We’ve avoided this issue, but Tony Campolo and Stan Guthrie of CT are in a bit of a tiff on the Red Letter Christian issue.
Have you encountered this movement?
I have no problem with someone who wants to begin with the red letters of Jesus; I have lots of problems with Christians who don’t follow what they say. Anyone who thinks they are the only words in the Bible are not being fair to the Christian tradition. But, what is a Red-Letter Christian?
Here’s how Campolo once defined a Red-Letter Christian:
“By calling ourselves Red-Letter Christians, we are alluding to the fact that in several versions of the New Testament, the words of Jesus are printed in red. In adopting this name, we are saying that we are committed to living out the things that He said. Of course, the message in those red-lettered verses is radical, to say the least. If you don?t believe me, read Jesus? Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).
In those red letters, He calls us away from the consumerist values that dominate contemporary American consciousness. He calls us to be merciful, which has strong implications for how we think about capital punishment. When Jesus tells us to love our enemies, he probably means we shouldn?t kill them. Most important, if we take Jesus seriously, we will realize that meeting the needs of the poor is a primary responsibility for His followers.
Figuring out just how to relate those radical red letters in the Bible to the complex issues in the modern world will be difficult, but that?s what we?ll try to do.”