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Barnabas Piper:

David Brooks of the New York Times published an article today called  The Jeremy Lin Problem  in which he attempts to explain the tension between the morality of sports and the morality of religion and Christianity in particular.

Brooks brings up and explores a difficult set of questions, ones that Christian athletes and sports fans truly ought to consider. However, in so doing, he creates (or at least propagates) some false dichotomies and simplistic points of view.

You can read the whole thing here.


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4 thoughts on “Misunderstanding Christianity and Competition: A Response to David Brooks”

  1. 3rd Century Prof says:

    Interesting post. Is Barnabas Piper related to John? Or is it just coincidence that they have the same last name?

  2. Justin Taylor says:

    Barnabas is John’s son.

  3. DRT says:

    Barnabas Piper was onto something, but then he went wrong.

    Yes, he was totally right that it is OK for people to compete while supporting the dignity of their opponents. He says “The truest forms of competition are not those which seek to humiliate another person or self-aggrandize.” I was on board with this.

    He starts to go wrong with the attitude saying “But tension does not correlate to contradiction.” I believe Barnabas is now pushing the envelope, because a tension necessarily means that there is a tension, that there is friction, that there is a problem here or at least the warning signs of a problem. But Barnabas says no to that.

    The pinnacle of the error comes at the end

    He is required to pursue excellence in the profession of basketball. Excellence is what all followers of Christ are called to pursue no matter the endeavor. God gave us talents and we are called to use them – for his glory, not our own.

    Really. Christians are supposed to be excellent no matter the endeavor? Clearly Barnabas would not support your endeavor being abortions, right? Or how about it being killing? Or, let’s say, misleading people with bad theology?

    If using our talents in this world to their fullest is excellence regardless of the endeavor glorifies god then you have one sick god.

    The endeavor is the thing that identifies alignment with god, not the outcome. Barnabas misses the boat.

    1. DRT says:

      And just to add a bit. Using our talents to their fullest irrespective of what we pursue only glorifies us, not god. If we want to glorify god we have to pursue his purposes, not ours.

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Justin Taylor, PhD


Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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