An open letter to Andy Stanley

Hi Andy,

You don’t know me.  And I am sure you won’t ever know who I am.  I’ve watched hours of your sermons and conference talks.  Outside of the few tweets I’ve sent you, we’ve had no interaction.  You are much smarter than I am.  You have a much larger influence than I ever (probably) will have.  But as I reflect upon the statements you’ve made recently, I felt it necessary to jot some thoughts down, since the popular thing to do in evangelical culture lately is to write letters.

I am sure you are familiar with this, but you have quite the following.  Not only do you fill the seats on Sunday mornings, your name draws huge crowds at conferences and your books constantly sell thousands.  You have a large following on social media.  What am I getting at by saying all these things?  You’ve got a lot of ears/eyes that listen/read and believe just about everything you say.  Your words carry a lot of weight, simply because your name is attached to them.  So, when you make comments like “Church Unity Is More Important Than ‘Being Theologically Correct’” and “”Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well”, everyone perks up, for one reason or another.

Most read these comments and agree with you, because honestly, they don’t know any better.  They’ve trusted their soul to your care, regardless if they sit in the pews on Sunday morning.  They’ve allowed you to shepherd them from a distance and trust that what you are saying is in the best interest of their lives.  But then there is the other crowd.  Us, as I will call, well, us.  We are the ones that hear these statements and instantly see the fault with them.  But do you know what happens next?  We get labeled divisive.  People say we are trying to attack you.  Others say we are puffed up and proud and think we have it all together.  Sure doesn’t sound a lot like unity does it?  And you know what?  I actually weep over this.  I am tired that those of us who labor over Scripture and consistently try to encourage others in sound doctrine are always labeled as divisive.  I am certainly not implying that you don’t labor over the text, but I think you can see what I am getting at here.  We are trying to contend for the faith.  We are trying to promote Scripture.  We aren’t saying anything of ourselves, but simply speaking out about the convictions we’ve received from faithful study of Scripture.

Instead of trying to be cutting edge by making bold statements to impress the masses that follow you, why don’t you use your platform to promote what Christians need?  How can you say that a Christian should “unhitch” from ANY portion of Scripture, when, in 2018 America, Christians need ALL the Scripture they can get?  What do you hope to accomplish by telling your followers to do this?  How can you promote a version of Christianity that minimizes the importance of Scripture?  How can you promote unity over theology, but attack certain styles of preaching and specific theology you don’t agree with?

In all seriousness, I am wanting to learn more.  I want to know why you believe these statements to be true.  I want to know why you think this is the way to get more people to follow Christ.  I want to know why you would tell anyone that any section of the inspired, infallible, inerrant, Word of God is worth unhitching yourself from.  Answering these questions would help, because I have numerous conversations about you throughout the week.  You see, I am the guy people come to when they have a question about a certain teacher.  I spend hours knowing what other teachers say so I can faithfully and accurately provide feedback and help to those that approach me.  I don’t do this, so I can become puffed up, or make myself out to be some guy who has it all figured out.  The exact opposite.  I do this because I am confident of the calling God has placed upon my life and part of that calling requires me to know what is going on in the culture of Christianity around me.  I do this because I want to be sure that those who I entrust to care for someone’s soul are going to do this in a manner that I am confident in.  Unfortunately, I am confident that I can’t say that about you.

Andy, I implore you, faithfully open Scripture week in and week out and preach the text.  Stop trying to come up with the new thing in Christianity.  Nothing is new.  The only thing that is new is something that is false.  I know this style might not sound cool to you, and you are probably worried that you will lose followers and not as many people will show up on Sunday mornings.  But if you truly want unity in the Church, this unity that you’ve been so outspoken about, the ONLY way to achieve that is through the faithful teaching and preaching of God’s Words, not drawing people away from Scripture.

Faithfully,

Brad

 

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