(EDIT 21/02/2015: Added new Andy Stanley’s sermon review which was published on FFtF on the 16/02/2015 .)
Chris Rosebrough has sounded the alarm for Christians to watch out for Andy Stanley’s latest dangerous teachings. It appears that these new teachings from Stanley will be steering the dangerous Seeker Sensitive “Church” movement into greater apostasy.
In reviewing Andy Stanley’s sermon (titled Brand: New), Chris exposed how Stanley downplayed the “sacred” in Christianity and that the Bible supports the Seeker Sensitive church model. As Chris Rosebrough pointed out, nothing could have been further from the truth.
This sermon review is worth your while. Below the sermon review is a good article expressing and addressing the issues with Andy Stanley’s teaching.
From Fighting for the Faith,
FEBRUARY 12, 2015
Don’t Miss The Sermon Review!
**Do Not Miss the Sermon Review, It’s THAT Important**
• 2015 Prophetic Stragglers Matt Sorger & Jim Bakker
• Cindy Jacobs and the Highway of Holiness?
• T.D. Jakes on Supply & Demand
• Sermon Review: Brand New by Andy Stanley
Source: Chris Rosebrough, Don’t Miss The Sermon Review!, Fighting for the Faith, http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2015/02/dont-miss-the-sermon-review.html, Published 12/02/2015. (Accessed 15/02/2015.)
Chris has also reviewed Stanley’s next sermon:
FEBRUARY 16, 2015
Andy Stanley’s Da Vinci Code Rewrite Of Church History
• Andy Stanley’s Da Vinci Code Rewrite of Church History
Source: Chris Rosebrough, Andy Stanley’s Da Vinci Code Rewrite Of Church History, Fighting for the Faith, http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2015/02/andy-stanleys-da-vinci-code-rewrite-of-church-history.html, Published 16/02/2015. (Accessed 21/02/2015.)
Philip Lee writes,
What Andy Stanley is Teaching This Month and Why it Matters
I’ve listened to Andy Stanley’s most recent Sunday sermon three times now. I watched the 9:00 AM service live online. I listened to the download made available by North Point Community Church, which came from the second service and contains a few minor differences compared to the sermon I watched live. Finally, I listened to Chris Rosebrough’s review of the sermon in the February 16 edition of Fighting for the Faith.
Why? I think what’s happening at North Point this month is going to have long-lasting effects on American, and even global, Christianity.
Andy Stanley is easily one of the top five most influential pastors in America, and maybe top 2-3. It’s impossible to quantify such things of course, but it is easily seen if you pay attention to the broad landscape of American Evangelicalism. It’s no secret that pastors around the country duplicate Stanley’s sermons and series, and there have been documented cases of pastors plagiarizing Stanley word-for-word. Thousands and thousands of pastors around America and around the world look to Stanley as a leader and follow his teaching and methods.
Stanley is currently teaching a five week series titled Brand: New. Stanley’s assumption is that Christianity has been corrupted by “Temple Model” thinking since the days of Constantine. He defines the Temple Model as being controlled by sacred places, sacred texts, sacred men, and sincere followers.
His definition of the true Jesus religion comes from half a verse in Galatians. In the ESV, Galatians 5:6 in its entirety reads, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” In his sermon series, Stanley has repeatedly quoted the NIV’s translation of the second sentence of the verse which reads, “The only thing that matters is faith expressing itself through love.”
Stanley is attempting to build a doctrine of Christianity on half of one verse. And his version of Christianity is one in which it doesn’t matter what a person believes or does, as long as they love their neighbors.
In other words, Stanley is embracing theological liberalism. Actually it might be better to say he’s no longer hiding his theological liberalism.
Three years ago Al Mohler asked, following an Andy Stanley sermon, if the megachurch is the new liberalism. In that sermon, Stanley told the story of two men in his church involved in a homosexual relationship. One man was divorced, the other still married. Stanley told the congregation that the men were forbidden from serving in the church, not because they were in a homosexual relationship, but because one was still married and therefore committing adultery. Many people questioned at the time if Stanley was signaling his approval of gay Christianity – the idea that a person can be actively involved in a homosexual relationship and a Christian.
When I first read about what Stanley was teaching in the Brand: New series I thought he was going to come out as gay affirming. After listening to the first and third sermons in the series I’m not convinced he’s going to make that explicit at this time, but I do believe he is laying the groundwork to do this in the future. Based on comments made this past Sunday, it does seem likely that Stanley is going to endorse female leadership in the church in week five of the series.
All of this is significant because of Stanley’s influence.
If Stanley openly embraces liberalism in the name of bringing more people to Jesus, thousands of others will follow. It should be noted that liberals have been making the same argument for more than two centuries, and that every church that has embraced liberalism is now dead or dying, but the arguments keep being made and people keep buying into them.
Liberalism has always denied essential doctrines of the Christian faith in order to make the faith more palatable to unbelievers. The problem is that if people don’t believe in the God who has revealed in Himself in Scripture, if they don’t believe in the Jesus revealed in Scripture, they are not in Christ, no matter what they call themselves.
The seeker-sensitive movement, in which Stanley is a major player, seeks to make Christianity as accessible as possible to the largest number of people possible. Up to now, most seeker-sensitive churches have remained theologically sound on paper while functioning as liberal churches. They’ve managed to keep their feet in both worlds.
I think that’s about to change.
Stanley has been always been zeroed in on what’s happening in the culture. Twenty years ago when he started North Point in the heart of the Bible Belt, he could not have survived by openly embracing liberalism. The Bible Belt culture simply would not have tolerated a pastor who openly endorsed homosexual Christianity, female pastors, a denial of the Biblical account of creation, or any of the other hot-button issues of our day.
Things have changed. Even among professing Christians today, very few still hold to those positions. Stanley now sees that it is more costly to deny that a homosexual can be involved in homosexual sin and be a Christian than it is to embrace gay Christianity. Even in the Bible Belt, it will be more costly to deny evolution than embrace it.
So, he will say that it doesn’t matter what a person believes as long as they love.
It was very telling, and honestly shocking, that it in this past Sunday’s sermon he indicated that it didn’t matter that Arius believed Jesus wasn’t eternal. For 1700 years virtually every branch of religion that calls itself Christian; Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestantism has agreed that Arius was a heretic who was outside the Christian faith. Stanley said Sunday that it was no big deal. It doesn’t matter what a person believes, as long as they love.
The problem is that Jesus and the Apostles repeatedly warned against those who would proclaim a different gospel or a different Jesus. A Jesus who is not eternally God, as Arius taught, is most certainly a different Jesus than the one revealed in Scripture. The blood of a different Jesus can not atone for our sins.
I do believe that God’s grace is such that those who are unknowingly caught up in a false system can be saved in spite of what they’re being taught if they recognize their sinfulness and trust in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. But woe to those who preach a different gospel. It’s ironic that Stanley is using a verse from Galatians as the foundation for his series. In Galatians 1:6-9 Paul wrote:
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
The immediate context of Paul’s letter to the Galatians was the Judaizers attempting to make circumcision a requirement for salvation. Stanley is clearly not doing that. But, in saying that the only thing that matters at the end of the day is how well we’ve loved our neighbors, he is coming dangerously close to preaching a different gospel and putting people back under the yoke of the Law, if he hasn’t crossed the line.
The summary of the Law and the Prophets, according to Jesus in Matthew 22:37-40, is “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Loving your neighbor as you love yourself is Law, and the Law cannot save you unless you keep it perfectly from the day you’re born until the day you die. The problem? We’re all born dead in trespasses and sins and cannot keep the Law. We’re all guilty. So telling people it doesn’t matter what they believe as long as they love others is actually putting people back under the yoke of the Law.
Should we love God? Absolutely! Should we love our neighbors? Absolutely! But if we try to do so without being given new life by God’s grace through faith in the Jesus revealed to us in Scripture, we remain dead in our trespasses and sins and children of God’s wrath. There is no salvation without repentance and faith in the true Jesus.
I don’t yet know what Stanley is going to say in the final two sermons of this series. I think we all need to be paying attention though. Stanley’s influence is such that if he goes off the rails of orthodoxy and into apostasy, American Christianity as we know it will change forever. I don’t think I’m exaggerating.
Source: By Philip Lee, What Andy Stanley is Teaching This Month and Why it Matters, 24 Emmaus Rd, http://24emmausroad.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/what-andy-stanley-is-teaching-this.html, Published 17/02/2015. (Accessed 19/02/2015.)