…he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1:8)

Jesus In The Red Letters Of Scripture

Tony Campolo, a leading spokeman for the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church de-formation of the Christian faith—now morphing into Emergence Christianity (EC), tells us below that his friends Brian McLaren and Richard Rohr were actually among those who started something known as Red Letter Christians, which also includes notables such as Shane Claiborne, Tony Jones, and Jim Wallis:

Recently, I met with a group of religious leaders who have become increasingly disturbed by the alliance between evangelical Christians and the Republican Party… The meeting was joined by the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine; Father Richard Rohr, a well-known Catholic writer and speaker; Brian McLaren, a leader of the emergent church movement;… we decided not to call ourselves “progressive evangelicals.” We came up with a new name: Red-Letter Christians. (Online source)

In his book Red Letter Christians Campolo also informs us that:

By calling ourselves Red Letter Christians, we are alluding to those old versions of the Bible wherein the words of Jesus are printed in red. In adopting the name, we are saying that we are committed to living out the things Jesus taught. The message in those red letters is radical, to say the least…

It seemed to us newly named Red Letter Christians at one of our early meetings that Evangelicals often evade what Jesus said in those red letters in the Bible, and that evasion lends some credence to Mahatma Ghandi’s claim that everybody in the world knows what Jesus taught—except for Christians!

We decided to refute that claim. And we began with the grounding essentials that makes us Christian… Red Letter Christians hold to the same theological convictions that define Evangelicals. (21, 22)

You know I seriously wonder if Campolo ever actually listens to himself. Really, “Red Letter Christians hold to the same theological convictions that define Evangelicals.” And exactly when were Roman Catholic priests like Richard Rohr ever considered Protestant evangelicals; because evangelicalism, historically, believes that the Gospel is we are saved only through God’s grace alone; by faith alone, in the once-for-all finished work on the Cross of Jesus Christ alone. And as I pointed out above, the EC is aggressively ecumenical, thereby making it decidedly non-Protestant.

Above Campolo says that Red Letter Christians are “committed to living out the things Jesus taught,” and further, “The message in those red letters is radical, to say the least”. That’s odd because in Tony Campolo: “Christian Mysticism” Trumps The Bible (Part 2), concerning Muslims who are practicing the false religion of Islam, Campolo preaches:

We don’t have to give up trying to convert each other. What we have to do is show respect to one another. And to speak to each other with a sense that even if people don’t convert, they are God’s people, God loves them, and we do not make the judgment of who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. (Online source, emphasis mine)

But the last time I checked, in Red Letters, Jesus clearly says to unbelieving Jewish leaders — “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I Am [the eternal God], you will die in your sins” (John 8:24, NASB). The Master was also pretty straightforward, or radical as Campolo has put it, when He decrees — “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). But the Muslim practicing Islam does not believe that Jesus is God the Son, nor is He the way to their unknowable god Allah; who is absolutely not the loving Father Jesus is speaking of.

Concerning the issue of same-sex marriage, which some Red Letter Christians such as Emergence Christianity Theologian Tony Jones And His Unrepentant Homosexual Christians do affirm, they have a very serious problem. You see in the Apprising Ministries article The Sin Of Homosexuality Is Different I showed from the Red Letters, as recorded by the Apostle Matthew who was standing right there, how Jesus of Nazareth—our Creator—Who, by the way, is speaking from the perspective of an eyewitness, defines marriage when He informs us:

And Pharisees came up to Him and tested Him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that He Who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to Him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” (Matthew 19:3-7, ESV)

Jesus Says Marriage Is Between A Man And A Women; End Of Argument, Right?

It’s patently obvious that Jesus has just defined marriage as a male [man] to a female [woman], which is precisely how the men to whom He was speaking understood it. As Campolo brought up earlier, “everybody in the world knows what Jesus taught,” and since he and his Red Letter brothers and sisters “are committed to living out the things Jesus taught,” then based upon what Jesus has just said shouldn’t they be able to see that any homosexual activity will always be outside of the marriage covenant from a Biblical standpoint; and therefore, is among the sexual immorality we are told to flee.

Looks to me that, rather than the mainstream evangelical, it is instead the Red Letter Christians who “often evade what Jesus said in those red letters in the Bible”. Consider the following from Red Letter member Jim Wallis in the Christianity Astray Today article Where Jim Wallis Stands where he tells us:

I don’t think the sacrament of marriage should be changed. Some people say that Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality, and that’s technically true. But marriage is all through the Bible, and it’s not gender-neutral.

I have never done a blessing for a same-sex couple. I’ve never been asked to do one. I’m not sure that I would. I want churches that disagree on this to have a biblical, theological conversation and to live with their differences and not spend 90 percent of their denominational time arguing about this issue when 30,000 children are dying every single day because of poverty and disease. (Online source)

Very pious sounding; but based upon the Red Letters above where Jesus defines marriage, 1) Do we really think that He would Himself bless a same-sex marriage; and 2) Does Jesus really want us to live with so-called “differences” that directly defy what He just said? Where in the radical Red Letters did Jesus ever encourage the Jewish leaders with whom He dealt “to live with their differences”? Sure, Wallis’ words do show man-pleasing compromise; but a radical message, not so much. And Campolo himself straddles the fence on same-sex marriage in his book Red Letter Christians:

Allow me to suggest a way out of this conflict and the difficult questions being raised these days about whether our country should approve of homosexual marriages. 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: If a couple wants to be united in the eyes of the law, whether gay or straight, they go down to city hall and legally register, securing all the rights and privileges a couple has under Dutch law. Then, if the couple wants their relationship blessed – to be married – they go to a church, synagogue or other house of worship. Marriage should be viewed as an institution ordained by God and should be out of the control of the state.

Of course, homosexual couples could go to churches that welcome and affirm gay marriage and get their unions blessed there, but isn’t that the way it should be in a nation that guarantees people the right to promotion religion according to their personal convictions? If such a proposal became normative, those like myself who hold to traditional beliefs about marriage would go to traditional churches where conservative beliefs about marriage are upheld, and we would have our marriages blessed there. (94)

Wait a minute, aren’t Red Letter Christians “committed to living out the things Jesus taught”? I just showed you from the infallible and inerrant text of Holy Scripture that Jesus taught marriage is between a man and a woman; and as such, pretending to be “Christian” churches that do affirm gay marriage are already violating the Red Letters of Jesus concerning that institution of God. So, rather than telling those violating God’s Word “to live with their differences,” Jesus actually says to them:

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

And yet, right there in their own camp Campolo and other Red Letter Christians are not in agreement on this issue of same-sex marriage via the Red Letters. In fact, in Campolo on same-sex marriage Joseph Farah shows Campolo sometimes looks as if he doesn’t even agree with himself. The truth is, these Red Letter Christians are so quick to criticize the “Religious Right,” but they aren’t even in agreement with each other on something as clear as what Jesus said in Red Letters about marriage. Far from refuting Ghandi, these Red Letter Christians themselves actually go a long way to possibly proving him correct.

Leave them, they are blind guides…

See also: