In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. - John 1:1 (ESV)
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. - 2Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
Protestia is reporting the latest in a long line of destructive heresies from Pastor Andy Stanley. For the uninitiated, Stanley is the guy who suggested that we no longer use the term "shepherd" because it was culturally irrelevant. As if the word of God bows to modern culture. Stanley also infamously preached that Christians need to "unhitch" themselves from the Old Testament. He essentially denied the Genesis account claiming God said it only to "accommodate our capacity." That argument is essentially that the Jewish people were too stupid to understand the truth as Stanley sees it now, so God lied to them. As if that was not enough, Protestia correctly reports that he has repeatedly told his congregation "I'm not arguing that the bible is correct" and that the "foundation of our faith is not the whole bible." He even threw cold water on the supernatural virgin birth by saying, "If somebody can predict their own death and then their own resurrection, I'm not all that concerned about how they got into the world" and "Christianity doesn't hinge on the truth or even the stories around the Birth of Jesus."'
Yes, it does Andy. Our faith hinges on the entire word of God. Now, Stanley's crusade to dismantle the authority and inerrancy of scripture was undertaken because Stanley was upset that his church sends so many youth off to college only to see the world turn them into atheists. Instead of realizing that was his failure for refusing to preach the actual gospel, he turned the blame on Christians and their sticky insistence that our faith is based on the bible. When defending this indefensible assault on God he stated, "Appealing to post-Christian people on the basis of the authority of Scripture has essentially the same effect as a Muslim imam appealing to you on the basis of the authority of the Quran," Really Andy? Is that how little you think of the God you claim to serve? This beloved is what happens when your doctrine is entirely carnal. When you start to believe your own press clippings and the size of your congregation. When you start to think that your preaching saves people. It does not. God saves people. The work is entirely supernatural. Most pastors will admit that sometimes the worst sermons, horribly delivered, results in some of the largest altar calls. God saves who He will. People respond to the supernatural call, or they do not. To compare what might be preached in Islam is to blaspheme the gospel.
The next step in Stanley's ongoing mugging of the bible is a current eight-part series of what he calls the "fundamental list," which he believes are the fundamentals of the faith to follow Christ. He actually has the hubris to compare his nonsense to the Apostle's creed while acknowledging that the creed may be more "theologically robust." Do you think Andy? The latest argument from Stanley is that the red letters of the bible, the direct words of Jesus in the gospel accounts, should be considered above other scriptures. Specifically, that the church has performed historical misuse of the bible for "harmful nonsense" because we treat Matthew 28:18, saying all authority has been given to Jesus, as "just another bible verse" and equating it with other scriptures.
Beloved, this is a dangerous and destructive heresy. Matthew 28:18 should be equated with all scripture. There are no scriptures that rise above others. What Stanley is attempting to do is rewrite the bible, raise the red letters to scriptures to adhere to, while consigning the remainder to background noise or suggestions. First of all, there is an inherent logical contradiction to deal with. The red letters only exist in context with the remainder of scripture. Stanley would not know about them, without the entire canon. So, he relies on the bible to bring him the red letters and then dismisses the very same bible as less consequential. Beyond the logical disconnect Stanley has multiple biblical problems with this approach. Number one is the first key verse above. The gospel of John teaches us that the word was God. Now, we all believe that Jesus is God, at least Stanley has not abandoned that core doctrine yet. If Jesus is God and the word is God, then logically, Jesus is the word. Not just the red letters - the entire word. To confirm this, we have the second set of verses above, that establishes the Christian doctrine of divine inspiration. It says ALL scripture is breathed out directly by God. Not some scripture. Not the red letters only. ALL scripture. It is because of this that we believe that the Apostle Paul, or Peter, or Moses, were not the actual writers of the bible. God was. He divinely inspires them to write exactly what HE wanted. That is why it is laughable when forces try to circumvent scripture by solely making historical or cultural arguments. It does not matter if you think Paul felt this way or that or was writing only to the local church the letter was named after. God wrote it to apply to the entire church.
This is not to say the man, who is inherently sinful, has not misused and abused scripture throughout history to justify horrific acts. The crusades and slavery for example, were both justified by many through the misuse of scripture. Today, the NAR absolutely abuses the bible to justify the idolatry of this country. Word faith routinely abuses the verses about God's power of verbal creation. Prosperity hucksters continue to abuse scriptures about God's provision. Tithing charlatans continue to completely destroy poor Malachi. The list just goes on and on. This is the reason why God wrote so much warning about false teaching! It is the exact reason why discernment ministry is so vital to the body. Paul describes some who followed false teaching as having their faith shipwrecked! There are always real victims of false teaching. Real people who will end up in hell because they believed in the wrong people, teaching the wrong things. That is the point of the scripture in Matthew about those who say Lord Lord on the Day of Judgment, which are red letters by the way. What Stanley is preaching here is not theologically robust. It is theologically vacuous. It is biblically moronic. It will lead people astray and shipwreck the faith of many. The fact that history is littered with people who incorrectly handle the word does not mean we abandon it.
Think about all we lose by only elevating the red letters. There is no law, which means no conviction for sin. There are no prison epistles where the faith of Christianity is fleshed out. Stanley actually argues that the problem is in the church considering the entire bible its authority. Instead, he argues that Jesus should be our authority and not the bible, completely dismissing the fact that Jesus is the word. Let me close with one last blasphemous statement from Stanley:
"'Ladies and gentlemen, Moses was your guy. Torah was your text. But the King has arrived. The shadow caster is here.' So when they saw him, they worshiped him. They got what we miss. And because they got what we miss, they never misrepresented their King." - Andy Stanley
Strange because my bible, even in the red letters, says that Jesus came to fulfill the law and that anyone that tries to relax any of the commandments found in the Old Testament, will be called the least in the kingdom of heaven. Do not get this twisted beloved. What Andy Stanley is doing is teaching you that we can decide what portions of the bible we like and what we can relegate to the dustbin as, "not as important." Heck, a great deal of the red letters is Jesus affirming other scripture, especially the prophecies of His coming! Andy Stanley has logical problems with this teaching. He has biblical problems. He has heretical problems. Thomas Jefferson removed all references to the deity of Christ and His miracles when he rewrote the bible. Joseph Smith rewrote Genesis and added two more books to the canon for Mormons. Andy Stanley's position of attacking the bible will just go down in the dustbin of Christian history as just another pitiful attempt to mangle the word of God. To quote Macbeth, it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
Mark and avoid. Mark and avoid.
Reverend Anthony Wade - June 29, 2023