Campolo Questions If Economic Woes Can Be Solved

Post a Comment » Written on March 5th, 2009     
Filed under: News
By Matt Enquist

CHICAGO, IL (March 5, 2009) –  Noting the historic magnitude of the global economic crisis, Dr. Tony Campolo, traveling speaker and author of 35 books, questions whether the financial problems facing our nation can be solved.

Campolo spoke to students Wednesday during North Park University’s weekly chapel service. Using the book of Revelation as his text, he summarized the economic difficulties that face the nation and the world and urged students instead to invest in the steadfast kingdom of God.

“We live in a time that is historic,” he says. “The next few months are a decisive time in America and in the world. We are going through an economic meltdown and I’m not sure they can solve the problem.”

Campolo points out that in the book of Revelation, the author addresses the situation that he faced at that time, explaining that early Christians used the word “Babylon” to refer to Rome. Babylon, by extension, can simply refer to the dominant socio-economic political culture in which the people were living.

The message of Revelation, Campolo suggests, is that all Babylons eventually fall – all worldly systems collapse eventually.

“What the Bible says about the dominant system in which the Christians are living is that sooner or later it’s going to fall,” says Campolo. “All Babylons fall. Don’t get the idea that any political social system goes on forever. The only kingdom that goes on forever is the kingdom of God. The reality is that all Babylons collapse and I contend that our Babylon is on the verge of collapsing.”

Campolo believes that most systems collapse because societies live beyond their means. Campolo cited Revelation 18 as evidence of Roman over-consumption and equated this to Americans living beyond their means. Campolo is a professor of sociology at Eastern University in Pennsylvania.

In Revelation, Campolo pointed to two differing reactions to the collapse of the system, written about in Revelation 19. The merchants wept and panicked while the minority responded quite differently.

“As the system was collapsing, as Babylon was going down the tubes, this other group of people was saying, “hallelujah, Babylon is no more! The great whore is dying,” says Campolo. “Don’t get me wrong, I love the United States of America. It’s the best Babylon on the face of the earth, but it’s still Babylon and it’s not the kingdom of God.”

Campolo warns that American Christians have been seduced by a culture of excess, consumerism, and comfort.

“The world is suffering because of the lifestyle of the American people, there’s no question about that,” he says. “There isn’t a sociologist or economist who will argue with me on that point.” The remedy, says Campolo, is to realign priorities, rejecting loyalty to a corrupt system and renewing commitment to the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon of the Mount.

“Every Babylon falls – that’s what the Apostle John was saying to the early church. Every Babylon falls and when the fall comes you have to ask yourself, ‘what did I invest my life in? Did I invest it in the system that’s falling, or did I invest it in the kingdom of God? Did I put my life, my energy, my resources into that which can never be taken away from me?’ ”

Campolo asked students to see the collapse of the economic system as an opportunity for the church and individuals to review priorities and rediscover where loyalty lies.

“It is about time we face up to the positive sides of the collapse of the system . . . for the first time, the Church and Christian people have an opportunity to re-evaluate themselves and see where their real values are and what’s really important to them,” he says.

Campolo closed by calling students to commit to living without reservation in an everlasting kingdom, rather than the finite systems of the world.

“ ‘Choose ye this day whom you will serve, for no man,’ said Jesus, ‘no woman can serve two masters.’ Either you’re going to serve God or you’re going to serve . . . the system. Choose ye this day where you’re going to invest your lives,” Campolo challenged the students. “It doesn’t make sense to do anything else with your life except to invest your life and your resources in the work of God and the work of his kingdom.”

Click here to listen to an audio version of Wednesday’s sermon.

(Editor’s note: Matt Enquist is a North Park University student completing an internship with the Department of Communication.)

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