Peyton Manning opens up about his Christian faith

Peyton is a good man. He is a conservative, but more importantly, he is a Christian.

From Minding the Truth:

In Peyton’s book Manning (available on Amazon in Kindle here and paperback here), which he co-wrote with his father Archie Manning in 2001, the record-setting quarterback gives a rare description of his faith and its importance to him. The description is a rare one, not because Peyton’s faith is an insignificant part of his life, but because, as Peyton explains, he has intentionally chosen to speak more by his actions than by his words.

Like my dad, I make it a point when I speak to groups to talk about priorities, and when it’s schoolkids, I rank those priorities as: faith, family, and education, then football. For me generally it had always been the big four: faith, family, friends, and football. And I tell all of them that as important as football is to me, it can never be higher than fourth.My faith has been number one since I was thirteen years old and heard from the pulpit on a Sunday morning in New Orleans a simple question: “If you died today, are you one hundred percent sure you’d go to heaven?” Cooper was there and Eli [Peyton's two brothers] but it didn’t hit them at the time the way it did me. It was a big church, and I felt very small, but my heart was pounding. The minister invited those who would like that assurance through Jesus Christ to raise their hands, and I did. Then he invited us to come forward, to take a stand, and my heart really started pounding. And from where we sat, it looked like a mile to the front.

But I got up and did it. And I committed my life to Christ, and that faith has been most important to me ever since. Some players get more vocal about it—the Reggie Whites, for example—and some point to Heaven after scoring a touchdown and praise God after games. I have no problem with that. But I don’t do it, and don’t think it makes me any less a Christian. I just want my actions to speak louder, and I don’t want to be more of a target for criticism than I already am. Somebody sees you drinking a beer, which I do, and they think, “Hmmmm, Peyton says he’s this, that, or the other, and there he is drinking alcohol. What’s that all about?”

Christians drink beer. So do non-Christians. Christians also make mistakes, just as non-Christians do. My faith doesn’t make me perfect, it makes me forgiven, and provides me the assurance I looked for half my life ago. I think God answered our prayers with Cooper, and that was a test of our faith. But I also think I’ve been blessed—having so little go wrong in my life, and being given so much. I pray every night, sometimes long prayers about a lot of things and a lot of people, but I don’t talk about it or brag about it because that’s between God and me, and I’m no better than anybody else in God’s sight.

But I consider myself fortunate to be able to go to Him for guidance, and I hope (and pray) I don’t do too many things that displease Him before I get to Heaven myself. I believe, too, that life is much better and freer when you’re committed to God in that way. I find being with others whose faith is the same has made me stronger. J.C. Watts and Steve Largent, for example. They’re both in Congress now. We had voluntary pregame chapel at Tennessee, and I attend chapel every Sunday with players on the team in Indianapolis. I have spoken to church youth groups, and at Christian high schools. And then simply as a Christian, and not as good a one as I’d like to be.

How do I justify football in the context of “love your enemy?” I say to kids, well, football is most definitely a “collision sport,” and I can’t deny it jars your teeth and at the extreme can break your bones. But I’ve never seen it as a “violent game,” there are rules to prevent that, and I know I don’t have to hate anybody on the other side to play as hard as I can within the rules. I think you’d have to get inside my head to appreciate it, but I do love football. And, yes, I’d play it for nothing if that was the only way, even now when I’m no longer a child. I find no contradiction in football and my faith.

Ah, but do I “pray for victory?” No, except as a generic thing. I pray to keep both teams injury free, and personally, that I use whatever talent I have to the best of my ability. But I don’t think God really cares about who wins football games, except as winning might influence the character of some person or group. Besides. If the Colts were playing the Cowboys and I prayed for the Colts and Troy Aikman prayed for the Cowboys, wouldn’t that make it a standoff?

I do feel this way about it. Dad says it can take twenty years to make a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it. I want my reputation to be able to make it through whatever five-minute crises I run into. And I’m a lot more comfortable knowing where my help is. (Manning, pp. 362-364)


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  • mondo

    Only makes me like him all the more.

  • Michael

    This is actually a copy of my original post ( and so an infringement of my copyright. I appreciate the enthusiasm for the post, but please take copy of the post down immediately. You are welcome to formally “reblog” my post in a manner which links to my site and gives me credit. Thank you for your swift action in this matter.

  • letterhead

    So he’s a christian because he was threatened with going to hell when he was 13 years old? Sounds legit.

    • Mark Steele

      Well I guess you could look at it that way. Some people turn to Christ out of a fear of Hell, others turn to Christ out of an appreciation for God and his love. Then other people decide to take their chances on the idea that the Bible is not God’s word, and Christ didn’t really die to save them from Hell.

      • MrNewCastrati

        Some hear the gospel with relief, learning that there is a way to God even in their sinful condition through Christ. To others (probably most), it’s simply foolishness.

      • letterhead

        But that means every good deed he has ever done hasn’t been because he is a good/selfless man, they have all been because he’s scared he’d go to hell if he didn’t do it. He lives in fear of hell, what kind of way is that to live.

        • kevin

          If he truly does believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior then he is definitely not living in fear of hell because he is going to heaven.

          • letterhead

            But it’s pretty clear in his words he only began taking Jesus Christ seriously when he found out he would be going to hell if he didn’t.

          • Horn06

            The Bible talks about saving some through compassion and others through fear; pulling them out of the fire. My friend, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Fearful because he is a terrible God? Absolutely not. Fearful because he is holy, righteous, omnipotent, and He has prepared a place where no sin or evil can enter. We are the ones who have rejected Him and stayed in our sinful state. He offers salvation to us, but we reject Him. Peyton realized the state he was in (sin) which made him fearful because sin can’t enter Heaven. He isn’t living fearfully now, though, because the Lord has made a way for Peyton, and all of us, to enter his kingdom should we so choose. The decisions Peyton makes aren’t grounded in fear, they are a result of a sincere desire to please Jesus for his infinitely generous sacrifice so we could live forever with Him in Heaven! :)

          • JAMman

            Well said! Thanks for such a clear and powerful explanation of what Christianity is all about.

          • Max

            And at some point in your life, you probably only did what was right because it was what your parents or guardians expected. Is that still your motivation? Of course not. Everyone takes a different first step. The point is that the step was taken.

        • Tom Metzger

          No, letterhead, you can’t lose your salvation after you’re saved. Good works follow naturally out of gratitude to God and a desire to please Him.

          • JN

            Tom, with all due respect, can u show me where in the bible that you cannot loose your salvation?

          • Tom Metzger

            Romans 8:38-39, from a letter to Christians, says that nothing can separate us from the love of God. But for a fuller discussion of the issue, I suggest you just google: “Can I lose my salvation?”

        • Mark Steele

          How could you know the motives of his heart? Maybe you’re projecting your attitude onto him. Why would he live in “fear of Hell?” He couldn’t go to Hell if he wanted to! The Father of God adopted him, when he accepted Christ. God is his DADDY!

        • NotALiberal

          No, it looks more like he was confronted with the genuineness of his faith. It questioned whether he was really walking the life of Christ.

        • R Joseph Interrante

          you really don’t understand at all.

        • Murfman

          He doesn’t live in fear of Hell. Like me and many many others he is past the fear and He now lives in hopes of not disappointing our Lord and Savior. Jesus gave it all for us and as much as a Man who loves and doesn’t want to disappoint his wife and kids, even more so is that true with Jesus!

        • Jacob Nyhart

          It’s really not about “living in fear of hell”. It’s about living for the glory of

          heaven — and THAT is a great way to live. We get it letterhead – you choose not to believe. That’s fine, that’s your prerogative. Not sure why people like you always want to try to cast your own doubts on people who do choose to believe, but for the most part, we accept it with an unshaken faith in Him.

        • bksecrest

          There are no good and selfless men or women…God’s word makes this clear.

    • tacticomp

      Letterhead, And you will somehow find out (when you die) if that is ‘legit’ or not

      • letterhead

        I guess I will, but I will live a life where my motivations to be a good person are out of compassion for those less fortunate than me, rather than doing it to make sure I go to heaven rather than hell.

        • tacticomp

          That is exactly one of the many Christians doctrines. Great that’s a good start.
          And Jesus sacrificed (& died) for you too.

        • pappamike

          Letterhead….” for it is by grace that you are saved, it is a gift of god and not of works, least any an boost”. This means that no one can possibly be god enough to “earn” their way into heaven…it is a gift. That way you can not say later “well I was a good person and had compassion”. You can live free now or simply waste your earthly existence. It is always your personal choice. Choose wisely my friend as eternity is a very long time. I will pray for your decision.

          • letterhead

            I would rather burn in hell and know that during my life I helped people for THEIR benefit and not my own. If hell does exist and God decides to send me that way then my strength would be in knowing that every good deed I did was for someone else and not myself.

          • Jimr82

            Sorry, but if you go to hell, it will be your choice. People often think they’re good for helping the poor or underprivileged but they’re really deceiving themselves. “There is none good, no not one.” Only God is truly good, and He doesn’t send anyone to hell. You are a free-willed agent and God presents to you a way out of your dilemma. But no one is going to convince you of anything you don’t want to accept. If you are unwilling to recognize that sin stands between you and God and you are unwilling to seek Him, He will allow you to go on as you are. What most non Christians fail to realize is that most Christians were once just like you. I was. I didn’t believe. But one day I took a step toward Him and He reached out to me. The Bible says “seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you.” If you honestly seek and knock you will discover the truth, and the “truth will set you free.” I’m reminded of “Plato cave”, don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, but in essence it’s someone trying to explain reality to a group of people who have lived in a cave strapped to a board their whole life. He escapes the cave and goes outside then comes back to try and convince them that there is more to life than what they see in the cave. They think he’s crazy and ridicule him and are unwilling to step out of their delusion to see reality. I was once like that, as you are, as was most Christians actually were. But we Christians took a step of faith and have been rewarded with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and our eyes have been opened. Perhaps fear caused us to take the first step but it is the love of God that binds us to Him now. He actually gave His life for us, [paid our sin debt] because He wants a relationship with those who are willing to recognize that they are sinful creatures unworthy to stand in His presence. But by accepting Him as our Lord and Saviour our sin is covered over and our debt, separation from Him, is paid in full. One day our minds will be cleansed totally from sin, we will be given an immortal body and we will spend eternity with Him in a place we cannot now imagine. You can reject His offer and you can laugh about hell but your laugh will last only a moment and then your eternity will begin. Where will you be spending it?

          • Ebony Arts

            God doesn’t send anyone to hell…. its a choice that you make.

        • Mike Arienti

          If you are the one determining what “good” is, you’re already risking a lot. We’re all sinners in need of a savior.

    • Paula

      Amazing that a 13 year old would look to his eternal existence with such seriousness. Many people look to Christ as their “ticket out of hell” and then go on to have a very close and personal relationship with Jesus. Whatever the impetus, Peyton took a look at his future and made a decision and has not turned his back on it in all these years. A man who is constant is a man to be admired.

    • dtingen

      Wanting assurance to be in Heaven is not equal to wanting to miss Hell. Do you go to the grocery store to avoid going elsewhere?

      • letterhead

        Is there a destination other than heaven or hell? If there are only 2 choices then it’s only logical that wanting to go to one = avoiding the other.


      Proverbs 9:10a KJV makes it clear: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom…” You, and other followers of Atheistic teachings, haven’t even begun to understand the love God has for you through simple faith in Jesus Christ. The lake of fire was prepared for Satan and his followers, not for you. John 3:16-17 KJV makes it clear His intention for you. He wants you to be saved and not perish. If you reject God’s free gift of salvation, whether you want to believe it or not, you will end up in the lake of fire.

    • Rob Myers

      No it wasn’t a threat! It was the truth. and the options that people have. Satan has a way of twisting life and thoughts and beliefs much like your reading into this. God can convict your heart and you are able to make a choice. Do you think Peyton would take that back now that he’s 37 yrs old? I know he wouldn’t!

  • Charles

    Hey, remember when he was sued for sexual harassment of an athletic trainer?

    • Richard

      He was sued for “mooning” the athletic trainer and in his book he acknowledged that his behavior was inappropriate. He was young with a lot of fame. You know when players become vocal about their faith, they get attacked, when they keep it on a low key as Peyton, they still get attacked. I keep asking this question to those who oppose Christianity….If we are wrong, then why get so upset? Let us be wrong! We have that right!!! Peyton doesn’t point to the sky when he scores, he doesn’t invoke the name of God or Jesus when interviewed after games…all he does is try to live his life with his faith…and one reporter gets him talking about his faith and the critics come out of the wood-work. Good Grief!!!

    • tacticomp

      Charles, “He who has not sinned cast the first stone”

  • suzzie

    I understand some Christians drink alcohol, but shouldn’t you do it in private. When a non-Christian sees you go into a bar or pub, what does this say to them? It is okay to get drunk? because I saw Peyton drinking? even if you are drinking water!

    • Jacob Nyhart

      This is where the message fails to be conveyed properly. As Christians, we are the only people responsible for the choices we make and for the consequences of the choices we make. Our responsibility is to follow the righteous narrow path laid before us by Jesus. What non-believers tend to do is to look at a Christian who is sinning and hols that up as some kind of hypocritical example to justify their non-belief (without regard to the fact that Christians openly acknowledge that according to scripture, all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God). Christians fall into the same trap of trying to get non-believers to follow them – rather than to turn them to God so they can make their own choices to follow God. I don’t care if Peyton Manning has a beer or if he gets fall-down drunk. He is not the standard by which I try to live my life. My standard is much higher. Christians nee to stop trying to find that worldly example to showcase and non-believers would better serve themselves by openly seeking God without looking to the downfalls in worldly examples. If a non-believer is honest and does that – and still chooses to not believe, I can respect that. After all, they are not my example either.

  • bob sacamano

    damn. thought i found an interesting, intelligent conservative website to folllannnnd they believe in fairytales. shocker.

  • bob sacamano

    really? you delete comments bc they aren’t christian lol this site is embarassing