The Relevant Queries for Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley’s recent comments concerning homosexuality were ambiguous at best and a complete capitulation to the spirit of the age at worst. In any case, even ambiguity is unacceptable for a Christian pastor—much less one with the influence of Stanley. Stanley is not an outlier in the wider evangelical movement. He was raised a Southern Baptist. He received his formal theological training at an evangelical seminary. He is a leader of leaders, a well-known author, and a highly sought-after speaker. As evangelical pastors go, he is near the top of the proverbial heap.

For these reasons, some kind of clarification would be in order concerning his recent remarks about homosexuality. Perhaps an interview with a journalist or even a press release will appear in the next couple of days. At the very least, a statement to his church is needed and would go a long way toward clarifying the issues. Whether or not he’ll actually talk to a reporter or make a statement, I do not know. But if he did, here are the questions that need to be answered.

1. Do you believe that the Bible teaches that homosexual behavior is sin? Do you agree with the Bible?

This is not a question of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. We are not talking about adiaphora or theological trivialities. We are talking about what is fast becoming the watershed moral question of our day. Pastors, you will not be able to duck this issue. You will not be able to obfuscate indefinitely. The spirit of the age is moving definitively away from Biblical sexual norms, and Christian pastors are either going to take their stand with scripture or they are going to sell-out the authority of the Bible. At the end of the day, this is the bottom line. What does the Bible teach and are you willing to preach it and live it?

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”

Titus 1:7-9 “For the overseer must be…holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, that he may be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict.”

2. Are practicing homosexuals allowed to become members of your church? Would you baptize a practicing homosexual?

One of the most troubling aspects of Stanley’s story is at the very end. Stanley describes seeing a divorced couple in one of his church’s Christmas services. The wife was accompanied by her new boyfriend, and the husband was accompanied by his male partner. Stanley celebrated the apparent reconciliation in this “modern family” and said that it was a “microcosm of the church.” This statement raises all sorts of questions, but the obvious one is this. Is Stanley saying that he would allow practicing homosexuals to join his church? Would he baptize into membership those who are in open rebellion against Jesus? Would he facilitate the illusion that they are right before God? Again, this is not adiaphora. The answer to this question will be the difference between heaven and hell for parishioners. How strict will be the judgment for a shepherd who declares to sinners “peace, peace” when there is no peace (Jer. 6:14; 8:11; Jas. 3:1).

This raises another question that begs to be answered: Why wasn’t church discipline invoked when a man forsook his wife and divorced her? The divorced couple seemed to be working things out for themselves, and the church appears to have had very little role in sanctioning the infidelity of this man. The failure of churches to practice redemptive church discipline is an open scandal not just at this church, but at countless other evangelical congregations. It is the reason that so many non-Christians look at our churches and conclude that the pews are full of hypocrites. When churches fail to discipline, the critics are right. Eventually, there will be no difference between the church and the world where redemptive discipline is absent.

1 Peter 2:9-10 “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”

1 Corinthians 5:1-2 “It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. And you have become arrogant, and have not mourned instead, in order that the one who had done this deed might be removed from your midst.”

Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

3. Are practicing homosexuals allowed any positions of leadership or responsibility in your church? If so, what positions?

Different churches have different approaches to the participation of non-members in the life of a congregation. Most churches (including my own) welcome non-Christians to attend our services. It is come one come all in our Sunday morning services. We would hope that all manner of sinners (including homosexual sinners) would sit under the preaching of the word and experience the grace of the gospel. That being said, most churches also place some limits on the participation of non-members and non-Christians. What limits are there at North Point? Apparently, practicing homosexuals are allowed to be a part of the church’s welcome committee. This strongly suggests that they themselves are not only members but also allowed some position of leadership and responsibility. Would they also be allowed to join a small group? Lead a small group? Teach a small group?

2 Timothy 2:2 “And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

Jude 1:4 “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

No doubt there are many other questions that could be asked, but these are the ones that I think are the most obvious. The answer to these questions will be the difference between faithfulness and apostasy. The stakes couldn’t be any higher.

I have a hard time believing that Andy Stanley wishes to abandon the church’s two thousand year old ethic on human sexuality. I could be wrong, but a wholesale rejection of the Bible’s teaching just seems unlikely to me. I’m holding out hope that he will offer a correction of the impression left by his remarks. I’ll be the first in line to rejoice when he does.

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You can listen to Andy Stanley’s sermon below or download it here. The relevant portion begins at the 23:00 minute mark. In the video version, it starts at 24:30.

37 Responses to The Relevant Queries for Andy Stanley

  1. Joshua Waulk May 1, 2012 at 10:48 pm #

    Denny,

    “Long time listener; First time caller.” Thanks for your blog in general, and for this post. Your questions are spot on. My fear is that we’re potentially watching as another brother is blown off court by the winds of our culture. Let’s hope not.

  2. Robert Angison May 1, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    I really think you’re making a huge issue out of something that was taken out of context. I’d challenge you to reconsider these questions in light of not only the sermon from Sunday but also in light of Andy Stanley’s broader ministry,

    The view that he was accepting or condoning homosexual behavior in his message is wrong when one listens to the entire message and the broader context. Thankfully Andy doesn’t have answer to you and this won’t encumber him, but it is saying something about the nature of our engagement with each other that we feel more justified putting this out there publicly rather than asking privately first.

    From my knowledge of Andy’s broader ministry (which I am being charitable here) they have specific standards for serving and leading at Northpoint. Why not ask him first? These are easy answers if we go back over his talks and leadership lessons. I am stunned that this kind of rebuke is being handled so poorly, particularly when Andy didn’t say anything remotely resembling an endorsement of homosexuality. His illustration was a broader story about extending grace to those who hurt us. I am disappointed in my convention leaders over this and how it is being handled.

  3. Ryan Phelps May 2, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    Waiting, hoping, for necessary clarification and correction.

  4. Dan Phillips May 2, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    Very good and needed. If Stanley’s sound, he’d WELCOME the opportunity for clarification. (In which case, God save him from his “friends.”)

    You’re trying to do proactively what I tried to do with the Elephant Room 2 / T. D. Jakes debacle, not once, but twice. Those and other such attempts were ignored and given no traction, to disastrous results.

    Hope the same doesn’t happen with yours. I’ll do my part.

  5. Beck Gambill May 2, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    After listening to his sermon I actually was just as concerned about his overall stance on sin, repentance, holiness and salvation, let alone homosexuality. I’ve respected his teaching for years and appreciated his writing but this sermon unsettled me. I too am hoping to hear his position on homosexuality clarified and cleared up.

  6. Steve Hayes May 2, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    I listened to Stanley’s message. Interesting, well delivered, compelling. True on so many levels. This issue seems to me to be an exercise in missing the point. I’m sure Stanley will clarify (he has no choice at this point), but in my opinion he is the victim of modern Phariseeism at it’s finest.

    The troubling thing that Al Mohler has done here is that he’s taken a tertiary component of a sermon illustration and made it the main point of Stanley’s message (which it was not), and to make matters worse, he’s used this side bar issue to indict the mega church on the whole. Man! How unfair is that?

    He doesn’t point to any hard evidence that mega church’s have gone soft on homosexuality, but instead uses the subtle omission of a illustrative story to prove that all mega churches are liberal hot beds of homosexual pandering. How reckless and careless.

    I love Al Mohler and thunk he’s absolutely brilliant. I also love Denny Burk and am proud to call him friend. But this is unfortunate and I’ll conceived criticism. They have the right to level it, and I understand why they might, but they shouldn’t.

    All I can hope is that Andy Stanley will clarify his stance in a way that preserves the trust that he’s worked to establish within evangelicalism. Unfortunately he will be forever tainted by some regardless of his response. That’s a shame, because that wasn’t really his point.

    • Denny Burk May 2, 2012 at 10:54 am #

      Hey, Steve. I hear you, brother. The megachurch discussion is really distraction as far as I’m concerned. The real issue here is clarity on this seminal biblical teaching. As I said above, the sermon was at best unclear, at worst unfaithful. This topic is not one that pastors can afford to be ambiguous about. There are countless ways to give an illustration about loving gay people that would not have introduced the confusion that this illustration has.

      Stanley is very purposeful and strategic in everything that he does. That’s why it’s hard to just write is off as a slip of the tongue. I hope, however, that you are right and that he didn’t mean what it sounded like he meant. I’ll be the first in line to rejoice if that’s the case.

      Great to hear from you, bro!

      • Adam Shields May 3, 2012 at 8:41 am #

        The complaint, if not about megachurch, is then about the omission of a statement when it is not the primary purpose of either the illustration or the sermon.

        So I still do not get the issue. Preachers can always say more about something. Sins of omission are very hard to prove intent.

        I said this yesterday but I say it again, Northpoint has been working for years to reach out to the gay community of Atlanta. Public statements like this (especially when he has publicly stated before that homosexual activity is sin and the church has a clear policy that is on the website about where gay attenders can and cannot serve) can only serve one purpose. It makes it more difficult to reach out to a community that needs Christ in order to placate people that already know Christ. That is the opposite of serving Christ in this situation.

  7. Steve Hayes May 2, 2012 at 11:28 am #

    Good to hear from you too, Denny. I love you!

    I just didn’t find this message as ambiguous as you. He clearly mentions early in the message that gay people come to his church because they don’t want to always hear that they’re ok from a gay church. Instead, they want to hear what the Bible really says. Implication: Northpoint doesn’t tell gay people that they’re ok.

    Same with the divorce issue. He clearly says that his teaching on divorce is very tense, and people who’ve been divorced feel both condemned and loved by Northpoint. Implication: Northpoint doesn’t just tickle ears with it’s teaching on divorce.

    So, in a message about the tension between grace and truth (which is a clear tension, a point that Stanley supports throughout the message, citing multiple scriptural examples), he closes with a story designed intentionally to be tense and ambiguous. But it’s not really that ambiguous because he’s already tipped his hand earlier in the message.

    This is tension by design, but if you look closely enough, the tension is clarified by the message on the whole. I just don’t see much to be concerned about here.

    • Don Johnson May 3, 2012 at 9:35 am #

      Steve,

      You wrote “Same with the divorce issue. He clearly says that his teaching on divorce is very tense, and people who’ve been divorced feel both condemned and loved by Northpoint. Implication: Northpoint doesn’t just tickle ears with it’s teaching on divorce.”

      I am very concerned about the claimed aspect of divorced people feeling condemned at his church, as I do not think this is what God wants at all. Do you have a link to such a teaching.

      • Adam Shields May 3, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

        This is the most recent from last fall, but he has preached on the sins and ramifications of divorce a number of times.

        http://www.northpoint.org/messages/shocking-statements-of-jesus

        What is frustrating is that people outside are both condemning him for things he isn’t saying and condemning him for saying things that he hasn’t.

        I believe that some people could feel bad about previous sin of divorce when hearing this set of messages. But I think taken as a whole it is clear that he is not intending to condemn anyone but to preach clearly that divorce is wrong.

    • Denny Burk May 4, 2012 at 12:40 am #

      Hey, Steve. I hear ya, but even that statement was ambiguous. It sounded like the gay people were wondering if they would be accepted into this church as they are, not as repentant sinners.

  8. Larry Geiger May 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    “I have a hard time believing that Andy Stanley wishes to abandon the church’s two thousand year old ethic on human sexuality.” Our churches have already done this. God is sending us a message that our previous failures led to our current situation. The church did not stand up in the fifties and sixties and speak the truth. It’s coming back to haunt us. Our churches are full of men and women sitting in the pews with their new spouse/significant other/”friend” and their ex’s sitting across the aisle with theirs. And those same folks are sitting in elder meetings and leading classes and even in the pulpit. Which all leads us where?

  9. Beck Gambill May 2, 2012 at 11:06 pm #

    I thought the same thing. As concerned as I was about the whole ambiguous homosexual stance, I was just as concerned about his stance on grace and truth. God’s truth to us is grace. I don’t think truth and grace can or should be separated out the way he seemed to want to. Also to say there was a tension in Jesus of grace and truth is troubling to me. We humans certainly struggle to live out the full measure of truth and grace but I certainly disagree that Jesus experienced any such struggle. The full measure of grace and truth in the person of Jesus doesn’t produce tension, it is complete and whole. Considering Jesus inconsistent in his response to people is ascribing mere human qualities and not accounting for the divine. Saying Jesus in truth states you’re a sinner but grace says I don’t condemn you seemed to be missing the crucial step of repentance. While Andy Stanley is certainly a brilliant communicator and some of his points were good, I found myself confused by the end.

    • Beck Gambill May 3, 2012 at 1:38 am #

      I just went back and listened to the very first sermon of his series. I was convicted that I had spoken without all the information. It is an excellent sermon and while I still am unable to embrace his casual handling of certain topics I felt that the beginning is certainly the place to start. You should check it out, it may provide some clarity.

    • Don Johnson May 4, 2012 at 8:38 am #

      http://www.agapehealing.org/pdfs/GraceAndTruth.pdf

      is a useful short paper discussion Dr. Henry Cloud’s understanding of grace and truth.

      As my summary, grace without truth can lead to license while truth without grace can lead to legalism, so they are in a dynamic tension, similar to justice and mercy.

  10. Beck Gambill May 3, 2012 at 1:42 am #

    I just listened to the first sermon of Andy Stanley’s series Christian. Powerful! I think listening to the entire series certainly will give context to this one questionable sermon. I’m not comfortable with how casually he talked about the issue of homosexuality but after hearing the sermon in context with other parts of the series I feel more certain that Andy isn’t on the way to flinging truth out the window.

  11. Jeremy May 3, 2012 at 3:36 am #

    I attend NP and was there for this message. I have been attending for three years and have been pleasantly surprised and discouraged by some things I have seen. Although I don’t work for NP or represent them, I think I can try to answer these.

    1. Yes. But he, for reasons I don’t know, is very careful when he talks about it. I think he doesn’t think he has the time to deal with something like homosexuality as delicately as he wants to from the pulpit. But I also think that he doesn’t want to push anyone who is gay away from his church. He has had numerous opportunities to mention homosexuality when preaching, but always ‘forgets’ to. He is willing to publicly tackle other sexual sins, but shys away from this one.
    2. Obviously yes going by what he said. You become a member, as I did, online – without talking to a real person at any time in the process. I do remember having to agree with their doctrinal statement, but I dont remember anything about sexuality on it. I had your concerns about 2-3 as soon as I heard the message. Why is one sexual sin, adultery, not acceptable for a leadership position while homosexuality is. Andy did not talk about the elephant in the room. But at NP there are certain things that Andy and NP prides itself on being a megachurch and not being afraid to talk about publicly, but homosexuality is not one.
    3. I don’t know. I’ve never seen or heard of one, but obviously some are as the message says. I don’t know if there is a cut-off – a leadership level with higher standards. I know I work with kids and am a small group leader and this issue was not part of the requirements. You have to be a member to be a small group leader.

    There are things NP does well. They get people involved who are regular attenders. They do get you out of your comfort zone. They really target unbelievers. Andy speaks to where people are at. But it is a highly produced church. Andy has an astonishingly poor view of the narrative of Scripture and how Jesus fits into the OT. The preaching makes it seem that the OT is just a series of moral examples (take down your personal Goliaths; Michael Horton is gagging). The entire church raised 1.5 million for the needy around Atlanta. Great! But they spent 5 million on a bridge to alleviate traffic entering and leaving NP. But remember their philosophy is to make disciples (good) by letting everyone know that they built NP as a place for unbelievers (not so good).

  12. Jeremy May 3, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    After talking to a staff member at NP, I received clarity. NP does believe that homosexuality is a sin. You cannot be a member who is an active/practicing homosexual. You can serve at the lower levels and be a practicing homosexual, but not with children and not a small group leader and anything above that. I must have forgotten that NP makes its members and leaders beyond host teams affirm this. Andy’s summer ’11 message ‘The Separation of Church and Hate’ spells out NP’s philosophy. Andy’s motto is that is is too easy to make a stand and not a difference. NP’s exact position on homosexuality is not found online, but I think is given to almost all those who serve and every member. And they must all affirm it.

    Feel any better?

    • Adam Shields May 3, 2012 at 5:48 pm #

      It is unlikely that most people will be satisfied with the long term stance of the church. The church as a clear position it hasn’t changed and anyone connected to the church has access to it if they want it.

    • Denny Burk May 4, 2012 at 12:51 am #

      Well, yeah, sort of. I still think it’s pastoral malpractice to believe the truth in private and not affirm it plainly from the pulpit–especially when a pastor speaks about an issue in a way that can very easily be understood as opposed to the truth–or in a way that seems calculated to communicate something about homosexuality which the pastor really does not believe.

      2 Corinthians 4:2 “We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways. We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.”

      • Adam Shields May 4, 2012 at 7:13 am #

        But the point is that he has spoken clearly about these things before. This was not the point of the sermon. As I said it is unlikely that the actual beliefs of the church and positions that they have had a for a while matter to anyone complaining.

        It is not malpractice to not explicitly talk about a subject that is not the point of the sermon when you have spoken explicitly about it previously.

        It may be spiritual malpractice to accuse people of things publicly when they have had clear positions on them.

        If you want a counter verse, then maybe “Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matt 10:16. In both cases we are being given instructions as we preach the gospel.

        • Denny Burk May 4, 2012 at 7:54 am #

          Can you link to the sermon in which he speaks of these things clearly? I would like to add it to the main post.

          • Adam Shields May 4, 2012 at 10:23 am #

            I will go back and find some to link to. I will say that the times when he has been most explicit are when he is speaking before smaller groups and most of those are not easily available on line. But there are sermons where he addresses this.

            Here is a link to a volunteer covenant that is current and expressly says pretty much everything the church believes about these matters. Scroll down to the Covenant: Regarding Sexual Behavior

            http://www.northpoint.org/site/page/studentvolunteer/

  13. Eddie Robbins May 4, 2012 at 8:19 am #

    This is a case of the religious murmuring. “How can he…..” The most troubling thing here is that instead of doing what is required in scripture and going to a brother with a concern first, stuff gets stirred up on Twitter and blogs. I think you folks are taking advantage of a misunderstanding to push your own agendas. Again, the religious murmur.

  14. Adam Shields May 5, 2012 at 8:24 am #

    I want to take a different tack at this. I was rewatching sermons yesterday. I watched The Seperation of Church and Hate (http://www.northpoint.org/messages/the-separation-of-church-and-hate). Usually at least once a summer Andy does a sermon or a short series as an internal reminder of what the church’s outreach strategy is all about. This is a long sermon, just over 50 minutes with a pretty detailed reasoning about why he believes public statements rarely solve the problem. I would encourage you to watch it. It is likely that you will disagree with his understanding of the role of the church, but I think that it is the best illustration of why you are unlikely to hear a statement from Andy outside of a sermon.

    But one last take at this particular sermon. If you have paid attention to any for any length of time you will notice that he almost always says something like “if you only get one thing out of this sermon…”. He has written lots about how to communicate and preach and one of his most consistant messages is that every sermon should have one point. Just one. If you have more than one, it should be a series.

    The point of this sermon is that we should strive to love in difficult situations just as Christ did. Can you think of a situation that is more difficult to love in than an ex-husband that is in a gay relationship. Not a single friend of this woman’s would tell her that she needs to reach out to them and invite them over for meals and maintain a relationship with them and invite them to church. That is the point of the illustration. The details of the illustration are there to show the extent of her love. Andy is just a side character, to make him the center of the illustration is to void the illustration.

    Do a thought experiment with me. Can you imagine what theological bloggers would have thought about Jesus’ parables? Look at the prodigal son, bloggers writing, “And the father forgives him? After he had rejected God and worshiped other god with temple prostitutes? The law says that the should should be put to death but the father in Jesus’ story has a party for him. Jesus is getting liberal, it must be because he is a traveling teachers, all traveling teachers must be bad.” What about the Samaritain? “Jesus yesterday gave an illustration of a Samaritain and said that the Samaritan loved God. But Jesus never said that the Samaritan rejected his countryman and left Samaria and worshipped the temple as prescribed. He didn’t say anything about that. He just said go and be like the Samaritan.”

    If you want to see what church policy is about homosexuality, read this covenent. This is language is used in all teaching, children and leadership roles. And it is also included as part of the membership agreement. It is just easies to link to in this application. Scroll down to the Covenant: Regarding Sexual Behavior

    http://www.northpoint.org/site/page/studentvolunteer/

    It is pretty explicit. Not just about homosexuality, but any sexual relationship outside of marriage, any addiction

  15. Greg Williams May 5, 2012 at 3:19 pm #

    What the responses show me is that Andy Stanley is certainly not alone in his lack of biblical discernment. Bro. Denny, your friend (Steve) shows little biblical discernment in his assessment of this situation. So I hope you have privately rebuked him for not understanding the biblical implications of his support of Stanley’s sermon. Also it is ridiculous to suggest that I have to listen to his previous sermons to see where Stanley is coming from. This is part of the bigger issue with Stanley and his preaching, it isn’t expository. If people would stop praising him for being a “master communicator” and start admonishing him for not preaching the text maybe such errors on his part could have been avoided. What Stanley does is not biblical preaching. Hence it is not surprising that his application to real life situations would not be biblical.

    For those who want to show sympathy for misunderstood Andy, how about some sympathy for the other lady in the story. I speak of the lady who was still married to the other gay guy in the story. When Andy confronts the gay couple he tells them that they cannot serve because the man is still married. Should not Andy have told the man to abandon this gay relationship and immediately seek reconciliation with his wife? Save your marriage. Let’s not even mention the poor kids in this horrific tale of misguided and misunderstood grace and truth. Andy Stanley may delight in what he sees as the “modern family” but what I see is the “modern family” failed by the “modern pastor.”

  16. Steve Hayes May 7, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Greg,

    I Have taken systematic theology courses by some fantastic Bible scholars. Do you think they should be rebuked because they taught their classes systematically (by topic) instead of in an expository manner? Do you think they lack discernment?

    Andy Stanley basically preached a sermon on the theological topic of grace and truth. He supported these topics with a lot of Scripture. Nothing in the main points of his message went against Scripture.

    This whole dust up reminds me of when the Pharisees tried to catch Jesus in by focusing on tertiary issues of law keeping instead of praising him for his balanced approach to grace and truth.

    Mark 3:2-6
    Another time Jesus went into the synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. 2 Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. 3 Jesus said to the man with the shriveled hand, “Stand up in front of everyone.”

    4 Then Jesus asked them, “Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they remained silent.

    5 He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. 6 Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

    Greg, you have a legalistic tone to your comments. You want to see me and others “rebuked”. I hope that the grace of God that so richly flows from our Savior will capture your heart. Grace and peace to you.

    • Greg Williams May 7, 2012 at 5:14 pm #

      Steve, I also have taken systematic classes under Bible scholars. Moreover, I have taken preaching classes under Bible scholars. So I know the difference between systematic theology and expository preaching. I would hope that you know the difference between the two and not use this as an excuse for Stanley. Furthermore, Stanley himself says he doesn’t believe in expository preaching. This is documented. Finally Steve stop hiding behind false spirituality. Whenever guys like you and Stanley are called out because you deviate from Scripture and truth, you all play the Pharisee card. You all try to portray yourselves as those in the line of Jesus but in actuality you are simply those who are in the line of those who have compromised with the age and those who refuse to stand for biblical truth. Since you quoted a verse let me do the same. Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,

  17. Greg Williams May 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    Titus 2:11-12
    For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,

  18. Steve Hayes May 7, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    Greg,

    You miss my point. Some preachers follow an expository path, and others follow a more topical and approach. I am ok with both as long as the Bible is truly taught. Some think all topical preaching is wrong, but that is not my view. Jesus often spoke on topics, and He didn’t always reference Old Testament passages in His preaching. But, then again, He is Jesus, so every word from His mouth was inspired. I understand both sides of this argument, but I believe there are those who can honor God while preaching on topics.

    I’m really not trying to hide behind what you call a “false spirituality”, and if you don’t like it when people play the “pharisee card”, stop sounding so much like one! In my earlier post I expressed my love for Denny as a friend because I want to make sure that he knows that, although I disagree with his take on this and find it petty and pharisaical, I still love and respect my old friend. Your response to that exchange was to admonish Denny to “rebuke” me. What an odd response, and one typical of those who value religion over the spirit of peace and unity among brothers.

    I’m sorry that you think I am hiding. I’m really not trying to hide. I’m expressing my opinion very clearly. I haven’t said one word about my view of homosexuality, because that wasn’t at all the point of pastor Stanley’s sermon. His point was the tension between grace and truth, but only a few people have actually engaged his thesis. Instead, you and others have chosen to focus on an omitted detail within a sermon illustration. I think that’s silly, but that’s just me.

    What I do take very seriously is the issue of homosexuality. I think it’s wrong, and I think it’s sinful. The Bible is clear about that and so am I. What I also believe about homosexuality is that the church is absolutely dreadful at engaging those who are lost in this lifestyle. We are terrible at showing these folks the love of Christ and the need for the gospel. I believe Andy Stanley and Northpoint church are actually ministering to gay people – in a city that has the largest gay population in the south – in a way that is redemptive and admirable. If that equals compromise in your mind, so be it. The pharisees probably thought Jesus’ ministry to tax collectors and the poor was compromise too.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and make the assumption that your church doesn’t have a ministry to homosexuals. Is that a safe assumption? What I’ve found is that Christians are great at condemning homosexuals (or pastor’s who reach out to them), and terrible at helping the gospel look beautiful and believable to them. By the way, I also think it’s wrong for Christians to embrace sin without demonstrating the truth of the gospel. So, I may not be exactly what you think I am. What I’m trying to be is balanced in my understanding of what happened. If you disagree with me, I’m ok with that.

    Again, grace and peace to you.

    • Greg Williams May 8, 2012 at 11:56 am #

      Steve, the site would not post my reply. Needless to say, your argument is flawed and unbiblical.

      • Steve Hayes May 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm #

        Well, I’m sorry your reply got axed. I guess this is the end for us.

        Grace and Peace to you.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Combing the Net – 5/2/2012 « Honey and Locusts - May 2, 2012

    […] The Relevant Queries for Andy Stanley — Denny Burk lists three questions he’d like to see answered by Andy Stanley in light of comments from a recent sermon. For the background on this story, see the Al Mohler article I posted yesterday. […]

  2. Andy Stanley: What You’re Not Saying is Speaking Loudly | Pleasing Pain - May 4, 2012

    […] The Relevant Queries for Andy Stanley (Denny Burk) Andy Stanley’s recent comments concerning homosexuality were ambiguous at best and a complete capitulation to the spirit of the age at worst. In any case, even ambiguity is unacceptable for a Christian pastor—much less one with the influence of Stanley. Stanley is not an outlier in the wider evangelical movement. He was raised a Southern Baptist. He received his formal theological training at an evangelical seminary. He is a leader of leaders, a well-known author, and a highly sought-after speaker. As evangelical pastors go, he is near the top of the proverbial heap.  For these reasons, some kind of clarification would be in order concerning his recent remarks about homosexuality. Perhaps an interview with a journalist or even a press release will appear in the next couple of days. At the very least, a statement to his church is needed and would go a long way toward clarifying the issues. Whether or not he’ll actually talk to a reporter or make a statement, I do not know. But if he did, here are the questions that need to be answered.  (click here to read the rest) Share this post?TwitterFacebookMoreEmailPrintDiggRedditStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. This entry was posted in Christian Life. Bookmark the permalink. […]

  3. Update on the Stanley Conversation | Denny Burk - May 7, 2012

    […] over the meaning of church membership, church discipline, and pastoral care. As I said in my earlier post, the failure to practice redemptive church discipline is an open scandal in countless evangelical […]

  4. Andy Stanley’s Perplexing Silence Far From Golden | From Law to Grace - May 8, 2012

    […] Dr. Albert Mohler (here), President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Denny Burk (here), Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Southern’s Boyce College, some have argued that […]

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