Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sports Versus Christianity

In his book, "Good Game: Christianity and the Culture of Sports," Shirl James Hoffman points to the confusion between the Christian values of "servanthood, generosity, and self-subordination," and the sports culture of "competition, partisanship, and Darwinian struggle."

"Christianity Today" (magazine) admitted that there is a conflict between Church and sports in a recent headline: "Fanatics: How Christians have succumbed to the culture of sports."

Succumbed? The dictionary says that “succumb” means "give way to; yield to; DIE." Are Christians succumbing to sports? I say they are. Is sports KILLING Churches? I say it is.

There is gross contradiction between Christianity and sports. Not just one, but many contradictions.

Can we genuinely worship Jesus Christ AND these modern gladiators at the same time? Is it genuinely possible to idolize sports figures without betraying Jesus Christ?

Is our Sunday worship genuinely authentic when our Saturdays are spent in the company of 100,000 people who paid hundreds of dollars apiece to observe the most intense competition between two-dozen mostly amoral brutes whose objective is to pummel, assault, and injure one another in exchange for screaming idolatry and a chance at fabulous wealth, celebrity status, and the lifestyles of the rich and famous?

In an industry renowned for the moral terpitude (baseness, vileness, depravity) of its players, there is no defense for a Christian’s enthusiasm.

Every game is a sexually-charged, scantily-dressed, booze-promoting, profanity-laced event. Half-time events during the major games have become notorious for R-rated entertainment.

The sports figures themselves are infamous for sexually promiscuous, partying lifestyles, including homosexual and pedophilia scandals. The entire sports industry is equally notorious for corruption, payolla, drug and substance abuse, and other criminal activities.

A typical Super Bowl is one of the most debauched events on earth. During SuperBowl XLV in Dallas (2011), there were 133 arrests for prostitution. Some reports claim that as many as 10,000 prostitutes descended on Miami, Florida for SuperBowl XLIV in 2010. Nightclubs and strip clubs make fortunes during major sporting events. Sports gambling generates multi-billions of dollars underground. Liquor consumption is immeasurable. And only God knows how many illicit drugs are on the premises.

I recently visited the website of one of the fastest-growing "Churches" in America. It included a virtual tour of their campus, which included about a dozen major buildings on several acres. Not one building was even called a Church. Every single building on the campus was built for sports applications, including the main auditorium. They had gymnasiums, stadiums, recreation centers, and even the main event center was designed to be a multi-purpose sports arena.

If Christianity was suddenly STRIPPED of ALL SPORTS ELEMENTS, some Churches would absolutely disappear from off the planet.

And why are Christians so proud to declare their team affiliations, yet so embarrassed to even put the word "Church" on their buildings?

I am absolutely incensed by the arrogant hijacking of Biblical Christianity by the idolatrous, Olympiad, gladiator, and pornea spirits that come from the entire field of sports.

I very seriously doubt that Aaron and the children of Israel were ever a FRACTION as rowdy and rambunctious about the GOLDEN CALF as professing Christians are about their football stars. Yet God slaughtered about three-thousand men for their idolatry that day, and sent plagues to all of Israel.

The screaming, yelling, chanting, and unequivocal worship of sports figures is utterly abominable in the eyes of God. I have no doubt. He has slaughtered multitudes in ancient times over less.

In the days of Eli the High Priest, Philistines stole the holy Ark of the Covenant from Israel. They carried it to Gaza and set it up in the Temple of Dagon. In the morning, the idol of Dagon had toppled to the floor. They set it back in place, but the next morning, the idol of Dagon had fallen again, and this time, it broke into pieces.

WHAT IF they had brought DAGON INTO THE HOLIEST OF HOLIES as we have brought SPORTS into the House of God??

Almighty God will NOT compete with our idols.

He DEMANDS that we worship NO OTHERS but Him. That is the FIRST COMMANDMENT.

You can argue until you are blue in the face, but sports fanaticism is worship. Say it isn’t so, but it is so.

If you can call the pathetic singing of a hymn on Sunday WORSHIP, then sports fanaticism is EXTREME WORSHIP. Sports figures simply do NOT deserve the praise they are given, and God will not forever remain silent on the matter.

You will never convince me that the Apostles could ever have built the Early Church if their minds had been as preoccupied with football, baseball, basketball, golf, tennis, racquetball, wrestling, boxing, martial arts, and other "athletic" pursuits as modern Christians and MINISTERS are prepossessed to be.

Neither will modern "Christians" EVER build a Church on the order of the Early Church as long as their minds are as contaminated and distracted with sports.

Religion Reporter David Gibson asked the question in an article in the Huffington Post: Is it "Time For Separation Of Church And Sports?"

I say, "Yes!"

The Church must have a cleansing. Christian thinking, behavior and lifestyles must undergo a radical deprogramming of the sports mindset. If Christians don't get a radical steam-cleaning of their brains, the Church can NEVER become what God called it to be.

Sportsmanship is not one of the Christian virtues. Competition is quite contrary to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus taught us to take the lower seat, turn the other cheek, defer to others, serve, honor and reverence one another. Sports enforce the exact opposite values. One-upmanship is very opposite of submission.

Jesus sternly rebuked His disciples because they were striving among themselves about who would "be accounted the greatest." "THE GREATEST?" That is the entire objective of sports! Who will be the greatest?

Jesus told them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth." Luke 22:24-27.

We fawn and slobber over sports celebrities as if they were gods. We invite their coaches and stars into our Church pulpits, although their very occupations flagrantly contradict scores of Biblical teachings.

So what will it be? Are you going to be a Christian? Or are you going to be a sports fanatic? You really, really cannot be both.

Stop kidding yourself.

Sports really has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity. It is an illegal alien in the Church. It should be deported immediately.

How many young people might have heard and obeyed the call of God into the ministry - to the saving of multitudes of souls - but were taken away by SPORTS? Even ONE is TOO MANY!

"Bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation," 1 Timothy 4:8-9.

The eternal benefit of sports is nil.
The benefit of godliness is eternal company with God.

Many years ago, there was a preacher who billed himself as "The Chaplain of Bourbon Street." He preached in the bars and strip clubs of New Orleans. For a while, he was a sensation. But after a while, he committed adultery with one of the bar dancers. He should not have been there in the first place.

There are some places where Christians simply do not belong. A bar is one. A strip club is another. A major sporting event is another.

I was 12 years old when God called me to serve Him. I have preached the Gospel for over 45 years, and have read the Bible literally scores of times. I have never seen ANYTHING in the Bible that gives me ANY REASON, ANY MANDATE or ANY LICENSE to incorporate sports into the ministry of the Church.

On the contrary, I could preach for 1000 hours on the Biblical reasons why a Christian should separate himself from the world, the flesh and the devil.

But I will spare you the 1000 hours. I merely send this article into the universe and hope that someone will finally realize that sports is an enemy invading the Church like the Trojan horse that invaded and destroyed Troy.

ADDENDUM (1/2/15):

I hate organized sports. It is utterly destroying true Christianity. It is a distraction, a diversion and a total enemy of the Holy Ghost. It is impossible to be obsessed with sports and to be truly spiritually minded at the same time. There is no crucified flesh and no Holy Ghost anointing at a major sporting event.

FACEBOOK posts clearly document the sports obsessions of many "typical Christians." That does not make me want to back off my position. I am not attacking anyone personally, but I utterly refuse to back off my position that organized sports - professional and non-professional - are absolute enemies of the Kingdom of God. The position I take is not new and not a departure from the historical position of virtually every fundamental Christian denomination. Only fifty years ago, virtually every fundamental Christian denomination condemned organized sports. Every minister of the Gospel in those days agreed, by virtue of his credentials, that organized sports was harmful - a hindrance to the Christian lifestyle. 

I am totally unsympathetic to anyone's defense of sports. Sports obsessions are the NORM, not the exception nowadays. Even young children can quote hundreds of sports statistics, and do not know who Ananias and Sapphira are. I am not speaking necessarily of purely recreational sports. I do not oppose an occasional game among friends or family. I do not oppose a day at the park for a Church family to enjoy one another's fellowship, but that is NOT even the same animal as professional, college or high school sports. 

What I have said, I have said, and I will not back down. Christians need to DUMP ORGANIZED SPORTS and get serious about living for God. There will NOT be any of those things in Heaven, to be sure.

Not a few Apostolic Pentecostal preachers (and believers) were told when they first converted that they must give up sports. They did. If they had not, they would not be with us today. One of them is one of the best known and most influential preachers in Pentecost. I have personally witnessed far too many drawn away from Pentecost by sports, and have seen NONE brought INTO Pentecost by sports.

Sports consumes their time, their attention and engages them inextricably with non Christians. It is just as dangerous to be sucked into a pseudo-Christian delusion that you are actually playing ball with Christians when they truly are not biblical Christians. There are countless reasons why we are not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. Sports is a lifestyle, and that lifestyle competes with and countermands the GODLY lifestyle.

Sports is an all-consuming "pastime". It is no pastime. It is an occupation for most people. They eat, drink and breathe sports. Their hearts belong to sports. Their minds belong to sports. God occupies a TOKEN part of their lives, so they call themselves Christians, but in fact their religion is SPORTS, and their coaches, players and teams are their many GODS. It is evil and sinister and one of Hell's most potent delusions in the modern world. 

Christianity entertains a delusion that it is spiritualizing the sports culture. The opposite is true. Sports is secularizing Christianity. The Church is not changing the world. The world is changing the church. And that, my friend, is APOSTASY - the abandonment and renunciation of the true faith.

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