We should not be surprised in the least. Some 2000 years ago Jesus and the disciples warned us quite clearly that many would fall away, many would sell out on the faith, many would fall for lies and deception, and many would seek to lead others astray.
They made it so very plain that false prophets, false shepherds and false apostles would freely roam among believers, leading many away from the Word of God and biblical morality. And we see this happening all over the place today, especially with the issue of homosexuality.
One so-called Christian leader after another is abandoning the faith, spitting in God’s face, and calling him a liar, as they come out and join the world in affirming, promoting and celebrating the sin of homosexuality. As I have said before, this is the defining issue of our day, and it is separating the sheep from the goats.
In that sense all this is a good thing: it is demonstrating who are the apostates, and who are the true disciples of Jesus Christ. The latest wolf in sheep’s clothing to come out of the theological closet is American evangelical leader Tony Campolo.
Of course anyone even remotely knowledgeable about him and his teaching over the years knows this was inevitable. Not only has his wife been 100% pro-homosexuality for ages now, but he has been at best wishy-washy on this topic for decades.
Now he openly tells us what we all knew: he finds nothing at all wrong with homosexuality or sodomite marriage. Welcome to the apostasy club where there are plenty of other like-minded folks. They all exult in their “progressive” position, as they jump in bed with atheists, homosexualists, and secular humanists, all telling us God is wrong and his Word is not reliable.
Here in part is what Campolo said:
I believe the Bible to have been written by men inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. I place my highest priority on the words of Jesus, emphasizing the 25th chapter of Matthew, where Jesus makes clear that on Judgment Day the defining question will be how each of us responded to those he calls “the least of these”….
In my own life, my wife Peggy has been easily the greatest encourager of my relationship with Jesus. She has been my prayer partner and, more than anyone else, she has discerned my shortcomings and helped me try to overcome them. Her loving example, constant support, and wise counsel have enabled me to accomplish Kingdom work that I would have not even attempted without her, and I trust she would say the same about my role in her life. Each of us has been God’s gift to the other and our marriage has been a mutually edifying relationship.
One reason I am changing my position on this issue is that, through Peggy, I have come to know so many gay Christian couples whose relationships work in much the same way as our own. Our friendships with these couples have helped me understand how important it is for the exclusion and disapproval of their unions by the Christian community to end. We in the Church should actively support such families. Furthermore, we should be doing all we can to reach, comfort and include all those precious children of God who have been wrongly led to believe that they are mistakes or just not good enough for God, simply because they are not straight.
As a social scientist, I have concluded that sexual orientation is almost never a choice and I have seen how damaging it can be to try to “cure” someone from being gay. As a Christian, my responsibility is not to condemn or reject gay people, but rather to love and embrace them, and to endeavor to draw them into the fellowship of the Church. When we sing the old invitation hymn, “Just As I Am”, I want us to mean it, and I want my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to know it is true for them too.
So, here he spills the beans – big time. He rejects Jesus, 2000 years of church consensus on this, and the Word of God. He repeats here how the words of Jesus (as understood or misunderstood by him) get his ” highest priority”. In other words, forget what the rest of the Bible says on this issue.
That is not just my spin on his thinking: he has been pushing this “red letter” understanding of the Bible for years now, where he actually claims we should put more weight on the words of Jesus (the red letter words). I have dealt with the worrying way of approaching Scripture elsewhere: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2008/03/03/on-reading-jesus/
By the way, if he is so keen on stressing the words of Jesus, how come he completely ignores the words of Jesus as found in the book of Revelation? Is it because all those red letter words about wrath, judgment to come, and the holiness of God don’t fit into his man-made image of Jesus who accepts everyone and everything?
Also notice how it is his finite, fallen and fallible wife who he seems to get his main guidance from on this issue, not the infallible Word of God. And it appears that it is his experience and interaction with others that determines what is right and wrong, true and false in this regard.
And, um, no, homosexual couples are not just the same as heterosexual couples. For one, they are of the same sex. Marriage has always been about joining two people of the opposite sex. And it has been this way for one vital reason: only a man and a woman can have children, and marriage as an institution has always been concerned about children, about the next generation.
That is why marriage exists. It is the means by which we protect and nurture children born from a heterosexual relationship. And Scripture even pictures and illustrates the Christ/church relationship with the man/woman marriage relationship.
Christ is not the same as the church, just as a man is not the same as a woman. They are different, brought together in a marriage relationship – physically for human marriage, and spiritually for the relationship of Christ and the church.
And no, God did not create homosexuals. He created us to be heterosexual, but in a fallen world of course everything is adversely impacted. Because of sin in the world – not God’s good original purposes – people can be born minus a limb or with six fingers.
In the same way, people can be born with a disposition or orientation to anger, overeating, or same-sex desire. They are not part of how God first created the world, but part of a fallen and messed up world which Christ came to fix and restore.
God never endorses any sinful lifestyle, but always demands that we allow Christ to set us free and remake us in his holy image. That is why Christ came. He died so that we sinners might be transformed and set free, not left in our dead-end sinful condition.
So far down the theological gurgler is Campolo that he can’t even get basic biblical teaching right, even as expressed in simple hymns. When we sing “Just As I Am” at an evangelistic meeting, we affirm the truth that we are all sinners and can bring nothing to God to get right with him.
All we do is bring our sinful self and acknowledge our overwhelming need for grace, forgiveness and healing. So of course we come to God through Christ just as we are. But we were never meant to sing ten choruses of that at a meeting and leave just as we were.
When we come to Christ and become a child of God, all things become new. The old man is abandoned and the new man is formed in us. We are never to stay the same, we are never to cling to our sin, and we are never to make excuses for behaviours and lifestyles which God clearly condemns.
So the good news is we come to Christ just as we are. But he loves us far too much to leave us just as we are. Christ is in the change business, and as countless ex-homosexuals know full well, God can change our lives radically if we let him. But we do God no favours when we tell him he is wrong on the issue of homosexuality, and we know better than he does.
Indeed, that is the height of rebellion and idolatry. We are then shaking our fists at God, telling him we will call the shots and we will determine if something is sinful or not. That arrogant defiance of God is what brings his wrath down upon sinful and rebellious man.
Let me remind Campolo of what the inspired apostle Paul wrote on these matters in Romans 1:18-32:
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen.
Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Sorry Tony, but I will stick with what the inspired Word of God says on this matter any day of the week over your humanistic and twisted spin. God is right on this issue, and you are wrong. End of story.