Will Campbell Discipleship

Following Jesus – The Will Campbell Way

(My June 15, 2013 blog post on His Spirit Blog)

Will Campbell

A Middle Tennessee minister/philosopher/activist, Will Campbell, cut to the chase when it came to following Jesus and would be as good a role model for me as anyone in contemporary times. He died June 3. In today’s Tennessean our religion columnists Ray Waddle wrote an excellent column in remembering Will Campbell titled  “Jesus movement cut across all political mandates.”

Hopefully the full article above will stay online for a long time (It did not), but just in case I want to copy a few passages of the column that particularly spoke to me as the way I would like to follow Jesus. The headings are my addition (not their words/opinion) as I try to summarize the writings of both men:

REJECT POWER & MONEY
Those are hard things. Probably the hardest is rejecting power, since all well-intended solutions (and egos) depend on accumulations of political influence and institutional muscle. But Campbell warned:
“True soul freedom can never be found in any institution. If they will pay you, let them. I did it, too. But never trust them. Never bow the knee to them. They are all after your soul. All of them. Jesus was a radical! And his grace abounds.”

REPLACE DOCTRINE WITH INCARNATION OF CHRIST
For him, the Jesus movement revealed a path that cut across all political mandates. Visit prisoners. Be a friend to the forgotten. Be also a friend to racists. Put no faith in any ideology. Be the incarnation of Jesus in this world. . .
. . . The God of the Bible is too enigmatic for well-rounded theological statements. Will Campbell relied on his own wits and the subversion of grace, summarizing a biblical command: “We must obey God rather than man. He is our only sovereign. He is our God. Him will we serve.” . . .
“Given a hearing, Will can describe a Christianity that is scandalous and objectionable, shockingly exhilarating and frighteningly attractive,” writes Richard Goode, a history professor at Lipscomb University . . .

I HAVE NO MINISTRY – JUST A LIFE LIVED
. . . Speaking to a group of Baptist brethren in 1995 he said: “As the sands of time run out on me, I do not consider that I have had a ministry at all, except in the sense that all believers are priests. I have had a life. As to how well I have conducted it I am willing to leave to the One so mysterious, so elusive and evasive, so hidden as to say to Moses from the burning bush, I AM WHO I AM, to be the sole judge. I can only exult that grace abounds …”

A BIT OF WHAT I BELIEVE AND HOPE TO LIVE
It is so exciting to find someone’s words that express what I have been thinking and trying to say and live. I have just not been able to communicate it like Will Campbell and Ray Waddle! I thank you guys!    ~Charlie Doggett