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Since the discussion of theology and sport is rather new (at least for Christian theologians), this essay aims to provide a broad overview of a theology of sport, grounded in the unfolding narrative of redemption as revealed in Scripture.But first, let us acknowledge that we are not the first to talk about faith and sports, and therefore locate ourselves within the broader conversation by surveying the history of the church’s attitude toward sports.Athletes or fans regularly invoke the name of God as an expletive of frustration in sports, but rarely think about whether God has anything to do with the game at all. The narrative of the American Dream that culminates in individual happiness offers a starkly different framework for sports than the story of God’s kingdom as told by the Jewish messiah. As a child growing up in the church, my pastor had a small rotation of canned jokes, his favorite of which went something like this: “The Bible does talk about sports, you know?
This is often called the cultural mandate, because the command to work and keep the garden is essentially a command to create culture.
As John Stott says, “Nature is what God gives; culture is what we do with it.”9 What, then, were Adam and Eve supposed to do with it? God did not create the earth as a finished product but rather as an unfinished project.
Abstract: Sports have captured the minds and hearts of people across the globe but have largely evaded the attention of Christian theologians. There seem to be two polar responses: some dismiss sports as merely a game, while others worship sports as nearly a god.
The industrial revolution, however, laid the railroad tracks for the professionalization of sports, with the train pulling into the station in the latter half of the twentieth century.