Why? Goodman quotes Eric Brown, pastor of the church in question, as he explains:
“I’m going to pray that [Tebow] is true to his faith because if he falls and gets caught up in some kind of scandal it will be bad for Christianity,” Brown said.
Brown doesn’t know Tebow but says the quarterback is an important role model. The minister says if Tebow gets into trouble, then the image of Christians could suffer.
“I know the story of David, so we know it’s possible for all of us to fall,” Brown said.
Basically the image of Christians is tied up in how well Tebow performs in upholding the name of Christianity in the public arena.
Statements such as this are an invitation to hold Christians in the public arena to an unrealistic standard–that they stand or fall before God on the basis of how well they represent Christianity to the public world. And they are an invitation to the rest of us to throw public figures who claim to represent Christ under the bus when they fail.
There is a certain amount of truth in what this pastor says. There have been numerous scandals involving televangelists and others of that nature, and Christianity has suffered in the minds of many people as a result of being associated with these scandals.
But we’re still here. The Church is still alive and well. God is still moving in this world and accomplishing His redemptive purposes, regardless of the failures and the incompetence of those who represent Christianity in the public arena. The kingdom of God has been advancing forcefully in this world for thousands of years, and will continue to do so–with or without us.
We need to come to the realization that in the sight of God we are ALL sinners undeserving of His grace, who have received it because of His overwhelming graciousness–REGARDLESS of our position in the public arena, or lack thereof. Thus we have no excuse to throw anyone under the bus because they have failed to represent Christianity well in the public eye. Instead, we need to transform our communities of faith into places where we seek to allow the grace of God to flow through us as we work to restore those who have fallen–regardless of their position in the public arena.