Tag Archives: Tony Campolo

Bart Campolo’s heretical journey

Forbes magazine had a leadership article on their online site and discussed how Bart Campolo, son of “red letter Christian” Tony Campolo, had left the church. Via Bart Campolo’s heretical and liberating leadership journey:

Once in a while, an apple falls from its tree … and then won’t stop rolling away of its own accord. Bart Campolo comes to mind.

For years, he was a spiritual leader who carried the distinction of being the son of evangelical pastor and social-justice champion Tony Campolo.

That’s one of the many problems of nepotism.  The guy wasn’t even a Christian but he had a leadership role!

Today, Bart is the humanist chaplain at the University of Southern California, a job he has held for a little over a month. [Disclosure: USC is my alma mater and primary employer.]

In one sense, he is the same person he has always been, fighting for the welfare of the sick and the poor. But he is now agnostic, in stark contrast to his legendary father.

In his new role, he will offer encouragement to many like-minded people seeking meaning and purpose; and he will outrage or scare the pants off millions of people with whom he no longer shares a religious identity.

Scared?  Who would be scared?  He was just another wolf who took the sheep’s clothing off.  And the outrage isn’t for him, but for the churches who made him so comfortable as a non-believer and made him a leader.

The younger Campolo’s journey reveals the process by which leaders discover who they are and what they’ll fight for; and the process by which they come, often painfully, to discover their unique, authentic voice.

“We’ve got chaplains on our campus representing 90 specific religious and spiritual traditions, but Bart’s our first humanist chaplain,” says Varun Soni, USC’s dean of Religious Life. “I think he’s a crucial addition, because I think there’s a hunger for an engaged and active secular humanist community. I think the future is going to be less about traditional doctrines and practices and more about people wrestling together with things like significance, identity and how to contribute to society. It’s a broader definition of religion, faith and spirituality.”

Oh, its humanist, all right!  Making gods in their own images.

Campolo’s own path would seem to suggest there is truth to Soni’s hunch. “When people ask me when I started to ‘lose faith,’” Bart tells me, “I usually say, ‘Within about 15 minutes of becoming a Christian.’”

Of course, we know from 1 John 2:19 that if he has left to be a humanist “chaplain” that he never was a Christian.  He was done a disservice by those in the church.  1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

. . . And he would go on to create inner-city ministries around the nation designed to rescue suffering people from unemployment, addiction, sex slavery and other ills.

If those organizations helped people, that’s great.

Yet that faith, from its nascence, was tested on various fronts. Theodicy (the theological attempts to justify why God allows evil) would exhaust him when he would encounter actual victims of gang rape or other forms of cruelty. Gay roommates would challenge his notions of what it meant to love others unconditionally. A severe bike accident a few years ago brought him to a conviction that he wasn’t a soul in a body, but rather a finite, manipulable mass of cells and neurons that would one day be entirely gone.

Theodicy is an interesting topic, of course, but it always amusing that people like Campolo weren’t concerned about evil until they knew someone personally who suffered, as if the countless evil acts to date didn’t count.  And he’s yet another Leftist who sits in judgment of God’s creation of sexual morality.

And he isn’t a very clear thinker if he believes we aren’t souls as well as bodies.  If his worldview is true then he has no grounding for any moral claims.

All along, a sense of intellectual honesty would suggest to him that everyone of religious faith, himself included, played games with scriptures. “We’d underline the parts we like and ignore the parts we didn’t like,” Campolo says. “I underlined some verses about a loving, all-inclusive, God and ignored some other verses.”

I’m glad he admitted how Leftists ignore verses they don’t like!

. . .

Today, Bart Campolo is as animated by his social-justice values as ever. But he no longer sees a religious narrative as the source of those values. He relishes the explanations and speculations of empirical science about the origin and nature of things: “To me, science’s story is even more amazing than any religion’s creation story,” he tells me.

That begs the question.  The real God is sovereign over science as well.  It is all his story.

“And Neil deGrasse Tyson is as inspiring as any preacher I’ve heard.”

Tyson’s speaking (and penchant for making up quotes) is meaningless as to the truth of his worldview.

. . .

What meaning does he draw from that scientific narrative? “The universe is wonderful,” he says. “And life is to be cherished.”

Yes, because God wrote that on our hearts.  But his godless worldview can’t ground that.

He sees in that narrative real evidence that nature selects, in a Darwinian sense, for the values that he holds—indeed, that the mystical concept of “love” itself is rigged into the system, selecting for altruism, community, self-sacrifice, gratitude, compassion and forgiveness.

No, Darwinian evolution would support survival of the fittest, sex trafficking, slavery, etc.

. . .

Campolo notes that many longtime, active members of churches confide to him that they share his skepticism—maybe even his outright unbelief. But they often stay there, silently assenting to what they don’t believe, because they need the identity, the support and the belonging that comes from their existing community.

In the famous parable of the weeds in Matthew’s gospel, Jesus warns that the good wheat in a farmer’s field might have among it bad weeds that were sown by an “enemy.” It was a caution about the presence of “false” members within the church. It also reflects the dilemma of many so-called weeds, who may stay in the church while muffling their own convictions and dissensions.

In that sense, Bart Campolo may be helping lead the planting of a new, humanistic church where the weeds can finally grow free, without apology.

That’s an excellent point, albeit a bit ironic. You just need to take the quotes off of enemy and weeds, and keep reading to find out what happens to the weeds for eternity. For in Campolo’s made-up religion, we’re just masses of cells with no ultimate accountability to a creator. There will be no justice for any evil — ours or those that commit it against us. That view is not only false but pathetic. What kind of community gathers to celebrate that?


On the Wild Goat — er, uh, Goose — Festival

An annual progressive Christian festival that draws oldline Protestants and disaffected former evangelicals will feature workshops on transgenderism and “Intersex” next month.

See Wild Goose Festival Migrates through Turbulent Issues of Transgenderism, Intersex. These people claim the name of Christ.  They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.  It is your basic rebellion against God.  They can play the “we’re Christians” card because weak-willed Bible-believers wouldn’t kick them out of the church years ago.

Inspired by Britain’s annual Greenbelt festival, the Wild Goose Festival brings performers, yoga practitioners, speakers and artists to a multi-day campout in the mountains of western North Carolina August 8-11. In its first two years, Wild Goose speakers promoted an assortment of liberal causes – peppered with sharp critiques of Southern Baptists and other conservative evangelicals.

Wild Goose has broached issues of human sexuality before, welcoming gay and lesbian speakers and exhibitors in 2011 and 2012. The unofficial United Methodist Reconciling Ministries Network will have a presence at Wild Goose this year, and former Contemporary Christian Music artist Jennifer Knapp has brought her “Inside Out Faith” program to the festival. Tony Campolo and his wife Peggy have also spoken at Wild Goose about the church’s response to homosexuality.

In 2013, Wild Goose is apparently getting wilder. Among the workshops highlighted at next month’s gathering will be a talk by Asher Kolieboi, co-founder of the Legalize Trans* campaign, on creating “trans* inclusive faith communities.” Kolieboi’s talk will be entitled “Galatians 3:28,” referencing the verse “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

If they loved “trans” people they would tell them the truth. But they love themselves and their popularity more than they love others, and they follow the world, not God. Anyone who interprets Galatians 3:28 that way should be ignored.  That is comically bad exegesis, even for a theological Liberal.

Tony Campolo & homosexuality

I appreciated this analysis about Adventures in Missing the Truth: Campolo and Homosexuality*.  Many years ago, our Sunday School class read a book by Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren (noted “emergent” type false teacher) called Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel.  Someone picked it as a book that, in theory, would have conservative and Liberal views on various hot topics.  The problem was that we didn’t realize Campolo wasn’t really conservative.  So the book ended up being a “debate” between a theological Liberal/moderate and a drunk-naked-running-down-the-streets theological Liberal, which meant it wasn’t a debate at all.  McLaren was presented as a Christian, even though his core views mock the cross.

Sadly, many in the class liked their views even though, as outlined in the link, the book was a train wreck of unsupported claims, bad logic worse theology.  Not one person asked, “So what does the Bible have to say about this?”

Run, don’t walk, from teachers like Campolo and McLaren.  Campolo is actually more dangerous because he poses as being orthodox.  He also is involved with the “red-letter Christian” movement that ignores a rather obvious point: Jesus is God, and He authored all of scripture.

* It is a 3-part series.  The link has them out of order, but you’ll be able to follow it.

From the tolerant, loving religious Left: “Screw St. Paul, screw him!”

Via Institute on Religion & Democracy (IRD) – Chasing the Religious Left’s “Wild Goose”.

A recent festival convened by Religious and Evangelical Left leaders served as a mixing pot of liberal political advocacy and emergent church theology. Over the weekend of June 25, over 1,000 self-identified “progressive” Christians flocked to the Wild Goose Festival situated in the rolling hills of North Carolina. This mix of old time hippies and young idealists enjoyed an eclectic blend of art, music, talks, and general dissatisfaction directed at traditional evangelicals.

“Paul, in the Bible, tells my wife to be silent in church, screw St. Paul, screw him!” shouted a visibly angry Frankie Schaeffer during one session of the festival. Schaeffer, son of deceased author and evangelical leader Francis Schaeffer, lamented his family’s role in building the “religious right”, and the gathered audience of disaffected former evangelicals and other religious left groups affirmed his message. Schaeffer’s presentation seemed intentionally designed to offend traditionalists, leading to gleeful claps of approval from the audience.

They clapped for him?  Let’s be clear: The Bible is the inspired word of God, with the original writings turning out exactly as God and the writers wanted them to be.  Therefore, when Schaeffer says, “Paul, in the Bible, tells my wife to be silent in church, screw St. Paul, screw him!, he is really saying, “Screw God, screw him!”  Note to Frankie, the organizers, the other speakers and the audience members who agreed with Schaeffer: Christianity may not be your forte’.

While festival organizers proclaimed a “big tent” of inclusion, speakers repeatedly criticized a wide field of supposed adversaries ranging from political conservatives, evangelical Christian leaders, the United States government and even contemporary praise band leaders. Especially singled out for disdain were Southern Baptists, who were openly ridiculed by almost all of the major speakers.

Ah, you can really feel the love and tolerance!  Makes me want to be a Southern Baptist.

. . . Hoping to attract young evangelicals drawn to biblical teachings to care for the widow, the orphan, and the broken, festival speakers repackaged socialism and called it Regenerate Economies, while daydreaming about ending the nation-state through global environmental governance.

Yep, just your usual socialist / communist politics disguised as religion.  We get the parts about caring for widows and orphans, and do it with our own money.  We also get the parts about not shedding innocent blood, what marriage really is, etc.

Happy for the government to push the Church away from her responsibility to the poor, Sojourners chief Jim Wallis was on hand to offered a healthy dose of fear-mongering.  As I sat in the searing heat of the morning sun, I listened to his lecture, entitled “The Sky is Falling on the Poor.”  Wallis showed that he is well versed in the intricacies of the evil Republican budget but ignorant as to how the debt was created in the first place. Wallis boldly stated to the applause of the audience that “the debt arrived through two wars and tax breaks for the rich.” In classic Wallis style, class warfare is good, but actual warfare, even against terror, is always of the devil.

That’s what you get from false teachers include people like Jim “the Gospel is all about wealth redistribution” Wallis.

Emergent Church purveyor Brian McLaren picked up where Wallis left off. Standing in the middle of a geodesic dome made of branches and twine, he lamented the lack of global environmental regulation and argued that “we must talk about the joy in paying taxes.”

Go ahead, champ!  Pay all the extra taxes you like.  Just don’t covetously ask Caesar to raise them on others and call it giving on your part.

He raged about the “myth” that the church could take over the care of the poor from the government, calling those who believe such so “stupid and idiots…and that’s being nice.” Over 40 years of failures in the federal government’s “War on Poverty” should convince religious statists least to question whether government is always the solution. But few such doubts arose at The Wild Goose.

Yep, just like Jesus taught: Ask Caesar to solve all your problems.

As usual, while usually misinterpreting the verses on giving (they seem to ignore the part about giving “what you have decided in your own heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion”), they ignore calls to sexual purity.  And these “social justice” types are uniformly pro-legalized abortion, the ultimate injustice.

. . . Using a combination of emotionalism and revisionist hermeneutics Peggy Campolo concluded unscientifically “gay people don’t have a choice.”

That’s a fact-free statement on her part.  She is ignorant of ministries like Gay Christian Movement Watch that have helped countless people.

Going to criticize those “hateful arguments that people have change, they actually haven’t. Those people are confused about their sexuality and are probably bisexual.” Not to be outdone by his wife, Tony Campolo stated plainly that since the Church has “become welcoming and accepting” of divorced people and not restrictive to ordination, eventually homosexuality will be accepted as well. Ironically, Peggy and Tony were rebuked by a young gay activist for not affirming those who chose to be LBGTQ.

Run, don’t walk, from the religious Left.