Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Virginia Baptist Mission Board: Heretics and Liars?

The Baptist General Association of Virginia's (BGAV) Truthfully Speaking document addresses frequently asked questions about the BGAV and it's affiliate agency, The Virginia Baptist Mission Board (VBMB).

There are four questions within Truthfully Speaking that are of particular interest, given the hosting of Tony Campolo by the VBMB at the BGAV Annual meeting November 11 & 12, 2008:

1. What is the BGAV’s position on abortion? pg. 5
In November 1997, the BGAV reaffirmed its opposition to abortion...we reject any indiscriminate attitude toward abortion, as contrary to the biblical view...

Editor's note: How is it possible that The BGAV and The VBMB does not reject Tony's Campolo's position of keeping abortion legal, and NOT working to overturn Roe v. Wade which has resulted in nearly 50,000,000 abortions since 1973?

Here's what are real pro-life activist has to say about Tony Campolo's election-driven abortion plank...

'Evangelicals' ripped for plugging Dems' abortion platform

A group of Catholic and evangelical leaders -- men such as Joel Hunter, Jim Wallis, Doug Kmiec, and Tony Campolo -- held a teleconference Tuesday to declare that Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have taken a "historic" and "positive step establishing common ground that will lead to abortion reduction."

Several pro-life leaders have taken issue with those who held the teleconference to tout the Democrats' platform. One of them is Mark Crutcher, the president of Life Dynamics, Inc. in Denton, Texas.

He says the religious leaders in question are "garden variety pro-aborts" who are trying to make Obama and the Democratic platform seem reasonable...

So I think that what's happening right now is that God is showing us who the people are that we can count on -- and obviously these pro-aborts, like the ones you're mentioning here, are not people that can be counted on," the pro-life activist asserts. "They're heretics and they're liars."
According to Mark Crutcher, Tony Campolo's position on abortion makes him a "heretic and a liar". Does the BGAV / VBMB's Campolo invitation and this BGAV document make the BGAV and the VBMB "heretics and liars" as well? Does it create a hypocritical situation for the BGAV / VBMB?

2. Why doesn’t the BGAV take a stand opposing homosexual behavior and homosexual church leadership? pg. 6
It definitely has taken a stand opposing both...We affirm the biblical teaching that homosexual behavior is sinful and unacceptable for Christians. Therefore, we do not endorse elevating those who practice it to positions of leadership.

The response details the BGAV's severing relations with Averett University:

“We ... express our strong dismay and disagreement at the tone and content of public comments by [the professor] on homosexuality and … Scripture ….We are disappointed in Averett University’s decision to host an appearance by Bishop John Shelby Spong to speak to the community and students.” The comments are “contrary to stated core values of Virginia Baptists”

Editor's note: Campolo advocates gay rights. In Campolo's book, Red Letter Christians, he writes:
"Marriage should be viewed as an institution ordained by God and should be out of the control of the state. Of course, homosexual couples could go to churches that welcome and affirm gay marriage and get their unions blessed there, but isn't that the way it should be in a nation that guarantees people the right to promotion religion according to their personal convictions?"
"According to Tony Campolo, in his book Speaking My Mind, he has several suggestions for Christians - the bottom line is he believes we need to "redefine ourselves,"... "recast our opinions," and "entertain the possibility that we might be in error" about particular issues. He says we need to stop being so stubborn about these issues. What are those issues he speaks of? They are everything from mysticism to homosexuality..."

Why does the BGAV / VBMB not find Tony Campolo's comments "contrary to stated core values of Virginia Baptists" regarding homosexuality?

Does the BGAV / VBMB not find this an offense to Romans Chapter 1, never mind the "stated core values of Virginia Baptists." Has the BGAV / VBMB forgot the Sunday School lesson on Sodom and Gomorrah?

Does the BGAV / VBMB's Campolo invitation and this BGAV document make the BGAV and the VBMB "heretics and liars" as well? Does it create a hypocritical situation for the BGAV / VBMB?

Perhaps the work of Dr. R. Albert Mohler, Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary should be required reading for the BGAV / VBMB.

3. What position does the BGAV take on marriage? pg. 8
The sanctity of marriage continues to face attacks from a variety of cultural attitudes and moral lapses,including those of public and religious leaders. (emphasis mine)

...Today, as never before, believers need strongly to affirm and exemplify Biblical ideals in marriage and family.

...The Virginia Baptist Mission Board emphatically reaffirms the Biblical principles that under gird the sanctity of marriage, recognizes the Biblical call to accountability, and challenges all persons of faith to live out this ideal.

Editor's note: How could the BGAV / VBMB NOT view Campolo's view of same sex marriages and gay rights as an assault on the Word of God and the family?

Does the BGAV / VBMB's Campolo invitation and this BGAV document make the BGAV and the VBMB "heretics and liars" as well? Does it create a hypocritical situation for the BGAV / VBMB?

4. How does your organization view other world religions, such as Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus, Secular Humanists, Latter Day Saints, etc.? pg.10
For that answer, go to John 3, where Jesus is in a conversation with Nicodemus concerning the Kingdom of God. Verse 3 says: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” There are no other criteria for acceptance into the Kingdom as far as the BGAV is concerned. We do believe that adherents of other religions should have total freedom of choice in their worship, but as Christians we still believe that Jesus Christ is the only way to God.

Editor's note: How does Tony Campolo view the conversion experience?

Exhibit A:
January 27, 2007 edition of the Edmonton Journal where reporter Don Retson asks Campolo a straight forward question. Take a look at the doublespeak for yourself:

Q. Do you believe non-Christians can go to heaven?

A. That’s a good question to ask because the way we stand is we contend that trusting in Jesus is the way to heaven. However, we do not know who Jesus will bring into the kingdom and who He will not. We are very very careful about pronouncing judgment on anybody. We leave judgment in the hands of God and we are saying Jesus is the way. We preach Jesus, but we have no way of knowing to whom the grace of God is extended. (Online source)

Exhibit B:
" ...Campolo says that if the Holy Spirit can’t manage to turn someone’s heart, God may use your own psychic powers to do it. And by the way, he suggests, those psychic powers can be honed by the mystical practices that he describes later in the book."

Exhibit C
Tony Campolo says his personal encounter began when he discovered Christ through a practice known as “centering prayer.” Though not found in the Bible, the ritual of centering prayer is a pillar of Eastern mysticism.

In my case intimacy with Christ had developed gradually over the years, primarily through what Catholics call “centering prayer.” Each morning, as soon as I wake up, I take time—sometimes as much as a half hour—to center myself on Jesus. I say his name over and over again to drive back the 101 things that begin to clutter my mind the minute I open my eyes. Jesus is my mantra, as some would say.

Tony Campolo claims he became born again through this practice called centering prayer. He encourages his young readers to get closer to Christ by embracing this ritual. Centering prayer is becoming very popular within the Emerging Church Movement. Is it biblical?

Exhibit D
Claiborne: Both Muslims and Christians are very evangelical in the sense of desiring others to come to faith in their God. When we talk about inter-religious cooperation, does that mean that we need to stop trying to convert each other?

Campolo: We don’t have to give up trying to convert each other. What we have to do is show respect to one another. And to speak to each other with a sense that even if people don’t convert, they are God’s people, God loves them, and we do not make the judgment of who is going to heaven and who is going to hell. (Online source)

Editor's note: This is a Biblical call to accountability, and this blog challenges the BGAV, the VBMB and it's member churches, to practice what you preach and cancel Tony Campolo's address of the BGAV 185th Annual Meeting.

Truthfully speaking, if the BGAV / VBMB holds the Bible as the inspired and authoritative Word of God as their document claims, there would be no choice but to cancel the ecumenical, mystical, political, social activist Tony Campolo.
See all related articles on Tony Campolo here and the BGAV / VBMB here.

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