Andy Stanley has a church network of over 30,000 people in the Atlanta area, and his church was rated the fastest-growing in America in 2014 and 2015.1 Recently, he has been criticized by many evangelicals for saying that we need to take the focus off the Bible and put it on the Resurrection, because he claims that gives us a firmer foundation for our faith. As Stanley put it: “We believe Jesus rose from the dead not because the Bible says so. It is way better than that! Christianity does not hang by the thread of ‘The Bible told me so’.”2 And: “The original version [of Christianity], the pre-Bible version, was defensible, it was endurable, it was persecutable, it was fearless, it was compassionate, and it was compelling,” but he claims “it is next to impossible to defend the entire Bible”.2
We actually have no desire to contradict and ‘blow the whistle’ on a well-known Christian pastor. So, it is with a heavy heart that we believe this issue is so important that we must ‘speak up’ to confirm the authority of the Bible’s history.
It is important to understand Stanley’s goal for this 6 part series, because we always want to be accurate when we are offering critiques of someone’s position. And his goal is quite admirable, even though we will disagree with how he goes about trying to accomplish it. In Part 4 of the series, he says, after noting that some critics have misunderstood him:
I want all the people who grew up in church, and then left church because they couldn’t figure out how to reconcile what they learned in school or what they experienced in life with what they learned in church, and decided, you know what, it’s just irreconcilable. Science is irreconcilable with faith, pain is irreconcilable with faith, pain and suffering in the world is irreconcilable with faith, my life experiences are irreconcilable with faith, just what I’ve learned and experienced as an adult is irreconcilable with faith, and so there’s this tension, and I either pretend I believe something I’m not sure exists, or I can go with what’s obvious and with what’s undeniable. I want you to reconsider Christianity because I think some of you, I’m guessing a whole lot of you, but I don’t want to judge, a lot of you, though, you left Christianity for reasons that really have nothing to do with the Christian faith. You left unnecessarily, so I’m inviting all of you to reconsider Christianity, not the Christianity of your childhood, but a grown-up faith with a grown-up God with a little different perspective, because I want you to come back.3
However, Stanley’s message is clear as to the ‘unnecessary reason’ youth have left the faith:
So, if you stepped away from Christianity because of something in the Bible, if you stepped away the Christian faith because of Old Testament miracles, if you stepped away from the Christian faith because you couldn’t reconcile 6,000 years with a 4.5 billion year old earth and something you learned in biology, I want to invite you to reconsider, because the issue has never been, ‘is the Bible true?’.2 (Emphasis added)
While he hopes to persuade people to come back to church, the route he took is actually more likely to deconstruct the faith of the young people he wants so much to keep in the church. In our experience (which to be honest, is much more wide than his own—speaking in over 1000 churches of varying denominations each year), people think the Bible’s historical reliability is one of the most important considerations when it comes to whether they will accept the Bible’s claims about Jesus—and they’re right! If the Bible is demonstrably wrong regarding its history, it is not a reliable record, and the claims the Bible makes about Jesus are so extraordinary that it requires the Bible to be a supernatural, inspired, inerrant book.
What most people have commented on is the third part of his sermon series. Stanley begins that message by saying:
“In Sunday School we learned the song, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”
He goes on to say,
“You grew up, but your faith didn’t grow up with you. You grew up, but you outgrew your faith. Your childhood god could not stand the rigors of adulthood, the questions of adulthood.”2
The reason he thinks this is a problem is:
“If the Bible is the foundation of our faith, it’s all or nothing. Christianity becomes a ‘fragile house of cards’ religion. Christianity becomes a fragile house of cards that comes tumbling down when we discover that perhaps the walls of Jericho didn’t.”2
To call Scripture a ‘house of cards’ (and elsewhere in the same sermon he calls it a ‘fragile thread’) reveals a troubling attitude for a pastor to have towards Scripture, which Jesus and the Apostles presented as the absolute foundation for our faith. After all, if he cannot be sure about Scripture, how can he be sure about the One that Scripture is ultimately all about, and moreover, the Bible’s history that necessitated Jesus becoming our Saviour.
Too hard to defend it
One reason Stanley argues we need this change in perspective is that Scripture is too hard to defend:
“What your students have discovered, and if you read broadly you’ve discovered, it is next to impossible to defend the entire Bible. But if your Christianity hangs by the thread of proving that everything in the Bible is true, you may be able to hang onto it, but your kids and your grandkids and the next generation will not. Because this puts the Bible at the center of the debate. This puts the spotlight right on the Bible. Everything rises and falls on whether not part, but all the Bible is true. And that’s unfortunate, and as we’re going to discover today, it is absolutely unnecessary.”2
Among the things he specifically states are indefensible and not supported by evidence:
But as apologist James White pointed out in his rebuttal to Stanley, if the Bible is wrong, Christianity is untrue.4 Jesus’ own view was that the Scriptures could not be broken (John 10:35), and the New Testament authors referred to the Old Testament’s history as the foundation for New Testament theology. If the Bible is wrong about historical events, the basis for New Testament teaching vanishes. Worse still for Stanley, if Jesus is wrong about the very Scripture Stanley says is not defensible, then how can he still encourage faith in Jesus and His (historical) resurrection?
Did the early church have the Bible?
Stanley bases his argument that Christianity does not stand or fall with the Bible by his absurd claim that, for the first several hundred years of Christianity, they didn’t have the Bible: “For the first 300 years of the existence of Christianity, the debate centered on an event, not a book.” While they may not have had all the New Testament books bound together under one cover and called it ‘the Bible’, the entire Old Testament and many of the New Testament books functioned authoritatively from the beginning of the Church and were the central source of their theology, used to settle the doctrinal controversies of that time. In fact, there are over 100 references in the New Testament to the book of Genesis, let alone many other Old Testament events. So much of our Christian doctrine, and even Jesus’ own teaching, are centered on those biblical historical events.
Astonishingly, however, Stanley suggests that Peter might have responded to historical questions about the Old Testament as follows:
“Peter would have looked at you like, ‘I’m not really sure what you’re talking about, but I followed a man for three years who spoke like no other man spoke. He was arrested and crucified and we thought, Game over, because he said too much to be a good teacher, he claimed too much about himself to be a good teacher. Game over. We’re all in hiding; a bunch of women come babbling that “The tomb is empty, the tomb is empty”. I looked into an empty tomb, and do you know what I concluded? Somebody stole the body. And a few days later I had breakfast with my risen friend on the beach. So I’m not sure about 6,000-year-old earth, I’m not sure about archaeological evidence, I’m not sure about all that. The reason I’m following Jesus is because I saw him die, and I saw him alive, and I went into the streets of Jerusalem to say, God has done something among us.”2
But this does not match up with what Peter actually said in Acts 2 (by the way, it should be noted that Stanley purposely references no actual Scripture in his first several sermons). In Peter’s sermon as recorded by Luke, he included a lengthy quote from the prophet Joel and two Psalms, because he wasn’t arguing from his personal testimony and experience, but that the history they witnessed was a fulfillment of the Scriptures. And, even when he did appeal to his own eyewitness testimony, he tied this to a confirmation of the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:16–21)—the very Scriptures Stanley argues Christianity didn’t emphasize until 300 years later.
In Part 5 of the sermon series, Stanley dedicates an entire session to the reasons people leave the faith due to injustice in the world. Although Stanley does make some pertinent points, at no time does he state the foundational, historical event of Adam’s Fall as the cause of death and suffering in the world. In a self-labeled ‘footnote’, Pastor Stanley implies that a belief in evolution does not challenge the Gospel’s big picture when he states “Francis Collins actually embraces what we would consider macro-evolution and yet he is still a conservative Christian. If you didn’t think a person could believe in evolution and be an evangelical Christian, you should read this book. If science is the reason you have walked away from faith, I highly recommend his book, The Language of God [see our review].” Francis Collins would agree with Stanley when he stated in this sermon series, “And when religion and science conflict, at the end of the day if you are an honest person, science must win.” When people compromise on the historical account of creation they are unable to effectively explain the existence of death and suffering if God created a very good world. And Francis Collins along with his former organization BioLogos actually believes that Jesus could be wrong about His statements about biblical history and the historical Adam and Eve. See It’s not Christianity!.
Just another ‘New Testament Christianity’
It is interesting to note how Stanley defends the historical reliability of the New Testament and the historical trustworthiness and early composition of the New Testament documents. But as is shown by the list of Old Testament events that he claims are indefensible, he is all too ready to give up on the historical reliability of the Old Testament, which Jesus and the New Testament authors quoted constantly in all sorts of contexts, always taking it as completely authoritative and true.
We have pointed out that you can’t have a New Testament-only Christianity, because the Christians during the time of the New Testament used the Scriptures—the Old Testament.
Will this approach bring people back to the faith?
The saddest thing about this attempt to justify Christianity apart from the Scriptures is that it won’t work. We’ve come into contact with many young people with questions, and most aren’t interested in a ‘squishy’ Christianity that takes all the ‘hard’ passages of the Bible metaphorically while only holding on to some sort of a belief in Jesus.
Andy Stanley is obviously passionate, and we would agree that a simple “the Bible tells me so” faith will likely not sustain people when they encounter objections to the faith. But the answer is not to so easily dismiss the authority and inerrancy of Scripture, but rather learn how the evidence supports the historical account of the Bible.
Many Sundays, after hearing a creation presentation, people will come up to one of our speakers and be so excited that they realize they can trust the entire Bible! By hearing that the Bible’s history is reliable, and that there are answers to all the objections that they’ve heard, believers are more confident to share their faith.
It takes effort, but it is not too hard to defend the entire Bible; we’ve been defending Scripture from the first verse for over 30 years. That is the key to keeping young people in the church. And the effort has eternal consequences. Given the wealth of scientific and archaeological support and information that is available today to support the Bible’s history, it is a shame that Stanley did not take the time to research it, before so readily abandoning the Bible as the inerrant source for the Christian faith.
References and notes
http://www.outreachmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Updated-100-Listings-download.pdf. Return to text.
http://northpoint.org/messages/who-needs-god/the-bible-told-me-so/. Return to text.
http://northpoint.org/messages/who-needs-god/the-god-of-jesus/. Return to text.
http://www.aomin.org/aoblog/index.php/2016/09/01/get-ready-two-half-hour-long-dividing-line/. Return to text.
In John 5:37-14 Jesus said, "37 And the Father Himself, who hath sent Me, hath borne witness of Me. Ye have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape. 38 And ye have not His Word abiding in you; for Whom He hath sent, Him ye believe not. 39 “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and it is they which testify of Me. 40 And ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life!
The problem is not with the Bible - it is with the reader.
graham P., New Zealand, 21 September 2016
Great article. I bought 'Evidence from the Bible' from your online store last month and it is full of photos of statues, road markers, jewelery and carvings that reference old testament people, places and events directly. We have been sold a lie that there is no evidence for the OT.
Roger G., Australia, 21 September 2016
What a sad story that the fastest growing church in America for the last two years, is throwing out the very foundation, the evidence, that it is supposed to stand on. That would seem to be some sort of blindness or a touch of insanity.
One good thing is that it presents an opportunity to expose this publicly proclaimed mindset, and in so doing to feed and build up your readers with a healthy approach towards the Bible, and hence towards God. That approach towards the Bible is humble, sane and defensible.
This article also builds up the wisdom of your non-American readers by alerting us to the fact that not all churches, even large and seemingly successful churches in the Western world actually believe their own foundation. Your article is a healthy service to sensitise and mature your broader, worldwide readership to some errors that exist within the broad church.
It is still sad that you have seen the need to write this article, but congratulations on having the courage to do so. I'm confident that many readers will respect your courage to write this article. At the same time those same readers will be made bolder in rejecting similar false ideas on the Bible, regardless as to the status of the person proclaiming those false ideas.
james O., Australia, 21 September 2016
I have begun this comment, now, for the third time because it took me sometime to arrive at what disturbs me in your article Normally I dont find material you present disturbing, but as I am also a James White listener, cant wait until Holland Park, I am surprised that you would use evidence to 'support Gods Word. It doesnt, Gods Word produces the evidence because Gods Word is Magisterial, not the evidence. I came from a background of Roman Catholicism, then atheism or should I say rebellion against God because He didnt play by my rules and from day one of my salvation God put an inherent trust of His word in my heart and I knew that I had met the risen Lord as did Peter but I had the more sure Word of prophecy and since then I have studied and am a journey man in many fields and a master of none.
Your first comment also disturbed me,We actually have no desire to contradict and ‘blow the whistle’ on a well-known Christian pastor."
This man is leading thousands astray and blaspheming Gods Word and God Himself because He has accepted the évidence 'of man above the Word of God. I can understand this of a tare, and I dont even begin to judge this mans heart but I do judge his teaching, it is wrong,wrong,wrong and needs to be exposed by every Christian that recognizes his heretical and blasphemous word. He is calling God a Liar, Jesus a liar and the apostles liars, you cannot sugar coat this evil and as you recognise, it may shipwreck the faith, not destroy because The Holy Trinity has worked to seal those that are His, so as to back them into the corner and not proclaim the word of God WITH BOLDNESS. This denial of Jesus loves me this I know because the Bible tells me so, and when I say me I mean all the believing ones of John 3:16, IS the ground on which we stand
Lita Cosner and Scott Gillis responds
Thanks for your comment. However, I believe you have misinterpreted how we use evidence. We are presuppositionalist in that we believe the Bible's history because it is the Bible's history, not because of scientific or other forms of evidence. However, we believe that it is appropriate, when presenting biblical history, to point to these pieces of evidence which corroborate the Bible's account. Once again, the evidence is secondary, the Bible is our only foundation, regardless of whether there is corroborating evidence for a specific event or not. See Faith and Facts for more information. Respectfully, before you accuse someone, you should be sure that you understand their position.
Regarding the comment that you found disturbing, it would have been more disturbing if we had been eager to contradict and blow the whistle on a well-known Christian. We should never rejoice when it is necessary to correct someone who is seen as a leader.
Henry G., Australia, 21 September 2016
It's interesting that the Apostle Peter doesn't use the Resurrection to encourage or ground the Faith of the persecuted Christians of the Dispersion in 1 Peter? Jesus is the central to Peter's letter but their Faith is founded on the OT Scriptures not the Resurrection, especially the book of Genesis!! Peter points them back to the foundation eg Noah's etc etc!! Peter was an eye witness to Jesus Resurrection but that's not what he uses to reaffirm their Faith he uses God's Faithfulness to his Promises in the OT!!
H. B., Hong Kong, 22 September 2016
Andy Stanley's views are really not surprising, if you know his personal background. He grew up idolising Elton John and wanting to be a rock star. (In a way, you could say he has become one). The most transformational event in his teens was feeling ashamed because his own church condemned a Gay Pride march while the Methodists across the street went out and welcomed the marchers in for snacks. He also has family conflicts which, without seeking to assign blame, appear to have inculcated or further encouraged a certain spirit of rebelliousness in him. And it's just my opinion, which you can edit out, that when you can preach a gospel that pleases so many people's ears that you find yourself the head of a megachurch, maybe you're favoring the most palatable parts of the gospel at the expense of the hard ones.
Andrew C., Australia, 22 September 2016
Many thanks again for speaking boldly yet respectfully for God's word. The great reformers spoke of "the bible and the bible only" as their only authority for all doctrine and teachings for "God's word is truth''. As our world goes catapulting into the future where we increasingly see no sure foundation for any human practice and thought, the bible remains the only basis for our origin, faith, science, morality and hope for eternity. It is so sad seeing leaders of the people compromising this for it is a sure thing that when that foundation is removed or explained away (even with good intentions) it will not bring the lost sheep back to relationship with God but a false spirituality based on man's doctrines. I join with you in upholding the word of God as absolute for all humanity. Your dedicated team across this globe have demonstrated time and again the good science that constantly affirms the teaching of the scripture as completely historically accurate and reliable. God bless you all as we pray for your ministry and as brethren press toward that mark, that by His grace and strength be living testimonies of the truth of His word.
Brendan J., Australia, 22 September 2016
I think it is far harder to defend his position than it is to defend the Bible.
What a great pity that so many believers (and non-believers) will actually listen to this awful abandonment of the very foundation for a Christian's belief. Just hard to comprehend.
Robert N., Australia, 22 September 2016
Nothing new under the sun, this is just another cult with a false prophet as it's leader. It's going to get a lot worse as we get closer to the new beginning.
Malan G., South Africa, 22 September 2016
Jesus Christ, the Way the Truth and the Life [Joh 14:6] stated that 'Thy word is truth', [Joh 17:17]. Either The Truth spoke the truth, or Christianity would be based upon a "false Truth" if that were possible!! Therefore, since Jesus Christ vouched for the truth of the Word, Pastor Stanley is pityingly mistaken! See Mat 7:21-23.
Guy W., United Kingdom, 22 September 2016
This is a tragic story that has so often been repeated during the last two millenia. As soon as any minister drops the Bible and moves on; he has detoured off the road of Life and onto one of becoming a cult. Branch davidians and Jonestown cults are two of a plethora of such.
As soon as Christians cast off from God's Word they become like a ship cutting her cables on a lee shore and are about to shipwreck their faith and in the case of leaders they will pull gullible people with them. The Bible makes no attempt to 'defend' itself because it is God breathed. Furthermore in Mark 16:15 = 20 the Word tells us that the Lord confirms His Word when it is preached. I have seen that so often in my own life and ministry.
Sorry Andy, you have to be nuts to chuck the Bible down and place yourself in a scriptureless pulpit. Your people should vote with their feet and find a place humble enough to believe and accept His Word.
Francis R., Zimbabwe, 22 September 2016
How do I know that God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all that is in them? Because the Bible tells me so. How do I know that death is a consequence sin? Because the Bible tells me so. How do I know that Jesus came from God? Because the Bible tells me so. How do I know that I am a sinner? Because the Bible tells me so. How do I know that God will judge sin and every person who came into this world? Because the Bible tells me so. How do I know that I can be saved from this judgement and enter into eternal life? Because the Bible tells me so. How do I know that this eternal life comes through faith and belief in Christ Jesus? Because the Bible tells me so. How do I know that scripture is the word of God? Because the Bible tells me so.
Without the Bible I cannot know anything about God, nor Christ, nor judgement, nor salvation, nor eternal life.
Andy Stanley- stop deceiving yourself and those who come to listen to you. I urge you to take the warning in Matt 18:6-7 very seriously. cf Matt 23:13-28
john P., Australia, 22 September 2016
Unfortunately Andy Stanley is fulfilling Bible prophesy on the wrong side. There is nothing hard about the Bible, by following it as it says and letting the context interpret itself God's Word is as plain as possible
Chris C., United States, 22 September 2016
Unfortunately, this pattern of 'teaching' without reference to what the scriptures actually say has been Stanley's style for many years now. What is truly sad is that his audience (it can scarcely be called a church) consists of many thousands of listeners with apparently no discernment at all. Thank you, CMI, for helping to expose the man's heretical doctrines.
Lita Cosner responds
Of course, we hope Andy Stanley sees some of the respectful interaction with his teaching and it causes him to rethink his approach where it is unbiblical.
Jody M., United States, 22 September 2016
I have been attending one of the North Point churches for about 7 months and have listened to Andy's sermons for years. As you stated the purpose of this series was to reach out to unchurched or those who had left the church for reasons not worthy to leave. Like many people do with the Bible, this series was taken out of context. If you regularly listen to Andy he uses both OT and NT Scriptures and often references the historical context. In my opinion he was not throwing out the Bible. He was stating that you do not have to know, understand or believe everything in the Bible to have a personal relationship with Jesus. Andy encourages people to read and study the Bible but he does not present it as a prerequisite to faith. I have witnessed life change among the people in the church. I think the North Point network of churches is doing a great work and intentionally reaching out to a group of people that others do not reach out to. For the record I subscribe to the accuracy of the Bible, take it literally, believe in a 6,000 year old earth, etc. I also believe Chritianity is about our relationship with Jesus and not our view of the Bible.
Lita Cosner responds
Thank you for writing; a perspective from his church is valuable to us. We also recognize that it is easy to be taken out of context. However, the statements we took issue with are problematic in and of themselves, and it is difficult to see a context which makes them acceptable.
The point is, the New Testament authors seem to put a much bigger emphasis on believing Scripture than Pastor Stanley does in this series, and that is a problem.
Thanks again for your perspective.
Anthony S., Canada, 22 September 2016
It saddens me to see such a public figure in the church take such a destructive path in his teaching. Even though I am troubled by this news, I am not surprised by it. Paul warned Timothy ( and us ) in 2 Timothy 3:5 that this kind of thing would be coming.
Thank you for making us aware that this was happening. I can now be better prepared to answer any questions that come from his abandoning of the foundational writings for our faith.
Thank you for all the work you do. I appreciate the level of professionalism you bring to the table whenever you address an issue.
Brian M., United States, 22 September 2016
Thank you CMI for this informative article.
I do appreciate Mr. Stanley's desire to reach people that left the church. With that being said, what kind of a relationship are the people he is seeking to bring back to God going to have with God? Are we going to bring more people back to a mega church which serves coffee during the service and churchgoers do not use their bibles? The hallmarks of a relationship with Jesus are prayer, a heart toward being righteous and turning from the ways of the world with daily reading of the bible with a desire to know and follow God. The bible is not just 100% true, it is how we are to know how to follow God. If you do not preach that the Bible is the truth, what kind of a Christian faith are you leading people to be a part of?
Norman P., United Kingdom, 22 September 2016
Another informative and encouraging article, and a salutary warning, too, not to be impressed by numbers. Lovely to read the responses from across the world, showing that the Lord still has his 7,000, who have now bowed the knee to Baal - who love Him who is embodied in his word. I think you were more than kind in your critique!
Bill P., United States, 22 September 2016
I think it is a sad thing that this pastor has so many people believing in his way of teaching. I have been a believer in Christ Jesus for over 31 yrs. Only in the last 4 yrs have I had the chance to do a deep study in the word of God itself and the along with it's historical and scientific evidence. Doing this has proved to me that THE WORD OF GOD is with out flaw, that every single word is true..to God be the Glory for this. For those who are believers i say, remember the evil one's main weapon is to get people to doubt the Word Of God...The believer's number one weapon IS THE WORD OF GOD...I beg you to study it...it will help you to understand who is truthful and who is deceitful..Keep up the good work CMI..and to all my brothers and sisters in The Lord pray for those who would be deceived by those who are taught that The Word Of God can not be trusted...Thank You, Bill Perez
george R., United States, 22 September 2016
The answer to all this is: 2 Timothy 3:16-17..All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works... This man is the fruit of his father's preaching which has been squishy concerning the truth of God's Word for years. This is clearly predicted in God's Word. Romans 1:21-22 is one of several passages that speak of this. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.
Ryan D., United States, 22 September 2016
In support of the early church having authoritative scriptures is Acts 17, the Bereans. "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."
What's interesting about that verse to me is it shows they wanted to believe(received with great eagerness) but knew scripture was the final authority and used it to confirm what Paul said was true. It shows us the early church had scriptures, even if the entire new testament wasn't present, and they used those scriptures to test what people were saying.
I pray than Andy learns of the power and authority of scripture in order to strengthen not only himself, but all those he teaches.
Lester V., United States, 22 September 2016
Stanley claims we should reject the Bible record in favor of what we see around us - in effect putting "scientific observations" above the Scriptures as our final authority. This is the exact opposite of the position Peter declared in 2 Peter 1. After saying that the apostles were eyewitnesses of the life of Jesus (verses 16-18), he said that the Scriptures were a "more sure word" that we are to "take heed" to (verse 19). In other words, Peter was saying the what God's Word says is more reliable and trustworthy than anything and everything we see around us. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 5:7, Paul said that we are to "walk by faith and not by sight." Both Peter and Paul would vehemently disagree with Pastor Stanley. Once we accept Genesis 1:1 by faith, that it is literally true, the rest of the Biblical revelation can be trusted, including John 3:16. Jesus said "If you don't believe what I have told you about physical matters (science, history, etc.), you won't believe what I tell you about spiritual matters (salvation, reconciliation with God, etc.) (see John 3:12). Stanley is rejecting what Jesus (as the ultimate author of the Bible) has said about the origin and age of the earth, the fall of Jericho, etc., and thereby is undermining the gospel message. He needs our prayers.
John S., United States, 22 September 2016
Having listened I jotted down a simple outline of the Andy Stanley sermon 'The Bible Tells me So':
1) you can't trust the Bible
2) I will tell you what you really need to know
3) let me show you, its right here. In the Bible.
Tim L., Canada, 22 September 2016
I wonder how Mr. Stanley interprets 2 Tim 3:16 [ESV]
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.
Denying the bible's authenticity seems to be bordering on what Matt 7:15-16 says [ESV]:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits.
CMI is correct to point out and defend against these false teachings.
Norman P., United Kingdom, 22 September 2016
Another informative and encouraging article, and a salutary warning, too, not to be impressed by numbers. Lovely to read the responses from across the world, showing that the Lord still has his 7,000, who have NOT bowed the knee to Baal! - who love Him who is embodied in his word. I think you were more than kind in your critique!
Fred W., United States, 22 September 2016
If this is even possible to say, and in honesty I believe I'm being honest when I say it, I agree with the article. I also think there is MORE context to Mr Stanley's position, namely that he is giving AN approach to dealing with people that have NO understanding of Scripture and in fact get turned off by the mere mention of "the Bible says so." I think it helps to view his side at:
[link deleted per feedback rules]
I do appreciate CMI's ministry and am a contributor. I have also used Mr Stanley's material in seminary preaching class. May Christ be magnified!!! Blessings, Fred.
michael S., United Kingdom, 22 September 2016
I think there are two issues which should not be conflated;
1. You can be a Christian without accepting everything the bible says, and the fundamentals of Christianity don't depend on accepting for example, that Noah's flood was necessarily global.
2. Christianity is true predicated on the bible being inerrant.
I think it is possible to be a Christian without accepting all of the bible. When I was a formative Christian, I accepted God's existence but hadn't really read the bible all that much.
I think it follows that if the bible is true Christianity is true, but I think it does not necessarily follow that if the bible is not true, that Christianity is not true. Technically speaking, the correct conditional implication is;
If the bible is totally true then Christianity is true
The wrong implication would be that if Christianity was true the bible is true, because we don't know that would follow, but we do know it would follow if stated the other way around because if the whole bible is true then it MUST follow that Christianity is also true.
This is a sticky issue, because it seems to me that Andy Stanley's real argument, or the real FORM of his argument, is probably this; "Christianity is more than belief in the bible."
I think that is a better argument, because we know there are people that believe the bible but their lives are such an example of sin and negativity that although they use and abuse the bible, and use it as an authority to judge others, etc..that ultimately they have no real faith in Christ because their bad fruit shows this, even though they are religiously conservative and will thoroughly side with the bible, and believe it. So Christianity is more than biblianity. (I am a creationist by the way, I accept the bible, and reject evo + Big bang)
Sam H., United States, 22 September 2016
First comment here on CMI...just want to say CMI is awesome. I think we are being a little hard on Andy Stanley here and not seeing the bigger picture he is trying to explain, yet still failing to communicate. He is not saying to not believe that Bible is true and 100% accurate. My best explanation is that he does not want to perform the same logical fallacy of some evolutionists. I have heard that old saying about evolution...the fossils date the rock layer and therefore since we know how old the rock layer is based on the fossils, we can then date how old the fossils are based on the age of the rock the fossils are in. Not the best way to say it, but basically this is circular reasoning. I interpret Stanley as wanting to move away from the circular reasoning of why we should believe the Bible. For example...I believe the Bible is true and 100% accurate, and I know this because the Bible says it is true and 100% accurate. Stanley is trying to say (the way I interpret this) that we do not believe in the Bible because it says so, but for a much better reason. There are many reasons to believe in God and the Bible other than only the Bible. (sorry if this is posted twice...my computer did something weird when I hit submit lat time)
Lita Cosner responds
Thanks for writing in. However, Stanley's own statements do not match up with your charitable interpretation. If you are correct, it would seem to be a case of bad communication, but Stanley appears to be a very good communicator.
Christian R., United States, 22 September 2016
During one of my first times listening to one of Andy Stanley's sermons, he used the Grand Canyon as an analogy for forming good habits slowly over long periods of time, similar to how the Grand Canyon was formed (or so he claimed). Now after reading this article, I find it sad how a pastor could stray so far down the wrong thought-path. I can't help but wonder if he's looked at the scientific evidence from a biblical worldview rather than a second one. It is my hope that he will one day see the Truth displayed not only throughout God's creation, but in the Bible as well.
Joe B., United States, 23 September 2016
While I agree wholeheartedly with CMI’s critique of Andy Stanley’s position and many commenters, I have some sympathy for him. Here is the conundrum. We can’t simply accept the Bible because we are told it’s true, just take it on faith; it really has to be true! Now we believe it’s true for various reasons. I believe it because of its referential integrity and its accuracy regarding history what constitutes logical and empirical observation about our world. We can certainly add to that, but the rub is that if it did not meet those criteria, it would just be another ‘holy’ book instead of THE Holy Book. In that book, we are told that the Heavens declare His glory therefore, even without the Bible, we are without excuse. Our faith is in the Lord Jesus Christ, not the Bible; the Bible is just His message.
Some, perhaps even Andy Stanley, cannot reconcile biblical history with what the world tells us about history and science. Believing what we have been taught, they cannot take the Bible seriously. While this is no excuse, many of us have been bamboozled. This is why ministries like CMI, CRS, ICR, and others are essential to helping remove the blinders. Just like DNA (the word) is of no use outside the machinery of the cell, the cell is of no use without DNA, they are complementary and essential to each other. So it is with the Bible and general revelation of God. We cannot justify the Bible without it actually being true, something we can only know via general revelation. This is the trap, the deception, the twist; just as the serpent twisted the Lord’s to discredit God, so has the true sense of Creation and history been twisted to discredit the Bible. Unfortunately for many, it is not easy to see. Consider Matthew 24:24 and pray that we are not deceived.
Lita Cosner responds
Thanks for your comment. However, I would disagree with your statement that we can only know the Bible is true from general revelation. We know the Bible is true because first, we have the testimony of Jesus, who certainly believed Scripture completely. Second, the Holy Spirit confirms it to those who believe. Third, every time there is historical evidence about a biblical event, the evidence corroborates the biblical event.
Vern R., United States, 23 September 2016
It is a sad thing in todays world where people have chosen to listen to the word supposedly taken from the Bible by those who are supposed to have read it. One can easily see how people are lead astray by replacement theology and many other theologies simply because people don't read for themselves what the Bible says.
I read and enjoy the articles put out by CMI and read the scripture that identifies with the articles, or rather, the scriptures the articles identify with.
Keep up the good work CMI, I may be old, but never to old to read how this world history doesn't line up with mans word.
Joseph C., United States, 23 September 2016
Thank you for always standing for the truth. We do not stand on the changing guesses of men, but on God's Word. the Lord bless your ministry in these last days.
Joe B., United States, 23 September 2016
In response to my comment, Lita Cosner responds:
"However, I would disagree with your statement that we can only know the Bible is true from general revelation. We know the Bible is true because first, we have the testimony of Jesus, who certainly believed Scripture completely. Second, the Holy Spirit confirms it to those who believe. Third, every time there is historical evidence about a biblical event, the evidence corroborates the biblical event."
These things (except the Holy Spirit), are what I mean by general revelation, the things that we can see, hear, touch, etc and record with authority. As for revelation of the Holy Spirit, with the exception of prophecy, all things that are true can again be confirmed by what we can test. This does not mean that we must put the Lord to the test, it simply means that He has provided absolute truth in a way that we can know absolutely.
Andrew F., Canada, 23 September 2016
Wow, have any of you who have commented even listed to Mr. Stanley's message? This is totally taken out of context. Mr. Stanley never says the bible can't be trusted. I find it very disturbing that an organization like this would slam another Christian who passionately wants to further the Kingdom. What exactly is the purpose of this article? Certainly not go glorify God and further His kingdom. If anythng it discredits all the the good Andy Stanley's ministry has done, and frankly puts into question all evangelical ministries. Just what the world wants to hear.
Lita Cosner responds
We listened to the entire series of messages, and you didn't point out where we took his statements out of context. The purpose of this article was to critique Stanley's message, with which we disagree, and to alert Christians out there who might be similarly concerned.
ian C., Canada, 23 September 2016
The problem is not just the false teachings (Acts 20:29), but the ignorant and lazy who refuse to check out "teachers" against the infallible Word of God. You are responsible to be a Berean, no matter who your 'spiritual' leader happens to be. Even the apostle Paul commended this action. These teachers of 'dangerous doctrines' will always find a willing following.
2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away theirs ears from the truth, and shall be turned into fables.
Jason C., United States, 23 September 2016
I haven't heard A. Stanley, so I won't comment on him, but re: Biblical truth, what we're seeing a lot of now is acquiescence to man's "authority." Why? Because "scientists say so." But what about what God says? Theistic evolutionists usually respond: "I trust God and believe the Bible is true and accurate, but have we interpreted it correctly?" Which is usually code for: 1) We don't like God and/or His words, so we "reinterpret" them to fit our desires; or 2) We like God, but we value man's opinion more, so we're "reinterpreting" His words in such a way that we seem faithful while not seeming like morons. The latter has led to "spiritualization" of the Bible. Like, none of the events in the Bible happened, but that's not important; what's important are the "spiritual lessons" we can learn from said tales. Although, the story of Jesus always ends up being the one "true story" in the Bible, yet I don't see how that story can be literally true if the rest are not. If evolution is true, why didn't God just say so in the Bible, from the beginning? He's God, right? He should've been able to create us in such a way that we could, from the beginning, understand evolution. But that's not what He did. He told us, from the beginning, that He specially created over 6 days about 6,000 years ago. If that's what He said, but that's not what He did, He's a liar. He let us go around for thousands of years believing and proclaiming a lie. Or is He incompetent, unable to create us so we could understand, from the beginning, evolution? It has to be one or the other. They say He spoke in code so the "simple ancients" could catch His drift. "Cultural context" and all that. Sorry. He said what He meant, and He means what He said. It's quite simple.
Mitch C., United States, 23 September 2016
This article demonstrates why it is important for those in Christian ministry to have a proper understanding of biblical (i.e. presuppositional) apologetics. Although pastor Stanley often appeals to the scriptures as if they were authoritative, the quotations you cited make it clear that he does not accept the final authority of the scriptures. If, in the final analysis, the universe isn't actually around 6000 years old, or if it doesn't matter whether God, through Moses, parted the Red Sea, then why should we trust anything the Bible teaches?
How do we know the Gospel is true if we cannot be sure that the Bible is true when it makes pronouncements on other issues? Why does Pastor Stanley expect people to believe the Gospel if he tells people that they don't need to believe other statements of scripture? How is it a "grown up faith" to accept the Bible's teaching about salvation if you cannot trust what it says about miracles? Is it "grown up" to believe in such inconsistencies or is that the mark of immaturity and naivety?
The church has often been attacked by those who appeal to false authority--such as the unscriptural traditions of the Pharisees and medieval Catholics, or the secular pretentions of false philosophy and evolutionary pseudoscience. In every age, God's people must have the courage to stand up against every false teaching that exalts itself against the truth of God's holy word.
glen H., United States, 24 September 2016
The Bible is NOT hard to defend for anyone with any guts.
Mike G., United States, 24 September 2016
Can you please tell me the name of the sermon series you are referring to? I may have just missed it, but I do not see it listed anywhere.
Lita Cosner responds
The title of the sermon series is "Who needs God?" and footnotes throughout the article contain the URLs for the various sermons cited.
Andrew E., Australia, 24 September 2016
I've gone to the trouble of watching "the Bible told me so". I thoroughly enjoyed it and I would recommend it because it is thought provoking and challenging. I disagree with your conclusion "dismiss the authority and inerrancy of Scripture". The Northpoint website clearly states they believe the Bible is true, plus I've heard enough of Stanley to know that's what he believes. He does give a warning at the start of the video that you have to listen very, very carefully. You do. I did not hear Stanley say that the exodus, the wall of Jericho, et al are indefensible. I heard him say that when our children are only taught "the Bible tells me so", and they get to university, these are the arguments they are hearing from other students and their lecturers. I heard him talking in the third person. I did hear a few statements that I would question, but my first reaction would be to ask Pastor Stanley himself "what exactly did you mean", not fire off a blog post. I agree that the Bible is hard to defend because, and in Stanley's opening review of the last sermon, is that we are talking to people that are against their version of Christianity which doesn't even exist. I didn't hear him say the entire Bible is indefensible. But not even CMI defends the "entire" Bible. A search for the "Olivet discourse" reveals no articles and one unrelated comment. This is a passage that is used to discredit the Bible because Jesus said he would return in the listener's lifetime. You also appear to subscribe to a post-70AD dating for John's revelation gleaning through older articles (did you notice Stanley's gem about that one!!!). Point is CMI is weak on defending the Bible from an eschatological point of view.
Lita Cosner responds
Anyone with any familiarity with our ministry knows that eschatology is outside our purview. As a specialist ministry, we decline to take positions on "intra-Christianity" debates like various eschatological positions, Calvinism vs Arminianism, and so on. For more about why, see End times and early times. Our main focus is on biblical creation, and we also write on core Christian doctrines like the Trinity, etc.
This is different from the goal of a church, which should be to equip its members to deal with all sorts of objections to the Bible.
Also, it is incorrect to say that CMI does not defend the entire Bible. We have defended its inerrancy, authority, and the accuracy of its transmission and translation. That is different from taking a position on the interpretation of certain Scriptures where differing views assume Scripture's authority.
Robert C., United States, 26 September 2016
Stanley ultimately calls people to "a faith in Faith" which is no faith at all.
is it not revealing that Hebrew's 11 in giving evidences of faith, quotes and refers to the Old Testament record interconnecting the written revelation of God to a living faith. INCLUDING THE DESTRUCTION AND FALLING OF THE WALLS OF JERICHO. Stanely's objections to the defense of the Bible seem to arise from old arguments of unbelievers that have been carefully and clearly answered and refuted. He shows a very immature and shallow study, preparation and reasoning in his public musings. I prefer those who are motivated by living a life thatseeks to "buy the Truth and sell it not".
Helen C., United States, 26 September 2016
Thank you for addressing this issue re: Andy Stanley's teachings. I have great respect for his father, Charles Stanley, who has been faithful in teaching the Bible. I have been very disappointed to see that his son has not followed in his father's footsteps. This is not the only controversy I have seen in Andy Stanley's compromises and errancy.
Jeffrey V., Canada, 28 September 2016
What I cannot get my head around, is the motivation for Christians to surrender ground we so firmly own. I'm not speaking about motivation in the sense of a desire to further the Kingdom, I mean what makes one think a good idea to accomplish that is to contradict Scripture or to even downplay or avoid certain Scripture? You don't win the war by setting down your best weapon!
CMI has done a very good job showing many (including me) how there are answers to many challenges brought up against the Bible, and I thank them for that service. I grew up with childhood friends (all non-Christians) who challenged me with the same "problems with the Bible" that we see today. Don't let anyone fool you; if non-believing children can see where potential holes are in the Bible (in their eyes) and therefore logically conclude that they shouldn't bother pursuing Christianity as a result, why is there a debate on the same subject amongst adult Believers?
Doubts about the Bible (any parts) DO fuel disbelief of the whole Bible and Christian faith. Period. We do in fact stand and fall on the Word of God. And I make no apologies for that.
CMI is right - you can't tell the world they are right about distrusting the Bible and then expect them to come flocking over to a base-less faith.
Everett C., United States, 29 September 2016
I haven't heard Mr. Stanley's sermon series so can't comment on what he said or meant to say. However, if he truly has come to the point of questioning the Bible's truth and authority I understand why he got there: science "contradicts it."
I grew up in the church, and would have affirmed that I was a Christian until about 26 years ago at the age of 39 when I suddenly realized that I didn't believe the Bible. I actually attended a Baptist seminary briefly before I came to that point of unbelief (and, incidentally, before I was truly saved!).
My Old Testament teacher stated in class that Genesis didn't become historically accurate until the account of Abraham. I remember nodding in agreement since my undergraduate degree was a BS in geology. While listening to a critique of Stanley's sermon last night I suddenly realized that the above statement about Genesis by a "biblical authority" most likely began to crystalize my unbelief in scripture.
Thankfully, my response to the realization that I didn't believe the Bible caused me to pray and ask God (about whom I really wasn't so sure about at the moment) to show mw why I didn't believe it. Soon after the prayer I had the chance to hear an interview with a biblical, young-earth scientific creationist who held a PhD in biology. During the interview I suddenly knew that he was right and Genesis, and the rest of the Bible is true! God revealed that to me while I was still hostile to scientific creation, so it wasn't a matter of bias reinforcement. I was saved soon after that day.
Because of my personal experience I know that the creation/evolution conflict is spiritual not scientific. My prayer is that Mr. Stanley will come to the point of being able to ask the Lord to reveal where his beliefs about the Bible are wrong.
Walt K., United States, 1 October 2016
Not sure it's related but my church had CMI speak not long ago, and we discussed this sermon in our Bible study also. That's how I found your website and app, thanks CMI. Got some reading to do. I've listened to Andy Stanley for years. Even read a book he wrote and worked through a couple group studies of his. Knowing his fondness for Scripture, this particular series puzzles me. Andy says right out he fronts a seeker church. He's proud to call his church a place for the unchurched. I admire that. But something pulled him down this path unfortunately. The only reason the Bible is difficult to defend is those imperfect of us called to share it. And that's the lifelong work of The Holy Spirit to enlighten us through constant Bible study. There's a very special and specific reason John refers to Jesus as The Word.
Ian T., Canada, 1 October 2016
When I first started reading this I thought you were just being overly critical. I believe in Jesus Christ and strive to seek the face of God as opposed to the hand of God (miracles and such). I didn't become a Christian because I came to the knowledge of the inerrancy of the scripture, I am one because I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and confessed that belief along with asking God to forgive my sins. I thought you were putting more emphasis on believing scripture than on our Saviour.
I cannot say how I came to believe in the inerrancy of scripture, but without it I'd have to conclude my faith would be destroyed, making me agnostic at best. When the conclusions of science disagree with the scriptures, I just think they need more study to understand. God is not capable of being wrong.
Gerry R., United States, 1 October 2016
I get so weary of those who say, like Pastor Stanley, that "Science is irreconcilable with faith." 1. If there is no God, then nothing, including our very thoughts, matter -- everything is just chemical reactions in our brains. 2. On the other hand, if there is a God, then all the "lesser" sciences -- physics, chemistry, geology, biology, etc -- are simply contributors to the Queen of Sciences, THEOLOGY (the Study of God and His Works). There's no need to "reconcile" a subset with the whole.
Adolfo E., Canada, 1 October 2016
I always had difficulty in understanding the Bible until I discovered Reformed and Covenantal theology. Doubts and unanswered questions that I previously held disappeared. On the issue of "science" . . . the resources of ministries like CMI and others made it a non-issued for me. Specially the distinction between operational science (smart phones, computers, jetliners, modern medicine, etc.), which is repeatable and testable, versus forensic science (origins), which is not and depends on one's presuppositions for interpretation of the evidence.
Dixon M., United States, 1 October 2016
As a former rocket scientist with NASA, I find that science confirms scripture more every day. In fact, I recently did a series of Sunday School lessons on God and science (I am also a minister). The bottom line was/is "trust the Bible." More and more scientists are admitting that there must be a superior intelligence behind the universe (God).
Peter H., Canada, 1 October 2016
This is basically a comment on a comment, but it points out that some who made comments did not things through fully. In particular, one comment of September 23 said, “Mr. Stanley never says the bible can't be trusted.” I feel that the writer of the comment missed the significance of a direct quote from Mr. Stanley: “And when religion and science conflict, at the end of the day if you are an honest person, science must win.” That is, science trumps Scripture. Extrapolating from that, he (Mr. Stanley) is saying in effect that you can trust science, but not the Bible. Unfortunately, Mr. Stanley appears to have abandoned the original meaning of science, which is “knowledge” (Latin scientia, from sciens, scient-, present participle of scire, to know) in favour of what is now considered to be the definition of science (although not in your dictionary) which is “what scientists believe” and/or “what scientists say”. Scientists habitually say what they believe, not necessarily what they know; this has been the case throughout history. If they achieved the level where they knew everything, the scientific community would be communally out of a job.
Conclusions: (1) The Bible can be trusted, because it was inspired by one who KNOWS - the God who cannot lie, (Titus 1:2), and (2) those who say (and presumably believe) that Mr. Stanley is saying that the Bible can be trusted are either lying, mistaken or deceived.
Delima R., Canada, 1 October 2016
Having just walked on the physical hard dirt of Israel and the West bank I am again strengthened in my resolve to trust the Holy Word of God. Shiloh is a real place,shards of pottery from the era of sacrifice abound. Magdala has the 1st century synagogue remains. The Jordan river flows. The city of David and Jerusalem exists. One quick visit to the land of the bible reminds me that I can think whatever I want,but the reality of the word of God is everywhere. Pastor Andy may have an opinion,however the reality of the land and people of the bible convinces me.
Tim S., Canada, 1 October 2016
Our church small group watched this series from Andy Stanley last year. We paid attention at the beginning when he said to listen very carefully. Not once did we think he was discrediting the Bible. To us it was more about having your faith still if you didn't have access to a Bible (taken away from you or being somewhere where you did not have access). Let's not worship the book but the God it talks about. Don't forget a bunch of men hunkered down and decided what to include in the conglomeration of material (letters, songs, history) we call the Bible. It's too bad God hasn't inspired a single soul in the last 2000 years to write something to the church and it all wrapped up when they bound the Bible together. Faith is so much more than that.
Lita Cosner responds
Unfortunately, you seem to have the same view we're so concerned about. How do you know about God except through His Word? I think 'bibliolatry' is not the danger as much as a rejection of Scripture as God's revelation of Himself in Scripture. And respectfully, that you could be so misinformed as to describe the process of the church recognizing the canon as "a bunch of men hunkered down and decided what to include" shows that you are uninformed about the process of recognizing the canon. Also, God hasn't inspired Scripture in 2,000 years because the 66-book canon that we have is perfectly sufficient to give us what we need to know to be saved and live the Christian life.
David B., United States, 1 October 2016
Defense of the Bible as the inerrant Word of God and final authority is not necessary when you learn that interpretation is the problem. Most people of faith simply "trust" the accuracy of Scripture and as a result accept the literal, fundamental and sometimes "symbolic" interpretation of Scripture which does seem to be incompatible with what we have learned about reality through God's "gift" of Science which unfortunately has caused so many people to lose their faith and lead to Pastor Stanley's conclusion that believing that the WHOLE Bible is TRUTH is not necessary to believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God. "God is not a man that He should lie." Therefore there is another explanation that is compatible with Science........The Bible is absolute TRUTH when it is interpreted SCIENTIFICALLY. ie; Man did NOT evolve from apes via Natural Selection (not enough time because of the "lethal" nature of mutation) NOR was He created by the violation of God's PERFECT Laws. ("magic") God Created man in His Image via Recombinant DNA hybridization. (DNA="dust of the Earth.") God created Eve via modified "cloning" of Adam....."This is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone, I will call her women because she came from man." (“rib” marrow is a rich source of adult stem cells which are easily “reset” to an embryonic state….Induced Pluripotency. ("IPSCell) "Y"chromosome is removed from one IPSCell and is replaced by an "X" chromosome from another and the "modified" cell is induced to start cleavage and form a blastocyst that is placed in a "surrogate" womb where 9 months of gestation and morphogenesis is completed and a female child is born. Adam's "sleep" I suspect was suspended animation because Eve was a mature young women when presented to Adam.)
Lita Cosner responds
Your comment is a perfect example of why we need to stick to a plain interpretation of Scripture, because there's no limit to the insane theories that people will come up with when we import our own ideas onto Scripture.
George W., United States, 1 October 2016
Grace and peace from God our Father and the LORD Jesus Christ!
John 1:1-5 states... 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life,and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Also John 1:14-16 states... 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
So to me if you reject that the Bible is not so, then how can you accept Christ as being so?
Acts 17:11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
By the power of the Holy Ghost i believe these things to be absolute truth!
Let the WORD of Christ richly dwell in you all! Colossians 3:16
To Christ i cling, (with HIS help)
Therese M., United States, 1 October 2016
Thank you CMI for taking on a popular Pastor. This is wonderful article. Because this is what the enemy is teaching in all the major seminaries across the world. In fact he is only expounding on the 'latest false teachings'. As God Word puts it, "Doctrine of demons". Calling different books and chapters in the Bible: myths and allegories. Thank you all at CMI for you hard work on the front lines. I call on everyone to support this work monthly. God Bless.
Stephen Ray H., United States, 2 October 2016
Judging from the number of comments, this is one article touching a modern concern. Science is Knowledge, and the search for it is ancient, but the Bible introduces a methodology that seems to cover not only the establishment of this archive of testimonies as a source of truth, but how to determine it. It is the Mosaic law of two or three witnesses that establishes a matter in two corollaries...in fact one of the corollaries is emphasized by the Peter this Stanley talks about. Corollary One generalized is this, "in the mouth of ONE WITNESS shall NO man be put to death." Jesus says, "If I bear witness of myself my witness is not true" and speaking in a time of no NEW testament scripture he refers to the Old, along with some spiritual witnesses in line with COROLLARY TWO. But Peter also says, this in 2 Peter 1:20 in this corrected to the Greek translation, "This first knowing that EVERY (one) PROPHECY OF SCRIPTURE IS NOT OF ITS OWN INTERPRETATION." Corollary Two generalized is "in the mouth of WITNESSES, TWO OR THREE, SHALL A MATTER (judgment, truth, doctrine) BE ESTABLISHED." Jesus speaks of this in Matthew 18 concerning church discipline and even as a structure of a seed church (of two or three immersed saints). And concerning messages given without NT Scriptures, Paul in 1 Corinthians 14 shows how LIVING DOCTRINE is established at that time with no NT SCRIPTURES involved, THOUGH Paul was collecting testimony for scripture and promises a soon reliance ONLY upon that with AGAPE love being the only credibility giving gift left to prove what Jesus says, "IN THIS shall ALL KNOW that YE ARE MY DISCIPLES in that YE HAVE LOVE (agape or unconditional love) ONE TO ANOTHER. The scientific method developed initially by Bible influenced searchers of truth was from this law.
Christopher W., United States, 2 October 2016
I have been attending a Northpoint church for the last 6 months and I have been very impressed with and blessed by the ministries, leaders and messages. I see Andy Stanley as an inspiring communicator with an infectious love for God. This last sermon series, "Who Needs God" was unlike any message I've ever heard in a church setting (not necessarily a bad thing), and it has stirred up many good discussions among christians and even in my workplace with unbelievers! There is great risk of misunderstanding one another, and worse, compromise in the faith. We have to get this correct. It was strange, intellectually exhausting, and at times uncomfortable to listen to Andy's philosophical and apologetics arguments. We attend church to hear the Truth, but Andy's last message series was appealing directly to an audience that lost belief in the Truth. In many messages, he spoke and presented arguments without relying on the underlying Christian ideology that God exists, the Bible is infallible, etc. As you can imagine, this approach is unpleasant, to say the least, for anyone who dislikes hearing arguments against their faith while sitting in church of all places (myself included). Although I wasn't Andy's intended audience, he captured my attention. For the record, I believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God and entirely defensible. Andy's rhetorical prose tosses the Bible around as if on trial (unfortunately necessary). My complaint is that he is willing to concede that the Bible is too hard to defend (he needs CMI's help!). But does he ever explicitly say he does not believe the Bible 100%? No. Next step: CMI is in the best position to team up with Northpoint ministries to present a complimentary sermon series incorporating the vast evidence for the Bible's authenticity
J. L., United States, 2 October 2016
For me this just adds to my previous suspicions about Andy Stanley. After spending some time in a liberal Protestant church (I won't say the denomination) I think that perhaps I recognize a member of the "Evangelical Left" when I see them. Conservatives like me would have many questions for them in the beginning, such as: If you don't believe in a literal Fall, how is it you believe in redemption? If you believe Jesus was mistaken or lying in Matt 24:37-39 regarding the flood, how can you believe he's the incarnation of God? If you don't believe in the exodus, how do you believe Jesus is the paschal lamb? In my experience the people in these churches are unfazed by these questions because they really DON'T believe in these things because they don't believe in substitutionary atonement. They believe in and teach something called the Moral Influence Theory of Atonement. The Bible is almost irrelevant to that theory. The more I hear from Andy Stanley, the more I suspect that is the viewpoint to which he will ultimately confess. I may be wrong of course, but he sure sounds like those church attendees.
Jared C., United States, 2 October 2016
Having now listened to Stanley's sermon, I agree completely with CMI calling it out. It's bad theology, bad history, and simply bad logic. It does not take an exhaustive study of the NT to see how flagrantly false Stanley's teaching is here. The OT is inseparably woven into the NT. To claim that they are independent, that the standards for each testament are different or that the disciples did not care about such things is dead wrong. In my 20+ years of working in youth and teen ministries, I have found that the reason someone walks away from their faith is rarely "... for the Bible told me so." It's usually closer to something like "...for my pastor told me so..." or "...for my parents told me so..." and even then only when it never grows beyond that. It's not that they relied too much on the Bible but that they never really relied on it at all. They lack their own root systems, and when the rocks and weeds come, they fall away. Sadly, this sermon will only cause more of what Stanley claims to be trying to avoid. By discouraging dependency on the Bible, it discourages studying the Bible and in turn leaves his audience unarmed and unprotected.
Robert N., New Zealand, 2 October 2016
It's all too easy to compromise the plain teaching of the Bible once churches get big and you try too hard to reach everyone with a message that will appeal to the world. Of course as you point out, if what is sacrificed is the inerrancy of the received word, and the creationist view, then things become vague and even fanciful. Sadly this state of the church in general is on the increase. Let us remain faithful to God's word, and to an uncompromising creationist view, not driven by popularity or numbers.
Paul M., New Zealand, 2 October 2016
Who is he taking to? I heard Stanley's sermon and I can't help but wonder - Is his church full of non-believers who happened to wander in? Trouble is I heard Rob Bell give a similar talk a few years ago - He purported that even if the bible wasn't true, its still the best way to live!
Lawrence V., Canada, 2 October 2016
In several passages (Acts 4:25 is one example) the term Holy Spirit is used as synonymous with scripture. If a pastor chases people away from the Bible, isn't that the same as quenching the Holy Spirit? Does that sound a bit harsh? Jesus has some very angry words for those who prevent His children from coming to Him (cf Matt. 18:6).
S. F., Australia, 2 October 2016
The church seems to be really challenged with the idea that there are different parts of the body with different functions and this is a prime example. If Stanley doesn't feel he can defend the bible (not great given he's a teacher of the bible) then perhaps he should focus on what he can do well instead of making the ludicrous claim that nobody should use their skills to defend the bible. I wouldn't be an effective third world missionary but it doesn't mean nobody should do it or that it can't be done.
Laird M., United Kingdom, 5 October 2016
I have read with interest this article about Mr Stanley’s teaching series and the many comments it has prompted. It seems to me that Mr Stanley is making the mistake of trying to teach unbelievers into the Church. If he is trying to equip his congregation with knowledge and understanding regarding a problem he perceives in “his” church, then he certainly seems to have chosen a long-winded method to convey this teaching. We have a message for unbelievers – the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the message that unbelievers need to hear put to them plainly and clearly. It is then up to the Holy Spirit to bring conviction in the hearts of the hearers regarding the truthfulness of the message and their need to respond to it. We cannot persuade unbelievers into the Church – it is God’s work alone to bring faith and salvation to a repentant soul. In this work we can be co-workers with Him, but to Him alone belongs the glory.
Michael D., Australia, 8 October 2016
I don't know anything about Andy Stanley's ministry so I am not in a position to judge, but as a general comment, I think it is sad that some Christians so easily cede so much territory to secularist and modernist versions of history that undermine the reliability of the Bible. There is so much archeological, paleographic, scientific and historical data that overwhelmingly supports the truth of Biblical history that I believe it is completely unnecessary to surrender one inch of intellectual ground on this matter. Having studied the subject in detail for more than 3 decades I am personally completely satisfied in the Bible's accuracy. Perhaps Christian leaders would do well to devote some time and study to strengthening their own faith in the veracity of scripture. There are many great resources available both from CMI and other ministries such as CSM that are very faith building and only serve to confirm Psalm 33:4. "Your Word is right, and all Your works are done in truth".