So in light of the national championship game being played later tonight between Oregon and Auburn (is it possible that Oregon’s uniforms could blind Auburn and Oregon escape with a win?), I wanted to make a note about the NCAA’s recent string of actions.
Over the last 6 months or so, the NCAA has essentially given a slap on the wrist to Michigan, North Carolina (so far), Ohio State, and Cam Newton. What do these four have in common? All have used some kind of “I didn’t know” defense for their violations of NCAA law. The NCAA has been extra wimpy and allowed these four headlining programs to use a foolish excuse and has allowed “I didn’t know” to be a way better excuse than “my dog ate my homework” when it is much more likely that the dog really did eat your homework.
This made me do a little thinking, well quite a bit of fuming over the stupidity of the NCAA, about how people like to use the same excuse with God. Sometimes I hear or participate in discussions about how God will judge people who “didn’t know” something. Generally it is thought that God will act just like the NCAA and excuse sinful behavior by those who “didn’t know better.” This is directly against the reasoning of Paul in Romans 1:18-25. Paul argues that God’s wrath is poured out on those who reject even the limited knowledge of Him that is “plainly” evident through creation. I don’t know might work with the NCAA, but doesn’t work with God.
Now, with the NCAA, I am a firm proponent of huge penalties for these institutions and would greatly enjoy it if all of the above were to receive stiff penalties or be rendered ineligible from postseason play. Why? Because I don’t like any of them.
But with the people of the world who claim the same “I didn’t know excuse” I am in a totally different camp. I absolutely believe that God will judge all people and that Christ is the only way for salvation and forgiveness and apart from Christ none can be saved. (If you want further discussion on how I would support this outside Romans 1:18-25, we can chat). This means that I am huge supporter of missions so that those who truly have not heard of Christ, might hear the Gospel and be saved.
While I am sure that Michigan, UNC, Ohio State, and Cam Newton definitely knew and just chose to break the rules, I am also sure that it is different around the world with people who have not heard the Gospel in their heart language. Over the last week I have had conversations with several people who are taking the Gospel to people all over the world who are hearing for the first time about Christ and salvation. What a great task they have! But the truth is, it is not just their task, but ours as well. We have the task of being mission minded people who pray for, give to, and go tell the peoples of the world that they might not offer an “I didn’t know excuse” that does not work with God. When we really begin to understand Romans 1:18-25, it is really clear why Paul also claims that it is his goal to preach Christ where had not been preached before (Romans 15:20-21).
I don’t know works with the NCAA, but not with God even if we would like it to be the other way around.
So about that football game tonight, I’m guessing that the guy who we are all supposed to believe did not break the rules, will probably win tonight and head to the NFL and be very glad that the NCAA has a very different rulebook than God.