Andy Stanley, the Megachurch, and Homosexuality
Albert Mohler has a must-read article today that I can only describe as shocking. It’s a long one, but at the heart of it is a sermon recently delivered by megachurch pastor Andy Stanley. You can listen to the sermon below or download ithere. The relevant portion begins at the 23:00 minute mark. In the video version, it starts at 24:30.
In the sermon, Stanley told the story of a husband who left his wife for another man. At the end of the story, the wife, her new boyfriend, their children, and the new homosexual couple all end up attending a Christmas service together. Stanley looks at them sitting together and celebrates them as a “microcosm of the church.”
The most puzzling and shocking part of the message was the illustration and the account of the homosexual couple, however. The inescapable impression left by the account was that the sin of concern was adultery, but not homosexuality. Stanley clearly and repeatedly stressed the sin of adultery, but then left the reality of the homosexual relationship between the two men unaddressed as sin. To the contrary, he seemed to normalize their relationship. They would be allowed to serve on the host team if both were divorced. The moral status of their relationship seemed to be questioned only in terms of adultery, with no moral judgment on their homosexuality.
Was this intended as a salvo of sorts? The story was so well told and the message so well constructed that there can be little doubt of its meaning. Does this signal the normalization of homosexuality at North Point Community Church? This hardly seems possible, but it appeared to be the implication of the message. Given the volatility of this issue, ambiguity will be replaced by clarity one way or the other, and likely sooner than later…
What does Andy Stanley now believe about homosexuality and the church’s witness? We must pray that he will clarify the issues so graphically raised in his message, and that he will do so in a way the unambiguously affirms the Bible’s clear teachings — and that he will do so precisely because he loves sinners enough to tell them the truth — all the truth — about both our sin and God’s provision in Christ. Biblical faithfulness simply does not allow for the normalization of homosexuality. We desperately want all persons to feel welcome to hear the Gospel and, responding in faith and repentance, to join with us in mutual obedience to Christ. But we cannot allow anyone, ourselves included, to come to Christ — or to church — on our own terms.
I’ve just finished listening to the story, and it is ambiguous at best. At worst, it’s a complete capitulation to the spirit of the age. I hope that Andy Stanley will come forward and offer a clarification that affirms the Bible’s teaching on human sexuality. Read the rest here.