Andy Stanley, attack on authority of Scripture, cultural relevance, emergent theology, false doctrine, postmodernism, Reformation 21, seeker-driven church
Reposted from the Reformation 21 blog…
Why Andy Stanley? Well, a friend recently asked my opinion of Andy Stanley’s incoherent, seeker-mad anti-Christianity (okay, that’s not how he put it). I referred this article to him, plus a couple of other links BEFORE sharing my own thoughts.
I will spare you my thoughts, but they are available on request! To my friend, thanks for asking!
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
Article byMay 2013
For this month’s column, I thought I would offer a few reflections on Andy Stanley’s recent book, Deep and Wide: Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend. Here’s a classic passage which represents in miniature an entire universe of erroneous thinking.
People are far more interested in what works than what’s true. I hate to burst your bubble, but virtually nobody in your church is on a truth quest. Including your spouse. They are on happiness quests. As long as you are dishing out truth with no here’s the difference it will make tacked on the end, you will be perceived as irrelevant by most of the people in your church, student ministry, or home Bible study. You may be spot-on theologically, like the teachers of the law in Jesus’ day, but you will not be perceived as one who teaches with authority. Worse, nobody is going to want to listen to you.
Now, that may be discouraging. Especially the fact that you are one of the few who is actually on a quest for truth. And, yes, it is unfortunate that people aren’t more like you in that regard. But that’s the way it is. It’s pointless to resist. If you try, you will end up with a little congregation of truth seekers who consider themselves superior to all the other Christians in the community. But at the end of the day, you won’t make an iota of difference in this world. And your kids…more than likely your kids, are going to confuse your church with the church and once they are out of your house, they probably won’t visit the church house. Then one day they will show up in a church like mine and want to get baptized again because they won’t be sure the first one took. And I’ll be happy to pastor your kids. But I would rather you face the reality of the world we live in and adjust your sails. Culture is like the wind. You can’t stop it. You shouldn’t spit in it. But, if like a good sailor you will adjust your sails, you can harness the winds of culture to take your audience where they need to go. If people are more interested in being happy, then play to that. Jesus did (Kindle 1216-1234).
To be sure, as grateful as I am to the Rev. Stanley for the offer to pastor my children and for providing me with fascinating insights into the philosophical convictions of my long-suffering wife, I cannot help but see this as a remarkably naïve piece of muddled thinking.
Read the rest of the article here.
For more on Andy Stanley, I highly recommend any of the releated programs on PIrate Christian Radio’s Fighting for the Faith. Just type in ‘Andy Stanley’ and away you go. Stick around for the rest of the program too. You will be amazed at what you learn.
Thanks for this post. It simply reflects an ever-growing pattern of thought which has completely departed from God’s way of thinking and doing.
Jesus would never make it today, saying things like, “Unless you eat my flesh, and drink my blood, you have no life in you.”
He drove off many back then. Would any stay with Him today?
The Narrowing Path said:
You make a good point Geno. Andy Stanley is nothing special or out of the ordinary when it comes to emergent seeker-driven false teachers, and the general godlessness of much of the visible ‘church’. There is a catch cry for a particular brand of intellectual vanity that abounds at the moment…no doubt you are familiar with it:’I eat the meat, and spit out the bones’. There are many people choking on bones and they don’t even realize it. I was one of those people. It does concern me when friends at Bible college are reading such books in their classes. Unless of course the class is “False Teachings 101”. Which sadly, it rarely is.
Anyway, I would argue that the teachings of Andy Stanley and the like are not ‘meat’. Unless it’s meat for theological vegetarians…like that fake stuff you get that is made to look and taste like meat, but is actually tofu. I once went to a restaurant once with all of the classic Chinese dishes…beef and black bean, roast duck…you name it, it was on the menu. Only it was tofu. I ate plain rice. Everyone said “try it, it tastes just the same!” My defense? I hate tofu. Why would I eat an awful tasting fake version of meat when I can eat real meat? In fact, at the time I was in a part of our city that is full of fantastic Chinese restaurants.
Anyway, I think my analogy has gone far enough.
As Eliza so wisely and correctly put it…”Why would I go to a false teacher when I have the Word of the living God?”
Delight in Truth said:
So, Stanley’s church is the model church to be in… nice… Very humble of him. 🙂
The Narrowing Path said:
Apparently so, DIT. I never knew. In 50 years of ministry, my Dad never knew. Far out, how could we have been so blind? I wonder if J C Ryle, Charles Spurgeon or any of those other poor souls realise their terrible error in preaching the whole Gospel, replete with hellfire and brimstone…and not one youth group, worship team or missional community outreach project to keep the young folk interested.
Here is part of my original response:
Pragmatism is a great evil and the core tenet of godless spirituality and atheistic materialism…if it works, it must be good. From God even, for those who choose to label their unbelief ‘god’ Sound familiar? If it feels good, do it. Right?
What extraordinary boasts this man makes (and not in Christ, you may have noticed). What unbiblical and unfounded criticism of faithful servants of Christ. He does what so many false teachers do, and creates a caricature of ‘truth-seekers’ (e.g. that we think we are superior, when actually we are often overwhelmed by our wretched sinfulness and the enormity of what Christ has done for us!). He then tears them down.
Jesus told us we will be hated for preaching the gospel. He told us it would divide families. Jesus told us we had to die to ourselves and carry our CROSS. It hurts. If it doesn’t hurt, we aren’t carrying. Jesus didn’t play to people wanting to be happy. That is an outright lie and blasphemous to our amazing Saviour. He told people to repent and believe. He told them they would go to hell if they didn’t. And for good measure, he sent twelves apostles and Paul to keep telling us, after he returned to the Father in heaven. Because God is faithful and is gathering his elect, each generation he sends us some godly pastors, teachers and authors. Not many, but really good ones. Andy Stanley isn’t one of them.
He is a liar and either doesn’t know Jesus Christ as his personal saviour or has strayed far off the narrow path and is in need of repentance. Otherwise it would be impossible for him to say what he has said, as it is completely against what Scripture teaches, and what Jesus himself taught. What do we care for what men think of us? We are all called to suffer for Christ, not just pastors. If Christ says he never knew us, and bids us to depart from him, we are destined for eternal damnation. The Scriptures make it clear. We are to seek God, follow Christ, love his truth (the whole counsel of his Word), defend it even unto death and share it with others. Woe to us if we don’t. I don’t think the ‘I was just trying to be relevant to the young folk’ defense will cut it when we face the Lord’s judgement.
I will attend the ‘truth-seekers’ tiny church that Andy Stanley is so derisive of (a house church even) any day of the week. I would not let Andy Stanley or any other emergent seeker-driven false teacher to pastor my children. That is actually the parents’ job anyway. When children go out from godly homes and into the wreck that is this world, and go off the rails themselves, it is not God’s fault. His Word is not deficient. He never promises us happiness, success or honour in the eyes of others. Like the ancient Israelites, we are sinful, rebellious creatures who turn from God at the first available opportunity. Were it not for the Holy Spirit, we would not seek God at all. As it is, many in the visible church are seeking (and have found) a god of their own making. Scriptures teaches us clearly that this is what most people will do, and often while claiming to be followers of Jesus. There is no fear of the Almighty God in such people, and they exchange the truth for a lie and follow their own deceitful hearts. It should make us weep.
If pastors stop preaching the truth, then there is only an appearance of spiritual ‘success’ as they smilingly lead people to hell . God achieves his purposes DESPITE our rebellion, and has clearly allowed the rise of the purpose-driven, seeker-driven, experience-driven false gospel being preached from many pulpits these days.
So, those are my immediate thoughts. Given some time to ponder the matter, I might take a stronger stance. 🙂
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