SUNDAY NIGHT CROSSTRAINING NOTES
Why Tony Campolo is Wrong About The Bible, Jesus, Paul, divorce, re-marriage, and homosexuality
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Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 6:00 p.m.  Sermon #:
Pastor Don Horban

We’ve just seen the video. Here’s why I think Tony Campolo is absolutely wrong and ultimately unloving to the homosexual:

1) HE’S WRONG IN THE WAY HE APPROACHES SCRIPTURE PLAYING PAUL AGAINST JESUS

It is simply a gross mistake to admit Paul teaches one thing about homosexuality while downplaying that with the teaching of Jesus.

How shall we make sense of this? The Bible states categorically that “all Scripture is breathed our by God”(2 Timothy 3:16). That means all parts of Scripture come equally from God. That means there is one God behind everything the Bible says. And that means we’re interpreting the Bible so that it is always in harmony with itself.

I can’t think of a better example of what we’ve been considering Sunday mornings about the importance of teaching. Christians need more than sincerity and loving thoughts about Jesus. They need to know how to study their Bibles.

Tony admits the strong statements of Paul in Romans one and then very carefully shifts his attention to how the “young people spot the legalism of churches that put their heavy burdens on other people’s shoulders.”

Really? Romans is legalism? Be careful. Romans 1 also contains “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation.” The Pharisees Campolo gives reference to were trying to attach the Old Testament Jewish law to the kingdom of God as it came in Jesus Christ. Romans is an explanation and application of that kingdom. There is no justifiable Scriptural comparison.

This is such a bad example of handling Scripture. Remember, it’s called a “sharp, double edged sword.”You have to be very careful to learn how to handle a sword. Would you give a sharp knife to your four year old to play with?

Church, we need to know what we’re doing with our Bibles. You can do a lot of damage with a sharp sword if you don’t know what you’re doing with it.

2) CAMPOLO IS WRONG IN HIS MOTIVES FOR HIS ARGUMENT

In some strange fashion he seems to think the church needs to rethink the Bible’s teaching on homosexuality because “the young people don’t think this way anymore.” And given the climate of the entertainment industry and the lack of emphasis on teaching in the church one would have to be amazed if the next generation did think the same way - or even could think the same way.

But this is merely confusing truth with evangelical acceptability. There is simply no reason to change Biblical teaching because it is getting harder and harder to hold on to it. In fact, this is predicted in the Scriptures. What should make us very suspicious is when everyone agrees with what the church is saying.

3) CAMPOLO IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG IN HIS ASSESSMENT OF JESUS AND HOMOSEXUALITY

First, it is a very dangerous game to measure Jesus’ view of homosexuality by His silence on the subject. As far as I know, Jesus never said anything about sexually molesting small boys. Shall we conclude He wouldn’t have had strong feelings on the subject? This is an absolutely monstrous argument that would bring disastrous consequences. It’s a fool’s hermeneutic.

Second, the fact that Jesus, even when addressing sexual sins, only did so against the framework of heterosexuality tells us the exact opposite of what Campolo concludes. Even when Jesus is discussing sexual sins, He can only speak of them against the framework of the created order of a man and a woman in marriage. That should speak volumes to the church. Jesus speaks of sexuality purity, sexual fidelity, and sexual transgression only in heterosexual terms. His silence on other sexual sins isn’t a light silence. It’s Jesus’ way of relegating them to anti-creational status just like the apostle Paul. Think about that.

4) IT IS WRONG AND UNLOVING TO EQUATE JESUS’ TEACHING ON THE REMARRIAGE OF THOSE DIVORCED WITH HIS ATTITUDE TOWARD HOMOSEXUAL SINS

It is not tonight’s subject to deal with divorce and remarriage. I’ve done that in detail in the series, “The Meaning of Marriage.” The way Campolo mentions divorced and remarried people living in some kind of perpetual sexually immoral liaison while ignoring the many passages in the Bible speaking to the explanations is almost as bad as the way he plays the teaching of Jesus against the teaching of Paul. There is no mention about the reasons mentioned by Jesus, along with some other by Paul, for divorce. Whatever your view on divorce and remarriage, this is careless thinking at best and cruel at worst.

But the biggest problem is the way Campolo steps around the effects of grace to the sinner when the sin is confessed and repented of. Whatever your view of divorce and remarriage there is simply no way to treat the remarried Christian as forever locked into a perpetual state of adultery. This is true even if it was a sin to divorce and remarry in the first place.

This is made abundantly clear by the way even the Old Testament makes clear that if a person divorces and remarries, and then divorces his second wife, desiring to return to his first, it is strictly forbidden. This is the exact opposite of what one would expect if the second relationship was adulterous and the first pure.

The fact is God’s grace doesn’t just let sinners off the hook. It erases the past. It cuts into the present situation, with all it’s brokenness and guilt, and recreates a new beginning. This is how God’s grace comes to all of us in our present sins. “As far as the east is from the west, so far as He removed our transgressions from us.”

Remember, I’m talking about the way grace works for people who repent of their sins. But to use this argument, as Campolo does, to justify sin - the sin of homosexuality - is the surest way to close the door to God’s transforming grace by dismissing the need for repentance in the first place. The is cruel theology toward the homosexual.

5) CAMPOLO’S ARGUMENT IS DANGEROUS AND FALLS PRECISELY INTO PAUL’S WARNING

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 - “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

Note Paul’s emphatic plea that the church - that’s to whom he’s writing - not be deceived. In other words, Paul fears that, as voices arise right in the church, people will be lead to believe God really won’t punish people eternally for these kinds of sins. We will find it harder and harder to picture God judging people toward whom our whole society shows nothing but tolerance.

6) CAMPOLO’S MESSAGE ROBS THE HOMOSEXUAL OF THE GREATEST AND MOST NEEDED LOVE OF ALL

Paul says love “rejoices in the truth.” Jesus said the truth would set people free. But there’s a huge cost to loving people with the truth in world that increasingly defines love by the people’s self-acceptance. Tony’s approach may feel like love to the gay community, but it’s the love of apathy. It’s the love taking the easy way out while the wrath of God abides on those precious people bound in sin.