Bob Jones University and the Bruins Foundation are hosting “An Evening with Tim Tebow”

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Don Johnson's picture

I started a thread on this under the header "Celebrity Culture?" You might want to close that so comments stay in one place.

I am extremely disappointed by this, though, alas, not surprised.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

AndyE's picture

Have to say my heart sank a bit when I saw this.  BJU has always brought in non-fundamentalists for secular-type things, such as Artist Series or political convocations.  But this is Christian koinonia in my book and a departure from what they normally have done. Not fond of charging for something like this, either.

Don Johnson's picture

There are probably lots more differences that that.

and I could care less about his athletic accomplishments 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Larry Nelson's picture

josh p wrote:

This does seem like a strange move. What’s the point? 

This is another indication that BJU is actively trying to appeal to a bigger pool (i.e. broader Evangelicalism) of Christian-college applicants. 

Bert Perry's picture

....is it any stranger than having Cantus on campus?  (most of the singers are homosexual and refer to their husbands in their bios)

Really, with the closing of Pillsbury, NIU, and a bunch of other schools, and the halving of their enrollment even with the closure of rival schools, they've got to do something.  You can hope that fundamentalism revives, or reach out to broader evangelicalism, or prepare to contract or close.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Dean Taylor's picture

First, although a graduate, I don't defend BJU by default. Second, I haven't researched Tim Tebow's Christian testimony, doctrinal positions or his associations within Evangelicalism, though I assume his associations are pretty broad. Third, I am not necessarily agreeing with this decision by BJU. I think those are all my disclaimers. 

As I've (hopefully) matured in life, Christian walk, and ministry, I have developed an appreciation for genuine Christians with a broad influence who might not align with my positions on everything. When quoting them or using something from their lives as an illustration, I often say, "I don't necessarily agree with everything this person says or does, but here's something we can learn from." I've mostly appreciated them from afar, but at times have attended an event where they are being featured. I've heard some of them in educational settings. 

Some so-called celebrity Christians seem to enjoy riding the wave of popularity created by their fame. Other individuals who become prominent in the world maintain a solid Christian testimony and it is evident that they follow Christ first and their profession, sport, business or other achievement is secondary. Their success gives them a platform from which to live and speak Gospel truth. Whether this is the case or not with Tebow, I don't know. 

Two examples of "famous" Christians I've respected and who I've observed practicing this are Christopher Parkening and Joni Eareckson Tada. Parkening is a world-renowned guitarist. Joni is a widely-known paraplegic. Both operate in wider circles than I normally associate. But I would gladly attend a function in which either one shared his/her experience and testimony. BJU has had Parkening repeatedly for Artist Series programs (as is FBBC this Spring). I would be delighted if BJ hosted Joni. These are educational experiences with spiritual benefits as well. 

My perspective is that exposing ourselves (or our students, as in the case of BJ) to genuine believers who are successful in the secular world and/or have broader associations than our own can be beneficial without being detrimental. Again, I haven't evaluated how Tebow fits in this. But I think evaluation and thoughtful conclusion is a good idea. 

              DeanHTaylor.com 

Adam Blumer's picture

My understanding, based on impressions from others I know and trust, is that sports is already overemphasized at a certain Greenville campus. (Recent promo mailings appear to confirm this.) I can't see how this event—and the accompanying affirmation about being a Christian celebrity—helps in any capacity to debunk that impression or steer students' minds toward more heavenly pursuits. The "Christian koinonia" aspect (already mentioned) shouldn't be overlooked. Then there are other issues, such as the fact that Tim had no problem appearing shirtless for GQ (not an especially sanctified publication, by the way). 

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/15/tim-tebows-sexy-jesus-pose-gq-...

http://www.eonline.com/news/337739/tim-tebow-celebrates-25th-birthday-by...

Can you count the many issues here? I wouldn't personally elevate him as an example for my kids. Nope. I'm a BJU alumnus, but you won't hear any cheers from my corner.

Don Johnson's picture

1 John 5.21

The examples Dean gave, Christopher Parkening and Joni Eareckson Tada, aren't mere celebrities. They have spent their lives in pursuits that glorify God. As far as I can tell, Tim Tebow is about Tim Tebow. He uses his Christian testimony to promote his own notoriety. Some have justified his testimony (in another venue) by his "charity work," helping handicapped kids have a "night at the prom". Wow. There's a crying need.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

David R. Brumbelow's picture

Well, don’t know if this will help or hurt BJU.  But I see no problem with them having Tim Tebow there. 

I’m sure I could find a thing or two about Tebow to disagree with, but I’ve gotten the impression he is a committed Christian.  A Christian athlete’s testimony can speak to a lot of people. 

David R. Brumbelow

PS – Tim, I like you, but keep your shirt on; especially at BJU. 

josh p's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

....is it any stranger than having Cantus on campus?  (most of the singers are homosexual and refer to their husbands in their bios)

Really, with the closing of Pillsbury, NIU, and a bunch of other schools, and the halving of their enrollment even with the closure of rival schools, they've got to do something.  You can hope that fundamentalism revives, or reach out to broader evangelicalism, or prepare to contract or close.  

Are they a professing Christian group? I really don’t know. I don’t know if Tebow has a legitimate testimony or not. If I had kids going there I would be wondering why they would be using celebrity in that way. 

Barry L.'s picture

BJU has had a number of famous Christian sports figures, politicians, etc. to give their testimony over the many years. Just two years ago it was Bobby Bowden, last year it was Bobby Richardson. When I attended, in the 80's, it was a string of politicians, not just giving stump speeches, but giving their testimony.

Nothing new. Just more fodder for those who are already upset about the changes at the University. Speaking of suggestive:

 

Bert Perry's picture

Don Johnson wrote:

1 John 5.21

The examples Dean gave, Christopher Parkening and Joni Eareckson Tada, aren't mere celebrities. They have spent their lives in pursuits that glorify God. As far as I can tell, Tim Tebow is about Tim Tebow. He uses his Christian testimony to promote his own notoriety. Some have justified his testimony (in another venue) by his "charity work," helping handicapped kids have a "night at the prom". Wow. There's a crying need.

Let's be serious here.  Tebow has spent summers as a missionary in the Philippines, appeared in a pro-life ad sponsored by Focus on the Family (to the mockery of pro-abortion advocates), thanked God in public to great mockery, supports 40 evangelists in the Philippines, raises money for hospitals in the Philippines and the U.S., and more.  This is a man who is all about himself?  While he certainly isn't immune from mistakes(GQ article, playing for the Mets), this kind of statement is excessive, and quite frankly illustrates why a lot of people with fundamental theology are heading for the exits of fundamental churches.  They've had it with the circular firing squad.

For reference about his theology, he does have fellowship with FCA, which is one of the broader evangelical groups out there.  So if you're all about secondary separation, I guess you would want to separate from them.  But other than that, I've not heard any place where Tebow would differ with the five fundamentals, the Solas, or anything else that would place him outside of Christian orthodoxy.  He's even a Baptist.  And no, I don't have a Tebow jersey on, or even in my closet.  I just think that he's done a lot for the kingdom in his first 30 years, and we do ourselves no favors with half informed insults of the man.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Bert Perry's picture

Josh, they're definitely not part of the "conservative fundamental music industry" or even CCM, but when they went to BJU, they were presenting a program of religious music.  I actually saw them sing in MN.  I just think it's odd to have uproar about Tebow, but not Cantus.

On the light side, if it's OK to have unbelieving musicians there, the concert schedule could get interesting....

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Adam Blumer's picture

My understanding of Artist Series when I was at BJU is that the faith of the artists (or lack of one) meant nothing. The person or group merely came to perform "excellent music," and then they went their merry way. (Perhaps there was a difference if the artist was a believer, but I don't recall that experience as a student.) Tim Tebow is coming to campus to talk about being a Christian witness in the sports venue. In other words, he's not showing up just to hit a baseball and leave. There is a commonality in evangelism as believers that is the emphasis here. "At the event, Tebow will speak on how he has been able to use sports as a platform for Christ." Apples and oranges.

Larry Nelson's picture

 

Adam Blumer wrote:

[RE: Cantus]: My understanding of Artist Series when I was at BJU is that the faith of the artists (or lack of one) meant nothing. The person or group merely came to perform "excellent music,"

......you're saying that Elton John isn't invited to the campus simply because he plays the wrong style of music, and not because of his chosen lifestyle?  Smile

(Don't get upset: just a joke!)

Steve Davis's picture

I am a little disappointed that BJU invited Tim Tebow from the Mets but I understand that Nick Foles and Carson Wentz are getting ready for the Super Bowl and couldn't commit. They both have great testimonies. Maybe next time! Go Eagles!

TylerR's picture

Editor

I'm in the middle of an investigation into whether a major medical carrier is discriminating against transgender people by refusing to provide breast reconstruction surgery for men who have "transitioned" to become female. My Governor was elected by this voting block, the director of my state agency is an elected politician from the Governor's party, the complaint was filed by a progressive activist organization, and we opened the investigation under pressure from three sitting Congressmen.

This is our world. This is America in 2018. This is the world our colleges and universities are teaching these men and women to live and operate in. I beg Christians writing, commenting and reading here to consider whether your perspective about what is "dangerous" or "unholy" for young Christians to see is balanced.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Andrew K's picture

TylerR wrote:

I'm in the middle of an investigation into whether a major medical carrier is discriminating against transgender people by refusing to provide breast reconstruction surgery for men who have "transitioned" to become female. My Governor was elected by this voting block, the director of my state agency is an elected politician from the Governor's party, the complaint was filed by a progressive activist organization, and we opened the investigation under pressure from three sitting Congressmen.

This is our world. This is America in 2018. This is the world our colleges and universities are teaching these men and women to live and operate in. I beg Christians writing, commenting and reading here to consider whether your perspective about what is "dangerous" or "unholy" for young Christians to see is balanced.

Thank you for the injection of sanity. Btw, I know some Papuan tribesmen who don't have a problem going shirtless and posing for National Geographic--also not an especially sanctified magazine. ;) 

Ron Bean's picture

 

I'd be proud to call Tim Tebow my son, even if he's willing to play for the Mets. I certainly wouldn't shun him, separate from him, or misrepresent him. We'd probably have some interesting discussions over his choices.

As a teenager, I remember learning that Bobby Richardson of the NY Yankees was a Christian and being surprised to learn that there were Christians who didn't go to my church and who played professional sports. When I mentioned it to my pastor I remember being told that Richardson wasn't a Christian because he'd spoken at a Billy Graham Crusade and played baseball on Sunday instead of going to church. 

BTW, for those with concerns over this, where were the comments over Bobby Bowden and Bobby Richardson?

 

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Joel Shaffer's picture

Isn't the Tebow event at Bob Jones about rallying the alumni and community to give money for their college booster program to fund intercollegiate athletics at Bob Jones? For those who oppose the Tim Tebow event, what alternative should BJU use to fund their Booster program for intercollegiate athletics?

JohnS's picture

I'm am genuinely surprised at the criticisms here of both BJU and Tim Tebow.  They're charging because it is fundraiser.  Hard to raise funds unless someone contributes.  Artist series are not free either; even students pay for it in tuition.  Is it wrong to charge for (gasp!) Living Gallery - a primarily if not entirely spiritual event?

On Mr. Tebow, the internet has multiple sources where this Christian brother - yes he has given clear testimony of faith in Christ - has state how he prioritizes humility, serving others, and giving God the glory.  Here's one link: http://www1.cbn.com/content/tim-tebow-glorifying-god-0

Brother Tebow is being a good steward, using his God-given abilities and success as a platform for testimony and ministry.  Is he perfect, no.  Does he give testimony and evidence of trying to become more like Christ, yes.  Exactly the kind of person I would want my young athletically-interested young person to listen to and learn from. 

Parenthetically, it is odd that so far he has not been referred to as "Brother Tebow," since "brother" followed by a last name is the default way of referring to male fellow Christ followers in many fundamental circles.

josh p's picture

Wow. I don’t hear anyone coming unhinged about Tebow being at BJU. It’s not like they bought a jet or something. I heard some mild concern but some of the responses make it sound like people are being abominated. 

Joel, if that’s correct than Larry’s “pointing out the obvious” post is wrong. That makes more sense to me than using it to bring students in. 

TOvermiller's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

playing for the Mets

Hey there, not so fast. Go easy on the Mets brother. I'm a fan who happens to live a 20-min stroll from my house (or church) to a seat at Citi Field. Go Mets. And you should check out Brandon Nimmo's Twitter feed sometime (here). Not bad for a Mets player! I'm actually checking out some channels of communication to see if I can do a voluntary Bible study or prayer group with anyone from the team who's interested. We'll see what comes of that. Well, this isn't much of a contribution to the topic at hand, but I had to say something in defense of Los Mets.

Thomas Overmiller
Pastor | www.studygodsword.com
Blog & Podcast | www.shepherdthoughts.com

Bert Perry's picture

Sorry, Tom, I'm a long-suffering Cubs fan.....  :^)

But despite that disability, I can say something nice about them; Citi Field is a HUGE step up from Shea Stadium.  If only my favorite football team had remembered where THEY used to play before Soldier Field when they redid that stadium!  (if you want proof of alien invasions, just look at the new Soldier Field)

Side note: Paul Scharf, BJU does indeed play football.  Just the kind where you use your feet.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Don Johnson's picture

Joel Shaffer wrote:

Isn't the Tebow event at Bob Jones about rallying the alumni and community to give money for their college booster program to fund intercollegiate athletics at Bob Jones? For those who oppose the Tim Tebow event, what alternative should BJU use to fund their Booster program for intercollegiate athletics?

You think that's a poser, do you? What should they do? HMMM?? It'll take a while, let me think...

Hey, I know, how about calling the whole thing off and getting back to training Christian young men and women for the Lord's service?

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

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