Tony Campolo is a leader in the Emerging Church movement. He has written a number of books (many dating to before the Emergent movement began) and is well respected by many Emergents. While continuing research on the Emerging Church in hopes of publishing a book on them, I came across a book by Campolo almost 15 years old called, "Is Jesus a Republican or a Democrat? And 14 Other Polarizing Issues."
One of the major rhetoric coming from the Emerging Church is that "God is not a Republican." In response to the abuses they see from the Religious Right (and some of them legitimate), Emergents appear to be more progressive/liberal politically. At times I am left scratching my head: God may not be a Republican, but the message I am getting from Emergents is that He might be a Democrat.
On the chapter regarding the title's issue, Campolo makes clear that God is neither. The other 14 issues cover various subjects and topics. I will not go into any detail on any of them. The issues include environmentalism, feminine language of God, gun-control, poverty, etc. There is nothing surprising here. Campolo is being Campolo.
Although I was at times surprised by how shallow it appeared and how contradictory the author seemed. Some of the chapters never went deeper than the surface, while at other times I couldn't really figure out what Campolo believed. Take homosexuality for example. Campolo says that he opposed homosexual genital contact. But is he against homosexuality? I am not talking about "gay bashing" which he is clearly against, but what about homosexuality itself? As I read the chapter, and Campolo honestly sought to be clearly, I found myself scratching my head.
Overall, there is nothing new and nothing ground breaking. Anyone who has read Campolo would not be surprised by much in this book. However, compared to some of his more recent publications, this one seemed on the mild side. Just compare this book with Red-Letter Christians and you'll see what I mean.
Finally, I will say that a major concern for me with this book is the amount of space dedicated to politics and not to the gospel. Grant it, this was the nature of the book. But for all of the talk about environmentalism, poverty, welfare, Republicans, Democrats, politics, government, etc. I am a clear explanation of the gospel first, and then launch into these issues. I am always concerned whenever I read a Christian book that dedicates more time on politics than on anything else. Politics is important, but it is not the most important thing.
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The Final Straw: The Problem With the Emerging Church - Political Hypocrisy
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Blue-Like Politics: Miller, Obama, and Christians in Politics
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