5 Ways Tony Campolo and Others Miss the Bible Mark With New Views on Gay Christians

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Tony Campolo (Facebook)

by Shane Idleman
Tony Campolo recently said this about gay-marriage, “(L)ike so many other Christians, I was deeply uncertain about what was right.” But the Bible is crystal clear on sexual sin, including homosexuality. Unfortunately, those who are sounding the alarm are often categorized as irrational, judgmental, bigoted and intolerant. But how can we warn if we won’t confront, correct if we won’t challenge and and contend if we won’t question? We must speak the truth in love.

Opinions change, but truth does not.

My hope is that readers will read the entire article before drawing conclusions. I have nothing but compassion for those trapped in sexual sin. Those who strongly believe in the Bible and God’s will regarding sexual behavior also strongly believe in unconditional love and forgiveness. To say that authentic Christians hate or fear those trapped in the homosexual lifestyle demonstrates a gross misunderstanding of the Christian faith. To “confront in love” simply comes from a desire to honor God and to truly love and care for others. The ability to relate to people on their level, show genuine concern, and love them regardless of their lifestyle is the mark of true Christianity.

It’s no surprise that the church, and our nation, desperately need to hear “the voice of one crying in the wilderness” to awaken, convict and restore. It was not so long ago that we were concerned about “the fall of America.” America cannot fall because she has already fallen. We are now picking up the pieces of a broken nation reflected in our laws, our personal lives, our families and our children. America’s moral heartbeat has ceased because we cut off the source of life.

We need resuscitation, renewal and revival of the truth.

When people, groups, denominations or movements depart from absolute truth and thus quench and grieve the Spirit of God, they become mechanical in their approach to Christianity and lose the ability to guide.

The Word of God is not in their hearts “like a burning fire” (Jer. 20:9), but relative, powerless and debatable. This is what we see today.

Consider the following in light of Tony Campolo’s recent comments supporting gay-marriage:

1. The “moral” laws in the Old Testament such as killing, stealing, lying, adultery, sexual immorality and so on are all valid today.

Jesus referred often to the Old Testament, and said that He didn’t come to abolish it, but to fulfill it. Although many of the ceremonial and dietary laws of the Old Testament do not necessarily apply today, the moral laws do. They are as significant today as they have been throughout history. For example, Leviticus 20:13 states, “If a man lies with another man as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination.” To suggest that this verse is invalid today is to advocate the dangerous practice of redefining or deleting what God has said. Not to mention other stories in the Old Testament that highlight the dangers of homosexuality and all sexual sin.

The consequences of wrong actions may have changed, but the moral implications remain the same. For instance, even though we no longer stone to death those who commit adultery, this does not mean that adultery is acceptable or any less dangerous. Adultery is wrong even though there aren’t legal consequences. The laws of a nation should reflect God’s Word, but they are never above it!

2. Jesus condemned “all” sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and woman.

He said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual immorality, thefts, false witness, and blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.” (Matt. 15:19-20). Jesus was implying that all sexual activity outside of marriage between a man and a woman is harmful and immoral. The word “fornication” in the Greek is porneia; where the word “pornography” comes from. We cannot say, “But I was born this way.” I was born to lie, cheat, lust and deceive, but this doesn’t make it right. It makes me sinful and in need of a Savior.

3. An argument cannot be based solely on silence.

To suggest that Jesus approved of homosexuality simply because He did not use the term “homosexual,” is to imply that He approved of necrophilia, pedophilia, incest and bestiality. But of course, we know better.

4. Other passages in the New Testament are clear on this issue as well. Romans 1:18-32 and 1 Corinthians 6:1-20 are good places to start.

In short, mankind did not see fit to acknowledge God, and they suppressed the truth; therefore, God gave them over to a depraved mind—to do those things which are not proper. Homosexual behavior, and sexual sin in general, is comparable with dishonoring the body and turning from God. John Piper said, “The sexual disordering of the human race is a judgment of God for exchanging Him for the creature.”

5. Jesus said that since the beginning of creation, God created them male and female in order that they would be joined together and become one flesh.

He adds, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:9). Marriage between a man and a woman is God’s plan since creation. No matter how many laws are passed in favor of gay marriage, it will not change God’s mind. Man often rebels against God; this is nothing new.

Jesus would often speak out against sin, but His love and mercy also reached out to those who regretted and hated their condition. Forgiveness is a mark of genuine faith. We should have compassion for those who struggle with same-sex attraction because we all struggle with sin, but at the same time, we should not condone or excuse this type of sin any more than we condone or excuse any other sin.

I’m convinced that the majority of the churches in America are seeking to please the masses rather than convict. Judgment is never mentioned; repentance is rarely sought; and sin is often excused. We want to build a church rather than break a heart; be politically correct rather than biblically correct; coddle and comfort rather than stir and convict. This leaves people confused and deceived because we teach and live a form of Christianity void of repentance … void of truth.

As a final word of encouragement, if you’re hopeless, depressed and confused, look to the One who created you.

He has the answers. No matter what you have done, you have the ability to turn to Christ and start anew. It’s all about who you know: “If you confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9). “Therefore, if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Look, all things have become new” (2 Cor. 5:17).

Shane Idleman is the founder and lead pastor of Westside Christian Fellowship in Lancaster, California, just North of Los Angeles. He just released his 7th book, Desperate for More of God. Shane’s sermons, articles, books and radio program can all be found at wcfav.org, Follow him on Facebook.
06/11/2015 | by Shane Idleman | Original Source:  charismanews.com "5 Ways Tony Campolo and Others Miss the Bible Mark With New Views on Gay Christians"

Well-Known Evangelical Leader Now Embraces Gay Marriage — but Critics Claim His Announcement Is Missing Something Profound.

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A well-known progressive pastor who is in the headlines after announcing his support for the inclusion of same-sex couples in American churches is being accused by some of his fellow faith leaders of abandoning scripture by green-lighting committed homosexual relationships without offering any specific biblical corroboration.

Tony Campolo (Twitter via Tony Campolo)

Tony Campolo, a left-leaning preacher and former adviser to President Bill Clinton, previously taught that the Bible precludes homosexuality, though he reversed his opposition to same-sex marriage in a post published on his website earlier this week.In a statement, Campolo said that he has been “ambiguous” on sexuality over the years, as he’s been “uncertain about what was right,” but that he now has a different view when it comes to welcoming into the fold gay and lesbian couples who have committed to one another.

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,” he said in the statement. “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?

Campolo said that there is a spiritual dimension when it comes to marriage, and that the institution should be “primarily about spiritual growth.

He credited his own wife, Peggy, with helping him get to know gay couples who have relationships similar to theirs — a key factor in transforming his views on the matter.

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,he said. “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.”

Despite his open embrace and change-of-heart, Campolo said he’s open to being wrong, though he mentioned issues like keeping women out of teaching roles and slavery that he said people once used the Bible to tout.

Many of those people were sincere believers, but most of us now agree that they were wrong,he said of those who condoned slavery. “I am afraid we are making the same kind of mistake again, which is why I am speaking out.

Campolo had, in the past, taken a more conservative view on homosexuality, writing in a 1999 piece for Sojourners — a publication of the Christian left — that the Bible bans same-sex relations.

I believe that the Bible does not allow for same-gender sexual intercourse or marriage. Peggy believes that within the framework of evangelical Christianity, monogamous gay marriages are permissible,
Campolo wrote, describing his previous disagreement with his wife. 

 Each of us is an evangelical with a high view of scripture. We believe in the doctrines outlined in the Apostles Creed, and know that to be a Christian is to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President: Albert Mohler

mohler-about-imageBut, as Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler pointed out, Campolo’s past statements about slavery, among other issues, appear to contrast deeply with what he said in his most recent release on same-sex relationships.

During a speech at Calvin College back in 1999, Campolo reportedly proclaimed that the church has shunned homosexuality for 2,000 years and that no issue, including female leadership and slavery, was ever spoken about from a biblical perspective in such unison.

So, with his most recent embrace of same-sex relations, it’s no surprise that some, like Mohler, are speaking out against Campolo’s flip-flop.

Mohler recently said on his podcast, “The Briefing,” that he, among many others, wasn’t surprised by Campolo’s new view, considering his progressive ideology, and that this isn’t the first time that Campolo has been at the center of debate over a contentious issue.

Tony Campolo says that he’s identified his entire life, since his conversion that is, as an evangelical and that he has in terms of the label, but he’s also identified himself very much on the evangelical left and he’s been involved in controversies with other evangelicals for most of that time as well,” Mohler said. “Controversies over the inerrancy of Scripture, controversies over the exclusivity of the gospel, controversies over any number of issues.

The Baptist leader also took aim at the fact that Campolo offered no “serious engagement with scripture” in his release stating his newfound views, though he pointed to the fact that Campolo has, indeed, pointed to scripture when voicing his past opposition to homosexuality.

“To put the matter bluntly, Tony Campolo was right then and he’s wrong now,” Mohler said.

Others, too, have piled on. In an open letter to Campolo, Pastor David Robertson of St.Peter’s Free Church in Dundee, United Kingdom, decried the lack of scripture in Campolo’s statement announcing new newfound stance; he also doubted Campolo’s sincerity.

Pastor David Robertson of St.Peter’s Free Church, Dundee UK

David RobertsonI’m sorry but I don’t believe you. I don’t believe that you ever believed that marriage was just about procreation. I don’t believe that you’ve only known gay couples for the last couple of years. I don’t believe that these arguments which you have known about for years caused you to change your mind in the past couple of months,he wrote.

The truth is that for years you have accepted homosexual relationships and SSM and when you said you didn’t you were I’m afraid being ‘economical with the truth’.

Former Christianity Today editor David Neff

DNeff-mug-for-CH-9_14b-e1415150096318-225x300Campolo’s announcement may not be all that surprising in itself, but it has led to come other discussions and debates as well, including former Christianity Today editor David Neff’s praise for Campolo’s view — a development that startled some.

I think the ethically responsible thing for gay and lesbian Christians to do is to form lasting, covenanted partnershipsNeff told his former outlet. “I also believe that the church should help them in those partnerships in the same way the church should fortify traditional marriages.

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Christianity Today editor Mark Galli

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Current Christianity Today editor Mark Galli responded to these comments by claiming that the outlet is “saddened.”

At CT, we’re saddened that David has come to this conclusion. Saddened because we firmly believe that the Bible teaches that God intends the most intimate of covenant relationships to be enjoyed exclusively by a man and a woman,he wrote. “We’ve stated this view explicitly in many editorials, and it is implicit but clear in many of our feature stories.

Blogger Kimberly Wright

k wrightOn the flip side, blogger Kimberly Wright, a progressive Christian, doesn’t feel as though Campolo’s statement goes far enough to include all gays, lesbians and transgender individuals, as it speaks mainly of gay Christians who have embraced a commitment to one another.

For a man of words, the words in his statement seem very carefully chosen,” she said. “As such, they do not indicate full inclusion, they do not leave room for queer folks who are single/dating, they do not leave room for queer seekers, they do not indicate affirmation of bisexual or transgender people.

The issue of homosexuality continues to be debated in evangelical circles. While Campolo and some others have come forward in support, most evangelical churches do not welcome gays as lesbians as members or leaders.

Campolo’s announcement comes as Pastor Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City — arguably among the most well-known and respected theologians — offered a detailed defense of traditional marriage, with the Rev. Franklin Graham also speaking out against same-sex unions.

Front page image via Shutterstock.com. Jun. 10, 2015 2:16pm Billy Hallowell | Source:  theblaze.com "Well-Known Evangelical Leader Now Embraces Gay Marriage — but Critics Claim His Announcement Is Missing Something Profound"

Franklin Graham & Tony Perkins Respond to Obama’s ISIS-Christian Prayer Breakfast Comparison:

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 Jesus Lived for Peace, Mohammed Killed Innocent People


Franklin Graham, son of evangelist Billy Graham

Leading Evangelist Franklin Graham took to Facebook on Thursday to respond to President Barack Obama’s implication at the National Prayer Breakfast that ISIS’ brutality abuse of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria is similar to that of Christian brutality over 1,000 years ago.

In a post on his public Facebook page, Graham, the son of world-renowned Evangelist Billy Graham and the current president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, argued that just because people have used Jesus’ name for “evil” purposes in the past does not mean that Jesus actually called on his followers to do such horrible acts, like the Crusades

Today at the National Prayer Breakfast, the President implied that what ISIS is doing is equivalent to what happened over 1000 years ago during the Crusades and the Inquisition,

Graham wrote. “Mr. President — Many people in history have used the name of Jesus Christ to accomplish evil things for their own desires. But Jesus taught peace, love and forgiveness.”

Graham further wrote that unlike Jesus, who lived His life without sin, Mohammed took many innocent lives.

“[Jesus] came to give His life for the sins of mankind, not to take life. Mohammad on the contrary was a warrior and killed many innocent people,” Graham asserted. “True followers of Christ emulate Christ — true followers of Mohammed emulate Mohammed.”

Graham and some other Christian advocates expressed disappointment that President Barack Obama used the brutality of Christians during the Crusades and Christians’ use of slavery in America as a plea for religious tolerance.

Many critics claim that he should have focused on today’s plethora of Muslim oppressors, who use the name of Mohammed to justify their attacks.

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” Obama said. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.

“So this is not unique to one group or one religion. There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency that can pervert and distort our faith,” the president continued. “No God condones terror. No grievance justifies the taking of innocent lives, or the oppression of those who are weaker or fewer in number.”


Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council.

Tony Perkins: Outspoken Christian and a leading social conservative activist Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, also criticized Obama for his easy willingness to condemn Christian brutality but inability to acknowledge terrorist ties to Islam.

Perkins told Fox News’ Megyn Kelly that he thinks the president squandered a chance to bring more awareness to the lives of people currently being oppressed by Muslim oppressors, which currently includes an American citizen.

“What we have here is the president refusing to acknowledge that Islam and that ideology that is behind it that has been radicalized is being used to kill Christians,” Perkins said. “This was a great opportunity for the president to draw attention to the genocide that is happening in the Middle East at the hands of Islam. This was a great opportunity for pastor Saeed Abedini, he could have used this opportunity to demand that Iran release him and send him home.”

In his speech, Obama mentioned a recent trip he took to India where people of all faiths are targeted by people of other faiths. Perkins further criticized the president for not even bothering to mention his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, a Muslim kingdom in which some commenters claim has a religiously intolerant penal code that is as brutal as the Islamic State.

“He didn’t mention his stop in Saudi Arabia on his way back to this country and the fact that they rank by his own State Department as one of the worst abusers of religious freedom in the world,” Perkins explained.

Republican Louisianna Governor Bobby Jindal issued a statement on Friday responding to Obama’s speech, stating that the president needs to wake up to the “reality” of today’s religious extremism.

“It was nice of the President to give us a history lesson at the Prayer breakfast,” Jindal said. “Today, however, the issue right in front of his nose, in the here and now, is the terrorism of Radical Islam, the assassination of journalists, the beheading and burning alive of captives. We will be happy to keep an eye out for runaway Christians, but it would be nice if he would face the reality of the situation today. The Medieval Christian threat is under control, Mr. President. Please deal with the Radical Islamic threat today.”

Although the National Prayer Breakfast also featured a heartfelt keynote speech by hall-of-fame NASCAR driver Darrell Waltrip about how Christ transformed his life, the event was “overshadowed” by Obama’s “high horse” comment, Perkins said.

“That was overshadowed by the president talking about how faith is a weapon,” Perkins said. “Faith is not a weapon. What we see is ISIS is using weapons to kill Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle East and the president cannot bring himself to say that.”

February 6, 2015 BY SAMUEL SMITH , CP REPORTER | Original Source: christianpost.com