Andy Stanley’s Statements about the Bible are not Cutting Edge—They’re Old Liberalism

I was at the recent ERLC Onward Conference listening when Russell Moore was having a conversation about ministry and preaching with Andy Stanley. I was startled when Stanley said he preaches some sermons without ever quoting the Bible. He views these sermons as extended introductions. Stanley also said we do not believe Christianity because of the Bible, but because of the resurrection and eyewitness testimonies. A couple of years ago, Stanley said that preachers should stop saying, “The Bible says,” a position he reaffirmed during the conversation (Link).

I have criticized some of Stanley’s position in the past but I’ve also long admired many things about Andy Stanley’s ministry. I was trying to give him a generous hearing, perhaps I thought, I just wasn’t getting what he was saying. But after listening to his recent “The Bible told me so,” sermon, I realized I had understood him after all. He began his sermon by quoting the beloved song, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so,” and contends, “This is where our problem began” (Link). Stanley says the song is fine for children but not appropriate for adults. He believes we have been naively taught, “The Bible says it, that settles it” and that kind of simplistic reasoning is why many walk away from the faith as adults.

According to Stanley, defending the Bible in its entirety as completely true, is too great a burden , and wrongly puts the Bible at the center of the debate. He speaks as if his view is a cutting edge apologetic position for our time or an innovative evangelistic strategy, but what he is advocating has historically had a name—liberalism. His father, Charles Stanley, and many other evangelicals spent a bulk of their ministry winning, what was often called, the battle for the Bible. Theological liberals said the Bible is true in its primary theological message but not in all of its parts. They believed those contending for biblical inerrancy were guilty of bibliolatry. I think it was Paige Patterson, who called the kind of position Stanley now advocates, spot inerrancy. It was the notion that the Bible was inspired in spots and they considered themselves inspired to spot the spots.  

Theological liberals have always attempted to liberate Jesus from the Scriptures. Stanley argues that our faith is based on the resurrection and not the Bible. Severing the Scriptures from the resurrection is the very thing that Jesus said could not be done, “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead” (Luke 16:31).

Paul told Timothy, “the sacred writings” are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim 3:15). When Paul devoted an entire chapter to the resurrection, he began by clarifying that it was “in accordance with the Scriptures.”

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures” (emphasis added, 1 Cor 15:3-4).

J. Gresham Machen explained in his classic Christianity and Liberalism, “My Christian life, then, depends altogether upon the truth of the New Testament record. Christian experience is rightly used when it confirms the documentary evidence. But it can never possibly provide a substitute for the documentary evidence” (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Company, New edition, 2009: 61).

The Christian message has come to us through the Bible. The biblical witness authoritatively judges the validity of our Christian thoughts and experience and never the other way around.

Any attempt to pit the acts, teaching, and ethics of Jesus, against the rest of Scripture is a repudiation of what Jesus taught and the Bible’s own self-attestation (Matt 5:17-20, 26:54, Luke 24:24-49, John 10:35, 2 Tim 3:16, 2 Pet 1:21). The words of the prophets pointed beyond themselves to the coming Messiah, and the words of Jesus recorded in the Scripture (by apostles), pointed forward to the further revelation of Christ to come in the apostolic witness. Jesus taught the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture: “The Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Liberalism sets Scripture against Scripture but faithful Christianity does not.

In his sermon, Stanley says, “Christianity does not exist because of the Bible any more than you exist because of your birth certificate. Your birth certificate documents something that happened.” Again, this logic minimizes the uniqueness of the Word of God and is right out of the classic theological liberal playbook. Liberals have historically asserted, “The Bible is not the Word of God, it is merely a witness to the Word of God.” To the contrary, as B.B. Warfield argued, the Bible to be “a book which may be frankly appealed to at any point with the assurance that whatever if may be found to say, that is the Word of God” (Works, 1:52). In an 1899 article, “It says: Scripture says: God says,” Warfield notes how the biblical writers show an absolute identification “of Scripture with the speaking God” (Works, 1:284). The biblical testimony assumes the absolute identification of “the Scripture with the living voice of God” (Works, 1:283). Machen rightly asserted, “

Christianity is founded upon the Bible. It bases upon the Bible both its thinking and its life” (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans Publishing Company, New edition, 2009: 67).

At the close of his sermon, Stanley thundered, “The first, second, and third century Christians, who faced tremendous hardship, believed Jesus loved them before the Bible told them so.” He added, “The pre-Bible version of the faith was defensible.” According to Stanley, grown up faith is not dependent on the complete truthfulness of the biblical witness. Stanley argues as if there was no recognized Scripture, or representative biblical canon, prior to the historical closing of the canon, which is simply not true (2 Tim 3:14-4:2). Stanley’s views represent a functional rejection of The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, when it asserts, “By authenticating each other’s authority, Christ and the Scripture coalesce into a single fount of authority.” I am not saying Andy Stanley is a theological liberal but I am saying he is using the same arguments as theological liberals.

In Jesus’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the rich man protests that the Scriptures are not enough and definitive proof like a resurrection is needed (Luke 16:30). Abraham refutes that logic. Commenting on this passage, Walter Elwell explains, “Those who do not put credence in the Scriptures will not be persuaded by a resurrection…. No miracle can convince anyone of the credibility of the kingdom message. The Scriptures are sufficient for salvation, and those who reject their message will rationalize miraculous phenomena as well” (Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, vol. 3, Luke 16:31, Grand Rapids, Baker, 1995). Another way to explain it would simply be, “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”


By |September 7th, 2016|Categories: Blog|Tags: , |

About the Author:

David E. Prince is pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky and assistant professor of Christian preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of In the Arena and Church with Jesus as the Hero. He blogs at Prince on Preaching and frequently writes for The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, For the Church, the BGEA and Preaching Today


  1. John Charles Wesley September 7, 2016 at 11:59 am

    Respectfully, the thoughts laid out seem to believe that full explanation of the Christian Faith was laid out in the Bible and the Bible alone. However, this is simply not true. The Baptist faith was laid out in a literal reading of the Bible. However, a non-denomination or non-Baptist denomination would likely disagree. The Methodist Book of Discipline for instance.

    Another question, Baptist Evangelicals follow the same Bible as those who Evangelical Lutheran, Methodist, Episcopal, Presbyterian, and so on. However, something interesting occurred when the Protestant Bible was canonized, we decided that 7 Chapters of the Catholic Old Testament (“scriptures”) were not inspired enough to be a part of the Protestant Christian Bible. During the Reformation, Protestants decided the “Septuagint,” although often quoted Jewish Rabis as Scripture, was not deserving of that status in their Bible.

    Therefore, I ask this: How were those Protestants so wise as to decide what is and is not 100% Inspired? And, if we take the Old Testament to be 100% inerrant, then how do we have even the story line built in the Scriptures below?
    Leviticus 20:10 = Adultery is a sin and both who participate shall be put to death
    Matthew 5:39 = “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”
    2 Samuel 12:13 = “I have sinned against the LORD.” And Nathan said to David, “The LORD also has taken away your sin; you shall not die.”

    It seems the Gospel challenges us to not respond to those who harm us and if we are the one who has done evil, then we should seek the forgiveness already give to us by Jesus Christ.

    The Lord removes our Sins. After the Resurrection, the game changed and Jesus allowed forgiveness for our sins. Therefore, to believe the Bible is inerrant in a post-Resurrection world, seems to discount the very defining event of our Christian Faith. We do not stone those who commit adultery, yet we still believe it is a sin. If we take every Scripture as being inerrant and not in context of one another, then where does that leave us with interpreting the change the Resurrection brought into the World? Taking it a step farther, it is interesting that advancing philosophy’s greatest advocates are those within the Faith. Some of the best life saving treatments occurred in the hands of scientists who believed deeply in Christ. In pursuit of better understanding the complexity of God’s Mystery, the Catholic, Methodist, Episcopal, and even Baptists (at least at first), established some of the greatest Universities for advancing science. Duke, Emory, William & Mary, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, St. Louis U, and Princeton to name just a few.

    If I am understanding the Conservative Evangelical Thesis, then Scriptures from the Gospel should not challenge us to go back and re-examine the validity and Christlike nature (or lack there of) of lessons taught in the Old Testament. The Old Testament did predict Jesus, and it also was written in the context of the fears of that age. The very fears that Jesus came to tell us we must overcome to be one of his followers.

    Anything short of the asks above falls short of this part of the Gospel: “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8

  2. wcbcpastor September 7, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    Thank you for this post. I pastor a small church in Southern Oregon and am appalled at some of Stanley’s comments. thank you for bravely posting and challenging his words. As a 35 year veteran pastor in the Northwest Baptist Convention I have observed far too many young preachers who copied Andy Stanley’s approach and messages hoping to duplicate his success and have failed miserably.
    Thanks – from a lazy pastor- according to Stanley – because I preach expository sermons regularly!
    Steve Schenewerk

  3. David Lee September 7, 2016 at 2:13 pm

    “John Charles Wesley” – you forgot to mention that Baptists sing too loudly.

  4. Rick Lucas September 7, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I am not a theologian, nor do I claim to be. I just know that the Bible tells me that without Jesus, I cannot be righteous before God. The Holy Spirit daily confirms that Jesus alone is my righteousness. However, I did not know and understand this until I began to study the Bible. The living word and the written word work together to validate my faith in Jesus Christ as the author and finisher of my faith in Jesus Christ.

  5. Lynn Lanier September 7, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    I know several thoughtful young people who want to believe the Bible in its entirety, yet find the seeming disparities – and the subsequent well-meaning but extremely-complex explanations inerrantists offer– difficult. If belief in inerrancy is critical to salvation, but these young adults in all honesty and after many prayers still can’t believe at that level, am I to tell them it’ll be better to be dishonest and say they do–in order to ensure their souls’ salvation?
    What a conundrum! I hope God is as big and gracious as Andy Stanley makes him sound, because I care deeply for these kids.

  6. Lee Thompson September 7, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    John Charles Wesley…your tired challenge regarding Old Testament punishment for sin makes it hard to take you seriously. We both know that Jesus “fulfilled the law” rendering any additional punishment fruitless. Jesus paid it all.

    Having said that, I understand how difficult it is to accept ideas of inerrancy and infallibility. Pounding those two notes relentlessly has come with significant cost for evangelicals. We have alienated the rest of the Body of Christ. But, that is not my point.

    We can agree that only Jesus saves. However, Andy went too far out on the limb in making his point. After all, how would we be able to faithfully identify the demands of our faith without the Bible? It’s not “either/or” but “both/and”.

    I have great regard for Andy and suggest, in this case, he was too smart by half…and most people couldn’t keep up.

  7. Geoffrey F September 7, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s time that these things be clearly seen. This kind of liberalism has been apparent for awhile. We don’t like to see it. The battle for the Word of God is a fight every age must fight. God has His people. It’s sad to see this happen, but I am glad it is being exposed.

  8. Pastor Tom Rush September 7, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Thanks for a great article Dr. Prince. I’ll say it for you – “Andy Stanley is a theological liberal.”

  9. john mainus September 7, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    for John Wesley….will you say though not all of GODS word may be found in the holy bible, that all that is written in it is … Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work…2 timothy 3….i am just a lay person, i had not read the bible tell after GOD had revealed himself to me, yet immediately i had to read it, continually i do, to know fully GODS call, path and purpose for my life

  10. Timothy E George September 7, 2016 at 4:43 pm

    I know Andy and at least one person here thinks these supposed chinks in the armor of the innerancy of Scripture are easily proven but each has been considered and answered throughout the last five centuries since Luther nailed his little piece of commentary on the Whittenburg door. I learned in the late 70’s and early 80s in college and seminary, my neo-orthodox and liberal professors were not nearly so foolproof as they imagined themselves to be. Too bad my vote for Charles Stanley as president of the SBC at St. Louis in 1987 didn’t make a bigger impression on his son.

  11. Drew Heurion September 7, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Lynn, the issue is that the Old and New Testament are seamlessly interwoven. Paul interpreted Christ’s life, death, and resurrection through the framework of Old Testament theology, as did the other New Testament writers. Read the New Testament beyond a surface level glance and you will find a generous use of intertextuality (the practice of a New Testament author quoting an Old Testament passage(s)). To further prove the point, there is one book entitled “Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” edited by D.A. Carson and G.K. Beale in which various scholars work through the New Testament text showing how the New Testament authors employed their knowledge of the Old Testament. And this commentary weighs in at a hefty 1,100+ pages!

    Having said that, I certainly have sympathy for those who struggle with belief, as I went through a season of intense struggle myself. But the fact of the matter is, it simply doesn’t make logical sense for a person to dismiss the Old Testament (as Stanley essentially does in this sermon) and believe only the portions one finds palpable to their modern ears, given the fact that Jesus and the apostles assumed an acceptance of the truthfulness of the Old Testament before one could even begin to evaluate the claims of the gospel.

    Simply put, the life, death, burial, and resurrection make no sense apart from the Old Testament.

  12. Stephen Jacobson September 7, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Sorry…but without the written Word of God…the Bible…you cannot know the significance of His death, burial, and resurrection. You cannot know sin or how God sees your righteousness apart from His Word. The true meaning of Jesus’ life and ministry are unknowable without the Bible. Sorry, Andy. Jesus loves me…this I know…’Cause the Bible DOES tell me so.

  13. Nick Bell September 7, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    This is a very poorly written article with many straw man arguments and accusations that are not backed up. Many of the accusations and points made are from taking Stanley out of context. I am usually extremely critical of preachers and their tactics and how much they use scripture. I come from a church where the pastor teaches (not preaches) verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book of the bible in its literal, grammatical, and historical context. I have never been to any other church in the country or heard any other messages from pastors around the country who rely solely on scripture as my pastor does. That being said, I am quite accustom to seeing scripture used in sermons. I’ve listened to and watched many of Andy Stanley’s messages. He is like the majority of preachers that I’ve heard. He uses a passage from scripture and builds his sermon on that. As I said, this article has taken much of what Stanley has said out of context. As someone who advocates for using solely the scripture, even I can understand his point of saying that “saying the bible says so, isn’t good enough.” If looking at the context of the situation, that is very true. The growing majority of people no longer believe the bible to be true (back in the day most people, whether Christian or not, saw scripture to be good truthful and profitable for all.) now a days, that is not the consensus. We have to meet people where they are at instead of quoting the bible at them till we are blue in the face. A prime example is When I started out doing pro-life work. The only thing I knew was that the bible said the preborn were alive and that God cared for them, and that murder was wrong. I found myself talking to an angry proabortion non-Christian. When I told him that the bible says abortion is wrong, he promptly said “I don’t believe in the bible!” Although I believed that the bible is the infallible word of God and the source of all truth, simply stating “the bible says so” at him wouldn’t do any good. I’ve had many other conversations like that where the person doesn’t believe in the reliability of scripture. That’s where apologetics comes in. People like Greg Koukl, Frank Turek, J Warner Wallace, and Lee Strobel have all written books about how to show the validity of scripture using outside sources and documents. They would all be in agreement with Stanley on how simply saying “the bible says so” isn’t sufficient when talking to people that don’t believe. People need to know why they believe the bible and why it is true and be able to defend it to others and show them how it is reliable and true. I’m pretty leery about the author of this article too. The very fact that the author works with the seminary that is part of the Southern Baptist Convention is enough to set off alarms. The SBC has become very liberal in the recent year. A few years ago they hired a man to be the president of their international mission board who denies John 3:16 and teaches a works based salvation. The current president of the seminary is an elitist who also denies John 3:16. I would urge anyone reading this to take it with a grain of salt and go and listen to Stanley’s sermons in context.

  14. Jeremy Lundy September 7, 2016 at 7:23 pm

    “And the Word became flesh” Our Lord Jesus came into this world from the promises of the Word. Without the Old we would not be able to so appreciate and understand the New. If the Old is not inerrant how can we trust the New. God’s Word is living, active and sharper than any two edged sword…and inerrant in all of its words. Also the words of men are taken seriously based on the character of that man. God’s Word is true and trusted because of His character, which is perfection. I hope Andy is doing what many have done in the past, so look for new ways to see people saved that he lost sight of the importance of the process not just the product. The Gospel is the Power of Salvation and we worship in Spirit AND Truth. Hopefully he will turn back soon, this is my prayer. Blessings

  15. J. Hudson Taylor September 7, 2016 at 7:38 pm

    I have attended Charles Stanley’s church and listened to In Touch for years. I have also attended one of Andy’s “satellite virtual churches”. I can say that although it caused great strife in the Stanley household, I am so glad that Andy never “took over” the In Touch ministry!

  16. Timothy Hans Kurnia September 7, 2016 at 7:45 pm

    IMHO, what Andy Stanley said is true to some extent. Back at the time of the Apostles, people were converted by oral teachings of Jesus. Isn’t it that the Bible was canonized at later centuries through councils and such. I think the point of canonizing was to compare to check whether or not the letters were in fact consistent with the Apostles’ teachings.

    What happened later is that the Bible became mystified.

  17. Joe E. J. September 7, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Another onservation is that in his post resurrection appearance to the disciples on the road to Emmaus in Luke 24, Jesus did not just reveal himself and say, ” Hey look. It’s me. I rise from the dead, so believe in me.” He first rebuked their unbelief in all the prophets had written, then he opened up the Scriptures for them to root their faith in him and his resurrection in the First Testament. That is the opposite of what you would expect if Stanley is right.

  18. Lynn Lanier September 7, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    Drew, thank you for your thoughtful insights. I’ll share them!

  19. Andrew A September 7, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    I would encourage those who are critical based solely on this article to take the time to listen to or watch Andy’s sermon series Who Needs God which is where the points the author is making refer to. Context is so important and Andy even addresses the criticism of those questioning his belief in the Bible. He absolutely believes in the Bible and in the most recent sermon says he aligns his interpretation of scripture to the best of his ability with how Jesus interprets scripture. It’s easy to cast stones and make something out to be a big deal when there’s not actually anything there without actually listening to the sermon series and following the whole message in context. It’s also important to understand that Northpoint Community Church campuses are designed with those who don’t normally attend church in mind. Andy speaks in a multi tiered format to address those who are new to church as well as those who have been believers for years. Please don’t miss the forest for the trees.

  20. Melinda Sanders-Holton September 7, 2016 at 9:26 pm

    If every Bible on the planet burned up tomorrow, would that stop God? He says, I will write my words upon your heart. I believe the value of the Bible is greater than any measure, but God’s power is not limited by it.

  21. A.J. September 7, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    John Charles Wesley, the Apocrypha was not even canonized in the Catholic Church until 1546, at the Council of Trent, so you are WAY off on the “Protestants deciding to leave those books out….” By about 1200 years. Further, the Jews have never accepted the Apocrypha as canonical. Soooo…..

  22. Ann September 7, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Thank you, Andrew A. Your comments are very relevant.
    It just makes you wonder…do those who judge even listen to all the “messages in a series” or do they take the time to understand/consider the point being made? Andy has repeatedly emphasized the necessity of listening to this series in its entirety; it will include at least 5-6 messages. This is foundational to all series.
    This particular series ( is focused on those who have backed away from their religious beliefs. There are so many. And, there are so many reasons with many of those reasons being understandable. Everyday, we all need to improve so we can see as Jesus sees and do as Jesus does.
    I respect everyone’s viewpoints. I don’t respect those comments taken out of context and/or presented with a personal twist and, yes, I have been present for the four messages presented to date.
    My pastor has my utmost respect as does the mission of North Point Ministries.

  23. Brian F. September 7, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    It is pretty easy to take a few words out of a sermon someone gives and build an argument against it and yet be completely wrong in your judgment of what the author of the sermon actually believes. The author of this article takes a few statements out of a 35 minute sermon and builds a long argument against the theological beliefs of Andy Stanley but if you actually listen to the entirety of the sermon you will find that some of these assertions are not correct. In fact, this is only one sermon out of a series of 6 and he has only given 4 of the messages as of today. So I would suggest that before you pass judgment on Andy for a few statements taken out of one sermon, you should actually listen to all of the sermons in their entirety so you can understand the context of what he is saying –

    Proverbs 18:17 states – “The first to speak in court sounds right – until the cross-examination begins.” So the prudent thing to do is to go and listen to what Andy actually says in all of his messages in this series before believing what this person is saying about Andy Stanley and his beliefs. We should always listen to both sides of the story before coming to any conclusions about what someone says or believes.

    And if you really want to understand what Andy is trying to accomplish in this series and understand the people he is speaking to in it, you need to spend some time studying the research that has been done on people who have left the church and read books like “The Rise of the Nones” by James Emery White. This will really help you understand who Andy is targeting with these messages.

  24. Justin September 8, 2016 at 12:05 am

    Those accusing Dr. Prince of taking Stanley’s comments out of context are misguided in their analysis. Dr. Prince is not passing judgment based on a few statements taken out of one sermon. There’s the CT article, the public comments at the ERLC conference, and many other sermons with equally troubling assertions. Stanley has said many things like this before. The accusation of taking Stanley out of context just doesn’t stick.

    If Stanley is right, then why did Paul quote Isaiah to the Romans? They wouldn’t have accepted the authority of the Old Testament. Yet, Paul does it when writing to a culture not unlike our own. If the Bible is so unnecessary, why did God go through the trouble of having it written?

    Stanley may not be a full-throated liberal, but like Dr. Prince said, he’s using the arguments of liberals and that’s troubling. He may be wanting to get people to follow Jesus, but a Jesus divorced from the Bible is a Jesus of your own making—a god made in your own image. And that Jesus will not save you.

  25. Check Out | HeadHeartHand Blog September 8, 2016 at 1:00 am

    […] Andy Stanley’s Statements about the Bible are not Cutting Edge, They’re Old Liberalism | Prince … “Stanley argues that our faith is based on the resurrection and not the Bible. Severing the Scriptures from the resurrection is the very thing that Jesus said could not be done” […]

  26. […] Andy Stanley’s Statements about the Bible are not Cutting Edge—They’re Old Liberalism – “I was at the recent ERLC Onward Conference listening when Russell Moore was having a conversation about ministry and preaching with Andy Stanley. I was startled when Stanley said he preaches some sermons without ever quoting the Bible. He views these sermons as extended introductions. Stanley also said we do not believe Christianity because of the Bible, but because of the resurrection and eyewitness testimonies. A couple of years ago, Stanley said that preachers should stop saying, ‘The Bible says,’ a position he reaffirmed during the conversation.” […]

  27. Meg I. September 8, 2016 at 7:03 am

    “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory….” Growing up in an extremely liberal church, becoming a Christian apart from it, I am so thankful for the leaders of the SBC from the late ’70’s on who decided to “take back” the SBC denomination for truth. They knew that you can not bifercate the person and work of Jesus Christ from His Word. Andy Stanley is a fool – leading astray many who will not reason for themselves according to the Scriptures.

  28. jeremyedgar3 September 8, 2016 at 7:39 am

    You are bang on David. Stanley’s comments are concerning to say the least. Jesus and the apostles regularly spoke of the power and authority of God’s Word. It’s sad because Stanley has way to much influence with an indefensible view like that.

  29. pastorshawnbeaty September 8, 2016 at 8:34 am

    While I wholeheartedly believe in Gods Word and it’s power, I do believe there is a greater question to be asked? What saves a man? His belief in the inerrancy of scripture? Or his belief in Jesus? Does one need to read the Bible first to believe in Jesus? This is really the point Stanley is making. Lets get people to believe in Jesus first and then the scriptures will follow. The apostles did not have the full cannon of scripture when they proclaimed the Gospel. Many Christians in the persecuted church do not have the whole Bible yet Christ is preached. Paul did not use the scripture to preach the Gospel to pagans at Mars Hill (Acts 17). It is so trite and petty when you characterize someone a liberal because they actually apply the missionary methods of Paul found in our Holy Scriptures.”What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice”

  30. Josh Buice September 8, 2016 at 8:42 am

    Dr. Prince, thank you for taking time to evaluate his comments and point to the heart of the issue – theological liberalism. When Stanley is pressed by those skeptics he seeks to reach with the message on the resurrection of Christ, what will be his validated source of truth? Someone told him? He read it in a history book? No, at the end of the day, it will all come back to one sufficient source – the Word of God.

  31. Pat Gillen September 8, 2016 at 9:13 am

    @John Charles Wesley – the Septuagint is a Greek translation of the Old Testament. There is a group that believe it (as a translation) is inspired… the same way we have some KJV only people these days. In reality, the trustworthiness we have in Scripture is not in our translation of it, but in the original texts. That’s why it’s important to have an accurate and up-to-date translation in whatever language you speak. Also, the Bible was not affirmed by “Protestants” but by the Church (at the time, there was just one.) Early on church fathers and leaders regularly affirmed and spoke of the writing of the apostles, including referencing the Gospels, as inspired works. The primary reason for the canonization hundreds of years later wasn’t to “discover” this as God’s Word but to protect it from others who were wanting to add to it. The Bible as we know it was adopted very early in the life of the church and held closely as an inspired work. Of course, the printing press wasn’t around so getting a copy was not as easy as it is today.

    Of course this comment is probably more for anyone else… not sure why I would give someone who won’t even post their real name any validity. (By the way, John and Charles Wesley were firmly committed to Scripture as true and trustworthy.)

  32. luis e padron September 8, 2016 at 9:50 am

    Christian guy: “Listen. Forget about whether what the Bible says is true or not. Just believe in what Jesus said and did.”

    Non-believer: “Ok. So where do I learn about what Jesus said and did?”

    Christian guy: “The Bible.”

    Non-believer: “Rrrriiiiggghht.”

  33. Mike Minter September 8, 2016 at 10:19 am

    No doubt Andy Stanley is a very controversial figure amongst evangelicals. I listen to Andy every week and marvel at his ability to reach the lost. I know what I am getting ready to say may ruffle a few feathers. I don’t think North Point is a church. It’s an evangelistic out reach. Their very mission is “To create churches that unchurched people want to attend.” That is an oxymoron. The church by definition is the called out gathering of the saints not unbelievers.

    I get what Andy is trying to do. If he stands before thousands of unbelievers and tells them they must believe all the bible or none of it you won’t see them the following week. He pulls down the barriers and invites them to really think through the issues. They soon find themselves working in the parking lot and then attending a small group and then embracing the gospel. I love it!! But I don’t believe it is a church in the truest sense of the word. It is more like a weekly Billy Graham Crusade that helps answer the skeptics questions.
    So let’s stop attacking Andy for not being an expository preacher. Billy Graham wasn’t either.

    I have been a pastor at the same church for 42 years and I have seen all the gimmicky ways of attracting people into the pew. I don’t believe that is Andy’s intention. He wants people in small groups.
    So if we can view North Point as an outreach and not a church it will change the way we view Andy. I love expository preaching but most unbelievers don’t.

  34. Justin September 8, 2016 at 10:38 am

    @Mike Minter

    Andy Stanley is no Billy Graham. Billy Graham was never afraid to say “The Bible Says!” Even when people told him that people would reject the authority of the Bible, he still did it. See this for more

  35. Camille September 8, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Can one of you gentleman- specifically the author tell me what is edifying about the conversation and in the whole scheme of the eternal purpose bare any positive results in anyone coming to know the pure love of Christ by the article written, including the comments or anything positive in general?
    Whether or not Andy or anyone else says things that you do not agree with regrading the Bible, what matters is : one word – JESUS and who you think he is. I beg you to tell me if in anyway whatsoever Andy has ever steered off the course of who Christ is in relation to our salvation.
    That my friend is what matters and if Andy had gone even slightly away from what the Bible teaches us I can assure you knowing him personally I would be the first in line to have a chat.
    I can u see stand you all having different views but there are much less “judgemental” ways to have an intelligent conversation or a blog about someone you may disagree with.
    Labeling?? There’s no difference in the above than children calling each other names, which are in essence are labels, on the playground.
    The Bible warns against being a stumbling block, it saddens me to think of a non – Christian reading or seeing this? How is this any different than a blog in the NYP on politics? All of the name calling, judgemental, using parts of quotes from someone to prove a point, all of which would be- just like the above- someone’s opinion- not fact because (who are we to judge? ) it’s an opinion and at the end neither accomplish anything positive.
    Please feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

  36. Ron h September 8, 2016 at 11:25 am

    I have listened to all the messages in the series so far. Andy has NOT said the Bible isn’t true. What he is saying is that even if you have a hard time believing that Jonah lived inside a fish for 3 days or that the earth was created in seven 24 hour days, you can still have faith to follow Jesus because of the resurrection. Christianity started and survived the first century WITHOUT a Bible because of the resurrection. Putting labels on people does not help the furtherance of the gospel.without Andy’s approach to Christianity, there would be many people not headed for Heaven.

  37. Ann September 8, 2016 at 11:30 am

    THANK YOU, Mike Minter. I agree with most of what you say.
    For my husband and I, we attended a small church all our life (now 68 and 70 years old). We were deeply rooted in our faith. We never lost our faith in Jesus. NEVER. But for reasons too vast to discuss here, we knew our church was happy just the way it had been for years. Concern for the lost was only for those who looked like us, dressed like us, and thought like us. So, six years ago, we started attending a North Point Ministries “church” and we have never felt more like being in a church than we have in our entire life. Yes, it is a huge church but, like you noted, you connect with your community through a small group. It is here that you focus on continual learning, serving others, and building friendships….all to grow in your relationship with Jesus. And, JESUS has great instructions on how to “be” a church! And, a church (people) can do this of any size…small, huge or in-between. I could write forever about the positivity of this church’s environments but apparently, based on many comments posted on this blog, it would serve no purpose. You must experience it.
    And, you are correct about the used-to-be mission. As noted on its website, NPM as evolved over the years. The CURRENT MISSION of North Point Ministries is to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. This is taught with every series, with every message within a series, and throughout all environments within the churches of NPM. The below was copied from northpoint
    Our methods have evolved over the years, the mission has always been to lead people into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. It’s what we do, whether at our Atlanta-area churches, at one of our partnerships around the world, or through our many online and broadcast offerings. Along the way, we are committed to equipping other church leaders who want to create churches that unchurched people love to attend by passing on what we’ve learned.
    And, just another personal note, we have several hundred teenagers sitting in the floor on Sundays at our church as they have outgrown the church’s facilities for them. Building begins soon as we believe in these teenagers as our spiritual citizens and leaders of tomorrow. Andy believes in major investment in our children, from babies throughout teenage years….they are our future.
    We are grateful, so grateful…to be a part of NPM.

  38. Ann September 8, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Camille, I support you 100%.
    I wrote a similar response but chose not to post it as I felt it would fall on deaf ears. I wrote something a bit different and posted. So, THANK YOU, for stating my feelings so very well.

  39. Brian F September 8, 2016 at 12:47 pm

    It is obvious that many of the people leaving negative comments about Andy based on this article have not taken the time to watch the actual sermons they are criticizing him for. If you actually watch the sermons you will find out that he actually quotes the Bible and tells the people to read Isaiah 53 out of the OT and read the entire book of John in the NT. So as I have said, it is really easy to take a screen shot of one point in a 6 part sermon series and turn it into a rant about someones supposed theology that doesn’t hold up if you actually watch the videos.

    It appears to me that the author of this article (and some of the people leaving comments) has decided that Andy Stanley is a liberal so then he finds “evidence” to back up his assertion of Andy’s character. The danger here is the same as taking a few scriptures out of the Bible and building a belief on them as singular statements out of context.

    The religious leaders in Jesus’s day thought his teachings and ministry style were pretty “liberal” too but his focus was not on the religious leaders, it was on those who were outside of the religious system – those who did not feel like they fit in “church” or had been shunned by the “church”. Is it possible that Andy is trying to do the same thing with this sermon series? Something to think about anyway and if you find yourself getting angry about it, consider who that makes you look like.

  40. Mark Turner September 8, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    “Stanley argues that our faith is based on the resurrection and not the Bible.”

    Absolutely true. The Bible tells me so.

  41. paulthinkingoutloud September 8, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    So you’ve got an 18-year old, first year of college, and they are being bombarded with secular worldviews in general and an attack on the book of Genesis in particular and made to look foolish in the face of questions like, “How can you believe that story of all those animals getting into a large boat?”

    It becomes an all-or-nothing proposition and we know statistically, for absolute certainty, that many of these students bail on their faith in that environment. But why should the New Testament gospel narrative suffer because of misgivings about Noah?

    I think it is that context into which Andy Stanley is entering. Mostly, it’s uncharted waters. I’ve watched all the messages in the series so far and he is very forthright about what he believes and what he is hoping to accomplish. He stated that it is basically a single 3 1/2 hour sermon, broken up into seven sections, and yes, the first two would be introductory.

    Personally, I love what he’s doing with this series. Would NorthPoint be my church if I lived in Atlanta? Probably not. But through the internet I get a bird’s eye view of what they’re doing, and this sermon series reinvents the wheel when it comes to focusing peoples’ attention on the things that matter, and not making a person’s trust in the Noah story be the litmus test of orthodoxy.

    Different? Yes. Radical approach? Certainly. But please don’t call it liberal. That is not the word you’re looking for.

  42. Phillip September 8, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    I think some of you guys are missing the point. What Andy is saying is that for someone who does not believe the Bible is true, telling them Bible tells you so is not the right place to START. There are other indisputable historical evidence to start the conversation if you are dealing with someone who doesn’t believe or is not sure if the Bible is true. And many of those people exist in churches today. Probably every healthy church, there are seekers or visitors who are interested in Christianity but not crossed over yet. What is your plan on reaching those?

  43. Ray Wenger September 8, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Being a conservative, hearing a conservative call another person “liberal” does not solve issues nor bring clarity to a discussion. It immediately divides people into camps which is not helpful. Come on folks, we are to help one another know the truth and not be offensive by calling folks names. I’m not a theologian, never will be one. I do know “faith” and in that faith I accept the Bible as being inerrant totally by faith. I just don’t like articles that verbally touch someone who may very well be one of God’s anointed. God will sort it out over time. May God find ways to bless you each and every one.

  44. Rick Zimmerman September 8, 2016 at 10:22 pm

    The fact is, the first century Christians HAD A BIBLE. They called it the scriptures. It was basically our OT. Jesus said in Mat 22 “have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God”….if Jesus saw the scriptures as God speaking….shouldn’t we??

  45. Fred September 8, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but if I follow your logic then I WOULD be worshipping ‘The Bible’ as another person of the Godhead. That, or is ‘The Word of God,’ Jesus, and the Bible all synonyms for the same being/person/thing? The closest I can come to agreeing with you is 2 Timothy 3:16. The scriptures point us to the One we are suppose to worship. Coming up with secondary doctrines that must be adhered to in order to be ‘right’ is nothing but decisive. Before you go any further, I must ask you: Who or what do you place your faith? (No if, but, yet, however, etc) How you answer that question, will determine your God.

  46. Rick Zimmerman September 8, 2016 at 10:32 pm

    To those who believe we are going to convert unbelievers without the Bible; 1 Cor 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins ((according to the scriptures));
    4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day ((according to the scriptures)):

    I’d like to hear how?? Andy Stanley does not answer that question.

  47. Happy September 8, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    My understanding is that God will judge us and we are not to judge one another. This should not even be a discussion among my Christian brothers and sisters!

  48. Rick Zimmerman September 8, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.

    It’s our job….sorry….

  49. Fred September 9, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Ever read C S Lewis? He makes a compelling argument for the gospel, yet doesn’t even approach scripture until awhile into mere Christianity. Further,no one is saying scripture is worthless. As I stated, the scriptures point us to Christ. A thorough knowledge of every doctrine was never intended to be a replacement for faith in Him. Yet, the hairs fundies want to split are not worth arguing over. Why does it matter if the bible is inerrant? Why? Even with the compelling arguments I have heard, it all boils down to if it ain’t inerrant, then God is wrong. What? No. If it (the Bible) errs, it is our duty to find where it does. ‘But, how do you know it has errs?’ I could ask you the inverse. (And to claim God wrote it is a lie, inspiration and dictation are two totally different things) And just so you know, God has breathed into one other and it errs alot.

  50. Rick Zimmerman September 9, 2016 at 12:10 am

    Fred….I believe in the Jesus Christ who is revealed in Holy Scripture. If you know of another Jesus that is revealed in a different way, then please explain??

  51. Fred September 9, 2016 at 12:17 am

    So, is your faith in scripture or in Christ?

  52. NATHAN September 9, 2016 at 12:20 am

    If it walks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and looks like a duck, it IS a duck. Or wants to be a duck. Or wants to make other ducks think it is a duck so it will not frighten actual ducks. Liberal.

  53. Fred September 9, 2016 at 12:26 am

    Of Jesus’ existence dependent on scripture? What I am asking is would Jesus have existed apart from the Bible? All the bible does is point me to Him. Yet, I believe if ‘the Bible’ were never written, He would have still existed. The question of how much we would have known about Him would come into question. However, eye witness accounts does not equate inerrant.

  54. Rick Zimmerman September 9, 2016 at 12:27 am

    Fred….”fundies”??….weren’t you the one harping further up about name calling and being divisive?? I am not really sure what your complaining about to be quite honest. AlI did in my initial posts was quote what you say points us to Christ. I have judged no one.

    Is it important to the Christian faith that what God has said in scripture is true and perfectly reliable?? Yes, and any atheist will tell you the same.

    So I do not understand your arguments, but I will pray for you, and for Andy Stanley.

    Grace and peace.

  55. Fred September 9, 2016 at 12:49 am

    My point is why is inerrancy such a big deal? If my faith is in Christ, my understanding of who he is comes from the study i have done of scripture and from the knowledge acquire from more studied believers, why is inerrancy a must for me to believe? It seems more a dividing point for those who wave its flag (even those who adhere to ‘biblical inerrancy’ can not agree on what exactly that means). The scriptures make no such claim of themselves. Jesus even says they point to Him. Not to themselves. The point of the scriptures are not for us to defend them. The point of the scriptures are for us to point others to Christ. As you said the scriptures are true and reliable. True to their purpose, and reliable as a map. They are not the object of our faith.

  56. Rick Zimmerman September 9, 2016 at 2:41 am

    Thanks for the clarification. So if I understand you correctly, the scriptures are true, but not inerrant. They are reliable but not in their entirety?? Both of those statements are actually fallacies.

    But I bet I can guess which parts are to be questioned….with the coming persecution on the American Church through the spectre of homosexuality…I can imagine which jot or tittle is to be considered “unnecessary for faith”.

    Perhaps that is the answer to all this?? I am certain that the ones who have the most to lose by exclusivity, are the ones who are the most afraid of what we all see coming toward us. If we take the stand that the Bible is unnecessary NOW, then perhaps we can get out in front of it and have a plausible way out of the dilemma?

    I certainly hope hat is not the motivation. But whatever it may be, to say that we can have faith in Jesus Christ apart from the Bible that has described him to us, is to create, in my opinion, a logical fallacy that turns Christianity into an empty, meaningless religion, or worse, a conglomeration of “good feelings”.

    The only Christ we can know is the one described by the scriptures. And if they are to be considered reliable at all, they must be considered God breathed. Anything less, and how can you know that what you believe (even selectively) is true??

    Just as a for instance: Suppose I came to you and said, “Jesus is in my Church, come and listen to what he has to say!”

    What would be your response, and why??

    I leave you with that.

  57. Luis E. Padron September 9, 2016 at 7:39 am

    Fred, perhaps the bible is errant about what it says of Jesus in which case your entire faith is a sham. See the problem?

  58. Fred September 9, 2016 at 8:45 am

    To avoid persecution is not my intent. I agree to a degree that most of what we know of Christ comes from the scriptures. Like I said, the scriptures point me to Him. As Lewis pointed out, I can look at this world apart from the scriptures and know 2 things about it. There is a Creator, and apart from His original plan it has drifted. I don’t need scripture for that. To know the whys, scripture clarifies and tells me what He has done to remedy the situation. My problem with arguments like the one presented here is you are burning land ahead of a fire that was never set. As any evangelical would say, faith in Christ alone. Yes, I find that out through scripture. But, faith in Christ is meant to be experienced. And, yes, I know you use scripture (as a map) to make sure you’re not following your emotions or experience, but the leading of the Spirit. I come from articles like this feeling like it is questioning the validity of the faith of anyone who does not follow the systemic way of thinking it’s author has come to know.

  59. SJ September 9, 2016 at 8:59 am

    The OT is a true record of what God wanted preserved for us. Origins of the World, people, sin and the plan of redemption are preserved there for us. In that record He showed how awful sin has always been and the universal need of the only Savior.
    The NT is the record of the Savior coming, redeeming and attoning for sin–for everyone who will trust in Him alone. The Epistles explain and apply what Jesus taught and modeled. With Revelation giving a glimps into the future culmination and setting all things right.

    All that being said, Mr Stanley is wrong if he thinks that changing what God thinks and feels about anything is a good idea. Paul was clear that through the foolishness of preaching…God will save some. Paul also said I chose to know nothing among you but Christ crucified…foolishness to the intellectuals and a stumbling block to those trying to earn their way to heaven. Paul also said Christ died…according to the scriptures (OT) was buried and rose again on the third day…according to the scriptures (OT).

    All God has chosen to reveal about Himself is in the bible. Pslam 19 does say we can glean some things from nature (most get it wrong though). But, the truth about God and the story of redemption are through the special revelation of the bible. If by our logic we doubt the bible in any part, we should doubt our logic long before we doubt the bible.

  60. […] hear a pastor, particularly a very popular and well-publicized pastor (Andy Stanley), suggest that defending the Bible in its entirety is not necessary and is indeed too great a burden.  Sadly, these are not the first comments on the matter this […]

  61. Fred September 9, 2016 at 9:08 am

    Luis to claim a whole book false because a few errors is a sham. General statements like yours that don’t have any knowledge behind them leave no room for discussion. I had the opportunity to take a New Testament survey class, and came to realize there are some legitimate errors. The class was pretty taxing, but worth it. Ask any bible expert about the last chapter of Mark, or places where the scribe accidentally changed a word because rewriting a whole letter can be boring or they got tired. That’s why I don’t place too many eggs in this basket of inerrancy. The literal definition of an error is a mistake. Yet, ‘inerrant,’ with error as its root, has to be defended with a blockade of ‘theological’ defenses that have to clarify or take away from the meaning of error. So, what I’m saying is inerrant is not biblically defensible. It is not logically defensible. It can only be emotionally defended. Because, if one word is wrong, then my faith is a sham, it makes me wonder were my faith is.

  62. Luis E. Padron September 9, 2016 at 9:29 am

    Fred, spelling errors and accidentally changed words aren’t the kinds of mistakes inerrancy is concerned with. If it’s not inerrant in the way it IS concerned with your faith is most certainly a sham.

  63. Prent Wheat September 9, 2016 at 9:37 am

    “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God”, ..
    “if anyone comes to you preaching any other gospel, let him be accursed”….
    ‘If anyone adds to, he adds to his woes, and if he takes away from the Gospel, he takes away from his name in the Book of Life…..

    Seems that we need the Bible to learn what Jesus is trying to tell us!

  64. Fred September 9, 2016 at 9:37 am

    I am sorry, call me a literalist, but words don’t change to fit a system. Words have a meaning for a reason.

  65. Fred September 9, 2016 at 9:42 am

    And please don’t get started on original documents (of which we have none of). That truly is a leap of faith if you claim inerrancy on something we don’t even have.

  66. Fred September 9, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Need and inerrant are two different things, Prent.

  67. Luis E. Padron September 9, 2016 at 9:58 am

    Fred, forget the original documents! I have access to the original THOUGHTS of the authors of Scripture!
    Not really.
    Look, I don’t need the original Pauline letters to claim inerrancy anymore than I need the original pages of Shakespeare’s plays to know what the Bard wrote. Ditto our Constitution, the Magna Carta and the check my dear old Dad used to pay off a rockin’ stereo from the Spiegel catalog back in 1981.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree, then disagree some more, I’m afraid.

  68. Dale K September 9, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Another interesting passage on the priority of Scripture is Peter’s words from 2 Peter: “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1:16-21). Even though he was an eyewitness, he said the Scriptures were a “more sure word”!!!!

  69. Fred September 9, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Then it is agreed. I would agree on everything you just said, but I still can’t come to grips with inerrancy. I would never say an inerranist wasn’t a believer or was shallow in their faith. I’ve benefitted greatly in my personal faith from their studies alone. I will however apologize for the bite in my tone towards you and anyone else. It wasn’t appropriate. I still stand by the thoughts expressed, though. It just bugs me when people say I’ll pray for you when it comes to a view the prayer warrior doesn’t hold. It’s like saying my thoughts are incorrect and not not prayfully and thoughtfully sought out. This will probably be my last post on this topic. So, yeah.

  70. Rick Zimmerman September 9, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Perhaps I am wrong, but it does seem to me that there is a prevailing attitude among many evangelicals that we receive correct information about God, simply “through the ether”?

    This presents way more issues for the unbeliever than saying, “the Bible tells me so” I can assure you.

    I do believe that we receive information from the Spirit of God, but that information does not contradict nor supersede the scriptures.

    Scripture is the tool with which we “try the spirits”. And the Spirit of God will always glorify Christ. We know that because Jesus said it (BTW).

    How is Christ glorified by capitulation to the world, that His very words are not reliable?? Let’s not forget, that’s been the deception FROM THE BEGINNING (Gen 3:1).

    Inerrancy is a faith issue IMO, but it’s also a logic issue. Logically, it simply makes no sense to say, on the one hand, just believe Jesus rose from the dead (the meaning and import of which we find only in the scriptures), and then on the other to say, don’t worry about what the scriptures say, we understand that they can’t be trusted anyway.

    It is a sawing off of the very limb upon which one sits.

  71. John Charles Wesley September 9, 2016 at 12:45 pm

    It seems many out there are seeking to be right, versus thinking about what they are fighting for. For many, it seems like your Faith is being tested. However, I can assure you, it is not. Showing a lack of love for your brothers and sisters in Christ simply because they felt that as Christianity is the founder of Modern Science and Research, that they too, should apply that lens to the Written Word.

    It is interesting when select Christians say “I will pray for you” in context of disagreement. It sort of sounds like a judgement on another human being. “Just lest you be judged.” Matthew 7:1

    So the Conservative Baptist dialogue is interesting to me. Maybe it’s right, maybe it’s wrong. I’m not sure. However, this movement has had a perpetual need to be right at the expense of alienating its fellow Brothers and Sisters. In the 1980s, Conservative Baptists used the SBC Presidency to slowly but surely push out fellow believers from holding leadership roles or teaching at Baptist universities. This led to those who believed, like the Methodists believe that the Scripture is the basis of our Faith and it benefits from the lenses of “tradition, experience, and reason.” Ultimately, the silencing of fellow Christians worked, and the Conservative Baptists successfully expelled those who now call themselves Cooperative Baptists in 1990.

    Also, nothing to be done about my name, I was raised in an ardent Methodist household, congrats to those who figured that out. On the note of that though, as Methodists, we are ardent followers of the Scripture and as a denomination, but we do not believe in Literalism; we too would be judged to be wanting by the flesh of Conservative Baptists. Hopefully our Lord, our Savior, Jesus Christ is more committed to His teachings. However, to not believe in Literalism is not the same as denying the importance of the Bible, not is it denying the importance of the Resurrection and the Holy Trinity. This part is the difficult thing to understand. Our church leaders make the attempt at the link below.
    “We interpret individual texts in light of their place in the Bible as a whole.”
    “We are aided by scholarly inquiry and personal insight, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As we work with each text, we take into account what we have been able to learn about the original context and intention of that text. In this understanding we draw upon the careful historical, literary, and textual studies of recent years, which have enriched our understanding of the Bible.”
    “While we acknowledge the primacy of Scripture in theological reflection, our attempts to grasp its meaning always involve tradition, experience, and reason.
    The Wesleyan heritage, reflecting its origins in the catholic and reformed ethos of English Christianity, directs us to a self-conscious use of these three sources in interpreting Scripture and in formulating faith statements based on the biblical witness. These sources are, along with Scripture, indispensable to our theological task.
    The close relationship of tradition, experience, and reason appears in the Bible itself. Scripture witnesses to a variety of diverse traditions, some of which reflect tensions in interpretation within the early Judeo-Christian heritage. However, these traditions are woven together in the Bible in a manner that expresses the fundamental unity of God’s revelation as received and experienced by people in the diversity of their own lives.”

    In other words, the UMC puts Scriptures in context of the entire Bible and the time in which they occurred. The idea is not the Bible is incorrect (different from inerrant), but that it is a Starting Point for our Faith from which ‘tradition, experience, and reason’ pick up.

    God created a complex Universe and existed before it, therefore a strong Faith in our Creator should be as complex. Within that complexity, we see why Loving All is so critical to the Christian Faith and the hatred we espouse on those dissimilar to us as being out of line with Christ’s teachings.

  72. Wesley Scott September 9, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Ahh…. the 3 Ms of the Christian battlefield: Manuscripts, Music, and Methods.
    Folks, “The Bible” doesn’t “tell” me ANYTHING. It is a compilation of the preserved writings of God-inspired authors who were writing to specific audiences. Thus, “The Bible” doesn’t tell me about the resurrection of Christ. The authors of the gospels tell me about the resurrection. I learn of the resurrection from Paul in several of his letters to churches in Greece and Asia Minor. I have studied extra-biblical documents that attest to the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Holy Spirit reveals truth to me in various ways, biblical and extra-biblical.
    I have not heard the sermon in its entirety, so I won’t cast any judgement on Mr. Stanley. However as a long-time Christian, theology, Greek, and education professor, and as one who actively engages millennials in “God” conversations, I have to say that the old argument “The Bible said it, that settles it” does not cut it. Using that language will get you nowhere among millennials. There has to be something more to reach them.
    Should we use the Scriptures in evangelism and discipleship? Absolutely! But there also must be engagement of the mind, emotions, and will of a person which takes much more than Bible-bashing.

  73. John September 9, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    While I believe the Bible to be the inspired Word of God, the sole authority for rule and practice (what we believe and how we behave); I think the disconnect for so many is simply the failure to understand ‘why’ we believe this as evangelicals. The simple but profound answer is that the Word reveals to us the very character of God. It is His character that bears the authority behind the written Word. From this basis alone, we can sing the best known Sunday School song ever penned…’for the Bible tells me so’, because it reveals the very character of God to me!

  74. Rick Zimmerman September 9, 2016 at 3:35 pm

    The belief that correction and discussion should be considered a “lack of love” or that telling a brother you will pray for them is some kind of “judgement” (as if christians aren’t called to such) reveals a serious lack of understanding IMO.

    Iron sharpens iron. And stifling discourse is certainly not productive for anyone.

  75. SJ September 9, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Wesley, I agree bible-bashing has never really worked. The mind, will and emotion are engaged according to what paul said in Romans 10. I also believe Matt Chandler had it right when he said, in the Explicit Gospel, at some point friendship evangelism must become ACTUAL evangelism. Too many churches today want you to invite people to church, which is great, but then a pastor gets up on the stage and blows the opportunity to share the truth of the gospel because he was so worried about properly “engaging millennials”. Sin is still sin. The truth about Jesus, heaven, hell and salvation are unchanging and have to be proclaimed because souls are on the line. “Hellfire and brimstone” sermons may be out of style…but repentance, true repentance, cannot ever go out of style.

  76. Brian F September 9, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    Something to ponder in regards to all of this discussion – If the Bible is required to have faith in Jesus, what about all of the cultures and peoples that don’t have the Bible? (All current cultures now and all that have existed in the past 2000 years roughly.) Are they doomed to eternal destruction just because they don’t have an actual Bible to tell them about Jesus?

    Something else to ponder in regards to this discussion – Why is it that the church in America (and other developed nations) is declining even though we have enough Bibles for every man, woman and child plus some? We have more Bibles than most places in the world and yet the church is actually growing faster in nations where believers don’t necessarily have access to a Bible. (As a possible benefit, these nations where Bibles aren’t readily available and you could actually be killed for your faith – they probably don’t have discussions like this.)

    BTW, if you haven’t actually watched the videos from the sermon series this article is written about, make sure you go to and watch them before you make a judgment about what Andy Stanley is or is not saying or try to make a judgment about his character.

  77. […] Is Pastor Andy Stanley an old-fashioned liberal because of his views on the Bible? […]

  78. donaldm56 September 10, 2016 at 8:11 am

    As a dispensational baptist, what i see in this entire discussion is the continuing battle on the inerrancy of Scripture. The progressives have been at this for a long time. Modernists continue to insist that the Church must find new ways to reach the lost. Hogwash! In my worthless opinion what is needed is a greater use of Scripture, and a much greater effort in teaching believers how to study Scripture.

  79. M. H. Dennis September 10, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    I attend a Church in Alabama named Church of the Highlands which is comparable in size with Andy’s church Norhpoint. In 2016, we are averaging between 38,000 to 40,000 people in attendance each weekend through August. Our pastor, Chris Hodges, supports all his teaching with Scripture. You can verify this on if you’d like. Overall, thus far in 2016, we have had over 18,000 professions of faith, and we have 4410 small groups for the fall quarter of 2016. We believe that people who visit our Church expect the Bible to be taught (and so does God).

    In the 1970s and 1980s, I attended First Baptist Church of Atlanta at Andy’s father’s church, Charles Stanley. Andy and I happen to be the same age, so we were in the same Sunday School together our Freshman and Sophomore college years. I have had great respect for both Andy and Charles although I haven’t followed Andy’s teaching in years, so I can’t speak to what he currently believes. However, I know for a fact that the Word of God does not need to be minimized to reach people. In fact, if you teach Scripture and practice believing prayer, God can and still does great things.

  80. Paul September 10, 2016 at 6:43 pm

    MH Dennis ~ hate to burst the bubble but most of Andy’s critics here would be equally critical of Chris Hodges at COTH. His teaching is definitely not expository and would be similar to Andy’s and far from Prince’s.

  81. Doug September 11, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Stanley is actually correct to be putting much emphasis on the resurrection rather than just words in a book….cmon people wake up. I Corinthians 15:14

  82. Doug September 11, 2016 at 10:58 am

    I Corinthians 15:14, and if Christ has not been raised then our preaching is useless and your faith is useless.

  83. A.J. September 11, 2016 at 5:47 pm

    Ha! You just used a Scripture reference to support the argument that we need to put less emphasis on the Bible. Lol! ^^^ IRONY ^^^

  84. garysinclairconnect September 11, 2016 at 10:08 pm

    For Heaven’s sake, why are we spending all this time on attacking another pastor? Do we not have enough to do? If we believe that what we are doing, leading and teaching is of God, then by all means do it. But God cannot be honored when people like Dr. Prince and other spend hours and hours trashing another brother, right or wrong. Go be about the Father’s business, will you?

  85. airbornesaint September 12, 2016 at 10:49 am

    Maybe Andy’s view stems from the fact that his father said for many years “The Bible says…” Until the Bible no longer suited him when he divorced his wife…

  86. paulthinkingoutloud September 12, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Not only a cheap shot, but wrong facts. A simple trip to Wikipedia would straighten you out: “Stanley’s wife of more than 40 years, Anna J. Stanley, originally filed for divorce on June 22, 1993.” She filed (twice), not him.

  87. […] Andy Stanley’s Statements about the Bible are not Cutting Edge—They’re Old Liberalism […]

  88. Brian F September 13, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Message #5 of the 6 part series is now available at Take time to actually watch the messages before making any judgments about Andy or the messages. Listen to both sides of the story and come to your own conclusion because God has given you the ability to think and discern for yourself.

  89. John Charles Wesley September 15, 2016 at 5:13 pm

    The complexity is that no one (including Andy Stanley) has said to throw out the Bible. What has been said is that the Foundation of the Christian Faith is the Resurrection. On top of that, Disciples and religious organizations wrote the letters and canonized the Bible to preserve the documentation of what future Christians would learn about the supernatural events that founded our Faith. Some one here get up in arms if someone who is not a Literalist then quotes the Bible. That just does not make sense.

    Increasing knowledge and understanding does not negate the Foundation. Therefore, when we apply tradition, experience and reason to the Bible we have not given up our Christian Faith. Andy Stanley is encouraging that it is possible to believe in the Resurrection & Forgiveness of Sins through Jesus Christ without denying the progress in equality, science, and justice. Therefore, in order to apply tradition, experience, and reason alongside the Bible, we must study the Bible, our World, and advancements in our society within those 4 contexts. With all our experiences being different, this leads to debate.

    This tension of differing experiences was recognized in the Bible. We have the same event retold by multiple perspectives. This does confirm multiple Disciples saw the same events – but it also acts as a model for the kind of discussion that well meaning Christians must have. Our perspectives tilt our lenses, we can be good people, but still be flawed. The only sinless human being was Jesus. Therefore, the Disciples, those who ran when the crowd came to crucify their Savior, are not free from sin either. When they wrote, they wrote from that lens.

    But their biases do not changes the facts that the events that they document happened and are the basis of the Faith.

  90. Today in Blogworld 09.16.16 - Borrowed Light September 16, 2016 at 6:32 am

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