Faithlife Sermons

Andy Stanley and the House of Cards

Sermon Tone Analysis
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Open: Picture of “Modern Family” at Northpoint. The ex-husband and his “partner” are prevented from continuing to serve on the greeter team when church leadership discovers the “partner” is still married to his wife. The reason given is because adultery is a sin.
Transition: Stanley shares this story in his sermon titled “When Gracie met Truthy” and he uses it to illustrate how messy ministery is. In the entire 10 minute clip he never addresses the sin of homosexuality; he does not allow the active homosexual lifestyle to disqualify the two men from serving in a church ministry. Indeed, the only reason he had the other pastor deny them the opportunity was due to the incomplete divorce of the partner.

The False Teaching of Andy Stanley

Background: Andy Stanley is the son of prominent Southern Baptist leader Charles Stanley, the long-time conservative pastor of First Baptist, Atlanta. Andy is a pastor in his own right, and helped begin North Point Community Church, at which he is now the senior pastor. The church has several satellite campuses and Stanley’s messages reach approximately 32,000 people in their family of churches, and thousands more through on-line access.
Ministry Philosophy: Andy is very focused on reaching the un-churched and those who have “left” the church (those who have been “de-converted). His mission is to remove any obstacles, real or imagined, that may get in a person’s way from becoming a Christ-follower.
Serious Concerns / False Teaching This mission of North Point is admirable and biblical. The problem arises when one looks at the means which Andy uses to reach the unchurched or the de-churched. Stanley firmly believes that the Church should place no obstacles or difficulties between people and the Gospel. A serious problem occurs when he allows cultural relevance to alter the message.
Stanley has become convinced over time that the Old Testament and its moral directives have no place in the modern church. He has placed increased emphasis on “unhitching” the OT from Christianity church for several years, and as a result, is a False Teacher.
This mission is admirable and biblical.

Sermon Series Who Needs God (2016)

Quote: “We’ve been talking about the fact that you can be a Christian and you can believe just about anything you want and do just about anything you want because the Bible doesn’t even tell us what one is.” (Note: This Andy Stanley quote is from the Sermon Series “Christian” not from “Who Needs God Series”
Video Clip: from the message “The Bible Tells Me so” Clip is from 6:45 - 8:20
Observations: Note what Stanley declares, “this is where our trouble began” and follows that statement with “the implication is the bible is the reason we believe” He then takes issues with the authority of the Bible when he tells his audience that the Bible is not sufficient for life answers. In his opinion, the Bible does not settle issues - he leaves that to science and culture. He continues by telling his audience of 30,000 plus that “Christianity cannot survive if the Bible goes away … or if every part of the Bible is not true. … If the Bible if the foundation of our faith, It is all or nothing”
“the implication is the bible is the reason we believe
Critique; Stanley has heard a multitude of “de-conversion” accounts and reasons why people left the church, and his take away is that the Old Testament is a hang up to many people. His solution is to de-emphasize it and to not allow it to bear on the Gospel. Stanley’s apologetic is to focus on the Resurrection of Jesus. He states that if a person can predict his own death and resurrection, and then pulls it off, we need to listen.
Of course the NT places a premium on the Resurrection and without it, Christianity does not exist as a viable faith. Jesus, the person and object of the Resurrection, did not make any effort to do away with the OT. As a matter of fact, Jesus stated that He came to intensify and internalize the law and the prophets (). And, concerning the Resurrection, Paul’s apologetic for belief in the event was argued from the OT Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:1-3)
Christianity cannot survive if the Bible goes away or if every part of the Bible is not true. If the Bible if the foundation of our faith, It is all or nothing

Sermon Series Aftermath (2018)

Video Clip. In this series which follows the after effects of the Resurrection, Stanley give another emphasis to “unhitching the OT” from Christianity. The clip is from a youtube video and is from 35:23 to 37:38
Observations: Stanley presents a post - Resurrection Christianity that “does not need propping up by the Jewish Scriptures. Since “many have lost faith” due to an issue with the Bible, especially the OT, we need to cut it loose. Stanley refers to the Creation account in Genesis as a “myth” and refers to a Bible-based faith as “a house of cards
Letting go of the OT is “liberating” for many people, especially for those who “find it virtually impossible to embrace … the worldview and value system of ancient Israel
Critique: Stanley presents a false dichotomy. He is stating that if one is attracted to the Gospel, then he or she will not be able to embrace the historicity of the OT, nor will he or she be able to maintain faithfulness in believing the OT. He states that this casting off of the OT is liberating for those in need of Grace, with the implication that a person who holds to the historicity of the OT is not in need of Grace.
While the Gospel is most clearly presented in the NT Gospels, the OT Scriptures provide serious foundation and preparation for the Gospel. If there was not an Adam and Eve who sinned in the Garden, then why does every single person need a Savior? If Jesus believed in Noah and God’s judgment through a world-wide flood, why should we write it off as a myth?
More importantly, Jesus Himself stated that the OT Scriptures were the source of information about Himself.
John 5:29 ESV
and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.
John 5:39 ESV
You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me,

Summary view of Andy Stanley’s teaching

Since 2012, many conservative Christian leaders have been voicing concern over Stanley’s delving into liberalism. He has been invited by several of these leaders to explain his views in the case he is being misunderstood or misinterpreted. On each of these occasions, Stanley has not only stood by his position, he is openly encouraging other ministers to follow his lead “for the future health of Christianity.”
In an interview in Aug. 2016 with Russell Moore of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Stanley had this to say: “When we do wide, into the net preaching and services we de-church,” explained Stanley. “So on this particular Sunday there were no prayers, there was no worship music, there was no corporate singing, there was no offering… If you showed up on that Sunday, you would judge me harshly as a pastor and a preacher.”
Stanley noted right off the bat that his goal for preaching is for unchurched people to be so excited by what they hear that they want to come back and bring a friend. “If your church people are not comfortable bringing their unchurched friends to church, you just need to think about that.” Stanley drove his point home as he read a letter from an Atheist woman who relented to a friend’s request to visit one of Stanley’s satellite churches. After having a pleasant experience, she chose to return. “I am Atheist, but I belong to Browns Bridge Church,” read Stanley from her letter.
Close: Audio clip between Stanley and Jonathan Merritt on ‘Seekers and Speakers’ podcast. Clip is from 14:19 to 15:00
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