The Christian and Sport

Theology Refresh: Podcast for Christian Leaders

Playfulness is vital to healthy Christianity, says pastor and professor Erik Thoennes. “To be a Christian means to take God very seriously, but not ourselves.”

The great source of Christian playfulness is God himself, and the lavishness of his creation kindness and redeeming grace. Toss in some good healthy competition — and yes, competition can be good and healthy — and you have a recipe for sport and athletics.

For the Christian, there’s no such thing as “just a game,” says Thoennes, who is a professor at Biola, a pastor in La Mirada, California, and the author of “Created to Play: Thoughts on Play, Sport, and the Christian Life.”

Not just sports, but everything we do is glory-of-God relevant. “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). And not just God in general, but Jesus in specific. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17).

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Erik Thoennes teaches theology at Biola University and pastors Grace Evangelical Free Church in La Mirada, California. He and his wife Donna have three children, Caroline, Paige, and Samuel. Previously he taught theology and evangelism at Wheaton College and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, coached high school and college football, and played American football in Europe.

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