August 10, 2016

Is Michael Phelps' Christian Testimony Missing Something?

I've read a number of catchy headlines implying that Michael Phelps is a true Christian with a powerful Christian testimony, but there is something important missing in each account, that is, Christ. Phelps told ESPN that the The Purpose Driven Life book, “turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet.”
Michael Phelps has broken several kinds of world records. When he won his 19th Olympic medal, he officially had won the most Olympic medals in history. He is truly an astounding athlete. However, there was a low point in Phelp's life, after he had already become famous as an Olympic swimmer, when he was heavily into drugs and feeling suicidal. It was at this point Phelps hit "rock bottom" about the time photos surfaced of Phelps taking a hit off a bong. "I was like a time bomb, waiting to go off. I had no self-esteem, no self-worth. There were times (when) I didn't want to be here. It was not good. I felt lost," he said. At his low point, Phelps received guidance from Christian and NFL linebacker, Ray Lewis, per this account:

Lewis called up his buddy and told him, “This is when we fight. This is when real character shows up. Don’t shut down. If you shut down we all lose.”
Lewis convinced Phelps to seek help at the Meadows, a behavioural rehab facility outside Phoenix.
Phelps heeded his friend’s advice and entered the rehab facility carrying a book Lewis gave him, “The Purpose Driven Life,” by Rick Warren.
After reading the book for a couple days at the Meadows, Phelps called Lewis. “Man this book is crazy!” he exclaimed. “The thing that’s going on…oh my gosh…my brain, I can’t thank you freaking enough, man. You saved my life.”
Phelps told ESPN that the book “turned me into believing there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet.”
Warren’s book also convinced Phelps to reconcile with his estranged father, Fred, who divorced his wife when Phelps was just 9 years old.
The doctrine of salvation outlines that Christ is central. Ray Lewis gave Phelps a Rick Warren book and Phelps described a radical epiphany of a "higher power." While knowledge of a “higher power” or a  compelling "life purpose" can help someone to overcome alcoholism and other life challenges, these are inadequate as a basis of salvation, in accordance with Christian doctrine, as outlined in this summary:
Does God save? In the Christian doctrine of salvation, God has rescued us through Christ (John 3:17). Specifically, it was Jesus’ death on the cross and subsequent resurrection that achieved our salvation (Romans 5:10; Ephesians 1:7). Scripture is clear that salvation is the gracious, undeserved gift of God (Ephesians 2:5, 8) and is only available through faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12).

How do we receive salvation? We are saved by faith. First, we must hear the gospel—the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection (Ephesians 1:13). Then, we must believe—fully trust the Lord Jesus (Romans 1:16). This involves repentance, a changing of mind about sin and Christ (Acts 3:19), and calling on the name of the Lord (Romans 10:9-10, 13).
Jesus had underscored that true salvation entails a radical transformation, being "born again" spiritually (John 3:3). Hopefully, Phelps understands the tenets of true salvation and has received Christ as savior and lord and is not ashamed of the gospel. And with his fame he has a lot of people interested in what he has to say.
(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Tags: Christian testimony of Michael Phelps, Is Michael Phelps Christian? Is Michael Phelps born again? Phelps won most medals in history, How many medals has Phelps won? Rick Warren salvation of Phelps

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