From Pulpit and Pen:
Editors Note. This article was originally written and posted at Jeff Maples Blog and is being reprinted here with permission.
Remember the old days where churches had steeples and stained glass windows? Remember when there were pews and a choir that sang edifying hymns to our Lord? Remember those days when people wore suits and ties and ladies wore dresses and heels trying to present their best to our God? Remember those days when children used to go to Sunday School classes and learn the Bible and families went to service and the pastor preached a sermon? “Well,” says Andy Stanley, “the greatest thing about all of this, is we don’t have to do that anymore,” he proclaims in his latest sermon series, “Brand New.”
Stanley is making it abundantly clear that he has no qualms about changes that are being made in today’s churches, and he’s proud of it.
“The things that are holding people back from coming to church are actually the things the church should be letting go of,” Stanley says. But what kind of things is he referring to? Could it be things like clear Biblical doctrine about salvation, sin, grace, etc? Could it be a pastoral teaching from the pulpit? Could it be edifying worship to our Lord and Savior? Just exactly what things is the church holding on to that’s “hindering growth,” according to Stanley?
He goes on to say that in his lifetime, he has never heard anyone say that the reason they don’t go to church is because they follow Jesus.
Seriously? Where has his head been? “The Church should be irresistible except for the fact that we love Jesus.” But according to Stanley, the Catholic church loves Jesus too. Does this also include Mormons? Jehovah’s Witnesses? Unrepentant sinners, like Matthew Vines, who think living in sin is fine with God?
He goes on to say, “even if you never come to the conclusion that Jesus is the Son of God, or that Jesus is your savior, if you follow his teachings you will have a better life.”
Stanley goes on to proclaim that Church has become resistible to people because of all of the baggage that comes along with it; baggage like clear doctrine, and traditional, edifying worship. By removing these things that are “holding the Church back” we can now make church attractive to people and give people a “better life.” Much like Joel Osteen, he isn’t concerned with the eternal salvation of people’s souls, rather he wants to give people “their best life now.” So let’s do away with doctrine that teaches people about sin and repentance and the merciful loving grace of God. Let’s not teach people about the consequences of sin (Hell), but let’s just teach people to come in and sing rock and roll music, follow some of the red-letter teachings of Jesus about loving one-another. Then people can walk out of here on Sunday mornings temporally fulfilled, have a better life, and perhaps the pockets of wolves like Andy Stanley will be lined with the dollar bills of these lost sheep and/or goats.
- You can view the entire “sermon” at Northpoint’s site here.
- You may also listen to Chris Rosebrough‘s review of two of the full sermons here and here.
[Contributed by Landon Chapman]