Tony Campolo Welcomes Gays and Lesbians Into The Church

Diane Conklin
Christian Research Service


To apply the mantra “All you need is love” to some professing Christians seems fitting. Such can be an apt depiction of a dangerously myopic and erroneous Christian worldview. To wit, president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education and Emergent leader, Tony Campolo, declares:

As a social scientist, I have concluded that sexual orientation is almost never a choice and I have seen how damaging it can be to try to “cure” someone from being gay. As a Christian, my responsibility is not to condemn or reject gay people, but rather to love and embrace them, and to endeavor to draw them into the fellowship of the Church.

He states in response to the question, “Are you ready to fully accept into the Church those gay Christian couples who have made a lifetime commitment to one another?”:

For me, the most important part of that process was answering a more fundamental question: What is the point of marriage in the first place? For some Christians, in a tradition that traces back to St. Augustine, the sole purpose of marriage is procreation, which obviously negates the legitimacy of same-sex unions. Others of us, however, recognize a more spiritual dimension of marriage, which is of supreme importance. We believe that God intends married partners to help actualize in each other the “fruits of the spirit,” which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, often citing the Apostle Paul’s comparison of marriage to Christ’s sanctifying relationship with the Church. This doesn’t mean that unmarried people cannot achieve the highest levels of spiritual actualization – our Savior himself was single, after all – but only that the institution of marriage should always be primarily about spiritual growth.

So for the sake of “spiritual actualization” (whatever New Age nonsense that is), Campolo is willing to bring into the fellowship of professing believers those who have no intention of repenting from the sin of homosexuality.  Rather by it to achieve the “fruits of the spirit” within a so-called Christian same-sex union.  Further, comparing benefits of his relationship with his wife–in accomplishing Kingdom work and having a mutually edifying relationship–with that of same-sex couples has helped him “understand how important it is for the exclusion and disapproval of their unions by the Christian community to end.”

What are we to think of he who justifies the wicked?:

If it is true that Satan’s great endeavour is to mix the world with the church, then it follows that it is his purpose which is served when churches treat as believers those whose lives show no evidence of any saving dependence on Christ. While the church cannot infallibly discern the regenerate she can and must recognize belief and conduct which is plainly incompatible with Scripture. Anything less is surely contrary to the New Testament.

Where there is no attempt to apply the biblical standard of Christian to individuals there is inevitable disobedience to the commands that both by preaching and church practice a difference is to be made between the godly and the worldly: “Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them . . . woe to the wicked! (Isa. 3:10-11). To teachers who make no such distinction the warnings addressed to false prophets may well apply: “With lies you have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad: and you have strengthened the hands of the wicked, so that he does not turn from his wicked way to save his life” (Ezek. 13:22). “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD” (Prov. 17:15).

When churches have recovered from apostasy, as at the time of the Reformation and the eighteenth-century Evangelical Revival, it has always been by a return to such discriminating preaching and practice. Given the great decline in the English-speaking churches of the twentieth century, the chief need again was the re-assertion of the meaning of being a Christian; the tragedy has been that the ecumenical movement, with its axiom that all church members are to be regarded as Christians, has led many evangelicals in the opposite direction.1

Gays kissing


1 Iain H. Murray, Evangelicalism Divided – A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000, (Cambridge, The Banner of Truth Trust, 2000), pp. 302-303.


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