I read this article on the Christian Post. Now, I am willing to retreat on a lot of ground the church has advanced on, but when people criticizing people who live out their faith, I get a little frustrated.
Tim Tebow, the Heisman winning quarterback at the University of Florida, has made his faith no secret. He talks about it much, but also uses his position of super athlete to live out his faith in very unique ways. The article talks about two columnists who rip him for the way he displays his faith, one even saying he, “should play football and forget about his religious beliefs while he is wearing the Gator uniform.”
While I agree that church and state should remain separate, I think when we start trying to censer people’s beliefs in other arenas we are treading into dangerous territory.
The quote that scares me the most was this one:
Tom Krattenmaker suggests that Tim Tebow should adopt a “more generous conception of salvation.”
We are becoming so “tolerant” in our society that we can not allow people to have a belief in something that may seem intolerant. Of course this would be true in a society that is about pandering to the masses. We want to get as many people under one tent as possible.
The funny thing is, the gospel is about bringing all kinds of different people under one tent, but the tent is Jesus Christ, and nothing else. That will not change. No matter how intolerant people become to that belief.
The sporting world is hardly the only arena where the same arguments are made. You can count on seeing these same arguments appear anywhere evangelical Christians express their faith in public or within ear-shot of those who may be offended. The belief that faith in Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation is now at the very center of secular outrage.
As scary as it is to be a Christian in a world that is increasingly intolerant to that faith, Jesus himself foretold of it.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.
John 15:18-21 ESV
You might ask, what does this have to do with politics? I think this article shows why it is important for Christians to stand up for religious freedom in our country. Not just freedom for the Church to do whatever it wants, but true freedom for individuals to believe in what they wish. The way the Church has been interacting in politics has not necessarily been encouraging religious freedom, but it is important that we do. If we want to continue to be free to believe and live out our faith, then we need to be about all people being free to do so. Or else should we be surprised when the dragon we built turns on us?