So Brit Hume of Fox News created a firestorm of protest when he suggested on “Fox News Sunday” Jan. 3 that Tiger Woods should consider turning to Christianity and away from Buddhism. I missed it completely since I’m tied up on Sundays doing pastor stuff and don’t get to watch much Sunday TV.
I try to stay up on local news and on the big stuff, like college football developments and other life and death events. Like Lane Kiffin leaving Tennessee after only one season — what a shame! The SEC is much better off without him, and so is Tennessee. But back to Brit and Tiger.
Thanks to Google, I caught up. Here’s what Hume said:
“Tiger Woods will recover as a golfer. Whether he can recover as a person I think is a very open question. It’s a tragic situation. He’s lost his family. It’s not clear to me whether he’ll be able to have a relationship with his children. But the Tiger Woods that emerges once the news value dies out of his scandal, the extent to which he can recover, it seems to me, depends on his faith. He’s said to be a Buddhist. I don’t think that faith offers the kind of forgiveness and redemption that is offered by the Christian faith.
“So my message to Tiger would be, ‘Tiger, turn your faith, turn to the Christian faith, and you can make a total recovery and be a great example to the world.’”
Hume sounded very sincere and genuinely concerned for Tiger Woods the person. He didn’t bash Buddhism. He simply promoted Christianity and its emphasis on forgiveness and beginning again. Yet Hume caught holy-you-know-what from columnists, commentators, comedians and bloggers who took his statement as an opportunity to criticize believers who are dedicated enough to tell others what they have experienced in Jesus Christ.
For example, Jay Bookman of the AJC wrote, “I don’t understand and can’t begin to comprehend the arrogance that it takes to publicly anoint yourself as someone’s spiritual adviser, and then to lecture them about their faith . . .
“A person’s faith is a matter between that person and God, and is not a matter to be judged by some pompous TV anchor.”
Why in the world would Hume make such a statement? I don’t know what was in his mind, but I would encourage critics to consider these questions:
First, do all roads lead to heaven? Do all religions eventually end up in the same place? Jesus Himself made one of the most controversial statements ever recorded when He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NKJV). Is it arrogant to make that claim? Jesus didn’t think so. He was giving clear direction. He saw Himself as the bridge between man and God.
Second, if I have to live a good life to get to heaven, then how good is good enough? Most of the religions of the world promote a works approach to gaining eternal life. Can I work my way to heaven by living a good life and doing good deeds? What if I fall short? How do I know for certain that I’ve made the grade?
The Bible says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
Salvation is a gift of God for everyone who believes by placing his or her trust in Jesus. Salvation is based on the grace of God, not the works of man.
Third, if faith is a personal matter, then why would a believer share His faith with anyone else? Because Jesus commanded believers to do so. To paraphrase the D. T. Niles quote, Hume was simply “one hungry man sharing with another hungry man where to find bread.”
The privilege to share the gospel is the job of every believer. How one responds when the gospel is presented is a personal matter between that person and God.
Dr. David L. Chancey is pastor, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville. The church is located at 352 McDonough Road, just past the department of drivers’ services. Join them this Sunday for Bible study at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 10:55 a.m.