Tony Campolo and Brian McLaren are influential among church leaders, although their influence is often from a negative position. Some would say their value is in how many people they make mad. Both men have taken contrarian stances on many topics, from homosexuality to hell. In the second of our four-part interview, Campolo and McLaren discuss the feedback they're getting.
What are you hearing from pastors and leaders who are in the trenches who are reading the kind of things you are writing about?
Campolo: One thing I hear, and I'm sure you do too Brian is, ?I'm so glad you're saying what your saying - I wish I could say it, but I'm afraid to.'
I think we have a huge number of pastors who are scared to speak their convictions because the religious media has created a mindset that if you step out of line you could be out of a church in no time flat. This is what I'm hearing. And I'm hoping we will have more pastors stand up and pay the price of speaking out of their convictions.
McLaren: I often use the term "radio orthodoxy" for this mass consensus that is imposed on most evangelical churches. It doesn't matter what the pastor says on Sunday, if the radio preacher on Monday through Friday says something else. I felt this way for many years as a pastor, and was so thankful for the words of Tony to say things I felt challenged in saying to my own congregation. You see if a pastor speaks up and no one else is saying what he is saying then the pastor looks out to lunch because what the Christian media ultimately says is what's really right. I think this is why Tony and I probably receive such favorable support, because we are creating more than just a monologue within churches and opening up a healthy dialog or conversation for Christians to engage in.
Campolo: Another reason we receive support is, I think we both break the stereotype the "religious right" would like us to have, namely that we aren't interested in leading people to Jesus. You see, most nights I'm out there on the road preaching evangelistic messages, inviting people to come to know Jesus, and give their lives to him. And I know this is important to Brian as well, but this doesn't fit the image of what a social activist is into, but both Brian and I are into a holistic gospel, we are not into neglecting the salvation of the individual even as we talk about the transformation of society.
McLaren: And what you have just said Tony I hope will stir evangelicals up with a little more courage when they realize that there are certain people who want the word "evangelical" to become narrower than it has ever been before.
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