campoloA longtime social justice activist and a former Christianity Today editor have announced their affirmation of same sex couples, signaling a gradual movement among politically liberal Evangelicals towards a reappraisal of historic Christian views on marriage and sexual ethics.

“I am finally ready to call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the Church,” declared a news release from Tony Campolo, a longtime popular speaker, Democratic Party activist and sociology professor at Eastern University in Philadelphia.

Responding to Campolo on Facebook was retired Christianity Today editor David Neff, who posted: “God bless Tony Campolo. He is acting in good faith and is, I think, on the right track.”

Neff told his former employer, Christianity Today: “I think the ethically responsible thing for gay and lesbian Christians to do is to form lasting, covenanted partnerships. I also believe that the church should help them in those partnerships in the same way the church should fortify traditional marriages.”

A handful of small and medium-sized Evangelical congregations have made news in the past year for their affirmation of same-sex couples, including Gracepointe Church in Franklin, TN and New Heart Community Church of La Mirada, CA. The reappraisal of homosexual practices by these congregations has been controversial internally as well as externally, with several experiencing large departures of members and lay leaders.

Neff’s and Campolo’s full embrace of same-sex behavior indicates that theological and ethical orthodoxy may become increasingly difficult and rare for religionists on the political Left. As they quit the historic consensus on the Christian teaching now under most assault, they likely will be joined by a growing cadre of post-Evangelicals who prefer cultural accommodation to traditional Evangelical counter cultural witness.

Campolo argued for same sex couples based more on personal experience than theology or empirical data. He dismisses theological arguments as a sort of nuisance, having heard ‘every kind of biblical argument against gay marriage.’

Campolo the social justice crusader and sociologist, uninterested in engaging 2,000 years of continuous Christian teaching, relies on progressivism to make his case. The Church was wrong about women as teachers, wrong about divorce, wrong about slavery, but it turns out we all know better now, and so too on same sex marriage. Let the nuptials begin!

Such liberal Evangelicals becoming liberal Protestants will, like the rest of liberal Protestantism, stagnate and decline, while orthodox Christianity will continue to grow globally.

2 comments
  1. Like it or not, Mr. Tooley, Gay couples are a fact of life. They’ve always been there, building lives together, making commitments, essentially HAVING a marriage with everything but a legal title. None of that is going to change. If the Supreme Court shocked everyone and ruled AGAINST same-sex marriage, do you think all the Gay couples would simply break up? Do you think all the Gay people would simply stop being Gay? I’m sure even YOU aren’t quite that naïve.

    I’ve always been taught that getting married is far preferable to just shacking up together. Couples marry to make a declaration of commitment and support for one another. That, in and of itself, is GOOD. Tony Campolo has simply learned to make a better value judgment.

  2. That’s rather poor reasoning. Murder, theft, cheating, and lying are all a fact of life. Do we simply stand down and let these things become acceptable? No.

    No Christian expects that same-sex attracted individuals would simply stop being “gay” if some random body of law decides same-sex marriage is illegal. It isn’t as though there are no more murderers because murder is illegal.

    Marriage is a function designed exclusively by God for the union of a man and woman. In fact, that union is so clear and powerful that you can find His establishing of it within the first 2 pages of the Bible. The idea that marriage is merely a declaration of commitment and support for one another falls well short of God’s design, and it is certainly not GOOD because of it. Couples still divorce, husbands still beat their wives, wives still cheat on their husbands, and children still suffer because of irresponsible, immature, and unfaithful parents. The worldly definition of marriage is a torn, abused, and powerless version of God’s original design.

    So, no, I won’t accept your proposal of the general (and morally relative) “goodness” of marriage, and I don’t expect Tooley to accept it either.

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