Most famous for articulating that Christianity is “unhitched” from the Old Testament, Andy Stanley’s extreme dispensationalism permeates into his views on the church and state. According to the Christian Post, during an event for the (woke) church growth organization, Exponential, Andy Stanley said he was embarrassed by churches who faithfully defied government. Andy Stanley famously declared in July his church would not resume meeting until 2021. Despite not partaking in PPP Loans, Andy Stanley has peddled loads of panic porn over the last year. The Christian Post reports:
“The thing that has been concerning to me about the local church is how quickly so many local churches felt like, ‘We’ve got to get back in our building, shoulder to shoulder, doing what we’ve always done,’” Stanley said.
“It was the exact wrong response to COVID because we had an opportunity … of a lifetime to do new things, try new things, experiment with new things because we couldn’t do the old things. And instead of focusing on what we can’t do, we should have been 100% … focused on what we can do.”
Most of the country treated lockdowns like a snow day. He failed to discern the power play that the government was carrying out. He closed his church, to happily pursue his online ambitions, as he later explains. This is easy for the person sitting atop of the tied-4th largest church in America, as he scoffs at those below his massive empire. But most churches are built on a physical assembly of believers, not production value.
The pastor stressed he’s not “discounting the pain and suffering and the job loss and the death” Atlanta experienced due to COVID-19, but said the pandemic presented the church with a tremendous opportunity to focus on external ministries and accelerate online programs.
“[We were able to do] so much more in the community because the community had our undivided attention,” he said, revealing that The Red Cross’ biggest blood drive was held at North Point.
Compare Andy Stanley to James Coates. James Coates was just denied bail in Canada after being arrested for preaching the gospel amidst lockdowns. Sure blood drives are fine, but from following the Coates story, its clear that his bold stand for the faith has had a much greater gospel impact on the community around him that Andy Stanley’s blood drive.
Andy Stanley and the overwhelming majority of churches missed an opportunity to preach a gospel to people starving for community. The American church missed an opportunity to live boldly and freely and instead chose to live in fear and hopelessness as the pagans do.
“You inspire people to follow Jesus — that’s our mission. You date the model: Shoulder to shoulder in a building, singing songs and worshiping and listening to sermons. I know I’m going to get in trouble for saying this — all that is, is a model.”
He continued: “During this season, you abandon the model for the sake of the mission. But the local churches that abandoned the mission for the sake of the model and rushed back into the model. … I feel like we, in some cases, missed an extraordinary opportunity, especially the churches that got in a spitting match … with local and state governments. That was just embarrassing to me as a Christian.
Andy Stanley uses an adultery metaphor for how he operates. He marries the mission, to inspire people to follow his religion that’s orthopraxy is completely indistinguishable from the pagans once COVID came. He dates the model which is the sacraments and worship, church stuff. He then said that churches missed an opportunity by fighting the government.
Government is not the head of the church, according to Scripture. Acts 5:29 sets a clear standard for how Christians should operate when the government wants to dictate issues of ecclesiology and missiology. The government has no ecclesiastical authority. The lockdowns were never any different than what the Chinese or Iranian government did to forbid churches from gathering, as there was zero evidence COVID-19 would overwhelm hospitals or kill millions of Americans one year ago.
Instead of being faithful like Daniel, churches rationalized that they could not meet for 30 days (Daniel 6:7). Instead of recognizing the ulterior motives, they were deceived into sin. And then many continued to sin defiantly. Any church still closed should not bother to reopen. They are the embarrassment, and the Great Commission is better off without them. This especially includes charlatans like Andy Stanley.