(Update: I wish to apologize for the original title of this post "Stanleyism: Speaking a Half-truth with Self-love." That title was completely inappropriate for a couple of reasons. First, it sounds shaming. Second, it did a pretty lousy job of conveying what I wished to communicate by wrongly placing the emphasis on a person, and not what the person said. And finally, in attempting to be clever and make the title into a play on Paul's words, "Speak the truth in love," I gave the impression that I believed Andy was full of self-love. That is impossible for me to know. Let me be clear: I believe that the message Andy Stanley preached on April 15, 2012 is ultimately harmful and destructive to every homosexual who hears it. I commend Andy for his desire to communicate love and grace to homosexuals, and I applaud any church who reaches out to lesbians and homosexuals. I believe Andy is attempting to tackle a difficult issue, but he has failed miserably in one area. The issue at hand is a simple one: Is the predisposition and desire to have a sexual relationship with a person of the same gender a sinful desire? It seems Andy is saying "No." I believe the Scripture says emphatically "Yes," and an unwillingness to call homosexuality sin ultimately leads the homosexual to trample on the blood of Christ by saying: "You did not need to die for my sin, because I have no sin." The post below is unchanged from the original post except for the title).
Andy Stanley is an innovator and communicator. He is an evangelical conservative, Bible-believing teacher of the Word of God. He cares for people, and he understands the gospel. Unfortunately, he is now in the midst of a controversy of his own making. Andy Stanley preached a remarkable message at North Point Community Church in Atlanta, Georgia on April 15, 2012 entitled When Gracie Met Truthy. I became aware of the message from Al Mohler's blog where Dr. Mohler politely takes Andy Stanley to the woodshed for Stanley's seemingly full acceptance of homosexual relationships as a legitimate and Christian expression of marital love. I listened to Andy Stanley's entire message, and though I don't do this often, I found myself in full agreement with Dr. Mohler's views on this matter. Andy's message was quite good when he stayed with the text and sought to encourage his listeners from the Word of God. But Andy's message was quite bad--restate that--'Andy's message was pitifully and painfully awful'--when he diverted from the sacred text and sought to illustrate how grace and truth meet in a church setting like Northpointe. I won't go into the graphic and bizarre illustration Andy gave as support for what grace and truth look like when they meet in a church (read Dr. Mohler's blog or listen to the message yourself), but I would like to point out what a practicing homosexual named Mike, who heard the message the day it was preached, wrote about Andy Stanley's message less than 24 hours later:
"I have some experience with Northpoint Church from when I lived in Atlanta around 10 years ago. I have a ministry background as well. I recently moved back to Atl to be near my family. Long story short... I came out about a year ago and have been looking for a place to worship. Buckhead was my first try and I was very nervous. However, the message... from the series Christian (week 5)... absolutely blew me out of the water. FWIW... they are NOT anti-gay. VERY far from it. You need to watch the message to understand. I was amazed as I worshiped with 8-10 other gay folk in the middle of the church. It was quite an experience!"
Mike is quite correct. Anyone who listens to the message will come away believing that adultery or infidelity is sin, but monogamous sex with a partner of the same gender is not sin. That is precisely what Andy said. His illustration of two men breaking their marriages to women in order to enter into a homosexual partnership delivered only a half-truth. Andy Stanley spoke the truth about adultery. However, Andy Stanley couldn't speak the truth about homosexual sex. Yet, he expessed his love for both homosexuals and adulterers. Why only speak half-truth? There is a great deal of pressure from gay activists in metropolitan cities like Atlanta to pressure religious leaders to publicly declare homosexual sex is not sin against God. Andy loves the homosexual; he just seems now to refuse to speak the truth about homosexuality (ie. "homosexuality is sin") in the same manner he speaks about adultery (ie. "adultery is a sin"). I believe Andy Stanley will soon realize the error of his half-truth message and will come out with a public correction.
You are never really loving homosexuals until you tell them the full truth about their homosexual sex. Maybe Andy Stanley will one day soon abandon return to speaking the truth about homosexuality in love to the homosexual.
I think he will.