Al Mohler - Is the Megachurch the New Liberalism?
- About SI
Not a big follower of Stanley, but I did watch this sermon since so many of my people love his Dad. It is a really strange discussion of "grace" and "truth" with little on screen graphics of this horribly broken family that is a marvelous example of grace because they all came to church together on Christmas. The new homosexual couple are allowed to be hosts for visitors at a satellite campus since they are now properly divorced from their wives.
But what stands out is his discussion of "grace and truth." It appears that grace is acceptance, and truth is not God's standard, but the messy reality of life. This lady's husband is gay, and left her for a man (who left his wife for her man). That's the "truth." Grace was when she learned not to be bitter about it, and they all get along wonderfully now.
Clearly neither divorce nor homosexuality are issues at Northpoint. But it's not like they don't have standards. As long as the divorced homosexual's partner was still married (to his wife), "you can't serve on a host services team," because that's "good old-fashioned adultery."
Painful to watch, but you can find it here. Click on #5 and the interesting part starts about 24 minutes in.
The first time I evaluated AStanley some years ago I came away convinced he was not theologically driven but was, instead, philosophically driven. Some might protest that AS's non-comment on the homosexual end is just that, a non-comment and it should be left alone. However, his audience is not stupid and many undetstand his silence speaking very loudly. We shall see what comes.
I don't have a problem so much with the part on "gracey." I am very concerned about how he defines "truthy." Does he let sinners know they are sinners at all?
It is quite clear that he limits people in ministry for adultery, but not for practicing homosexuality. I have since listened to an earlier sermon in the same series where he says the early church just loved people, and never judged them (basing that on 1 Cor 5), and Christians should pretty much just model Christianity and let people be drawn to that. (Clearly he has never read the early fathers). I also read that in a book he said unbelievers should have a role in ministry, so he may believe the homosexuals in the visitor ministry are unsaved. But then why forbid them for adultery, which judges them as believers? So his philosophy of ministry is starting to come together for me. So, does he actually preach the New Testament Gospel?
from the article:
A heretic? When did I say that, Chris? I'm just trying to understand where he's coming from. It is a bizarre but well planned sermon. To spend that much time on an illustration about people he knows and leave the homosexuality issue hanging is cause for grave concern. Would you do that?
Anyway, you can see the reference I made to Stanley saying unbelievers should have a role in ministry comes from this review of his book at 9 Marks. I hope that is sufficient substantiation.
These are the actual words Pastor Stanley spoke at the end of his message to/about unbelievers.
He said he wants everyone from every walk of life to know, "God says, 'Yes you've sinned and I paid for it. And you're not condemned and I love you.' And if you don't get that from reading words on a page, then perhaps when you go to My body you will sense grace and truth in such a redemptive way that it will change your life forever."
That's it. He does use the word "sin" in general terms. Certainly in this message, at least, repentance and faith are absent. It's not hard to understand why Mohler and others find this disconserting. I do.
i understood your comment ("…does he actually preach the New Testament Gospel?") as a rhetorical question, meaning stanley was a heretic in the sense of preaching another gospel (gal1:6-9). maybe that's not actually what you meant.
would i spend that much time on this story without taking 30 seconds to clearly include the homosexual part of the situation in the sin problem? no, but i'm inclined to give someone the benefit of the doubt on serious charges until they clearly say something. before i wrote a piece like mohler's, i would have definitely contacted stanley for clarification on the issue.
anyway, this is the first time i'd ever heard anything from stanley, and it might be the last. but, i think by pointing out the adultery angle, he was saying that this situation wasn't even about some theological disagreement about the sinfulness of the situation. i think he picked the weirdest family situation he had encountered not to say that it was a good situation, but to say that grace should be extended even in the situations that make us uncomfortable. when i listen to minutes 34–37, i think he's making it clear that he doesn't discount sin as being ok.
How do you know he didnt contact Stanley? But regardless, there's no need to contact someone privately to comment on something they have said or written publicly.
how about we just call it how it is. this guy is a false teacher. no need to complicate things so much trying to define the situation.
Some time ago I listened to the 1st sermon in a series by Stanley.
He spoke for 50 minutes and it wasn't until near the 45 minute mark that he referenced the text of scripture. He mentioned an OT story but provided no book or chapter for the story.
Then in the last few minutes of his "speech" he referenced the scripture for the 2nd time. He quoted a verse (out of it's context) and mentioned the NT book, but again gave no chapter or verse. I didn't bother to listen to the rest of the series.
Not a big fan of Andy Stanley. He did make a statement that people should wait for the concluding sermon before making assumptions. I hope he clarifies for the sake of his congregation. Let's just say I give it less than a 50/50 chance of there being a good clarification.
That said: folks, don't leave people hanging in a sermon series. Each sermon should be self-contained enough so someone doesn't leave confused if they don't make it back.
For what it's worth, I asked this question of a Northpoint member in an online discussion:
This was the answer I received:
so in other words, they are saying "No, we don't get involved in other people's lives. Each person does whatever they want. We don't want to judge."
Ironic that they would say that they are there to love in grace and truth. Yet they are not proclaiming the truth if they do speak against homosexuality, and all other sexual immorality.
Apparently they have the "neither do I condemn thee" but not the "go and sin no more."
There is actually some helpful reposnses and clarifications from members of North Point over at From Law to Grace. Read the comments section if you're interested.
This is not the first false teaching that Andy Stanley has done, it is just the first time others have noticed. On some blogs people are pointing out the innocent woman and child who asked Andy to do church discipline, Andy said no, and the woman had to do her own discipline on her wayward husband. I am a woman much like her except my husband was adulterous, divorced me unbiblically and continued in adultery by dating women at Buckhead church. He had removed his wedding ring, was serving on the host team to case out the women, and pretending that he was single. I was criticized for being a whistle-blower instead of anyone thanking me for protecting the women sheep. I met with Andy twice for a couple of hours each time, but he told me that I had to accept that he would not do church discipline on my MEMBER husband at Buckhead. He just said no both times and gave me no reason. On the Buckhead membership application it asks:
Membership at Buckhead Church signifies a willingness to partner with us and be identified as a follower of Christ - death to your old life and having received a new life through Christ. Although everyone is a sinner, life in Christ should be seen in our daily life.
Is your lifestyle reflective of your life in Christ?
Yes No I would like to speak to someone
I assume that my husband lied about this since he is deceived to believing that he is a Christian and recently told me that he knew he would go to heaven but that God would punish him for his sins there! Andy did remove him from the host team. But if you really examine Andy's teaching for years, the repentance word is almost never mentioned. He used to not even mention the sin word very much, but now it seems that he is using the grace of Jesus Christ as a license to sin as the Bible points out in Jude 4 and 2 Peter 2 and 3. His Northpoint pastor mentioned 'hell' but you don't hear Andy ever mention hell. In his Judgment Call message he preached on 1 Corinthians 5 and said that church discipline was not his job or the job of the family. My children all had asked Dad to repent and since he refused, they would not eat with him because they went to a Christian school and knew what God expected. Andy said it was the job of the small group leaders to "expel the man". Wrong. I did ask both of his two small group leaders (one was a Northpoint member) to do what Andy said, but they both refused. When i asked Andy if I could go to the elders about this need (in order to save my husband and restore my family plus OBEY God) he told me that no I couldn't because he is the final authority.
Andy has preached two other times on 1 Corinthians 5 and most recently said that we do a poor job of discipline on Christians (those saying that they are Christians and living in sexual sin) and almost mocked God in saying that Paul said so that they would be turned over to Satan to bring about a change. Buthe didn't want to talk about the need for church discipline and what the Bible says as to what MUST be done. His focus of the message was on how Christians shouldn't treat unbelievers according to our standards, That is totally true but to abdicate responsibility for obeying God prescription for any sexual sin that a "believer" is caught up in is very poor leadership. I also tried to point out other preachers who do preach church discipline such as Francis Chan, Matt Carter (Austin Stone Community Church), etc. Unfortunately, I know several other women who have sought Andy to do discipline, and he has refused them too. It seems that he loves those who are sinfully rebelling instead of those who are trying to live biblically. I asked the church how were they loving on me, but they had no answer.
They do baptize people who are living in sin. My husband who unbiblically divorced me as a member of Buckhead Church and therefore should not date and remarry because that is additional adultery according to Matt. 5:32 got remarried Easter weekend without telling me or his children. He sent us an email that he had remarried. After doing some research I found her name and discovered the video of the her baptism the week before the wedding at Buckhead Church. I am sorry that she has never been married before and is now unbiblically remarried making her an adulteress according to Jesus. This gets me to some more of Andy's false teaching. In the Shocking Statements of Jesus series, he preached on divorce and remarriage. First he gave the truth of what the Bible says. Then he said "this is what I think and tell my pastors"... if the people wanting to get remarried have waited two years from the divorce, then they can marry them if they want. So the adultery of divorcing your wife when she has not been unfaithful, and the adultery of remarriage which makes the person who marries you an adulteress is somehow magically not a sin if you wait two years? It seems clear that Andy is using grace as a license to sin.
Additional false teaching has been presented on the parable of the talents(Matt 25) which starts off as the kingdom of God is like... and ends with the useless servant who buried his money and disappointed the master being "put into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth". As soon as Andy read it, he said to the audience "don't worry, this doesn't mean hell" and gave a face and gnashing of teeth explaination of what it really meant. I was disgusted. Recently I have seen that Charles Stanley says that weeping and gnashing of teach is not hell in his book Eternal Security. I haven't seen a single commentary say that it isn't hell. How are we to win people to Christ if we don't tell them the truth? Francis Chan's book Erasing Hell talks about this problem in churches today. Sadly many are going to bei hearing Matthew 7:21-23 from Jesus--only those who obey the will of God will enter heaven, you can call me Lord, Lord, do lots of great works, but since you continued in disobedience/lawlessness/sin, "Go away, I never knew you".
I had to remove my membership because I could not submit to Andy's authority any more when he is getting so unbiblical. He preached on Acts, but refused to cover Acts 5 of how God handled the sin of lying. He doesn't preach on 1 John 3 or Hebrews and if you deliberately keep on sinning. It isn't truly loving people if you are not encouraging them to repent. It is telling them peace, peace when there is no peace. Charles Spurgeon and George Whitefield are still right. Whitefield's Method of Grace sermon which is online tells what true grace is to win people to Christ. Andy will be preaching scripture and stop short if there is something controversial. He doesn't preach on Psalm 15 of who will get into God's kingdom....
Who may worship in your sanctuary, Lord?
Who may enter your presence on your holy hill?
2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
3 Those who refuse to gossip
or harm their neighbors
or speak evil of their friends.
4 Those who despise flagrant sinners,
and honor the faithful followers of the Lord,
and keep their promises even when it hurts.
He doesn't preach on anything to do with hell. I fear it seems that he may be growing to support universalism. He had William P. Young of The Shack come and speak at Buckhead Church one evening which is also false teaching as has been pointed out by Albert Mohler, Michael Youssef, Tim Challies and so on. He is a universalist. If you read 2 Peter 2 there are definitely red flags to be seen.He had Michele Obama come speak to the church which bothered a lot of folks because of the administration's position on abortion
I was a false coversion in a liberal Baptist church myself, and fortunately through this chaos, I came to my own repentance, surrender and receiving the Holy Spirit. I was baptized at Northpoint after my liberal Baptist church refused to baptize me (since I had been baptized at 12 though no real signs of conversion) and the pastor wrote me a note to leave the church. I have warned Andy over and over about producing false conversions, but he does not respond. I warned the Lead Pastor of the Northpoint campus about Andy's false teaching and he did not respond. The staff of pastors that also preach there are great. I have never heard a false teaching word from them, but Andy is totally in charge. Biblical illiteracy makes it very easy for these preachers. We are commanded to test what we hear against the Scriptures.Unfortunately cheap grace, easy believism and the watered-down gospel create believers who are not disciples. I was happy to hear Andy point out that a true Christian is a follower, but I don't know how many will get it when there is no call to holiness and godly living.
Not long ago Andy mentioned with admiration Joel Osteen. He gave a personal story of Joel talking to Andy about having a preacher father. He mentioned that Joel is number 1 and that NP is number 3. He said he so admired Joel preaching the gospel in every message. I submit that most people with biblical discernment know that Joel preaches the prosperity gospel. Andy doesn't preach the prosperity gospel, but the easy believism gospel or antinomian gospel. For an explanation of these go to http://www.gotquestions.org/antinomianism.html http://www.gotquestions.org/easy-believism.html
I really believe Andy wants to be a church for only unbelievers and those that are only desiring "milk". He thinks that there are enough churches out there for the meat eaters. The only problem is that he will be held responsible for those who listened to him and did not progress to the desire for meat because he rationalized sin, didn't call them to holy living and only gave the grace of God without warning of the wrath of God against sin. Ezekel 2 and 3 tell us that the messenger must deliver the message or he will be held accountable by God for those who die in their sins. If he delivers the message and they don't listen, they will die in their sins, but he will have saved himself.
One more example, Andy preached on John 3 and being born again, but he left out John 3:36 And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.” God in His marvelous grace gives us so many warnings because He is a just God. Fully grace, fully truth, fully justice,fully love, fully severe-- Reading Knowing God by J. I. Packer takes the focus off of who we are and who He is. To God be the glory. Terry