Tony Campolo

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Tony Campolo

Campolo speaking in Newfoundland on behalf of World Vision in 2009.
Born (1935-02-25) February 25, 1935 (age 77), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Education B.A. Eastern College, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Theological Seminary
Ph.D., Temple University
Occupation Christian speaker, sociologist, author, pastor
Years active 1957-present
Church Baptist
Congregations served associate pastor of the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia
Website
tonycampolo.org
 
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Tony Campolo

Campolo speaking in Newfoundland on behalf of World Vision in 2009.
Born (1935-02-25) February 25, 1935 (age 77), in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Education B.A. Eastern College, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Theological Seminary
Ph.D., Temple University
Occupation Christian speaker, sociologist, author, pastor
Years active 1957-present
Church Baptist
Congregations served associate pastor of the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia
Website
tonycampolo.org

Dr. Anthony "Tony" Campolo (born February 25, 1935) is an American pastor, sociologist, author, and speaker. He had been a major proponent for progressive thought and reform in the evangelical community. He has become a leader of the Red-Letter Christian movement, which aims to put emphasis on the teachings of Jesus. (The words of Jesus are often in red type in some editions of the Bible, hence the name.)[1][2] He is also a former spiritual advisor to President Bill Clinton.[3]

Contents

Career

Campolo is an alumnus and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University in St David's, Pennsylvania. He is a 1956 graduate of Eastern College, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer Theological Seminary) and earned a Ph.D. from Temple University. He is an ordained Baptist minister and evangelist, presently serving as an associate pastor of the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, which is affiliated with both the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. and the American Baptist Churches USA.[4] For ten years, he was a professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.

Campolo founded the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE), which works to help "at-risk" youth in the US and Canada, and has helped to establish several schools and universities. His best known work is a sermon entitled It's Friday, But Sunday's Coming!; recordings of which have been widely circulated in evangelical circles, and based on a sermon by a black minister at Mount Carmel Baptist Church. He is a frequent speaker at Christian conferences. He was also one of several spiritual advisers to President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal where he met with President Clinton at the White House.

Although he has associated himself with the Democratic Party and several "left wing" groups and causes, he has publicly stated his opposition to abortion and to same-sex marriage. Campolo's left leaning political beliefs have put him at odds with several leaders of the Christian right, such as Gary Bauer and Jerry Falwell. Many of his views are in keeping with Ron Sider's "completely pro-life" stance, standing in opposition to any human situation that leads to the termination of life. Thus, he is against warfare, abortion, poverty/starvation (as caused by extreme wealth inequalities), capital punishment, and euthanasia. These views as a set put him at odds with many established political groups.

Campolo was the subject of an informal heresy hearing in 1985 brought about by several assertions in his 1983 book A Reasonable Faith, particularly his claim that, "Jesus is actually present in each other person." The book became a hot button issue, and the controversy caused Campus Crusade for Christ and Youth for Christ to block a planned speaking engagement by Campolo. The Christian Legal Society empowered a "reconciliation panel", led by noted theologian J. I. Packer, to examine the issue and resolve the controversy. The panel examined the book and questioned Campolo. The panel issued a statement saying that although it found Campolo's statements "methodologically naïve and verbally incautious," it did not find them to be heretical.[citation needed]

After September 11, 2001, in a Wheaton College debate Campolo engaged with conservative activist Gary Bauer. Bauer responded, "I know this is hard for you to believe, but the enemy is not John Ashcroft, the enemy is Osama bin Laden."

"I'm not sure about that," said Campolo, drawing gasps and boos from the audience. "When you start taking away the rights of the American citizens, when you undercut the Bill of Rights in order to pursue security, I think you become more dangerous than bin Laden. I think that if this country goes down, it will not be because of the enemies that are outside this country. I think that if this country goes down, it’s because those within the country undercut our basic rights, undercut the principles that gave birth to this institution."

Despite his criticisms of the evangelical community, Campolo has also criticized the more liberal mainline Christian denominations because "they fail to emphasize a personal, transforming relationship with Jesus Christ."

TV Show

Beginning in March 2011, Tony began hosting the TV show "Red Letter Christians" aired on JC-TV. This weekly half hour talk show features interviews with leaders in the Red-Letter Christian movement.

LGBT sexuality debates

Tony Campolo and his wife Peggy have participated in very public debates and discussions about the place of lesbians and gays within church and society. Tony Campolo contends that homosexuality is a sin in practice, though not in orientation. His wife, Peggy Campolo, disagrees, holding that committed, monogamous homosexual practice is not a sin; she supports full equality for homosexual, bisexual and transsexual persons.[5]

Tony has been accused by some of going too far in LGBT issues in regards to those living in same-sex relationships. He proposes, regarding same sex marriage, that all couples should have the right to a civil union with all the legal rights that are associated with such a contract; social security benefits, auto insurance recognition, ability to jointly own homes and file joint tax return etc.
I propose that the government should get out of the business of marrying people and, instead, only give legal status to civil unions. The government should do this for both gay couples and straight couples and, leave marriage in the hands of the Church and other religious entities. That's the way it works in Holland….[6]

Family

Campolo's wife is Peggy Campolo. Together they have two children: a daughter, Lisa Goodheart (born 1960); an environmental, real estate and general business litigation attorney and partner at Sugarman, Rogers, Barshak and Cohen, P.C. in Boston, and a son Bart Campolo (born 1963); an evangelical author and social-justice activist. Adopted daughter, Loretta Jane Kier (born 1944); a children's author, humorist, and philanthropist.

Quotes

Campolo talking to an audience member after a speaking engagement in 2003.

"I think that Christianity has two emphases. One is a social emphasis to impart the values of the kingdom of God in society - to relieve the sufferings of the poor, to stand up for the oppressed, to be a voice for those who have no voice. The other emphasis is to bring people into a personal, transforming relationship with Christ, where they feel the joy and the love of God in their lives. That they manifest what the fifth chapter of Galatians calls 'the fruit of the Spirit'. Fundamentalism has emphasized the latter, mainline churches have emphasized the former. We cannot neglect one for the other." (Source: www.beliefnet.com)

"I have three things I'd like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don't give a shit. What's worse is that you're more upset with the fact that I said shit than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night."[7]

"There are 2,000 verses of Scripture that tell us we must be committed to protecting the poor and the oppressed... There is no concern of Scripture that is addressed so often and so powerfully as reaching out to the poor."

"A person is as young as their dreams and as old as their cynicism."—Sept. 28, 2005

"Jesus transcends partisan politics. That's what's wrong with the religious right... they have made Jesus into a Republican, and he's not!" on The Colbert Report, February 27, 2006[8]

"I have serious problems with fundamentalist Christians and their creationist theories. Although I believe that scripture is divinely inspired and infallible, I have a hard time going along with the belief that the whole creation process occurred in six twenty-four hour days. My skepticism is due, in part, to the fact that the Bible says that the sun wasn’t created until the fourth day of creation (Genesis 1:16-19). I have a hard time figuring how twenty-four hour days could have been measured before that."

" Those in favor of Darwin’s theory usually act as though his explanation of evolution has empirical validation. It doesn't! It’s just a theory. A very reasonable theory, to be sure, but still a theory. The highly-touted biologist, Kenneth R. Miller, supports evolution and not ID. But even he claims that rabid Darwinists go 'well beyond any reasonable scientific conclusions that might emerge from evolutionary theory.' To prevent discussion of any other explanations of human origins is hardly what I would expect from open-minded educators."

"Evangelicals shouldn't be afraid of science. There are many ways Einstein's theory of relativity can be applied to the Cross."

"I've always been skeptical of those television healers who are bald. I mean, if I had that gift, that would be the first thing I'd fix."—June 16, 2007

"When you were born, you cried and everybody else was happy. The only question that matters is this: When you die, will YOU be happy when everybody else is crying?"

Published works

See also

References

  1. ^ Price, Irie; Campolo, Tony (February 21, 2011). "Campolo talks about social justice [interview of Tony Campolo by Irie Price"]. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal (Lubbock, Texas): pp. B1, B8. http://lubbockonline.com/life/2011-02-20/campolo-talks-about-social-justice. Retrieved February 25, 2011. 
  2. ^ Campolo, Tony (November 5, 2010). "What's a 'Red-Letter Christian'? by Tony Campolo-religion right left politics Bush Jesus Christ church Bible". Beliefnet.com. http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2006/02/Whats-A-Red-Letter-Christian.aspx?p=2. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  3. ^ "An interview with Tony Campolo". Charlie Rose. January 24, 1997. http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/5741. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  4. ^ MTCarmel-bc.org[dead link]
  5. ^ "GayChristian.net". GayChristian.net. http://gaychristian.net/campolos.php. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  6. ^ Red Letter Christians by Tony Campolo, Chapter 7 Gay Rights
  7. ^ "Progressive.org". Progressive.org. http://www.progressive.org/?q=mag_camp0805. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 
  8. ^ "ColbertNation". ColbertNation. February 27, 2006. http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/59604/february-27-2006/tony-campolo. Retrieved April 6, 2012. 

External links