Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why Jesus Would Call Tim Tebow a Hypocrite

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"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven."

--The words of Christ, as quoted in Matthew 6:1, The Bible, New International Version.

By MARC McDONALD

Denver Broncos football star Tim Tebow seems like a nice, likeable fellow. It seems harsh to say anything negative about him.

But for years, Tebow has been outspoken about his Christian faith, instead of keeping it (as millions of Christians do) as a personal, private matter. Indeed, with his extremely public displays of prayer, Tebow wants the whole world to know that he's a Christian. And frankly, if you take a look at the actual words of Jesus Christ, it becomes clear that Christ regarded people like Tebow as hypocrites.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary offers the following definition for hypocrite: "a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings."

Now, let's turn to the Bible and look at the actual words of Christ in Matthew 6:5-15. This is one of those Bible passages that I've never, ever seen any mainstream or evangelical "Christian" quote.

In fact, the vast majority of "Christians" always carefully tiptoe away from this passage and just try to pretend it doesn't exist. It shouldn't really surprising why. The passage very clearly questions the need for organized church services---and, for that matter, churches, period. Given that churches are an enormously profitable (and tax-free) cash cow that sustain the gigantic industry known as organized religion, it shouldn't be surprising that most "Christians" ignore Matthew 6:5-15.

Matthew 6:5-15 quotes Christ's actual words and reads as follows:

"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 others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

The fact is, Christ very clearly disapproved of public displays of prayer. In fact, he specifically called people who do so "hypocrites."

This year, Tebow has captured endless headlines and publicity for his trademark habit of "Tebowing" (kneeling and praying) during key moments of football games. As a result, tens of millions of NFL viewers have repeatedly watched Tebow pray during football games.

It's difficult to imagine a more high-profile, public way of praying than "Tebowing." Tebow is not content with simple prayer in private. Instead he turns it into a "Hey, look-at-me!" public spectacle, before the television cameras.

Whatever one thinks of this spectacle, it's clear that Tebow is completely ignoring Christ's own words about how to pray. Once again: Jesus said when you pray, you should go into your room and close the door and pray in secret. To do otherwise, as Jesus notes, is to be an attention-seeking "hypocrite."

Speaking of hypocrisy, Tebow recently signed a contract that will pay him tens of millions for playing football in the years to come. Whatever one thinks of the inflated, obscene pay packages that today's pampered athletes make, there's one thing that is clear: once again Tebow has been ignoring the words of Christ that condemn wealth.

In Mark 10:21, Jesus states that the only way a rich person can enter heaven is to sell all his assets and give the money to the poor. And in Matthew 19:24, Jesus says that "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says, "You cannot serve both God and money."

These are three Bible passages that quote Jesus and that specifically condemn mega-millionaires like Tebow. The Bible, in fact, is full of passages that condemn wealth (which is the reason that the early Christians, as described in the Book of Acts, lived a socialist lifestyle).

Tebow may well regard himself as a fine, upstanding Christian. But his version of "Christianity" in fact has little to do with the actual words of Christ.

And it's also clear that Christ himself would have regarded Tebow as a hypocrite.

37 comments:

Aaron said...

No,you silly goose,"Christians" only quote Christ for two things: 1.The sales pitch-The whole eternal life schtick. 2. The exclusivity clause-The only way to get there is through me schtick.
For everything else you quote anyone but the actual "focus" of your religion. That's where all the good hatin' verses come from.

brcarthey said...

While I agree in principle with your statement and mostly follow it. I think there is a place for worshiping in a church with your fellow man. Church services essentially grew out of gathering of people who gathered to hear the apostles and others spread the word of Christ.

Your reasoning seems to justify why you don't go to church and that's your business. In fact, while Christ may have stated his disdain for PDF (public displays of faith), he most certainly continued to speak in synagogues.

As for people like Tebow, I am also turned off by the overt displays of faith of most evangelicals. However, in defense of Tebow, he actually has publicly stated why he is accepting the millions and what his plans are for it. He has already pledged large amounts to local Denver hospitals and plans to use most of his wealth for mission trips around the world, particularly in Africa. Whether he follows through with that remains to be seen. So, before you condemn a man who has just come into his wealth and is not even 30 years old yet, why not be patient and see how things unfold.

Anonymous said...

Agreed.

Susan Zoon said...

Thanks, Marc, for this comment . It has truly annoyed me that this athlete has gained renown for his prayer and not his accuracy as a quarterback. As a long-time football fan, I would also like to point out that black players have for years, held little prayer circles before and after games, often intra-team, outside of the view of the television cameras and mostly unremarked upon. So there is a lot of "great white hope" nonsense attached to the fact that Tebow is a white quarterback.

Anonymous said...

But "good" Christians get to pick-and-choose which pieces of the Bible they believe in . . . which parts are 'right' . . . and which parts can be conveniently ignored.

Yellow Dog said...

Dead. On.

And thanks. Well known by most of us recovering Xians, but well suppressed by the freakazoids for the reasons you mention.

Yellow Dog said...

Dead. On.

And thank you. This is well known to most of us recovering xians, but it is too successfully suppressed by the freakazoids for the reason you mention.

Mike said...

While Christians like to portray their belief system as somehow being "locked into place" during the days of the early church and practiced today just like it has been practiced for millenia; nothing could be further from the truth. The writings of the bible are not static texts, as they would have us believe. They are malleable based on the cultural norms of the time in which they wish to apply them. That is why things like the "Prosperity Gospel" have flourished in modern times, when the accrual of wealth is looked on as the consummate American goal. Christianity rides the current of the times, just like everything else. That is why it is such a joke and makes it necessary for theists to carefully cherry pick their arguments. The contradictions that have evolved make the whole Christian argument untenable and ridiculous, unless you perform extreme and irrational mental gymnastics. So it becomes permissible for Tebow to display his Christian bonafides in such a dramatic fashion, because in modern times "in-your-face" Christianity has become fashionable. Today's Jesus is a flag waving, gun toting, pickup truck driving, ass-kicking, country music loving, muscular sports fan. Oh, and he's also a white guy. He bears no real resemblance to the dude in that old book preaching about the meek inheriting the earth, turning the other cheek and selling all your worldly possessions to give to the poor. Our society has a name for those kinds of people.....they call them bleeding heart liberals. And ironically, many of today's Christians mean that as a pejorative term. Hypocrisy, anyone???

Buford said...

The Christian teachings I grew up with, are not what I see now. Christianity has been perverted by the very same forces that these folks seem to despise. Heck, I prayed for a quarterback just like Johnny Elbow, and this is my answer? I was hoping for something......more in line with Tom Brady.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi, Brcarthey, thanks for your comment.

re:
>>So, before you condemn a man who
>>has just come into his wealth
>>and is not even 30 years old yet

I didn't condemn anyone---I only quoted the words of Jesus.

Bob Broughton said...

You probably remember there was a trend a few years ago for people to bring signs to football games saying "John 3:16"? I was tempted to bring one that says "Matthew 6:5".

I have been know to yell "Matthew 6:5" at people who try to convert me.

Eric said...

In general, Christianity, whatever the denomination, does not encourage enlightened inquiry from the rank and file, lest they actually read the bible and try to understand it. No, most churches prefer to spoon-feed followers from the pulpit on a diet of doctrine without understanding.

My apologies to those sects and individuals who are both Christian and enlightened; in my life I have encountered very few of either. I have also met bone-headed fundamentalists in non-Christian religions as well (yes, there are fundie Wiccans).

javadavis said...

I've never been able to square the 'pray in a closet' thing with the 'don't hide your light under a bushel' one. As you point out, the bible has a lot of contradictory stuff...

Snakeoiler said...

I don't think it's fair to criticize him for taking money that his employer is offering him to perform his job, even if it is what most of us would consider obscene. Professional sports is a zero sum game: either the rapacious, capitalist owner gets the money, or the creator of value, the workers, get the money. I'd rather have the workers get the money. Furthermore, what proof is there that he would not give lots of money away?

I am all for criticizing him for hypocrisy for showing his religion splashily, if that's against his religion (not ever a Christian of any sort, so don't know), but for taking money? Not so much.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi, Snakeoiler, thanks for your comment:
re:
>>>I don't think it's fair to
>>>criticize him for taking money
>>>that his employer is offering
>>>him to perform his job, even if
>>>it is what most of us would
>>>consider obscene

Personally, I think gettting paid $30 million to play football is obscene when there are tens of millions of people who do real, back-breaking work and don't even earn enough to put food on the table.
But note that in my article, all I'm doing is quoting Jesus' own words. It was Jesus who said that if you're rich, you will likely burn in hell. It was Jesus who said that if you're rich, you can only enter heaven if you sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor.
If you think this is an extreme point of view, or unfair or radical or socialistic---that's your opinion. But the fact is, if you read Christ's own words, this is what He believed---and what He required of his followers.
The Bible is vague on a lot of issues. This isn't one of them.

Anonymous said...

The fact is, if Tebow (Who is a simply AWFUL quarterback) is where he is BECAUSE of his displays of piety, and if he were Buddhist, Wiccan or dear FSM a MUSLIM, not only would he NOT be watched every time he prayed to Mecca and praising Allah, he wouldn't have a gig in the NFL.

Jack Jodell said...

We;; stated, Marc. Tebow is very arrogant vain, and self-serving by his constant, unnecessary wearing of his Christianity on his sleeve.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi, Susan, thanks for stopping by and for your comment.
re:
>>I would also like to point out
>>that black players have for
>>years, held little prayer
>>circles before and after games,
>>often intra-team, outside of the
>>view of the television cameras
>>and mostly unremarked upon.

Great point! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

And He said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation."
-Mark 16:15

Tim Tebow is NOT a hypocrite! He
is proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ. Just like he asked us to. What's so wrong with being strong in your faith? NOTHING! Hyprocricy is being FAKE and Tim Tebow is by all means NOT FAKE!

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Anon, thanks for your comment.
Sorry, but it's clear that Jesus Himself would disagree with your assessment. It's one thing to "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel." It's quite another to pray in public, which contradicts Jesus's SPECIFIC instructions on how to pray. This is NOT a verse that is open to interpretation---but I'm sure you fundies will disagree---as you love to twist around Jesus's message of peace, love, forgiveness and helping the poor.

re:
>>Tim Tebow is by all means NOT
>>FAKE!

Uh, actually, you don't really know that. All we really know about Tebow is that he loves to ostentatiously pray in public (thus contradicting Christs' specific instructions) and that he is incredibly wealthy (and is thus someone that Christ said will burn in hell). The last time I checked, it was impossible for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.

All Tebow is is a pampered athlete who makes an obscene amount of money for playing with an inflated pigskin on a field. Let's not kid ourselves that he is doing something important in this world. He isn't Nelson Mandela, for Chrissakes.

Anonymous said...

Is that why he signed with a major Hollywood Agency to give to the needy.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Anon,
re:
>>Is that why he signed with a
>>major Hollywood Agency to give
>>to the needy.

He's giving to the needy? Good for him. He only makes tens of millions of dollar per year, so it's clear that he's making a big sacrifice.
BTW, are you familiar with Jesus' teaching when He talked about the widow's mite? That's one of those pesky Bible verses that so many "Christians" either seem unaware of, or they quietly tiptoe away from it and try to pretend it doesn't exist.

Anonymous said...

While I agree with your statement about the hypocricy of public prayer, I believe that Christ put an emphasis on this because having a "conversation" with God should be personal- without interuption and without any outside interference. It's hard to speak to the LORD alone while KNOWING that the cameras and crowds are on you and focusing COMPLETELY on Him. This is why we are told to go into our closets (rooms) and pray in secret. It's making special time out for Him.

The only thing I really had a hard time with that you said was that being rich is condemned. Though being selfish is condemned, the LORD simply put to test the rich man. He wanted to test the man and see if he was WILLING to give up everything to follow Him. The man left troubled because his possessions were many- he cared more about the stuff than Jesus. Although I don't care for the prosperity gospel garbage that's preached constantly (the old 'you send me money and YOU'LL get rich evangelists)- I do believe in the LORD generously blessing those that follow Him. You will have to read the story of the talents, but I generally believe this (and know that I yield to the fact that we all at times err in our thinking and judgment until the LORD makes things clear to us individually): if you give generously, you will reap generously.

Though I am not rich by American standards, I am in the top 5% of the wealthiest in the world. As I aim to please Him that has blessed me abundantly (and now being off food stamps and Medicaid I feel exceedingly and abundantly blessed in my humble apartment) I gladly give to those with less and hope to continue to give more as He has enabled me and continues to enable me to do so, but do not let me brag in myself, but unto the ability that He alone has given me- for I do not give out of my own accord, but that which He alone provides for me to give. Amen. Be blessed and increase in your faith in His mighty name- Christ Jesus our Lord.

bertalmio said...

>>if you give generously, you will reap generously.


ok, now you're just making stuff up...


jesus "allegedly" said, give ALL your money to the poor... not what you think is "appropriate" or "generous".


but no, fundie xians like to pick and choose and justify thier non-adherence to VERY CLEAR teachings that are inconvienent or too difficult to live



bertalmio said...

>>if you give generously, you will reap generously.


ok, now you're just making stuff up...


jesus "allegedly" said, give ALL your money to the poor... not what you think is "appropriate" or "generous".


but no, fundie xians like to pick and choose and justify thier non-adherence to VERY CLEAR teachings that are inconvienent or too difficult to live

Denny Parker said...

Thanks for taking the Bible so literally. I will remember this next time you rant on people's rights bear arms. Thank you hypocite.

Marc McDonald said...

re:
>>Thanks for taking the Bible so
>>literally. I will remember this
>>next time you rant on people's
>>rights bear arms. Thank you
>>hypocite.

I take the Second Amendment literally, as well. You gun nuts don't seem to realize that it includes the words "well regulated."

Lisa of Fruitvale, Tx said...

Marc,
why are you trying to comment on Christianity when you obviously are not one? You don't even understand the passages that you have quoted. I've heard many sermons on the verses you say "Christians tip-toe around". You have admitted you don't go to church. How in the world do you know what "most" preachers preach on or not??? Jesus is repremanding people who pray in public for doing it with the wrong motives-for show and recognition-not for the praying itself. Jesus says it is hard for a rich person to enter heaven because a person that is rich obviously gets his wealth and holds onto it-is so protective of it that he doesn't care about his fellow man. He won't care about faith in God. You have picked verses, taken them out of context and twisted them to say what you want. Why should you resent Tim Tebow from being paid like so many other professional athletes? Face it, you hate the fact that a clean, nice guy with standards that lives his Christian faith is actually being successful in his profession. Yes, it is a job, and it's not an easy one. You are the hypocrite!

Marc McDonald said...

re:
>>Jesus says it is hard for a rich
>>person to enter heaven because a
>>person that is rich obviously
>>gets his wealth and holds onto
>>it-is so protective of it that
>>he doesn't care about his fellow
>>man. He won't care about faith
>>in God.

Actually, I agree with you on this. This is clearly what Jesus is talking about. I don't know where you're getting that I'm taking verses "out of context" or "twisting" around Jesus' words.

re:
>>Face it, you hate the fact that
>>a clean, nice guy with standards
>>that lives his Christian faith
>> is actually being successful in
>>his profession

Well, now here, you're running off the rails. YOU are the one who missed the whole point of my piece.

Anonymous said...

Jesus would not call Tebow a hypocrite. He would call Tim someone who is so on fire for Christianity that he cannot contain his passion to just his personal life. Christians are called to share the source of their hope, and spread the gospel of Christ.
Second, God never condemns public prayer. He condemns people who are publicly praying for their own gain or personal recognition. If you think Tim is praying to make himself look better that is your own opinion. The true meaning behind this verse is to have heartfelt prayer that is has the proper motivation behind it. You have no way of knowing Tim's motivation behind his prayers; therefore, the reference to this verse is irrelevant.
Third, God does not directly condemn the wealthy. He condemns people who LOVE MONEY and serve it as their only master. The fact that Tim uses his money in ways that benefits others is impossible to deny. Just look at all the work he has done with the Tim Tebow foundation and all of the mission trips he involves himself with. He is a great example of God putting someone in a place that can be used for his glory.
Although I see where you are going with this message, I think it is unfair to pick and choose certain parts of these Bible verses, without including the overall message that is meant to be communicated. If you think Tebow is a hypocrite, the only grounds for making this claim are your own personal opinions. Don't try to use Bible verses to support the claim that he is a hypocrite unless you include the overall message of the verse. I will be interested to see you write an article that proves Tim is a hypocrite, while abiding by these standards in your writing.
Good Luck

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Anon,
Wow, it must be nice to have a direct hotline to God and to know exactly what He wants.
You need to go back and re-read my article. I cite direct Bible verses to back up my points. By contrast, you don't cite any Bible verses to back up your points. I guess when you have a direct hotline to God, you don't need to bother with such formalities, huh?

Anonymous said...

They are the exact same verses you used...they simply take in to consideration the context of these verses and cultural messages regarding the Pharisees. I am very honored that you think so highly of my relationship with God. I seek to read and interpret the Bible with His help, as well as in a way that continually honors Him. Although I cannot do this perfectly on my own, I pray that He will lead and guide me in seeking His truth. What I am saying is that it does not do any good to cute references if they are not used properly. Different verses hold specific messages for the people of the time period. I hope you understand this concept, otherwise this may lead to confusing interpretations of parables, poetic scripture, and wisdom literature in the Bible. I also wish you the best in dealing with animal rights organizations, as I assume you also strictly adhere to the Old Testament levitical codes that require sacrifices. I suggest that you look into the scriptural context of these verses as I think it could change your opinion of Tim.I think this will help you realize Tim is a Christ like man, who is clearly aiding in the process of redemption in our fallen world. I would suggest possibly talking to a pastor about these verses because maybe you will treat their opinions with slightly more respect. If you are not a Christian, then I don't understand why you would make this argument in the first place. I am sorry but I will continue to attempt to glorify my savior in everything I do, and publically display my gratitude for the amazing grace He has extended towards a sinner like myself. God Bless
-Andrew Karel

Anonymous said...

The problem with your argument is that you misinterpreted the text. Matthew 6:5-6 says that followers of Christ should not pray like hypocrites, who pray not so that they will be heard by God but so that they will be praised by man. The command to pray in secret was to reduce temptation to pray for one's own glory. Nowhere in the Bible is public prayer condemned so long as it is sincere.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi, Anon, thanks for the note.
re:
>>the problem with your argument
>>is that you misinterpreted the
>>text

Perhaps this is so. But I always get a bit annoyed by those who claim to know what exactly the Bible says. Let's face it, huge chunks of the Bible are very vague. I always have my doubts about those people who claim to know "exactly" what the Bible says.
The ironic thing is that, the verse that I discussed in this article is one of those rare Bible verses that is actually very clear and straight-forward. For you to claim that I "misinterpreted" what is actually a very clear passage is absurd.

Anonymous said...

The verse about the rich is misinterpreted. Jesus wasn't talking about a socioeconomic status but rather being rich in spirit desiring earthly material and having no need for a savior.

There are multimillionaire Christians who absolutely love giving to the poor.

There are also poor people who are not Christian.

Marc McDonald said...

re:
>>The verse about the rich is
>>misinterpreted

Yeah and I suppose that people like you have a direct hotline to God, so you can enlighten us as to what the Bible means. I've read a lot of creative ways to interpret this particular verse, as "Conservatives" desperately try to spin away Christ's strong words against wealth. Your interpretation is one of the most creative I've read. Oh, well, at least you're not trying to claim that Jesus was talking about "greedy" people---after all, he clearly used the word, "rich."

Anonymous said...

I find all of your comments to be flawed. What kind of follower of Christ buys a 1.4 million dollar home in a country club? Hahaha. Tebow just bought a home in Jacksonville for that amount, lol.
Would Jesus approve? Well, the bible sort of hints he wouldn't. But then again, would the bible approve of Joel Osteens mega million dollar mansion and 30 or more million in his savings account, lol.