The problem is this: Tony Campolo is a leading American spokesman in the Baptist environment. He claims to be an evangelical Christian, but all my research on him shows that he is not ‘evangelical’ within the dictionary meaning of the term.
He is an outspoken commentator on social issues – nothing wrong with that – and he claims his beliefs are based on his understanding of the words of Jesus in the New Testament.
He says he believes in all those statements of faith that most evangelical [and other] Christian Churches publish on their websites – the infallible Scriptures, the Trinity, the death and resurrection of Christ as a sacrifice for sin, the deity and humanity of Christ and the importance of the Great Commission, to name just a few.
How, therefore, does he manage to come out with some statements contradictory to the truths taught by Jesus and the apostles, in particular their opposition to homosexuality?
Campolo says he does not support attempts to “convert” gays into straights; rather, he advises gay people to “pursue” celibacy. This is an attempt to have your cake and eat it too.
How Should the Church Treat Homosexuals?
The clearest ways in which Jesus showed we should love our neighbour can’t be summed up in a trite motto or just one proof text. But the Greek ‘agape’ [love] means to act in the best interest of someone else.
How does Jesus love us? By revealing His Father and His will to us – by showing us what God expects, by giving Himself as a substitute for our punishment and then by declaring we are His heirs in the heavenly kingdom to come. That is acting in our best interests. Would Jesus have been loving if He did not warn us all about God’s great day of wrath on the earth? I think that would be gross carelessness. Would He be loving if He had not offered salvation to the worst sinner, regardless of that person’s sin?
This is our model for dealing with all non-Christians who are drawn by the Holy Spirit to repentance and confession of sin, regardless of their lifestyle or sexual orientation.
This has always been the Church’s task under the Great Commission. What makes the sins of homosexuals any different from anyone else?
Paul teaches that all our past sinful lifestyle will progressively be put away as we mature in Christ. If this co-operative process between a person and the Holy Spirit is not allowed even to start because Campolo opposes it, how can this be Christian love?
The Church should love homosexuals as Christ loves any of us.
Homosexuals Can Be Saved
There is a lot of evidence to show that homosexuality is not the direct result of genetics. One is not born a homosexual, but may be born with a tendency, which is not the same thing. One may also, because of certain factors, be born with a tendency to angry outbursts, for example.
Because of a person’s upbringing a tendency towards homosexual interests may later express itself, just as a child growing up in a violent home may later become violent himself.
If any of these urges are not controlled then it is sinful. Even a repressed hatred for someone is called murder by Jesus. None of us can say we are not guilty of sin.
The point is, many people have become Christians after a life history of homosexual activity. These have been changed by Christ in their life and if anyone doubts this they should read Bill Muehlenberg’s excellent book ‘Strained Relations’, in which examples are given.
No-one is saying it is easy to change, but since God is all-powerful we must not short-change Him by saying it is not possible.
The Problem is Wider
Tony Campolo’s acceptance by the Churches is a problem much wider than just this.
He has been quoted as saying [or writing] that John Newton in ‘Amazing Grace’ was all too ready to call himself a ‘wretch’. [“Partly Right” 1995″ ] This completely trivialises what the Bible teaches about our sinful condition.
He also said, on June 26, 2003, ‘Anyone who resists the notion of women preachers is functioning as a tool of the devil.’ Does he realise he is calling Paul and those of us who take his writings as Biblical, inspired truth, ‘tools of the Devil’? He is being serious. He doesn’t believe in the model of Church practice given by the Holy Spirit to us in the New Testament.
In other words, he chooses what to believe and what not to believe, based on his own view of what is culturally relevant.
In 1992 he said, ‘Our call is to be God’s agents, to rescue not only the human race but the whole of creation.” I would like to ask him where in the Bible does God say we are to include the gospel of environmentalism in our understanding of God’s salvation?
I believe this man presents a warped gospel.
Campolo in Australia
Can you believe this?
Some so-called traditional evangelical Churches have invited him to speak in Australia during June.
How can Australian Baptist Churches promote this man who directly opposes the teachings of Scripture as understood in the objective, historical-grammatical way that a normal person would understand?
I’m not talking about unclear or vague passages of the Bible, but clear, straightforward and obvious commands by Jesus and the apostles.
If Australian Christians give him credence it will lead to a further decline in Biblical Christianity in this country and a boost to the anti-Christ influences all around us.