Tony Campolo

General Teachings/Activities

-  Tony Campolo is professor emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania (formerly Eastern College), an American Baptist Convention School; he has taught there since 1966. He previously served for ten years on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a graduate of Eastern University and earned a Ph.D. from Temple University. Eastern University literature reveals the following: EU has a student body of approximately 2,400. It was founded in 1932 as a department of Eastern Baptist Seminary. It hosts the Campolo School for Social Change, a graduate program that "exists to prepare Christian change agents -- compassionate professionals and activist scholars -- to use their professions and their lives to assist and empower urban communities around the world to transform themselves economically, socially, politically, and spiritually." It is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, USA (member of the NCC/WCC). 

Its chapels feature speakers ranging from Cardinal Bevilacqua to Habitat for Humanity's Millard Fuller. It has active chapters of Habitat for Humanity and Evangelicals for Social Action. It has or has had relationships with World Vision, Habitat for Humanity, YWAM, and Young Life. Its concert schedule lists United Methodist and United Presbyterian churches, and a concert by rock group Jars of Clay. New Ager Dr. John M. Templeton, Jr. is on EU's board of directors. David Neff (Christianity Today executive editor) was an 11/17/97 EU scheduled speaker. Dr. Roberta Hestenes ("liberal" feminist, activist) recently stepped down as EU president to become senior pastor of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church (USA) in California. Honorary degrees were conferred on Promise Keepers speaker Tony Evans and wife Lois in 1996. Nearby Eastern Seminary has students from over 20 denominations, 35 percent of which are women. (Source: 5/15/97, Calvary Contender.) [Furthermore, Eastern University was represented at the 4/93 Gay March on Washington. Four students carried a banner proclaiming, "Christian, Gay, and Proud -- Eastern University Gay and Lesbian Community." The American Baptist Convention is also pro-abortion.]

-  Campolo has co-hosted his own television series, Hashing It Out, on the Odyssey Network, and presently hosts From Across The Pond, a weekly program on the Premier Radio Network in England. The author of 28 books, his most recent titles are Revolution and Renewal: How Churches Are Saving Our Cities, Let Me Tell You a Story: Life Lessons From Unexpected Places and Unlikely People, and Speaking My Mind, a book in which Campolo suggests a union between Christianity and Islam. He also serves as Associate Pastor of Mt. Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia. He is also the founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE -- an inner-city ministry that combines evangelism and social justice in public schools, universities, orphanages, literacy centers, and tutoring programs), and heads up the social/political action group, Philadelphia Outreach. As one reads the speaker's lists for the explos and extravaganzas of neo-evangelicalism, Campolo's name keeps recurring (he speaks at more than 200 events a year); e.g., as featured speaker for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Youth for Christ, and the National Council of Churches. He has written for World Vision, appeared on Dr. James Dobson's Focus on the Family radio program, and has produced educational videos for David C. Cook. But merely calling Campolo a neo-evangelical is being much too kind. Campolo is a theological liberal and a radical political socialist whose teachings are heretical at best and blasphemous at worst!

-  Campolo has spent the last 30 years or so making a career of bashing America and peddling a baptized Marxist gospel aimed at Christian youth. He persists in his campaign against "the established wealth distribution" (Partly Right, p. 211) and our "consumer oriented society" (Wake Up America, p. 180). Consistent with his liberal, anti-free market hypocrisy, Campolo denounces capitalism and preaches the simple life, yet he lives in luxury in the nation that he despises. (Campolo discloses that he lives in an area that "has maintained its reputation for sophistication and affluence and is a place where the upwardly mobile of southeastern Pennsylvania like to live [Partly Right, p. 210].) While Campolo may admire Catholic works salvation legends such as "Mother" Teresa and Francis of Assisi, he is apparently unwilling to take things that far in his own life.

Campolo is currently campaigning against what he calls the "Religious Right" in his new ecumenical book from W Publishing (formerly Word
Publishing), Speaking My Mind: The Radical Evangelical Prophet Tackles the Tough Issues Christians Are Afraid to Face. Radical? Yes. Prophet? You decide: In promotional interviews, Campolo postulates that repelling Islamic terrorism, defending marriage as a sacred covenant between a man and a woman, and protecting the unborn (historically moral planks of the Republican platform) are secondary issues, instead citing injustices to Palestinians, the plight of "born that way" homosexuals, and automobile pollution as "significant" issues that "may lead us to vote for the Kerry campaign." (Source: 9/18/04, Toledo Blade.)

-  Campolo signed an article in the liberal Sojourners magazine in May 1981, which lambasted the United States and stated that Roman Catholicism was the one bright light in the dark situation in El Salvador: "The Roman Catholic church is being converted to the poor in El Salvador." This is a reference to the wicked Liberation Theology movement in Romanism, a movement which substitutes the salvation of society for the salvation of the soul. Liberation Theology is Christianized Marxism, but here we find Campolo signing a statement which called it a "bright light."

-  One of Campolo's most serious errors is his confusion regarding the kingdom of God. He holds the popular "kingdom now" theology, which is sweeping through much of the evangelical/charismatic world. According to this thinking, the kingdom of God is something which is right now in this world. Campolo places the Bible promises for a future earthly kingdom into the context of this apostate hour. Thus, Campolo challenges Christians to go into the world and to transform society.

In his message at Urbana '87, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's tri-annual youth meeting, Campolo said, "This night is a historical moment. This night God wants to raise up a generation of men and women who will enter into every sector of society as agents of change, transforming the world into the kind of world He wills it to be" (Decision magazine, 3/98). This is why Campolo says "the kingdom of God is party." According to Campolo: "The kingdom of God is a glorious and gigantic party!" (cf. Rom. 13:11-14). That is the title of one of his books and is a keynote theme which he brings into many of his messages. To prove this idea, Campolo quotes from Bible references to such things as the Old Testament Jewish festivals and wrongly applies this to our time.

There is no hint in the New Testament that the Apostles considered themselves agents of change in society. We don't see them "having a party." They gave their entire attention to preaching the Gospel, building churches, and teaching doctrine. They did not protest the problems of the Roman Empire. They did not get involved in starting new businesses for the poor. They looked upon this present world as one under the imminent judgment of God and they did all they could to snatch brands from the fire, to preach the gospel to men before it is too late. Yet, Campolo actually makes fun of this type of thinking (see his book Signs of the Kingdom). (Source: O Timothy magazine, Volume 9, Issue 4, 1992.)

-  From his book, Partly Right, Campolo espouses his New Age philosophy of pantheism:

"We affirm our divinity by doing what is worthy of gods, and we affirm our humanity by taking risks only available to mortals. God had to become one of us before He could become heroic ... Robert Schuller affirms our divinity, yet does not deny our humanity ... isn't that what the gospel is? Isn't God's message to sinful humanity that He sees in each of us a divine nature of such worth that He sacrificed His own Son so that our divine potentialities might be realized? ... The hymn writer who taught us to sing 'Amazing Grace' was all too ready to call himself a 'wretch' ... Forgetting our divinity and over-identifying with our [Freudian] anal humanity [Freud is responsible for a host of maladies that plague our contemporary society] ... Erich Fromm, one of the most popular psychoanalysts of our time, recognized the diabolical social consequences that can come about when a person loses sight of his/her own divinity ..." [Fromm was a godless anti-Christian, who took the serpent's lie, Ye Shall Be As Gods, for the title of one of his books, and was largely responsible for the introduction of the self-love movement into the professing Church.]

The Apostle Paul was apparently too quick to deny his own deity when he wrote, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am the chief" (I Timothy 1:15).] (Quoted in part from CIB Bulletin, December 1989.) (Emphases added.)

Robert Schuller reinterprets the doctrines of the Word of God to conform to his self-esteem philosophy. His Christ is a Jesus who provides men with self-esteem. Schuller's gospel is the replacement of negative self-concepts with positive ones. To Schuller, sin is merely the lack of self-esteem. To Schuller, the greatest evil is to call men sinners in a Biblical fashion and thereby injure their self-esteem. Schuller is a universalist who believes that all people are the children of God. His goal is to help each person understand and enjoy this "fact." Yet, Tony Campolo has frequently recommended Schuller and has spoken with him on various platforms. (Source: 2/7/98, FBIS.)

-  Campolo was booked to be a main speaker at Youth Congress '85 in Washington D.C., co-sponsored by Campus Crusade for Christ and Youth for Christ, which was expected to bring 15,000 teenagers to the capital city. But a group of Evangelical Free Church pastors in Illinois had read Campolo's 1983 book, A Reasonable Faith, and decided that it was not so reasonable. They protested his appearance and declined to have their young people attend if the invitation to Campolo was not rescinded. Youth for Christ's Jay Kesler still defended Campolo, but went along with the cancellation for the sake of unity.

The focal point of the controversy in A Reasonable Faith is Campolo's development of the idea that Christ lives in all human beings, whether or not they are Christians. Campolo asserts in this book that he is not merely saying that all people reflect the image of God, but that the resurrected Jesus of history "actually is present" in each person: "We want to convince the whole human race that there is a God who established the infinite value of every person, who mystically dwells in each person ..." (A Reasonable Faith: Responding to Secularism, p. 59). "I do not mean that others represent Jesus for us. I mean that Jesus actually is present in each other person" (p. 192). Campolo thus embraces and teaches the New Age lie that Christ mystically indwells every human being. Such heresies not only identify another Jesus, but are also similar to the view of Christ that the Gnostics held in the first century. The Apostle John militated against their false doctrines and identified aberrations in Gnostic Christology as being of the "spirit of antichrist." Campolo hopes a "new humanity" will emerge through this Christ consciousness (p. 65). (Adapted from New Neutralism II, pp. 52-54).

Interestingly, Campolo was aware in 1983 that he would be accused of distorting the Gospel. He writes the following in A Reasonable Faith: "There are some warnings that I wish to issue to anyone reading this book. The first is to be aware that the theology expressed in this short volume represents a personal attempt to state my Christian faith in a way that might prove meaningful for my secularist friends. I am sensitive to the fact that any attempt to state the Gospel in the dominant categories of a culture inevitably leads to a distortion of the Gospel. Consequently, anyone who accuses me of violating the biblical message is correct" (p. 190).

-  In the movie, "It's Friday, But Sunday's Coming," Campolo again espouses an extreme pantheistic view by saying that the little Haitian child thrust into his arms as he was about to board a plane for the States was Jesus, "... and Jesus is in everyone; not a metaphysical Jesus, but the real historic one!" Other tidbits from the movie, all delivered in typical Campolo arrogant and obnoxious style:

(a) An off-color/crude Mother's Day joke.
(b) A colloquial profanity ("Oh Jees").
(c) An account of the "evolutionary" history of religions.
(d) "Paul has discovered the same truth the sociologists have -- we make our gods in the image of ourselves to worship ourselves."
(e) Portrays James and John ("sons of thunder") as being "losers" and similar to "Hells Angels with black leather jackets."
(f) Now that he has met Jesus, and therefore a "Somebody" -- emphasizes that "Jesus brings self-worth to losers."
(g) Confuses "poor in spirit" with "poor in material things" -- equates "loser" with being worthy of salvation and "winner" with not being worthy of salvation. (Campolo's proof text is "harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.")
(h) Preaches a gospel that Christians should be "agents of change" (the social gospel a lá Jesse Jackson), rather than Christians taking the gospel to all the world, calling sinners out of the world.

-  "Christian" evangelicals devoid of discernment love Tony Campolo. But surprisingly, some non-believers can see right through the man's Christian pretense. In 1997, Campolo was a guest on ABC TV's Politically Incorrect program. Questioned time and again about his Christian faith, Campolo pandered to the liberal audience, even making vulgar sexual comments. At one point, the host, a secular Jew, Bill Maher, stopped Campolo for a commercial and said, "We're going to take a break because the religious guy's getting dirty." Later in the same show, Maher got so disgusted he turned to Campolo and blurted out, "It makes me sick actually, you know, because everything you say is like programmed to get applause. It's like the guy's a master of the soundbite. You're supposed to be the Holy guy on the show!" (Source: 7/98, Flashpoint.)

- In an address at Prestatyn (UK) in 1988, Campolo again expressed his "Jesus is in everyone" philosophy:

"One of the most startling discoveries of my life was the realization that the Jesus that I love, the Jesus who died for me on Calvary, that Jesus, is waiting, mystically and wonderfully, in every person I meet. I find Jesus everywhere. The difference between a Christian and non-Christian is not that Jesus isn't in the non-Christian -- the difference is that the Jesus who is within him [the non-Christian] is a Jesus to whom he will not surrender his life. You say, 'Are you saying that Jesus is present in everybody?' I am only telling you what it says in John 1:9; He is the light that lighteth every man, every woman that cometh into the world. The minute you start saying that God isn't in some people, you're on the verge of Fascism. Why? Erich Fromm saw that. The minute you can look at somebody and say God isn't in him -- he is only in Christians -- that person is pure demon."

Has Campolo changed his views over the years? According to a 1/24/97 television interview with Charlie Rose, not a bit -- "I am saying that there is no salvation apart from Jesus, that's my evangelical mindset. However, I'm not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians."

-  That Campolo was absolved of heresy by a panel of so-called leading evangelicals (chaired by J.I. Packer) [see the 9/20/85, Christianity Today, pp. 30-38; the 12/13/85, Christianity Today, p. 52; and the 8/9/89, Christianity Today] is amazing when one considers even more Campoloisms. (The following are excerpted from those reported in the January 1991, CIB Bulletin.):

(a) "There are those who would limit Jesus to being present only in those who acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior, but I will not accept that limitation. I believe that Jesus is present even in ... those who refuse Him."

(b) "Then it hit me -- humanness and Godness are one and the same ... Jesus was God because He was fully human and He was fully human because He was God ..."

(c) "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 ..." [This sounds strangely like the idea that each man may come to God in his own way without any understanding of God's way of salvation (a lá C.S. Lewis).]

-  After Campolo's exoneration of heresy by the Christian Legal Society, he told Christianity Today:

"I'm worried that evangelical intellectuals will not say anything except the old phrases and the old worn out terminology ... The way evangelical Christianity is doing theology really bothers me. If everybody has to say only things that they know are safely orthodox, if we lose the capacity to be open and to share ideas that people may consider heretical, I think we will lose our creativity."

What a foolish statement! To call for a questioning of the "old worn out terminology," and for theological openness to new theology is apostasy. The "old phrases" of evangelicalism are nothing more or less than the sound Bible doctrine which has been given to us by the Apostles and Prophets in Holy Scripture, and which has been held and defended by orthodox Christians through the centuries. The problem with modern evangelicalism is just this: It is departing from the old paths. (Source: O Timothy magazine, Volume 9, Issue 4, 1992.)

-  When Campolo was examined by the "evangelical" leaders in 1985, they noted that "while he accepts an evolutionary view of the origin of man and the universe, he holds that this is consistent with Scripture that teaches only the fact (not the method) of Creation" (Christian News, 9/23/85). This is a very serious matter. It should be obvious even to a child that the Bible teaches not only the fact of creation, but the method as well. The Bible plainly teaches that the world was created by God in six days and six nights. There is absolutely no room for any sort of evolutionary thinking here, and to allow men such as Campolo to hold such views is folly. The doctrine of special creation is the only view which reveals the nature of man as distinct from the animals, and which explains the fall of man in a literal Garden of Eden. (Source: O Timothy magazine, Volume 9, Issue 4, 1992.)

-  Campolo spoke at Canada's August 1990, Christian Festival III, an ecumenical gathering held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Campolo was billed as having special appeal for youth.) The Calvary Crusade described Campolo as follows: "Evangelical socialists are clamoring for dialogue and social action to unite world religions. Eastern College sociologist Dr. Tony Campolo says the task of the church is not to get us ready for heaven, but to send its people into every avenue of life to be 'revolutionary leaven.'" [Campolo ignores the common Scriptural use of "leaven" -- it almost always symbolizes sin or evil doctrine.]

-  Campolo spoke at the (apostate) National Counsel of Churches gathering in May of 1988; his message suggested that standing firm on absolutes and vehemently resisting error were tantamount to "doing the devil's work." He said that Hindu pacifist Ghandi "was more Christian than most Christians." [How can a man who rejected Christ be more Christian than anybody?] Campolo also praised Catholic nun Mother Teresa as well as Martin Luther King. (Reported in The Christian World Report, August 1990.) [Campolo was on the editorial board for the production of the film Mother Teresa, which exalts the Roman Catholic nun and which contains no warning about her false gospel. Campolo often uses Mother Teresa as an example of proper Bible Christianity, though she preached a false gospel and worshipped Mary.]

-  "An Assessment of the Preaching of Tony Campolo, Based on His Address to the Rally of the General Assembly of the Baptist Union of Scotland" on 10/24/91 (points excerpted from a report by UK pastor, Paul Mansbacher):

(a) Tony Campolo's style is that of the entertainer ... somewhat offensive.

(b) Tony had distorted the second commandment -- to preach that in order to love your neighbor you first have to love yourself and that one of the things that Jesus came to do was to deliver us from self-hatred.

(c) Quoted the Jewish mystic Martin Buber, a Taoist story.

(d) Gave some illustrations of love that were spiritually, outrageously disgusting.

(e) Campolo tells the story of the "duck woman," who had acquired the name because she constantly quacked like a duck. One day, Tony was waiting at the traffic lights after finishing lectures, when this woman came alongside him. He turned, and their eyes made contact. He "reached down through her eyes into the depths of her being," making contact with the "Christ within" her, while aware that at the same time she was doing the same to him. The effect of this was so dramatic, that the woman stopped quacking and said to him, "It's a lovely day. It's a lovely day, isn't ...?" Before she finished her sentence the lights changed and somebody shoved her. She fell over, and when she got up she was again quacking like a duck. Tony used this as an illustration of loving your neighbor.

(f) It was very obvious from his address that he places no weight at all on sound exegesis.

(g) Tony closed his address by calling for people to surrender their lives to Christ, to Christian service, and many made commitments. But to which Christ? At no point was there any mention of the way of salvation, God's condemnation of sin, God's love for the sinner illustrated by Jesus death on the cross in our place, that by His blood we may be redeemed.

(h) There was no mention of the true nature of sin, only the concept of the "dark side" of human nature. It was implied that one man could enter into the heart of another through the eyes, but Scripture teaches that God says "I am the one who searches the heart" (Prv. 17:3; Jer. 11:20; 17:10; 20:12; Rom. 8:23 amongst others). The Christ presented was not the Christ of the Bible, but rather the mystical, New Age "Christ within each one of us." We were presented with an idea of love, and methods of putting that into practice, which can find no justification in Scripture.

(i) There is absolutely no doubt at all in my heart, that the spirit that was speaking through Tony on this night was not the Holy Spirit, but the spirit of the antichrist. We need to turn to God with fasting and repentance for having invited this spirit into our midst and condoning his message.

-  "A Report On Tony Campolo's Input to the Seminar and Evening Rally Arranged by British Youth For Christ" on 1/11/92 (points excerpted from a report by UK pastor, Paul Mansbacher):

(a) At no time did he [Campolo] mention that the source of all these evils is the sinful heart of man which needs to be transformed by the saving Grace of Jesus Christ. Effectively, Tony was saying, "faith comes by praxis [practice as opposed to theory]" although Rom. 10:17 says, "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

(b) "It doesn't matter which comes first," says Tony, the chicken or the egg, faith or works, and we can't know which comes first. Of course, the Bible says that faith must come first, for without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb. 11:6). Faith is the initiator of action pleasing to God (Heb. 11). Without it, our works are as filthy rags to God (Isa. 64:6).

(c) "How do we convert people?" asks Tony, and answers, "Get them to do Christian things before getting them to become a Christian. Challenge them to get involved in social work, to preach the Gospel to the poor. Truth must be communicated in the concept of action. Those who come to do the converting end up being converted, not the children on the street. They won't convert the poor, but they themselves will get converted due to the principle of praxis. Preach about the needs of the poor, get people to commit themselves to Christ by helping the poor. You're a Christian when your heart is broken by the things that break the heart of Jesus. The greatest need of a person is to love. Loving is what it is all about." This is the concept of Tony's Philadelphia Outreach to which hundreds of young people from around the world come each year.

(d) Tony followed this by praising the book, The Road Less Traveled, by [pantheistic New Age psychologist] M. Scott Peck, as an "absolutely brilliant book. Everyone should order it and read it." He claims that this book describes the process by which Scott became a Christian!

(e) Tony spoke about the "Christ within." He made it clear that he was talking about Christ present within everyone (believers and unbelievers alike).

(f) It is very alarming to know that Tony is quite aware of what he is doing, using psychological methods to attract large crowds to hear a gospel that is really no gospel -- relying on the methods of the world and not relying on God to "give the increase" with man's part being simply to faithfully preach the Word. While Tony may not be aware of it, I am sure that it is no accident that the spirituality underlying so much of what he does and says is New Age.

(g) He said, "Jesus sends you in order that you should change the world. ... My task is to get you to be evangelists. ... Jesus loves everybody -- through you he wants to take away suffering. ... I want to make you all into Mother Teresa."

(h) Tony mocked those Christians who say that the ecology movement is New Age.

-  When Campolo was asked by Christianity Today editors (9/20/85 issue) about the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell believers, Campolo stated the following:

"The difference is this: God is at work in every human being, as it says in Romans. Every human being is approached by God. But the nature of every human being is to be at war with the God who is struggling to love him or her. When one surrenders to God, the power of the Holy Spirit breaks loose in that individual as never before, and all the fruits of the Spirit become operative in that person's life." (Emphases added.)

Thus, Campolo clearly views the Holy Spirit as being present in every person, but only breaking forth in new freedom when the person is saved (cf. John 14:16). Campolo's view seems quite related to the modernist's conception of "a little bit of divinity in every man."

-  There has never been much doubt that Campolo is an environmentalist wacko (which ties in nicely with his New Age pantheism). Campolo even goes so far as to call environmentalism a fruit of the Spirit (from an article titled "Rescuing the Earth," in Salt & Light, a 1993 political-activism book edited by David J. Gyertson): "Spirituality and creation-care are tied together. To be properly committed to the one should lead us inevitably to the other." [Campolo also thinks Christians should form a "Christian Green Party" -- Chapter 11 of How to Rescue the Earth Without Worshiping Nature, titled "The Greening of the Church."]

-  Campolo has said that the people who make up the Christian Coalition represent only a minority of the Christian community. To counter the perception that the coalition is the sole voice for the believing community in the political arena, Campolo, along with other colleagues who do not identify themselves as part of the so-called Religious Right, launched a group called "Call for Renewal." On May 23, 1995, Campolo and his group of self-proclaimed evangelicals called a news conference. They said they had had enough of politics as usual and stepped forward claiming to have a new vision for transcending Left and Right. Over one hundred "Christian leaders" from "a diversity of traditions" signed a document called the Cry for Renewal. The Call mounted its campaign both to dissent publicly from the Coalition's policies and perceived allegiances and to develop "a new way" for Christians to engage in politics (10/7/96, Christianity Today; and Renegade Prophet? A Look at the Teachings of Tony Campolo). In actuality, Campolo's organization is nothing but a front for liberal theology, that in effect, wants the Religious Right out of politics.

Campolo was just one of a number of evangelicals to sign on to the Cry for Renewal document. Some well known names include; Steve Haynor, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship; Karen and David Mains, Chapel of the Air Ministries; J.I. Packer, theologian (he also endorsed Campolo's Wake Up America! by Zondervan); Ted Engstrom, World Vision; and Phillip Yancey, Christianity Today. These names are posted next to those Professor Ron Nash calls, "militantly evangelical." Some of the clearly non-evangelical names on the list are Marion Wright Edelman, Children's Defense Fund; Dr. James Forbes, Riverside Church; Joan Brown Campbell, General Secretary of the National Council of Churches; Mary Dennis, Maryknoll Justice and Peace; Roman Catholic J. Bryan Hehir; Dr. Paul Sherry, President of the United Church of Christ denomination and Edmond L. Browning of the Episcopal Church.

-  Campolo is against the use of words of historic theological statements. Christianity Today quotes him as stating (9/20/85 article): "I'm worried that evangelical intellectuals will not say anything except the old worn out terminology that only causes people to smile on us benevolently." Campolo said he regards himself as a victim in what he called a "wave of religious McCarthyism." (Poor Joseph McCarthy! He cannot rest in peace, for he gets resurrected every time a liberal politician or theologian feels the heat.)

Campolo is a man whose thinking is filled with contradictions which he sets side by side in a dialectical manner, assuming that both "facts" are true. It is rare to see a man claim a belief in inerrancy and a belief in evolution in the same paragraph. Christianity Today states the following: "Tony vigorously affirms that the Bible is inerrant, but he says all our interpretations of the Bible must be submitted to the authority of the church. While he accepts an evolutionary view of the origin of man and the universe (albeit not Darwin's version), he holds that this is consistent with Scripture that teaches only the fact (not the method) of Creation." In plain words, Campolo is a theistic evolutionist. (Excerpted from New Neutralism II, pp. 52-54.)

-  Campolo has chosen a different set of Christian heroes of the faith. In his appeal to the secular mind, Campolo frequently downplays orthodox teachers like Spurgeon and Edwards, and instead draws his insights selectively from Karl Marx, Paul Tillich, Martin Buber, and Teilhard de Chardin. Often he finds that the secular worldview has embedded within it "more faith than I find in most churchmen." We see this in Campolo's definition of history: "History is a class struggle between the oppressed peoples of the world and their oppressors." Familiar? Yes, but doesn't it seem strange that a Christian and the Communists would share the same view of history? (Excerpted from New Neutralism II, pp. 52-54.)

In his 1991 book Wake Up America!, Campolo is at it again: he claims that the voice of Martin Luther King [womanizer and Communist sympathizer] is the one which America most needs to hear today (p. 21); he praises the Jesus People USA (p. 42), Dietrich Bonhoeffer [the blasphemous, liberal German theologian who denied the physical resurrection of Christ] (p. 43), liberation theology (p. 59), and the Sojourners [a group of liberals who have promoted the work of radicals who deny Christianity] (p. 98); he commends James Cone [the radical left wing "father of black theology"] (p. 102), and fellow neo-evangelical, radical Ronald Sider; he supports the ordination of women (p. 106); and he is extremely sympathetic toward charismatics (pp. 106, 175, 178). (Reported in the 10/28/91, Christian News.) [Concerning the ordination of women, at a 1992 youth meeting in Vancouver, Campolo said, "Are you suggesting women can preach? A lot better than most men! If they can preach in Africa, they can preach in Vancouver. That's what I say."]

-  In his book, Carpe Diem: Seize the Day (Word:1994), Campolo concocts a recipe of current leftist and liberal dogmas (see chapter 19 titled, "Hugging a Tree Isn't as Ridiculous As It Sounds"). Campolo also pays homage to Catholicism and his hero St. Francis Assisi, the goofball priest who baptized animals and preached to the birds and bees. In this book, Campolo has also discovered God's feminine nature! (Chapter titled "Embracing the Feminine Side of God"):

"There is a feminine side of God. I always knew this ... Jesus approached the world with what we would call a feminine sensitivity and appreciation. ... The masculine side of God is something to be admired. But it is the feminine side that draws love out of me. 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 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. What I long for in the end is to know the way He can love Himself through me and I can love myself through Him ..." (pp. 85-88).

Man is not called to express some latent femininity which lies within him; he is called to be fully a MAN, an uncompromising, obedient, Christ-centered, others-serving, wholehearted, zealous man of God. The Bible never says that a man has a feminine side, and never says that a woman has a masculine side. Carl Jung, who communicated with demons, claimed that man has a feminine side, but the Bible denies this. (Source: O Timothy, Vol. 11; Iss. 9-10 [1994].) [At a Youth Ministry Training event which took place in Chicago 1/30/92-2/2/92, Campolo proclaimed (on 1/30/92) that he sees prayer as "making love to Jesus" and envisions himself "lying next to Jesus and allowing Jesus to penetrate him." -- I guess that would be the masculine Jesus penetrating the feminine Campolo? -- what a demented, perverted blasphemer is this fellow!]

-  Campolo claims that homosexual orientation is inborn in many or most cases, and refers to "evangelical homosexuality." He has related how two homosexual men "solved their problems of loneliness" by living in a celibate "covenant" relationship "in all love and tenderness." He even makes the blasphemous claim that Christians will have difficulty finding any Biblical condemnation of romantic feelings between persons of the same sex (cf. Rom. 1:18ff)!! (Reported in the 4/1/91, Calvary Contender; and in a 2/7/94, ACCC report on the 1994 NRB Convention.)

In his 1988 book, 20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch, Campolo also claims that though he personally thinks that homosexual behavior is contrary to the will of God (p. 115), Scripture does not universally condemn it. He adds that homosexual orientation is not a matter of choice, but is inborn (pp. 112-113), and that masturbation is an acceptable way for Christians to release pent-up sexual energies (pp. 63-64). The fact is that Tony Campolo, and especially his wife Peggy, are activists in homosexual causes. (See an interview with Peggy Campolo in the 3/94 issue of The Lofton Letter; in the Summer of 1993, Peggy Campolo reduced her involvement in her husband's office in order to be more active in the cause of "social justice" for lesbians and homosexual men.) [Peggy Campolo has also said: "We both believe that homosexual orientations are not chosen any more than heterosexual orientations are chosen. ... homosexuals are entitled to the same rights and privileges I claim for myself, including being able to marry legally and in the sight of the church ..." (Emphasis added.) [Peggy Campolo also recently spoke out in support of a new homosexual American Baptist Church that is starting in the Philadelphia area. The church, called Fusion Baptist Church, held its inaugural service on 2/2/03. Peggy Campolo is a national leader of the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, which urges American Baptist congregations to be supportive of homosexuals. (Source: 2/14/03, FBIS.) ]

Talk show host Mark Gilman on radio station WAVA near Washington D.C. in Virginia said on a 4/13/93 program that Tony Campolo put it best when he said: "How in the world can you expect the homosexual community to come to Christ when they think that Christians hate them?" [But are we not to hate what God hates? And God clearly hates homosexuality. But the question should be put back to Campolo: "How in the world can you expect the homosexual community to come under conviction of sin and need of repentance when you falsely tell them that God loves them just as they are?"]

Ten-year-old Bart Simpson sailed into his 13th season (The Simpsons) last fall with 14 million fans and a cheerleading squad of "Christian" and conservative commentators, despite the fact that the series skewers family and moral values. Politically correct themes, frequent profanity (especially by Bart), and unresolved moral issues abound, wiping out whatever little positive impact a given episode might offer. It took more than a decade, but writers who have jumped on Bart's bandwagon include Frederica Mathewes-Green in her regular column, Barbara Curtis in The Plain Truth magazine, Mark Pinsky in Christianity Today, and Tony Campolo in his foreword to Pinsky's book on the series.

In 2001, Pinsky authored The Gospel According to The Simpsons: The Spiritual Life of the World’s Most Animated Family. In a 10/6/02 interview with Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Pinsky said, "... I found most of the sexual references went over [my children's] heads, and most were between husband and wife. I found nothing objectionable as far as my children were concerned." Tony Campolo wrote in his foreword to Pinsky's book, "As an evangelical Christian, I find that The Simpsons provides me with a mirror that reflects my own religious life. ... the Simpsons are basically a decent American family with good values." [It is difficult to perceive how viewers extract positive moral lessons and good role models from The Simpsons. For example, it's hard to miss something like Homer's hiring a homosexual secretary who kisses Homer on the mouth (6/6/91 episode). That episode began a pattern of upholding homosexual activism. Jokes insinuate homosexual conduct between Bart and his friend Milhouse in the 9/27/98 episode; etc.; etc.] (Source: Randall Murphree, Agape Press, 2/6/02.)

-  Campolo has the dubious honor of being former President Clinton's "good friend ... in Philadelphia" (Clinton's 1/25/94 state of the Union address). After reading an interview with Campolo in the 1/94 Bookstore Journal, it is understandable why Clinton would consider Campolo a friend. Clinton and Gore hosted 12 "evangelical" leaders at a private breakfast 10/18/93 in the White House, one of which was Campolo. Afterwards, Campolo claimed that Clinton and Gore "understand the fundamental evangelical ethos." He says Clinton "is not only a Christian ... [who] has a very high view of Scripture... [but also is] a deeply religious man." (Reported in the 3/94 issue of The Lofton Letter, p. 8.)

Campolo remains deeply impressed with Clinton's spirituality: "If I were to posture Bill Clinton, I would have to say he's about halfway between Baptist and Pentecostal. He really has a deep sensitivity for the excitement of Pentecostal spirituality. A lot of people say when they go to meet with the President, I prayed with the President. I don't. Whenever I'm with the President I always ask him to pray and he prays with deep intensity, and I always come away excited, because I sense something there, I sense something alive there. People always ask me, well, what about his personal life? I don't know a thing about his personal life; I just know the man I met about four years ago, and I love him and he's my friend and I've seen him interact with the First Lady and with Chelsea. I've been to dinner there and I feel a loving relationship between people. I sense, much to my critics chagrin, the presence, the presence of God there. So, I sense a man who is really seeking to know God, who really wants to follow Christ in his everyday walk. I know a man who knows the Bible , who quotes it, who understands it, and uh, so that's my appraisal of where he's coming from." [Yikes!] (Source: Renegade Prophet? A Look at the Teachings of Tony Campolo.)

Concerning the 1997-1998 Clinton sex scandals and resultant accusations of perjury and obstruction of justice, Campolo defended Clinton by comparing his life and acceptance to that of Jesus! Campolo, worried that other ministers might distance themselves from Clinton out of concern for their own reputations, said: "I follow a man who really didn't give a hoot about his reputation. As a matter of fact, I think Jesus had the worst reputation in Jerusalem" (2/2/98, Christian News).

-  Over the 11/19/93-11/21/93 period, about 500 neo-evangelical activists met in Chicago to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the 1973 "Chicago Declaration." Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA), which grew out of that 1973 meeting, called the 1993 meeting to sign a two-page Chicago Declaration II. The latter expands on the racism, sexism, poverty, and other social action [socialistic] themes of the 1973 document. Signers of both documents included mainline and liberal new evangelicals. Some 1993 signers: Tony Campolo, Jim Wallis, Roberta Hestenes [former president of the University where Campolo still teaches], Samuel Escobar, and ESA's president Ron Sider. New age and left-wing themes such as "holistic Christianity," "the magic of ritual," and "redistribution of the world's resources," were stressed. Animal rights people were there also (2/15/94, Calvary Contender.)

-  Lee Strobel, while a pastor on the staff of church growth guru Bill Hybels' Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois (he is now a pastor at Rick Warren's Saddleback Valley Community Church), authored a number of heretical books, one being a 1993 book titled Inside the Mind of Unchurched Harry & Mary: How to Reach Friends and Family Who Avoid God and the Church. The book is endorsed in its Foreword by Bill Hybels, and on the jacket is endorsed/recommended by thirteen even more neo-evangelical psychologizers, including Max Lucado, Tony Campolo, Howard Hendricks, Stuart Briscoe, C. Peter Wagner, Joseph Stowell, Elmer Towns, Bill Bright, and Gary Collins. In this book, Strobel makes it clear that he was drawn to Hybels' church, not by the message of truth, but by the music of the world. After he found himself comfortable with the music and modern style of worship, he simply reasoned his way to a conversion experience. Strobel is completely geared to a needs based religion. His purpose is to meet man's needs, based on his own perception, rather than honoring man's obligation to worship and glorify God. Strobel's purpose is to find out what works, and not to find out what is Biblical. His purpose is to please lost, unregenerate men, and not to please God. To read Strobel's book (and by nature of endorsement, Tony Campolo's thoughts also) you come up with the idea that the problem with people is that they are simply unchurched. To the contrary, they need to be seen as lost and in need of a Savior. (Source: 1/96, Plains Baptist Challenger, pp. 5-7.) [Campolo also endorsed Bill Hybels' book Honest to God: "This is a bold declaration of what it means to be a Christian. Figuring out what discipleship means is difficult these days and this book helped me a lot." (Hybels is a psychologizer [e.g., he extols the virtues of Jungian personality theory in Honest to God] and one of the leaders in the unbiblical "church growth" movement.)]

-  Campolo is on Renovaré's "Board of Reference" -- Renovaré is an international, New Age, ecumenical organization that emanates from the religious traditions of Quakerism, whose message is that today's Church is missing out on some wonderful spiritual experiences that can only be found by studying and practicing the "meditative" and "contemplative" lifestyle "of early Christianity." (See report on Richard Foster.) In actuality, Renovaré espouses the use of the early pagan traditions of guided imagery and visualization, astral projection, "Zen" prayer techniques for meditation (i.e., Buddhism), and Jungian psychology (i.e., a blend of Eastern mysticism and Roman Catholic mystical spiritual tradition, which nicely fits the New Age model), all as means of obtaining "personal spiritual renewal" in the lives of believers. (For a more detailed analysis of Renovaré and the teachings of its co-directors, psychologist Richard Foster and William Vaswig, see Media Spotlight's Special Report of March, 1992: "Renovaré: Taking Leave of One's Senses.")

-  Campolo is cozy with Roman Catholicism. Campolo was one of 16 writers who responded to Pope John Paul II's Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Campolo said: "When young people say they are looking for certainty, they do not mean they are simply looking for proof that the doctrinal propositions set forth by the church are true ... They want that certainty that comes from a mystical, experiential encounter with the living Lord ... that comes only when they can feel God permeating their lives. They want to have the assurance of salvation that comes when they sense that Christ is personally addressing them ..." He said "I agree with the Pope's implication that the young cannot be allowed to seek Christ apart from the church." He said "the most important pastor of any church body in the world today [is] the Pope." (Source: 12/15/97, Calvary Contender.)

The National Pastors' Convention is an event sponsored by Youth Specialties (America's most influential evangelical organization for youth pastors and leaders), and Zondervan (publisher of The Purpose-Driven Life, the NIV-Message Parallel Bible, and evangelical distributor for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ DVD). The 2004 Convention began its daily program with contemplative prayer (see Richard Foster report) and  "Yoga & Stretching" exercises. Emerging church liturgies based upon Roman Catholic and Orthodox rituals and sacramentals were introduced, including daily "labyrinth prayer" opportunities. The latter is a meditative prayer walk around a circular, maze-like pattern copied from a floor design found in Chartres Cathedral. This mystical Catholic ritual dates back to the Middle Ages, when it became a substitute for journeying to the dangerous, Muslim-controlled Holy Land in order to trace the "Passion route" of Jesus. As Catholics walked the labyrinth and meditated on the sufferings of Christ in their imagination, they obtained the same indulgences (pardons that would shorten their time of suffering in Purgatory to expiate their sins) as for making the actual pilgrimage. The Convention's evening programs included Christian comedy acts, The Jesus Painter (who "paints portraits of Christ in under 20 minutes"), "Tribe Church Drumming Experience," "Personal Emotional Health Discussion," an "emergent Pub with Live Music," and "Late Night Contemplative Prayer Services." 

The greater percentage of speakers were practitioners of mystical Christian prayer and worship forms (referred to as "authentic faith"), and the rest appeared to be advocates of, or at least encouragers for, the development of new methodologies and liturgies for the emerging culture of the 21st century. One topic was titled, "A New Theology for a New World." The double-location conference attracted thousands, and featured many influential church leaders, including Gordon MacDonald, Henry Cloud, Brennan Manning, Dallas Willard, Joseph Stowell, Howard Hendricks, Gary Thomas, Tony Campolo, and Rick Warren. The 2005 convention promises to be more of the same, with Christian contemplative, experiential, and emerging church headliners such as Richard Foster, Calvin Miller, Philip Yancey, Ruth Haley Barton, Doug Pagitt, and Dan Kimball. (Source: 3/2005, The Berean Call.)

-  In the Fall of 1997, a book was published titled, Renegade Prophet? A Look at the Teachings of Tony Campolo. Here are some excerpts from that book:

(a) Reaching out in our communities for Tony Campolo includes participating with the American Muslim Council, the Unitarian Universalist Association, Planned Parenthood of America's Clergy Advisory Board, the quasi-Buddhist SEVA Foundation, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Revolutionary Communist Party, the Democratic Socialists of America, and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Preaching a complete Gospel includes holding candlelight prayer vigils outside offending factories, and calling on the church to help stop what he claims is the world's grave over-population problem.

(b) The use of doublespeak includes the use of phrases and terms that rename otherwise objectionable concepts. In Dr. Campolo's usage, the left-wing animal rights movement becomes "creation care." Embracing the agenda of Worldwatch Institute and Greenpeace becomes Christian "Stewardship" of the earth. Brutal laws such as China's one-child-per-family mandate become "farsighted" population control strategies. Doublespeak also works the other way. Pejorative terminology quickly denigrates things most people would not find objectionable, such as disposable diapers and cans of deodorant. In Tony Campolo's lexicon, using disposable diapers or aerosol deodorant is "ecologically sinful." Watering your lawn or consuming fuel becomes "environmental terrorism." Preaching that homosexuals must repent becomes "homophobia" and "gay-bashing." In fact, Campolo says that new types of sin need to be introduced related to environmentalism. Speaking out against the wickedness of Clinton White House policies becomes "meanness."

(c) For the first 172 pages of How to Rescue the Earth, Campolo presents a political action program that is merely a baptized version of what Greenpeace and Worldwatch Institute have promoted for years. This program involves dramatic change in the economic infrastructure of the West and a total overhaul of our way of life, with government serving as the great enforcer of environmentally correct behavior. In addition, throughout the book, Campolo calls for a new spirituality that embraces the "sacramental" character of nature.

(d) To make his case that evangelical theology needs help, Campolo favorably cites the teachings of a man named Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He writes that Teilhard represents more "modern Christian thinking," and that we can gain inspiration from Teilhard. He refers to Teilhard's "genius" on page 83 and on the same page insists that even "those who have sought to refute his theories could not help but admire his genius." He does not warn readers that anything is amiss in the teachings of Teilhard. [Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, born in 1881, was a Jesuit priest and philosopher as well as a geologist and paleontologist. As philosopher, he fused Catholic doctrine and evolutionary theory and as a result, conflicted with church authority. He is credited for helping to lay the foundation for the modern New Age movement. The Christ of Teilhard de Chardin is not the Christ of Scripture. Teilhard's Christ is the cosmic christ of an emerging global New Age spirituality. What spiritual insight can be gained from someone who rejects the Christ of Scripture? God has made foolish the wisdom of this world (I Corinthians 1:20). Yet, Campolo writes: "And until we come up with some more solid alternatives, the perspectives of St. Francis and Teilhard ought to provide some of the inspiration for our preaching."]

(e) Concerning political activism, Campolo says, "May we be cautious about those who would use political power to advance the interest of religion. I'm afraid for America. I'm afraid for its future. And what is ironic is I am afraid for America because I fear what my fellow Christians might do." If you heard him address the Baptist Joint Committee you would think that he is opposed to involvement by Christians when it concerns economics and public policy. It would be more accurate to say that Campolo is clearly opposed to religious involvement in government if those involved are fundamentalist Christian conservatives. In his speech to an assembly of Marxists, homosexual activists, abortion rights defenders, feminist theologians, and New Age disciples, Campolo made it very clear: members of the "Religious Right" need not apply [to his new group, Call For Renewal]. He referred to the worldview of the "Religious Right" as "neither biblical nor Christian."

(f) Campolo believes that Christians should join together to support Clinton: "The ball is in our court now. We can reject Mr. Clinton's overtures and embrace the skepticism that will only lead to destructive tensions between him and the evangelical community. Or we can act in faith and believe that together there is much that we can do to rekindle the spiritual fires that once provided the dynamism of our nation. I think that we have no other option but to take hold of his outstretched hand and ask, 'Mr. President, what can we do together?'" There are millions of Christians who have refused to join hands with President Clinton. They will not because the President's hands are covered with the blood of innocent children.

(g) Concerning partial-birth abortions: President Clinton has always outspokenly defended the killing of pre-born children at every stage of development. Campolo states in his book 20 Hot Potatoes that he found pre-schoolers engaged in killing ants to be "demonic." Yet, Campolo thinks that a President who defends the law that allows abortionists to cut open a baby's head and suck out its brains can exude the "presence of God." The long overdue question we must ask is, which "god" is Tony Campolo talking about?


Biblical Discernment Ministries - Revised 3/2005

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