Saturday, May 12, 2012

Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley’s position on homosexuality has come under fire from guys like Ken Silva, Denny Burk, and Albert Mohler. I don’t know much about Andy Stanley myself. I only heard him preach once. The sermon was hip, with some pleasant self-deprecating humor.

Andy is, of course, son of the famous Charles Stanley. Charles is a very gifted preacher. It’s possible that Andy doesn’t have the same talent, but parleyed his pedigree into a successful ministry. Then again, maybe that’s not fair. I don’t know enough to say.

In any case, I’d like to float a theory about Andy’s position on homosexuality. His dad is one of those fundamentalists, like Charles Ryrie, Randall Gleason, and Zane Hodges, who espouses an antinomian version of eternal security. This version of eternal security is opposed to the perseverance of the saints.

This became a cause célèbre when John MacArthur trained his guns on that position.

It’s possible that Andy’s position on homosexuality is related to his father’s antinomian theology. I don’t know that for a fact. I just offer that for consideration. A working hypothesis.


  1. The following isn't to suggest your post on Stanley is incorrect. I actually think it explains quite a bit of his theological practice.

    I attended Andy Stanley's church for about two years when I first moved to Atlanta in 2008.

    I also was part of two small groups in the church, which gave me a decent pulse for the community. Liberalism was quite rampant, with one practicing homosexual in one of the groups being told by the small group leader that homosexuality was not a sin, but just one of those prohibitions annulled with the NT, like shellfish. This same leader also considered Bart Ehrman one of his favorite religious authors, and, as I understood his comments, took pride in the fact that he and his wife had never prayed together.

    I left the church because my wife wasn't being fed. Also, my daughter was getting sick literally every other week while we attended.

    I think the defining features of his church are: (1) a low (shallow, wide-net, accessible) bar for theology/content, (2) an inordinate desire to avoid being associated with "typical, judgmental fundies." This is the outworking of a decidedly seeker-friendly church with a target audience of those who once did, but no longer, attend church. Sermons are usually one point, are illustrated with objects, and tend to focus on how the Bible is useful as applicable to every day life.

    He actually does a good job preaching on money, which surprised me a great deal.

    From listening to lots of his sermons, he's clearly an outstanding communicator. It's the message that's generally the problem.

    He suffers from the same problems as other celebrity-driven mega church ministries. If he happened to leave the church tomorrow, I don't see it staying together.

    Andy Stanley has written on how the pastor should serve as a CEO of the church as an organization. Related, he is notoriously inaccessible for a pastor.

    He likely defines himself and his ministry in response to the (near?) divorce scandal of his father.

    Given the principle concerns of his ministry, I assume that even if Stanley is against homosexuality, he is not going to come out publicly against it, at least not from the pulpit.

  2. I like the Name: Andy Stanley.
    It just sounds cool.

    he's a good pastor no doubt. And yet he may like to preach "how to" sermons, instead of Gospel sermons so much.

    I like the Gospel preachers; the Word preacher-teachers.

    If we do the Lord's will, and our Lord is pleased then we can have peace in our hearts.
    It's the most difficult thing in this dark age to do though.
    Satan hates the Word, the Truth. Andy needs our prayers, and our encouragement to preach the Word, the whole Word, which man shall live by.

    Jesus prayed: "Father, Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth."

  3. Chris Rosebrough did a workup on this guy three days ago on Fighting for the Faith:

  4. Although Charles Stanley holds to the "once saved always saved" doctrine of "eternal security", he was never as extreme as Zane Hodges.

    Andy learned under Zane Hodges at Dallas Seminary and promoted his books, and seems to preach and apply his view. I heard him teach several times, once on James 2, and it was definitely influenced by Zane Hodges.

    McArthur exposes Zane Hodges and Charles Ryrie in "Faith Works: the Doctrine of Salvation According to the Apostles".

    What Matthew has written about the small groups at North Point Community Church is rather shocking, but seems to be a trend that has been growing there for years. Others have been indicating these kinds of things in the last several years and have left and go to more doctrinal churches now.

    Hard for me to believe all this; because when Andy was at First Baptist Church of Atlanta, he actually preached a pretty good sermon on the issue of homosexuality from Romans 1 and I Cor. 6:9-11, as I recall.

    But yes, I think the 2 roots of his application to ministry are:
    1. The Zane Hodges radical "easy believe-ism" theology.
    2. The seeker sensitive model of church which he learned from Bill Hybels.

  5. Did you listen to the sermon segment in question? I cannot tell from the post. Here Chris Rosebrough (LCMS) plays the entire segment and gives an analysis of what the problem is.