Andy Stanley Separates the Gospels from the Bible?

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In the video below, Andy Stanley explains his apologetic approach to objections to the historical Adam and Eve. He beliefs Christians have done a disservice to previous generations of children the way they are taught Scripture all hangs together or crumbles.

He begins with a personal story from his freshman English class in college. The professor potentially dismantled the faith of the Christians present after teaching on various creation myths – the story of Adam and Eve being one of those myths. Since Adam and Eve was just another creation myth the question arises of what else in the Bible is a myth. So, if Scripture hangs together on Scripture, as Stanley was taught, and Adam and Eve were a myth, then the door is open for Jesus also being a myth.

Stanley then explains why Christians need not worry about whether Adam and Eve are a myth compared with the rest of Scripture.

The foundation of our faith is not the Scripture. The foundation of our faith is not the infallibility of the Bible. The foundation of our faith is something that happened in history. And the issue is always – Who is Jesus? That’s always the issue. The Scripture is simply a collection of ancient documents that tells us that story.

He touches on the reliability of the Scriptures explaining tying Jesus back to the Old Testament does everyone a service. Then explaining, “You can believe that the Adam and Eve story is a creation myth. So what. Who is Jesus?”

Stanley gives his reasons for believing Adam and Eve existed.

Here’s why I believe this actually happened. Not because the Bible says so, but because of the Gospels – Jesus talks about Adam and Eve. And it appears to me that he believed they were actually historical figures. And if he believed they were historical, I believe they were historical because anybody that can predict their own death and resurrection and pull it off – I just believe anything they say.

I appreciate what Stanley is trying to do in pointing to Jesus. I agree that the foundation of the Christian faith is Jesus and not Scriptures. Christians don’t believe in the Bible for eternal life, but the Bible testifies about, and point us to, Jesus (John 5:39). Therefore, Scriptures inform us about the foundation of our faith and are not to be separated from it.

Scriptures are the only way we can answer the question – Who is Jesus? In fact, Jesus answered this question about Himself using Scriptures (Luke 24). Stanley essentially tells us that the infallibility of Scriptures do not matter; yet points us to the Gospels find Jesus. The problem with Stanley’s appeal is that the Gospels are Scripture. But is he only assigning infallibility to the Gospels?

At this point, I don’t see how Stanley has saved the house of cards from crumbling by pitting the Gospels against the rest of Scripture. I agree that Jesus believing in an historical Adam and Eve is important and makes the case for their historicity. But what point is there in separating the Gospels from the rest of Scripture? We don’t have any Scripture in Jesus’ handwriting. And what do we do with biblical themes and people not specifically mentioned by Jesus?

Again, I appreciate Stanley’s attempt to answer the historical Adam and Eve question, but I think it opens doors to other problems and his house of cards does fall when pushed further.

Here I blog….

Mark

Tags: ; Categories: apologetics,Christianity,Church Issues,heresy,relativism,theology
The above article was posted on May 29, 2013 by Mark Lamprecht.
© 2004-2014. All rights reserved.


{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Tim G May 29, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I think he left off the scripture about the Word becoming flesh!  You can shoot holes all in this approach.  If the whole of the Bible is NOT without error, nor is it important, then who is Jesus?  We are in a mess!

2 Nate O May 29, 2013 at 6:33 pm

Not sure this is all that surprising, as it seems Stanley has been on a trajectory for the last few (or more) years.

3 Robert Vaughn May 29, 2013 at 6:40 pm

When you can describe the Scripture as “simply a collection of ancient documents that tells us that story (of Jesus),” you are on a path leading in the wrong direction. If the “collection of ancient documents” is not infallible, we don’t know whether or not we have the story of Jesus.

4 Tom G May 29, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Dear
Andy,
The
question is: how do you know who Jesus is if we don’t have in our possession a
God breathed bible? The fact is, that we do have a book that has been preserved
through time and eternity. Jesus is the
Word, and was the Word from the beginning. As important as they are, it is not just the
red letters, nor the four gospels that guide us. “Yes, it is: “all
about Jesus”. However with a fallible pick and choose, chopped up Bible by
men, you are in danger of leading people to the wrong “Jesus”. In Genesis 1:3 it was the serpent who first
came up with the idea to say: “Yea, hath said”?
Please
be warned Andy, that when you deny the infallibility of the preserved Word of
God you endanger yourself and the thousands who rely on your scholarship and truthfulness
to help them understand the “full counsel of God”. It is not a small thing when you take the liberty
to pick and choose the verses you like from the Bible. You are playing with
people’s eternity. The only escape from Satan’s snare is to repent and proclaim
to a lost and dying world the full council of God which is presented in His
unchanged Word. (see Hebrews 13:8) Please keep in mind these red letters: Luke
17:1-3 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will
come: but woe unto him, through whom they come! 2 It were better for him
that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than
that he should offend one of these little ones. 3 Take heed to yourselves: If
thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. I
am offended by your comments so I ask you to repent Andy and I will forgive you
for doing what I consider is harming the cause of Christ by undermining the
Word of God.
Tom
Garito
P.S.
Denying the infallibility of scripture is coming on this world fast and
furious. Following is another recent
example.
Dear
Pat, (Pat Robertson) – (no reply to this letter received)
I hope
this will help you see that you are wrong and why you are wrong on this topic
Old
Earth vs. Young Earth
What
do the Hebrew language experts have to say about the meaning of yom (day) in
Gen. 1-11 ?
The
Bible uses allegory, figures of speech and other literary devices on occasion.
Often this is obvious, but occasionally scholars disagree on whether a passage
is literal or symbolic. But is this the case in Genesis 1-11? The answer is a
resounding “no”. The scholars agree. There is no way in which
the Hebrew text of Genesis 1-11 can mean anything other than what the
fresh-faced child, picking it up for the first time without preconceptions, has
always seen as obvious.
What do
the Hebrew grammarians, lexicographers and linguists have to say about the
various attempts to reinterpret the clear meaning of scripture to fit in with
the popular philosophies of the day?
The
following is an extract from a letter written to David C.C. Watson on April 23,
1984, by Professor James Barr, who was at the time Regius Professor of Hebrew
at the University of Oxford. Please note that Professor Barr, consistent with
his neo-orthodox views, does not believe that Genesis is literally true, he
is just telling us, openly and honestly, what the language means.
Professor
Barr’s quote:
“Probably,
so far as l know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any
world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Gen. 1-11
intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a
series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now
experience
(b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple
addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the
biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish
all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it
negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the ‘days’ of creation to be
long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood
to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by
any such professors, (Hebrew Linguistic Scholars) as
far as I know.”
Tom
Garito

5 Even If Ministries May 30, 2013 at 9:27 am

Mark,
The church I served in and eventually left where the pastor downloaded sermons from the net and called them his own?  Where beer and bible study went hand in hand?  Where the pillars were rooted out?  A North Point church . . .
This is just a another form of Marcionism (one of the main tenets of Marcionism was the inferiority of Torah, the Prophets and the Writings) which is the ACTUAL reason that we even have a canon the first place. . .  Marcion is also part of the reason why we  have an Old Testament and a New Testament – - – nowhere do we see prior to this, division of the text (if we broke up the bible by covenants, we would have much more than just 2 of them – the oldest testament, the older testament, the kinda old testament . . .  you get the point)
The bible is one book – it is God’s word – to separate it is to divide God against himself – it is a book of many covenants – and since God’s promises don’t fail, to say one is less than another is to diminish the Creator himself . . . .
We did not have a New Testament when Yeshua (Jesus) taught in the synagogues – we did not have a New Testament when Paul taught in the synagogues and later in the ekklesias – there was just the Old Testament . . . .
And when that Covenant (which is not called a testament anywhere but in the Greek writings) was made, that New Covenant was made – who was it made with . . . Christians?  Nope!  they didn’t exist yet:
Jeremiah 31:31-33 (CJB)

31
 “Here, the days are coming,” says Adonai, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of
Isra’el and with the house of Y’hudah.
32
 It will not be like the covenant I made with their fathers on the
day I took them by their hand and brought them out of the land of Egypt; because
they, for their part, violated my covenant, even though I, for my part, was a
husband to them,” says Adonai.
33  “For this is the covenant I will make with the
house of Isra’el after those days,” says Adonai: “I
will put my Torah within them and write it on their hearts; I will be
their God, and they will be my people.
The house of Israel and the house of Judah . . . to understand just this one part shows the absurdity in Stanley’s assertion . . .
What does Yeshua (Jesus) say along these lines?
Matthew 15:21-24 (CJB)
21
 Yeshua left that place and went off to the region of Tzor and
Tzidon.
22  A woman from Kena‘an who
was living there came to him, pleading, “Sir, have pity on me. Son of David! My
daughter is cruelly held under the power of demons!”
23  But Yeshua did not say a word to her. Then his
talmidim came to him and urged him, “Send her away, because she is
following us and keeps pestering us with her crying.”
24  He said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of
the house of Isra’el.”
Only for the lost sheep of Israel?  The only text at the time of this statement?  Again, absurdity to take a Marcionistic approach to the text – - -
The covenant was not made with Christians – they were grafted in LATER as “fellow heirs”
Romans 11:17-18 (CJB)
17  But
if some of the branches were broken off, and you — a wild olive — were grafted
in among them and have become equal sharers in the rich root of the olive tree,
18  then don’t boast as if you were
better than the branches! However, if you do boast, remember that you are not
supporting the root, the root is supporting you . . .
25  For,
brothers, I want you to understand this truth which God formerly concealed but
has now revealed, so that you won’t imagine you know more than you actually do.
It is that stoniness, to a degree, has come upon Isra’el, until the Gentile
world enters in its fullness;
26  and
that it is in this way that all Isra’el will be saved.As the Tanakh says,

“Out of Tziyon will come the
Redeemer; he will turn
away ungodliness from Ya‘akov
27
and this
will be my covenant with them,… when I take away their sins.”
Who is that “them?”
How is anyone going to understand the Jewish mindset, the Jewish writings, a Jewish messiah, Jewish Covenants, Jewish apostles . . . .by taking a Maricon style approach and erasing or discarding everything Jewish as less than?
Is Yeshua not God? or is that just something they pull out of a systematic theology book while stating that a God whose ways are not our ways and whose thoughts are not are thought can be defined because he can be systematized?
Even calling it the “infallibility of scripture” diminishes even thought that is not meant by those that use it . . . It is the infallibility of God – his reputation, his word, his commands, his attributes — his NAME. 
When Moshe was commanded to write the Torah before he was to die, the story of Creation was completion of part of that command – to state that it is not important or less than important is absurd!  Especially when the “Song Of Moshe” that God commanded Moshe to teach the children of Israel:
Deuteronomy 31:19 (CJB)
19
 “Therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the
people of Isra’el. Have them learn it by heart, so that this song can be a
witness for me against the people of Isra’el.
Christianity doesn’t know this song called Ha’azinu (Hear) too well but they do know a PART of it:
Deuteronomy 32:21 (CJB)
21
They aroused my jealousy
with a non-god and provoked me
with their vanities; 
I will
arouse their jealousy with a non-people and provoke them with a vile nation.
that vile nation – that non-people?  Gentiles
You can NOT separate the text or the stories in the text – they ALL connect – emergent teaching like Stanley’s wants to do deconstructionism even if subtlety . . .
I made a parody about Stanley before I even made the one about the Prosperity Gospel that I shared with you some time back it is called “The Wolf”
http://evenifministries.wordpress.com/2012/05/04/67/
sorry again for the long post – my passion against separations of the text or discarding or placing one part above another is more than evident I am sure . . .
Blessings,
Bill

6 Tom G May 30, 2013 at 11:40 pm

Sorry about that! In the last sentence of the first paragraph above (In Genesis 1:3 it was the serpent who first came up with the idea to say: “Yea, hath said”?) should have read:  In Genesis 3:1  it was the serpent who first came up with the idea to say: “Yea, hath God said…”?
Post script: If it is in the Bible, then yes Satan, God hath said.
Tom Garito
Posted here is the response from North Point Ministries:
Dear Tom,
Thank you for your email.
Apparently, there has been some confusion created by a
recently posted excerpt of an interview done by Andy Stanley.
The interview was conducted by Jeff Henderson and
originally aired onhttp://www.therocketcompany.com/preaching/. Andy’s
was one of several interviews presented with various preachers and speakers on
the topic of preaching.
In the part of the interview in question, Andy discusses
the importance of “approach” when speaking to unbelievers. He was not
commenting on the infallibility of Scripture.
For more information, I invite you to read the chapter
entitled “Double-Barrel Preaching” in his bookhttp://store.northpoint.org/books/deep-and-wide.htmlYou
can also watch or listen to a talk on the subject inhttp://store.northpoint.org/featured-products-html/going-wide-dvd.html. Lastly, Andy did a message series calledhttp://www.northpoint.org/messages/text,which you might find helpful.
I hope that provides the clarity you are seeking. Again,
thank you for the question.
Sincerely,
Diane
Grant| Assistant to Andy Stanley
North Point Ministries

7 Mark Lamprecht May 30, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Tom G Thanks, Tom. I’m debating on posting this separating for the readers. This adds a little more confusion from my perspective since he did comment on infallibility.

8 LarryFarlow May 31, 2013 at 8:02 am

Mark Lamprecht Tom G That’s the NP modus operandi. When someone questions his teaching, they receive a form letter (or e-mail as the case may be) from an “assistant” referring them to one of Andy’s books or an on line sermon and implying that the problem is with the hearer – Andy was misunderstood. Some guys at our church had the same experience when they expressed concern about his teaching regarding homosexuality a while back.

9 Mark Lamprecht May 31, 2013 at 10:08 am

LarryFarlow Tom G Sorry to hear about the alleged form letter when inquiring about the homosexuality issue. It is also interesting that it would cost $94 to get the book and hear the “Going Wide” sermon series on those links. No thanks.

10 jimrolf June 3, 2013 at 10:06 am

Mark Lamprecht LarryFarlow Tom G 
The link to Text is free.  When someone gets probably hundreds (and maybe thousands) of requests of this nature, I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect anything but a form letter. It costs $$$ to pay people to reply personally to every such request.  It’s very easy to fire off an email requesting clarification.  It takes more work to be certain that a person understands the whole of a person’s position.  Do the work.  Then ask the questions. Again, the link to Text is free. The book Deep and Wide is probably $12.  If you *really* are that concerned about this, then it should be no problem to pay the $12 to get the book.

11 LarryFarlow June 3, 2013 at 10:17 am

jimrolf Mark Lamprecht LarryFarlow Tom G Actually in the case I’m talking about the “work” was done. The sermons were listened to in detail and follow up was made with NP several times, including phone calls seeking clarification. It eventually became clear that no answers to the questions were forthcoming either from his gatekeepers or Andy himself. This was not just a random thing BTW. His church is very near ours and we had people in our congregation who listen to him, were concerned about what was said and were looking for clarity. If you’re going to put your teaching out there for public consumption, you should be willing to address concerns, especially when those come from another local pastor, even if he’s not a celebrity one.

12 Jared June 7, 2013 at 8:12 pm

I am not sure we are first trying to understand Andy Stanley’s position on this issue.  While this may not be universally true of everyone who posted here, I feel that some of us may have judged him purely on this blog and 3 minute clip of him talking.
What I don’t hear here is Andy Stanley questioning the infallibility of the Bible.  What I do hear here is him questioning the way we talk about historical reliability of the Old Testament, as well as, how we interpret certain texts.  Nothing he said here necessarily dismantles infallibility.  He is trying to address a very crucial issue, and that is, if Genesis 1 looks very similar to “Creation Myths” that were written before Genesis 1, how does that affect our faith.  For most, that would destroy it, as it did to Andy Stanley and a good majority of my friends.  He is presenting a way of eliminating that effect by redefining how we approach the historicity of the text, and also our hermeneutic.

What I mean to say is, Andy Stanley still believes that Adam and Eve were real people.  That is not even in question.  He believes that to be literally true.  However, some things in the Bible are true, but not literally or scientifically true.  This is from the most basic hermeneutic principle that anyone who has studied the Bible will agree to: The text cannot mean something other than what the author intended it to mean.  That is true not just of the Bible but of everything in writing.
If you don’t believe me, then we have a problem, because the Bible says the sun rose.  Well…the sun doesn’t rise, the earth rotates.  It’s a figure of speech defining a visual effect, but it is not literally true.  You also have a couple of stories in the Old Testament that produce particular difficulty.  There are two accounts of David sleeping with Bathsheba.  One is the story of it happening.  The other is Nathan telling a parable about it happening, with very figurative language.  Which one is true?  Why can we take Nathan’s parable as figurative.  The problem extends to the NT.  Jesus tells a bunch of stories.  They are true–absolutely true.  That I believe with all my heart.  But they are not literally true.  There was no literal Good Samaritan.  There was no literal Prodigal Son.  No one believes this.
So then we are not left with an argument of whether the Bible is true or not.  We are left with an argument of what is literally true and what is figuratively true.  The authors were never trying to deceive us.  They just simply didn’t have the understanding we do.  They knew their audience would understand what they were saying.
So then, Andy Stanley approaches Genesis this way.  Not asking if its true or not, but asking if it is literal or not.  His answer: Adam and Eve literally existed, because Jesus said they did (and there is much more historical evidence of Jesus than of Adam and Eve).  If Jesus didn’t say they existed, it wouldn’t make the story untrue, but perhaps it could be more like a parable, told to us by God in order to tell us how to live and to seek Him. If we taught the Bible this way, I think a lot of my friends would still be in the church, because their faith wouldn’t have been dismantled simply because there are Creation Myths that look much like our Genesis 1.

As far as I can tell, this is as far as we can take Andy Stanley’s words, because that is as much information as we have.  I don’t want to make assumptions beyond this without talking to him or hearing his sermons.  And I think we all need to be careful of throwing stones before we know what he actually believes.  They are supposed to know we are Christians by our love, and what happens when we can’t even love our own?

13 Yeshua21 June 7, 2013 at 10:13 pm

This is a small step in the right direction–just take it one or two steps further and we’re home free!  It is possible (and ultimately necessary) to look beyond historical anecdotes about Jesus of Nazareth to the living Christ — to the light of the world that shines so brilliantly within the soul of each and every one of us! Closer than your jugular vein, I tell you–nearer than hands and feet! :)
“…from now on know we no man after the flesh: yea, though
we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from now on know we him no
more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old
things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all
things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ” (II
Corinthians 5:16-18 KJV 2000).
“[Who] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all
creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created,
things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or
powers—all things have been created through him and for him. He himself
is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians
1:15-17).
http://jeshua21.wordpress.com/2012/07/01/what-is-awareness/

14 John January 8, 2014 at 12:28 pm

The bible is to be understood literally. There are too many tares in the church. Most so call christians aren’t saved. That’s why we have all of this nonsense going on in the church today. The apostle and church in the book of Acts are our example. What we need is prayer, fasting and the preaching of the Word unadulterated. God never asked man to come up with a blue print for Him.

15 Chris Meitzler March 11, 2014 at 3:20 pm

I am not going to speak to the wrong and right of Andy’s comments because I am not arrogant enough to think I understand how scripture should or should not be used. I instead want to say it as simple as this; through God’s grace and the environment that Andy has created, I and thousands of others have turned towards Christ as our savior and wish to glorify God as much as possible and all of the nitpicking going on here is not for the Glory of God. Surely you all can see where you are missing the point.

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