Letters to a Young Evangelical
Tony Campolo • Basic Books
280 pages • $23.00

Tony Campolo's latest book joins other titles in a noble series that invites prominent thinkers (writers Dinesh D'Souza and Christopher Hitchens, therapist Mary Bray Pipher) to offer their expertise.

Campolo is his often irenic self when he celebrates what evangelicals hold in common, and he navigates many of our disagreements (such as over the gifts of the Holy Spirit) with grace.

It's when Campolo distances himself from the widely derided Religious Right that Letters to a Young Evangelical grows combative and simply inaccurate. To correct some of his mistakes:

  • Tim LaHaye is not a TV evangelist.
  • James Watt did not claim that "there was no need to protect" national parks and forests because of the imminent return of Jesus.
  • Ronald Reagan believed people could be living in the End Times long before he met Jerry Falwell.
  • Many pro-life thinkers, including Christians, advance their case against abortion without appeals to ensoulment.

Campolo writes that evangelical has taken on too much baggage and ought to be replaced with red-letter Christian, especially for believers who call themselves progressives but reject the label of Religious Left. Have fun with that semantic game, brother, but don't expect the evangelicals you caricature to play it with you.

Related Elsewhere:

An excerpt, "Why The Church is Important" from the book is available on our site.

Letters to a Young Evangelical is available from ChristianBook.com other retailers.

It is one of the "Letters to a Young ___" book group, a part of the "The Art of Mentoring" series from Basic Books.

The book's website links to a video of an interview with Campolo on The Hour.

Campolo's website has an excerpt of chapter three of Letters to a Young Evangelical.

First Things posted "A Letter to Tony Campolo," a response to the book.

The January 2003 issue of Christianity Today featured a profile of Campolo (one of the top 25 most influential preachers, according to PreachingToday.com), "The Positive Prophet." Related articles include "Tony Talks Too Much," "Candidate Campolo," "Why Clinton Likes Campolo," "One Lord, One Faith, One Voice?," "Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, and Plain Old Murder," and "Rift Opens Among Evangelicals on AIDS Funding."

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