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So Tim Tebow won’t be speaking at First Baptist – Dallas, after all. And the internet has exploded with speculation as to his reasoning.

Has Tim abandoned his traditional biblical views on sexuality?

Is he embarrassed by the fans who love him most?

Is he leaving behind his Christian distinctiveness and watering down the gospel?

These aren’t just questions I’ve seen floating around; they’re more like accusations. And even though I’m perplexed by Tim’s change of plans, I’m just as concerned about the onslaught of criticism that has come his way from fellow Christians.

Why are we so quick to turn on our own?

Why do we immediately assume the worst?

Some Christians feel betrayed by Tebow. I get it. But why lash out so quickly? Why not wait until more comes to light? Why throw the guy under the bus?

I’m not a big sports fan (understatement), but from everything I’ve seen, Tim is a sincere Christian guy seeking to live according to his faith in the spotlight. It’s hot under the spotlight. Christians in the public eye know pressures many of us do not.

Tim has been mocked relentlessly for his belief in Christ, his virginity, and his Christian convictions. Maybe he succumbed to the pressure of political correctness this week.

I dare say we have people in our congregations who don’t speak up about their faith for many of the same reasons. But do we castigate them publicly?

No, when it comes to our fellow Christians, we do what Tim’s pastor is doing. We pray. We pray for each other, that the Lord will help us be bold and gracious witnesses for Christ.

Some of the people who are most concerned about Tim’s lack of boldness ought to be just as concerned about the Christian community’s lack of grace.

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30 thoughts on “Turning on Tebow”

  1. Dave Miller says:

    This is the eternal conundrum. On the one side, we are to be gracious and kind. On the other, we see so much of compromise and a radical departure from conviction, that when someone gives in to the kind of pressure that was put on Tebow by the secular press, it hurts.

    Frankly, I’m not a big fan of Jeffress’ general approach, but nothing has changed since Tebow agreed to do the appearance. The assumption that he gave in to the pressure coming from the press seems inescapable.

    And, as one who has cheered for Tebow because of his uncompromising stands, that is tremendously disappointing.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      I understand the hurt and sense of betrayal, but shouldn’t that lead us to sadness, grief, and prayer rather than accusatory remarks and angry RTs?

      How we respond when disappointed says something about us.

      1. Doc B says:


        By your reasoning, how is writing a very public blog article criticizing Tim’s critics any different than the critics criticizing Tim’s actions?

        Wouldn’t sadness, grief, and prayer been a more consistent response than writing this article?

        I’m not baiting you; I’m being completely serious. Very few of us have access to a bully pulpit such as the GC blog.

        1. Trevin Wax says:

          Apples and oranges, in my opinion.

          It’s one thing to urge Christians (in general) to show grace and patience with a brother whose motivations we do not know and to refrain from jumping to conclusions. It’s another thing to throw an individual believer under the bus so quickly.

          Tim Tebow is not above critique, but let’s not assume the worst regarding his heart motivations.

    2. Lynn Burgess says:

      How do you know nothing has changed! What arrogant presumption. Tim said something new had come to his attention; are you accusing him of an outright lie also?

      Tim broke a speaking engagement. Nothing more. He did not give a detailed explanation for his decision AND HE OWES US NO SUCH EXPLANATION.

      I am ashamed and grieved; I have wept a river of tears this week. But not because of anything Tim Tebow did or did not do, but because of how his brothers and sisters in Christ have treated him.

      May I remind us all that 1 Cor. 13 tells us that love believes the best? I for one believe the best of Tim Tebow and thank God for his faithfulness.

  2. Marty Duren says:

    I think we err by assigning reasons based on appearance and incomplete information. Andy Stanley faced the same accusations for similar reasons. Andy refused to explain or give a moments time to his critics within the Body. I hope Tebow does the same.

    We’d do well to remember another of Paul’s admonitions: “Who are you to criticize another’s servant? Before his own Lord he stands or falls. And he will stand because God is able to make him stand.” Rom. 14:4 (Marty’s Rough Translation)

  3. Doc B says:

    “Why are we so quick to turn on our own?”

    I don’t know. Ask Tim.

  4. Trevin,

    I would expect no less a gracious response from you, and am seriously encouraged by it! Thank you, brother, for demonstrating a manner which we can emulate.

  5. Adam says:

    If I had to take a guess, with all I have witnessed of Tebow, he isn’t afraid of criticism. At the time he received his invitation, being that his pastor used to serve at FBCD, I assume he thought, “Sure why not?” But R.J. has a way of rubbing a lot of people the wrong way and making so many more cringe every time they see him on TV (not so much what he believes, but how he communicates it). I assume Tebow just didn’t want to be associated with that type of “Culture Warrior.”

  6. Christiane says:

    Trevin, thank you for having the courage to say what needed to be said.

  7. Andrew says:

    Tim is a hero in my book.

  8. Bruce Armstrong says:

    We should show as much grace to Tim Tebow as he did in turning his back on Dr. Jeffress and FBC Dallas.

    1. Marty Duren says:

      There is nothing at all Christlike in what you have suggested.

    2. Brian Sanders says:

      Oh please, Tim did not show a lack of grace to Rev. Jeffress. And if he did, would that be the measure of what your Savior required of you? Your self-righteousness has blinded you friend.

  9. I like Tebow, even though like Trevin I’m not a sports fan. That being said, I really wish he hadn’t backed down on this. I don’t think that’s “throwing him under the bus,” it’s just expressing a sense of disappointment. Can’t we at least say that we wish he’d acted differently?

    1. Brian Sanders says:

      “Speaking up for Tebow is easy for me – I just look at his track record. In 2009, Tebow did a press conference as a Florida Gator as a part of media day for the Southeastern Conference. He was asked the question: “Are you saving yourself for marriage?” He quickly and gladly answered, “Yes I am.” Most men reading this article would have been too embarrassed to say that in front of seven guys in their high school locker room. Tebow said it on a national stage. Still don’t think he is willing to take tough stands? AND HOW MUCH MORE “PRO-TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE” CAN HE GET?”

      I encourage you to read the rest of the article.

  10. Melody says:

    Tim Tebow is twenty-five years old. I wonder what wondrous mind blowing stands for God all the commentators were making for God at that age?

    When I first heard about it, I will confess I was disgusted. I figured that someone that makes a show of kneeling in front of the nation should expect to be called out on it at some point. And I thought he failed.

    Almost immediately I was reminded of the bible study I have been working on. Abraham lied about Sarah being his sister how many times after God had told him of His promise to him? Then Isaac who willingly went to the altar with his father turned around and did the same thing. Surely a man that has enough faith to trust his father with his life on an altar would be beyond lying about a beautiful wife just to save his own skin.
    That is what went through my mind. Tim Tebow is 25 and God isn’t done with him yet. What is more, he didn’t sin. He just didn’t do what we wanted him to do. He spoke to the pastor himself. An outspoken pastor that doesn’t mince words from what I understand. He isn’t trashing Tebow.

    As a Christian body we never ever support our brothers and sisters in Christ. We cannibalize them. Even the people that are showing support to Tebow, do it while trashing the pastor who they only know of from mainstream media.

    Jesus said that the world would know us as one of His by our love for each other. We just fail over and over.

    As for Trevin reminding us, that’s his job. He is not out of line. He is being faithful.

    1. Lou says:

      Thank you Melody. I needed to read this comment and Trevin’s post today. Blessings

  11. Melody says:

    I should add that I was including myself in that remark about what we were doing at 25. At 25, I had abandoned my faith.

  12. Don Dunavant says:

    All the criticism of Tebow misses the real outrage we should voice–the fact that CBS Sports has not fired Gregg Doyel for his hateful, intolerant rant against FBC Dallas and its pastor. That such a bigot can spout hate speech and publicly slander a good man and a good people without being called into account is the real issue.

  13. Bill S. says:

    Trevin, You hit the nail on the head! Say what you will we in the Christian community are way to quick to believe the worst rather than the best about our own. I doubt (though I don’t know) that those of us posting comments have any idea the pressure Tim faces on a daily basis. Our tendency to be quick to judge motives and assign reasons without all the facts must be very unattractive to a lost world as they watch us bite and devour one another.

    Trevin, Thank you for your voice of reason.

  14. Wendy Alsup says:

    It isn’t hard to find legitimate criticism of RJ online. I have similar convictions on orthodox Christianity to him, but I have different convictions on how to wisely speak on hard topics. Tim has born harsh criticism for his conservative convictions for years, but even his harshest critics have recognized his grace and love for others. Perhaps his convictions on grace and love were the reasons he cancelled the event, in which case I think he made a wise choice.

    1. Lynn Burgess says:

      Wendy, Thank You! Oh that we would follow Tim’s example in grace and love. I agree with you so much that Tim’s witness is drawing people to Christ while others are turning them away. I love the kid; he is an example to me and I have wept for his anguish this week.

  15. Melody says:

    It’s not hard to find criticism of any Christian leader including Trevin and it is almost always done by other Christians. That is what tears my heart apart. They always ignore almost the whole bible and latch on the verse about wolves and judging inside the church. The fact that Paul was talking about sexual sin gets ignored. Along with all the verses telling us to quit fighting amongst ourselves.

    Read up on how widowed women and their sons were treated while the Taliban were in power in Afghanistan. Little easier to see that point of view then. You can’t do it until all the “Christian” blogs quit chewing up the pastor though or you will never find it now.

  16. Kenny says:

    I see a stark difference between a fairly passive Christianity of writing verses on your eye black or kneeling on the sideline, and standing up to persecution. On the same day that Tim backed down from his appearance at FBC-Dallas, 53 Christians were arrested in Saudi Arabia. There’s the difference. I also believe that churches and Christian groups need to be more discerning about celebrities. Too often, their beliefs prove shallow under even modest scrutiny. And, Don, your remarks are dead-on.

    1. Melody says:


      Do you reside in Saudia Arabia? Has your life been put in danger while standing for Christ?

      When we see someone on TV we assume that we know everything about them but the reality is that we are only seeing a small snipett of a person’s life. We do not know what the man experiences from day to day. We do not know in what ways he serves God that we never see. I would be very careful to assess someone, not yourself, as not suffering enough for Christ. There is no example I know in the bible that gives us the freedom question someone else’s service to God. That includes the pastor and Tim Tebow. As for the sports guy, why would we expect anything else from the lost? No doubt that Tebow has to deal with that kind of thing everyday. We haven’t heard anything about them being able to get under his skin yet and it is obvious they are not cutting him any slack. So we know they won’t cover for him.

  17. Kenny says:

    Melody, I would say there are numerous examples in scripture of Christians, especially Paul, questioning another’s actions in the faith. I was in a Christian bookstore the other day and saw at least three books on Tim Tebow. He has indeed put himself out there, in a fairly safe and perhaps profitable sense. When someone dug a little deeper and truly questioned the narrowness of his faith, he took a pass. The break I will give him is his age. At 25, I’m not sure I would have been so bold. But I would be quick to add this … at 25, I had not so clearly defined myself in a very public way as a Christian. This is an image he has sought with some vigor. It was just disappointing to many of us that he didn’t stand up for sound Christian doctrine when he was challenged. He called his own depth into question and for those who prefer the broad, albeit incorrect, view of Christianity that was represented in the original article, he provided tacit affirmation. I don’t condemn him, but I do hope for more and will pray for such.

    1. Melody says:

      I didn’t realize that Tebow had authored so many books already. Perhaps the problem isn’t him but those that desperately want an earthly hero that they can see. Jesus should be enough for us.

      Perhaps it was a test of his faith and maybe he failed. Will we ever know that since it is between him and God? What we can be sure of is that according to what Jesus said it is a test for us when we are required to love each other? Did we pass?

      As for Paul calling people out. He called out Peter for hypocrisy. I’m not aware that Tebow is guilty of that. He called out Christians for having a very sexually immoral person in their group. He called out Christians for fighting over which group was better based on who their teacher was or who baptized them. I really wish we would learn that one but I’m not aware of Tebow doing that. He got angry at Mark for going back home and didn’t want to give him a second chance later. God used that situation for his glory but I’m not sure that Paul was actually in the right for not giving Mark another chance. He did later though after Mark proved himself more mature and reliable or something. Barnabas believed in him already.

      Corinthians says that love hopes for the best….

      Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things

      That is our test and we need to remember that Paul spent more time encouraging, exhorting and imploring young believers to do even more than he spent calling them out.

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Trevin Wax

​Trevin Wax is Bible and Reference Publisher at LifeWay Christian Resources and managing editor of The Gospel Project. You can follow him on Twitter or receive blog posts via email. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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