Profiles In Apostasy: Tony Campolo

What would be the wisdom in bringing in a false teacher to your church, to speak to your congregation as if he was a sound Bible believer who preaches from the word of God?  Maybe he has something nice to say, but would a true under shepherd of the flock give the pulpit to someone just because he has something nice to say?  I’ve heard Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen say lots of nice things, but would you invite them to speak at your church?

What about the responsibility of our Christian college leaders?  Is it a misguided idea for us to expect them to protect our students from the wolves in sheep’s clothing that are multiplying today?  Are our Christian college leaders and chaplains using biblical discernment in deciding who should speak to our students in chapel?

Next week on Friday, Oct. 29,  Tony Campolo is scheduled to speak at chapel services at Eastern Nazarene College.  A few months ago, I met with President Corlis McGee, as well as the school provost and school chaplain, and voiced my objection to Tony Campolo on the grounds that he could easily mislead many students into thinking that he is a Christian who teaches sound doctrine.  We had a very cordial meeting, but there was no agreement on Campolo, as well as other troubling issues that I raised regarding the school.  There is much more to be written about Campolo, and will be, but let me give you a sampling of some of his thoughts on Christianity, Islam, and other related topics.  Did Eastern Nazarene College use proper discernment, or not, in scheduling Tony Campolo to speak at a chapel service?  Remember, he is not the first questionable speaker.  I was there last year when Thomas Oord, who teaches the heresy of open theism, was a guest lecturer.  This is a trend happening in many Nazarene universities today, and the response I get usually is that the school is just providing students with a perspective on a wide range of ideologies and opinions, and letting them mature on their own and decide what they want to believe.  Okay.

Here are some of Tony Campolo’s thoughts on a range of topics in Christianity.  What do you think?

“Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other.”

(Page 149, Speaking My Mind)

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“I am saying that there is no salvation apart from Jesus; that’s my evangelical mindset. However, I am not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians”

(National Liberty Journal, 8/99)

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“…what can I say to an Islamic brother who has fed the hungry, and clothed the naked? You say, “But he hasn’t a personal relationship with Christ.” I would argue with that. And I would say from a Christian perspective, in as much as you did it to the least of these you did it unto Christ. You did have a personal relationship with Christ, you just didn’t know it.”

EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne

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“We cannot allow our theologies to separate us” (speaking on the relations between Muslims and Christians)

EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne

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“It seems to me that when we listen to the Muslim mystics as they talk about Jesus and their love for Jesus, I must say, it’s a lot closer to New Testament Christianity than a lot of the Christians that I hear. In other words if we are looking for common ground, can we find it in mystical spirituality, even if we cannot theologically agree, Can we pray together in such a way that we connect with a God that transcends our theological differences?”

EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne

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“”Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God … I do not know what to make of the Muslim mystics, especially those who have come to be known as the Sufis. What do they experience in their mystical experiences? Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?”

“Speaking My Mind”, pages 149-150

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“Jesus is the only Savior, but not everybody who is being saved by Him is aware that He is the one who is doing the saving”

EP News Service, Oct. 4, 1985

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“…during times of reflection I sensed that believing in Jesus and living out His teachings just wasn’t enough. There was a yearning for something more, and I found that I was increasingly spiritually gratified as I adopted older ways of praying–ways that have largely been ignored by those of us in the Protestant tradition. Counter-Reformation saints like Ignatius of Loyola have become important sources of help as I have begun to learn from them modes of contemplative prayer. I practice what is known as “centering prayer,” in which a sacred word is repeated as a way to be in God’s presence.”

“Mystical Encounters for Christians”

www.beliefnet.com

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“I’ve got to push everything out of mind save the name of Jesus. I say His name over and over again, for as long as fifteen minutes, until I find my soul suspended in what the ancient Celtic Christians called a “thin place”–a state where the boundary between heaven and earth, divine and human, dissolves. You could say that I use the name of Jesus as my koan.”

“Mystical Encounters for Christians”

www.beliefnet.com

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“He saved us in order that He might begin to transform His world into the kind of world that He willed for it to be when He created it. … When Jesus saved us, He saved us to be agents of a great revolution, the end of which will come when the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our God”

“It’s Friday but Sundays Coming”, page 106

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“What I am trying to say is that Jesus who incarnated God 2,000 years ago is mystically present and waiting to be discovered in EVERY person you and I encounter”

“A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 171

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“I do not mean that others represent Jesus for us. I mean that Jesus actually is present in each other person.”

“A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 192

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“That a new humanity will be brought forth from this Christ consciousness in each person.”

“A Reasonable Faith” 1983 page 65

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“There is a feminine side of God. I always knew this … It is this feminine side of God I find in Jesus that makes me want to sing duets with Him … Not only do I love the feminine is Jesus, but the more I know Jesus, the more I realize that Jesus loves the feminine in me. Until I accept the feminine in my humanness, there will be a part of me that cannot receive the Lord’s love. … There is that feminine side of me that must be recovered and strengthened if I am to be like Christ … And until I feel the feminine in Jesus, there is a part of Him which I cannot identify.”

“Carpe Diem: Seize the Day”, 1994, pages 85-88

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“going to heaven is like going to Philadelphia….There are many ways….It doesn’t make any difference how we go there. We all end up in the same place.”

“Carpe Diem: Seize the Day”, 1994, pages 85-88

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“On the other hand, we are hard-pressed to find any biblical basis for condemning deep love commitments between homosexual Christians, as long as those commitments are not expressed in sexual intercourse.”

“20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch”, page 117

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“I’m not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians.”

Charlie Rose show on January 24, 1997

Thanks to thinkerup for posting a list of all these quotes.

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4 responses to “Profiles In Apostasy: Tony Campolo

  1. Manny,

    Thank you for asking what we think of some of Campolo’s quotes. I’d like to put the quotes I could access easily online in their proper context and then at the end share what I think of the quotes.

    Beyond these models of reconciliation, a theology of mysticism provides some hope for common ground between Christianity and Islam. Both religions have within their histories examples of ecstatic union with God, which seem at odds with their own spiritual traditions but have much in common with each other. I do not know what to make of the Muslim mystics, especially those who have come to be known as the Sufis. What do they experience in their mystical experiences? Could they have encountered the same God we do in our Christian mysticism?

    …One of the Muslim mystics, Ibn Al Arabi, put a great emphasis on Christ and spoke of Jesus as “the Word,” “the Spirit,” and “God’s tongue.” He said of Christians, “In my youth I denied the others’ belif and made them my enemy. Now my religion is the religion of love.” He said of Jesus:

    He is the living being, without beginning, without end.
    He is the word, discriminating and integrating.
    He is to the world the ringstone of the ring.
    The plane of inscription.
    The sign by which the king deals his coffers.
    He is called vice-regent then
    Since the transcendent guards him through his creation
    So he made him his vice-regent charged with the safeguarding of his property
    And the world is preserved as long as the complete human being remains in it.
    Don’t you see that if he were no more…
    The entire order would vanish into the afterworld
    Where he would be the eternal seal on the treasure chest
    That is the afterworld

    Such a statement is close to what evangelicals say about Jesus than the sort of things I hear coming from theologically liberal Christians… I am not suggesting that we are all in the same God camp. We are not. The differences between even the most spiritual of the Sufi Muslims and the evangelical Christians cannot be ignored. But to define Islam as an evil religion is irresponsible…”

    (Page 149-151, Speaking My Mind)
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    “When it comes to what is ultimately important, the Muslim community’s sense of commitment to the poor is exactly in tune with where Jesus is in the 25th chapter of Matthew. That is the description of judgment day. And if that is the description of judgment day what can I say to an Islamic brother who has fed the hungry, and clothed the naked? You say, “But he hasn’t a personal relationship with Christ.” I would argue with that. And I would say from a Christian perspective, in as much as you did it to the least of these you did it unto Christ. You did have a personal relationship with Christ, you just didn’t know it. And Jesus himself says: “On that day there will be many people who will say, when did we have this wonderful relationship with you, we don’t even know who you are …” “Well, you didn’t know it was me, but when you did it to the least of these it was doing it to me.”

    EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne
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    “I think we have to maintain our theological differences. We don’t have any integrity if we don’t. We end up with this mishmash in which we say, ‘Well, in the end, we all believe in the same God’. Maybe we do, but we don’t define God in the same way. We don’t come to God in the same manner. And each of us makes exclusivist claims, and we have to recognize that. We cannot allow our theologies to separate us, and we cannot allow our theologies to get watered down lest we lose our integrity.”

    EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne
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    “It seems to me that when we listen to the Muslim mystics as they talk about Jesus and their love for Jesus, I must say, it’s a lot closer to New Testament Christianity than a lot of the Christians that I hear. In other words if we are looking for common ground, can we find it in mystical spirituality, even if we cannot theologically agree, Can we pray together in such a way that we connect with a God that transcends our theological differences?
    So we make sure we don’t compromise what we believe. But we also make sure that in mystical spirituality we find a kind of oneness that we leave judgment of who goes to heaven and who goes to hell in the hands of God and just preach the truth as we understand it.”

    EVANGELICALS AND INTERFAITH COOPERATION, An Interview by Shane Claiborne
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    “As I sat next to a man on the plane he said to me, “Tony, I think that going to heaven is like going to Philadelphia. There are many ways that people go to Philadelphia. Some go by plane. Some go by bus. Some go by car. And some may even walk . It doesn’t make any difference how we go there. We all end up in the same place.” I said to him, “I’m glad the pilot does not hold to your theology. Right now in the control tower there is a controller telling the pilot the exact way to land on the runway and the exact degrees necessary for a safe landing. I’m glad he’s is not saying, ‘There are many ways into the Philadelphia airport. There are many ways you can land the plane.’”

    “Carpe Diem: Seize the Day”, 1994, pages 85-88
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    “Those of us evangelicals who regularly are asked for counsel by homosexuals find ourselves in difficult situations. On the one hand, our obedience to the teachings of the Bible and the traditions of the church necessitates that we withhold approval of homosexual intercourse. Even if the New Testament case against homosexual intercourse is not as pronounced as some people think it is, there are still passages in the Old Testament that speak directly to the issue which I find impossible to dismiss (see Lev. 18:22, 20:13). On the other hand, we are hard-pressed to find any biblical basis for condemning deep love commitments between homosexual Christians, as long as those commitments are not expressed in sexual intercourse.
    Perhaps an even better answer to the threat of loneliness faced by homosexuals is to live in the context of a Christian community… In these larger social units, the temptation to consummate sexual urges on the part of a homosexual person could be held in check by the loving and prayerful support of others. A setting would be created where the homosexual person felt safe being honest about his or her orientation, and the others in the group could make special efforts to encourage a lifestyle that glorifies Christ.”

    “20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch”, page 117-118
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    So here’s what I think of Tony’s quotes. I think he may be more mystical than I am comfortable with. But when they are actually placed in their proper context I also find much in these quotes that I agree with.

    However, I know I find your de-contextualization of others to fit your agenda and your general lack of truth-telling not only more than I am comfortable with as well but reprehensible for a Christian brother in the treatment of another, (even if you consider the other an enemy).

    I have come to expect better from you.

  2. Pastor Wes,

    I don’t hold myself accountable to you- but to the Lord Jesus Christ and what He teaches us in the scriptures. You may have found some wiggle room for some of his quotes- but this man is a false teacher.
    My agenda? My agenda is only one thing here- to expose false teachers like Campolo who are causing great harm to the Nazarene church and other denominations with his false ecumenical gospel.

    Mysticism? A little too mystical for you? Where is that concept taught to us in the New Testament at all? How does his repetition of “Jesus” over and over again reconcile with scripture? What kind of mysticism are you comfortable with? Do you practice the silence, or do a prayer labyrinth?

    Do you defend his belief that Christ is in EVERY person? Is that out of context? Why is is talking about some kind of Christ consciousness? That sounds a lot like universalism.

    Surely you don’t agree with the feminism foolishness that he talked about? Was that taken out of context? “The feminine in Jesus?” Is that scriptural?

    He says its irresponsible to call Islam an evil religion? That’s what it is! Anything not of God, is of the devil! He wants to hold hands and sing kumbayah with everybody. That’s unbiblical! He is part of the ecumenical movement that is hurting Christianity, not helping it.

    I’m not even sure if I can call him a Christian yet. I would need to spend time with him and find out if he is a born-again Christian. I have a read a “testimony” by him that makes we wonder if he has ever really been born again. Since I believe he is a false teacher, I’m not going to call him my brother in Christ, am I?

    Thank you for your opinion, but if you can’t see that this man is teaching false teachings, then I urge you to compare what he says with scripture. Unless you have bought into the same things that he has.

    Read the following also if you have not already:

    http://www.worldviewweekend.com/worldview-times/article.php?articleid=1597

  3. As a pastor, Pastor Wes, you should be ashamed of the quotes to which you have given some merit! For example, to use the phrase “homosexual Christian” is absolute blasphemy (considering the first six letters of the word Christian). Homosexual feelings toward another man are sin, even if he does not act upon them. Let us not forget that God judges the heart, from which all thoughts and feelings flow. How can you call a man “brother” who would confuse such a sickness, for the love of God? May God have mercy! God does not compromise His holiness for His love!

    Furthermore, for too long those who like to parade their intellect have used what I call “the contextual excuse.” They spew their heresy, and try to hide it in the context of a statement. Whenever anyone cries “heresy,” they look down their academic noses at them and cry “context,” as if the lesser mortal does not have the degree you need to understand context. You can argue that a rat should not be offended by the poison in rat poison. After all, the context is 99.9% food. However, it is the poison that hides within the context of a healthy meal that will kill him. How the devil likes to mix a little poison into the context of a creative piece of writing or the sermon of the soft-spoken orator. Let us not forget, that in the greater context of the glorious Garden of Eden he mixed his venom and contaminated mankind. Now, he seeks to do the same at E.N.C., through his servant (or should I say “serpent”), Tony Campolo!

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