NFL and Bible Study


Occasionally, I still read some news on a professional football team, the Green Bay Packers. One recent story concerning rookie running back Samkon Gado’s friendly relationship with defensive end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila caught my attention. In the news piece, the writer provides details regarding a Bible study that the two teammates attend weekly with some other Packers.

“[Samkon] Gado regularly attends Wednesday night bible study sessions at [Kabeer]Gbaja-Biamila’s house, which includes Aaron Kampman, Aaron Rodgers, Patrick Dendy, Adrian Klemm, Ryan Longwell, Donald Driver, Brady Poppinga and Mark Tauscher.”

The thing that surprised me was the attendance of rookie linebacker Brady Poppinga. Based on other background information, it is well-known that Gbaja-Biamila and some of those other Bible study attendees confess the Christian faith. Yet, Poppinga attended Brigham Young University and considers himself to be a Mormon. The Packer website, in Poppinga’s biographical information, says, “[Brady Poppinga] enters the NFL older than most rookies after spending two years on a Mormon mission in Uruguay prior to going to college.”

I want to attend this Bible study and see what is discussed. I mean, we know that Mormons more and more attempt to be considered the true Christians. But how do these group of players participate in this Bible study without getting into some debates over Christology? Maybe they do, but I am concerned that this Bible study, like many others around the country, avoids the Scriptures’ central figure, Jesus Christ, and instead discusses “my walk” in life. We pray for the Spirit’s work in that Bible study.

8 thoughts on “NFL and Bible Study

  1. “Maybe they do, but I am concerned that this Bible study, like many others around the country, avoids the Scriptures’ central figure, Jesus Christ, and instead discusses “my walk” in life.”

    Just an observation: Did you actually attempt to contact the Green Bay Packers head office, a team minister or someone over that Bible study, to find out what goes on there? Or was it easier for you to make a generalization that supports your lack of research? Come on man, if you were really that “concerned”, how come you didn’t do any of this? And if you did, how come you didn’t mention it?

  2. REM:

    In the initial post, I do not make the assertion that the aformentioned Bible study is indeed simply a discussion over “my walk” in life. That is my concern, based on the fact that it is a Bible study consisting of a Mormon and Christian people. I could be wrong, as I cite in the post [“Maybe they do”], but I can still be concerned, I believe.

  3. Michael,
    I appreciate your answer, but don’t mislead people saying you want to be there and that you are concerned up to the point of not acting. Volunteer to speak at their bible study if you really want to by emailing the Packer front office. It might be a great road trip for you, as a Christian and a football fan. You may discover the players are more concerned than you for Brady, you may discover Brady was convicted and left the bible study over a debate on Christology and name was left on a sheet given to the media, you may discover Brady was converted to Christ and the Packers website is not updated. You may have the chance to get ?’s answered, preach Christ at a bible study, meet some other Christians, meet some Packers, etc. I just didn’t understand why you said what you said.

  4. I am actually going up to Green Bay for a choir tour this weekend and stopping by Lambeau Field. I will ask a few questions. Perhaps, I will find out what exactly goes on at that study.

  5. I owe you an apology.

    I shouldn’t have made you feel bad for not having statistics about mormons trying to be christians, touchy feely biblestudy stats, and accused you of these things when they are probably more true than I hate to admit. That was rude. Please forgive me and pray I learn to communicate better. I really do have a long way to go.

    Enjoy your Green Bay trip and don’t think very much about this. You are doing the most important thing by praying. Regardless, please obey your conscience and not my ramblings.

    I pray your studies go well and that you become a godly Lutheran pastor. We need men like you.

    Also, I think I might have snaked a picture you had on your blog in the past and put in on my blog. Let me know if that bugs you and I will remove. Also check out my ND pics, I think you will like them. Go Irish!

    God bless you Michael,

  6. I think your assessment is correct, Michael.

    I have had much experience with Mormons, Umm… “Latter Day Saints”… long story…

    But discussing their/our personal relationship with God is exactly the common ground found in these discussions. And I speak from experience on this.

    While we can discuss this common moral ground and appear to be walking in step, the connotations and context are much much different. Jesus is a common focus, but with drastically different definitions of who He is. Personal relationships for Mormons are based on their good works, while for us it is based purely on faith.

    Poppinga probably understand this better than the others and simply chooses not to make a big deal of it. However, his motivations (if he follows his missionary training) for going are to present himself to the others as a true Christian and attempt to change their views about Mormonism and eventually to accept Mormonistic beliefs.

    I know how this works. I’ve been in very similar situations, with good Mormon ex-friends who eventually gave up on me and severed ties, once they figured out I was evangelizing to them just as hard as they where prosteletizing to me…

    This doesn’t mean the bible studies in question are a bad thing… just that it should be easy for us to interpolate the motivations of the various attendees.

    Also… I find that my Mormon friends genuinely enjoy religous discussions with fundamental evangelical Christians. There really is a lot of common philosophical ground, even thought the theology is not the same. Mormon’s really do beleive they are Christian, respect fundamental conservative religous views, and want to be viewed as Protestant Christians.

    AND… I also know of many Mormons who do convert as a result of these types of encounters. They really are looking for Christ, and may do eventually find Christ.

  7. I guess it takes a Mormon to make this conversation a little less one sided and to inform some people. I guess the debate over whether we are Christians depends on your definition. Here it is by the book: Following the teachings or manifesting the qualities or spirit of Jesus Christ. We ARE Christians, hence the proper name of our church; The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. We believe that Christ is our Savior, our Redeemer, that he ransomed our souls so that we could return to live with Him and our Heavenly Father.
    Merry Christmas.

  8. Greg,
    Thanks for your comment.
    You are right; it does depend on your definition. I’m not sure which book your definition comes from, but we (I) use a different one: Christians are those who believe that God the Father sent God the Son (truly God) in true human flesh to save sinful humans by the power of God the Holy Spirit. If you believe in that Trinitarian God, and in Jesus Christ, who is both 100% God and 100% man, I will grant that you (collectively, Mormons) are Christians.

    However, if you insist that Jesus is no more God than you or I, or that God the Father was a man at some point, or that the way to heaven is by obeying even Christ’s teachings, I cannot accept it.

    Thanks for coming by.

    Merry Christmas to you as well.


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