Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Heretic Game, Round 4. Is Andy Stanley a Heretic?

So Charles Stanley is a pillar in the Christian Community. He is respected, loved and listened too. He has a son, Andy. He is the pastor of North Point Community Church in Atlanta GA. He is very popular with many, and just as unpopular with others. He has some books, lots of youtube clips and a huge church. Let's begin there, the same place we always begin. I looked at the belief statement of North Point. Guess what, it looks like every other belief statement out there. It's doctrinally accurate, worded quickly and short. It's orthodox but doesn't have much meat. Here, at the starting point, Andy looks pretty good, but then again, everyone does at this point.

Most of the criticism of Stanley that I have found are based on some interpretation and things he might say. He occasionally says things that I am not sure he means the way people run with them. Many see a statement he made as condoning homosexuality. He didn't say it, it might be assumed that is what he meant, but assumptions are dangerous.

What Stanley does is preach and teach with a Postmodern edge, meaning he questions all traditions, pushes against the establishment and defies the establishment. This makes people nervous, and he often says things in an attempt to be "cutting edge" and often ends up saying things that are not the best. His desire to be open to all people and accepting sometimes causes him (and many others) to push back against sound doctrine and teaching in an attempt to be "relevant". Andy would probably say it's working, he has a great big church and lots of books and he's a pretty famous guy. . . .but the same can be said of his father, and he didn't push back against doctrine.

I've read some of Stanley's books, his theology is ok. His pragmatism I believe to be unwise. Is he a heretic? No, I don't think so. Many may disagree with me, but I think his teaching on Christ and Salvation is pretty much within in the bounds of orthodoxy. I do think he pushes the envelope, but I would not characterize as the best practice. Some would call him a liberal, I am more comfortable saying he is embracing the postmodern idea of deconstruction in his church and tries to get to the root and essentials of the Christian faith, and sometimes I think he misses the mark. After all, no one is perfect. I give Andy a pass and I think we take the good with the bad, he's flawed, but so are we all. I just pray that when it comes time for him to choose to hold onto Biblical truth or follow cultural sway, he goes Biblical.

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