“Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood.” (Genesis 8:21)

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in Heaven give good gifts to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11)

Did God Really Lie To Us About Unregenerate Mankind’s Nature?

Apprising Ministries has pointed out in Tony Campolo To Enlighten Southern Baptists In Virginia that on November 11-12 Emergent Evangelical Prophet Tony Campolo will be enlightening Southern Baptists in Virginia as featured speaker at the upcoming Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) “185th Annual Meeting of the BGAV.” There “Progressive Evangelical” [read: postliberal] will be bringing the reimagined social gospel of the Emerging Church as well as sharing his neo-Gnostic wisdom which he supposedly gleaned from his practice of corrupt Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM), such as what follows.

As you should be able to see below Campolo’s contemplative love of the self (see—2 Timothy 3:2) is straight out of the Robert Schuller translation of the Bible — Me, Myself and I: The Three Most Important People I Know. What follows is Tony Campolo from his book Partly Right under the subheading “Forgetting Our Divinity” where he tells us people:

forget that there is something about them which likens them to gods… They forget their divinity… They ignore the biblical declaration that they have been predestined to be sons and daughters of God…they ignore these inklings of divinity… 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 anal humanity [a concept of Freud] is responsible for a host of maladies… (102, 103, emphasis mine)

Now here’s Robert Schuller from his Self-Esteem: The New Reformation

If only we could love ourselves enough to dare to approach God, what constructive dreams he would give us! What noble possibilities God wants to reveal to us–possibilities that would offer stimulation plus real security in service. But we feel too unworthy. So one layer of negative behavior is laid upon another until we emerge as rebellious sinners. But our rebellion is a reaction, not our nature. By nature we are fearful, not bad.

Original sin is not a mean streak; it is a nontrusting inclination. The core of original sin, then is LOT–Lack of Trust. Or, it could be considered an innate inability to adequately value ourselves. Label it a “negative self-image,” but do not say that the central core of the human soul is wickedness. If this were so, then truly, the human being is totally depraved. But positive Christianity does not hold to human depravity, but to human inability. I am humanly unable to correct my negative self-image until I encounter a life-changing experience with nonjudgmental love bestowed upon me by a Person whom I admire so much that to be unconditionally accepted by him is to be born again.
(66,67, emphasis mine)

You know, the above written in 1982 sounds mighty similar to something written some twenty years prior by contemplative Thomas Merton, a mystic Roman Catholic monk who had essentially become a Buddhist by the time he was accidently electrocuted in 1968:

Then it was as if I suddenly saw the secret beauty of their hearts, the depths of their hearts where neither sin nor desire nor self-knowledge can reach, the core of their reality, the person that each one is in God’s eyes. If only they could see themselves as they really are. If only we could see each other that way all the time. There would be no more war, no more hatred, no more cruelty, no more greed….I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other. But this cannot be seen, only believed and “understood” by a peculiar gift.

Again, that expression, le point vierge, (I cannot translate it) comes in here. At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusion, a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God, which is never at our disposal, from which God disposes of our lives, which is inaccessible to the fantasies of our mind or the brutalities of our own will. This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is so to speak His name written is us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it we would see these billion points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely….I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere.
(Conjectures Of A Guilty Bystander, 158, emphasis mine)

And lest you think that I’m using guilt-by-association in order to make a frivolous comparison between Campolo and Schuller here’s more from Partly Right where Tony Campolo lavishes his praise upon the heretical Robert Schuller under the heading “A Christian Understanding of Human Nature”; and the fact is that Campolo is *ahem* partly right, the following actually is a wrong understanding of human nature advanced by these contemplative Christians:

A great deal of criticism has been leveled at the popular television preacher, Dr. Robert Schuller. He has been accused of distorting the gospel and making it into a Pollyanna religion filled with smiles and opinion. Personally, I think most of the critics are jealous of his gifts. I have listened to Schuller speak on numerous occasions. He never lets us forget that we have a divinity about us and that as sons and daughters of God we are capable of great things…  

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? … 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. (107, 108, emphasis mine)

What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” (Romans 3:9-12)

See also: