Christians are called to let their faith show in everything they do, whether they are playing a sport or fixing a car. Christian faith is not supposed to be a private exercise that believers take part in once a week. Rather, Christian ethics are supposed to influence everything that believers think, say and do. In the Bible, one aspect of this concept of Christians ethics is the idea of “living above reproach.”
“Paul admonishes elders to be above reproach in the church, meaning they are to be blameless, which is different from sinless,” said Noah Gauderman, sophomore applied theology major. “Their interactions with others should admonish Christ and not bring disgrace, and this is not a recommended qualification, but a requirement. However, the church generally speaking should strive to be above reproach as well, and this can only be done by leaning on Christ for his righteousness that we could never formulate ourselves and, by growing dependent upon him, can work towards being above reproach.”
Christians, but especially leaders in the church, are supposed to live lives that reflect and honor Christ. This idea of being “above reproach” means that they should be honorably regarded in the community so that they do not bring shame to the faith or to God. There are specific uses of this phrase throughout the New Testament.
“The ESV (English Standard Version of the Bible) uses the phrase ‘above reproach’ four times (Col. 1:22; 1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6, 7),” said Chris Scrima, sophomore applied theology major. “Three of the four uses relate to people who might qualify for ministry.
However, one time Paul uses it generally (Col. 1:22). In this case, the principle is that Christians once lived in hostility to God but have now been bought by Jesus’ blood, and we no longer need to live in fear of judgment. As a Christian, you are ‘above reproach’ before God.”
From an ethical standpoint, Christians need to remember that they are forgiven before God, and thus are called to live in ways that reflect that forgiveness. This idea of being “above reproach” and honoring Christ in everything we do applies in many real-life situations, including athletics.
“The principle of being above reproach extends far beyond the church setting and applies to every aspect of our lives,” Gauderman said.