The drama started back on Aug. 7, when Stanley preached a sermon called “The Bible Told Me So” as part of a sermon series called “Who Needs God.” The name of the sermon—which was about the role the Bible should play in the life Christians—comes from the old children’s song, "Jesus Loves Me." Stanley explained,
Many of you were brought up to believe this: Jesus loves me this I know … for the Bible tells me so. This is where our trouble began … Because, the implication is—and this is important, the implication is, the Bible is the reason we believe …
In other words, ‘I can believe Jesus loves me because it’s in the Bible.’ I grew up in a church where basically, the by-line, the subtitle for everything was, ‘If the Bible says it, that settles it.’ And so we send kids off college with a ‘If the Bible says it, that settles it’ and all the sudden they realize, ‘Oh my goodness, that didn’t settle it.’
The problem with that is, ‘If the Bible is the foundation of our faith, as the Bible goes, so goes our faith’ … Christianity can not survive if somehow, every single part of the Bible isn’t absolutely true if the Bible is the foundation of our faith.
Essentially, Stanley’s sermon makes the case that too many Christians put the Bible on the same level as God. He also discouraged a “version of a Christianity” that is “a house of cards” that falls apart if we find out that certain possible historic or scientific details of the Bible are inaccurate or that there are apparent contradictions. (You can see the entire thing here.) He went on to say that “Christianity does not exist because of the Bible.”
This weekend, Stanley posted a response to criticism and clarified his sermon. Not only did he explain why he preached the sermon (to set the context for why many millennials are leaving the church), but also confirmed that he still believes inerrancy.
In a piece of Outreach Magazine, he explained, “The confusion related to my most recent series stems more from methodology than theology.” He said that he doesn’t preach from notes and that his delivery can be confusing: “[A] technique that is sometimes confusing for the occasional viewer is my habit of saying what I suspect skeptics are thinking about something I’m saying. In my effort to state their assumptions, I sometimes sound as if I share their assumptions.”
During “The Bible Told Me So,” I wanted educated, dechurched millennials to know that I knew that those who supposedly know everything are convinced there was no worldwide flood or Hebrew migration from Egypt. While addressing them directly, I gave them the benefit of the doubt to make the following point: Even if those events never occurred, it does nothing to undermine the evidence supporting the resurrection of Jesus and thus the claims he made about himself. And yes, as noted above, I know Jesus made claims about the Jewish Scriptures. But this was one sermon in a series of six … I hadn’t gotten to that yet.
Stanley went on to repeatedly say that he believes “the Bible is without error in everything it affirms” and that he “believe[s] what the Bible says is true, is true,” and pointed to the work that his father, Dr. Charles Stanley, to preserve the belief in the infallibility of the Bible among modern Christians.
This week we talk to Andy Stanley about his book The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating. Plus, we celebrate RELEVANT turning 15 years old with a special trivia game and a few surprises from the hosts. This episode is sponsored by Stamps.com and Harry’s. Read More
Andy Stanley’s North Point Ministries, just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, tops this list of the largest churches in America with more than 31,000 weekly attendees. Outreach Magazine compiled the rundown of the country’s biggest churches, each of which bring in more than 19,000 people every Sunday. Texas is home to two of the featured megachurches (Robert Morris’ Gateway Church and Ed Young Sr.’s Second Baptist Church). Unsurprisingly, most of the others are in the South’s Bible Belt ... Discuss
I was taught from an early age to give God 10 percent of everything. That meant if I got a dollar, I put 10 cents in the offering plate. If I got 10 dollars, one of them went to the work of the Church. And so on.
But that routine by itself doesn’t engender a mindset of giving. Even if you give 10 percent faithfully, it doesn’t mean you’ll come away with the right perspective about the other 90 percent. Read More
This week we talk to author and pastor Andy Stanley about leadership and business principles as they apply to running a church. Andy knows a lot about churches considering he pastors the second largest one in the U.S. and has just written a new book about creating them. We also introduce you to one of our favorite new indie-folk bands, Wayfarer. The guys play "repurposed hymns and spiritual songs" and perform a live Christmas song for us. Read More