Something I Know about Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley and Charles Stanley

Over the weekend, CNN posted a lengthy story about the tenuous relationship between two prominent Atlanta preachers: Charles Stanley and his son, Andy. I’ve remarked to a couple people lately what an interesting time we’re in, as we watch the sons (and occasionally daughters) of prominent evangelicals. Of course, we’ve seen it writ large with Franklin Graham and Robert Schuller’s children recently. But I’ve also had the pleasure of befriending Jay Bakker, Sean McDowell, Chuck Smith, Jr., and a few others. Those sons bear a heavy burden.

I’ve only met Andy Stanley, pastor of the massive North Pointe Church, once, but it was memorable.

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Kudos to Andy Stanley

Andy Stanley is getting shat upon for showing compassion to the messiness of family life.

Andy Stanley and I don’t have a whole lot in common, theologically speaking. But I met him once, and he was humble and charitable. This week, he became Al Mohler’s most recent whipping boy — and if that isn’t an example of internecine cannibalism, I don’t know what is.

Andy Marin has an insightful post on the kerfuffle at Out of Ur:

Recently North Point Community Church’s senior pastor Andy Stanley preached a sermon about the theological tension that is needed to live in the Way of the Christian faith. (Listen at North Point’s website. The controversial section begins about 24 minutes in.) Well known conservative commentator and president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Al Mohler, took offense to Stanley’s non-mention of the sin of homosexuality in the sermon. Stanley illustrated a story of a wife, husband and daughter in his church—where the husband cheated with another man who eventually became his partner—and the journey for each of the participants. The reality of this family’s new tension-filled dynamic illustrated for Stanley the tension between grace and truth in the Christian faith.

Stanley spent the majority of the sermon fleshing out his understanding of this tension by highlighting Jesus’ changing response to sin through his words and deeds in the Gospel stories. Should sin be forgiven, or should a person be held accountable? Should we act harshly or be kind? Point a finger or ignore? As Stanley stated:

“We’re all tempted to want to resolve that tension. But if you resolve it, you give up something important. It’s what drove people crazy about Jesus. But he was comfortable with it. He was able to minister through it. And we dare not walk away from it.”

It should not be a surprise that Mohler took a hardline stand against Stanley’s nuanced message of tension.

Read the rest of Marin’s analysis: Out of Ur: Andy Stanley, Al Mohler, and Homosexuality.


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