Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Campolo Evolves on Marriage
This week religious left leader, author, former spiritual adviser to President Bill Clinton, college professor and popular guest speaker in local churches, Tony Campolo, announced publicly that for him, reason has won out over biblical teaching.
He says his wife, who has long been an advocate of same-sex marriage, has been a primary influence in his decision.
"I know all the biblical arguments against same-sex marriage," he says, however, "it has taken countless hours of prayer, study, conversation and emotional turmoil to bring me to this place where I am finally ready to call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the church."
How does the "religious left" justify taking a position against biblical teaching on both marriage and human sexuality?
A closer look at compromise and its consequences is revealing.
In his press release statement, Tony says, "It has taken countless hours...to bring me to the place where I finally am..."
Compromise happens over time---so does its consequences.
God told Israel if they kept His Word, He would give them complete victory over their enemies. Joshua did not compromise God's Word, stood strong in the faith and marched into the Promised Land defeating 31 kings.
The next generation---lacking the obedience and commitment to God's Word held by their fathers, failed to "drive out the enemy"---the Canaanites, as God instructed (Deut. 18:9-22). Over time they had come to know them---to have a "conversation with them," even joining in alliances, marriages and even integrated worship of some of their false gods.
The religious practices of the Canaanites are well known because of biblical and extra-biblical texts. The practices were socially destructive, steeped in sexual perversion, murder of born and unborn children---anything went in the name of religion and "virtue."
Israel had become tolerant. And inclusive.
A century later, Israel should have had little difficulty defeating the Philistines when they attacked, instead Israel was enslaved, working as laborers in their own land. Tragic consequences.
About 3,000 years later, our Founding Fathers dedicated America to "the glory of God and the spreading of the gospel." The first Congress opened with a 3-hour prayer meeting, John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was also president of the American Bible Society, and every Sunday the Capitol building was used as a church for Christian church services.
Compromise and "evolving truth" has carried us to where we stand today. In the culture and in the church.
Charles Spurgeon (the Spurgeon Archive) would speak to Tony Campolo and the religious left: "A chasm is opening between the men who believe their Bibles and the men who are prepared for an advance upon Scripture. Inspiration and speculation cannot long abide in peace. Compromise there can be none. We cannot hold the doctrine of the Fall and yet talk of the evolution of spiritual life from human nature..."
Another Charles, Pastor Charles Stanley, has said, "If the church marries herself to the spirit of the times, she will find herself a widow in the next generation."
Compromise is often born out of expediency of accommodation.
It is becoming increasingly costly for Christians who choose to stand publicly for biblical values---particularly regarding marriage, family and the sanctity of life.
Sometimes contemporary Christians, and even pastors, discover reasons why it is "expedient" to stay under the radar on the so-called "divisive social issues," remaining silent on biblical teaching in order to be "relevant." And accepted by current culture.
Francis Schaeffer wrote (The Shelter), "The failure of the evangelical world is to stand for truth as truth. There is only one word for this--ACCOMMODATION. The evangelical church has accommodated to the world spirit of the age. First, there has been an accommodation on Scripture, so many who call themselves evangelicals hold a weakened view of the Bible and no longer affirm the truth of all the Bible teaches...This has been costly, first in destroying the power of the Scriptures to confront the spirit of our age; the second, in allowing the further slide in our culture."
Campolo says he has seen how damaging it can be to try to "cure" someone from being gay, affirming his goal is not restoration, but "accommodation." He says, "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."
Tony knows better. The true biblical Christian does not condemn gay people. They, in sync with Scripture, condemn the behavior, because the Bible condemns the behavior. As true biblical Christians they welcome the sinner while condemning the sin.
The religious left refuses to accept that basic truth.
Schaeffer has also said, "Obedience to God's Word is the watershed. And the failure of the evangelical world to take a biblical stand on the crucial issues of the day can only be seen as a failure to live under the authority of God's Word."
Compromise always involves twisting and marginalizing God's Word to accommodate behavior.
When President Obama came out, telling the world he had evolved on the definition of marriage, he said some who oppose redefining marriage do so based on a few obscure Scripture verses in Romans."
C.S. Lewis once said, "We want, in fact, not so much a father in heaven as a grandfather in heaven; a senile benevolence who, as they say 'liked to see young people enjoying themselves' and whose plan for the universe was simply that it might be truly said at the end of each day, 'A good time was had by all'."
Campolo writes, "Rest assured that I have already heard---and in some cases made---every kind of biblical argument against gay marriage..." 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."
I would ask Tony what it was that stopped him from embracing this position years ago? His wife has been a long time advocate of same-sex marriage.
The truthful answer would be it was the clear, not marginal teaching of Scripture. Surely his emotions and care for young homosexuals has not changed.
I would ask Tony and President Obama, and others who have claimed to once believed the Scriptures, when did the Scriptures change? The Bible has not changed---when did it suddenly become unclear or different? Or obscure?
Tony is telling the world that it was his "reflection" on the meaning of marriage that ultimately brought about his change of heart, yet he, nor anyone else, can pick up the Bible and find one Scripture verse that even remotely suggests that men can marry men and women marry women.
While Tony will be applauded by many, by his declaration he has done immeasurable damage to many who are seeking restoration and deliverance, rather than affirmation from the destructive behavior they find themselves involved in.
To satisfy a few, it seems, he has sacrificed many.
I'm reminded of a comment by Amy Carmichael in her biography: "If I am afraid to speak the truth lest I lose affection, or at lest the one concerned should say, 'You do not understand' or fear to lose my reputation for kindness; if I put my own good name before the other's highest good, then I know nothing of Calvary's love."
Pray for Tony.
Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful.