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A Marxist Sees the Gospel Lived Out

Tony Campolo tells of working with a young doctor by the name of Elias Santana. Campolo says,

This bright and dynamic Christian graduated from medical school (was) living in the Chicago area. He could easily have earned a small fortune by setting up a medical practice that took care of middle-class Americans. Instead, Elias regularly traveled to Puerto Rico, where he performed surgery for those who had the money to pay high fees for his services. He then would return home and, with the money he had earned in Puerto Rico, buy medical supplies. He would then give out these supplies for free to the poor in the slums of Santo Domingo.

One day I went with this servant of God to one of the worst slums in the city. I stood by throughout the day, watching him freely serve those who had no means to pay. He gave away expensive medicines to those who could not afford to buy them. (In the evening) Elias climbed to the top of his truck and yelled for the people to gather around. He preached the gospel story and called people to surrender their lives to Christ. At the edge of the crowd, I saw a young man named Socrates, the head of the Che Guevara Society, the leftist student organization in Santo Domingo. I knew Socrates to be a good-hearted person.

I went over to Socrates, jokingly nudged him, and said, “Socrates! Elias is winning converts! If he keeps this up, he will sway this crowd to being Christian, and there will be nobody left for you to convert to (Marxism).” I will never forget Socrates’s answer, “What can I say? Elias Santana has earned the right to be heard.”

Possible Preaching Angle:

Campolo’s story reminds us that we must back up our words with our lives. There is no more powerful sermon than a Christlike life.


Tony Campolo, Choose Love Not Power (Baker Books, 2009), p. 20

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