But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. -- 2Peter 2: 1 (ESV)
Let me start by saying that anyone in a public ministry can make an honest mistake. Teachers can even have holes in their theology if you will. The word heresy or heretic should not be taken lightly. Simply put someone who is heretical teaches things contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet even that can be misapplied. For me someone crosses into the realm of heretic when their teaching continuously departs from sound Biblical orthodoxy and they refuse to repent of it. The purpose of calling them out as heretical at that point is for the betterment of the body of Christ and in alignment with Biblical instruction:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. -- Romans 16: 17 (KJV)
We are to mark those that cause division and offense that are contrary to sound doctrine. We mark them so that we might avoid them. In the key verse today we see Peter discussing heresies and from this one verse we can determine several things about heresy. The first thing is that heresy is a product of false teachers. Secondly they are destructive by nature. Thirdly they deny the Master; in other words they deny the Gospel. They are secret in nature in that they are not announced. Wolves do not come into the church with signs around their necks beloved. These are high standards that have to be met before someone should be properly named a heretic. It has to be earned and deserved. This is not a matter of hating and it is not personal. It is in adherence to the command found in Titus that all ministers rebuke those that present a false gospel. Why? Because they are destructive. To what end? To the end of all things. Romans teaches us that only the true Gospel of Jesus Christ has the power of God unto thesalvation of man. By default then, the false gospel is destructive because it cannot save anyone./
I say this as a backdrop to revisiting a story from a few weeks ago involving mega-church heretic Andy Stanley who preached an absolutely horrific sermon that disavowed the Bible as inerrant and sided with atheistic and humanistic arguments over the validity of Scripture. This horrific sermon is not what made Andy Stanley a heretic as he was one long before this was preached. His track record is one of running a purpose driven schemata on steroids. He is on record as saying we should not call pastors shepherds anymore because the term is no longer culturally relevant. That alone is heretical because it is God who referred to pastors as shepherds and it accurately describes the job as God intended it. Stanley however follows Rick Warrenism that declares the pastor is not a shepherd but rather a vision casting CEO. This fundamentally destroys the underpinnings of how God designed His church. That is why it is heretical. Stanley also recently turned his worship sets at his church over to sexually provocative boy band songs and in a different week it was a music set of Beatles music. In an interview a couple of years ago, Stanley declared that the Bible was just a collection of ancient documents, a statement that laid the ground work for the horrific sermon last month. It is because of this sermon that Stanley received enormous backlash and now he is trying to "clarify" what he was saying. One of the vehicles he used is churchleaders.com, which specializes in purpose driven leaders and traffics in multiple false teachers. In this article, they apparently took issue with what I had written previously regarding this sermon:
A blog post at 828ministries.com claimed, "Megachurch 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." A much more measured, but highly critical response came from pastor and author David Prince, who in a recent post said, "According to Stanley, defending the Bible in its entirety as completely true is too great a burden, and wrongly puts the Bible at the center of the debate. He speaks as if his view is a cutting edge apologetic position for our time or an innovative evangelistic strategy, but what he is advocating has historically had a name--liberalism." -- Churchleaders.com
Moving past not understanding that my ministry site is not a blog, I can only assume that church leaders takes issue with my correctly calling Stanley a heretic but essentially David Prince seems to agree with my assessment. Anyone who promotes liberalism as Christianity is by default heretical. Perhaps Prince was more reserved because he was only responding to this one sermon where I had already dealt with Andy Stanley on the other heretical issues that lie in the wake of his preaching. Nevertheless, let us reason together and see how they defend the indefensible and see if we can gain a glimpse into their flawed and unbiblical thinking.
"First," Stanley begins, "I believe the Bible is without error in everything it affirms. I believe what the Bible says is true, is true."
Yeah, except that is not what Stanley actually said in the sermon. What he actually said is,
"If the Bible is the foundation of our faith, as the Bible goes, so goes our faith. It is next to impossible to defend the entire Bible. And while YOU may be able to hang on to it, your kids and grandkids and the next generation will not. -- Andy Stanley
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
So unless Stanley is making the absurd argument that you need two gospels, one for believers and one for unbelievers, he is simply lying here. You cannot have it both ways. You cannot say you believe in the inerrancy of Scripture and also say that everybody knows the earth is 4.5 billion years old. It does not work like that. You are speaking out of both sides of your mouth.
For listeners accustomed to preachers taking every opportunity to correct, chastise and reprimand unbelievers, my approach is confusing. But for the father whose 23-year-old son agreed to give church one more chance"well"folks like that hug my neck and send me gift cards." -- Andy Stanley
This is a ridiculous strawman argument. No one is advocating that preachers chastise unbelievers. That is not Scriptural either. While we are at it; the approach is not confusing at all. It is heretical. It leaves sound doctrine behind in pursuit of this hodgepodge of feel good humanism that people can relate to better on a purely carnal level. The father of a 23 year old hugs your neck because his child decided to give church one more chance? And this is held up as something to pursue? What difference does it make if someone decides to give a false church with a false gospel one more chance? When you sacrifice the real Gospel you sacrifice salvation. That is what we ought to be focusing on, not whether someone is "churched"; which is another horrible Rick Warrenism from the Purpose Drive Church.
For Stanley, that quote illustrates Stanley's driving core--a passion for a millennial generation he says are leaving a faith they know well. -- Church Leaders
Here we come to the basic flaws in this defense and the thinking Stanley had that led to this sermon. The premise Stanley has is that church kids go off to college and when confronted by big bad science, they lose their faith. The solution is to approach faith from the perspective of the world. Abandon the basic tenets of our beliefs such as the Bible being infallible in favor of the witness from the Gospel writers. The problems here are easy to discern. First of all, at the heart of the problem are false conversions. If your child goes off to college and has their faith undermined by science then they never had faith to begin with. Faith is not so easily destroyed beloved. The problem is the modern church, such as the one operated by Andy Stanley does not preach the Gospel anymore and caters to the goats. The result is predictable as most people are told they are saved but are not. This is a point that Stanley continues to clearly not understand: