Andy Stanley and the road to apostasy – a Christian response

The road to apostasy begins with a four-word question. They're the same four words that worked so masterfully against Eve in the Garden of Eden and have proven effective on countless humans ever since. Four words that according to a recent announcement from his sprawling, lucrative speaking facility known as "North Point Ministries," have apparently succeeded in bringing down a once highly influential teacher of Christian doctrine named Andy Stanley.

Just four words: "Did God really say?"

Satan is cunning and surreptitious enough to know that directly contradicting God's word, launching a frontal assault on His authority, will trip far too many alarms for those like Stanley, men who were raised to venerate and honor the Bible. So rather than deny it, he merely calls it into question (Genesis 3:1).

God's divine instructions to mankind regarding sexuality are coherent and unambiguous: sexual gratification outside of a monogamous, man/woman, married relationship is dangerous and always wrong. Satan is too smart to say to influential ministers like Stanley, "No, it's not." Instead, he leads them down a winding path to apostasy by just asking questions. Questions that begin with something like, "Okay, but did God really say who you can love?" Or, "Did God really say that faithful, monogamous gay relationships are wrong?"

That's where compromises start. That's where it started with Stanley. And where does it end? The news from last week:

Stanley's North Point Community Church is hosting the Unconditional Conference, "for parents of LGBTQ+ children and for ministry leaders looking to discover ways to support parents and LGBTQ+ children in their churches."

Stanley will be speaking alongside:

  • Justin Lee, professing Christian, "married" to another man.
  • Brian Nietzel, professing Christian, "married" to another man.
  • David Gushee, prominent Christian theologian who argues the orthodox Christian church (and Bible) is wrong on the issue of same-sex relationships.
  • Greg and Linda McDonald, parents of an "LGBTQ child" who promote the heretical Matthew Vines book, "God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships."

Despite Stanley promoting this event as a chance to hear from "the quieter middle space," whatever that means, there's nothing "middle" or centrist about this event. It is one-sided from start to finish, with the Bible and orthodox Christianity on the other side. Not to mention, Jesus Himself rejects any such notion of "middle ground" when it comes to His truth - either you are with Him, or you are against Him (Matthew 12:30). Either His Word is sufficient (2 Timothy 3:17) or you prefer substituting the shallowness of contemporary religion when truth becomes too unpalatable for modern sensibilities.

That is the current state of affairs at North Point, a reality that was sadly becoming more evident by the day (I wrote about it myself just nine months ago).

To be clear, I don't find Stanley's topic inappropriate. In fact, with the world speaking so loudly about sexuality and identity these days, I think it's the perfect time for the Church's prophetic voice to be heard on such matters. But offering the world a mere echo of itself, which is precisely what North Point's "Unconditional Conference" is poised to do, is not the voice of Christ's Church. It's the voice of recalcitrant men chasing desperately after the applause of other men (John 12:43).

Never has it been more necessary for believers to testify to the truth - not being manipulated into Satan's minefield with age-old deceptions that start with those four words, "Did God really say?" but instead shattering the present darkness (Ephesians 6:12) with all that God has said.

Those precious souls surrendering to LGBTQ affections are bombarded regularly with misrepresentations and half-truths:

Of course this kind of argument from silence is a logical fallacy. But it also ignores that Jesus kept, taught, and affirmed the divinity and righteousness of the Old Testament scriptures. Why would He do that? Because He knew the Holy Spirit inspired those words. He also commanded His apostles to go out and teach in His name and with His authority. Why would He do that? Because He knew that the Holy Spirit would inspire their words. Jesus is anything but silent on the topic of sex and marriage.

He has said that same-sex relationships and relations are the result of rebellion to His created moral order (Romans 1:26-27). This is not unlike other forms of sexual immorality, of course, but it is sexual immorality and should be treated as such. Why? Because He also has said that those who indulge sin, transgressing His created moral order, are not saved (1 Corinthians 6:9).

It's important not to stop there, however. It's important not to point to explicit condemnations of homosexuality in the Old Testament (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13), and New Testament (1 Timothy 1:10) and present the struggle with such sin to be a hopeless situation.

This is where Andy Stanley's conference could be so beneficial. Rather than mimicking the world by reiterating the Satanic lie that "change is not possible" - a lie that Stanley himself has apparently come to believe, having allegedly told it to a group of ministers - North Point could be echoing the words of 1 Corinthians 6:11. "That is what some of you were." Were, but are no longer, because of the redemptive power that comes through the acceptance of Christ's unmerited grace (Ephesians 1:2).

Love those LGBTQ-identifying people and parents enough to tell them that while they may not always be able to control how or what they feel, they can control what they do with those feelings (1 Peter 1:5-8).

Love them enough to tell them that we all have the responsibility to resist temptation (Ephesians 6:13) and a God who gives us His resurrection power to do so (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Love them enough to tell them we must all be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), in order that He change our affections - not necessarily from same-sex attraction to opposite-sex attraction, but from sinful affections to Christlike ones.

Love them enough to tell them we must all "walk by the Spirit" so as not to "gratify the desires of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16).

Christians should not be in the futile business of attempting to turn gay people straight. We must always be about the business of attempting to lead the lost into the arms of their Savior. Why Andy Stanley and his North Point congregation would choose apostasy over such an incredible opportunity is something I simply cannot reconcile with their claim to love Jesus more than this world.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Not the Bee or any of its affiliates.

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