as follows:
“While I was looking forward to sharing a message of hope and Christ’s unconditional love with the faithful members of the historic First Baptist Church of Dallas in April, due to new information that has been brought to my attention, I have decided to cancel my upcoming appearance. I will continue to use the platform God has blessed me with to bring Faith, Hope and Love to all those needing a brighter day. Thank you for all of your love and support. God Bless!”
Your Facebook post sounds well-intentioned, but these are not the reasons you gave Pastor Jeffress, are they? Pastor Jeffress told the Daily Beast that, “He [Tebow] said that because of professional and personal reasons he needed to stay away from controversy right now, so he would not be able to come.”
We admire you for sharing Scripture verses on your cheeks during games. We’re proud of you for kneeling in thanks to God after every touchdown, a.k.a. “Tebowing.” (Beware though. One of my colleagues suggested Un-Tebowing as a viral movement after reading about your decision.)And we have you to thank for inspiring other young Christian athletes like Jeremy Lin, Robert Griffin III, and Lolo Jones to be outspoken about their faith.
But Tebow, what makes you different from other Christian athletes was your decision to do the speaking tour on the church circuit. I have friends counting on seeing you speak at Liberty University (LU) in March, but LU believes in marriage only as the union between one man and one woman. Will you show up? Now that you’ve seemingly caved to the homosexual activist community and liberal bloggers, will you be afraid to upset them again?
You want to lay low, I get that. You’re probably going to be cut from the Jets, and you need another NFL team to pick you up. The added controversy probably isn’t helping your slim chances of a trade. Understandable. But I urge you to consider the charge from Romans 12:2, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-- His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Look, Tim, I know it’s not easy to go against the grain of the world’s expectations. I’m 25, just like you, raised in the Bible Belt, and have been outspoken about my faith since the age of eight. Like you, God has given me a national platform with Concerned Women for America, a Christian non-profit, through which I advocate Biblical truths in public policy, and my career as a pro-life, pro-family advocate is controversial. My colleagues and I are called “bigots,”“bullies,” and a lot of other unprintable names, and we’re utterly harassed every single day for standing for purity, marriage as God intended it, and the sanctity of unborn life. We don’t get paid millions of dollars per year to do it, but I’m fine with that.
I wear the insults like a badge of honor, because I’m utilizing the platform God has given me to the fullest extent. It’s not about who I offend. It’s about sharing the Gospel.
So please, whatever you do, don’t sacrifice your platform to please your critics.
Chelsen Vicari is Communications Strategist for Concerned Women for America