Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why Tebow Can't Save the World!

Tim Tebow cannot save the world, although it appears that he has saved the Denver Broncos from obscurity. And he has made the NFL playoffs interesting. He has brought in a level of unpredictability and creativity that makes his games fun to watch, even if you don't like him as a player.

But Tebow cannot save the world. No individual can. I know. The proper answer would be to say that Jesus Christ is THE individual who saved the world. Yes of course. But I want to make a different point. No individual can embody God's dream of salvation for the world. Salvation comes through a community, a people, not through individuals. Of course the way we idolize individuals in our culture makes this hard to see.

But this is not new in the church. We have a long tradition of setting church leaders on a pedestal. In church history books, we talk about great leaders like Luther, Calvin and Wesley. In modern-day church expressions, we have our favorite speakers who get elevated to a level no man deserves. I'm not bashing those individual speakers. I'm challenging the idolization pattern that we have in the church. Instead of having a relationship with God, we settle for becoming a fan of a prominent leader in the church.

New Testament scholar Richard Hays writes, "The community, in its corporate life, is called to embody an alternative order that stands as a sign of God's redemptive purposes in the world. Thus, 'community' is not merely a concept; as the term is used here, it points to the concrete social manifestation of the people of God."

The church cannot save the world either. But through local corporate manifestations, pockets of kingdom community become a sign and witness to the reality of Christ's salvation life.

On that note, I've become ok with Tebowmania, I even root for him. But let quit doing the same thing with leaders in the church.

No comments: