Whether motivating and instructing a football team from the sidelines, fielding questions from a hostile press, or engaging users on social media, former NFL coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy has a reputation for being cerebral, straight-forward, and never the type to shy away from difficult topics and conversations.
This tendency was on full display earlier this week when the Super Bowl-winning coach responded to a comment on Twitter from Adam Davidson from National Public Radio.
“For a project, I’m researching the biblical case for the idea that life begins at conception,” Davidson tweeted. “There doesn’t seem to be one. It’s a brand new idea, made up in the 1970s. In the bible and for nearly all of Xn [Christian] history, life was thought to begin some time in the 2nd trimester.”
Although many agreed with him on the social media platform, Adam Davidson is wildly incorrect. Tony Dungy told him as much – in his characteristically subtle and polite way.
Coach Dungy tweeted back:
Read Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13-16, and Genesis 25:23. Then see what you think.
These familiar passages read:
Jeremiah 1:5: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Psalm 139: 13-16: “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
Genesis 25:23: “And the Lord said to her, ‘Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided;the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.’”
Another user shot back at Coach Dungy:
“So we’re siding with people from 2000 years ago who also had the belief that if you were sick it was most likely due to the fact that you had sinned.”
The coach replied, “No. I’m basing my opinion on what God said, not what people want to advocate.”
Social media has been likened to a cesspool or dumpster fire, and understandably so. In many instances, it’s provided a platform to the ignorant and the angry. It’s filled with people who love to argue. But like so many other things, it can also be used well, and Coach Dungy regularly models how Christians might converse and witness online.
At the heart of Tony Dungy’s defense of life is the belief that it’s God’s laws and perspective that matter – not worldly wisdom that’s easily blown and scattered about.
Having a Christian worldview calls for assessing and examining issues through the lens of Scripture, not the New York Times editorial page or the latest political pundit on cable news. Dr. Del Tackett, a former executive vice president and creator of The Truth Project at Focus on the Family, suggests, “A Christian worldview believes that truth has been revealed in both the creation of God and in His written Word.”
In other words, as faithful Christians, we really do believe that God’s inspired words in the Bible are trustworthy and true.
Whether on NBC, Twitter or talking with reporters, God has given Tony Dungy a major platform, and he has boldly and courageously chosen to unapologetically use it to speak God’s truth when the opportunity presents itself.
Today’s culture is full of a lot of spineless individuals who either back down, shut down or morally and ethically equivocate to garner the praise of society’s so-called elites. But not Coach Dungy – and for that, we can continue to thank God for good men like him who are willing to stand tall at a time when we desperately need heroes to emulate and model.