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Dr. Anthony Campolo Delivers Carr Lecture at Mount Union College

October 31, 2008

campolopostDr. Anthony Campolo, founder and president of the Evangelical Association for Promotion of Education, presented the Carr Lecture in the Mount Union Theatre on Thursday evening.

Campolo opened his lecture by explaining that every school has a mission statement.  He related this idea to Jesus’ mission statement which was, “I have come to declare that the kingdom of God is at hand.”  According to Campolo, Jesus placed his emphasis on this world, not the next world. 

Explaining that the understanding of this idea begins within, Campolo discussed a way of praying called a centering prayer.  This type of pray is a focus on Jesus, not on one’s demands or wants.  “The outcome is surrendering to the invasion of Jesus,” Campolo said.

According to Campolo, there is not enough joy in the world today.  Joy is the second of the fruits of the spirit, following love.  Campolo told a story of a time when he was walking past a homeless man who asked Campolo if he wanted some of his coffee.  Hesitantly, Campolo drank some then asked the man why he wanted to share it.  The man answered that it was especially good that day and “When God gives you something good, you ought to share it with people.” 

Campolo expressed his belief that being spiritual is feeling Jesus in other people.  When seeing the poor and oppressed suffering, he sees Jesus suffering as well.  By seeing others in this light, one experiences a sense of awe and reverence. 

“A Christian college’s job should be to raise up a young generation of men and women who care, so their lives are organized around wisdom, care and justice,” Campolo said.  He believes that the real meaning of an education is being equipped to serve others in the name of Jesus.  He emphasized that students should desire to change the world from the world it is to the world it ought to be.  

In order to change the political and economic systems in today’s world, Campolo discussed the difference between power and authority.  Power is the use of coercion, while authority is the use of sacrificial love.  In order to fully express love, one must be willing to give up power.  Campolo explained that Jesus came as a baby in a manger and not as a Caesar, king, or president.  This is because he came to rule with authority by sacrificing his life, rather than with power. 

A firm believer in overcoming evil with good, Campolo stated that the church should be doing more to show love and compassion for the oppressed.  “It’s not that Christianity has been tried and failed.  It’s that it hasn’t been tried,” he said.

Campolo and his family are the only white members of the church he attends at home.  Every year, students come back from college and announce to the entire church what they are studying and what title they are working towards.  The pastor then asks the students if they are working for titles or testimonies.  He encourages them by using examples from the Bible, such as Pharoah, who had a title, and Moses, who had the testimonies. 

“Titles would be great, but if there is a choice between titles or testimonies, go for the testimony.  I do,” Campolo ended.     

Campolo is professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University in St. Davids, PA ad previously served for 10 years on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania.  An ordained minister, he is also recognized as an associate pastor of the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in West Philadelphia.     

He has authored 35 books and is a media commentator on social, political and religious matters.

The Joseph M. Carr Lectureship was established in 1916 by the Carr family in memory of the Reverend Joseph M. Carr, D.D. a close associate of President Hartshorn in the early days of Mount Union College. The conditions under which the lectureship was given state that the lecture shall always be upon the subject, “The Mission of the Christian College to the World.”

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