My Problem With Tim Tebow. ~ Jeff Fulmer

Via elephant journal
on Jan 10, 2012
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When I first saw the National Championship winning quarterback who wore Bible verses under his eyes, I didn’t like him.

When he began starting for the Broncos, I confess, I looked forward to watching him fail.

And when he started winning and “tebowing” on the sidelines, I disliked him even more. As I write this, he is playing the Steelers (my mortal enemies) who are led by Ben Roethlisberger, a poster boy for bad behavior. Yet, once again, I find myself pulling against Tebow.


Born to Baptist missionaries, Tim Tebow is clearly sincere about his faith. By all accounts he is a hard-working, respectful young man who is trying to honor God. Unlike so many other sports superstars, he sets a good example for kids. He’s a competitor who truly cares about the game instead of just collecting a paycheck.

All he’s really doing that annoys me is expressing his faith; the same faith I supposedly share with him. So what’s my problem with the guy?

It doesn’t really bother me that he’s inserting a selfless religion of love into a game that celebrates violence. For me, the issue is that Tim personifies the segment of Christians who often think of themselves as the apple of God’s eye. They claim a special relationship with their Heavenly Father and believe they have been set apart from everyone else.

If other people aren’t one of them, well, they’re just not on God’s starting team. Having grown up in a similar environment, I’ve seen that lead to elitism and grandiosity that can be off-putting and even dangerous.

When Tim looks to the sky and points to God after a touchdown, I can’t help but feel like it diminishes the greatness of God. Is the Creator of the Universe really spending His Sunday afternoon eating chips and watching football? Even if He did help Tim throw that touchdown, does that mean He cares less for the cornerback who blew the coverage?

Certainly, if public demonstrations of faith are any indication, Tim does care more about God than his opponents do. Who knows? Maybe God appreciates getting a little love now and then.


The Bible says King David was a man after God’s own heart. (1 Samuel 13: 14) While David was apparently a fierce warrior, he also sang and danced and leapt in front of everyone to honor God. His public spectacles of praise embarrassed his wife, Michal, so much that she despised him.  (2nd Samuel 6: 12 – 16) Is Tim a modern day David, slaying Goliaths with his weak sling shot of an arm? He has far exceeded the expectations of opposing defenses and confounded the experts who claimed he couldn’t make NFL caliber passes.

So, if Tim is David, does that make me Michal?

If I am a little jealous, it’s because Christianity hasn’t worked the same way for me.  When I was a kid, I wanted to be the quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.  (Needless to say, that didn’t work out.)

While I’ve never been as publicly demonstrative as Tim, I have witnessed to strangers on the beach during Spring Break; I’ve been prostrate at church in a desperate attempt to show God my sincerity. If I scored points with the Big Man, it didn’t immediately translate to touchdowns, literally or figuratively.

I know witnessing and worship are not supposed to be about what I can get out of it.  However, that can sometimes seem to be the dynamic that Tim inadvertently sets up. If Tim wins, God wins. So what does it mean if Tim loses? Does God lose too? We have to be careful not to put ourselves ahead of God, which is why Christ warns us, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men.”  (Matthew 6: 5)

While Tim tries to put Christ first, he can seem to be attempting to co-opt God for his own success.

Every Sunday, football divides us into winners or losers. Of course, everyone always wants to be a winner, even though that’s not reality. In my personal experience, I’ve probably learned deeper lessons in my losses. Don’t get me wrong; claiming a hard fought victory has been a powerful motivator.

But learning to humbly accept my own limitations is a vital part of the Christian experience too.

“For consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.”   (James 1: 2 – 3)

If he hasn’t already, my guess is there will come a time when Tim will have his own struggles and deal with his own crisis of private doubts. When he does, I hope he comes through it even stronger. In the meantime, maybe I should stop judging my brother so harshly and concentrate on being the best Christian I can be. While I’m at it, it’s possible I should adjust my attitude and be more open to the variety of ways that God can speak to us, even if that’s through an enthusiastic, young quarterback.

This just in: Tim Tebow throws a strike to defeat the Steelers in over-time.

And, to my surprise, I actually find myself cheering for the Broncos. For all I know, God is in his sky booth at Mile High Stadium cheering along too. Tim’s doing his thing; throwing touchdowns, winning games, and being bold about his faith. Good for him.

Of course, God doesn’t need us to give Him the glory, but believing in the greatness of God can do miraculous things for us.

Just ask Tim Tebow.
Jeff Fulmer lives in Nashville, TN and is the author of Hometown Prophet


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13 Responses to “My Problem With Tim Tebow. ~ Jeff Fulmer”

  1. Cam Crowe says:

    "When you pray, don't be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. From the Bible Matthew 6:5 If you see Tim Tebow, could you pass this along- Jesus

  2. Kristal says:

    I think you all missed the point of this article " In the meantime, maybe I should stop judging my brother so harshly and concentrate on being the best Christian I can be. While I’m at it, it’s possible I should adjust my attitude and be more open to the variety of ways that God can speak to us, even if that’s through an enthusiastic, young quarterback." …. stop judging him for what hes doing. If hes doing it wrong thats his issue… who are we to judge how he is praising God? As christians maybe we should use all this time we spend judging tebow and instead focus more on our relationship with God.

  3. skink says:

    I understand the quandary … but I don't think Tim is saying, "God gave me this touchdown and I am special" as much as just giving thanks to the God that, in his faith, gave him the athletic ability to do what he does. I don't think he thinks that God is sitting on his heavenly golden throne watching ESPN to make sure his boyeeee is playing well.

  4. Tim says:

    The artcle suggest that "Tim personifies the segment of Christians who often think of themselves as the apple of God’s eye. They claim a special relationship with their Heavenly Father and believe they have been set apart from everyone else."

    I don't recall that Tim has ever suggested that his relationship is special. We observe that his actions and there is no question that he has a love of the lord and honors him for all things is. If we are questioning wether his actions and daily life are to much, I think we should also be questioning if our actions and daily lifes are enough. Not just in comparing ourselves to Tim Tebow but more imporatntly to Christ. We all know we come short of Chirst and because of his promise are able to deal with that. We are not as able to deal with coming short of someone like Tim Tebow with out resentment. I agree with most of the writers. We shouldnt be judging his actions. We should be looking at our own.

  5. Jeff Fulmer says:

    Thanks for the comments. As I wrote the article (and watched the Steeler game), my feelings about Tim actually shifted. I do have some issues with Christians public displays of affection. In my experience, the loudest Christians are not always the most sincere. I obviously don't know Tim Tebow, but he's always struck me as sincere. In the end, I believe my problem with Tim is my problem.

  6. […] My Problem With Tim Tebow. ~ Jeff Fulmer ( […]

  7. DAVID A says:


  8. Lady Dee says:

    I promise you, he is not losing sleep or sitting somewhere thinking about you and writing a story about his opinion of you and your authentic belief and practice of Yoga. I think its hysterical and very sad that a stranger, famous or not, can actually ignite such a feeling in you. He has unknowingly touched on a sensitive and deep rooted and deeply hidden Trigger of yours. Wow, you might want to get that checked out! Maybe Yoga really isnt filling you with the joy and peace that you and all yogis claim it produces. Just My personal thoughts.Blessings.

  9. David says:

    I have been wondering why Tehow is so annoying, but I am perfectly OK with Lation baseball players with their constream of blessing themselves. Your article cleared it up for me. Tehow is a smug a-hole due to his embrace of Evangelicalism and their twisted sense of unquestionable superiority. It is the ultimate religion for our communist culture.

  10. Frank and Beans says:

    People make all sorts of claims about Tebow, but what do people really know about the guy? I used to be a Tebow hater but as I actually watched him played and watched interviews with him, he came across as a really nice guy. His teammates also really like him. I don't see God favoring him more than anyone else nor do I see him behaving that way. So, I've dropped my useless judgement of Tebow and admire the religiously-expressive, unorthodox quarterback that brings some real excitement to the game of football.

  11. Sara says:

    amen! i am one of the only coloradans that can't stand the insanity behind this guy…i know he is a nice guy, but he is definitely not the second coming.