Andy Stanley is at it again. An article published by Raw Story tells of Andy Stanley’s recent comments in regards to Christian businesses baking cakes for gay weddings. Andy claims, “Serving people we don’t see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity…Jesus died for a world with which he didn’t see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn’t want to sell its products to a gay couple, it’s their business — literally. But leave Jesus out of it.” Let us be clear that as Christians we are not called to “sort out” the world to determine who we serve. The difference is when it comes to providing a service that celebrates sin then you’re entering into dangerous territory. If you’re asked to bake a cake for a gay wedding and choose to oblige you’re contributing to the celebration and therefore you’re affirming an event that God clearly disapproves of. Let us be clear the sin is in the willful participation in the celebration of the gay marriage. This would violate the Christians conscience. The sin is not in baking a cake for homosexuals the sin is in the celebration of the sinful same-sex union. Romans 1:32 says, “and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.”
A Christian should never violate their conscience. Romans 14:23 states, “But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and whatever is not from faith is sin.” This is an issue one must be careful with. What if a fornicating couple asks you to bake a cake for their wedding? It’s a matter of conscience. What’s astonishing about the article is that it reports Andy Stanley met with “gay members” of his church to discuss his new book, “The New Rules for Love, Sex and Dating.” In his on words Andy says,“I asked them if they wished I would have addressed them specifically, since all of my illustrations and teaching assumed heterosexual relationships,” Stanley said. “These men and women unanimously said no. They said that in the LGBT community, when they attend church, they are accustomed to contextualizing all the relationship teaching anyway.” A homosexual church member is an oxymoron. What pastor would allow an unrepentant sinner living in habitual sin to become a formal member of the local church! Let us look at a biblical definition of church membership, “When an individual is saved, he becomes a member of the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13). Because he is united to Christ and the other members of the body in this way, he is therefore qualified to become member of a local expression of that body. To become a member of a church is to formally commit oneself to an identifiable, local body of believers who have joined together for specific, divinely ordained purposes. These purposes include receiving instruction from God’s Word (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 4:2), serving and edifying one another through the proper use of spiritual gifts (Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:4-31; 1 Pet. 4:10-11), participating in the ordinances (Luke 22:19; Acts 2:38-42), and proclaiming the gospel to those who are lost (Matt. 28:18- 20). In addition, when one becomes a member of a church, he submits himself to the care and the authority of the biblically qualified elders that God has placed in that assembly.”
Church membership is for believers who have repented of their sins and are living under God’s grace. So for Andy Stanley to allow open homosexuals to become members is sinful and completely contrary to Scripture. Andy has been giving clear evidence for a few years now that he leans towards affirming homosexuals. He willfully refuses to call homosexuality a sin. Andy prides himself on having a church that treats LGBT congregants the same as anyone else. As an elder of a local church, the pastors of Northpoint have a biblical mandate to exercise church discipline towards members of the church living in habitual sin ( Matthew 18:15-17). So why isn’t Andy exercising church discipline on the “homosexual members” of his church?
Back in 2012 Andy took heat for an illustration he made about a family in his church. Andy told a story of a divorced couple who attended North Point. They separated after the woman’s husband began a same-sex relationship with another man, who was still married to a woman. The man and his partner wanted to serve as volunteers at the church, but Stanley explained that the two men were committing adultery since one of them did not finalize his divorce yet and thus could not serve as volunteers. Albert Mohler responded saying, “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.
Albert Mohler responded saying, “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. He concluded by telling of Christ’s death for sinners and 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). 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.”
It’s sad that men like Andy Stanley are heavily influencing churches across the world. Yet those who listen to and follow men like Andy are not victims. 2 Timothy 4:3-5 says, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” People run to churches like Andy Stanley’s because they know that so called pastors like Andy will preach to their fleshly desires watering down God’s truth. We as Christians are commanded to be discerning. John MacArthur provides a clear definition for discernment saying, “In its simplest definition, discernment is nothing more than the ability to decide between truth and error, right and wrong. Discernment is the process of making careful distinctions in our thinking about truth. In other words, the ability to think with discernment is synonymous with an ability to think biblically.” Given enough time the truth will expose those who hide from it. An acquaintance of mine stated, “Does Mr. Stanley believe that John the Baptist would’ve baked a wedding cake for Herod Antipas’ wedding to his brother’s wife Herodias? With Stanley’s past antics, the answer I’m sure wouldn’t surprise us.
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