Tony Campolo

Tony Campolo is founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education (EAPE) and professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University.

Articles By This Author

Tony Campolo and Shane Claiborne: A Conversation About Politics

by Tony Campolo, by Shane Claiborne 10-29-2012
Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo. Photo courtesy of the authors.

Shane Claiborne and Tony Campolo. Photo courtesy of the authors.

TONY CAMPOLO: Shane, I have a question to ask that may make you squirm a little bit. From hearing you talk and reading your books, you often seem to suggest that Christians not participate in the political process, and that political activism is somewhat futile. Have I understood your position correctly?

SHANE CLAIBORNE: The question for me is not are we political, but how are we political? We need to be politically engaged, but peculiar in how we engage. Jesus and the early Christians had a marvelous political imagination. They turned all the presumptions and ideas of power and blessing upside down.

The early Christians felt a deep collision with the empire in which they lived, and with politics as usual. They carelessly crossed party lines and built subversive friendships. And we should do that too. To be nonpartisan doesn’t mean we’re nonpolitical. We should refuse to get sucked into political camps and insist on pulling the best out of all of them. That’s what Jesus did—challenge the worst of each camp and pull out the best of each. That’s why we see Essenes, Zealots, Herodians, Pharisees, and Sadducees all following Jesus and even joining his movement. But they had to become new creations. They had to let go of some things. Jesus challenged the tax-collecting system of Rome and the sword of the Zealots.

So to answer the question, I engage with local politics because it affects people I love. And I engage in national politics because it affects people I love.

Governments can do lots of things, but there are a lot of things they cannot do. A government can pass good laws, but no law can change a human heart. Only God can do that. A government can provide good housing, but folks can have a house without having a home. We can keep people breathing with good health care, but they still may not really be alive. The work of community, love, reconciliation, restoration is the work we cannot leave up to politicians. This is the work we are all called to do. We can’t wait on politicians to change the world. We can’t wait on governments to legislate love. And we don’t let policies define how we treat people; how we treat people shapes our policies.

TONY CAMPOLO: So you are not calling for noninvolvement in politics. Instead, you are warning Christians not to put their trust totally in political powers. You are calling them to exercise an ongoing involvement with the political process, to constantly speak truth to power in those places where power seems to be asserting itself in ways that are contrary to the will of God.

Tony Campolo: Newt's Surprising Evangelical Fan Base

by Tony Campolo 01-30-2012
Red letter Bible via Wylio http://bit.ly/wk2149

Red letter Bible via Wylio http://bit.ly/wk2149

The need for Red Letter Christians to no longer be labeled "evangelicals" became abundantly clear this past Saturday following the South Carolina Republican Primary. Most Evangelicals claim to be politically non-partisan, and say they only identify with the Republican Party because the Republicans are committed to "family values."

The truthfulness of that claim became questionable this past Saturday when South Carolina Evangelicals voted in surprisingly large numbers for Newt Gingrich, in spite of the fact that he's hardly a model husband in their eyes. Not only is he on his third wife, having had divorce papers served to one of them while she was lying in a hospital bed recovering from a mastectomy for breast cancer, but, if his second wife is to believed, wanted an "open marriage" so that he could have a sexual affair on the side.

Now Mr. Gingrich has been converted to Catholicism, and has, as part of his conversion, confessed his sin and asked for God's forgiveness. Evangelicals will say that this being the case we should forgive, forget and move on "to other concerns." I have to ask, however, why they didn't do this when a Democratic president repented of his sin?

My Response to Sojourners' Article About 'The Family'

by Tony Campolo 06-10-2011

I very much appreciated all the good things that Lucy Bryan Green had to say about "The Family" in the June 2011 issue of Sojourners m

Growing Where We're Planted

by Tony Campolo 05-26-2010
To make a difference for good in this world a person has to have a sense of place. But few of us have such a sense. We are a people on the move.

Christian Zionism: Theology that Legitimates Oppression

by Tony Campolo 05-19-2010

I recently returned from a speaking engagement at the Bethlehem Bible College; and what I witnessed firsthand sent chills up my back. Listening to the horror stories told to me by oppressed Palestinians elicited feelings ranging from indignation to compassion.

Haiti: God's Love is Greater

by Tony Campolo 01-14-2010
By now you have heard that there was a major earthquake in Haiti yesterday, which brought much of Port-au-Prince to the ground and also devastated other areas where our ministries work.

I'm the Older Brother

by Tony Campolo 03-24-2009

When it comes to President Obama's stimulus package and its provisions to help those Americans who are having great difficulty paying their home mortgages, I have come to realize that I'm like the older brother in the story of the Prodigal Son.

The Perils of Well-Meaning But Short-Sighted Generosity

by Tony Campolo 03-13-2009
Rick Warren, the most prominent evangelical pastor of our day, has established a highly successful program arranging teams from his church to help specific villages in Africa.

Another Reason for Being a Red Letter Christian

by Tony Campolo 12-18-2008
With the resignation of Richard Cizik as vice president for government affairs of the National Association of Evangelicals, we have one more reason why many of us are calling ourselves Red Letter C

The Sad Truth about the Surge

by Tony Campolo 10-17-2008
In a recent conversation I had about the coming election, a friend reiterated the campaign rhetoric that the "surge" in Iraq has worked, and that Barack Obama ought to admit that John McCain was ri

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