"Rather…we commend ourselves in every way…through glory, bad report and good report, yet regarded as impostors."  (2 Cor. 6:3, 4 and 6.)

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Red Letter Christian Movement

I like to show how the issue of Paulinism is becoming more prevalent.

A JWO supporter told me today about the Red Letter Movement. Here are some supportive remarks talking about JWO v Paulinism found at redletterchristians.org. This article is written by Tony Campolo, Professor Emeritus of Eastern University. It is entitled "Is Evangelism Headed for a Split?" It quotes some of Jesus' words, and demonstrates that perhaps we as a society are not heeding Jesus' call to help the poor, be merciful to the guilty in terms of punishment, etc.

The website has more political-type articles than most, but I found so far one writer who says they are "conservative," not "liberal." Link. So it does not necessarily have any slant one way or the other. It appears Jesus-words focused -- regardless of the political categories that are common ways to 'define' someone. Here is a pertinent portion of what Campolo says on the issue of JWO v. Paulinism:

When the Red Letter Christian movement got underway, there was a sense that the Evangelical community, in general, had become overly focused on the theological issues raised in the Pauline Epistles.  Without any desire to diminish the significance of theology, we recognized that the time had come to create some balance to this overemphasis on theology by taking more seriously the things that were written in the Gospels—especially in those red letters which emphasize the words of Jesus.  There was a growing awareness that Evangelicals, with the exception of people like many in the Anabaptist tradition, had sought to escape those hard sayings of Christ in respect to lifesty

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It is in this vein of thinking that Shane Claiborne and I wrote a recently published book, Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Really Meant What He Said?

 

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The difference of emphasis between those of us who want to take literally the red letters of the Bible and those who emphasize the teachings of the Apostle Paul (not that there is contradiction between the two) is only the beginning of the coming split within the Evangelical community.

What those of us in the Red Letter Christian tradition are trying to do is simply to elevate the radical lifestyle that Jesus taught as a necessary balance to the theological discussions that emerge out of Pauline theology and to challenge the church to affirm a lifestyle that will make its members countercultural who do not identify Christianity with capitalism, nationalism, and middle-class affluence.  The values inherent in such things stand contrary, in our minds, to what Jesus calls us to be.