In a piece that is far less apologetic of the former murder suspect than the one recently discussed in this feature – wherein columnist Jason Whitlock suggested “everyone should love Ray Lewis” as he does – Fox Sports writer Jen Floyd Engel pens, concerning Lewis’ habitual post-game proselytizing, “He has every right, just like [Tim] Tebow before him. And if we stop complaining long enough to listen, we may just be inspired.”
One is inclined to agree that Lewis should and does have every right as Engel proposes.
In fairness, Ms. Engel does preface those remarks with less-than-the-normal-fawning comments like, “Lewis can be a little theatrical, if not outright preachy, when he talks.” Also, she adds several less than flattering remarks, including those famously “Tweeted” by the wife of New England Patriot Wes Welker.
However, as many Christians, though certainly not all, would agree, Mr. Lewis’ contextual violation of the Scriptures in conjunction with, as Engel puts it, his “belief, or at least implication, that God wanted the Ravens to win,” is in word, disturbing.
The core of dissent here relates to Ray Lewis’ offhand invocation of a passage from the Old Testament book of Isaiah, chapter 54, verse 17, when he declared in the aftermath of Baltimore’s AFC Championship win over New England, “… God just kept telling me ‘No weapon formed against me shall prosper. No weapon formed against my team shall prosper.’”
As is typical for persons possessing a superficial understanding of Christian theology, the long-time NFLer believes the application of this passage is more naturalistic than ecumenical and somehow applies, in a primary-audience sense, to himself and the 2012-2013 Baltimore Ravens.
In short, to imagine that the Almighty was referring directly to Lewis or his team, as he assumes, is both scripturally errant and smacks of the brand of “God told me ‘thus and so’ Gnosticism” that plagues Christendom as a whole at present.
In other words, Lewis uses the Bible in a way which makes a mockery of the text. In truth, the general premise of (and organic thread found throughout) Isaiah is regarding Israel’s national disobedience, their coming Babylonian captivity, post-captivity prophecies, and the coming of their Messiah, Jesus Christ.
To suggest that Lewis’ misuse of the text is somehow “inspirational” is a specious argument at best and one that many who maintain a more orthodox view of Christianity will find most unpalatable.
This is not to conclude that Ray Lewis is not a Christian. Whether he is or not is entirely between him and God Almighty. For those convinced of his guilt in the 2000 slayings, even if he were a convicted murderer, he is not beyond forgiveness and redemption in Christ, according to the Bible.
The status of his salvation aside, his words do not bespeak a man with a regenerate understanding. This includes the fact that he obviously does not get that the Bible is God’s voice on earth, consequently, whatever voices he hears are someone else’s, and that to defile God’s word for one’s own purposes is to flirt with heresy.