Andy Stanley, son of Charles Stanley, is the pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. He is one of the most influential “evangelicals,” is considered a master of communication, and is a church growth guru who teaches pastors how to build megachurches. Though Stanley’s church is not Southern Baptist, he is widely supported among Southern Baptists and represents the rapidly growing “emerging” side of the Convention.
In 2016, he said, If you don’t go to a large church, you are so stinking selfish ... and don’t care about your kids” (“Andy Stanley’s Problem with the Bible,” deliveredbygrace.com, Mar. 31, 2016).
In August 2016, he said that if he were the pope, “I would have all the churches that are dying, dying, dying, dying sell their buildings and give their money to the church planters” (interview with Russell Moore, ERLC conference, Aug. 25, 2016).
Stanley holds a “tolerant” view of homosexuality. He says he has no intention of pushing a Christian agenda on other people (The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating). He says that churches should not make people feel like they have to leave “because they’re gay” (“Dr. Charles Stanley and Son Andy,” The Gospel Herald, Apr. 23, 2015). In a sermon entitled “When Gracie Met Truthy,” April 15, 2012, Stanley described a couple in his church who divorced when the wife discovered that her husband was in a sexual relationship with another man, and instead of disciplining the man, the church allowed the homosexual couple to move to another “campus” of North Point Church and work together as a “host” team. That’s not biblical grace; it is 2 Timothy 4:3-4 “after their own lusts” apostasy.
Stanley minimizes the importance of the virgin birth. “Stanley’s December 3, 2016, sermon may be the most controversial yet. In his sermon, Stanley minimized the importance—if not the reality—of the virgin birth of Jesus Christ. ‘A lot of people don’t believe it, and I understand that,’ Stanley said. He added, ‘Maybe the thought is they had to come up with some kind of myth about the birth of Jesus to give him street cred later on. Maybe that’s where that came from’ (Baptist News Global, ‘Virgin Birth Debate Interrupts Regular ‘War on Christmas’ Program,’ 12-21-16). Stanley then noted that it is interesting that only two of the four gospels mention the virgin birth, and said ‘Christianity doesn’t hinge on the truth or even the stories around the birth of Jesus ... It really hinges on the resurrection of Jesus.’ Earlier this year, Stanley minimized the importance of the role Scripture plays in the life of the believer, and minimizing the importance of the virgin birth of Christ is simply the next step in this downward trajectory. The virgin birth of Christ is vitally important, for without the virgin birth, mankind would not have a Savior (the God-man) and no resurrection could have occurred! Despite what Stanley says, Christianity does hinge on the truth surrounding the birth of Jesus Christ. Stanley’s statements are dangerous and his conclusions are completely unbiblical. Discerning believers must beware of those who minimize vital doctrinal truths in an attempt to relate to those who reject such truths in the first place” (Matt Costella, Fundamental Evangelical Association, Dec. 23, 2016).
Stanley consistently disparages the Bible.
In 2009, he said that preaching through the Bible verse-by-verse “isn’t how you grow people. ... No one in the Scripture modeled that. There's not one example of that” (The Exchange with Ed Stetzer, Mar. 5, 2009). But the preacher is commanded to “preach the Word” (2 Ti. 4:2). How can he preach the Word without preaching verse-by-verse? The preacher isn’t giving the Word as the Bible writers were; he is preaching the Word already given. Stanley is comparing apples with oranges. A good example of preaching expositorily is Nehemiah 8, where the priests exposited the book of the law. “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Neh. 8:8). Here, the priests were not giving new revelation; they were not writing Scripture; they were preaching Scripture, and they went verse-by-verse.
In 2014, Stanley said, “Don’t say the Bible says. Say the author’s name who wrote the Bible” (Stanley, Deep and Wide).
On Aug. 25, 2016, in a conversation with Russell Moore at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission conference held in conjunction with the Southern Baptist Convention annual conference, Stanley said, “I would ask preachers and pastors and student pastors in their communications to get the spotlight off the Bible and back on the resurrection.” This is nutty, of course, because it is impossible to understand Christ’s resurrection apart from the Bible.
In 2016, in his Easter Sunday message, Stanley said, “If you said to me one-on-one, Andy, I’m not a Christian ... but I’m going to let you take your best shot at convincing me to follow Jesus’--Here’s what I wouldn’t do ... I wouldn’t try to convince you with the Bible. ... I would start with the resurrection of Jesus without the Bible.” Again, this is complete nonsense, as it is the Bible alone that records the resurrection and its infallible evidences.
In 2016, in a series “Who Needs God?” Stanley said, “If the Bible is the foundation of our faith, it’s all or nothing. Christianity becomes a ‘fragile house of cards’ religion. Christianity becomes a fragile house of cards that comes tumbling down when we discover that perhaps the walls of Jericho didn’t. ... What your students have discovered, and if you read broadly you’ve discovered, it is next to impossible to defend the entire Bible. But if your Christianity hangs by the thread of proving that everything in the Bible is true, you may be able to hang onto it, but your kids and your grandkids and the next generation will not.” The things he says are not supported by evidence include the young age of the earth, the global flood, the miraculous Exodus from Egypt, and the walls of Jericho falling down. Stanley’s idea that it is next to impossible to defend the whole Bible is gross heresy. Jesus and the apostles certainly believed and defended all of it, every jot and tittle.
In 2018, Stanley said, “If you were raised on a version of Christianity that relied on the Bible as the foundation of faith, a version that was eventually dismantled by academia or the realities of life, maybe it’s time for you to change your mind about Jesus. Maybe it’s time for you to consider the version of Christianity that relies on the event of the resurrection of Jesus as its foundation” (Stanley, “Aftermath” sermon series). Pastor Chris King rightly observes, “Any Christian leader who questions the reliability and usefulness of God’s Word is either terribly confused or a false teacher. Either way, such a teacher is a dangerous influence. A ‘version of Christianity’ that does not rely on the Bible is not Christianity” (“The Dangerous False Teaching of Andy Stanley,” deliveredbygrace.com, Aug. 16, 2018).
In 2022, Stanley tweeted, “The Christian faith doesn’t rise and fall on the accuracy of 66 ancient documents. It rises and falls on the identity of a single individual: Jesus of Nazareth” (Mar. 8, 2022). In a sermon on March 14, he called the Bible “ancient declarations of superstitious men” (@ReformationCLT).
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