Optional page text here. The Beast's Lair: Tom Schreiner and Tony Campolo

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tom Schreiner and Tony Campolo

Dr. Tom Schreiner is brilliant. He is an expert on Pauline theology and is respected by most evangelical scholars as one of the best interpreters of Romans. I have been blessed to learn under him in two classes, New Testament I and New Testament Theology (which I am currently taking).

Tony Campolo is a well known pastor and social justice leader in the Christian community. He has self-proclaimed liberal political and social attitudes and calls for progressive thinking among Christian on living the words of Christ. He has the unique position of being the only living evangelical leader to experience a heresy trial. The trial was convened primarily for comments made in one of his books where he writes that Jesus is present in every person regardless of if they are a Christian and "Jesus is the only Savior, but not everybody who is saved by Him is aware that He is the one who is doing the saving."

So why do I mention these two men in the same post? From day 1 of our New Testament Theology class this semester, Dr. Schreiner has been encouraging us to keep our minds open to learning, even from sources that might get a majority of things dead wrong. For theology, famous names like Bultmann and Kasemann will usually strike a nerve for conservative evangelicals. Schreiner says that we should be open to learn from these men because they might have some good things to say among a lot of bad things to say. His expression he uses time and again is to not throw the baby out with the bath water.

This remains a work in progress for me. I believe we must as Christians be prepared to properly discern the dirty bath water. Nevertheless, there might very well be crucial lessons for us to hear even from people whom we would not normally align ourselves with.

Such is the case with Tony Campolo. I have never been a big fan of Campolo because he has always come across to me as trying to do the "shock and awe" thing in order to motivate Christians to take action. Plus, he just says a lot of stuff I don't agree with. But, yesterday I watched a sermon of his from the New Baptist Covenant on the advice of a friend. I was watching the sermon to get a view of Campolo's take on the purpose and emphasis of the NBC. God providentially brought all these things together because he said something that has been haunting me all day.

He said that when it comes to our children, we will preach the importance of the bible all day long, but then actually raise them from a contemporary cultural standpoint. He says with conviction:

"Raising children is a divine and holy calling and we are so busy trying to get enough money to buy stuff we don't need that we don't have time to raise our children. We drill into the minds of young people the values of the culture instead of the values of Jesus. . . we tell them to get a good education so they can make a lot of money so they can buy a lot of stuff. It's all about stuff."

I could become so "anti-Campolo" that I would have missed this good word from him. Lord willing, I will be a father one day. Nothing will be dearer to my heart than raising my child in the ways of Christ. That might very well mean not only raising my boy or girl in ways that seem strange to the culture, but changing my own lifestyle to more closely resemble the tough message Christ brings us.

I am going to make sure that baby does not go out with the bath water.


Blogger Mike Ruffin said...

I think I would like Dr. Schreiner.

With folks like him and the Beast around, there may be hope for the future yet.

You provoked my thinking with this one. I hope to address a similar subject on Thursday. We'll see.

February 16, 2008 4:22 PM  

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