taking the words of Jesus seriously

“It’s been fashionable for some time to admit problems in our methodology, but our message was unquestionable. I think the Pope is right: there comes a time when the symptoms tell us our disease is not just cosmetic in nature, but systemic. That kind of admission makes possible a deeper level of repentance, which in turn opens the way for a new kind of Christianity.”

These words come from the pen of my good friend Brian McLaren. Brian’s recent article for the Huffington Post is in response to the Pope’s statement that the Catholic Church must ask what is so wrong with their message that it allowed the sexual abuse, which took place within the Catholic church, to occur. Indeed we must ask such questions because it is when these questions are not asked that terrible injustices, such as the escalating sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, are given room to fester.

In agreeance with Brian, I say that this is not only a call to the Catholic Church but to all followers of the faith. Protestants and Eastern Orthodox believers have an equal amount of evaluation to do with regards to their message. How is it that we have omitted from our message some of Christ’s deepest concerns.

In Matthew 6:28-30 we find Christ asking us, “And why do you worry about clothes?” From this statement Christ assures us that God will provide such needs out of his great love for us. With these red letters in mind how do we then justify our out of control personal spending contributing to consumerism and an increasing dependence on materialism? While having clothes is undoubtedly a good thing, having an over abundance of clothes is unnecessary and contrary to the teachings of Christ.

All to often our message is built around our lives rather than our lives being built on the message of Scripture. We must take the time to take the Scriptures seriously and analyze our message to ensure we are truly preaching the message of Christ.

Read Brian McLaren’s full article here and take the time to reflect on the message you are preaching today.

Tony Campolo is the Founder and President of EAPE and Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Eastern University. Look for Tony in your area and follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

About The Author


Tony Campolo is Professor of Sociology at Eastern University, and was formerly on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. For 40 years, he founded and led the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, an organization that created and supported programs serving needy communities in the Third World as well as in “at risk” neighborhoods across North America. More recently, Dr. Campolo has provided leadership for the Red Letter Christians movement. He blogs regularly at his own website. Tony and his wife Peggy live near Philadelphia, and have two children and four grandchildren.

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