Three weeks ago pro basketball player Jeremy Lin—unrecruited out of high school and undrafted out of college—was sent to the minor leagues of the NBA. Three days later he was reinstated with the Knicks as a benchwarmer. On February 4, he scored 25 points, with 5 rebounds and 7 assists. The next game he had 28 points and eight assists, and tonight he scored 38 points for a victory over the Lakers, capping off a remarkable week and a four-game winning streak. He’s becoming the Tim Tebow of the NBA.

For a little bit of background on Lin—especially related to his identity first as a Christian and then as an Asian American—here is part 1 and part 2 of Timothy Dalrymple’s interview with NBA player Jeremy Lin, conducted back in 2010 when he was at Harvard.

An encouraging excerpt:

When you’re called to be a Christian, you’re automatically called to be different from everyone else.  In today’s world of basketball, it makes you really different, because the things that society values aren’t necessarily in line with what God values.

Much of it comes down to humility.  We as Christians are called to be humble.  And if we really understand the gospel, we will be humble.  We should be humble, and understand that everything that is good comes from God.

We as Christians are called to be humble.  And if we really understand the gospel, we will be humble.  We should be humble, and understand that everything that is good comes from God.

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Comments:


55 thoughts on “The Faith of Jeremy Lin: An Interview”

  1. Sean says:

    Very encouraging.

    Now, may we let the man live and play. Let’s hope he doesn’t get Tebow-ized.

    1. No, let’s hope he and all contemporary ambassadors for Christ, the new marketplace preachers and prophets, all get Tebow-ized!

  2. Andy says:

    Having followed Lin’s career with interest for quite some time (I live minutes away from him and know quite a few people who know him, including one of his extended family members, although I’ve never met him myself), I’ve picked up some stuff on the side as well: he was part of Intervarsity Fellowship at Harvard, promoted John Stott’s The Cross of Christ, and (more surprisingly since John Stott did publish books through Intervarsity Press) was reading and recommending one of John Piper’s book (I believe it was Desiring God but I could be wrong on this one). He has also stated that if he was not playing basketball, he would be a pastor, which is what he intends to do after retiring, and that his older brother Joshua’s commitment to Jesus inspires him.

  3. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    “recommending one of John Piper’s book (I believe it was Desiring God but I could be wrong on this one).”

    Actually, he said he was reading Piper’s book, “Don’t Waste Your Life.”

    Love this post, JT!

    1. Andy says:

      thanks for the correction

    2. 3rd Century Prof says:

      Are you more excited about his outspoken faith in Jesus or the fact that he recommends a Piper book and reads Stott? Brothers and Sisters let’s be careful here to not create a couple classes of Christians, I.e. those who read Piper and those who do not. Grudem warns against this two stage Christianity in his Systematic (so does Packer by the way).

      1. Tony says:

        Not to mention the idolatry factor of lifting certain pastors and their books to a higher sacred order…

      2. Chris says:

        How interesting that you support your argument by appealing to the authority of Grudem and Packer!

        1. 3rd Century Prof says:

          Chris,

          It is called contextualization my friend. I do not think Piper or Grudem or Packer etc… would be excited about a two class Christianity developing around their writings. That being said, perhaps Paul’s quoting of Cretans helps you understand where I am coming from on the quoting of Packer and Grudem. I appreciate these brothers and appreciate others as well, but if I said N.T. Wright says it would shut down the conversation immediately. Do you see the difference between quoting someone as a reference and creating a tiered Christianity?

      3. Andy says:

        Wow…This has been blown way out of proportion. I made a simple comment throwing out a couple of tidbits I had picked up that I thought might be interesting to the readers of this blog (since I’m assuming most are familiar with Stott and Piper, right?) It would be great if I wasn’t called “idolatrous” for mentioning something I thought you might find a little cool.

      4. Clive says:

        Well said. I wonder what people would think of the structure of Jeremy Lin’s faith if he were to have said that he reads John Piper AND Bill Hybels.

        1. Andy says:

          Alright, this is the last comment I’ll make here. I didn’t realize how easy it would be to take my comment the wrong way, and the responses have devolved into a discussion about judging a Christian based on the books he/she reads (something that, as I stated earlier, I never intended, assuming instead that my comment would be met with a simple “oh, that’s kind of cool” before moving on). It was unwise and I wouldn’t have made the comment if I went back in time. So to close and bring the discussion back on topic, let’s pray for Jeremy, cheer him on, marvel at what God does through him, and give thanks to God for those who being excellent in their work for His glory as we do the same. Go Jeremy!

          1. Andy, your comment was taking in the proper context by the majority of readers of this blog. The majority revel in the notoriety of the faith of someone in the world. The fact that that someone might have an appreciation for the Reformed doctrine is an added bonus and something the majority has a right to give notice and thanks to God.

        2. Mike says:

          Andy, I read your initial comment exactly how you meant it. Im sure most others did as well. Dont worry about it. Personally I find it exciting to find out that Jeremy Lin shares a similar understanding of God and who He is, as myself. And, if he were a Rick Warren or Bill Hybels fan and he reads their books, I would rejoice no less in the fact that Jeremy Lin is a sold out, bold follower of Jesus.

  4. Lane Chaplin says:

    I really like Lin. From what I’ve read, he sounds authentic, and he seems to be a likable person.

    I like this quote: “the things that society values aren’t necessarily in line with what God values.” When I read this, I couldn’t help but think about accurately defining the Trinity. Culture doesn’t value it, but God does.

    1. 3rd Century Prof says:

      Interesting thought Lane.

    2. Victor Torres says:

      “Lane from downtown, nothing but net!”

      Thanks for this comment Lane.

  5. Ed says:

    Thanks Justin for this great post! In a world where most news items are filled with violence and evil, it’s so refreshing to read the ongoing success of Jeremy Lin. Props to this kid who simply loves the game and genuinely, unashamedly loves his Savior! Agree with Sean’s comment above: Please, media, please don’t go Tebow on him. Let the kid play ball and don’t badger him or make a show of his faith.

  6. Kristiaan Habacon says:

    I am All-In on this blue-tongued baller! Rep Jesus! Rep the Cross! Rep Aian-Americans! And Rep Buzz-cuts! 38 points on my team?! Get outta here…

  7. Mario says:

    There is a refreshing warmth to read these words from a young man who has temptation knocking at his door all the time. He is and will be an example of what Our Lord wants from all of us. I am a Christian Baptist with strong fundamental faith that this NBA turf is where his ministry moves to a higher level of conviction and humility. Keep going Jeremy Lin, the Lord will always sustain you.

  8. Bill says:

    Yeah, but I think he liked the Elephant Room, and isn’t a fully committed complimentarian?

    Oh well, still a great story, hopefully his recent success will give him a bigger platform and more opportunities to tell others about HIs God.

  9. James says:

    His two favorite Christians books are:
    1. Humility: True Greatness by CJ Mahaney
    2. Don’t Waste your Life by John Piper

    Ref: Jeremy’s twitter tweet
    https://twitter.com/#!/JLin7/status/8239471912820736

    1. Clive says:

      If he said that his two favorite books were Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life and Bill Hybels Just Walk Across the Room, would you have posted this as a comment? You probably posted this only to say that his faith is legitimate because he reads authors of the Reformed tradition. Tell me that I’m wrong on this.

      1. You are wrong on this. Period. If you appreciated Reformed doctrine, you would know in your heart why you are wrong on this.

      2. Greg Long says:

        Do you have a problem with these two books?

        1. Clive says:

          I have high respect for Piper. I don’t know much about Mahaney. I am aware though of the snobbery that Reformed people have towards the likes of Hybels and Warren.

          1. Victor says:

            snobbery?

            now legitimate disagreements over methodology and theology are considered snobbery?

          2. James says:

            I thought John Piper liked Rick Warren? Jeremy Lin said recently in a video what was posted on Rolling Stone Magazine that we should check out LeCrae for not only the music but also the gospel presented in the lyrics.

    2. Mike says:

      Clive, your wrong on this…

    3. James says:

      @Clive,

      LOL, I’m a young Asian as well and I only point this out because when I found this I was like, ‘wow, those two books have impacted my life as well; I’d put them on my top 10 list.’

      His humility and how he gives all glory to God as you see in his interview is a testament to his Gospel-centered, Christ-glorifying faith!

  10. Moon says:

    @Bill

    lol that would be neat if Jeremy Lin actually had time to be watching the Elephant Room and debating about complementarism. I think he attends a PCA church affiliated with Tim Keller’s Redeemer church.

    All these young Christians like Bethke and now Jeremy hitting the national spotlight is great to watch…as they give glory to God and the world gets to see what humility looks like.

    1. Moon says:

      *Correction
      The church that he goes to may not be affiliated with Keller’s Redeemer church, but their church ministry may have Redeemer in their name. His mentor and pastor though I heard is quite reformed and loves guys like John Piper.

      But don’t quote me on that. Anyway, Jeremy Lin’s been humbly and pure linsanity! Glory to God!

  11. Jim Hilt says:

    Last night while watching the Knicks/Lakers game, I saw Jeremy play for the first time…he played great. I was moved when he said he thanked God during the following interview and then just learned he reads John Stott’s books. Stott was one of my profs at seminary and I recommend his book “Basic Christianity” in my web site: http://www.prodigalsfather.com I’m moved by Jeremy’s faith and look forward to learning more about him and watching him play. Jim Hilt

  12. Sandra says:

    Finally athletes who aren’t shy about their faith in Jesus Christ……Jeremy, Tebow and others!

    1. Tony says:

      There’s always been athletes who were outspoken about their faith. Most of them very evangelical, they were just people of color. White culture, unfortunately, doesn’t usually pay much attention to them… which is refreshing (and surprising) to see JT blog on it.

  13. David Raisor says:

    Amazing. Go Jeremy!! Wishing you success. My family are now Knicks Fans.

  14. Ben Pun says:

    Justin, thanks for posting this. As an Asian-American pastor and fan of TGC, I’m glad that someone in TGC is picking up his story. Among the Asian-American community his story is a huge inspiration, especially because he is the first American-born Asian to play in the NBA. I think it is comparable to Barack Obama’s election for African-Americans, to a smaller degree of course. His faith and his personality is uniquely Asian-American and I hope this will be an opportunity for richer dialogue in the larger, multi-ethnic christian community. Michael Luo of the NY times captures this well here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/12/sports/basketball/the-knicks-jeremy-lin-faith-pride-and-points.html

  15. Clive says:

    Is he a 5-point Calvinst? That is more of my primary concern…know what I’m sayin’?

    1. I saw him hit plenty of 3 pointers in the clip Justin posted above. He’s more than half way there, praise God.

    2. Greg Long says:

      No, I don’t know what you are saying.

      1. Clive says:

        Charles Jannace, that was a hilarious reply. He was a 38-point Calvinist the Lakers.

        Greg Long, I wanted to know if he was a 5 point Calvinist because that would make him legitimate.

        1. John says:

          Are you through hijacking this thread to grind your axe or what, dude?

          1. Clive says:

            Yeah, I’m done…just keeping sure that you don’t get too proud. I was predestined to make those comments by the way…

            1. James says:

              Why is thinking the 5 point of calvinism as true prideful? So what if Jeremy Lin’s is reformed and thinks of it as more accurate to the truth. Conviction does not equate with pride.

  16. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

    Jeremy Lin may have come out of Friday night’s game against the Lakers a star with a career-high 38 points, seven assists and four rebounds. But he’s not letting the “Linsanity” overcome the country without giving proper credit to God.

    “I just give all the praise to God,” Lin said after the game.

  17. donsands says:

    That gives the soul a few goosebumps from the Holy Ghost. Thanks for posting this.

  18. Connie says:

    It is wonderful to see young, talented men stand up and proclaim their faith in Christ openly and humbly. I applaud Mr. Lin for not only his talents in the court but for his acknowledgment that his gifts come from God. I was on the edge of my seat watching Friday night’s game against the Lakers. He was simply amazing! Keep up the amazing work, Mr. Lin. You’re an inspiration to many. god bless you.

  19. A better comparison, which I heard the other day, would be Kurt Warner: unheralded, from out of nowhere, to quarterbacking a team to the Super Bowl.

  20. John says:

    Pleeease to maintain any integrity with sports fan – He is NOT the Tebow of the NBA; if you must compare – you are closer with Kurt Warner

  21. michelle says:

    undeniably, jeremy lin is an amazing man. :) hope to meet you one day!

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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