Kudos to Andy Stanley

Kudos to Andy Stanley May 9, 2012

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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  • Curtis

    A great sermon by Stanley. Not knowing more about him, does anyone know if he supports homosexual relationships? Reading the blogosphere it seems even a lot of his followers are now confused about Stanley’s position on this point, especially after this sermon. Has he made any public statements regarding homosexuality?

    • sophia

      I have attended his church from time to time in Atlanta. What Andy always says on most topics is, here is the message that Jesus has for you – IF you are a Christian. If you don’t call yourself a Christian, then this doesn’t apply to you. I think he might take the same approach with this idea of homosexuality, but I’m not sure.

    • sophia

      In other words, I think he would call it a sin, but then go on to say that our job as Christians is to love.

  • He called it a “modern family!” Absolutely amazing! I’m not sure what’s been the outcome of this message for his churches… but he basically said, we affirm ALL people! As this makes its way around the social networks, it will surely shake the conservative evangelical foundation. And may I add, for the better! Thanks Tony, for sharing this.

  • I heard Andy Stanley attended an Emergent cohort in Atlanta one time. Textbook “slippery slope” 😉

  • Kevin Makins

    Brave of him to take this chance and simply address the tension.

    Continually shocked by some of the old “seeker sensitive” churches/pastors being willing to address these complications.

  • “if that isn’t an example of internecine cannibalism, I don’t know what is.”

    Just for the record, I’m willing to admit that I have no idea what “internecine cannibalism” is.
    BUT, I think if you look ontologically at what happened, you’ll see some pedagogical implications for our ecclesiastical epistemology and maybe even some rhetoric to inform our eschatological hermeneutic and methodologies.

    that was the sound of me droppin’ some vocab. I hope I didn’t hurt your feet, Tony.

  • Colleen

    Lol, Mike:) you forgot to add fifty names of unknown people. (unknown people to me) You know, reading this blog is starting to take some effort:)

  • Colleen

    I have never read so much about homosexual issues in my entire life. After the post about the college student, I was left feeling almost…cant really find a word right now, but Im not sure if I have a lot of respect for someone going into a church to pull an agenda in such an emotional manner. Does anyone else know what I am talking about but who is better with words?