President Clinton last month asked three pastors to meet weekly with him in the wake of his admission of a sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The three are Tony Campolo of Eastern College in Saint Davids, Pennsylvania; Gordon MacDonald of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts; and Philip Wogaman of Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C.
On September 13, MacDonald, author of Rebuilding Your Broken World, told his congregation, "I am in a position to talk the language of repentance and what it takes to find a deeper and more purposeful walk with God in the midst of personal tragedy." In 1987 MacDonald resigned as president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship after acknowledging that he had had an adulterous relationship with a friend while pastor of Grace Chapel (CT, July 10, 1987, p. 38). He eventually returned to Grace in 1993.
Campolo and Wogaman have at times been spiritual confidants to Clinton. Although Clinton is a Southern Baptist, he often attends Foundry, near the White House. Campolo says the purpose of the meetings is to counsel the President and "to hold him accountable for his behavior." Campolo says, "We want to provide all the help that we can to spiritually strengthen him against yielding to the temptations that have conquered him in the past."
Clinton's admission of a sexual relationship with Lewinsky has triggered extensive commentary from American religious leaders. Top Southern Baptists have called for Clinton's resignation. Some have demanded that Clinton's home church, Immanuel Baptist in Little Rock, Arkansas, "discipline" the President, but it has no plans to do so. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ called on Clinton to "truly repent and seek God's face." Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine and Call to Renewal says, "The real issue here is moral accountability. How could his genuine repentance—and ours—begin to teach our nation something about real spiritual values?"
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