Campolo stirs up passions at EMU events
Story by Jim Bishop
At age 72, Tony Campolo remains passionate about two things – that people experience a vital relationship with Jesus Christ and that they combine evangelistic zeal with concern for social justice.
Dr. Campolo, professor emeritus at Eastern University, St. Davids, Pa., and outspoken advocate for the poor and disenfranchised, issued strong calls to a deeper level of spirituality and care for creation in addresses at Eastern Mennonite University Oct. 18 and 19.
Campolo asked his audiences: “When was the last time you were simply still, quiet, totally surrendering to God’s presence?” He said that he begins every day by “centering on Jesus,” by desiring “an invasion of the Holy Spirit” to drive and to direct his actions.
“We pray, ‘Thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven,'” Campolo noted. “Our mission in life is to live out the will of God, working to change the world from what is into what God intended His creation to be.
“That’s why we have places like EMU that integrate faith and knowledge with a strong spirituality and commitment to peace and justice,” he said.
Campolo focused his chapel message on “caring for God’s creation,” noting that “it is only as we become willing to change our lifestyles, to live simply that others may simply live, that we begin to move beyond just a lot of talk to actions that will make a difference in the world.”
“Working for social justice can easily become a new form of legalism,” Campolo warned. “How we approach the task makes all the difference.
“The power of the Spirit must be the driving force that transports you from something you ought to do, often motivated by guilt, to something you want to do because you view people differently – you see Jesus staring back at you,” the speaker said.
“Are we living like Jesus wants us to live?” Campolo asked.
“The more we surrender to the Holy Spirit, the more that same mind will be in you that is in Christ,” Campolo said.
“Let your hearts be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”
Campolo is founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, where he works to create, nurture and support programs for “at-risk” children in cities across North America and has helped establish schools and universities in several developing countries.
He is author of 34 books, his most recent “The God of Intimacy and Action.” His visit was sponsored by Compassion International and the campus ministries office at EMU.
Jim Bishop is a regular contributor to The Augusta Free Press.