A Criticism of David’s Platt’s “Idolatry and Sports.”

The following link, I trust, will direct you to a Youtube video entitled “David Platt- Idolatry and Sports.”

If not, simply type in “David Platt- Idolatry and Sports” in a Youtube search bar and you’ll probably see a video where the popular evangelist criticizes the Christian’s “idolatrous” preoccupation with sports.

The reason I’m sharing this link with you all today is that I’d like to offer a criticism on it and share some insight concerning its teaching. On seeing this all too common scenario of legalistic preaching in the church culture, here are my personal thoughts.

I know that America’s (or at least the media’s) obsession with the controversey surrounding Tom Brady being suspended over knowing about deflated balls seems to give ample evidence of our nation’s fanatical bent towards sports. We don’t simply cheer and yell for our favorite teams. We get sucked in to their private lives as well, following even the events happening outside the locker room. Murder, suspension, domestic abuse, cheating, special charities. Whatever. Football fans, for example, love their favorite players so zealously we can get the impression that they’ve found something meaningful in their lives, something to be proud of. With all the passion for games every Sunday, we may question if such people have their priorities in line. “Why do dads watch John Madden cooking a burger on a grill when they should be buying diapers for the kids? Why, instead of cleaning the house, does my wife listen to Tony Dungee’s glory days as a Colts coach? Why is Peyton Manning’s success the only success I hear about from my boss, who makes me push myself to the limit on the job every minute of every day, all in the name of company success?”

Indeed, it all seems a little ridiculous.

Yet I would argue that all the booing and cheering is simply a time of enjoyment. It is no different than when you’re changing your son’s diapers, giggling about all the crap they’re spewing, or when your wife listens to you talk about your glory days as a football player, or when you and your boss celebrate the passing grade on a health exam.

It only seems to be an issue about priority. Who, or what, gets your full attention?

According to David Platt, when a Christian(s) get(s) excited about sports to where it interferes with their enjoyment of Christ and of the heavenly future, they commit gross idolatry since Sundays do not receive nearly as much emotional support.  For the Christian, our greatest joy ought to be about Jesus and what He accomplished for us.  If not, if football makes us happier in the long run, then something is wrong. Why does God not fill us even more so, seeing as He is our eternal reward and football, though it is great and fun, passes with time like everything else?

David Platt’s conclusion is that Christians need to examine themselves and go through a serious, mournful time of repentance, asking for God to focus their attention more on Him than sports.

But here’s my two cents. WHY does a football game give more to people than a Sunday church service?

Because the football game gives comfort and the church does not.

And why does the church not give comfort? Because of people like David Platt.

Imagine for a moment that the following is your pastor’s sermon schedule for a month:

May 1- Idolatry and Sports

May 8- The Practical Sword against Adultery

May 15- How to Disciple your Heart

May 22- How to Evangelize the American Culture

May 29- Ten steps to Idleness

I would tend to think that a normal Sunday for David Platt would be warning, condemning, evaluating, examining, judging, hating, and mourning the failings of God’s people. Sure, he may speak about joy and forgiveness and mercy, but those ideas are just a little icing on the cake. The actual cake is rock. Rock meant to toughen you up and set your eyes on who is truly important.

The only problem is, the Christian has apparently forgotten, or never known, why Jesus is so important. They only know about what Jesus desires concerning the way they live their lives.

And that is the true tragedy, the reason Eli Manning seems to be the new King of Kings. It is not because Christians have forgotten that God is a jealous God. It’s because in singing those empty hymns, they don’t know why God is so special. The only God they have known on Sunday is a God who tells them how their life is to be lived, not a God who lived a perfect life for them so they wouldn’t have to go through the hellish ladder of constant self examination. If you spent Sunday after sunday condemning yourself for your sins and asking God to help you change, would you not want a break or feel worn out spiritually? Of course you would. But because Jesus is all about transformation, you’ll never truly rest a day in your life, unless you give something else your full attention. If you did push ups every day for eight hours, you would crash sooner or later. I would hope, anyway.

The thing is, the atmosphere of the church is always serious, though it might hint at love. It always pushes a person to improve themselves by the grace of God. The justification is God’s love for us. But is God’s love so significant that enjoying football could trump it?

Only if there was something empty about it…..

If the Christian’s passion is about the constant struggle to gain victory over sin and selfishness, then they can’t be content in anything since such a struggle is always subject to skepticism. Christians would seek comfort in something more simple and light-hearted. And that’s why the football stadium is more meaningful. Or seems to be.

If Christians are listening more to Terry Bradshaw than David Platt, then keep doing so. God would be more glorified in a moment of curious relaxation than a drill about idolatry. Is it not true that God is the God of the outside world as well as the Church? Is He not glorified in entertainment as well, seeing as football can demonstrate His creative power in giving people the power to tackle the hell out of people? I would think so.

Christ is, indeed, more meaningful than football. But does the Christian know why?


Devin Stevens goes to NY Ch. 5: “The Sky”

The thing is, my favorite part about my New York trip was the plane rides to and back from New Jersey.

Before leaving for New York, I had never been in a plane before. In my earlier years, I would’ve shunned the idea. Being thousands of feet in the air? No sir. Yet as I’ve aged, I’ve slowly gained this urge to do new things, if only slightly. I was ready to ride a plane and was tired of feeling so much trepidation about it.

After loading our luggage, we waited in line to be scanned for weapons. Ah, security. What can one say about it these days? After going through this glass stand scanning me for metal, I grabbed my valuables and put my shoes back on. You couldn’t even walk through it with them on. When I had my stuff with me again, I had this funny sense that I had just lost my virginity.

After waiting for our plane to be called, we boarded and let some baggage guys hold my brother’s acoustic guitar. Then we found ourselves in this very narrow and tight line of seats. It was a much smaller compartment than I had realized. Videos of plane rides, how you deceived me! We sat and buckled up. My brother gave me the window and my mom sat in a single seat to herself.

We waited. And then, slowly but quite surely, the plane moved, circling the airstrip, waiting for other planes to take off in front of it. It began to pick up speed, its engines growing louder by the second. At that point in my life I had been so stressed due to work and the repetition of a small town that I was ready for a vacation. As the plane lifted high into the air, I felt both excited and incredibly comforted. I felt as if I was leaving the source of all my stress behind, that my body was being rescued from the power of duty and money, releasing me from the weariness of the common and setting me free to explore the unknown.

A black lady came and gave us some cokes to drink while the pilot announced our destination several times. Meanwhile, I was looking outside my window and seeing something I couldn’t quite prepare for.

The view. Perhaps one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in my life. The flat, brown, fall-ridden lands stretched across the bottom of the world below me like a colossal table made of wood. Except for the many white squares marking cars and buildings and the streaks of light blue rivers coursing like snakes into grey lakes. Eventually the lakes grew and became oceans. I could see white cruise liners sail the waters, and the closer we got to the Big Apple, the more we could see the buildings of Manhattan stacked next to each other like a kindergardener’s play set. So beautiful was all that I saw, I could hardly turn my eyes away. I thought I was going to cry at one point, from sheer awe.

The plane slowly turned and twisted into the air. I had this thrilling fantasy of falling sideways and out of the plane, right down into the ocean or a group of houses one.  Slower and slower it rode until it landed in a New Jersey airport.

When we left New York, I had the window view one more. This time, I looked to my left instead of my right. I saw no lands this time. Only the sky. Can I grasp what a serenity it was looking at those clouds stretching around a blue expanse? I doubt it. The more I looked, the more lost in wonder I was. My Facebook profile picture is the very sky I saw when I left New York. I had to have something to remember it by.

Seeing that blue sky, in all its serene array, and how mysterious it is, filled me with a sense of adventure all over again. How small am I compared to my world, much less my universe! It is one of those pleasures I have when I think of my significance in the world. Seeing Nature up front like that makes me feel blessed to be alive and being able to share in the experience of life. The musings of a poet, of course.

This is my last NY post. I wish I had more to share, but our trip was so fast that there is only so much a group of three can do. But we made the best of it. One of my favorite trips, by far.