Saturday, November 18, 2006

Of Faith and Football

I was intrigued by the cover of the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. Pictured on the cover is the Baltimore Ravens' perennial All-Pro Linebacker, Ray Lewis. What was particularly interesting was Lewis' pose. His hands are folded and his eyes are cast upward as in prayer; and the title of the article is "God's Linebacker". The purpose of this blog is not to question Lewis' conversion, but to ponder his affiliation.

Upon reading through the article I learned that Lewis' pastor is none other than the wrong reverend Jamal-Harrison Bryant(please visit my fellow blogger Melvin Jones' site for lots on Bryant ). After repenting for the words that went through my mind, I realized that there seems to be a pattern emerging between professional athletes and famous false teachers. Have you noticed . . . T. D. Jakes has former Falcon, 49er, Cowboy, Redskin and Raven, Deion Sanders on his roster. Former World Heavyweight Champion Boxer, Evander Holyfield is in Creflo A. Dollar's corner ( the "A" is for "Aboutha").

If he has a few more games like the last two, perhaps Michael Vick will be in the market for a guru.

It causes me to wonder, what is the attraction here? Obviously, these athletes already have the material goods to match their mentors. The common thread that I have seen is that these ministers are the fathers these guys never had. Lewis comments in the SI article that he never had a father figure during his childhood and I have never heard much about the fathers of Sanders or Holyfield either. One can certainly understand how Jakes fills that role, as he certainly has a ministry to the hurting. In my humble opinion, this makes these false teachers all the more dangerous. The question that begs asking is: what if finding a father-figure in these guys is as far as it goes. Yes, they have now found a man to affirm them but if that man does not lead him to THE FATHER through the only way which is Jesus Christ . . . then what? Additionally, the athlete brings with himself a legion of fans who also listen to the heresy these guys routinely spout and they are also left with nothing more than affirmation.

Talk about losing the big one.

B. L. B. B!
(Be Like the Bereans Baby!)


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Anonymous said...

You must not have anything at all to do with your life. It is amazing that you criticize simply everything. If these atheletes get saved whether through well known or obscure people why is that a bad thing? No one who comes to Christ can stop with a mentor but must go on to know the Father. That is ture of who you mentor also.

Have you ever thought that if you criticize a work of the Holy Spirit with your suspicious inuendos, where will that leave you? Could it be possibe that God actually uses flawed people to win people to Jesus? I hope so, or the world is going to hell.

It is endless what you will bring up to discredit people who are not bothering you. This is America and people worship where they want to.

I understand you do not agree with these men, disagree with their theology, or disaprove of their methods. I also understand that ANY ministry can be take to task for scriptures can easily be manipulated by them and YES by you too.

But when you attack everything they do, you loose all credibility. The fact that you never mention anything positive and we know the many souls that are saved and the philanthropic works that are done through some of them, makes you look fishy!

To those of us who have found life through Christ in these ministries, we find your posting disgusting and pathetic. If you had a point, it is lost in your self enthroned egotism.

Please spare us the pious I am doing this for Jesus and just admit you are just a hater with scriptures!

Keith L. Tolbert said...

Dear Anonymous,

First, I apologize for taking so long to respond to your comments. Blogspot is supposed to notify me when someone comments and I never received a notification for yours. I will check my settings to make sure this doesn't happen again.

Second, I want to thank you for your comments. I've been getting many hits on my blog, but not many comments. I was beginning to think that I must be preaching to the choir because I didn't hear from anyone who disagreed with me. So, thank you and I appreciate your candor.

Truthfully, I do not just sit and throw mud at anyone. I have a vested interest in false teaching being exposed. First of all, I have many dear friends and beloved family members who are sitting under false teachers and my love for them compels me to tell them the truth. Secondly, I by the grace of God, formerly sat under false teaching and having been rescued must do all I can to rescue others. Thirdly, God in His infallible Word has commanded us to beware of, expose and warn against false teachers and prophets. You might consider the following Scriptures: Matt 7:15-23; Acts 20:29-31; I Tim 4:1-2; 6:3-5; II Tim 3:1-9; 4:3-4; Titus 1:10-16; Jude 3-4 and many others. I think you would have to agree (if indeed you believe the Scriptures)that contending for the truth is not an option, but a command.

I challenge you to point out in any of my posts where I have attacked any of these false teachers personally. I submit to you that I have only criticized their teachings, not their persons. False teachings are harmful. Not only do they lead people into false worship, but more importantly they slander and blaspheme Almighty God. I can confidently say that I have not "criticized a work of the Holy Spirit" because any "work" that contradicts Holy Scripture is manifestly NOT of the Holy Spirit. God does not contradict Himself.

I also challenge you to point out any instance wher I have "manipulated" Scripture in my posts. And the only things that I have "attacked" are the blatantly unScriptural teachings and actions these false teachers have performed.

Consider this, if indeed these false teachers are teaching heresy, they are in fact teaching a non-Biblical Jesus Christ (if they mention Christ at all). A non-Biblical Jesus Christ is not Jesus Christ at all and cannot save at all. The fact is these men are winning souls to themselves, rather than the Jesus Christ of the Bible. Evidence of this is before us with your very comments. You, subjectively, leap to the defense of these men and fail to uphold Jesus. Very conspicuous by its absence, is any reference to Scripture to support your outrage. Why is that?

Along with much that I have read, I have personnaly listened to Jamal Harrison-Bryant. I challenge you to listen to his message "God Wants You to be Rich" (available at 888-871-4027) the very title is pure falsehood. I watched this man lie and mangle Scripture for 30 minutes about God's promises of material wealth for His people. Yes, lie. Yes, mangle. He was certainly good at it, as he had people shouting and running around the arena. But I have seen Michael Jackson have the same effect on people.

As for "the many souls that are saved" through these ministries . . . are you sure? I have rarely heard the Gospel message of Jesus Christ's substitutional atonement ever leave the lips of these guys. The cross, sin and repentence are rare if ever preached in these institutions. So how can you be so sure "many souls" are being saved? Besides, it is not just about being "saved" God is seeking those true worshipers who will worship Him in "spirit and in truth" (John 4:23-24). That simply cannot happen where heresy and apostasy abound.

Regarding "the philanthropic works that are done through some of them". Are you suggesting that these "works" are somehow meritorious? My point was precisely this: IF (note the "IF") men like Ray Lewis are not lead to THE FATHER but only to these men all these "philanthropic works" will be worthless. Those and a buck twenty-nine will by them coffee at McDonalds.

Finally, it seems to you who has made the personal attacks. You have impuned my intentions without knowing me at all and you presume that I am a "hater". This is quite false, as I have said, I have nothing against these men personnaly. One in particular, I love dearly. That would be my former pastor. He is one of the most generous and loving people it has been my pleasure to know. He has helped me and my family a great deal in the past and I will always appreciate him for that. But the truth is, somewhere along the line he was seduced into this man-centered, materialistic, Scripture-mangling, emotion-driven popular "christianity" that is deceiving thousands. I love my former pastor, but I love Jesus more. I pray the He as well as the Jakeses, the Bynums, the Dollars, the Bryants, the Hinns, the Copelands, the Prices, the Whites et al will step out of that mess and begin to preach the Gospel, the Christ-exalting, heaven-focused, God-honoring, soul-sanctifying Word of God.

I do hope you will continue this dialogue with me. I am sure you will find that I earnestly desire to honor God and His Word through my efforts here. I would only request that if you disagree, be objective and be Scriptural. Opinions are like elbows, everybody's got 'em. Only God's Word really matters.

"Come now, and let us reason together . . ." Isaiah 1:18a