Tony Campolo Introduces Psychic Evangelism*
I was killing some time in a Barnes and Noble today before an
appointment when I stopped to check if I had my phone. When I looked up,
I was standing in front of the brand new book from Tony Campolo and Mary
Albert Darling. I bought it and brought it home. It is entitled, The God
of Intimacy and Action: Reconnecting Ancient Spiritual Practices,
Evangelism, and Justice. Thus far it is reading as a manifesto for hard
core mystical spirituality. The authors are presenting mysticism as the
means to achieve social justice and what they call “evangelism.” Or what
they call evangelism.
I have just started the book, but I wanted to excerpt a few paragraphs
that I just read. They clearly show what is being promoted by Campolo
and Darling and so many others regarding mysticism. I don’t have to tell
you what is being described here is anything but Christian prayer.
Campolo is writing about the mystical teachings of Frank Laubach.
“While pointing out how important it is for Christians to pray for
others, Laubach makes a bold and intriguing proposal for another way of
praying. He suggests that in addition to praying for someone in need of
God, that we should consider praying to that person as well. He tells us
that God may want to work through the praying Christian as a channel to
reach into the heart and soul of the person who is in need of saving
grace. Laubach proposes that a person who is resisting God might be open
to the spiritual impact of a Christian concentrating God’s power on him
or her. It is as though, according to Laubach, a praying Christian might
be a lens through whom God focuses saving power into another person’s life.
Call it a kind of mental telepathy, but what Laubach is suggesting is
that the Holy Spirit flowing into a Christian, as a result of prayer,
can stir up spiritual energy in that Christian that can then be directed
toward a person who needs Christ’s salvation.” (Page 34-35)
After introducing this idea of using mental telepathy (his words),
Campolo goes further in describing how this might work. He creates a
scenario in which you are sitting next to a spiritually needy friend. He
“You focus all your psychic energies on her, nonverbally pleading with
her to decide for Christ right there and then. Now consider what might
happen if this psychic communication could be heightened by steps you
took to equip yourself for the task. Is it possible that the spiritual
practices you have been carrying out in your devotional life could give
you unusual effectiveness in connecting with your friend?” (Page 35)
Tony Campolo is a master at what he does. In 1995, I wrote a paper on
his teachings which described his skilled doublespeak and use of the
dialectic. Over and over, these heralds of the new mystical spirituality
propose some new false teaching in clever question form. Just like the
serpent in the garden. Rather than say authoritatively, “Laubach is dead
right. We need to start using mental telepathy to reach people.” He
instead raises the question. “Could it be?” Over and over, you will see
this tactic used by emerging spirituality authors. “Is it possible
that…?” “Could it be that…?” “Can we consider whether…?”
I am two chapters in and the authors are already employing another
strategy. They know very well that the mystical practices they are
promoting are raising eyebrows for many people. So how do they couch
these teachings in such a way as to remove the fear factor from those
who truly are uncomfortable with some things? How do they render eastern
mysticism in a form that will not scare off those who are unfamiliar
with this new terminology? They call in Spurgeon. They call in Charles
Wesley. They call in Luther. Campolo sprinkles his writings with
anecdotes and illustrations about men who many see as the old guard
Christians of the past. The anecdote told about Spurgeon in the book had
absolutely nothing to do with mysticism. It had to do with cigars and
congeniality. But the mere mention of Spurgeon’s name serves to calm
less than astute readers. Ah. He’s quoting Spurgeon. All must be well.
Then in the next sentence he will quote a Buddhist sympathizer like
Henri Nouwen or flagrant New Ager like Teilhard de Chardin.
Beware that tactic. I am seeing it increasingly in these kinds of books.
Essentially, in the quote above, Campolo says that if the Holy Spirit
can’t manage to turn someone’s heart, God may use your own psychic
powers to do it. And by the way, he suggests, those psychic powers can
be honed by the mystical practices that he describes later in the book.
I will be writing more on this book. It is one of many today that are
pointing Christians into the world of eastern mysticism under the guise
of evangelical Christianity. It is being introduced as the authentic
spirituality we all lack. It seizes upon the spiritual deadness in many
lives and churches and proposes a counterfeit spiritual solution—one
that leads to the emerging global spirituality of anti-Christ.
Posted on July 2007