Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Tony Campolo now supports same-sex marriage. For those who know Campolo, this is not really surprising since he has leaned leftward theologically for as long as I have listened to him and read his writings. Interestingly, Campolo and his wife had differing views on this matter with his wife supporting homosexuality and he believing it is sinful. So although his announcement may not be a surprise, it is a shift.
What is surprising and sad, grievous actually, is that David Neff, former editor of CT, praises Campolo for making this move. Furthermore, in correspondence with Mark Galli, present editor of CT, Neff thinks the church ought to support such relationships.
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.
Writing an editorial on behalf of CT, Galli notes their sadness over Neff’s statement and he also reaffirms CT’s commitment to the authority of the Bible and that marriage is, based on the biblical teaching, “to be enjoyed exclusively by a man and a woman”:
At CT, we’re saddened that David has come to this conclusion. Saddened because we firmly believe that the Bible teaches that God intends the most intimate of covenant relationships to be enjoyed exclusively by a man and a woman. We’ve stated this view explicitly in many editorials, and it is implicit but clear in many of our feature stories. . . . That theology [that undergirds our ethics] has been either assumed or articulated by the great theologians and Christian philosophers in the Protestant, Orthodox, and Catholic traditions. . . . We at CT are sorry when fellow evangelicals modify their views to accord with the current secular thinking on this matter. And we’ll continue to be sorry, because over the next many years, there will be other evangelicals who similarly reverse themselves on sexual ethics.
I appreciate Galli, on behalf of CT, standing firm!
In response to this disclosure by Campolo, affirmation by Neff, and editorial by Galli, Al Moher writes of the “moment of decision” faced by each individual believer and every local church, and also every Evangelical institution. We must, he notes, stand firmly on the authority of the Bible regarding “teachings on marriage and sexual morality,” and we must do so with “compassion and conviction”:
This is a moment of decision, and every evangelical believer, congregation, denomination, and institution will have to answer. There will be no place to hide. The forces driving this revolution in morality will not allow evasion or equivocation. Every pastor, every church, and every Christian organization will soon be forced to declare an allegiance to the Scriptures and to the Bible’s teachings on marriage and sexual morality, or to affirm loyalty to the sexual revolution. That revolution did not start with same-sex marriage, and it will not end there. But marriage is the most urgent issue of the day, and the moment of decision has arrived.
In this season of testing, Christians committed to the gospel of Christ are called upon to muster the greatest display of compassion and conviction of our lives. But true compassion will never lead to an abandonment of biblical authority or a redefinition of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Might we, individually as believers and corporately as the local church, reaffirm our commitment to the authority of the Scriptures, specifically in the realm of marriage and sexual morality, those issues that are presently used to undermine the Bible’s ultimate authority, and might we do so with “grace and truth,” and with courage, compassion, conviction and kindness, speaking the truth of the gospel while manifesting the transformative power of the gospel in our lives.
In the EFCA this is our commitment and this is our prayer.