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Dr. Charles Stanley And Andy Stanley: Different Ministries, Different Views

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(above) Andy Stanley standing with his dad Charles Stanley. Photo: In Touch Ministries

 

Written by Lora Simmons

Dr. Charles Stanley and his son, Andy – both well-known Georgia pastors – have each caught attention this week for their views on homosexuality.

The elder Stanley, 82, is the long time pastor of First Baptist Atlanta and founder of In Touch Ministries.  This week, he declined to accept an award from the Jewish National Fund in Atlanta – an event he was slated to attend tomorrow.  Criticism swelled over the selection of Stanley due to his Biblical views on homosexuality – pulled from his sermons and many written works -which had become a “concern” for members of the local Jewish and LGBT communities.

According to JNF spokesman Adam Brill, Stanley informed the organization that due to “…his deep love for Israel, and his reluctance to be a point of controversy and conflict within the Jewish community, he has declined to be recognized at the Jack Hirsch Memorial Breakfast in Atlanta.”

On Friday, the younger Stanley – pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia – spoke at the Catalyst West event at Mariners Church in Irvine, Calif., where he stated that the local church should be the “safest place on the planet for students to talk about anything, including same-sex attraction.”

Catalyst – described on its website as “a community of change makers” – was founded by Andy Stanley and a small group of church leaders, with a focus on reaching pastors under the age of 40.  The Atlanta-based organization holds annual events locally, as well as in Orange County, Calif. and Dallas, Texas.

At the Catalyst event last week, Stanley, 56, stated that he knew there were a variety of views on homosexuality and gay marriage among those in the audience.

“There is not consensus in this room when it comes to same-sex attraction. There is not consensus in this room when it comes to gay marriage,” he said.

But his father, Charles, has preached for decades that consensus isn’t relevant – it’s the Word of God that is true and unchanging.  His dedication to accurately preaching God’s word is what caused his recognition to come into question, and ultimately, caused his forfeiture of the JNF award.

In a letter to the JNF earlier this month, the Southern Jewish Resource Network for Gender and Sexual Diversity (SOJOURN) called on the organization to reverse their decision to honor Stanley, whom they called an “anti-gay Baptist preacher.”

“Dr. Stanley has a sordid history of virulent homophobic statements and actions,” the letter reads.  “He has publicly called AIDS God’s punishment for America’s acceptance of homosexuality and called homosexuality ‘destructive behavior.’  Dr. Stanley is an offensive and unsuitable choice for the Tree of Life Award.”

The elder Stanley has been preaching in Atlanta since 1971, and for over half a century has dedicated his life to the spreading of the gospel.  After founding In Touch nearly 40 years ago, his sermons are broadcast world-wide, he has authored more than 60 books and reaches many through his ministry’s website.

But according to SOJOURN, his life’s calling amounts to nothing due to his Biblical stance on homosexuality, and the JNF choosing him as the recipient of their Tree of Life Award was a blunder.

“Please do the right thing and acknowledge the mistake that was made, make amends with the LGBT/progressive Jewish community that is so invested in JNF’s success, and use this as an opening for meaningful dialogue,” the letter ends.

While Dr. Stanley remains dedicated to the Biblical principles that have guided his ministry for many years, his son treads lightly while gaining cultural acceptance through his “Your Move” television show – which airs 20 minutes after Saturday Night Live in Atlanta – and his new book “The New Rules For Love, Sex and Dating.”

“One of the reasons I wrote this book was to challenge singles to at least consider, ‘Maybe I need to prepare,'” Stanley said. “My purpose in writing this book was not to push a religious or even my Christian agenda on people. Obviously, I’m a Christian I take the New Testament so seriously, but I think there are some broad principles that increase everyone’s relational experience.”

While both father and son preach and minister under the belief that God’s word is without error, the younger Stanley has gained popularity as he moves further into the mega-church spotlight.  His congregation has surpassed 30,000, and he continues to seek opportunities to become part of the mainstream.

His organization, Catalyst, has a very vague approach to the spreading of the gospel, stating that “We must advance from a current reality to a desired state.  We are the leaders, doers, influencers and storytellers, innovators, cultural architects and social entrepreneurs….You’re invited to join this community of change makers.”

And his comments on homosexuality leave out Biblical references or concern for the soul, and instead focus on acceptance.

“We just need to decide, regardless of what you think about this topic – no more students are going to feel like they have to leave the local church because they’re same-sex attracted or because they’re gay,” he said at last week’s conference. “That ends with us.”

As the winds of cultural change howl through the American church, the interpretations of father and son on the Biblical view of homosexuality, as well as the ministerial path each is on, is parting like the Red Sea.

SOURCE: The Gospel Herald

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4 comments

  1. Andy Stanley has apparently crossed the line and went back into the world. I don’t understand how a bible teacher can even entertain the idea that God somehow didn’t mean what he said about those who practice homosexuality. (The bible doesn’t use the word “homosexual” but clearly defines the act of homosexuality). Jesus never compromised his word. We are called to come out from those of the world not try to join in their sin so as “not to offend”. I am disappointed in Andy Stanley and the many televangelists who seek to please people rather than please God.

    • I agree, he seems nothing like his dad. It is made more than clear in the Bible that homosexuality is wrong. It seems that more and more side with the gay agenda – over the Word of God. I saw an article a while back that a certain denomination’s leadership were having a meeting to debate over whether or not to allow gay marriage and gay pastors into their denomination. What is there to debate? Is not the very Word of God clear?

  2. Hey Greg it’s been a while. I hope and pray that you are well. Good article. I love to listen to Charles Stanley, I have never heard his son Andy preach. From what this article says I am not sure that I want to either.

    It almost sounds like Andy is saying that it’s ok to be a practicing homosexual and be a true believer in Jesus Christ. I disagree. Where is the repentance? Where is the change of heart? The bible is very clear on this matter. This sounds to me like apostasy!

    We should love everyone and accept them through the doors of our church, I agree with this. However, to accept them as they are after accepting Christ is another matter. We are to reprove and rebuke, it is written in scripture. Scripture also states that the sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

    1 Corinthians 6:9-11
    9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

    I will probably get some flak for saying that, but it is scriptural.

    God bless my friend!

    • Hi Gordon, blessings to you my friend. 🙂

      Yes I agree with you 100%. The Bible is very clear on this issue. Many are attempting to twist the words of God, but in the end they fill find that God’s Word cannot be twisted to suit their agenda – God will not be mocked.

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