In April of this year, Andy Stanley taught a three-part message entitled, Aftermath in which he makes the case that given the accessibility of the internet as well as the growing antagonism toward religion; the church should do what the early church did – base our faith on the resurrection of Jesus Christ and not the entirety of the Bible given that some parts of the Bible are “indefensible.” While there were many helpful things taught in the series, there were a number of startling statements as well as a general posturing of what the early church believed that were simply not factually accurate.
To be sure, many people questioned some key points of Andy’s teaching and he responded via the May 15 issue of Relevant magazine:
“None of the academic types who have criticized my preaching have ever reached out to me before posting their critiques. When John Piper was concerned about something I said a year ago or so, he reached out to me and let me read his critique before he published it. It was fair, and I told him so. I insisted he let his readers know he reached out to me ahead of time and I linked folks to his article. So I’m not opposed to healthy dialogue around ideas.”
In the July 5 issue of Relevant Andy said:
All that to say, there are some folks who did not understand the point I was making. And for those who follow me on Twitter and who asked for clarification, I gave it. Over and over. Which I actually enjoy. I tell leaders all the time: Be a student, not a critic. Be curious.
Andy went on to say:
We have far more in common than not. Help me. Email me your concerns. Call me. Follow me on Twitter and direct message me. I certainly don’t want to mislead anyone. My ministry mission is to do exactly what James declared in Acts 15 when he said, “It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”
“To my critics I would say, let’s come together so we can do more. The faith of the next generation depends upon it. We are stewards of the Church for our generation. Let’s get it right. And let’s honor Jesus’ prayer in John 17 and get it right, together.”
In response to Andy’s request to contact him with concerns, I reached out to him on June 7 via the Northpoint website. After a series of emails with a communications assistant and then Andy’s personal assistant, I was asked to submit my questions. I did. However, I did not receive a response to my questions. I was eventually told (July 17th) that I would need to wait for Andy’s reply via the release of his upcoming book: Irresistible: Reclaiming the New that Jesus Unleashed for the World.
Given that my attempts to get clarification from Andy have been exhausted and I continue to receive questions from members in our church as well as their friends who attend Northpoint Church, I am posting this open letter. I am hoping that this letter will both clarify the issues involved for those who heard this teaching series as well as foster healthy dialogue among people in the church so that we might all grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, Jesus Christ.