Dr. Tony Campolo comes out of the closet...

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A couple days ago, Evangelical superstar of the eighties and nineties, Dr. Tony Campolo, came out in support of the homosexualist agenda. For years Dr. Campolo's feminist wife, Peggy, has been promoting sodomite marriage while Dr. Campolo has quietly demurred, saying this is a matter over which he and his wife disagree. It's very sad, but pertinent, that the Campolo's son, Bart, apostatized a few years ago and now serves the University of Southern California as their "humanist chaplain."

So twenty-five years ago, Dr. Campolo was easily the most popular chapel speaker at Evangelical colleges like Wheaton, Gordon, Westmont, and Taylor. College students loved him. And now Evangelicals' ageing silver-tongued orator has issued this statement denying gays the gift of repentance. His new motto should be "Abandon all hope, ye who enter queer."

Tony Campolo: For the Record
June 8, 2015; Tony releases a new statement urging the church to be more welcoming.

With his subtitle, Dr. Campolo calls us to our better selves, urging Christians "to be more welcoming." We're softened up, then softened up some more:

As a young man I surrendered my life to Jesus and trusted in Him for my salvation, and I have been a staunch evangelical ever since. I rely on the doctrines of the Apostles Creed. 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”.

Dr. Campolo is perfect pitch, speaking to Evangelicals as the Apostle Paul spoke to his fellow Jews: "...circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless" (Philippians 3:5, 6). Dr. Campolo reassures his readers that he surrendered his life to Jesus and trusted in Him for his salvation. He's a "staunch evangelical," although for decades, now, no Evangelical with Biblical discernment has agreed with his self-designation.

But then notice how Dr. Campolo speaks of Scripture...

The doctrine of the authority and inspiration of Scripture is one of the doctrines defining Evangelicalism and here's how he states it: "I believe the Bible to have been written by men inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit." The orthodox statement of Scripture's inspiration among Evangelicals has always been to declare our faith in the "plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture." Dr. Campolo knows this phrase and knows it well, but he chooses not to say it. Instead of declaring that Scripture's every word is inspired by the Holy Spirit, he merely states that he believes the Bible was "written by men inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit." Note how this turns our attention from the words of Scripture to the men who wrote Scripture. It studiously avoids saying every word of Scripture is true, but instead says every author of Scripture was inspired.

Yes, this is a Biblical statement, but note what else the Apostle Peter says:

But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,  for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.  - 2Peter 1:20, 21

Yes, the men who wrote Scripture were "moved by the Holy Spirit," but what of the text of Scripture, itself? The Apostle Peter tells us these men were "moved by the Holy Spirit" in such a way that Scripture's words were not "made by human will," but they "spoke from God." This is the reason we always point to the orthodox doctrine of inspiration being "plenary" (every or all) and "verbal" (words). Why does Dr. Campolo not speak of Scripture's words being from God, and therefore inerrant?

His next statement tells us why as we see Dr. Campolo setting up a pecking order of inspiration with Jesus at the top: "I place my highest priority on the words of Jesus."

The orthodox doctrine of Scripture declares that the words of Jesus are no more inspired than any other words of Scripture because the Holy Spirit who inspired them is the Third member of the Trinity. Which is to say the Holy Spirit and Jesus are both God. Thus, as the great Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield pointed out in an essay titled "It Says, Scripture Says, God Says" in his splendid work, Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, "what Scripture says, God says." Why then does Dr. Campolo make a point of lifting the words of Jesus up as a higher authority than the other words of Scripture? In answering this question, it helps to remember his previous focus on the authors of Scripture rather than the words of Scripture.

Dr. Campolo goes on, warning his readers that "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'." Dr. Campolo claims to be a faithful advocate for the disenfranchised and oppressed. This statement, he assures us, is in defense of that disenfranchised and oppressed people group who are self-affirming homosexuals. Readers with eyes wide open feel the tightening of Dr. Campolo's noose: at the Judgment Seat, Christians who fail to welcome self-affirming homosexuals will fall short of Jesus' "defining question."

Next, Dr. Campolo writes:

From this foundation I have done my best to preach the Gospel, care for the poor and oppressed, and earnestly motivate others to do the same. Because of my open concern for social justice, in recent years I have been asked the same question over and over again: Are you ready to fully accept into the Church those gay Christian couples who have made a lifetime commitment to one another?

Dr. Campolo does not take up the cudgel in behalf of the majority of sodomites who make no claim to be in a monogamous relationship with another sodomite. Rather, he stands in defense of those few who claim to be married to their one true love. What is Dr. Campolo's position concerning the promiscuous denizens of Craig's List who hook up with anonymous partners every few days? Are they due the same "social justice" as those who claim to be monogamous?

Dr. Campolo doesn't mention them. Why not?

"Marriage equality" is much less distasteful than "promiscuity equality." Sell sodomy in drag as monogamous same-sex romance and you hit the sweet spot for contemporary Americans.

While I have always tried to communicate grace and understanding to people on both sides of the issue, my answer to that question has always been somewhat ambiguous. One reason for that ambiguity was that I felt I could do more good for my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters by serving as a bridge person, encouraging the rest of the Church to reach out in love and truly get to know them. The other reason was that, like so many other Christians, I was deeply uncertain about what was right.

For years Dr. Campolo stood by as his wife promoted covenantal same-sex unions, starting back in 1999 in the pages of Christianity Today. She was the warrior while he was diffident. As he says, he was "somewhat ambiguous" on the issue. Now that his wife has gotten on base, though, Dr. Campolo strides to the plate to bat cleanup.

While his wife was for war, he was for "grace and understanding," although he always had a firm commitment to his "gay and lesbian brothers and sisters." And yet it was from inside the closet. Now he's ready to come out of the closet and call Christians "to reach out in love and truly get to know them."

Some of Dr. Campolo's best friends are "them," don't you know?

But before moving on, Dr. Campolo seems to sense his words might have raised a red flag concerning his integrity, so he backs up and justifies his "bridge person" years by claiming he always was "deeply uncertain about what was right." With that Dr. Campolo is free to move on.

It has taken countless hours of prayer, study, conversation and emotional turmoil to bring me to the place where I am finally ready to call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the Church.

When Dr. Campolo tells us it was "countless hours of prayer" that brought him "to the place" of denying repentance to self-affirming, practicing homosexuals, he is making the claim that God Himself led him to his new position. He attributes his call for the acceptance of "Christian gay couples into the Church" to his communing with God. This is blasphemy. He's not talking about repentant homosexuals, we understand; but self-affirming, unrepentant, practicing homosexuals.

For me, the most important part of that process was answering a more fundamental question: What is the point of marriage in the first place? For some Christians, in a tradition that traces back to St. Augustine, the sole purpose of marriage is procreation, which obviously negates the legitimacy of same-sex unions. Others of us, however, recognize a more spiritual dimension of marriage, which is of supreme importance. We believe that God intends married partners to help actualize in each other the “fruits of the spirit,” which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, often citing the Apostle Paul’s comparison of marriage to Christ’s sanctifying relationship with the Church. This doesn’t mean that unmarried people cannot achieve the highest levels of spiritual actualization – our Savior himself was single, after all – but only that the institution of marriage should always be primarily about spiritual growth.

Dr. Campolo misrepresents Christians, including the great church father, St. Augustine, saying they have taught that "the sole purpose of marriage is procreation." This is an old canard that has been trotted out by feminists and sodomites alike for years now, and they do so without providing us any reference or quotation. Since most Christians sleep in a contracepted marriage bed and have never read St. Augustine, it's easy for Dr. Campolo to get away with appealing to such Christians for sympathy as he leads them to take the next step down the stairway of sexual debauchery. "You know how Christians from past centuries had no love for each other in marriage, but only married out of their sense of duty to propagate a godly seed? Well, we're all past that, now, aren't we? So why can't we just go ahead and take the next logical step of approving of gay marriage? We've evolved to the point where we realize marriage is all about intimacy and love; all about 'sanctifying relationship(s).' Can't two men or two women have as sanctifying a relationship as a man and woman?" Such is Dr. Campolo's implicit logic.

But Dr. Campolo lies. Going back to the Early Church, Christians of past centuries have never taught that "the sole purpose of marriage is procreation." Never, and least of all Augustine. It's the work of a moment to search the internet for "Augustine" and "purpose of marriage." Immediately one is presented with a number of links to Augustine's own words—say, for instance, his piece "Of the Good of Marriage" where he writes:

For for this purpose are they married, that the lust being brought under a lawful bond, should not float at large without form and loose; having of itself weakness of flesh that cannot be curbed, but of marriage fellowship of faith that cannot be dissolved; of itself encroachment of immoderate intercourse, of marriage a way of chastely begetting.

Note that Augustine gives the same three purposes of marriage Christians have always given: marriage is to bring "lust...under a lawful bond," to provide a "fellowship of faith that cannot be dissolved," and to make "a way of chastely begetting." It is these same three purposes that are given in that most-recognized of all Protestant statements of faith, the Westminster Confession of Faith:

Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife; for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed; and for preventing of uncleanness. (WCF:24:2)

After setting up Augustine as a straw man, Dr. Campolo allows his readers to join him on the side of the angels: "Others of us, however, recognize a more spiritual dimension of marriage." You see, dear reader, while other dead Christians are stuck in the backwater of rutting for children, you may join me in my glorious revelation that there's something better and higher—something much more spiritual—at the center of marriage than the messy business of childbearing and childrearing. It is that spiritual dimension of marriage—the cultivation and growth of holiness; of "the fruit of the Spirit" which are "love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control"—which inspires us and for which we seek. And speaking of the fruit of the Spirit and becoming holy, let me tell you about my wife, Peggy:

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.

Keeping in mind that Dr. Campolo's purpose in writing this piece is to deny repentance and faith to self-affirming, practicing homosexuals, see how he again takes the Name of the Lord our God in vain. His "relationship with Jesus" and "prayer partner(ship)" with his wife have been crucial for "accomplish(ing) Kingdom work."

Then more about their mutuality and how they each are "God's gift to the other" before Dr. Campolo returns to commending sodomy to his fellow Christians.

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.

Really? Relations between gays and lesbian couples "work in much the same way" as hetersexual couples? Since Dr. Campolo prides himself on being a "social scientist," can he really be so very ignorant of the problems long documented that are endemic within the homosexualist community? Their diseases? Their propensity to drug and alcohol abuse? Their extremely high rate of domestic violence? Their early death?

But is it necessary to mention such things?

Well, was it necessary for the Holy Spirit to inspire the Apostle Paul to state about homosexual men and women, that they were "receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error" (Romans 1:27)? Love for sinners doesn't lead us to deny the results of their sin, but to know those results well and warn dear souls to flee to Jesus. The man who truly loves gays and lesbians, whether single or married, has a working knowledge of the pathologies that attend their perversion, just as the man who loves lovers of wine knows all about cirrhosis of the liver and death from bleeding varices.

So no. Homosexual relationships do not in any way "work in much the same ways as our own." That is the lie that the Holy Spirit warns against in Galatians where He inspired the Apostle Paul to write:

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption...  - Galatians 6:7, 8

Dr. Campolo is denying that the gay man or lesbian woman who sows to his or her flesh will, from that flesh, reap corruption. Thus Dr. Campolo deceives these "least of these" by speaking and writing as if we are able to mock God.

Then this: "We in the Church should actively support such [gay and lesbian] families."

Well yes, of course we should actively support gay and lesbian families, but the devil is in the details. Are we to support them by joining in the lie being told them by every authority across the Western world today, that such a thing as sexual perversion does not exist and gay and straight are two equally legitimate ways of identifying and having sex? Is it supportive to remove all hurdles to unrepentant gay and lesbian couples joining the Church of Jesus Christ and being welcome to communion at the Lord's Supper? Is it supportive knowingly to encourage unrepentant gays and lesbians who fail to discern our Lord's body and blood to come to the table, anyway, and there to eat and drink judgment to themselves, thus bringing upon themselves the very sickness and death the Holy Spirit warns us of?

Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep.  - 1Corinthians 11:27-30

None of this is complicated, is it? So why can't Dr. Campolo see it? Why doesn't Dr. Campolo fear God? Why is Dr. Campolo leading others away from the fear of God?

Dr. Campolo goes on to exhort us: "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."

Who is saying the temptation to same-sex intimacy makes a man or woman some sort of "mistake?" Have you ever heard anyone say such a thing?

No, of course not. Lovers of Jesus don't go around calling men and women who are compulsive eaters or abusers of internet pornography "mistakes." No one I've ever known goes around trying to lead gays or lesbians "to believe that they are mistakes," let alone "just not good enough for God."

Fact is, no one is righteous—not even one. Every single Christian started his Christian confession in the faith that Jesus Christ came to save sinners, and that meant we were qualified for His salvation because we—every last one of us—were and are sinners. Every last one of us has a heart that is, according to God, "deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked." So why would any Christian anywhere tell those tempted by same-sex intimacy or those in homosexual relationships that they are beyond the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Don't be led into taking up the offense against gays and lesbians that Dr. Campolo is trying to sell, here. Truth is, he himself is the one who is abusing gays and lesbians by withholding from them the life-and-eternity-changing gift of repentance and forgiveness of sins. He himself is the one who doesn't love them. He himself is the one who refuses to allow them into Christ's Church, the only door to which passes through the superb schoolmaster of God's Moral Law which brings us all to our faces in the dirt when it commands us not to commit sexual sin in the Seventh Commandment, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." The First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Commandments, also. Everywhere we turn, we see our unworthiness; and thus, everywhere we turn, we see the glory of God visible in the righteousness of our Lord Jesus Christ Who himself was and is the Perfect Lamb of God Whose blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins.

What would lead a man to deny our Lord's blood to a class of persons so enslaved by wickedness and perversion as gays and lesbians? How could a man get to the point that he is so callous to these dear ones' suffering as well as the suffering they cause others who love them? What is it that leads a man to tell a sinner in bondage to Satan that he need not; indeed, he cannot and must not repent, for he has nothing to repent of?

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.

Well yes, of course it is true for gays and lesbians as it is for adulterers and fornicators and greedy, that we come to Jesus "just as we are." And that means we come confessing our sins, whatever they are and no matter how much in bondage we have become to them. But this is precisely what Dr. Campolo refuses to allow gays and lesbians. As I have said, Dr. Campolo seeks the damnation of gays and lesbians because he denies gay and lesbian identity and relations are sin, therefore denying them repentance of those sins. Now maybe Dr. Campolo would preach that, despite his exhortations to them that they are, in fact, "good enough" for God in the midst of their sexual bondage to perversion, they remain "not good enough" for God in the midst of their emotional bondage to bitterness or their physical bondage to alcohol?

Sadly, we don't know if there's any sin Dr. Campolo would call gays and lesbians to repent of because the one sin by which they define their lives and identity he refuses to acknowledge as a sin, and that's the end of it.

Rest assured that I have already heard – and in some cases made – every kind of biblical argument against gay marriage, including those of Dr. Ronald Sider, my esteemed friend and colleague at Eastern University. Obviously, people of good will can and do read the scriptures very differently when it comes to controversial issues, and I am painfully aware that there are ways I could be wrong about this one.

Actually no, Dr. Campolo: there are no "people of good will" who read the Scriptures as approving of gay and lesbian identity and relations. There are only wicked men who do so because they are deceivers and hate God. There are only false shepherds who do so because they are slaves of Satan. For thousands of years the people of God have honored His Name and Law by fleeing and repenting of every form of sexual sin, from fornication to bestiality to incest to sodomy to adultery to looking on a woman with lust. Now you come along and try to pull out one sin from that list, making emotional appeals that this particular sin is not like the others. But of course, that's only because you don't love those you refer to as "them." You aren't concerned for their souls or salvation. You are only desirous of their freedom to join you and your fellow homosexualists in your bondage and suffering of faithlessness and unbelief.

But do repent of this, Dr. Campolo. Do please repent. There is still time—both for them and for you. Now is the day of salvation, so don't put it off. Don't harden your heart.

Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,” so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.  - Hebrews 3:12, 13

Dr. Campolo concludes:

However, I am old enough to remember when we in the Church made strong biblical cases for keeping women out of teaching roles in the Church, and when divorced and remarried people often were excluded from fellowship altogether on the basis of scripture. Not long before that, some Christians even made biblical cases supporting slavery. Many of those people were sincere believers, but most of us now agree that they were wrong. I am afraid we are making the same kind of mistake again, which is why I am speaking out.

Dr. Campolo rightly assumes the agreement of Christians today with the feminist rebellion of women teaching and exercising authority over men within the church—that is certainly what he refers to, here, when he speaks of women being given access to "teaching roles in the Church." Dr. Campolo thinks he has proven something, but he has not. Rather, he's demonstrated that he's as rebellious against God's Order of Creation of Adam and Eve as he's rebellious against God's limitation of sexual relations to monogamous, lifelong, heterosexual marriage.

Dr. Campolo goes on to speak as if it were the mere fact of divorce and/or remarriage which past generations of Christians condemned. But for half a millennium, now, Protestant Christians have allowed for the two Biblical exceptions to Scripture's condemnation of divorce—sexual immorality and desertion. We agree Scripture indicates these are grounds for divorce and (some within that group) also remarriage. But likely this is not the focus of Dr. Campolo's mention of divorce and remarriage. Rather, Dr. Campolo believes those guilty of the adultery of unbiblical divorce and remarriage have no reason to repent, either; and thus their discipline and (sometime) excommunication by the officers of Christ's Church in past years and centuries was simply the persecution of innocent souls whose adultery should not disqualify them from Church membership or the Lord's Supper. Now, as he sees it, we have arrived at the time for sodomy no longer to disqualify a man or woman from Church membership or the Lord's Supper.

Then, of course, Dr. Campolo adds slavery to the list. So here's the shorthand for what he's saying: "the church has been wrong about women and divorce and slavery, and now the Church is wrong about homosexuality. Don't be a neanderthal. Get with the times. Join us progressives, climbing aboard our wonderful Train to Flourishing. That, or risk being left behind." And what true Evangelical wants to be left behind?

I hope what I have written here will help my fellow Christians to lovingly welcome all of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters into the Church.

No, Dr. Campolo, what you have written will not help even one single person "to lovingly welcome all of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters into the Church." What you have written is the perfect innoculation against anyone ever welcoming gays and lesbians into the Church because, as I've said, the door to the Church for every last soul who enters by the power of the Holy Spirit passes through conviction of sin and repentance. As our Lord warned us, "Unless ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3, 5).

So, for ourselves, since we fear and love God and our neighbors, we will continue to call all men to flee the wrath to come against all ungodliness. All ungodliness, including adultery, fornication, lying, gossip, drunkeness, incest, effeminacy, and homosexuality.

Praise God, of such were some of us, but we were washed, we were sanctified, we were justified in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.  - 1Corinthians 6:9-11

Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!