by John Lanagan
My Word Like Fire Ministries
Before a packed auditorium at Warner Pacific College in Portland, Oregon, activist Shane Claiborne gave his message of peace, love, and brotherhood. An engaging speaker, and a man dedicated to his beliefs, Claiborne had the crowd laughing and reminiscing with him as he recounted past adventures and experiences. During the time he spoke he emphasized again and again our Christian duty to help the poor and the oppressed.
“God is creating a holy counter-culture,” said Claiborne, author of Jesus For President, The Irresistible Revolution, and several others.
I sat there in the crowd, taking notes, wanting to believe that Claiborne was truly a believer. I knew he was tight with contemplative Tony Campolo. In his interview with Campolo several years ago, Claiborne made a troubling statement:
Tony Campolo: 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. I think that what we all have to do is leave judgment up to God. The Muslim community is very evangelistic, however what Muslims will not do is condemn Jews and Christians to Hell if in fact they do not accept Islam.
Shane Claiborne: That seems like a healthy distinction—between converting and condemning. One of the barriers seems to be the assumption that we have the truth and folks who experience things differently will all go to Hell. How do we unashamedly maintain a healthy desire for others to experience the love of God as we have experienced it without condemning others who experience God differently? Click here to read more.