HOMOSEXUALITY, MEGACHURCHES, AND ANDY STANLEY

In past articles like Jay Bakker Critiques Ken Silva At Religion Dispatches and Doug Pagitt And The Emerging Church Gay Agenda and  Gay Christian Singer Jennifer Knapp Out On Larry King Live here at Apprising Ministries I’ve been doing what I can to alert you.

You see, looming only slightly off the horizon of the mainstream evangelical community there is indeed a same-sex storm that’s right now gathering hurricane force.

Let me also tell you that the evil influence of the Emerging Church[1] is really going to be felt in the arena of a growing acceptance within evangelicalism that the deviant and sinful lifestyle of having sexual relations with another of the same sex, i.e homosexuality, is a viable one for the regenerated Christian.

The core EC doctrine of pietistic Contemplative Spirituality/Mysticism (CSM)[2] has horribly corrupted younger sectors of evangelicalism, which have now largely abandoned the proper Christian spirituality of sola Scriptura. Unfortunately, once one does this, fallen human reasoning becomes the only criterion left when it comes to judging whether or not God has spoken.

If you want to know where the battle lines will be drawn, then take a good look at the mortally wounded mainline denominations who long ago gave in to the Cult of Liberalism and kicked out sola Scriptura as well. Behold the new progressive/liberal rebels against the authority of the Bible masquerading as evangelicals like gay-affirming “pastor” Jay Bakker[3].

You need to know that Bakker, who is good friends with EC guru Brian McLaren and EC progressive theologian Tony Jones[4], is the tip-of-the-spear for this EC area of attack upon proper Biblical Christianity. He’s also a perfect example of the new Morris Alpert “nothing more than feelings” theology that’s fast becoming such an integral part of mainstream evangelcalism.

Now we’re on the proper part of the battlefield for me to show you that a few days ago Southern Baptist megapastor Rick Warren would tweet to Dr. Al Mohler, also SBC:


(Online source)

And then about an hour later Warren said:


(Online source)

Those tweets by Rick Warren would then cause Christian Post to get involved with Warren Asks Mohler to Apologize for Megachurch Headline. Well, as a former Roman Catholic and fellow Southern Baptist with Al Mohler and Rick Warren, I’m asking Warren to apologize for his sinful ecumenicism, which I document once again in Rick Warren And Teachings Of Demons.

Somehow, even though it’s also a mega issue, I doubt that will make its way into CP. But be that as it may, this all actually started with another Southern Baptist pastor by the name of Andy Stanley. You may know he’s the son of über-popular former two-time SBC president Dr. Charles Stanley. However, what you may not know is that Andy Stanley’s most certainly no lightweight.

In fact, Stanley’s a major player in the Seeker Driven set and a pastor to his protégé prophet-pastors such as Steven Furtick. As that CP story points out, Mohler expressed:

concerns over a recent message preached by Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga. As he described the account of a gay couple, Stanley mentioned the sin of adultery (one partner was still married to his wife) but did not affirm the sinfulness of homosexuality.

“The inescapable impression left by the account was that the sin of concern was adultery, but not homosexuality,” Mohler wrote, adding that he hopes Stanley will clarify his view on the issue. (Online source)

The sermon in question, When Gracie Met Truthy, is part 5 of his Christian series and was preached on 4/15/12. More on that in a moment. First, because Stanley’s very highly respected in that attractional megachurch set Mohler’s post was titled Is The Megachurch the New Liberalism? In it Al Mohler noted:

The emergence of the megachurch as a model of metropolitan ministry is one of the defining marks of evangelical Christianity in the United States. (Online source)

After providing some history and background of the megachurch Mohler begins to look at theology. He points out:

One megachurch pastor in Florida recently told me that the megachurches in his area were abandoning concern for biblical gender roles on a wholesale basis. As one pastor told him, you cannot grow a church and teach biblical  complementarianism. Even greater pressure is now exerted by the sexual revolution in general, and, more particularly, the question of homosexuality. (Online source)

Well, we’re already beginning to see ostensibly conservative attractional churches rejecting the Biblical teaching concerning pastors, e.g. Word Faith Pastrix Christine Caine Preaches Sunday Morning Sermon For Steven Furtick. Mohler then uses the issue of divorce to inform us that in many megachurches, “Church discipline disappeared and personal autonomy reigned triumphant.”

He then asks a key question:

Is the same pattern now threatening on the issue of homosexuality? No congregation will escape this question, but the megachurches are, once again, on the leading edge. (Online source)

This brings Mohler around to the aforementioned sermon by Andy Stanley. Mohler writes:

A shot now reverberating around the evangelical world was fired by Atlanta megachurch pastor Andy Stanley in recent days. Preaching at North Point Community Church,… Early in the message he spoke of homosexuals in attendance, mentioning that some had shared with him that they had come to North Point because they were tired of messages in gay-affirming churches that did nothing but affirm homosexuality. (Online source)

At first this might seem odd to you; but having much experience in dealing with the pro-homosexual lobby I can tell you that some so-called gay Christians have rather novel ways of interpreting Scripture so as to make it seem as if the Bible itself affirms homosexual behavior. So, for these practicing LGBT people, they prefer a more conservative church than those in liberal mainline denominations.

Mohler then turns to the section of Andy Stanley’s sermon which you’ll be able to watch for yourself in the video clip below:

in the most intense part of his message, Stanley told the congregation an account meant to illustrate his message. He told of a couple with a young daughter who divorced when the wife discovered that the husband was in a sexual relationship with another man. The woman then insisted that her former husband and his gay partner move to another congregation.

They did move, but to another North Point location, where they volunteered together as part of a “host team.” The woman later told Andy Stanley that her former husband and his partner were now involved as volunteers in the other congregational location.

The story took a strange turn when Stanley then explained that he had learned that the former husband’s gay partner was still married. Stanley then explained that the partner was actually committing adultery, and that the adultery was incompatible with his service on a host team. Stanley told the two men that they could not serve on the host team so long as the one man was still married.

He later told of the former wife’s decision not to live in bitterness, and of her initiative to bring the whole new family structure to a Christmas service. This included the woman, her daughter, her former husband, his gay partner, and his daughter. Stanley celebrated this new “modern family” as an expression of forgiveness. (Online source)

Now Mohler does mention that Stanley did share “Christ’s death for sinners,” however Stanley:

told the congregation that Jesus does not condemn them, even if they cannot or do not leave their life of sin. Declaring the death of Christ as atonement for sin is orthodox Christianity and this declaration is essential to the Gospel of Christ.

The problem was that Stanley never mentioned faith or repentance — which are equally essential to the Gospel. There is indeed no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, but this defines those who have acted in repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). As for those who are not in Christ, they stand condemned already (John 3:18). (Online source)

If that wasn’t bad enough on Stanley’s part Mohler correctly tells us:

The most puzzling and shocking part of the message was the illustration and the account of the homosexual couple, however. The inescapable impression left by the account was that the sin of concern was adultery, but not homosexuality. Stanley clearly and repeatedly stressed the sin of adultery, but then left the reality of the homosexual relationship between the two men unaddressed as sin.

To the contrary, he seemed to normalize their relationship. They would be allowed to serve on the host team if both were divorced. The moral status of their relationship seemed to be questioned only in terms of adultery, with no moral judgment on their homosexuality. (Online source)

Mohler goes on to make another very important point concerning liberalism, and as he does, you should see the clear parallel with Seeker Driven attractional methodology:

One of those temptations is to use to use the argument that our message has to change in order to reach people. This was the impetus of theological liberalism’s origin. Liberals such as Harry Emerson Fosdick claimed that the Christian message would have to change or the church would lose all intellectual credibility in the modern world. Fosdick ended up denying the Gospel and transforming the message of the Cross into psychology.

Norman Vincent Peale came along and made this transformation even more appealing to a mass audience. Fosdick and Peale have no shortage of modern heirs. Theological liberalism did not set out to destroy Christianity, but to save it from itself. Is the same temptation now evident?
(Online source)

As far as I’m concerned the answer is: Absolutely. That’s why those with ears that hear and hearts that understand can see that the worldly pragmatism of the Seeker Driven camp and the postmodern neo-liberalism of the Emergent one are but two sides of the same man-centered coin. Consider the following from when Andy Stanley and his father Charles shared a platform at the Southern Baptist Pastors Conference in June of 2010.

There the younger Stanley discussed his pragmatic Church Growth Movement business model approach to church:

Andy recalled when, in the early 1990s, the Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A restaurants were facing stiff competition from the upstart Boston Market. Chick-fil-A leaders were trying to figure out how Chick-fil-A could get bigger, faster. Company founder Truett Cathy pounded on the table and said, “I am sick and tired of listening to you talk about how we can get bigger. If we get better, our customers will demand we get bigger.”

Applying Cathy’s prescription to church growth, Stanley said that getting better, and ultimately bigger, requires evaluation and clarification. “I think the local church should be the best-run organization in your town,” he said, because the church is “the vehicle through which the gospel is fed to and communicated to the whole world.”

Stanley cited the Intel Corporation, whose ever-escalating battle with Japanese companies in manufacturing computer chips ultimately caused the company to diversify and stop making the component. Intel leaders realized they needed to abandon their emotional attachment to what they’d always done and if they didn’t, they’d soon be out of the computer chip business.

Stanley lamented that “we fall in love with the way we do ministry.” (Online source)

In closing this, for now, Lord willing another time we may return to look at this segment below from the sermon in question in more depth. As you view it you can make up your own mind. In this clip Stanley first implies that Jesus was confused and conflicted; but leaving that aside, as I carefully evaluated this message, I came to the conclusion that Al Mohler’s assessment above is dead-on-target:

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End notes:

[1] The sinfully ecumenical neo-liberal cult of the Emergent Church aka the Emerging Church has now been upgraded to the Emerging Church 2.0—with its newer, more clearly delineated, postmodern Progressive Christiantheology, which these rebels against the final authority of the Word of God will often refer to under their circus “big tent” as Emergence Christianity.

[2] CSM is a mystic voodoo perpetrated under the guise of Spiritual Formation (SF) by Living Spiritual Teacherand Quaker mystic Richard Foster along with his friend and spiritual twin SBC minister Dallas Willard and  is a growing and corrupt spiritual blight within the evangelical community.

[3] Bakker, who really shouldn’t even be teaching Sunday School—let alone pastoring a church—heads up a group of largely biblically illiterate and rather rapscallion bunch spiritually who’ve anointed themselves Outlaw Preachers.

[4] Living Spiritual Teacher McLaren and Jones are part of the unholy EC trinity of apostates along with Doug Pagitt, heretical universalist pastor of Solomon’s Porch, where his equally heretical friend Tony Jones is his “theologian in residence.”

See also:

JAY BAKKER, HOMOSEXUALITY, AND GOSPEL REDUCTIONISM

MATT CHANDLER AND VILLAGE CHURCH PROMOTING CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY

R.C. SPROUL, JR. SAYS INTERNET DISCERNMENT BLOGS ARE WRONG