A commercial planned for broadcast during the Super Bowl on Sunday has stirred up a controversy among avid abortion supporters: The video shows superstar Florida Gator quarterback Tim Tebow telling the story of how his mother risked her life to give him birth, when doctors urged her to abort him.
Just who is this Tim Tebow?
He probably is the finest college quarterback ever. He also is one of the finest examples of a young man who not only talks openly about his faith but also lives it to the fullest extent possible, giving of himself in countless ways, visiting prisoners, and doing missionary work abroad. And that's not easy.
I got thinking about this extraordinary young man the other day after reading an article that Scripps Howard News Service reporter Terry Mattingly wrote about him, including Tebow’s practice of displaying Scripture references inside the anti-glare black patches under his eyes during games.
"He doesn't do it for show or for people to talk about," Gator teammate Maurkice Pouncey told the St. Petersburg Times. "It's just a way to show what he's about, what he believes, how he lives. It's really that simple."
Mattingly noted that many of the biblical citations turn out to be appropriate for the moment. For example, the biblical notation on the very day that a serious concussion felled him when the Gators played Kentucky referenced this passage: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
That injury was serious enough to have curtailed the football season for any athlete, but Tebow was back on the field after missing only a couple of games.
His facial biblical commentary continued, Mattingly recalled, when Tebow returned for the game against LSU, touting 1 Thess. 5:18, which advises, "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
That's an expression by which saints live: total surrender to the will of God as experienced in everything we encounter in life. As Christ put it in the Lord's Prayer, "Not my will but thine."
Reading Mattingly's piece gave me a new appreciation of the incredible depth of this young man's religious faith: He not only proclaims it openly in the face of a cynical press corps and world prone to mock any expression of an athlete's faith and treat it with derision but does so boldly.
Tebow's Christian faith requires that its adherents refrain from sexual relations until marriage — a practice not usually associated with young men of college age living in an arena that is the site of a constant battle between practicing sexual abstinence before marriage and the satisfaction of one's basest instincts.
The modern rule is, "If it feels good, do it." He defies that slogan, resisting this most basic of all urges, which secularists say is courting the deleterious effects of denying one's natural desires. To them bodily urges rule and must never be resisted.
To the media, satisfying sexual urges is not only normal and required but also mandatory. To Tebow, such practices are out of bounds. So when one cynical reporter had the gall to ask Tebow, "Are you saving yourself for marriage?" he stunned reporters by proclaiming his virginity, a retort that marked him as quite peculiar in the eyes of his interrogators.
So unusual was that response in the ears of his listeners — a spectacular young athlete who refuses to give in to his sexual urges — it provoked a sensation.
Wrote Mattingly, "Journalists and commentators can't seem to decide if they were more offended by the question or by Tebow's unapologetic answer. Was this a victory for the religious right or for crass, 'gotcha' journalism?"
He reported that the columnist who asked such an inappropriate question that was none of his business has refused to apologize, insisting that Tebow obviously considered it a logical query "in light of his highly public faith," a faith that, in his jaded eye, obviously makes its adherents oddballs out of step with the times.
Clay Travis of the Fanhouse.Com Web site got to the core of the message the young athlete lives by, noting that "Tebow demonstrated that he lives his life according to his own religious principles."
That this adherence to the demands of his faith — demands its founder warned would subject his followers to much unpleasantness (such as being grilled by ignorant and bigoted reporters) would mark them as rather strange — seems not to deter Tebow from his ironclad determination to follow in the footsteps of his lord and savior Jesus Christ no matter what the consequences to his reputation in a secular world.
That's the lesson Tim Tebow teaches, not by words, but by example. And the way he lives his life is the example.
Who is Tim Tebow?
"He's just a regular guy," former teammate Percy Harvin said. "To us, that (his religion) is just Tebow. That's who he is, so it doesn't seem unusual. And everybody understands that."
Said teammate Louis Murphy, "I can't explain it any better than this: He's a great God man, and everything falls in line for him because of the way he lives."
Phil Brennan writes for Newsmax.com. He is editor and publisher of Wednesday on the Web (http://www.pvbr.com) and was Washington columnist (Cato) for National Review magazine in the 1960s. He is a trustee of the Lincoln Heritage Institute and a member of the Association for Intelligence Officers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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