Tony Campolo, spiritual advisor to President Clinton, defended Clinton's decision to declare June as "Gay Pride Month" and affirmed his belief in a universalist theology on a recent CNN Crossfire program. The June 15, 1999, Crossfire broadcast featured a debate between Jerry Falwell and Tony Campolo on various political and theological issues. When asked by Falwell what he thinks about the president's decision to declare June as "Gay Pride Month," Campolo said, "It's a pluralistic society, and I think that he is endeavoring to affirm people" He continued to defend Clinton's decision and concluded by adding, "Love requires justice and acceptance." Later in the broadcast, co-host Bill Press (who said the idea that "Jesus is the only way to heaven" is "really wrong") asked Falwell whether Jesus Christ was the only way to heaven or whether those of other religions who had lived exemplary lives would also be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. While Falwell correctly answered that only those who trust in Jesus Christ would receive salvation, Campolo responded by saying, "We need to hold Christ up as the Savior, but I think we need to leave judgment in the hands of God." Falwell then asked Campolo, "Do you believe anyone has ever gone to heaven apart from Christ, yes or no?" Campolo responded, "I go with the Scriptures." After refusing to answer Falwell's question with a simple yes or no, Campolo, who claims to be an evangelical Christian, eventually responded by saying, "The apostle Paul says that there are people who have light that is not Christian light, and they will be judged on that basis." Such a statement is a blasphemous denial of the necessity of the death and resurrection of Christ and of the necessity for all to hear the Gospel message. God's Word declares that no individual apart from salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ alone can be justified in the sight of God (Rom. 5:1-21).


In an open letter to Jerry Falwell and the readers of Falwell's September 1999 Liberty Journa1, Tony Campolo, an "evangelical" theologian and professor at the American Baptist affiliated Eastern College, reaffirmed his belief in universalism (the idea that some can be saved without personally hearing about and believing in Jesus Christ). Falwell had challenged Campolo's recent statements on a CNN Crossfire broadcast in which Campolo stated, after refusing to clearly answer whether or not he believed Jesus is the only way to heaven, "The apostle Paul says that there are people who have light that is not Christian light, and they will be judged on that basis" (see report in July-August 1999 Foundation magazine). Falwell criticized Campolo for this statement, and Campolo's open letter to Falwell and his readers only serves to reaffirm Campolo's aforementioned belief in universalism.

Within the letter, Campolo said that while he does believe Jesus is the "one and only Savior of humanity," he also believes that Romans 2:14-16 "suggests that the work of Christ on the cross may be broader than some of us think." He continued,

Billy Graham has said that on Judgment Day, there may be people who enter the Kingdom who have not called themselves Christians. I believe that if such people are saved, it is because of what Jesus did on Calvary . On the Charlie Rose show, I said that I am not convinced that Jesus only lives in Christians. I stand by that statement. I myself have encountered many people who believe in and follow the Jesus of the New Testament, but who feel unable to call themselves Christians because they do not identify themselves with the sold-out Jesus of America's cultural Christian establishment.

While Campolo attempts to waffle around his previous statements made on CNN's Crossfire broadcast by claiming that his original remarks referred only to some individuals who believe in the Jesus of the New Testament but refuse to embrace the name "Christian," it is evident from his statements that he believes, like Graham, that those "who have light other than Christian light" will go to heaven one day. Yet the Word of God declares that Jesus Christ is the only "Christian light," and any other light" cannot and will not save anyone. Those who have never heard the Gospel and believed in Jesus Christ will die in their sins. Believers must reach out through missions and personal witness to the lost and reject any doctrine that teaches salvation can be obtained apart from the hearing and understanding of the Gospel message.

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