NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) – Penning a strongly worded open letter to Tony Campolo to reconsider his decision welcoming same-sex couples fully into the life of the church, professor and preacher Michael Brown today charged the 80-year-old emergent church leader with "apostasy from God's word."
Brown, an American Messianic Jew and author of "Can You Be Gay and Christian?" told Campolo he appreciated his willingness to address controversial issues in pursuit of "truth and justice" but challenged his announcement over the acceptance of gays in the church.
Campolo said in a statement on his website June 8 that despite for years being "deeply uncertain about what was right" came to the conclusion it was time to "call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the church."
That decision could bring "further reproach to the gospel and hurt those you want to help," Brown, who also hosts the nationally synciated radion show The Line of Fire, told Campolo in his letter published at townhall.com.
"This time, however, you have offended the Lord, rejecting the clear testimony of His Word and – as could be expected, given your stance – not citing a single scripture in support of your new position," Brown wrote.
Noting Campolo's wife has long been an avid supporter of same-sex marriage, Brown asked why he hadn't changed his mind years ago – "Was it not the clear and unambiguous testimony of the Bible?" Brown wondered.
Brown said he personally knows former homosexuals "who have experienced true change in their sexual orientation" and those who have not – but who are celibate, "declaring to the world that Jesus is enough."
Telling Campolo it would have been better for him to have been "silent" than to "speak" not being 100 percent sure of the biblical basic for his announcement, Brown notes a lesson: "If you play too close to the edge, eventually you will fall in."
He affirms Campolo in reminding the church to have "a heart of compassion for those who identify as LGBT," and "to reach out to the marginalized and disenfranchised."
"But under no circumstances can I join you in your apostasy from God's Word in terms of the meaning of marriage and the standards of sexual morality, and I pray that our Lord would have mercy on you (and Peggy) and grant you repentance," Brown writes.
The letter ends with an open invitation for dialogue in a public or private setting.