Tomorrow Is the Big Day!

America is all hyped up for Super Bowl XLVI, and America’s churches are no different. It’s the one day of the year when many churches  give their congregations permission to watch football rather than come to church! Or, in increasingly many cases, people can come to church to watch football.

Of course, I don’t believe there is anything inherently wrong with watching the Super Bowl (or any other sporting event, for that matter), or even that there might not be ways that churches can help redeem the sports mania to bring glory to God. I would, however, like to direct your attention (whether you’re a football fan or not) to three very good articles that bring needed perspective to the Big Day.

Hey Football Fans, The Big Day Is Nearly Here Again — Michael Horton reminds us that every Sunday is the “Big Day”, because it’s the day when God invites His people to gather to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Whether you’ll be in front of a pulpit or a big screen TV tomorrow evening, it is absolutely essential that you never allow anything to replace the primacy of the Lord’s worship in your affections.

Sex-Trafficking at the Super Bowl — Most people don’t realize that, hidden in all the hubbub, thousands of prostitutes (an estimated 10,000 in Miami in 2010) will be transported to Indianapolis this weekend in order to meet the high demand for sex from the 100,000 football fans descending on the city. Many of these sex workers are coerced or forced against their will, and many of them are between the ages of 12 and 14. The slave trade is alive and well in the U.S. today, and the Super Bowl is one of the industry’s largest annual fundraisers. Please take a moment to pray for the victims, and read at the bottom of Justin Holcomb’s post about ways you can get involved in the fight against human trafficking.

A Public Service Announcement from C.J. Mahaney — This article is a couple years old (so you can ignore the game predictions), but it offers some good insight on how Christian viewers might watch the game for the glory of God. You may also be interested in watching Mahaney’s sermon entitled “Don’t Waste Your Sports”:

As for me and my house, we will be in church tomorrow evening, though I can’t say this is necessarily out of any particularly spiritual conviction, and I certainly don’t look down on those who are choosing to spend that time enjoying the game and fellowshiping with other believers (as many from our church will be doing). For me, the line between conviction and preference in this matter is difficult to discern. I love being with God’s people on the Lord’s Day, and it’s difficult to imagine any football game that I would ever actually want to watch more than I want to hear good preaching!*

Honestly, I have been (perhaps selfishly) thankful these last few years for our church’s cancellation of evening services on Super Bowl Sunday, as it gives me an opportunity to be a “free agent” worshiper! I love our church body at Stevens Street, but it is always an encouragement to gather with others when I have the opportunity, which, as a member of the staff, is rare.

* Disclaimer: If the Nashville Predators were playing the last game of the Stanley Cup playoffs on a Sunday, it would probably make my decision really tough. Perhaps that’s a sign of my own idolatry of hockey, but at the very least it’s one more reason not to pass judgment on those who actually enjoy football and want to watch the game tomorrow! May the Lord provide the opportunity for me to face this temptation!

Separation of Church and Sport

An editorial by Tom Krattenmaker appeared in Monday’s USA Today bemoaning what he calls a “faith surge” in the sporting arena. He seems to believe that everyone has a right to believe whatever they want, and to express that however they want, so long as they don’t express in public the belief that theirs is the only correct view. In particular he calls out University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow, who is a tremendous athlete (winner of the Heisman Trophy) as well as a tremendous and outspoken evangelical Christian. The article is worth reading, especially in light of the fact that Mr. Krattenmaker’s views are very much in the mainstream… it’s postmodernism at its finest.

Krattenmaker’s Article

While I’d love to post my own thoughts on this article, I’m quite exhausted from a very long trip this week. You can, however, read several other excellent responses to this article elsewhere in the blogosphere. Here are some of the best:

Time to Separate Church and Sports? A New Agenda Takes Shape by Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

A Separation of Church and Sports? by Kevin DeYoung, pastor of University Reformed Church and author of DeYoung, Restless and Reformed

A Narrow-Minded Pluralist Blitzes Tim Tebow by Erik Raymond, pastor of Omaha Bible Church