I take something they're teaching and break it down and suggest another interpretation. I can disagree and remain in fellowship... but there are lines we cannot cross.
Today, I take a slightly different tack.
Today I want to briefly say something about a rising star in Evangelicalism; someone whose materials have started to permeate otherwise solid local churches. That teacher is Andy Stanley.
The man has, not just a "low" opinion of scripture, he has a blasphemous view of scripture. He epitomizes the warnings we receive in scripture about Satan and his ministers. Strong language? Yes. Because he's becoming very dangerous and very wealthy.
(Andy would probably love to read that. One of his tactics is to create straw-men "fundamentalists" to knock down. He would scoff and line me up as just another "stuffy" Christian "hung up" on the Bible. You know, bad-fitting suit, etc. But any regular reader of my writings would know I have no problem discussing "traditional" church teachings and no problem departing from conventional interpretations. But I would never degrade scripture or question its veracity.)
As we have noted often, Satan's tactic with believers is to start where they are and slightly move them. He presents "another Jesus." Satan comes as an angel of light. His teachers are teachers of righteousness (2 Cor 11). A little leaven leavens the whole lump.
On the other side, he turns grace into licence. In the name of "unity" he assaults the only thing which can truly unite us: truth. Yes, we have disagreements on some issues, but we unite on the sufficiency and authority of scripture. Andy Stanley assaults scripture, reintroducing Satan's first lie, "Hath God said?" (Gen 3:1)
It's not surprising Genesis receives his disdain. Since the beginning, Genesis has received much of the enemy's hatred, scorn and anger. In it we have three things Stanley disparages: Creation, the Abrahamic Covenant, the selection of Israel.
I don't want to start quoting a lot here, because the volume would be huge and context needed. But as I believe we need at least one example (in trying to appeal to people who also have no respect for the witness of the Law and the Prophets) he states:
"Once they can no longer accept the historicity of the Old Testament; once they couldn't go along with all the miracles; once somebody poked a hole in the Genesis creation, you know, myth; once all that went away, their house of cards came tumbling down; because they were taught, 'it's all true, it's all God's word, and if you find one part that's not true, uh oh, the whole thing comes tumbling down.' Not Christianity. The Bible did not create Christianity, The resurrection of Jesus created and launched Christianity."
-Andy Stanley (Orange Conference 2018)
Well, how do we know about the resurrection? Actually, that's the least of his problems here. He actually says rather ignorant things about the Apostles and the Lord. Jesus quotes Deuteronomy more than any other book. "The hope of Israel" is central to the message of Acts age. The promises to Abraham permeate the Acts age. The Revelation is replete with Old Testament quotes and the entire book is built on the promises to Abraham and to Israel and to Adam!
Stanley insanely states that Peter and James discarded the Old Covenant, the Law and the Prophets. Has he ever read the epistles? They are filled with the Old Testament! Even Paul, in the Acts age writes a chapter about learning from what happened to Israel (1 Cor 10). It is a chapter filled with warnings from the old testament.
"These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the culmination of the ages has come."
-1 Cor 10:11
Paul declares of the the events of Pentateuch that he does not want them to be "ignorant;" without knowledge (1 Cor 10:1). Paul's argument for the gospel is built on Adam in two epistles (Romans and 1 Corinthians). Stanley counts this all as dung, says you don't have to believe it, suggests it's myth and error and will destroy your faith. Nonsense! The opposite is true!
Andy Stanley is a dangerous man. I predict his star will continue to rise. he appeals to the flesh. Watch soon for his church changing its stated position on moral issues.
"Unity" over "doctrine" will become the cry of the professing church. "Love" will be deemed not the greatest among faith and hope, but sufficient on its own. This is often how Satan has tried to deceive God's own. It was a tactic I was taught when I was an enemy of the finished work.
"Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables."
-2 Tim 4:2-4
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer."
-2 Tim 2:15-17
2 Timothy was the last book given to us by our apostle, Paul.
Andy Stanley is dangerous and must be rejected. Rat poison is 99% nutritious, but has enough poison to kill the rat in minutes. Don't swallow his attractive bait.
I was thinking about the many things Andy Stanley has said in disparaging scripture. Among his mockery, he says that the prophets had no idea what they were writing, the parables are too hard to understand, and that the Book of the Revelation is essentially impossible to comprehend.
His recommendation is to give up, Trying to study these things will only ruin your faith.
We covered a little of this yesterday (and the gaping scriptural holes in his arguments should be evident), but it was his assault on "The Revelation of Jesus Christ" that brought to mind a story evangelist Oliver B. Greene used to tell.
He was starting a series on The Revelation and someone said to him, "you shouldn't read The Revelation. No one can understand The Revelation!"
To this, he responded, "It seems strange to me that God put 22 chapters in the Bible we're not supposed to read."
As I have tried to express in my series on the parables in Matthew, yes, Bible study can be difficult. The parables are meant to be difficult to understand (unbelievers cannot understand them - Luke 8:10). But that is a challenge from the Lord to study, not an invitation to blow them off!
We approach scripture humbly, dependent on the Spirit to guide and teach. We build upon previous understanding. We compare scripture with scripture (line upon line, precept upon precept) and we must be willing to go where our study leads us.
I'll stop there and finish with words from the Book of Revelation itself:
" Blessed [is] he that reads, and they that hear the words of the prophecy, and keep the things written in it..."
Irony alert: you cannot understand The Revelation without being familiar with the Law and the Prophets.
That anyone with an ounce of discernment would continue to listen to Andy Stanley is beyond me.