Megachurch Pastor Andy Stanley is under fire once again for downplaying the Old Testament and appearing to reject key components of the Christian faith like the Ten Commandments.
Stanley is the senior pastor at the 33,000-member North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. Back in May of 2018 he was criticized for saying, “Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well.”
He then said he was misunderstood, saying, “I never suggested we ‘un-hitch’ from a passage of Scripture or a specific biblical imperative.”
But now he appears to be saying the same thing all over again, with different words, in a brand new commentary in Relevant Magazine.
In the commentary, Stanley is making an attempt to get Christians to think about living under the new covenant that Jesus created through his death and resurrection. He points to what Jesus said in John 13:34: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
But then he takes it much further than that saying, “The Ten Commandments are from the old covenant.” He makes the argument that Christians are wrong when they try to defend Ten Commandments monuments “in a public space or on government property,” saying Jesus only gave us one commandment.
Then he appears to reject the laws of the Old Testament which laid the foundation for the new covenant.
Here are Pastor Stanley’s exact words which have sparked a new controversy:
“Participants in the new covenant (that’s Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles. Participants in the new covenant are expected to obey the single command Jesus issued as part of his new covenant: as I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Critics are pointing out that Jesus actually gave many commandments, but that he summarized them in His commandment to love.
And in Matthew 5:17-19, Jesus says something quite different from Pastor Stanley, saying none of God’s laws should be rejected:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
“Andy Stanley is not preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom that Jesus and the apostles preached,” says WND.com publisher Joseph Farah, author of The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament. “Nor is Stanley preaching the Gospel of personal salvation that Jesus and the apostles preached. Instead, he is preaching replacement theology – completely discarding about three-quarters of the Bible and misinterpreting what’s left.”
CBN News reached out to Pastor Stanley for clarification but his office said he was unavailable. They referred us to several previous interviews in which Stanley explains his heart is to reach people who have left the church or who don’t really understand Christianity, to present the gospel of grace.
He said in an interview on “The Line of Fire” by Dr. Michael Brown, “Oftentimes, I am misunderstood because of how I communicate, and I own that. And I tell my critics sometimes, ‘If you want to debate my preaching style, that’s fine, but don’t call me a heretic.'”
A bit more clarification may be found in an interview Stanley did with Christianbook.com in which he states, “Jesus commanded us to love others. This was far less complicated than following all the laws in the Old Testament—but it was also far more demanding… We should always ask ourselves, ‘What does God’s love for me require of me?'”