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  • Tony Campolo

    Story told by Tony Campolo

    I have a friend. He pastored a church up in Brooklyn. It was a dying community, a place where everything was disintegrating. He kept himself fed and clothes and his family cared for by, by doing odd jobs, one of which was doing funerals for the local undertaker when nobody else would take them. The man was a saint and he didn't know it so I would call him and get great stories because he never used them. And I would always say, Jim, anything good happen that I can tell, any good story that, anything happen this week? He'd always say no. "What about Tuesday at 11 o'clock? What were you doing then?" "Oh, he said, that was fascinating. The undertaker called me early in the morning because he had a man to bury who had died of AIDS and nobody wanted to take the funeral so I ended up taking the funeral."
    I said, "What was it like?
    He said, "About 25 homosexual men came and sat there. Never once, Tony, did they ever look up at me. The whole time I spoke their heads were down and they were looking at the floor. Never once did they ever make eye contact with me all during the funeral. We went out and got in some cars and we followed the hearse out to the cemetery, lowered the body into the grave. I stood on one side of the grave. These 25 some homosexual men on the other side. Standing there like statues, neither looking to the right or to the left, looking straight out into infinity. Never budging just sitting there, standing there rigid like statues. I read some scripture. I said some prayers. I committed the body to the grave. I said the benediction and I started to move - walk away, but they didn't move. They stood there as though frozen so I, I came back and I said, ‘Excuse me, is there anything else I can do?’
    "And one of the men said, ‘Yes. I never go to church. Used to go to church but I don't go to church. The only thing I really liked about church was when they read from the Bible, especially the King James. I like the King James. You didn't read the 23rd psalm. I thought they always read that at funerals. Could you read the 23rd Psalm?’"
    Jim opened the Bible and read the 23rd Psalm. Another man said, "There's a passage in the 3rd chapter of John about being born again. I like that passage."
    John read that. Then a third man said, "The 8th chapter of Romans, right at the end, that's what keeps me going."
    And Jim read to these homosexual men. "Neither height nor depth, neither principalities nor powers, neither things present, nor things to come, nothing, nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
    Nothing. And when he told me that, I hurt, I hurt, because I knew that these men wanted to hear the Bible but would never step foot inside a church because they are convinced that church people despise them. And do you know why they think church people despise them? Because church people despise them.
    I am not approving of homosexual behavior. I am disapproving of a church that has forgotten how to love people that Jesus will never stop loving. And if you don't like it, join another club but don't call yourself a member of the church of Jesus Christ for we are the community of lovers and we love all kinds of people with all kinds of sin and that's your good fortune and mine too, for where would we be without such a church. And I want it to be the church that Christ wants it to be.

  • #2
    Very nice! I do not understand, for the life of me, why there is so much hate towards those who practice homosexuality. It is wrong, wrong, wrong...there is absolutely no doubt about that. But, it just happens to be the sin that they are entangled in. What about all the other different types of sin that people are entangled in?

    If the church hates a homosexual, then it has to hate the liar, the neighbor who takes the Lord's name in vain, and umm...........well, it has to hate ALL OF US! We can't pick and choose who is worse than who, who we should hate and who we can go ahead and accept.

    Thank you, Jesus, for loving ALL OF US - even while we were sinners!!!!!!!!!

    Comment


    • #3
      You know man... That's a very sweet story and I can say all the nonsense and we can all roast marshmallows and feel good about the story. Jim is probably a really nice guy and etc. etc. etc. Still... those homosexuals are going to go to hell. They like the Psalms and John keeps them going... blah. If they really liked any of that then they would repent of their sin and they would turn to God. This sort of stuff... while certainly sweet little stories in the eyes of the world... they are silly. In matters of eternity and God and doctrine... those boys and girls are going to die in their sin and go to hell. Old Tony boy can put that in his pipe and suck on it. Straight up fact and if he keeps preaching this sort of stuff... in truth... he will be right there with them. He is wrong. God don't care that they like the Psalms. God don't care that John's verses keep them going. God only cares if they repent and turn to Him. This sort of stuff is EXACTLY THE PROBLEM with the church today. The message those folks needed to hear... repent and turn to God. All the Bible reading in the world don't mean nothing unless that happens... and this is exactly why Campolo is loved by the greasiest of the greasy grace folk.


      Visit our new website
      ! The Blog might interest some.. and Lord help me!!!... for those that twitter... there as well.

      A.W. Tozer said,
      "To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.”

      GO.... SERVE YOUR KING!

      Comment


      • #4
        I heard someone say not too long ago that we could know we had created God in our own image when we believed He hated the people we hated. The idea that they are going to hell should bring tears and not derision. Moses and Paul were willing to trade places with them. What has happened to the Body of Christ?

        "I am not approving of homosexual behavior. I am disapproving of a church that has forgotten how to love people that Jesus will never stop loving. And if you don't like it, join another club but don't call yourself a member of the church of Jesus Christ for we are the community of lovers and we love all kinds of people with all kinds of sin and that's your good fortune and mine too, for where would we be without such a church. And I want it to be the church that Christ wants it to be."

        Comment


        • #5
          Romans 8 is to those who are already within the love of Christ. Though they might enjoy Romans 8, unfortunately because of their lifestyle choices they have rejected this love and therefore cannot partake in it.

          When the world - and Tony Campolo - tell us to treat homosexuals better, they generally mean "affirm/accept their lifestyle choices." We should treat them as we treat anyone else lost in his or her lifestyle - with love, pity, but firmness in grasping hold of truth.

          Comment


          • #6
            Chicken pickin'
            Here's the John 3:16 the world likes to hear:

            John 3:16
            For God so loved the world that everyone shall have eternal life.

            That's all this story illustrates--people want to accept certain parts of the Bible, twist the meaning of these parts and reject the rest (or re-define the rest).

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by apothanein kerdos View Post
              Romans 8 is to those who are already within the love of Christ. Though they might enjoy Romans 8, unfortunately because of their lifestyle choices they have rejected this love and therefore cannot partake in it.

              When the world - and Tony Campolo - tell us to treat homosexuals better, they generally mean "affirm/accept their lifestyle choices." We should treat them as we treat anyone else lost in his or her lifestyle - with love, pity, but firmness in grasping hold of truth.
              The problem is that we pick and choose which sinners we'll let in. If a person stood up and confessed to being an alcoholic or a drug user we would tell the world how we're helping those folks, but it scares us to death to think a homosexual might be in church with us. I painted a lesbian couples house last year. Never even witnessed to them. My wife and I became friends with one of them and simply loved her. Never once affirmed nor condemned her. She got saved back in January and is no longer in the relationship. She now has a boyfriend.

              I think I'll continue to love em' seems to get better results.

              Comment


              • #8
                Why in the world would they won't to come to Christ when His followers are so condemning?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mikebr View Post
                  The problem is that we pick and choose which sinners we'll let in. If a person stood up and confessed to being an alcoholic or a drug user we would tell the world how we're helping those folks, but it scares us to death to think a homosexual might be in church with us. I painted a lesbian couples house last year. Never even witnessed to them. My wife and I became friends with one of them and simply loved her. Never once affirmed nor condemned her. She got saved back in January and is no longer in the relationship. She now has a boyfriend.

                  I think I'll continue to love em' seems to get better results.
                  Who is this 'we?'

                  Remove your own plank before jumping all over everyone here. You're just ad judgmental as the people you're condemning in that you assume that we don't love them, that we don't help them, that we don't treat them just like we treat everyone else.

                  Sure hurts your credibility when you condemn people for condemning.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by apothanein kerdos View Post
                    Who is this 'we?'

                    Remove your own plank before jumping all over everyone here. You're just ad judgmental as the people you're condemning in that you assume that we don't love them, that we don't help them, that we don't treat them just like we treat everyone else.

                    Sure hurts your credibility when you condemn people for condemning.
                    "We" includes me and the system that I was raised in. If its not you Great. and yes I am a "grace pharisee" I am very judgmental and it makes me sick. Apologies if you are offended. I just don't see it very much. Philip Yancey tells a story about a homeless prostitute who is asked why she didn't go to a church for help. Her response was "there's no way I would go to a church, they wouldn't help me." Whether "we" like it or not this is the reputation of Christianity. It is the fastest shrinking "religion" in the US.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mikebr View Post
                      "We" includes me and the system that I was raised in. If its not you Great. and yes I am a "grace pharisee" I am very judgmental and it makes me sick. Apologies if you are offended. I just don't see it very much. Philip Yancey tells a story about a homeless prostitute who is asked why she didn't go to a church for help. Her response was "there's no way I would go to a church, they wouldn't help me." Whether "we" like it or not this is the reputation of Christianity. It is the fastest shrinking "religion" in the US.
                      I hold a Reformed view on theology - though this generally ruffles some feathers, I'd like to take the time to say it is more than Calvinism (in fact, one can be Reformed without being a Calvinist).

                      One belief of Reformed people is that God works on our salvation in His own time. Now, some will say we accept, others will say He elects - that is completely irrelevant to this discussion. What is relevant, however, is that in Reformation theology we teach that the Holy Spirit is active in us before coming to salvation. This means we are patient while God works with the person. We do bring up the Gospel (because it is to the glory of God), but in a manner that doesn't berate the person.

                      Secondly, we value the imago Dei. This means that we value people not because they might provide great witnessing opportunities, but because they are important in and of themselves. Humans have intrinsic value and we treat them as such.

                      An example of this is that I have a very good friend that struggles with homosexuality. It's pretty well known in my church that he used to be very flamboyant. After coming to Christ he has given into temptation a few times and has had sex with other men. The times it has happened he felt horrible and guilty, but slowly has moved away from it and has lately even said he feels more and more attracted to women. It's still a struggle for him though and probably always will. No one in the church judges him, no one thinks less of him - he's just another sinner saved by grace.

                      Now, compare this to a young man we had that liked to show off his sexual prowess by sleeping with multiple women. He refused to repent and saw nothing wrong with his actions, so we had to remove him from the congregation.

                      As you can see, we're a church that sees all sinners as equal at the foot of the cross, but we're not afraid of standing up for truth or implementing discipline when needed (this was only the second person removed from the congregation in the 15 year history of the church).

                      My point on this isn't to give myself or our church a pat on the back - there are egos, there is arrogance, and there are problems. At the same time, don't think that just because someone speaks out against homosexuality or says that we do have to confront them on their sin that we're picking on homosexuals. I think anytime you confront any sinner (which is every human being), you have to confront that person on his or her major sins. Before we can come to Christ, we first have to understand why we need Him.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sounds like a rare and wonderful place with rare and wonderful people. Sorry again for the generalization.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mikebr View Post
                          I heard someone say not too long ago that we could know we had created God in our own image when we believed He hated the people we hated. The idea that they are going to hell should bring tears and not derision. Moses and Paul were willing to trade places with them. What has happened to the Body of Christ?
                          Mike,

                          There is a huge difference in loving folks and telling them the truth. I can read them their favorite little passage of Scripture and call it love and then let then go to hell... or I can read them that but because of love make it known that should they not turn from their sin... they are going to hell. Tony doesn't do that and that's just a fact. His version of love is nothing less than love that most worldly folk have. Again... folks will say that's sweet but they will still go to hell. That sort of love isn't really love at all.


                          Visit our new website
                          ! The Blog might interest some.. and Lord help me!!!... for those that twitter... there as well.

                          A.W. Tozer said,
                          "To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.”

                          GO.... SERVE YOUR KING!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mikebr View Post
                            Why in the world would they won't to come to Christ when His followers are so condemning?
                            If a preacher is worth his salt then he isn't condemning. But Scripture is and SHOULD convict them. Reading their favorite passages... go figure. It's their favorite because it is one they can read without conviction.


                            Visit our new website
                            ! The Blog might interest some.. and Lord help me!!!... for those that twitter... there as well.

                            A.W. Tozer said,
                            "To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.”

                            GO.... SERVE YOUR KING!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mikebr View Post
                              "We" includes me and the system that I was raised in. If its not you Great. and yes I am a "grace pharisee" I am very judgmental and it makes me sick. Apologies if you are offended. I just don't see it very much. Philip Yancey tells a story about a homeless prostitute who is asked why she didn't go to a church for help. Her response was "there's no way I would go to a church, they wouldn't help me." Whether "we" like it or not this is the reputation of Christianity. It is the fastest shrinking "religion" in the US.
                              Mike,

                              She don't need to go to the church and the church that let her "fellowship" with them is a foolish church. She would be full of leaven and they aren't supposed to let her in there. Church isn't for sinners. It is for saints. Believers. It is for their equipping.

                              If she knows enough to go to a church then she knows enough to know who she really needs to go to. Go to God. Repent of the sin. Turn from it and turn to God.


                              Visit our new website
                              ! The Blog might interest some.. and Lord help me!!!... for those that twitter... there as well.

                              A.W. Tozer said,
                              "To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.”

                              GO.... SERVE YOUR KING!

                              Comment

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