In past Apprising Ministries articles like Jay Bakker Critiques Ken Silva At Religion Dispatches and  Gay Christian Singer Jennifer Knapp Out On Larry King Live  I’ve warned you that looming only slightly off the horizon of the mainstream evangelical community there is a same-sex storm that’s gathering hurricane force.

The issue of the deviant and sinful lifestyle of having sexual relations with another of the same sex, i.e homosexuality, being accepted as a viable one for the regenerated Christian may have grown ever closer to heart of the evangelical community as evidenced by Homosexuality, Megachurches, And Andy Stanley.

Dr. Al Mohler brought to our attention in his Is The Megachurch the New Liberalism? a disturbing April 15th sermon by Any Stanley entitled When Gracie Met Truthy. As I told you before, Stanley is truly a major player in the Seeker Driven set and a pastor to his protégé prophet-pastors such as Steven Furtick.

Mohler noted that:

A shot now reverberating around the evangelical world was fired by Atlanta megachurch pastor Andy Stanley in recent days… He told of a couple with a young daughter who divorced when the wife discovered that the husband was in a sexual relationship with another man…

The story took a strange turn when Stanley then explained that he had learned that the former husband’s gay partner was still married. Stanley then explained that the partner was actually committing adultery, and that the adultery was incompatible with his service on a host team. Stanley told the two men that they could not serve on the host team so long as the one man was still married. (source)

Mohler brings out the fact that both of these men together are living in sin; but the only reason which appears to keep them from serving is the one man committing adultery with his male partner. In Andy Stanley’s “Microcosm of the Church” Erin Benziger, Associate Editor of the Christian Research Network, shared this graphic:

She then brings out:

If one listens to the sermon in question, the relevant portion begins around the 24 minute mark (an edited video may be viewed here. This graphic, as Stanley explains, represents the “microcosm of the church.” In this particular anecdote that “microcosm” includes a woman, her boyfriend, her boyfriend’s daughter, her own daughter, her ex-husband, and her ex-husband’s homosexual partner.

As Mohler noted, in his sermon, Stanley appeared to normalize the unrepentant sin of homosexuality, while simultaneously condemning the adultery that the men were engaging in. It should not surprise, then, that this has caused such a stir. (source)

I’m afraid things have only gotten worse as you’ll see in Andy Stanley Avoids Gay Issue in Last Sermon of Controversial Series. Therein Christian Post contributor Anugrah Kumar tells us:

Weeks after leaving some Christians wondering about his stance on homosexuality, Pastor Andy Stanley avoided explicitly addressing the issue on Sunday during his weekend message.

In his final message of an 8-part sermon series on what it means to be Christian, Stanley, who leads North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., did not use the words “gay” or “homosexuality,” but reminded the audience what he mentioned at the beginning of the series – that Christians had a “branding problem.” (source)

What Stanley says next gives us real cause for concern because, not only did he avoid addressing the issue raised by Al Mohler, he sounds more like Living Spiritual Teacher and EC guru Brian McLaren than anything even remotely resembling an evangelical Christian:

Christians, he said, are viewed as being “judgmental, homophobic, moralists” who think they are the only ones going to heaven and who “secretly relish the fact that everyone else is going to hell.” (source, emphasis mine)

Leaving aside that the term Christian was originally a derisive term because pagans were not at all enamored with believers in Christ, I can tell you Stanley’s own bias concerning the church is showing. Do you know even one genuine believer in Christ who is out there secretly relishing that “everyone else is going to hell? I know I don’t.

But the fact is, only those who are regenerated by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in the finished work on the Cross by Christ alone, are “ones going to heaven.” How do I know this; because Jesus Himself said so:

“I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins… I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 8:24; John 14:6)

That’s pretty plain; so, for all of his pious blather as he courts the friendship of the world (cf. James 4:4), Andy Stanley’s jab at Christian believers is actually a swing and a miss. As I pointed out earlier, the truth is, he ends up sounding a lot like Brian McLaren in Jesus, Reconsidered: Book Sparks Evangelical Debate:

McLaren and others like him are trying to rewrite the Christian story…[and] young believers are attracted to this message. That’s absolutely right, says McLaren.

Consider the core evangelical belief that only Christians are going to heaven and everyone else is doomed. That may have rung true for his grandparents’ generation, he says, but not now. (source)

When you think about it, it’s really not all that surpassing that Stanley’s beginning to echo EC guru McLaren; for two reasons. First, the Seeker Driven model within which Stanley is a leader was launched by Leadership Network—the same man-centered arm of the Church Growth Movement that sent forth the Emerging Church.

Secondly, Andy Stanley was actually among the young leaders approached by EC universalist Doug Pagitt to help form the nucleus of what would become the Emergent Church circa 1997; though at the time Stanley did decline. However, it would appear years of EC propaganda has been bringing these groups closer and closer together.

In closing this, for now, you might find it interesting to know that this isn’t the first time Andy Stanley has been critical of Biblical Christianity. Five years ago in Study: Youth see Christians as judgmental, anti-gay we were told:

Andy Stanley, senior pastor of North Point Ministries in Atlanta, suggested that churches should not focus solely on converting people, as has been the emphasis for generations.

“If we were able to rewrite the script for the reputation of Christianity, I think we would put the emphasis on developing relationships with non-believers, serving them, loving them, and making them feel accepted,” he wrote. “Only then would we earn the right to share the gospel.” (source)

Now, there’s every reason to think that Stanley’s broad-brush pop-art paintings play very well to our notoriously capricious culture. However, in order to make himself look good, Stanley’s jabbing Christians. The fact is those of us who hold to proper Biblical theology don’t teach that churches should “focus solely on converting people.”

At the same time, that the “converting [of] people…has been the emphasis for generations” really shouldn’t surprise a pastor because it is a secondary mission of local churches. A primary one being the building up of the Christian to maturity in Christ in order that the Lord may then use them in service as He wills.

Stanley also errs if indeed he thinks that it’s the mission of the Body of Christ to “rewrite the script for the reputation of Christianity.” Obviously our glorious and majestic, great and mighty, Christ told us to love God and our fellow man—in that order; but the Seeker Driven movement and the Emerging Church have it backward.

Even as we share the genuine Gospel of Jesus Christ with unbelievers as lovingly as we possibly can, we have zero control over how a person will receive it. And if we end up being so concerned with our presentation, and with not offending people, then as Dr. Walter Martin used to say: “We’ll never get around to preaching the Gospel.”

While we’re at it, let’s put this old Seeker Driven and Emergent Church chestnut, that somehow we must “earn the right to share the gospel,” to beddie-bye once and for all from Scripture:

So Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you”
(John 20:21).

Now quite obviously the Master did not have the time to develop “relationships with non-believers,…and making them feel accepted” in every town where He preached His Gospel. And no doubt many people in Jerusalem, at that time for the Feast, would also have heard Peter’s Pentecost sermon but wouldn’t have known him from Adam.

It looks to me like God the Holy Spirit mightily blessed this approach as well by converting 3,000 people and then making sure it was recorded for us in Holy Scripture. So as nice as he may be, I’m on very solid ground when I say that Andy Stanley never saw 3,000 people completely converted like that to Christ in his life. Ignore him.

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