Endorsements

The following are endorsements for the Declaration of Sport and the Christian Life

“It is wonderful to see serious intellectual inquiries into the nature of sports and also the nature of Christianity, and how these two might nourish each other, or harm each other — have multiplied during the last fifty years. And how much deeper and more sophisticated the worldwide discussion has become. The ‘Declaration on Sport and Christian Life’ invites us to solidify clarities already achieved, to raise new questions, and to seek best practices in the two realms we love: Christian faith and the athletic agon.”  –Michael Novak, author of, The Joy of Sports (1994/1967, Basic Books), former US ambassador and the retired George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion, Philosophy, and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. 

“This Declaration fills a notable gap in the conversation about Christianity and culture, which all too easily floats into a disembodied world of ideas. The best culture we human beings can create is always, wonderfully, embodied—and sport embodies the human quest to make something of the world in a uniquely powerful way. We also deeply need a healthy vision of competition, not just on the field and the court but in our society and economy. Coaches, athletes, and spectators who embrace this declaration’s wise approach to competition and play will be better equipped to play, work, and serve faithfully in our world.” Andy Crouch, author, Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling

“A big thank-you is owed to the Christian coaches, theologians, and academics who have given us this much-needed articulation of a healthy and biblical engagement with sport. With our culture seeming more sports-obsessed by the day and with the values of sports ever ready to distort the values of faith, it is truly a welcome development to hear these discerning voices.” –Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today Board of Contributors, Author, Onward Christian Athletes

“The Declaration on Sport and the Christian Life is a provocative call to all Christians involved in sports to practice our kingdom commitment and values. I am thrilled to endorse the Declaration. It is my hope and prayer that Christ followers will heed this call to reflect His kingdom in and through the world of sports.” –Jane Albright, Head Basketball Coach, University of Nevada

“Like sex, money, politics, academia and so much else in life, sport can be used in a life-enhancing, God-honoring way, or abused and misused in ways that corrupt its noble purpose. This statement affirms, cautions and calls for Christian accountability in one of the most powerful forces in cultural life today.” –Timothy George, Ph.D., Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School at Samford University.

“Coaches, players and parents often begin and end with X’s and O’s when determining excellence in sports. This Declaration gets behind the technical and tactical aspects of performance by beginning with the Y’s. It grounds the ensuing discussion and debate about what is good and true in sports in grander purposes related to God, others, self and the world we inhabit. This Declaration offers a wisdom-based approach to thinking about how sports can transform lives over against a transactional approach; i.e., a leadership style which uses the people of sports, all for personal validation, status and identity. I enthusiastically recommend and support such a vision.” –Joe Ehrmann, Founder, Coach for America, Author/Speaker, InSideOut Coaching, veteran NFL player, coach and minister

“Sport is one of those dominant cultural phenomena that sort of ‘recruits’ us without us realizing it—whether it’s the Sunday rituals of passive spectatorship or the ways that amateur athletics organize the lives of entire families. Theoretical reflection on this, especially theological reflection, has lagged behind these realities for too long. This Declaration on Sport and the Christian Life is a call from thoughtful coaches, practitioners, and scholars to remedy this situation. It is a welcome beginning to a conversation that needs to grow.” –James K.A. Smith, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy and Gary & Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview, Calvin College

“Sports have been the setting for some of my most joyful times, and also, sadly, many of my most embarrassing as God has mercifully pulled back the curtain on my selfish ambition and idolatry. The Declaration helps us to see these endeavors through a Gospel lens – as players, coaches, and parents – so that instead of paying lip service to playing our sport ‘to the glory of God’ we can actually have a shot at doing so.” –Ted Kluck, author of The Reason for Sports: A Christian Fanifesto (2009, Moody), athlete, and coach

“The ‘Declaration on Sport and Christian Life’ provides an invaluable resource for Christians involved in sport and anybody who is interested in the sport-faith relationship. As a practising Christian and Paralympic athlete, the content of the Declaration offers me a clear point of reference, with regard to how to, think about, and play, sport. It is my hope that this ‘foundational statement’ will be the catalyst for a ‘renewed vision’ of sport at all levels of competition.”  –Anne-Wafula Strike MBE, Paralympic wheelchair athlete, author, motivational speaker/disability spokesperson

“As a New Jersey kid in the 1950’s, and a passionate Brooklyn Dodgers fan, I was aware of the dangers of idolatry–especially in my friends who cheered for the Yankees! Since those days, the dangers have intensified–so much so that we desperately need some careful spiritual reflection, informed by good theology, that issues in practical guidance for both the Christian community and the larger culture. This marvelous Declaration is not only an excellent start, but it actually sets forth the kind of wise insights that can move the process of discernment ahead!” –Richard J. Mouw, Ph.D., Professor of Faith and Public Life, Fuller Theological Seminary

The Declaration’s affirmation of sport as a divine gift, and its call for Christians to be a faithful presence in sport, are timely and important. As sport occupies an ever more important place in our cultural landscape and presents a microcosm of our world’s problems and opportunities, it is vital that Christians enter into a positive, critical and nuanced dialogue with all those involved in this ‘God-honouring pursuit.’ The Declaration should be supported by all those with an interest in reflecting on faith, sport, and faith and sport.” –Robert Ellis, Principal of Regents Park College, Oxford, UK and member of the Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of Oxford. Author of The Games People Play: Theology, Religion and Sport (2014, Wipf and Stock).

“As the consummate practical theologian, Jesus cared deeply about topics that were on people’s minds, and so should we. For the first time, we have a very thoughtful articulation of why sport matters, of what are its perils and possibilities, and of how Christ-followers ought to think Christianly about a topic that captures the hearts and minds of millions around the world. We’ve needed this Declaration for decades, and finally it’s here. Thanks be to God!” –Michael Lindsay Ph.D., President, Gordon College

“My experience of participating as an Olympian, and a Chaplain to Olympians, has broadened my perspective on the need for understanding the whole-person concept of being created in the image of God, i.e., spirit, mind and body. The “Declaration on Sport and the Christian Life” succinctly communicates how faith and sport interact in the sports world and the world-at-large. Many have argued that sport and faith oppose one another and do not fit in the same sentence, much less, the same arenas. The Declaration addresses this point of view and offers options that are thought provoking to one’s belief. I wholeheartedly endorse this Christian perspective on ‘Sport and the Christian Life’ from an athlete’s and chaplain’s point of view.”  –Madeline Manning Mims, M.Div., 4-Time Olympian, Gold & Silver Medalist in Track, 7-Time Olympic Chaplain

“In an age when it has become increasingly unfashionable to stand up for anything remotely Christian, it is greatly encouraging to witness the production of a public declaration that bears testament to ways in which a cultural force as powerful as sport can be used for the furtherance of God’s kingdom.” Andrew Parker, Ph.D., Professor of Sport and Christian Outreach, University of Gloucestershire, UK, and Co-Director of the Centre of Sport, Spirituality and Religion

“The predominant themes for sport participation in our society are individualism and relativism.  Each person claims the right to choose their own form of sport enjoyment without a specific moral standard for their choice of activity or their behavior as they participate in that activity. The Declaration on Sport and the Christian Life recognizes an absolute standard for our choices and behavior in sport. It provides a wonderful basis for discussions regarding how our Christian faith informs our competitive sport experiences. I enthusiastically endorse the Declaration on Sport and the Christian Life.” –Tom Visker, Ph.D., President of the Christian Society for Kinesiology and Leisure Studies, Director of Athletics, Bethel College

“The Declaration on Sport and the Christian Life is important. It serves both as a celebration and a warning, managing to identify the things we should embrace and the things we must try to change. Any Christian who reflects seriously on the Declaration will begin to discover ways in which Christians can become good sports, not spoilsports. We should be grateful for all the work that has gone into drafting it.” Lincoln Harvey, Ph.D., Lecturer in Systematic Theology, St Mellitus College, London, UK, author of, A Brief Theology of Sport (2014, SCM Press).

“Many folks today think that spiritual matters are as compatible with sports as fire is with ice. Put fire and ice together, and they will destroy each other – the fire will turn the ice into water, and the water will then put out the fire. Put God and sports together, according to many coaches, and religious faith will destroy an athlete’s competitive drive. Put God and sports together, according to many ministers, and athletic success will only teach the believer to think he is important instead of God. The truth is, God and sports not only can go together, they need to go together. Only developing the spirit and the body together can bring out the best in each.  The Sport and Christianity Group are to be commended for their thoughtful, holistic integration of the two.  Their statement   elucidates how a healthy respect for the individual integrity of both sport and Christian faith makes each component stronger in their integration.” The Rev. Canon Dr. John Ashley Null, Veteran Olympic Chaplain; Author, Real Joy: Freedom to be Your Best.

“Since 1977 I have served in the sports world in the United Kingdom as an official club chaplain – consecutively to two professional football (soccer) clubs – and in pioneering chaplaincy in UK sport inter-denominationally, and sometimes, beyond the UK, in serving at major international sports events. How vital it is that Christians are able to consider and comprehend Christian perspectives on aspects of amateur and professional sport, and ensure that there is congruency between what they think and say about faith, and how faith is expressed in the living of their lives. And how vital, too, that we encourage Christians to be unafraid of entering into, and engaging with, the world of sport, and that they are resourced and supported in living appropriately for Christ in what is often a ‘not-too-Godly’ culture! How wonderful when team coaches,  managers and team mates pick out Christians as those who are reliable, dependable, trustworthy, responsible, wholesome, and who walk their talk! I therefore wholeheartedly endorse the aims of the Sport and Christianity Group who have developed the ‘Declaration on Sport and Christian Life’.” The Rev. John K. Boyers, Official Chaplain, Manchester United Football Club, UK..

“I affirm this Declaration and appreciate the framework it creates for the necessary and needed conversations. I have been passionate for and engaged in sport for as long as I can remember, and I resonate with the clarity of which the Declaration describes how sport can be brought to life in and through a proper understanding and context. I am all for the enjoyment of sport as the Declaration describes and embrace the powerful tool and witness it can be for the nations of the world to see genuine Christ followers living out their faith to the glory of God!” –Mark Householder, President, Athletes in Action