(Photo: REUTERS/Adam Hunger)
Denver Broncos star quarterback Tim Tebow has cancelled plans to speak at the three-day revival event organized by Ohio televangelist Rod Parsley, a Tebow spokesperson said Wednesday.
The event, set to be held in Columbus, Ohio, from March 16-18, is called "Contending for the Faith" weekend. Fellow pastors Kenneth Copeland, Isaac Pitre, and Clint Brown will join Parsley in speaking to massive audiences on how they can strengthen their Christian faith.
The event, scheduled to take place at Parsley's Valor Christian College, promises attendees that they will "grow in faith, experience the power of the Holy Spirit, and learn how the anointing of God...can resonate" in their lives. The event website also promises "a very special 'Partners ONLY' anointing service."
In a phone interview with The Associated Press Wednesday, the quarterback's brother, Robbie Tebow, said Tim's scheduling team had previously said yes to the event without doing proper research.
"I know for a fact that Tim is not going to be a part of it," Tebow told AP. "That's being resolved."
Rod Parsley has been considered controversial by some because he is a part of the "prosperity Gospel" movement, which preaches that Christians should strive to be wealthy as a part of God's will.
Joe Carter, editor of The Gospel Coalition, supported the young athlete's decision, writing on The Gospel Coalition's blog that Parsley's "prosperity Gospel" teachings are false.
"The young quarterback understands that by speaking at the event he would be lending his credibility to men who preach a false gospel," Carter wrote.
"By refusing to speak at the event, he may be able to signal to people unfamiliar with the prosperity gospel that those who believe in the true gospel should avoid publicly associating with these false teachers," he added.
On the other hand, Parsley has garnered a large following at his megachurch, World Harvest Church. He also leads the World Harvest Ministerial Alliance (WHMA), and his sermons and personal appearances are telecasted on the Breakthrough program, broadcasted on TBN-TV and Daystar-TV.
"America's future depends on moral champions like Rod Parsley," The Honorable Walter Jones (R - NC, 3rd District) said of Parsley as an endorsement for the pastor's 2005 book, Silent No More.
Although Tim Tebow has chosen to back out of this religious event, he is certainly not shy about professing his Christian faith. Tebow has become popular to both Christian and football fans alike through his faith-backed public displays.
This past year he started a popular trend known as "Tebowing" during a game – to get down one a knee and start praying. He also sported "John 3:16," referencing the Bible passage, on his eye black when he was a member of the Florida Gators team.