In his message, Campolo described ancient Babylon, whose citizens had access to almost anything money could buy, and compared it to modern-day America.
“The early church was confronted by the question, ‘Which country do you have your primary allegiance to — Babylon or the New Jerusalem?’” he said.
In Babylon, almost anything was available for purchase, including people, he suggested. “There is growing up in Babylon another city,” he warned. “It is the church of Jesus Christ.”
“Why did Babylon fall?” he asked. “It had become a materialistic country.
“We produce food but people can’t afford to buy it,” Campolo said. “You can’t get rid of poverty until you create jobs.”
“We have sought the welfare of ourselves, not the welfare of others,” he charged. “The church has got to be different” and pursue justice for those in their communities who are most vulnerable, he said.
Referencing his own concern for retirement investments during the nationwide economic downturn, Campolo said, “Our lives have become materialistic. I don’t live by faith, and you don’t live by faith.”
Programs should exist in the church only to facilitate Christians doing work in the world, he said. “You can’t carry out the Great Commission until you carry out the Great Commandment.”
Bill Webb is editor of Word&Way.