Tim Tebow, Abortion, and the Gospel.

I’ll be honest, I’ve gone every direction on this one. (and before we get into it, none of the directions I have gone or will go represent the views of my employer or anyone else)

In case you haven’t heard, Tim Tebow is at the center of a firestorm regarding a pro-life advertisement set to run during the Super Bowl on Sunday.

I started out frustrated that the Christian right-wing was building their soapbox again. Before you freak out and think I am OK with abortion, hear me out.  Abortion is murder.  But so is hating pro-choice people.   Furthermore, it is such a politicized issue that you can’t tell the red tape from the genuine issues without an answer key.  And while I think abortion is a cut-and-dried issue, I don’t think that solving the crisis is as simple as legislating it.  There are hearts involved that need changing.  And there’s almost no fact more biblically true than “laws don’t change hearts.”

Then I started to read more about it, and have gotten pretty frustrated at the pro-choice lobby (which is really showing itself to be more pro-abortion than pro-choice, as astutely pointed out in a great article in the Washington Post yesterday).

Here’s the bottom line, for me:  I am glad that God has called some Christians to the front line of the abortion issue, because it is clearly taking a life when you abort a baby.  And taking lives in the numbers we are currently is nothing short of a holocaust.  But even in saying that, I am potentially alienating folks who otherwise might listen to the gospel.  You don’t have to be pro-life to become a Christian. (Although, if you are persuaded that the Bible is God’s word, it’s tough to remain in favor of abortion in any way. The Bible is not silent on the issue.  John the Baptist worshiped Jesus from within his mother’s womb.  Pretty strong argument for personhood.)

God has called me to be about one thing: proclaiming the gospel, over and over.  And part of the gospel that I proclaim is that I am not right. What bothers me about many pro-life lobbyists is that they argue from a position of “I am right, you are wrong.”  That type of finger-wagging and pretentiousness will never change anyone’s opinion.  Jesus met with the most heinous sinners of his day, and all of them (with the noted exception of the religious right-wing, who I’d argue are the worst of the sinners) were drawn to him.  We could learn much from his approach.

Now, I haven’t seen the ad by Tebow and Focus on the Family, but here’s my hope: I hope they lobby to individuals and not to Washington.  And I hope they don’t start from a position of finger-wagging, but of humility.  Even if we are right in the argument, we don’t have to win the philosophical debate.  Our acceptance, worth, and value are not tied to our ability to save the babies.  Jesus, after all, is in control.

What do you say? Is this a hornet’s nest I should have avoided? Why or why not?

10 Replies to “Tim Tebow, Abortion, and the Gospel.”

  1. I’m pretty sure that at the end of my earthly life that the first question that my Heavenly Father is going is ask me is NOT, “Were you pro-choice or pro-life?” I think he’s going to ask me, “What did you do with My Son?” While my answer to that question may determine my position on the abortion issue, as Christians, I think we need to stop trying to make everything about this one issue. I respect the right of FOF and the Tebows to air an ad on this topic and I, too, hope that their focus is the actual issue and not simply on legislating how our country will address it.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.
    .-= Ken Summerlin´s last blog ..A funny thing happened on the way to lunch . . . =-.

  2. Good comment Ben. I am hoping (and from what I hear, this is the case) that the ad is simply an account of a family who, when faced with a crisis, affirmed life. Abortion would never have become an acceptable practice in our country if people had not first abandoned the conviction that all children are a blessing. It is a philosophical small step to go from viewing children as impediments to one’s career and life-style to disposable masses of tissue. Had family and children been held in Biblically high regard in our culture, Roe would never have passed. So I maintain that even if Roe is ever overturned, nothing will really change until (as you pointed out) the hearts of the people (and leaders) change in regard to the value of family and children. It is no small comfort that Malachi promises that one of the benefits of the Gospel is that the “hearts of the fathers will be turned to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”

    As for the ad. The “Pro-Aborts” (and their shrillness is exposing them as just that) are claiming that the Super Bowl is not the proper forum for the ad. I even heard someone suggest it be shown during the Oscars or Grammys instead. Come on now, Tim Tebow is a football player so the Super Bowl is much more of an appropriate forum to show the ad than any other televised event; at least that’s my two shekels worth.

  3. “There’s almost no fact more biblically true than ‘laws don’t change hearts'”?

    Really? Deut. 4 and Ps. 119 seem to offer a different view.

    Is it possible to conform to the requirements of the law while hating the law? Of course. But it seems God intended Isreal’s law to transform the world. And the Psalmist delights in the transformative power of the law in Psalm 119.

    It’s great to desire that lost people encounter and be changed by the Gospel. But I don’t really understand downplaying the importance of legislative reform. This is just as essential. Nations can be judged by the laws they implement, and Roe v. Wade is the most atrocious of all our laws.
    .-= Alicia´s last blog ..Inserting a ? where Jesus put an ! =-.

    1. I’m with Ben on this one. If the purpose of the law was not to justify us with God but to point us to the need for a savior, is not every moral issue really an issue of changing our hearts toward God and His righteousness? Governmental law may restrict my behavior but that law is not likely to change my heart regarding that issue. Maybe it’s not an “either/or” question as much as it’s a “and” question. Focusing only on enacting law will never bring us lasting change.
      .-= Ken Summerlin´s last blog ..A funny thing happened on the way to lunch . . . =-.

    2. I am going to stand by that line. To clarify, I didn’t call laws useless. But I’d say Galatians and Romans make clear that the law only shows us our need for heart-change. Also, there should be a distinction, in my mind, between God’s law and governmental regulation. Uncle Sam’s law is especially non-transformative.
      That God can and does use the law as a catalyst to heart-change is undeniable. But for the Supreme Court to overturn Roe wouldn’t change any hearts. That was and is my point.

  4. Thank you for saying this. I think a lot of Christians spend way too much time arguing their cause and think that if all of a sudden Roe v. Wade was overturned that would be the end of abortion. The result would just be a whole lot more back alley abortion clinics. Like Ben said, making something illegal won’t change people’s desires (see: Weed, Speeding, etc.).

    I think if there is one thing that Christians need to realize is that no matter what they do, or who they vote for, this issue isn’t going to be solved until Jesus returns. It is obvious to us that abortion is horrible, but just like gay marriage, your beliefs cannot be forced down someones throat. Otherwise they will hate your beliefs.

    If Focus on the Family spent any time focusing on families after the baby was born (i.e. single mothers, the extremely poor, the starving, etc.) then I would say this wasn’t just a political commercial. Unfortunately, they focus on two issues and both line up with their political candidates, but other issues that involve the family such as welfare and the like they stay away from because the political party they align themself with is against that.

    I think that if you want to reach the lost, you need to approach them with love and make them curious of why you are able to keep smiling despite the world falling apart around them. There just doesn’t seem to be any love when it comes to the strong divide that surrounds this issue. Forcing someone to believe what you believe strengthens their resolve to reject you or that belief.

    Sorry if I offend anyone with all that, but I just think that caring for the lesser of these: the sick, the poor, the imprisioned, the homeless, etc. is far more important than getting political. Give to Ceaser what is Ceaser’s and give to God what is God’s.

  5. Zac, maybe you are privy to information that I am not, but I don’t think it is quite fair to say that Focus doesn’t spend anytime on families after a baby is born. I know from Dr. Dobson’s books that they give much attention to all aspects of family life. The fact that perhaps the spotlight is on the issues of abortion and gay marriage is that they see (and I think correctly) that these two issues are a direct assault upon the institution of the family and ultimately a direct assault upon God Himself. Martin Luther’s words here bear our remembrance,

    If I profess with loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except that little point which the world and the Devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battlefield besides, is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

    It is true that laws cannot change the hearts of men, but it is also true that one of the purposes of law is to restrain evil, and to that end we should be doing all we can to peacefully and prophetically declare God’s Word to student and leader and pray that God’s Spirit would bring about Gospel righteousness in the heart and in our laws.

  6. I think addressing this issue in a non-reactionist, thoughtful way is important.

    The issue that was brought to my attention from all of this was less the fact that CBS agreed to run the FOTF ad, but also that they declined to air an ad for an LGBTQ dating website.

    I’ll go ahead and be clear as well: I don’t like Focus on the Family, but I am unrelentingly pro-life (which includes anti-death penalty).

    However, my pro-choice clergy and seminarian friends are not pro-abortion, as the article you cited might imply. I don’t think I know a single pro-choice Christian who is pro-abortion. They just value a woman’s right to choose what she does with her body, as do I.

    Overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t going to keep people from having abortions. I think you’re right in that it’s a heart-matter. As are many/most of the aspects of living out the gospel.

    I shouldn’t feed the hungry, sponsor a child in Africa, or open the door for someone because it’s been legislated. I should do it because my heart is so full of God’s love that it can’t help but pour out in that way.

    If the Church acted like the Church, Christians wouldn’t have to be involved in politics. If we were less concerned about “saving the lost” and more concerned about “feeding and housing and caring for the guy down the street,” and we stopped calling people “lost” and just saw them as people on the same difficult journey we’re all on TOGETHER, these issues would begin to be less political and become more heart-centered.

    To me, it’s about seeing the interconnectedness of the world, and that connection includes the unborn.

    To others, however, being a Christian is about toeing a party line. We are now required to judge someone’s “Christian-ness” by their political stance. And to me, that’s missing the point.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Heresy! =-.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Melissa.

      I agree with those that say a woman has a right to do what she wants with her own body. I disagree that a being with a distinct heartbeat is “her own body.” She has no right to stop that little heart from beating. And anyone who thinks it’s not a distinct life has never seen an ultrasound. A Christian that is ok with that “choice” needs to repent.

      I also agree with you on the issue of defining Christianity by a political persuasion. Where you and I might disagree is that I define Christianity by surrender to a real Jesus, as revealed in a living Bible. Without an authoritative, divinely inspired Bible, Christianity becomes too nebulous a concept to defend. But we’ve been down that road before, haven’t we, Melissa? 🙂

      Thanks again for the comment.

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