On Sunday, October 12, 2017, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Carolina Panthers 28-23. But that wasn’t the only victory won that weekend. Several days before the big game, Eagles wide receiver Marcus Johnson was baptized in a North Carolina hotel swimming pool.
Marcus Johnson Philadelphia Eagles Player is Baptized
Johnson tweeted his excitement over this spiritual victory on Thursday afternoon. “First time being Baptized! Corporate Worship is a beautiful thing!! Cleaned & Reborn in JESUS name!! #WholeHeartedly.” He included a picture of the celebratory event along with the tweet. Several other players (including quaterback Carson Wentz, linebacker Jordan Hicks, and tight end Zach Ertz) can be seen holding hands, gathered around the pool, with heads bowed.
— Marcus D. Johnson📢 (@Mojomdj) 12 October 2017
And though some people might find such overt displays of faith by an NFL team to be unusual, many of the Philadelphia Eagles are known for letting their lights shine.
Chase Daniel, a backup quarterback for the Eagles last year, called the team “by far the most spiritual team I’ve been on.” He went on to say, “Even guys who weren’t here last year, or guys that were on other teams, say this locker room is unbelievable with how many believers we have compared to where they’ve been.”
An ESPN article that was published last year noted that players “find common ground through spiritual devotion.” Weekly Bible studies regularly draw 20-25 people and “late-night prayer sessions” are common when the players are on the road.
Tight end Trey Burton, called the “Team Pastor” in that ESPN article, baptized five other teammates last October. Like this recent baptism, they were joined by various faithful team members who celebrated alongside the new Christians with prayers.
But Christianity isn’t universal on the team. According to Chris Maragos, a member of the special-teams, there have been moments when certain players have turned any talk of religion down.
Jordan Matthews is clear that, though they are vocal about their faith, they don’t try to shove it down anyone’s throat, “We can’t just take Bibles and slap them across people’s heads and think they’re going to want to join and learn more about Christianity.”
But so far, the occasional “no” hasn’t discouraged these believers from being a light wherever they are.
And as they shine, they encourage believers everywhere – no matter their job or vocation – to live faithfully and boldly.