RED LETTER CHRISTIAN ACTIVISTS?

It seems like Democrats are always trying to find a way to either silence Christian Conservatives — How dare you bring religion into politics? — or turn Christianity into government social program. Nonetheless, it never occurred to me that Democrats would use the red letters in some people’s Bibles as the basis for a political organization.

When I first heard of the expression “red letter Christian”, I discovered it related to the fact some folks only take the words of Jesus (highlighted in red in some Bibles) seriously. Since Jesus Himself told us to take the whole Word of God to heart, I thought that rather odd.

Matthew 5:17-20 Amplified Bible (AMP)

17Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them.

18For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished.

19Whoever then breaks or does away with or relaxes one of the least [important] of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven, but he who practices them and teaches others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

20For I tell you, unless your righteousness (your uprightness and your right standing with God) is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Nonetheless, I still did not appreciate the full extent of this oddity. Then I decided to do a little research for this comment from Tony. Because Tony was sounding to me like a Red Letter Christian, I decided I had better acquaint him with the irony of that position. Then I discovered Red Letter Christians had become a political organization. Huh! When will we ever hear any complaints from Democrats about Liberal Christians mixing religion with politics?

Anyway, what I missed others have noted with a bit of queasiness.  In 2007, Christianity Today featured a little debate they titled When Red Is Blue. The first part is Why I am not a Red-Letter Christian by Stan Guthrie. The second part is Tony Campolo’s Response (Campolo is one the founders of Red Letter Christians).

Since I had never before heard of Red Letter Christians, I suppose I should be relieved; they cannot be very effective. Nonetheless, the fact they exist at all is sad. One of Jesus’ names is the Word of God. For examples, see John 1:1 and Revelation 19:13. For the Being that created all things, the Bible is such a small thing. Yet to make God manageable, some would reduce even that to few red letters.

40 thoughts on “RED LETTER CHRISTIAN ACTIVISTS?

  1. Tony – I wish you would stop trying to put words in my mouth or tell me I should think. Why aren’t you satisfied just to say what you believe?

    Anyway, I hope you enjoyed yourself. Best wishes to you and your family.

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  2. That sounded a little more smug than I meant it to. What I should have said is that when we have come full circle to the point where we are making each others’ original points, then perhaps we don’t disagree as much as we just like to argue.

    It’s been fun, and thanks for allowing me the soap box. I’m off to work. Give my love and holiday best wishes to your family.

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  3. Tom,

    You are preaching to the preacher on this one brother. I am the one who has been warning you all along about treturousness of the task of using the Bible, or any religion’s sacred tenants, as a “How To Manual” for democratic government, especially a secular government that treasures freedom of religion such as we have. (It is impossible enough to use scripture as some sort of “How To” book on how to live daily life). However, if you insist on trying to do so, the public policies that you attempt to give the Christian Biblical Good House Keeping Seal of Approval (or Seal of Condemnation, for that matter) to ought to at least be consistent with what Jesus substantially said and did in the Bible.

    I’m satisfied that you have finally “seen the light” and decided no longer to foist your particular religious interpretation of governmental sovereign power on others, and I will be happy to also end this discussion. Now what those sovereign powers practically are and what they practically should be, and whether they meet the moral consensus of our society, regardless of our various religious beliefs or nonbeliefs, that is another matter altogether.

    Happy Holidays.

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