In the October, 2007 issue of CHRISTIANITY TODAY Stan Guthrie critiques the Red-Letter Christian movement. Tony Campolo has been the most visible proponet of RLC, and the the above link has Campolo’s response to Guthrie’s critique. I found the article to be interesting, but I was disappointed that Guthrie spent so much of his energy on the political/partisan implications of the RLC movement. It seems to me that there are much more interesting and important issues.
The article is pretty short, if you have a chance to read the article and Campolo’s response, please share your thoughts. What do you think about the Red-Letter Christian argument? Are you persuaded, what questions or disagreements do you have?
I wrote about the hermenutical problems with RLC in The Problem with Red Letter Christianity,” so I won’t rehash it all here. In addition, I think that there are issues surrounding the eschatological and salvific framework of Jesus’ ministry – and his calling and sending intinerant disciples (to whom many of the RLC’s favorite verses are aimed) – that are too complex to fully address here. Bottom line: Jesus’ earthly ministry of human vulnerability and divine power was an aspect of his dying/rising act of salvation – his calling and sending itinerant disciples was an extension of his act of salvation – as an act of salvation, Jesus’ earthly ministry (including his calling, teaching and sending disciples) is an exceptional event in the history of the world – in contrast, the church witnesses to Jesus’ saving act but does not add to it – while Jesus and his disciples lived by pure grace and performed works of power to achieve humankind’s salvation, Christians today live a in a world illuminated by the hope that Jesus demonstrated and made real, but still fallen – this world requires both the force of law and the hope of grace.