By Erik G.
I saw the article, on Tony Campolo: “Christians Should Vote for Hilary.” It was quite revealing. Well on his website (redletterchristians.org), he wrote a short article called, “Going the Jesus Way” (http://www.redletterchristians.org/going-the-jesus-way/). He describes what the “Red Letter Christians” are all about. It’s off the mark to say the least. So I sent a response to this article and was wondering if you would be willing to look it over and consider it for a potential posting. Thank you, and I truly appreciate the work that you all do.
A response to Tony Campolo’s Article “Going the Jesus Way”:
1st – Anyone who takes God’s word seriously understands that the emphasis needs to be on all of it and not just those of a particular shade, and certainly not on politics or any “new movements.”
2nd – It is true that Jesus was far from being political. So if He transcends political identities, then we shouldn’t be using His name as a way to promote a political agenda with all of those political issues mentioned.
And yes, the label “Evangelical” surely has been distorted, but the “Red Letter Christians” are currently involved in distorting. Tragically, they’re teaching a false Gospel by leading people, many of whom may be seeking after God’s truth, to believe the lie that the black letters of the Bible are of lesser value. Evidently, Jesus vehemently disagreed when He used Old Testament Scripture and said, “..Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the MOUTH OF GOD” ( Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3). Obviously, Jesus had a high regard for the Scriptures. It’s ironic that the “Red Letter Christians” actually missed those red letters. Or is it?
Any born again believer knows that this sort of erroneous doctrine peddled by the RLC’s is simply foolishness. Born again? Popular culture has distorted those words as well. The RLC’s must know that Jesus said in bright red letters that being “born again” is something that we must become. Jesus also said that if we love Him we must do what He says (John 14:23). So as a display of integrity to their current label, it might serve them well to be sure they’ve obeyed this command. Then they can just call themselves born again Christians. Why reinvent the wheel? Plus, what better label could a real Christian want than one that Jesus Himself came up with. The red letters are the most important, right?
3rd – If the RLC’s don’t believe in the equal importance of all Scripture, then they don’t believe in any of it (Matthew 4:4, 2 Timothy 3:16-17). Also, in Matthew 6, Jesus has nothing to say whatsoever about holding a higher regard for His own words. The RLC’s take on Scripture is so often distorted and off the mark that they appear ignorant of it. It’s a lot of babble with no backbone. Nevertheless, it doesn’t matter what color the letters are, all of God’s word is true (John 17:17, Psalm 119:160, Proverbs 22:21, Proverbs 30:5, Ephesians 1:13-14, James 1:18), inspired by God, profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and He gave His children the Holy Spirit to discern all truth (John 16:13).
For the record, Jesus used Old Testament Scripture to overthrow Satan, and those black letters had the final authority against each attack by the evil one (Matthew 4, Luke 16:29, 31). Jesus honored the Scriptures and even criticized people who were ignorant of them (Matthew 22:29, Mark 12:24). So, to clear it up for the RLC’s, many of the red letters were used precisely to establish the complete authority of the black letters. Jesus said it, so that should settle it. The red letters are still the most important, right?
Statements like the following demonstrate either an unfamiliarity with, or an ignorance of the word of God: “What is more, we are convinced that the black letters in the Bible cannot be understood unless you read them through the Jesus you find in the red letters.” Well God’s word says, “My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge”(Proverbs 8:9). So does Mr. Campolo and crew lack understanding? Are they void of the knowledge of God? It would appear so based on the quote above. Any man that is convinced of false notions that do not line up with God’s word cannot be trusted. God has plainly revealed to us that the whole of His word is pure and true and agreeable. Hopefully, the Holy Spirit will convince the RLC’s of this. If not, they’ll just be reading the Scriptures in vain.
4th – As Mr. Campolo correctly points out, we are disciples of Jesus if we do what He commands us to do. But it seems the RLC’s idea of a disciple is one who gets involved with politically charged issues and then throws in the name of Jesus to make it sound pious. But the issue here is being a disciple of Jesus and doing what he says. Helping the poor, for example, certainly is something the Lord asks of us, but we must also listen to Him when He says things like, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceeds from the mouth of God.” As the RLC’s shamelessly choose to deny God’s full authority by placing (claiming to place) more emphasis on the red letters, they still fail to walk their own walk and actually do all that Jesus says when they cherry pick the red letters that suit their taste and ignore others.
Their call to RADICAL DISCIPLESHIP has an appearance of Godliness but denies God’s complete rule. Here’s some more red letters, “Their worship is a farce, for they replace God’s commands with their own man-made teachings” (Matthew 15:9). Being radical is irrelevant, it’s following Jesus without compromise that matters. Again, we don’t need any “new movement,” unless it’s one that aims at preserving the purity of the entire word of God and standing firm on it. If the red letters are the most important to the RLC’s, then they should practice what they preach and start living by them.
Coming to Christ Through Mysticism? by Roger Oakland