Thursday, April 30, 2009

One Upon a Time, A Heretic Came to NWC Chapel…

I believe it was in ‘97-‘98 or ‘98-‘99 school year that we had a chapel speaker come to my Christian college. I was a freshman or sophomore when he spoke, and he is one of the speakers that I clearly remember, and that was at least a decade ago, but this is one of the speakers that I remember. The speaker was a young(er) man who made three statements to open up his message to the student body, and I will paraphrase from memory what was said:

One: tonight hundreds of children are going to bed hungry. Two: you don’t give a damn. Three; most of you are more concerned that I said “damn” than the fact that hundreds of children are going to bed hungry.

Now to be fair, I cannot remember if the subject of the first statement was hunger, death, disease, or something else. But what I do remember that the first statement was something along those lines – it could have been something to the effect that people are dying and going to hell, but I do not believe that was the case. Regardless, it appears that the speaker was right – I did care more about the second of his statements than the first. Not because profanity in and of itself is more concerning to me than caring for people, but if someone gets up in a pulpit and uses foul language that I do not expect from a gospel messenger – of course that is going to cause me to pause and give me concern.

But then, Bart Campolo, the speaker I am referencing, is not a herald of the gospel. He is not an evangelist or a minister or a missionary. Technically you have to be a Christian in order to be any of these, and Bart Campolo is not. He is a heretic.

I do not say this because of his statements from chapel 10 years ago that I remember somewhat foggily, nor do I say it because of my similar conclusion about his father, Tony Campolo. Here is my reason:

In an article posted on his blog on January 10, 2008 (and apparently published in Youth Specialties) he was responding to a letter from someone concerned how Bart could believe in the god and the bible. He wrote that his “most cherished ideas about God are supported by the Bible” but that “they did not originate there.” He then begins to paint a picture of a cosmic dualistic battle where his god is nothing near the omnipotent and sovereign God of Scripture. He is well aware of this fact, to which he wrote,
Unfortunately for me, God may be very different than I hope, in which case I may be in big trouble come Judgment Day. Perhaps, as many believe, the truth is that God created and predestined some people for salvation and others for damnation, according to His will. Perhaps such caprice only seems unloving to us because we don’t understand. Perhaps, as many believe, everyone who dies without confessing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior goes to Hell to suffer forever. Most important of all, perhaps God’s sovereignty is such that although He could indeed prevent little girls from being raped, He is no less just or merciful when He doesn’t, and both those children and we who love them should uncritically give Him our thanks and praise in any case.

My response is simple: I refuse to believe any of that. For me to do otherwise would be to despair.1

As if this blatant heresy is not bad enough, and denying the exclusivity of Christ is heresy of the first order, he goes on to write this:
Of course, to believe in God the way I do is to change the rules of ministry, and especially of youth ministry. I still convince young people to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour, but not because I’m afraid God will damn them to Hell if they don’t. On the contrary, I want kids’ to follow Jesus because I genuinely believe it’s a better life. Eternity aside, I want their lives to be transformed by God’s truth right now, for their sakes and for the sake of all the hungry and broken people out there who need them to start living His disciples. After all, the sooner we all start following Jesus by feeding the poor and freeing the oppressed, the sooner God’s will will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. But most of all, I evangelize people because I know they are my loving God’s beloved children, and I don’t want them to live a minute longer without knowing too that most wonderful fact of life.2

If Bart is not a blatant example of a knowing and willful wolf in sheep’s clothing, I do not know who would be better to fill such a category. He admits that he doesn’t hold to the orthodox Christian faith, but yet he “evangelizes” young people to “accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour” when he doesn’t believe that this is necessary for someone to do in order to be at peace with God. One wonders what a “gospel” message would sound like coming from Mr. Campolo.

But I do not know what is more disturbing – the fact that he believes this and has gone on record with his blatantly heretical beliefs or that Christian colleges still invite him to speak. He came to my school in the late ‘90s, and I do not know what his position would have been back then. But he is currently on a list of chapel speakers (along with his father, Tony Campolo) at another Christian school where many people I know have gone.

Where is the discernment in Christian institutions?

The school I am referring to is one that I found by googling “bart campolo chapel” and it was the second hit on the list. Northwestern College in Orange City Iowa…sad, very very sad.3



1 http://www.bartcampolo.com/blog/index.php?paged=3

2 Ibid.

3 http://www.nwciowa.edu/chapel/


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you have very shitty viewpoints. I don't enjoy your blog at all. Asshole. You're the heretic.

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