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Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. -- 2Peter 3: 14-18 (ESV)
Mega church heretic Andy Stanley continues to cross the line into full blown humanism and abandon all sense of orthodox Christianity in pursuit of his carnal purpose driven dreams. We documented this week a conversation Stanley had a few years ago where he expressed that the bible was just a "collection of ancient documents" as he presented his strained beliefs that Christianity does not need the Bible. Instead, Stanley offered some vague notion of believing in what Jesus said in the Gospel accounts without making the obvious logical connection that the Gospel accounts are part of the Bible. To on the one hand discount the Bible as being inerrant and then in the next breath offer up something from the Bible as your new rationale for being Christian is asinine at best and completely heretical at heart. This is also because Jesus Himself is the Word of God. You cannot remove Him from the Word or the Word from Him unless you are trying to be disobedient to one or the other.
This month, Stanley has embarked on a sermon series entitled, "Who Needs God?" I know the answer to that one! Andy Stanley needs God and it is becoming quite obvious from his beliefs and preaching that he is not a pastor but rather a hireling trying to grow his business. The latest installment of "Who Needs God" is entitled; "The Bible Told Me So" and the video can be found at the link above. Let us reason together beloved as we review this sermon because Andy Stanley is becoming a very dangerous man in these end times. He has one of the largest churches in America and is widely regarded by many pastors and Christian leaders. It was bad enough that he is already on record saying he does not believe pastors are shepherds and that recently he mixed in 1990's boy bands and Beatles songs in corporate worship. Now he has engaged in heresy so blatant it must be noted so we can avoid him moving forward at all costs. Stanley starts by trying to explain the genesis for this sermon:
"When I hear de-conversion stories there is a theme throughout where I get faith based answers to fact based questions. This is where the trouble began -- "Jesus loves me this I know because my bible tells me so" There was a conflict of facts when we grew up." -- Andy Stanley
We can see the slope we are heading down right from the start. Stanley is differentiating between faith and fact as if they are somehow different. Anyone who is truly born again knows there is no factual disconnect with our faith. Christianity and faith are not based upon hopes and dreams but cold hard facts that the Holy Spirit has witnessed to us through Scripture and Jesus Himself has witnessed to us personally. There is only a "conflict of facts" when someone is not saved. Ahh, and therein lies the rub. The real reason why Andy Stanley cannot understand and discern the true problem. But we will see this developed further as the sermon progresses:
"If the Bible is the foundation of our faith, then as the Bible goes so goes our faith. This is why you sent your kids off to college and they came back with no faith. If the Bible is the foundation of our faith then it is all or nothing. Christianity becomes a fragile house of cards religion. It comes tumbling down when we discover that perhaps the walls of Jericho did not. In archeology class they're told "we excavated the city of Jericho. By the way there is no evidence that a Hebrew people made some sort of trek from Egypt to Canaan. Do you know there are all sorts of contradictions in the OT? There's all these facts and figure that do not add up. By the way, the Bible seems to teach that the earth is only six thousand years old and everybody knows the earth is 4.5 billion years old and the universe is 14.5 million years old." If the entire Bible isn't true then the Bible isn't true and all of Christianity comes tumbling down." -- Andy Stanley
Wow, this may as well been stated by an atheist because this is their position against the Bible and Christianity. Beloved, please realize what is going on here. The inerrancy of Scripture is what makes a world that sells shades of grey very black and white. It is why the world hates Christianity and Jesus Christ. He says that He is the way the truth and the life and none come to the Father except through Him. The world wants to believe everyone goes to heaven and it doesn't matter what you do here on earth or who you worship. So what does the world try to do? Discredit the Bible. At every turn they try to smear the Bible as being inaccurate, inconsistent, and inconsequential. Why? Because if you can poke a hole in just one truth -- why believe any of it? Perhaps Andy forgot what Paul taught Timothy:
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness -- 2Timothy 3: 16 (ESV)
If any verse is untrue then God is a liar. He breathed out the Bible. They are His words. What Stanley is trying to is undermine the authority of Scripture by co-opting the arguments the sinful world tries to use when it undermines the Bible. So some archeology professor thinks that there is no proof that the walls of Jericho never came down? Some history professor claims that there is no proof that the Israelites made the trek from Egypt to Canaan? Keep in mind beloved that in both of these scenarios offered the academics in question are not saying the events did not occur because they cannot say that. They were not there. All they can say is they have not found proof of it, thousands of years later. How many things occurred 4000 years ago that archeologists have no proof of? What is truly sad is that we know these things happened and we have proof -- the Bible. Now I understand why the world wants to dismiss the Bible but a pastor of a mega church? Why is he so quick to believe the unsaved college academics as opposed to God Himself?
The earth is 4.5 billion years old? Says who? Scientists who must admit at the end of the day that they are guessing? How do we know they are guessing? Because they were not there! Even something as scientific as carbon dating is based on theory. Man has been trying to deny the existence of God since man was created but the church should not be in the business of helping discredit God. Today's science is tomorrow's old wives tales. Scientists will admit their positions are ever evolving and changing based upon new theories. How old will it be guessed to be tomorrow? Who knows? But it will still be man guessing as hard as he can to distance himself from the God he will answer to one day. So yes Andy, if the entire Bible is not true then Christianity comes tumbling down -- and it should. Who wants to believe in a God who gets it right sometimes? Who wants to place their faith in a God who lies or is found to be mistaken? Talk about the height of arrogance. That man would tell God He is wrong using manmade formulae and estimates and then find support in the arms of the church. Disgusting.
"Consequently, Christians have always felt they had to defend the Bible. If you read broadly however you discover that it is next to impossible to defend the entire Bible. You may be able to hang on to the Bible but your kids and grand kids will not. If you left Christianity because you found out the Bible was fallible you left unnecessarily." -- Andy Stanley
This is where we start to see the damage done to Stanley's theology by following Rick Warren and the purpose driven heresy. Christians do not feel compelled to defend the Bible. Nor should we. God has not called us to defend the Bible. Yes there are apologetics experts who can and should continue to explain what the world thinks is unexplainable but let's peel back the layers of what is really going on with this logic. Andy Stanley is trying to convince people to become Christian. This is the purpose driven mindset. To sway people's opinions to "try Jesus" out. To make an intellectual appeal for a spiritual outcome. Maybe you left because you found out the Bible was fallible? Are you serious? Beloved, if someone "left" because they decided the Bible was fallible then they were never saved to begin with and there is the 800 pound gorilla in the room that Andy Stanley cannot see. When you run the purpose driven church model you are not converting anyone. You are not saving anyone. You are convincing them to raise their hands, repeat after you, get dunked, do a SHAPE application, tithe and get plugged into ministry. There are a lot of temporal changes and maybe even the temporal carnal preaching helps them in their temporal existence. But you changed nothing eternally. They still will stand before Jesus Christ on the last day and say "Lord Lord" and He will still respond that He never knew them.
It is the same reason why when we send kids off to college they come back secularized. I know this is a tough teaching but they were probably never saved to start. Evangelical churches do such a disservice to kids. They place them in program after program and usually somewhere around 10 years of age they have a well-intentioned church teacher ask them if they love Jesus, write them a "testimony" about how they love God and their parents, and then baptize them. Most 10 year olds cannot properly understand sin let alone repentance. But the parents breathe a sigh of relief; at least until their ten year old grows up and becomes a teenager. Youth programs in most churches are nothing more than a carnal pizza party with Jesus window dressing. Then they go off to college and see things they have been shielded from. They hear things they have been shielded from. Because they were never really saved they have never had the Holy Spirit lead them into all truth in the Bible. Then their secular professor, in a position of authority, tells them that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and what do you expect will happen? Thankfully the Bible says if you train a child up right when they are older they will not depart from it so that is why so many church youth who ventured into the world often come back when they pass into real adulthood. But Andy Stanley cannot see any of this because then he would have to admit that the Bible is not the problem. He is the problem. So now with his foundation laid, Stanley launches into a concerted effort to speak about the reliability of the New Testament documents. A lot of what he says here is absolutely true and arguments that most apologists use. The reliability of the documents that would become the bible are extremely reliable from a historical perspective. But then Andy crosses that line again to favor the fleshly reasons over the supernatural realities:
"People did not make the early copies because they believed they were inspired but because they believed they were true. Christianity made its greatest strides 282 years before the Bible even existed. Christianity was not born on the back of, "The Bible says." Before the OT and NT were combined into the first Bible, Christianity had already replaced most gods and was the state religion of the Roman Empire. No one had even held a Bible." -- Andy Stanley
Let's deal with these separately. How does Andy Stanley know that the early writers and scribes prepared copies because they believed they were true as opposed to inspired? That's right; he doesn't. He is simply making this up to fit his pre-determined narrative. What about the above referenced instructions to Timothy? By the time they were copying these there is just as much a possibility that they did believe in the inspiration of Scripture. The second and third statements are so duplicitous. Yes it is true that the first actual Bible as we know it did not come about until the fourth century and that Christianity was the religion of Rome before a Bible was constructed. But that does not mean that the early church did not rely upon the Scriptures. Remember that early on the Jewish converts did not give up on the Old Testament documents. Jesus was Jewish! He constantly referenced the Old Covenant and Scriptures. How early on was the new church relying upon Scripture? Just look at the key verses! These are the closing remarks of Peter's second letter and he is assuring believers about the second coming of Christ. He refers to the letters Paul has written; letters we know would eventually form three quarters of the New Testament. But look how Peter refers to them! He refers to them as Scriptures! Along with "other Scriptures." It is generally accepted that Peter wrote this around 65 AD. So the notion Stanley proffers that the church got along without the Holy Word for hundreds of years is patently false and ignorant.