Several weeks ago, Andy Stanley seemed to drop a foul word in the middle of his anti-inerrancy sermon. We posted a short excerpt of that sermon video, but chose not to run this is a story on the website, because we weren’t 99.99% sure what Stanley was saying. However, we know that there’s been more than one occasion a megachurch pastor let out a word they regretted, like when Perry Noble dropped the “N-Word” (after denials at first, he later apologized, admitting he said it, but that he didn’t mean it in a racist way).
When Stanley seemed to say, “I don’t need to [expletive] write that down,” the shoot-from-the-hip topical preacher who has called expository preaching “cheating” and “easy,” it seemed like a case in point for why maybe a manuscript isn’t a bad idea. We thought we’d let the listener decide what Stanley said in the video entitled, “What did Andy Stanley say”?
The video included approximately one minute of material from Andy Stanley’s sermon on September 4. Polemics Report received notice from YouTube that one [redacted] had filed a copyright claim, and YouTube had taken the video down (YouTube has a “guilty until proven innocent” policy, which causes no short of trouble for those posting legitimate Fair Use videos). [Redacted] holds an administration position at Stanley’s North Point Ministries.
Fair Use is understood legally as the following:
In its most general sense, a fair use is any copying of copyrighted material done for a limited and “transformative” purpose, such as to comment upon, criticize, or parody a copyrighted work. Such uses can be done without permission from the copyright owner. In other words, fair use is a defense against a claim of copyright infringement. If your use qualifies as a fair use, then it would not be considered an illegal infringement (link).
Note that the video was entitled, “What does Andy Stanley Say?!?!,” and solicited criticism or comment on the thread below. Likewise, Section 107 of the Copyright Act says that the material falls under Fair Use by the “Purpose and character of the use, including whether the use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes.” Of course, the video was not for commercial purposes (the Polemics Report account is not monetized) and was done for educational purposes by a “ministry designed to train the powers of your discernment with constant practice.”
We have uploaded the video on this site, which will make it harder for Stanley to remove it (although not impossible; it will be uploaded directly onto our servers if it is removed from this site) and you can see the video below.
What megachurch ministries need to learn is that having the resources to scrub the Internet of their criticism (or as in this case, people just asking questions) doesn’t mean its ever completely scrubbed. It’s still there, and obstinate people will keep putting it back up. It’s far better to just deal with it, make a comment, and give an explanation (or if necessary, repent).
However, sometimes megachurch ministries go the extra mile to stifle criticism. Case in point: North Point Church has now edited the sermon video to take out the offensive word.
Watch the video below.
Why not just address the concern and say, “He jumbled words?” or “He is embarrassed he said that, and sometimes filthy stuff gets in your head and sometimes it comes out?” Whether inadvertent, accidental or intentional, why edit the video without comment?
Step 1: File a bogus copyright claim to take it down off YouTube
Step 2: Scrub it off your own site.
The Memory Hole isn’t as deep as you think.
[Editor’s Note: I redacted the staff person’s name at request of Northpoint Church. Dan Stonaker, another staff person at Northpoint, called to tell me that “Andy didn’t say that word,” and went on to explain the
[2nd Editor’s Note: I’ve been asked to take back the part about Northpoint being “seeker friendly,” and instead say that they “strive to have a church that non-Christians will love.”]