Saturday, February 2, 2019

Andy Stanley's Disconnect from the Old Testament

Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point
Dr. Charles Stanley's son Andy is the pastor of perhaps the second or third largest church in America. As a mega church pastor in Atlanta, he has a great deal of influence. Yet he has been teaching people incorrectly that they should "unhitch" from the Old Testament. Here are some of his heretical statements:

“(First Century) Church leaders unhitched the church from the worldview, value system, and regulations of the Jewish scriptures. Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well.”

“When the Church launched, the foundation of the faith of the early Christians was not a book (they didn’t have one), it wasn’t the Bible (there wasn’t one), and it wasn’t the Old Testament – what they called the Law and the Prophets – because that didn’t tell the story of Jesus. The foundation of the early church was an event – the resurrection.”

“If you were raised on a version of Christianity that relied on the Bible as the foundation of faith, a version that was eventually dismantled by academia or the realities of life, maybe it’s time for you to change your mind about Jesus. Maybe it’s time for you to consider the version of Christianity that relies on the event of the resurrection of Jesus as its foundation. If you gave up your faith because of something about or in the Bible, maybe you gave up unnecessarily. His message for them is simple: 'Start with Jesus! He came to introduce something totally new.'”

“What Jesus meant when He said He had not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17) was that He came to 'replace it.'" Stanley's interpretation of that verse is: “I am in fact replacing. I’m not going to change what you’ve always been taught. I’m going to challenge you to abandon what you have been taught.”

The Law and the Prophets, the old covenant, had an expiration date.”

The Gospel of Jesus “is completely detached … from everything that came before."

Every one of these statements made by Stanley is refuted by Scripture. Jesus, who is the Word of God (Joh 1:1,14), quoted the Hebrew Scriptures extensively during His ministry; in fact He quoted from a total of twenty-four different books of the Hebrew Bible, and He is the foundation of the Church. "For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ." (1 Cor 3:11, NIV). The only Scriptures they initially had in the first-century Church were the Hebrew Scriptures. And as the apostles and their companions wrote the Gospels, Acts, and the epistles, they quoted extensively from those Scriptures. In fact, they quoted from all but five books of the Hebrew Bible (for a full list of all Old Testament Scriptures cited in the New Testament, see here).

When the apostle Paul preached to the Bereans, they searched the Hebrew Scriptures to verify that everything he said was true. "Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true." (Ac 17:11, NIV). This practice of the Bereans was considered noble, since they checked to see if everything the apostle preached agreed with the Hebrew Scriptures, especially the ones he was quoting. It was Paul who wrote that God's household is "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone." (Eph 2:20, NIV). Let me quote to you from three different men commenting on this passage.

Matthew Henry stated: "In Ephesian 2:20 the church is compared to a building. The apostles and prophets are the foundation of that building. They may be so called in a secondary sense, Christ himself being the primary foundation; but we are rather to understand it of the doctrine delivered by the prophets of the Old Testament and the apostles of the New. It follows, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone."

John Wesley stated: "As the foundation sustains the building, so the word of God, declared by the apostles and prophets, sustains the faith of all believers. God laid the foundation by them; but Christ himself is the chief corner - stone of the foundation."

Albert Barnes stated that when the apostle Paul wrote "...And prophets..." in Ephesians 2:20, he was referring to "The prophets of the Old Testament, using the word, probably, to denote the Old Testament in general. That is, the doctrines of divine revelation, whether communicated by prophets or apostles, were laid at the foundation of the Christian church."

Therefore, when Stanley says that "the foundation of the faith of the early Christians...wasn’t the Bible...and it wasn’t the Old Testament...the Law and the Prophets," he is contradicting the Word of God itself. They most certainly had the Scriptures in the first century. There can be no doubt that the apostles of the New Covenant and prophets of the Old Covenant are the foundation of the Church.

Stanley’s new book is called, “Irresistible: Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World." In it he writes: “Participants in the new covenant (that’s Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles. Participants in the new covenant are expected to obey the single command Jesus issued as part of his new covenant: as I have loved you, so you must love one another." Moreover, in the final part of a 2018 sermon series, Stanley explained that while he believes that the Old Testament is "divinely inspired," it should not be "the go-to source regarding any behavior in the Church."

However, contrary to what Andy teaches, Scriptures like "Thou shalt have no other gods before me" (Ex 20:2) are still valid and applicable to us today as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. Obedience to God's commandments is clearly taught throughout the New Testament by Christ and His apostles (Mt 5:17-20; Lk 8:21; Jn 14:15-31; 1 Cor 7:19; 1 Jn 3:4). To deny that is to deny the very foundation upon which the Church is built. Yet that is precisely what Stanley is doing. He is not preaching the gospel of the kingdom that Jesus and His apostles preached. He is preaching another gospel -- a replacement theology.

God changes not (Mal 3:6). Jesus is God, and He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). He doesn't need to repeat Himself in order for us to know that what He has said is true. What was evil in the days of Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Moses, Saul, David, Solomon, Ahab, Elijah, and the prophets is still evil today. What was pleasing to God then is pleasing to Him now, although we are under a New Covenant and are not bound by the specific terms and regulations of the Mosaic Covenant.

The Bible is not just "a collection of ancient documents," as Andy calls them. The sixty-six books of the Bible are the inspired Word of God. "ALL Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Ti 3:16). We must declare the whole counsel of God (Ac 20:27), not only the things that Jesus reiterated in the Gospels. Andy says that nothing in the Old Testament should have any bearing on the behavior of a Christian, but since it is all the inspired Word of God useful for training us so we might be thoroughly equipped for every good work, then obviously ALL Scripture including the Old Testament has relevance to our behavior.

Rather than rewrite all my previous articles about the importance and significance of obedience to God's commandments, including those found in the Law and the Prophets, I would like to provide links to those here for you to read. They provide ample proof from Scripture that Stanley is teaching heresy. If you really care about this and want to get to the truth of the matter that is found in God's Word, then I recommend taking the time to read all of these articles, in order to get the full and balanced message that I am teaching as found in the Bible. I challenge you to do as the Bereans did with the apostle's teaching and search the Scriptures to see if these things are really so.

Is Obedience Optional?
The Law of Christ 
The Law Fulfilled in Us
The Law Established Through Faith
The Cost of Discipleship
Faith Works!
Deleted Scriptures in the Bible?
Did Jesus Nail the Law to the Cross?
The Obedience of Faith
Righteousness by Faith not Law
Listen to Jesus, Who Upholds Moses and the Prophets 
The Law of Love in the New Testament
Striving to Enter the Kingdom of God
The Spirit's Law of Life
Righteous Deeds and White Robes
Doing What is Right
Partaking of the Divine Nature
Walking in the Perfect Will of God
Obedience by the Spirit
The Law is Good if Used Lawfully
What Then Must We Observe?
Remember the Eternal Law of God
The Flesh vs. the Spirit

The Bible De-emphasized 
Andy Stanley says that if he were an evangelical Pope, who had the authority to issue a decree that all evangelical Christians must obey, he "would ask preachers and pastors and student pastors in their communications to take the spotlight off the Bible." Apparently he undervalues the Word of God, since he would use his papal authority to de-emphasize it. This man-made rule of his essentially nullifies the Word of God (Mk 7:13), which instructs the Lord's messengers to preach the Word (2 Tim 4:2). Through His inspired apostle, the Holy Spirit clearly charged Timothy -- and effectively all men of God -- to devote ourselves to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching (1 Tim 4:13). Jesus also warned us, "If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him, when He comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels." (Lk 9:26).

In addition, Andy disparages expository preaching through the Scriptures one verse at a time. He says, "Guys that preach verse-by-verse through books of the Bible -- that is just cheating. It's cheating because that would be easy. First of all, that isn't how you grow people." This preposterous statement of his proves that the enemy hates expository preaching from the Bible, explaining it one verse at a time. Andy says this doesn't grow people, perhaps because he is interested in growing the numbers of people. But while expository preaching may not draw huge crowds, it has the potential to grow individuals into disciples of Christ and eventually result in the multiplication of disciples, like what happened in the first century Church. "The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith." (Ac 6:7).

What preachers need to do is preach the Word exactly as it is written, drawing out the meaning that is already in Scripture, which is a practice called exegesis, rather than reading their own meaning into it, which is known as eisogesis. When preachers take license to practice eisogesis, they are free to twist the Scriptures, which they do to their own destruction (2 Pe 3:16). If we had more Spirit-filled, expository preaching today, we would have fewer people taking Scriptures out of context and making them say whatever they want them to say. Instead they would have to explain what the Scripture means when it is understood in its proper context, and people would receive the undiluted, unadulterated message of God's Word. Their faith would grow, since faith comes from hearing and hearing through the Word of God (Rom 10:17).

The Fruit Test Reveals Apostasy
As I explained in my previous article, Testing the Spirits of False Prophets, we are supposed to test men's fruit to determine whether or not they are false. When we do a fruit test on the North Point Community Church that Andy Stanley pastors in Atlanta, we find that there is apostasy. That church of around 38,000 people is engrossed in worldliness, rather than being separated from the world as the Scriptures teach that we should be. The following video is just one piece of evidence that reveals their worldly practices. The video is titled The Andy Stanley Show: North Point Ministries Worldly Satanic Synagogues Fully Exposed!!!. It shows, among other things, rock bands in the church singing secular rock music like Journey's song Don't Stop Believing with it's lyrics about seedy nightlife in the big city. Another example is a group on stage during a Sunday service singing, "Baby, love the way you turn me on," while several men perform a choreographed break dance. In yet another service the band is singing a medley of Michael Jackson's hit songs including Don't Stop Til You Get Enough, which has been criticized for its sexual references. Take a look at this and see for yourself:

Closing Words
Be careful whom you listen to, because if they are in error on important issues like this, then your very soul could be in danger. We live in the days when men do not put up with sound doctrine, but instead, to suit their own desires, they surround themselves with a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Tim 4:3). We live in the days of great apostasy in the Church, which some call the Laodicean Church age (Rev 3:14-21). These are the days of mega churches like Stanley's North Point Community Church in Atlanta, where people flock in large numbers to be entertained by the abundance of worldliness that takes place there, and to listen to another gospel (Gal 1:8-9). They prefer a pop-culture, Christianity-lite message like the ones Andy preaches, and they are itching to unhitch from our Scriptural foundations.

We the Church are not "unhitched" from the Hebrew Scriptures, the gospel is not "detached" from them, and we are not unleashed from obeying God's sacred commandments. On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and obey it (Lk 11:28). Jesus' mother and brothers are still those who hear the Word of God and put it into practice (Lk 8:21). The Word of God is still the seed that we must receive in order to produce fruit (Lk 8:11). The Bible is still our sole rule of faith in Christ. It is still not desirable for us to neglect the Word of God (Ac 6:2). Indeed, we must still speak the Word of God with boldness (Ac 4:31), and continue to declare the whole counsel of God (Ac 20:27), because all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness (2 Tim 3:16). Therefore, let us not be moved off of our Scriptural foundation, but let us continue holding fast the faithful Word (Tit 1:9). Beware of Andy Stanley. He is a false teacher. As I have written elsewhere, just because a church is large and prominent, that doesn't mean they are preaching the truth. The way of life is narrow and few are they who find it (Mat 7:14).

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, copyright Lockman Foundation, used by permission. Other Scriptures from The Holy Bible NIV, copyright Zondervan, used by permission. Image may be subject to copyright and are used per the Fair Use Act for commentary and education purposes only.

Author's note I also recommend reading The Forgotten Sin of Worldliness, Separated from the World, The Bible is the Word of GodScripture Alone (Sola Fide), The Ways of LifeAvoiding Worldly Worship, Is Secular Music for Christians?, Rock, Rap, and Reggae Music - Five Divine RevelationsSins That Will Keep You From Heaven, The Top Ten Things Jesus Taught, Ask for the Ancient PathsHolding Fast the Faithful WordAvoid Becoming a Corrupted Christian, Exposing Heresy, and Popularity of the Gospel. I also recommend my daughter's poem, The Dazzling Wine of Deception. You can access the Home page of this blog for more articles on Truth and heresy, as well as my complete blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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