A couple of days ago, I noticed ministry friends of mine sharing videos of a well-known pastoral voice, Senior Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church located in Alpharetta, Georgia. After looking around for the video myself, I discovered the video was an excerpt from the Drive Conference at North Point in 2022.
Many people are familiar with this pastor in Georgia. Some of his statements diminishing the authority of Scripture, and his callous jest at Christians who think it more authoritative, led those in the Church to surmise that his issues with biblical authority indicate a much more corrosive theological viewpoint that has not yet been made public.
Then, on January 23rd, a short video dropped on Twitter. In the video, Stanley laid out a general example demonstrating the lack of eagerness of straight Christians to serve in his churches when comparing them to the eagerness of the gay men and women he knows, who would serve. This setup statement has no way of being validated and yet appeared to be a two-fold manipulation technique.
First, it incentivized his congregation to serve, but also to view homosexuals as a more virtuous community by comparison. It appeared as if Stanley was edifying the gay community and promoting the culture to his congregation while degrading his own church for the moment, a persuasive deconstruction tactic, making it easier for them to adopt his subsequent statements.
The video went on a path of pandering to the gay community and their allies in an unscripted rant against the Church. Stanley concluded that gay men and women have more faith than he has and “more than a lot of you.” It even belittled the Word of God itself by calling scriptures referencing homosexuality “clobber passages.” His indictment seemed to be: Straight Christians and God’s Word don’t measure up here; the gay people I know are better.
Such was the theological views that were similar to those views espoused by fallen Exodus leader Alan Chambers and McKrae Game of Hope For Wholeness, which survived past him in another form. Additionally, what message does this send to those struggling with sexual confusion at North Point Church? By Stanley’s most recent comments, it seems that they should expect further promotion of slippery, watered-down theology, and they can also expect that anyone adhering to the biblical-historic view on sexual ethics will be castigated as unwelcoming bigots.
Over the last few years, congregations in the West have awoken, surprised by their pastor’s deconstructed theology. Bewildered by their pastor’s unforeseen animus toward the majority group, matched with an unsurpassed bias for one or two “ostracized groups” of the pastor’s choosing, they are left with a trail of spiritual casualties in their wake.
But there is good news: Jesus has an answer for us and did not leave us unequipped for this moment. Scripture reminds us:
“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death” (Revelation 12:11).
This is not some antiquated Scripture removed from contemporary Christian life; this passage is alive and well in the Church. But it is suppressed through the self-righteous deconstruction and faithlessness of some leaders.
Meanwhile, those who have found freedom in Jesus Christ from LGBTQ and victory over their previous identity and lifestyle, have become all too familiar with the internal persecution from legacy lukewarm Christianity spouted by the present-day false teachers, false prophets, and, may I say, wolves-in-sheep’s-clothing-pastors. Thankfully, not all Christian leaders or churchgoers are this way — there are still many worthy shepherds and sheep in God’s flock.