Of course I have extreme problems with Andy Stanley and his seeker-sensitive approach to church. Perhaps at another time I can detail some of my objections to his underlying assumptions about evangelism, as I believe those assumptions lie at the heart of his outrageous pronouncements and compromising behavior in recent years. Whether or not he’s genuinely saved is not for me to determine, but I do believe he’s deceived in some areas. I also believe he’s leading people back toward liberalism.
Yet I praise the Lord for Andy Stanley’s attempts to minimize the Bible.
Yes, you read that last sentence correctly, and no, I haven’t changed my view that Scripture provides the bedrock for the Christian faith. The resurrection, certainly, is the decisive event that validated Jesus as the Son of God. But we can’t know about the resurrection, and much less its implications, apart from the testimony of Scripture. The apostle Paul made it clear, in fact, that he proclaimed the death, burial and resurrection on the basis of God’s Word (1 Corinthians 15:3-5).
So please don’t misunderstand me as suddenly defending Andy Stanley’s indefensible comment about taking the spotlight off the Bible and putting it on the resurrection. His double-speak may sound comforting to the unbelievers that he seeks to attract, but I firmly stand on the necessity of using God’s Word to proclaim the Gospel to the lost Romans 10:17).
Stanley’s misguided minimization of the Bible, however, has forced evangelicals back into a needed conversation about the Bible’s central place in both evangelism and the life of each Christian. This conversation can’t be neglected! The Holy Spirit has used Stanley’s ridiculous remarks to alert Bible-believing Christians to the absolute importance of clinging to the Word of God as our foundational authority.
Regretfully, time doesn’t allow me to take you through even a few Scriptures demonstrating the centrality of God’s Word today, and tomorrow I won’t have access to my computer early enough to blog. But in coming days, I anticipate showing you why Christianity cannot be separated from the Bible. The unavoidable relationship between the two requires thoughtful examination that shouldn’t be hurried.
I relish this opportunity to explain how the Lord uses His Word as His primary tool of both evangelism and sanctification. As we look at this pivotal topic, I pray that the Lord will use this controversy to help all of us appreciate God’s Word more deeply than ever.