Disciple of Thecla
5/3/12 at 07:58 AM 6 Comments

The Confused Controversy Over Andy Stanley

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I watched all 41 minutes of Andy Stanley's sermon "When Gracie met Truthy" For a moment, I did not understand what he meant by "tension" in following Jesus, but he explained it rather well that tension between Grace and Truth arrives when Christians struggle between forgiving sins (Grace) and wanting to hold people accountable for sins (Truth). Jesus succeeded in both, but most people want one or the other.
I agree with Stanley that Christians should display both Grace and Truth. The combination is necessary to convince people to repent of their sin and to "sin no more," which he repeats throughout the sermon. Most Christians react to gay sex by screaming "it's a sin!" and "you're going to Hell!" There is no effort to display love for their souls, even though we should desire their repentance because we love them. Therefore, we should display Grace because we love them and we should preach the Truth because we love them. The Truth informs people about sin. Both are necessary for salvation, and as I stated in a recent article this week, Christianity is all about saving souls.

I agree with Stanley about Grace and Truth, but I disagree with Stanley about the example he used to make his point because the conclusion seems to approve of sin. Also stated earlier, approving of sin deludes people into thinking themselves saved when they are actually damned. I focus on a different part of the example from what Albert Mohler focuses. Allowing sinners to attend church and participate in church can be a very good thing because it can exhibit Grace. Approving of sin goes against the Truth.
The controversy and debate against Andy Stanley's sermon centers around the real life situations of some congregants. The real life example he used strongly resembles a soap opera. I never imaged life could resemble a soap, but it happens. For anyone who has read the entire story of King David, biblical soap operas often involve swords.
So, there was a woman whose husband was having an affair with another married man. When the two men tried to join a "host team," with the other one still married, Andy Stanley intervened and told them they could not participate until the other divorce was finalized. I have no clue what a "host team" is, or how it works. Dan Delzell has accused Andy Stanley of condoning gay sex by allowing them to host as long as neither committed adultery. Such an accusation is perfectly reasonable. Gay sex is a sin, and so is adultery.
Now, I do not know what a "host team" is or what it does. Stanley referred to Jesus interacting with sinners, showing compassion, and telling them to sin no more. Perhaps sinners are allowed on host teams. Sinners should be allowed into church so that the congregants and church leaders can convince them of their sinfulness through the combination of Grace and Truth. I sincerely believe that sinners should attend church.
Why regard adultery any differently from gay sex? Why not condemn both in the sermon? Condemning both heterosexual and homosexual sin while showing compassion for the sinner is at the core of biblical doctrine in this matter and also fits well with the majority of Stanley's sermon about Grace and Truth.
Because the story involved sinners and how to react to sin, it is possible that Andy Stanley thought any condemnation of gay sex would be implicit. It is possible that he thought his audience would already know his position. A question for the audience: why address gay sex as sin when he already introduced them as adulterous sinners? Wouldn't everyone know that they were sinning regardless of the sex type? Adultery is a sin regardless of the type of sex.
I have noticed that numerous Christians obsess over the sinfulness of gay sex and forget that heterosexuality is prone to sexual sin. To convince them of its sinfulness, we need to hold them equally accountable for their sins. Approval of gay sex followed approval of heterosexual sin.
Perhaps Stanley sought to finalize the divorce between the man and woman to ease the pain of an innocent woman. While sinners remained on the host team, at least an innocent woman would not suffer because of them. Maybe this is what happened. I do not know. If it is, then Stanley probably considered it tangential to his sermon and did not include it. However, due to the controversy, he might need to explain it. Also, he should explain a "host team." More than likely, his intended audience already knew about host teams and did not need explanations. The remainder of the audience needs an explanation.
What really concerns me is the end of the story when the first woman learned to approve the lifestyle of her ex-husband and his gay partner. Satan wants us to approve of sin because it deludes people and leads to their damnation. As Stanley said, "Sin has a gotcha." Forgiving sin is one thing. Approving sin into one's life is another thing entirely. Jesus forgave sin but never approved sin. Andy Stanley affirmed this when he repeated leaving a life of sin (23:00, 35:50 timestamps in the sermon) So this example and its conclusion contradicts the remainder of his sermon.
Stanley might have used this gay couple as an example because he considers gay sex a sin. The sermon was about love and sinners.
From 5:23 through 6:10 on the timestamp, he mentions gay couples leaving churches and attending his church because they are tired of churches affirming their homosexuality and because they want to connect with scripture. Perhaps this indicates that he considers gay sex a sin.
And yet Andy Stanley asserts that we need both Grace, which is forgiveness and love for the sinner, and Truth, which is holding people accountable for their sins. Furthermore, he asserts that some people want to be condemned and criticized for their sins so that they can leave their sinful ways.
Ultimately, I cannot criticize Stanley's sermon because he leaves too many questions that need answers. If he does not provide these answers directly, I think everyone should watch the remainder of his series to determine what his views truly are before we criticize him.
...As of May 8th, Stanley has yet to answer directly what he considers a sin.

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