Update 11/07/12: Malone University still publicizes itself as a born again Christian school. Yet today I noticed Malone’s library has a display of 13 books by Emergent heretic Tony Campolo. Why? Read on.
On 10/28/12 The Repository ran an article by Denise Sautters entitled “King era begins at Malone.” Towards the end of the article, I was struck by a comment from Dr. David King, being inaugurated 10/28/12 as Malone’s 13th president (1). (The latter part of this press release explains the presidential search process by Malone’s Board of Trustees; the press release does not mention how many of the Trustees were on the search committee.) Dr. King states:
“… [having time at a university before one’s inauguration] gives the president time to … develop a vision for the university.”
With all due respect, how biblically sound is Dr. King’s vision for Malone University? (2) Does it match the original vision of J. Walter Malone, the university’s founder? Based on his first year at Malone (prior to his inauguration), my impression is that Dr. King (along with a number of other presidents, faculty and staff) is taking Malone down a theological path far different from that envisioned by J. Walter Malone. I truly believe that J. Walter Malone’s dream for a born again, separatist Fundamentalist, Wesleyan Holiness, Evangelical Friends theological legacy is very close to being lost. (In addition, various heresies are entering the EFC-ER through routes other than Malone University.) How tragic!
Question: Emergent heretic Tony Campolo spoke at Malone University 09/28/12. Does this provide clues to new president Dr. King’s “vision for the university”? Read on…
Like many discerning Christians (especially “fundies”/fundamentalists), I was shocked and angered by Charita Goshay’s prominent article favoring Emergent heretic Tony Campolo in The Repository Saturday 09/29/12. Her article summarized Campolo’s speech to Malone University students 09/28/12. (Malone University is an Evangelical Friends/EFCI school; Tony Campolo taught at new Malone president David King’s former school – Eastern University.)
“Church articles” are usually hidden away on the inside pages of The Repository‘s Section B each Saturday, on the so called “Faith and Values” pages. Yet Ms. Goshay’s article was prominently displayed on the front page of Section B (along with a blurb on the newspaper’s front page pointing readers to the article about Campolo). Apparently Ms. Goshay (and/or The Repository) knows that Campolo is a popular speaker. I am very disappointed – and angry – that Goshay did not write a more objective article, pointing out Campolo’s heresies and including statements from opponents.
Another problem – for me Goshay’s article raises more questions than it answers. For starters:
1) Was this event publicized beforehand, or was it an “inside event” only publicized to Malone students and parents? If Campolo’s speech was not publicized on a wider scale, why wasn’t it?
I did find this description of the event here, in the Schedule for Parents’ Weekend:
2-3 p.m. [Fri. 09/28/12] – Tony Campolo Speaking, Johnson Center Sanctuary. Dr. Campolo is a speaker, author, sociologist, and pastor. Over his many years of Christian service, Tony has boldly challenged millions of people all over the world to respond to God’s boundless love by combining personal discipleship, evangelism, and social justice. He will speak and then take time for questions from our students.
Note Malone’s positive description of Campolo. They could have said something like “this controversial Emergent leader is coming to Malone to debate his liberal views with Malone’s Professor so-and-so” (ala Brian McLaren’s debate at Malone). Yet Malone did not say this with Campolo.
2) Goshay’s article consists almost entirely of “born again Christianese” quotes from Campolo. Yet Campolo is an extremely heretical Emergent, on par with Brian McLaren, Leonard Sweet, etc. Did Goshay leave out Campolo’s mainline/liberal/Emergent statements, or was Campolo’s entire speech “born again Christianese”?
4) Is Campolo’s entire speech (or a transcript of it) available online?
5) Did any Malone students protest Campolo’s coming to speak? (If so I’d like to meet them – we have a kindred spirit.)
6) In Campolo’s Q&A session, were opponents allowed to voice their concerns about his heresies?
7) What individual(s) invited Campolo to come speak at Malone? Did the individual(s) not know that Campolo had a theological stance (heretical Emergent teachings) incompatible with what Malone has claimed to believe at least in the past? (For example, Campolo’s favoring the LGBT movement – an issue Malone has claimed it opposes.) Malone does seem to be changing in various ways – I’m not sure what specific individuals are pushing this change. (Check out their current Mission and Foundational Principles, for example.)
8) David King was recently hired as Malone University President. King was previously an employee of Eastern University, where the heretical Campolo taught for ten years. (In fact, the graduate department at Eastern University is named after Campolo.) Did King’s coming to Malone have anything to do with Campolo coming to speak? Or was that just a coincidence? (And how about Betsy Morgan, professor emerita of English at EU, coming to speak at Dr. King’s Inaugural Symposium – was that also just a coincidence?)
Campolo Emergent and heretical
Just how Emergent/heretical is Tony Campolo? Here’s a clue: Campolo is an ordained minister in the mainline/liberal American Baptist Churches USA denomination. Note this description of the denomination, found here:
Generally considered more liberal than the Southern Baptist Convention, the American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A. is a member of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. and of the World Council of Churches. It has taken an active part in ecumenical affairs and has worked for closer union among the various Baptist groups.
In 1998 the denomination adopted an “American Baptist Identity Statement” that sought to summarize the Christian faith representative of American Baptists. This was amended in 2005 to include a statement about homosexuality…
“Fundies” have a right to be critical of Campolo. In his book Letters to a Young Evangelical (2006), Campolo devotes Chapter 9 to describing and criticizing Fundamentalists. The chapter is entitled “Being Rescued from Fundamentalism”; the entire chapter is viewable online. Malone University was strongly separatist fundamentalist Wesleyan Holiness between approx. 1892-1942. Any Malone alumnus who loves Evangelical Friends of this time period should be offended by Campolo’s criticisms of fundamentalism.
For those who are still not convinced that Campolo is extremely heretical, consider these quotes from Campolo (click here for another blog of mine dealing with Campolo and other Emergents):
“Going to heaven is like going to Philadelphia… There are many ways…It doesn’t make any difference how we go there. We all end up in the same place.” 1a
“On the other hand, we are hard-pressed to find any biblical basis for condemning deep love commitments between homosexual Christians as long as those commitments are not expressed in sexual intercourse.” 1b
“But the overwhelming population of the gay community that love Jesus, that go to church, that are deeply committed in spiritual things, try to change and can’t change…” 1c
“…we want to see God at work converting society, converting the systems, so that there aren’t the racist overtones, the economic injustices, the polluting of the atmosphere.” 1d
“I learn about Jesus from other religions. They speak to me about Christ, as well.”1e
“I’m not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians.” 1f
1a CarpeDiem: Seize the Day, 1994 page 85;
1b “20 Hot Potatoes Christians Are Afraid To Touch” page 117;
1c Beliefnet.com/faith/Christianity 08/2004;
1d MSNBC 2008 interview;
1e MSNBC 2008 interview;
1f Charlie Rose show 1/24/97
(Tony Campolo is an author, professor of Sociology at Eastern College, former spiritual counselor to President Bill Clinton, and a leader of the movement called “Red Letter Christians”.)
Campolo’s lack of adherence to Eastern University’s Doctrinal Statement
(Click here for the Doctrinal Statement and ending Sections; to me the Doctrinal Statement sounds biblically sound for the most part – even if many Eastern University employees do not truly follow it)
Note the following two sections below. David King and Tony Campolo had to sign Eastern University’s Doctrinal Statement annually. I don’t know much about King, but it is obvious from Campolo’s writings that Campolo (like many employees of the liberal Eastern University I’m sure) does not hold the born again Christian beliefs stated in the Doctrinal Statement. Yet Campolo taught at Eastern University for ten years; they even honored him by naming their graduate college after him.
Apparently signing the Doctrinal Statement is like taking an oath in court (“I promise to tell the truth… so help me God”), or like making a wedding vow (“I promise to love you… till death do us part”). Signing Eastern University’s Doctrinal Statement annually seems to mean nothing to many employees there. I believe signing a Doctrinal Statement such as this, when you do not truly believe it, is a very serious offense against the Lord.
[In the excerpts below, I have emphasized certain points by bolding.]
Every member of the Board of Trustees, every administrative officer of the Institution, professor, teacher, and instructor shall annually subscribe over his or her signature to the Doctrinal Statement, excepting only that a non-Baptist individual occupying any of the foregoing positions shall not be required to subscribe to that part of the Doctrinal Statement regarding the mode of water baptism.
Whenever a member of the Board of Trustees, administrative officer, professor, teacher or instructor is not in complete accord with the foregoing Doctrinal Statement, he or she shall forthwith withdraw from all connections with the University, and his or her failure to do so shall constitute grounds for immediate removal from such positions by the Trustees.
(1) Malone’s 13 presidents are:
1) J. Walter Malone (1892-1918)
2) Edgar Wollam (1918-1921)
3) C.W. Butler (1921-1936)
4) Worthy A. Spring (1936-1948)
5) G. Arnold Hodgin (1948-1951)
6) Byron L. Osborne (1951-1960)
7) Everett L. Cattell (1960-1972)
8) Lon Randall (1972-1981)
9) Gordon R. Werkema (1981-1988)
10) Arthur Self (1988-____)
11) Ron Johnson (____-____)
12) Gary W. Streit (_____-2010)
12a) Provost Will Friesen, Ph.D., Interim (2010-2012)
13) Dr. David King, (2012- )
Sources: #1-7: Ohio Yearly Meeting Quaker Sesqui-centennial Commemorative publication, 1962, p. 43
#8,9: EFC-ER 175th Anniversary Commemorative publication, 1987, p. 32
#9: Founded by Friends: The Quaker Heritage of Fifteen American Colleges and Universities, by John William Oliver, Charles L. Cherry, Caroline L. Cherry, 1970. p. 215 (viewable online)
#10,11: personal conversations with Malone associates
#12,12a: Malone University Welcomes 13th President: David King
(2) Another clue concerning Dr. King’s vision for Malone – and Malone’s vision for itself – is given here:
According to Board Chair Steven Steer, “Dr. King’s depth and breadth of experience seem to have converged with Malone’s vision for the future in a divine appointment.” King says it was Malone’s foundational principals that speak to the integration of faith, learning, and experiential activism that ultimately drew him to the University. Those words resonated within him, and it has not taken him long to embrace the University’s mission as his own.
Frankly, this sounds rather ambiguous to me. To get more specific, it seems to me Malone and Dr. King are pushing the envelope of contemplative spirituality (ala Richard Foster) and the Emerging/Emergent movement.
FOR FURTHER READING
I will be compiling a list of discernment articles about Tony Campolo’s heresies and providing the links here. For starters:
Apprising Ministries – various discernment blogs about Campolo
Let Us Reason Ministries – various articles about Campolo
Lighthouse Trails – article about Campolo
Manny Silva – various discernment blogs about Campolo
Eastern University’s ringing endorsement of their Emergent darling Tony Campolo
2007: Mennonite Emergent Conversation (with representatives mostly from the liberal Mennonite Church USA denomination) held at Eastern University
2008: Campolo’s stint as featured speaker at 2008 Yearly Meeting of NWYM (the most liberal/Emergent Region of the Evangelical Friends denomination)
2012: Eastern University receives a grant to study occultish contemplative labyrinth prayer
The Repository‘s article mentions that Campolo has written 39 books. I am looking for a complete list of his writings (hopefully with content viewable online). (Admittedly, Campolo is a very readable writer; his books explain heretical Emergent teachings in laymen’s terms.)