I grew up in Charles Stanley’s First Baptist Church of Atlanta. When his son, Andy, became a pastor I was excited that Atlanta would have another Biblically solid pastor. However, it seems that may unfortunately no longer be the case.
Christine Pack posted this article on her blog Solasisters.com describing how Andy Stanley recently gave a talk at his Buckhead Church, wherein he described a married man who had left his wife to pursue a gay relationship with another man. Stanley tells how the man wanted to get involved in the leadership of the church, but he had not yet divorced his wife. Stanley said in light of the fact that he was committing adultery, he couldn’t be allowed a leadership position in the church. However, he said nothing indicating that his active homosexual lifestyle should prevent him from holding a leadership position. He said that if the man would only divorce his wife, then everything would be fine. So apparently, adultery is out in his book, but an active homosexual lifestyle is okay.
Posted by Christine Pack
In the 18th century, a seafaring military action known as a “shot across the bow” began to come into common usage. This was a term used to describe a shot fired by one ship across the bow of an opposing ship to signal future confrontations. The shot was not meant to actually make contact, it was merely a warning signal that there were future confrontations to come from the firing ship.
It appears that North Point megachurch pastor Andy Stanley has recently fired his own “shot across the bow” of Evangelicalism on the issue of homosexuality with his sermon series Christian. In part 5 of this series, Stanley gave a message (“When Gracie Met Truthie”) in which he described a situation at his church where a woman, her ex-husband and her ex-husband’s male lover were in a conflict. The strangest part of this story is that the issue with which Stanley took exception was the fact that the ex-husband’s male lover was not yet divorced from HIS wife, and yet was serving in leadership at North Point. Presumably, the man’s adultery was the issue, but not, apparently, his unrepentantly homosexual lifestyle. From the article:
“(Andy) Stanley told the two men that they could not serve on the host team so long as the one man was still married. He later told of the former wife’s decision not to live in bitterness, and of her initiative to bring the whole new family structure to a Christmas service. This included the woman, her daughter, her former husband, his gay partner, and his daughter. Stanley celebrated this new ‘modern family’ as an expression of forgiveness.” (online source)
The obvious questions have to be asked: Is it even possible to frame up the scenario presented by Stanley (in which 2 – count them, 2 – marriages were blown sky high) in a way that makes sense unless a clear call for repentance is given? And yet, according to the Christian Post’s article on the final sermon of this series, Stanley completely sidestepped the issue of homosexuality in this series.
Incidentally, this account of the wife, the ex-husband, the ex-husband’s male lover, etc., etc. was presented very winsomely by Andy Stanley with accompanying graphics. This was no off-the-cuff account that just spontaneously occurred to Andy Stanley in the middle of a sermon. The above graphic was obviously prepared well in advance of this sermon. Does anyone else smell an agenda? Is open homosexuality going to be the Next Big Thing in Evangelicalism? And is this Andy Stanley’s shot across the bow to signal that he is moving in the direction of openly accepting unrepentant homosexual relationships? We’ll all have to stay tuned to find out…
End of Christine’s post
Albert Mohler says in his blog:
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.