I think I need to separate myself, once and for all, from the term Evangelical. Not because it is so bad, but because it mis- communicates as much as it communicates. Anyone from Tony Campolo to Jerry Falwell could be called an Evangelical. It is too broad.
To be honest, it has also become too negative. Evangelicals are often associated with being obnoxious and unkind. As I look at the attitudes and rhetoric of many Evangelicals, I am struck by how much they resemble the Pharisees of the Gospels.
For example, Tony Campolo recently had kind and hopeful things to say regarding prostitutes and homosexuals. This made a lot of Evangelicals uncomfortable. Here is a response from one of the naysayers:
"What does [Campolo] mean by referring to prostitutes and homosexuals as "precious children of God"? The bible calls people who love worldliness and reject Him his enemies (John 3:18, James 4:4), they are children of wrath (Eph. 2:1-3). Also it says in Psalm 7:11 that God is angry with the wicked everyday. The bible also says that those who practice these things will not inherit the kingdom of heaven (Eph. 5:3-6). These are hard truths found in scripture. I find no pleasure in this. I guess I just do not understand what Campolo means here."
The thing is, technically, the Pharisees were not wrong; but they had a horrible attitude about people. Jesus was willing to put the rules on hold for the sake of people. The gentleman I quoted above would have been the first to pick up a stone and throw it at the prostitute. Did Jesus consider prostitutes his enemy? Did prostitutes consider Jesus an enemy?
I have been following the reactions of Evangelicals about Bart Campolo's article "The Limits of God's Grace". I loved the article, but there are MANY who hate it. They call Bart a heretic, an idolater... and then they get nasty. Personally, Bart has become my spiritual hero. (Click here for a great message by him)
The reaction of much of the Evangelical community toward Bart and his father Tony, is similar to how the Pharisees reacted to Jesus. The Campolos befriend the untouchables and sinners... just like Jesus. They put people over dogma... just like Jesus. They irritate the religious community... just like Jesus!
Heh! Keep it up boys! You Rock!