Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner says in a new video that his Christian faith soared after he met his wife Brenda, who he says challenged him "early and often" about what he believed about God.
As a child, Warner studied at a Catholic school and went to church every Sunday. Yet, his faith "was never really personal for me until after I met my wife," he says in the new video released by I Am Second, an organization that interviews well-known individuals about their faith.
Warner's story is the subject of the new movie American Underdog (PG).
When they were dating, he said, Brenda was always "talking about Jesus."
"She challenged me early and often in our relationship about what I believed – and why I believed it. I think before that I always felt faith was kind of, well, God was out there, and whenever I needed Him, He was like my spare tire – that when I get a flat, I'll go and pop the trunk and pull out the spare and God, You know, I need this."
When he read the Bible closely and in "context," he said, he realized he had his view of God backward.
"I had this mixed up. … God's not just here for me …. [T]he goal is that I'm here for Him. I'm here to give my life for Him as Jesus did for me," Warner said. "And it started to become real. I started to understand and take a different perspective on what life was all about. And it took some crazy moments to really understand that."
One moment that impacted him, he said, was the tragic death of Brenda's parents in a tornado – a subject that's confronted in American Underdog.
"I remember how she didn't have all the answers," Warner said. "She was angry. And she was willing to call out to God and ask God why and yell and scream – but never lose her faith. It was never one of those things where, 'Oh, God, you allowed this to happen to us. So now I'm going to walk away from You.' That's what a relationship is to me. It's about being able to disagree in moments, to be angry in moments, but not allow that to stop the relationship. And, to me, that was when I kind of stepped back and [thought], everything that she's been talking to me about, 'This is what it looks like, this is what it's supposed to be.' And it was in those moments where I came to realize, 'Okay, I've never had that. And that's exactly what I want.' And it was at that time where I really committed my life to Jesus."
Warner won a Super Bowl and played in two others. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2017.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/JC Olivera/Stringer
Video courtesy: ©I Am Second
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.