As a born again Christian and as a Green Bay Packers fan since my boyhood, I have long admired the great defensive end, Reggie White. Therefore, it goes without saying that I was stunned and saddened to hear of his passing earlier this week. He was, after all, only 43 years old.
In the minds of many, Reggie White was the greatest defensive lineman to ever play the game. Without a doubt, it was his talents, combined with those of Brett Favre, that brought the title back to Titletown, when Green Bay won the Super Bowl in 1997. He was arguably the most intimidating defensive lineman to ever play the game. It is doubtful that any one will ever again achieve what Reggie accomplished on the football field.
However, Reggie White was not only a champion on the gridiron, he was also a champion in life. He had a heart that was just as big as his 6'5" frame. Because Reggie was an ordained minister, he was known as "The Minister of Defense." And for good reason. Reggie White constantly ministered to inner city children and to anyone else that would listen to him. Preaching the Gospel of Christ was paramount to Reggie White.
Back in 1999, Reggie made the following statement, "I understand one thing: God brought me out of sin. And because He brought me out of sin, I am going to do everything that I can to allow Him to use me to help my brothers to come out of sin."
In that same speech, Reggie White also said, "It's always an honor to be able to preach Jesus, and more importantly to live Jesus. I've found out that the greatest testimony a man could ever have is not what he preaches but what his life preaches and how he lives."
Reggie White lived what he preached.
Reggie White was fiercely criticized by the media for publicly denouncing homosexuality. Many commercial sponsors discontinued their support of Reggie for his statements. Yet, Reggie remained resolute.
In answer to his critics, Reggie White said, "I've never criticized the gay lifestyle. I've only proclaimed what God Himself said. [But God] also said a man shouldn't commit adultery. He said a man shouldn't steal, a man shouldn't kill. This is the Word of God. This is what we believe in. This is what we live by."
Reggie White continued by saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, about three weeks ago, there was a man who came up to me after I preached. He said to me, 'God has brought me out of [the homosexual] lifestyle. Thank you for what you had the courage to say, because I'm saved now.'"
Reggie White then said, "I want to say this to our media: Why don't you report more on the people who came out of it (the homosexual lifestyle)? Why don't you give them any credit because they've changed? I have no problem with anyone living the way they want to, but when you bring it out and try to push it, not only on myself, but on my children, I cannot stand back and be quiet."
The truth is, Reggie White had more courage and conviction than most of today's preachers!
Now, Reggie White is gone. America has lost a great man, a great champion, and a real modern day hero!
© 2004 Chuck Baldwin - All Rights Reserved
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