Tony Campolo, Shane Claiborne, and other “Red Letter Christians” recently held a two-day event called a Red Letter Revival. Unlike the Church’s great revivals of the past that called sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus, the Red Letter Revival’s objective was to protest toxic evangelicalism. To put a finer point on it, the Red Letter Christians believe that if you’re a conservative Christian, you’re toxic.
Religion News Service reports that during the event’s version of an altar call, Campolo asked, “Are you ready to say ‘I’m going to commit myself to Jesus? I’m going to be committed to the poor? I’m going to stand up for the refugee? I’m going to speak for those who feel oppressed by our society?'”
Referring to themselves as evangelicals on the margin, Red Letter Christians treat the Bible as if it’s a buffet—they take what they like and ignore whatever they don’t like. In doing so, they’ve constructed a new, false religion and yet still retain the word “Christian” in the title. Sadly, Red Letter Christians are leading people to hell by ignoring humanity’s main problem. They defend themselves by claiming that they focus on the words of Jesus—words that are often printed in red in many Bible translations. Except, to prioritize the words printed in red ignores the revelation found in John 1:1 that Jesus is the Word. The entire Bible reveals God and His plan to redeem sinners back to Himself.
The Bible teaches that humans are personally separated from God because of their individual sin against God. Red Letter Christians embrace identity politics and believe that humanity’s greatest problem is estrangement from each other. This is why they focus on social justice issues at the expense of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Red Letter Revival was nothing more than a platform for progressive causes. RNS explains that “sermons and slam poems at the revival included lengthy discussions of political topics, such as sexuality, white supremacy, and mass incarceration. There were also multiple condemnations of Christian nationalism, which the Rev. Brenda Brown-Grooms, a pastor from Charlottesville, Va., declared ‘apostasy.'”
The event also included diatribes against the Second Amendment. More concerned with identity politics than truth, “the speaker and workshop lineup itself functioned as a de facto critique of white evangelical Protestantism, featuring voices often underrepresented in evangelical circles—women, Native Americans, African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and LGBT people.”
Because Red Letter Christians refuse to acknowledge humanity’s greatest problem, the Red Letter Revival failed to hold out the hope of the good news of Jesus Christ. Failing to call sinners to repentance and faith in Jesus make the claim to be a “revival” laughably dangerous.
I guess it’s too much to ask progressives to be honest about who they are. Appropriating the name of Christianity in order to attack conservatives and promote social justices causes is patently dishonest and is leading people to hell.