Tim Tebow is certainly the most iconic athlete to proclaim Christ in the last decade. He stands in direct contrast to Colin Kaepernick, the biggest Social Justice Warrior athlete of the previous decade. Both were running quarterbacks. Both carried with them a level of distraction. And both had highly debatable levels of talent. After being replaced by Peyton Manning, Tebow bounced around trying out as a backup quarterback, before making a career move to try his hand at baseball. Colin Kaepernick, in contrast, lost his starting position and then turned his displeasure into a national protest.
On Thursday, the Jacksonville Jaguars announced they were signing Tim Tebow to a one year contract. However, instead of playing quarterback, Tim Tebow will be trying out as a tight end. NFL contracts are generally not guaranteed, and Tim Tebow still has to compete for a spot on the team.
In truth, I’d much rather see Tim Tebow on the line of scrimmage than on the Big Eva circuit. Tim Tebow has definitely capitalized off of building a brand that came about through publicly praying (and I don’t fault him for this). However, his brand goes well beyond that which initially inspired it. In addition to being a philanthropist on issues like human trafficking, he has also become a motivational speaker. And there is reason to be concerned that he has embraced the Prosperity Gospel.
I don’t consider him to be a teacher, though he has delivered sermons before. It’s hard to listen to Tim Tebow or read Tim Tebow and not wonder whether he subverts the gospel.
It was cool when Tim Tebow was an athlete but his status in Christian celebrity culture is rather unhealthy for evangelicalism as a whole.