When Philadelphia Wins, It’s Not a Theology of Glory

Anyone want to think back to the Phillies’ starting line up in 2008 when they won the World Series? The starting pitchers were be Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Jamie Moyer, and Joe Blanton. Yes, they won with that rotation. They did not yet have Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, or Roy Oswalt, everyone’s dream rotation from the 2011 season when the Fightin’s lost to the Cardinals in the first round of playoffs (and have been looking in from the outside ever since).

So now what happens when the Eagles finally break through to championship status in the much hyped Super Bowl era? Did their franchise quarterback, the fittingly praised and highly regarded, Carson Wentz, shepherd them to the promised land? No, it was Nick Foles, the Joe Blanton of NFL quarterbacks. (Mind you, I was pulling hard for Foles if only because he is as dull as his opponents have been relentless in pointing it out.)

This means that Philadelphia general managers should not try to stack their rosters with the best and most gifted. It means they need to roll the dice, say their prayers, hope for good karma. In Philadelphia, talent does not win. Lighting in a bottle — Ben Franklin might be proud — does.

And just to add to this Calvinistically dark take on Philadelphia sports — what if last night was the closest that Carson Wentz comes to a Super Bowl victory? In Philadelphia, going to championship games is hardly automatic. Wentz could have a wonderful career and take the Eagles to the playoffs many years. But winning in the big game could always elude him as it did Donovan McNabb and his coach, Andy Reid.

If that’s the case, then the best quarterback the Eagles will ever have is no. 9, Nick Foles. Wentz may go to the Hall of Fame and McNabb and Randall Cunnhingham may have more impressive careers. But Foles is the guy who won the big game for the Birds.

That is poignant.

15 thoughts on “When Philadelphia Wins, It’s Not a Theology of Glory

  1. 16. The person who believes that he can obtain grace by doing what is in him adds sin to sin so that he becomes doubly guilty.
    18. It is certain that man must utterly despair of his own ability before he is prepared to receive the grace of Christ.

    21. A theologian of glory calls evil good and good evil.
    25. He is not righteous who does much, but he who, without work, believes much in Christ.

    3. Although the works of man always appear attractive and good, they are nevertheless likely to be mortal sins.
    9.To say that works without Christ are dead, but not mortal, appears to constitute a perilous surrender of the fear of God.

    So two kingdoms does not mean Foles keeping his religion separate from his football, as long as his religion is not political?

    Jason Stellman (Dual Citizens, The Sproul Book Business, 2009, 143)—–“While I certainly do not call into question what Luther intended by his cross/glory antithesis (ie., that the cross is the lens through which the Christian life must always be examined), I have reservations about Luther’s choice of categories (and his limiting of our options to only two). To insist that the cross and glory are antithetical is, from the perspective of the New Testament, difficult to maintain……In fact, the cross and glory are not enemies at all, but friends; the latter is the natural outgrowth of the former…. The cross is good only when it leads to glory, and conversely, glory is bad only when it circumvents the cross and shirks the suffering that the cross represents…The sufferings of Christ are followed by the resurrection and inaugurated, ‘subsequent glories’ (1 Peter 1:11).”


    Herman Hoeksema—“To ascribe a good that is performed by the ungodly to an operation of the Holy Spirit upon the natural man is an attack upon the very holiness of God.. The theory teaches that the good the natural man does proceeds not from his own heart, but from the Holy Spirit, who brings forth good fruit from an evil tree. These fruits, however, are not rooted in the love of God but in the love of self; they do not aim at God’s glory, but at the maintenance of sinful man over against God. Yet, we are told that the Holy Spirit produces these fruits…The Confessions teach that by virtue of this natural light man retained some knowledge of God and of the difference between good and evil; but never do the Confessions state, or even suggest by implication, that the natural man actually performs the good. The Confession declares that the natural man is incapable of using this natural light right even in things natural, nay further, that in various ways man renders this light, such as it is, wholly polluted and holds it in unrighteousness .


  2. I thought that the super bowl win by the eagles might challenge reformed theologians because Philly championships might be the closest thing to a miracle we can see


  3. “… The bicycle-riders drank much wine, and were burned and browned by the sun. They did not take the race seriously except among themselves. They had raced among themselves so often that it did not make much difference who won. Especially in a foreign country. The money could be arranged …”
    Earnest Hemingway, “The Sun Also Rises,” 1926

    Everyone who pays even the least bit of attention to the news realizes the way prohibited PEDs have saturated the world of professional bicycle racing, not to mention things like the use of electric motors hidden inside a bike’s seat tube. Further, that quote from Hemingway becomes very real as well when the exchange of large amounts of money is found to take place behind the scenes in the racing world.

    But one has to wonder how much these same thing it true in almost all professional sports, NFL football perhaps just a short step and another rule change away from WWE, the most glaring example. The results of the latest Super Bowl might speak to that – too much money floating around in the sport for it to get all locked up season after season by just one team.


  4. After seeing how Philly fans celebrate a Championship, it’s possible that allowing them to compete for championships could very well be a moral issue.


  5. D.G.,
    Don’t have to be judgmental, their behavior speaks for itself. All one has to do is look at what the city and insurance companies have to spend to afford a celebration.


  6. D.G.,
    Don’t actions speak louder than words? And what interpretation is needed when a celebration includes the destruction of public and private property?


  7. D.G.,
    Only understanding the different context of the riots. Somehow it is ok to riot when celebrating a sports championship, but riots are portrayed as evil when they are in response to social injustices. I am against riots for both, but because of the different in context, they give out two different messages.


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