Tony Campolo is an American pastor, author, sociologist, and public speaker known for challenging evangelical Christians by illustrating how their faith can offer solutions in a world of complexity. With his liberal political and social attitudes, he has been a major proponent for progressive thought and reform in the evangelical community. Along with Jim Wallis, he has become a leader of the movement called “Red-Letter Christian“, which claims to put the emphasis on the words of Jesus that are often in red type in Bible editions. RLC teaches that the entire bible must be read through the actual words of Jesus. This is used as an excuse to disavow homosexuality as a sin and leads to distorted views of biblical doctrine.
Campolo was the subject of an informal heresy hearing in 1985 brought about by several assertions in his 1983 book A Reasonable Faith, particularly his claim that, “Jesus is actually present in each other person.” The book became a hot button issue, and the controversy caused Campus Crusade for Christ and Youth for Christ to block a planned speaking engagement by Campolo.
What are those issues he speaks of? They are everything from Mysticism to Homosexuality and an array of other changes we need to make in our attitudes, behaviors and ideas. With regard to mysticism (contemplative prayer) he believes, “mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam.” He asks and then later answers the question, “Could they (Islamic Sufis) have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?” His answer – of course! Sound like Thomas Merton? It should. Campolo emulates Merton, Schuller and a host of other New Age, mystical leaders all rolled into one. And as far as he is concerned, the real problem for the whole world lies with “rigid” Christians who believe in the possibility of Jesus’ soon return. According to Campolo, they are to blame for wars, and a host of other evils in the world. I am reminded, as I read his book, of Alice Bailey and Barbara Marx Hubbard,whose clear and obvious hostility towards believers shouted out from the pages of their writings.
- Social Justice: Wolves in Sheeps Clothing (standupforthetruth.com)