CHAOS-CH 9 The Whole Bible for the Whole Church
In this episode of the podcast. Bill Giovannetti continues sharing new book, CHAOS:As Goes the Church, So Goes the World.
Below you have a short snippet of each chapter...
The Whole Bible for the Whole Church
Andy Stanley is one of the most influential evangelical preachers in America today. In fact, a 2010 survey found him to be one of America’s top ten most influential preachers. I imagine he’s only grown in popularity since then. The son of Charles Stanley, his roots sink deeply into fundamentalist soil. So it created quite a stir when he told us all it was time to “unhitch our faith from the Old Testament” in his now infamous sermon, timed to coincide with the release of his 2019 book, Irresistible.
Think of what it means for a major evangelical leader to jettison three-quarters of the Bible.
Michael J. Kruger’s analysis is exactly right: “According to Stanley, virtually everyone in the history of the church has been wrong about the role of the Old Testament—until now. It’s truly a jaw-dropping claim.”1 Kruger is the president of Reformed Theological Seminary’s Charlotte campus.
A “jaw-dropping claim” sums it up nicely.
And the fact that not enough jaws have dropped to at least reconsider his evangelical credentials proves my thesis of theological chaos pandemic in the church.
Someone might say, “You’re taking Andy Stanley out of context.” I’m not. He says, “The Ten Commandments have no authority over you. None. To be clear: Thou shalt not obey the Ten Commandments” (136).
Again, Stanley’s defenders might say, “You’re not representing his position correctly.” But he declares, “Paul never leverages the old covenant as a basis for Christian behavior” (209).
I read this and scratch my head, because, when I read Paul I find his whole argumentation a leveraging of Old Testament Scriptures to preach a Both Testaments faith:
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
I’d call that whole Pauline paragraph a leveraging of the old covenant for Christian behavior. Stanley’s assertions are flat out unbiblical.
Christians are already flaky enough with their Bibles. No Christian leader should ever utter a syllable that weakens our trust in and stance upon the sixty-six books of Scripture.
No Christian leader should ever utter a syllable that weakens our trust in and stance upon the sixty-six books of Scripture.
Why does Andy Stanley go here? He says it is for the sake of evangelism. I’m all for evangelism, so…. fine. He suggests, in a nutshell, that the reason we Christians are losing the younger generation is the offensiveness of Old Testament stories and laws. Therefore, to make the gospel message “irresistible,” we must “unhitch our faith from the Old Testament.”
Welcome to a church ruled by people who are better leaders and more engaging speakers than they are expositors of Scripture.
The Whole Bible for the Whole Church
Stanley’s confusion is on full display when he writes,
The fact that someone chose to publish the old covenant with the new covenant in a genuine leather binding doesn’t mean we should treat them or apply them the same way. The Bible is all God’s Word . . . to somebody. But it’s not all God’s word to everybody.
Do not misunderstand what he is saying.