Tag Archives: Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley Responds to His Critics

Megachurch pastor Andy Stanley. Promoter of Biblical truth... or compromiser?

Megachurch pastor Andy Stanley. Promoter of Biblical truth… or compromiser?

A few weeks ago, I highlighted a controversy involving Atlanta megachurch pastor Andy Stanley, over a sermon entitled “The Bible Told Me So.” The topic generated a lot of discussion among Veracity readers, in particular after a blog post by Southern Baptist leader Al Mohler, who severely criticizes Stanley’s method.

Pastor Stanley has responded to his critics, seeking to explain the method in his madness, with an essay entitled, “Why ‘The Bible Says So’ Is Not Enough Anymore.” I encourage you to read it, but here is the gist:

Andy Stanley ultimately lands, in making his appeal for his approach to preaching, on Acts 17. There, the Apostle Paul preaches to the citizens of Athens, but Paul does not bring up the Bible.

Stanley’s point? We live in a culture that no longer acknowledges the Bible as being authoritative. To reach a new generation, he has chosen a different method to try to reach the disaffected in our culture. Do not assume everyone you engage accepts the Bible as being without error, because in general, most people are suspicious of the Bible. But in doing what he is doing, Stanley himself still believes the Bible to be God’s Word.

Acts 17 is a very interesting passage to ultimately make a case on. Some celebrate this passage as an example “par excellence” of Paul contextualizing the message of the Gospel to an audience at his best, which is surely Stanley’s view. Others contend that Paul’s preaching in Acts 17 in Athens was a failed strategy, that resulted in very little substantial fruit, a mistaken strategy that Paul soon abandoned.

What do you think?

UPDATE 10/3/2016: Blogger Scot McKnight, of Jesus Creed, pens his response, affirming Andy Stanley contra Al Mohler.


Andy Stanley and the Bible Told Me So

Megachurch pastor Andy Stanley. Promoter of Biblical truth... or compromiser?

Atlanta Megachurch pastor Andy Stanley. Promoter of Biblical truth… or compromiser?

I do not follow popular, megachurch pastors that much. But when a fellow Veracity reader tipped me off regarding a recent controversy with Atlanta-based Andy Stanley, I was puzzled.

Andy Stanley, the pastor of NorthPoint Community Church, and son of another popular Atlanta preacher, Charles Stanley, has been preaching a sermon series on “Who Needs God.” The basic concern Andy Stanley has is that there is a startling trend of people who grow up in conservative, evangelical, Bible-believing churches, who later end up “deconverting” to some form of agnosticism by the time they become adults.

In the third message of the series, entitled “The Bible Told Me So,” Stanley talks about people who grow up believing Christianity is true because “the Bible told me so.” But when they go off to college, or watch a PBS Nova special, or simply surf the Internet, they are surprised to learn that there is little to no concrete, archaeological evidence that supports the idea that an army of some 600,000+ Israelites conquered the town of Jericho, near the start of the Canaanite conquest, as recorded in the Book of Joshua. As a result of hearing things like this, the fragile “Bible-told-me-so” faith of such a person collapses, kind of like a car tire that just got a flat, with the air hissing out.

As Stanley puts it, “If the Bible is the foundation of our faith, here is the problem, it is all or nothing. . . Christianity becomes a fragile house of cards that comes tumbling down when we discover that perhaps the walls of Jericho didn’t.” As a result, Christians need to learn that we are to base our faith, first and foremost, on Jesus and the Resurrection, and stop relying on an “all or nothing” approach to the Bible.

There are problems with Stanley’s sermon, as Reformed Theological Seminary’s Michael Kruger tells us. I went and listened to Andy Stanley’s sermon, and I would agree that Stanley said a few things that could easily be misunderstood the wrong way. For example, Stanley makes the rather overstated claim that the early Christians, for the first few centuries of the church, had a belief in Christianity, without the Bible!

Well, that is not quite, right. It would be more accurate to say that the early church did indeed possess “the Bible.” But they did not possess that “Bible” in the same form as we have it today. The early church surely embraced the Old Testament, though it did take a few hundred years to sort out the details regarding the particularity of the New Testament canon. These critiques aside, professor Kruger still felt that pastor Stanley’s motives were good, even if the proposed solution advanced by Stanley was slightly off-kilter.

But what astounded me was reading the comments left on professor Kruger’s blog. Quite a number of readers did not believe that Kruger’s criticisms went far enough.  Various readers described Andy Stanley as “repeatedly [denying] the authority of Scripture”, “deceitful,” “decidedly non-biblical,” and “a false teacher.”

What further astounded me is that Stanley’s church, NorthPoint Community Church, clearly states that the church believes “the Bible is without error.”

Andy Stanley is far from perfect, but I think British pastor and blogger, Andrew Wilson, has written an excellent defense of Andy Stanley. In a nutshell, Wilson argues that, “I don’t trust in Jesus because I trust the Bible; I trust the Bible because I trust in Jesus.” I would be curious to know what some of our Veracity readers think of all of this.

My take pretty much follows from what something my late pastor emeritus, Dick Woodward, taught a number of years ago: The Bible is true, not simply because the Bible says it is true. Rather, the Bible is true, because it is true.

Something to think about.

For some answers as to how one might think about archaeology and Jericho, you might want to start here and here. For a 13-minute interview that Southern Baptist leader, Russell Moore, has with Andy Stanley, give this a listen:


Grace & Truth (& Distractions)

From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
John 1:16-17 (NIV84)

Being a blogger is a lot like being a fisherman—lines in the water all over the place, always fishing for material to share.  I learn a lot.

One of the places I like to go fishing is in podcasts, listening to the likes of William Lane Craig, the scholars at Reasons To BelieveAndy Stanley, and Dick Woodward while commuting.  But this summer I agreed to read straight through the Old Testament, and that meant weeks of listening to the reading of all 39 books.  No podcasts—just reading through the Bible (an essential prerequisite for personal discipleship).

Finally, I reached the end of Malachi and the next day it was time for something new.  I really missed the podcasts, so I pulled out my iPhone and ran through some favorite podcast libraries, settling almost randomly on an Andy Stanley sermon entitled, “When Gracie Met Truthy.”  It’s a really powerful message on what it means to be a ‘Christian’, and I couldn’t wait to share it here on Veracity.

So here you go.  Click on the image below, then click on the video that appears and listen to some very fine homiletics.

When Gracie Met Truthy

Sometimes Less Is More

But…when I sat down to link everything up for this post, a simple Google search produced a lot more than I bargained for.  It turns out this is THE controversial sermon Andy Stanley preached on August 15th, 2012.  You know, the one where he made an illustration about a messy situation involving homosexuality and adultery.  The rocks started flying in the blogosphere, and even some big names weighed in on the attack. Continue reading


Your Move

Chess

How are you doing with your decision-making?

I have a long daily commute, with lots of time to fill running the Interstates of eastern Virginia.  Four months ago Veracity’s bass player, Clarke Morledge, got me into podcatching, and life hasn’t been the same since.  It’s definitely getting to me—there have been several times lately when I’ve been happy to be stuck in traffic.  Really.  I plug my iPhone into the car stereo and dive into a world of wonder, mentally shielded from the wacky races occurring all around me.  On-demand theology, philosophy, apologetics, interviews, sermons, and some of the world’s finest teaching.

If you need a how-to primer, check out our previous post on Podcasts & Podcatching, and give your spiritual life a real booster shot.  Try it, really.  If you want some great sources of Podcasts, check out Veracity’s Top 10 Scorers.

So What’s the Point of This Post?

OK, now that we have the mechanics out of the way, let’s get to the content.  One of my favorite (free) podcast subscriptions is Andy Stanley’s Your Move. Continue reading


How to Pray

Arts of the South

“Arts of the South” by Thomas Hart Benton, 1939

Here’s an absolute gem on the subject of prayer, from Andy Stanley.

The Backstory

I had two shots (spiritually speaking) to the solar plexus this week. First, Clarke Morledge posted a comment about listening to podcasts from a British apologetics website, and secondly I came across the above podcast by Andy Stanley.

Stag at Sharkey's

“Stag at Sharkey’s” by George Bellows, 1909

Prior to Clarke’s comment, I knew very little about podcasts. I must confess to being a little jaded about every new technology—who has the time? These days nearly every website has RSS and/or podcast feeds. So what? But I figured if Clarke finds it useful I may as well figure out what all the hoopla is about.

After many, many hours (thanks Clarke!) of researching and resourcing I was able to boil down how podcasts and feeds work, how to get them on my iPad, and how to play podcasts in my car. (For those who spend hours in traffic good audio material is a welcome relief.) Again…so what? This is cool stuff, but I then found myself listening to hours of slow, please-get-to-the-point, mostly boring material. Until I hit upon Andy Stanley’s podcast.

Part of what we’re trying to do with this blog is encourage you to become an autodidactic disciple of Jesus Christ. Some of that involves sharing resources, and some of that involves tools. Look for a forthcoming video that can save you hours of stumbling and fumbling around, and get you painlessly into podcasts and RSS feeds.

In the meantime, meditate on the above message—it packs quite a punch. Enjoy!


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