Andy Stanley, Homosexuality & the Horns of a Dilemma

A dilemma is a problem offering two possibilities, neither of which is practically acceptable. One in this position has been traditionally described as “being on the horns of a dilemma“, neither horn being comfortable. This is sometimes more colorfully described as “Finding oneself impaled upon the horns of a dilemma”, referring to the sharp points of a bull’s horns, equally uncomfortable (and dangerous). (Dilemma – Wikipedia)

Not a good position to find oneself in, but that is exactly where Atlanta-area megachurch pastor Andy Stanley finds himself in today. After first seeing the story reported last Wednesday on SBC Tomorrow, I wrote a post on April 26 titled, “Andy Stanley’s Soft Landing on Homosexuality?” which critiqued one of Stanley’s recent sermons which appeared to condone homosexual behavior. On Tuesday, the story “got legs” when Dr. R. Albert Mohler, President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, called on Andy Stanley to clarify his view of homosexual conduct. As of late Wednesday night — over two weeks since he preached the sermon in question — Stanley, the son of former SBC President and well-known pastor Dr. Charles Stanley of FBC Atlanta, has yet to issue any type of clarification in the face of mounting pressure on him to do so.

In addition to Dr. Mohler’s article, several other news outlets, including Baptist Press (which quotes my original article on this issue here), The Christian Post (here), and Christianity Today have either reported on or may soon report on this controversy. In the Post article, “Pastor Andy Stanley Responds to Questions Over Homosexual Stance,” Stanley’s response not only fails to clarify his ambiguous illustration, but only adds to the confusion. In an email sent to The Christian Post on Wednesday, Andy Stanley had this to say about the recent kerfuffle that arose out of his April 15, 2012 message, “Christian: When Gracie Met Truthy” (to watch, click here and then click on Part 5 of the “Christian” Series — the illustration begins at the 24:17 mark)–

“We are requesting that everyone watch the entire series: Christian. It concludes this Sunday. It’s 8 parts. That’s a lot of content to wade through. But I figure that’s better than a sound bite or an interview”

He also told The Christian Post that “he may issue a statement in the near future.” So, let me get this straight. Instead of answering a fairly straightforward question on his (and North Point’s) current position on homosexuals within the church (those who are openly living an unrepentant gay lifestyle as opposed to those who have repented of homosexual conduct but who may still struggle with that particular sin), Andy Stanley figure’s its better for folks to watch eight sermons (totaling approximately nine hours) instead of issuing a simple clarification. Most folks that I know or have read on this issue are not asking for a sound bite or an in-depth interview. Both of these appear to be straw men designed to obfuscate the real issue at hand. That issue has been put into high-definition clarity by Dr. Mohler:

Was this (Andy Stanley’s illustration) intended as a salvo of sorts? The story was so well told and the message so well constructed that there can be little doubt of its meaning. Does this signal the normalization of homosexuality at North Point Community Church? This hardly seems possible, but it appeared to be the implication of the message. Given the volatility of this issue, ambiguity will be replaced by clarity one way or the other, and likely sooner than later.

We can only hope that Andy Stanley and the church will clarify and affirm the biblical declaration of the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, even as he preaches the forgiveness of sin in any form through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His affirmation of grace and truth in full measure is exactly right, but grace and truth are not actually in tension. The only tension is our finite ability to act in full faithfulness. The knowledge of our sin is, in truth, a gift of grace. And grace is only grace because of the truth of what God has done for us in Christ.

Andy Stanley, like Joel Osteen, is a master communicator. And, just like Mr. Osteen, Andy Stanley finds himself facing a dilemma of his own making. Does he answer Dr. Mohler’s questions from a solidly Biblical position and risk alienating the homosexuals that he admits have been attracted to North Point? Or, does he follow Joel Osteen’s lead on this issue (heaven help us), which seems to have evolved into a “homosexuality is sin, but it’s no different than any other sin” approach to one of the greatest dilemmas facing the seeker-sensitive, sin-condoning churches (mega and otherwise) in America?

With each passing day that he refuses to clarify his remarks, I am coming to some sad and startling conclusions regarding Andy Stanley’s position on homosexuality within the church. I again state that I hope I am wrong and that Andy Stanley will issue a clear statement which conforms to the Biblical principles of both grace and truth on the moral issue of homosexuality. There is only one way for Andy Stanley to not become impaled on the horns of this dilemma. But, that way will require him to do what other megachurch pastors, including Osteen and Willow Creek’s Bill Hybels seem unwilling to do — avoid capitulation on this issue by clearly and unambiguously declaring that he believes that homosexual conduct, according to God’s Word, is sinful and that this sin, like the sin of adultery, can be forgiven when a sinner confesses his or her sin, turns from it, and pleads the blood of Jesus Christ to cleanse the sinner from all unrighteousness. That is real grace and real truth. And, there is no tension in that!

45 comments for “Andy Stanley, Homosexuality & the Horns of a Dilemma

  1. May 3, 2012 at 5:42 AM

    What I understood was that what Andy thought the guys would hear is that Adultery is a sin. What is the point of telling people about sin? To get them to repent. If someone does not identify something as a sin, then telling them about it doesn’t get you very far. But if they acknowledge a sin and you confront them over it, they may cause them to repent leaving them open later to be confronted over other sin. The point of grace in truth is that you can maintain a relationship in order to maintain the ability to speak the truth.

    God does not confront us about every single sin we have all at once. We are confronted over time.

    Before this string of blogs that I have read about outside reaction, I know of no one that thought that Andy’s point was to accept homosexuality. He has been pretty clear that they are open to gay people participating in our church, that they cannot serve in areas of leadership, with children or in a teaching role. But they may serve as greeters or in parking team. It is clear from the church over time that they are trying to reach out to the gay community but continuing to declare homosexuality as sin.

    Just to be clear, Andy has had some very strong sermons lately on sex, divorce and he included homosexuality as a clear sin. But to make a statement now at behest of people like Mohler would do a lot to close the door to the gay community in Atlanta. As someone not in church leadership, I would hope he just lets the matter pass and continues to reach out. That is essentially how he responded to when people were calling on him to resign because he accepted Michelle Obama’s request to launch her fitness initiative at the church two years ago.

    What I realized this morning is that I think that there are some different ideas of what the gospel means. For many comments and blogs that I see, the gospel is something like “repent and be saved so that you may have eternal life”. What is important is that the individual is confronted by sin and makes a public commitment.

    I think Andy is working on a definition that is similar to what Scot McKnight writes about in King Jesus Gospel. That the Gospel is that “Jesus Christ is Lord and King over this all of creation”. That does not say that sin and repentance are not important or real, but that they are implication of the fact that Christ is Lord. So I identify this entire series as strong gospel preaching because he is calling on us not to make a public statement of repentance, but to make a personal commitment to submission to Christ and obedience. We have been told over and over in this series that anyone can call themselves a Christian. But what Christ looks for are disciples, those that follow him and obey his words.

    • May 3, 2012 at 8:16 AM

      “But what Christ looks for are disciples, those that follow him and obey his words.”


      Thanks again for stopping by this morning. Your last quote is good, but it needs to be fleshed out, particularly concerning the area that has been the subject of my blog and others regarding Andy Stanley’s recent message. You may not know anyone personally who understood Andy’s message to somehow condone or otherwise accept homosexual conduct. However, Dennis is but one example of folks both inside and outside North Point who have been confused by Andy’s well prepared illustration that he used in his April 15 sermon. I will stipulate that Andy’s prior messages may have clearly conveyed that homosexual conduct is sin, but his most recent message has caused confusion. If, as you say, Andy still believes that homosexuality is a clear sin, why would he not issue a short clarification to clear up the confusion? He has been asked about it. He knows that it’s an issue that has people — both members and non-members of NP — confused.

      I think most folks, myself included, would move on and this issue would die if Andy would issue such a clarification. Of course, he is not obligated to do so, but when even some of his own members are asking, wouldn’t it be responsive and and responsible to do so? That would bring closure to this issue and would add insight as to what it looks like to be a disciple of Christ and to follow Him and obey His words. Surely Andy Stanley knows that there are many “Christian” churches who have come to the conclusion that homosexuality is compatible with being a disciple of Christ. Even if Andy’s illustration was to tackle one sin at a time (adultery), it left the very strong impression that he was not willing to tackle the sin of homosexuality. I continue to hope that this was NOT the impression he intended, but without a clarification, that will be the impression — rightly or wrongly — that I and many others will be left with. Regardless of what he has said or taught in the past on this issue, his most recent words are the ones that people will remember and believe. In a sense, that is true for all of us. What I taught last year or ten years ago will be overshadowed by what I teach today on a particular issue. That’s why he needs to clarify whether his position has indeed changed or whether he and NP continue to view homosexuality as what the Bible terms sin. Thanks again for your perspective on this important issue. God bless,


      • May 3, 2012 at 4:28 PM

        With all due respect I believe that your starting point is backward. Out of respect for a Christian brother or sister that has clearly stated a position in the past, your assumption should be that the previous position was clear and give the benefit of the doubt. If there is a string of statements or sermons then maybe it is time to question. But this is not a string. And I believe Dennis’ position is about a difference of opinion over method, not a lack of clarity. If anyone that goes to the church want to know, all they have to do is ask about the policy. While Dennis said that it is not clear to him, it is part of the agreement that you affirm when you volunteer, attend any volunteer training and become a member.

        It is my opinion (and it is just an opinion) this is a case of “When did you stop hitting your wife”. No matter what answer he gives he will alienate people. At this point, I am concerned that Andy will say something. No matter what he says it will be wrong. If he condemns homosexuality strongly then he closes doors to minister to the gay community in Atlanta and probably alienates some members. It is not that I don’t think that Andy views homosexuality as sin, it is that being forced to take a very public stand forces his hand in a way that is unfortunate. I have been involved a couple times in ministries that because they were relatively anonymous got away with things that more prominent ministries could not. But clearly Northpoint is far from anonymous so that is probably a false hope. And you can see from Tim Roger’s comment below I am not making up this fear.

        If Andy does not clearly condemn (and for some people there is no way to condemn strongly enough) then people will leave or write him (and Northpoint) off. That is probably what I would prefer, but it will be as a result of outside influence more than anything that Andy has done or said.

        What I do find odd is that most of the blogging is being done by SBC seminary professors. Northpoint has never self identified as SBC as far as I know and I just don’t get their interest.

        As a negative on my side, I have taken this much more personally than appropriate and I am not completely clear why. It just confirms to me that I made a good decision to stop reading news and politics and probably now need to stop reading church and theology blogs. All I am is a member with no leadership (other than leading a small group). But this feels like a very real personal attack by outside forces. I realize that that is irrational and inappropriate, but it is true.

        • May 3, 2012 at 4:54 PM


          I do appreciate your thoughtfulness in your response to what has become a clearly personal issue for you and others at North Point. I can understand how you would view posts (mine and others) as “attacks by outside forces.” I don’t think that you are being irrational or inappropriate in your responses, although I would differ with you in your characterization of what has been written as “attacks.” You are quite correct that NP has never identified itself as Southern Baptist (or any other kind of Baptist). However, surely you understand that the interest of “outsiders” has to do with Andy Stanley’s and North Point’s enormous influence within the SBC and the greater Evangelical world. While your perspective is as a member in the local body there at NP, the ministry of NP and Andy Stanley is not confined to the Atlanta area. It is intentionally not anonymous. With books, podcasts, videos, a website, etc., North Point and Andy Stanley have worldwide influence. Their influence is particularly great among Southern Baptists because of Andy’s Baptist background and because of who his father is. Those are facts which all come into play in this controversy.

          Based upon your comments, I know that you are taking this very personally. I get that. All that I would ask is that you try to take a step back and view this from the vantage point of folks like me who are not enemies of Andy Stanley or NP, but who are confused about what he believes about one of the seminal moral issues affecting the church and America today, namely homosexuality. That Andy Stanley, in the face of mounting pressure, has not issued some type of clarification, is perplexing. There’s no question that he (and North Point) will take a “hit” regardless of what he says, but saying nothing is simply not a viable option, IMO. I don’t even believe that it would be necessary for him to “strongly condemn” homosexuality. But, he does need to clearly state that homosexual conduct is a sin (which he was willing to do with “old fashioned adultery”). To do otherwise is not only to leave the impression that gay people are “welcome” at NP (which should be the case for all churches and which is an example of grace), but that they are “affirmed” in their homosexual lifestyle (which is not the Biblical truth). Grace and truth can coexist. It does not have to be either/or on this or any other issue of sin, unless we are willing to sacrifice one or the other. That’s were we are with the Andy Stanley illustration — appearing to sacrifice truth for grace. I continue to hold out hope that this was not/is not Andy Stanley’s intent. I would agree that this whole incident is unfortunate. However, as it was done publicly, the only way to clear things up will be publicly. That may not seem fair to you and to others sitting where you are, but that is the only thing that can make this go away. Thanks again for your willingness to dialogue and to share your heart on this important matter. God bless,


          • May 6, 2012 at 4:25 PM

            Bravo Adam…you have said with clarity what I have been attempting to say for a week…and I agree with what you say about blogs as well – so many of the “proclaimers of truth” are quick to go into attack mode that I prefer not to read them…and I’m irritated at myself for being pulled into this one.

            Howell…I know you have said several times that you idea of an attack is different, but perhaps you too can take a step back and realize that you have asked a question and since you didn’t get the answer you wanted as soon as you wanted you continued to chip away at Andy’s credibility – that, in my book in an attack. The fact that Andy is a public figure, that we have a right to know, or anything else does not neglect that by your asking you are chipping at his credibility.

            My point here is not to defend Andy, but to ask that those who write on this issue or any other figure do so in a manner that both addresses both truth and grace.

            I believe that many Christians, including myself, struggle with this because we try to find the balance between truth and grace and that is not what God expects. We are called not to find a balance but to be full of truth and full of grace.

            i think Adam said it well by essentially spelling this out:
            Truth: Homosexuality is a sin
            Grace: Andy has said it was a sin. In the absence of actions and words (which we have) otherwise, we should continue to believe that Andy is truthful in his position

          • May 6, 2012 at 6:50 PM


            I appreciate your position even if I will continue to agree to disagree with it. No one is “chipping away at Andy’s credibility.” Each of us must determine what credibilty that Andy (or any of us, for that matter) has on a particular issue. I, along with several others, have asked questions. You may not like the way the questions were asked or the timing of the questions. I will not be able to convince you otherwise. That’s okay. Andy is a public figure. He puts his sermons on the web, he publishes books, he speaks at conferences. To the extent that he has done this, he has “opened the door” for questions. He is under no obligation to answer any questions from “outsiders.” I have no authority over North Point. It is his right to either answer or not answer questions relating to this kerfuffle as he is led by the Lord. However, just like Joel Osteen or any other public figure, he does not get a “pass.” His silence, rightly or wrongly, will affect his credibility.

            As to your last statement, we do have words, which, at the very least are confusing. Regardless of what Andy may have said in the PAST, his most recent comments seem to be confusing. After watching the sermon that Adam linked to, I am less confused by the illustration that Andy used which is at the center of this controversy. Even the best communicators sometimes say things that can be misunderstood or misinterpreted. When I have written something that others have misunderstood, I usually try to clarify what I was talking about. It’s really not that difficult to do. In most cases, it’s actually the right thing to do so that your hearers (or readers) are not left with the wrong impression, an impression that you could easily correct. I’m sure that Andy Stanley has his reasons why he has yet to issue a clarification. He certainly does not owe me anything. However, his continued silence will chip away at his credibility with me and with others, particularly on this issue. That is the reality of the situation. Thanks again for reading and taking the time to interact on this subject. God bless,


      • Helen
        August 16, 2012 at 9:15 AM

        “If, as you say, Andy still believes that homosexuality is a clear sin, why would he not issue a short clarification to clear up the confusion? He has been asked about it. He knows that it’s an issue that has people — both members and non-members of NP — confused.”

        Why confused?

        Perhaps, Pastor Stanley feels that those who profess to be teachers of the law should already understand the merits and terms of God’s grace. It is a gift. It would not be his place to issue defensive statements about God’s providence.

        • August 16, 2012 at 10:37 AM


          Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I’m not sure how issuing a short, clarifying statement on this issue would have been “defensive,” but, then again, I’m one of the ones who seemed to be confused by his illustration and story. Every pastor handles things the way they see fit. I can only say that if folks were confused over an illustration or point in a message that I had delivered, I would try to clarify what I said so as to minimize or eliminate the confusion. Thanks again and God bless,


    • Theodore A Jones
      September 19, 2012 at 7:32 AM

      Anyone can call their self a Christian and they do. But those that follow Him and obey his words are not disciples of SBC churches.

  2. Dennis
    May 3, 2012 at 7:09 AM


    In response to your post in the other thread, let me start by saying that I’ve seen every message that Andy has preached since 2004, either in person or online. I’m fairly confident I understand where Andy’s personal convictions fall on the issue of homosexuality, lesbianism, and any other sexual deviancy. Where Andy seems to be conflicted from the message, is that the person(s) in question are his personal friends who he has known for many years, and he seemed to struggle with how to delicately toe the line between TRUTH and GRACE and in doing so, ambigiously commented on the homosexual relationship in such a way as to suggest it was okay to serve in any capacity of the church as long as you’re not an adulterer.

    This type of position leads to a very, very dark road for a church because the body of any church is in truth, grace, and conviction of the membership and anyone who serves at the church. By allowing homosexual or any sexual deviancy to be the “face of the church” in any capacity suggests that the same person who spends every Saturday night at the local strip club or porn shop and shows up for the Sunday service to host, work the parking lot, or serve in any capacity is no different than an upstanding Christian individual who lives a life according to the whole Gospel … according to Andy, these “convenience” Christians, or part-time Christians if you will, are to be a part of the foundation of North Point … a house doesn’t last very long built on sand, and a church built on “convenience” Christians won’t bear greater fruit.
    I’ve heard every single message from Andy, so please don’t point me to messages like “Everyones Included” or “Big Church” or even the current series. Personally, I’m not a “convenience” Christian, and I have no judgment in my heart for anyone who wants to practice religion in that fashion, however if NPCC has decided to become a “convenience” Christian church, my family will be taking our faith, works, and charity to another church in the Atlanta area as I’ve been down this road before in Southern Missouri during my college years and while the messages were good, the congregation was not the type I would want my sons raised within.

    • May 3, 2012 at 7:22 AM

      You said you have seen all the messages but you know that what you are assuming is not either Andy’s position or the position of the church.

      The position of the church is that gay attenders may volunteers, but not in child areas, teaching position or leadership of any ministry. He has said this publicly. You can say it is wrong, but it is the clear position of the church and is not new here. So again, what is new that he needs to clarify?

      And while you seem to forget that he has also be clear (and in this message was clear) that sins against others sexually (adultery) disqualify you from any part of ministry service.

      And Andy has also been very clear that he welcomes people that do not want to reach outside the church as the primary ministry to move on to another church. That makes seats for more people. He quite often says this and he knows that it sounds harsh, but he (and the leadership) feel that their particular calling to to reach out to people that feel alienated by church.

      Feel free to disagree, but this is a clear focus of the church and has not deviated.

      • May 3, 2012 at 10:54 AM

        The position of the church is that gay attenders may volunteers, but not in child areas, teaching position or leadership of any ministry.

        Adam, it looks as if NorthPointe treats “gay attenders” as second class citizens. If available children department positions, teaching positions, and leadership positions, are available for “attenders” to fill then any attender should be able to fill them. If NorthPointe allows people that have not gotten a divorce but are dating another straight person to fill these positions then homosexual attenders should be able to fill these positions. This is “sin” discrimination plain and simple.

        Also, according to your stated position of the church, the position this gay couple wanted to fulfill was not in any of these areas you just described. Which makes this issue even more confusing. If we are going to allow people to serve just because they are attending, but they can’t do it because of certain “sins” we have violated what we say we believe about the scriptures. You see, Adam, this is what happens when we abandon the biblical position of local church membership.

        • May 3, 2012 at 12:54 PM

          I have no idea what you are trying to say.

          The church has a clear policy on areas where gay attenders may serve. The men were serving in this area, but they were removed from serving because they were in an adulterous relationship.

          I have no idea what you mean buy biblical position of local church membership. As far as I can tell there is no biblical position of local church membership. But Northpoint does have membership requirements and expectations. I am a member and am aware of what those are.

          You can understand this as discrimination, but overwhelmingly the fact that gay attenders are allowed to serve at all is mostly what people are complaining about. (See Dennis above.)

          This is a good example of why I don’t believe that Andy should be responding at all.

          One example. I am the nanny for my two nieces (3 and 4 years old). I have been their full time nanny since they were both born. Because the family is close I am usually with them 7 days a week even when I am not ‘on duty’. But I am a man with two young girls and so I get lots of ‘advice’ from concerned random members of the community (usually women in the 40 to 60 year old range.) Virtually all of it is intended to be helpful. But most of the time it concerns things that are not a big deal or things that I have a different position on. Just today I took the girls to the park and the aquarium. I had 9 separate people comments about something. Every thing from two people complaining that I I didn’t have the girls hair pulled up so it might get wet while they were at the touch pools to the fact that I wasn’t holding their hand (although just a step away) while walking through the aquarium.

          I think that this is what is going on here. Andy, as a church pastor with a large and capable board and staff have made decisions about how they are going to pursue ministry. Like people volunteering advice, other feel like they have the right and responsibility to give advice and hold you accountable to their standards. Of course there are times when outsiders should step in. In a child care situation, if a care giver was beating a child or a child was clearly lost, you should step in. But if a little girls’ hair is just getting a bit wet it probably don’t matter. In fact there are times when intervention takes the eyes off the child and forces the person to deal with the intervener. That distracts them and could in fact cause damage that would not have occurred if the intervention did not occur.

    • May 24, 2012 at 7:07 PM

      Dear Dennis:

      Since you will be looking for a congregation in the near future, let me respectfully encourage you to check us out. We meet at Friendship Christian School, 3160 Old Atlanta Road, Suwanee, GA 30024. Our worship service is at 10:30 AM.

      We are a Bible-believing congregation that seeks to be fully conformed to Scripture in our doctrine, worship, and morals. As a matter of fact, if you look at our website in our “From the Pastor’s Desk” section, you can read several entries about our view on homosexuality, including the provocatively-entitled “Equal Rights for Homosexuals!”

      Please feel free to send me an email ( or give me a call (770-241-3946).

      Frank J. Smith, Ph.D., D.D.
      Pastor, Northminster Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPCNA)

  3. Dennis
    May 3, 2012 at 7:36 AM


    I’ve served as a small group leader for almost 5 years. I’m very familiar with the positions of the church. They “ask” members not to serve who have sexual perversions in their current sin bucket … there is no “telling” whatsoever. That position has also evolved over the years as individuals such as myself have complained that we did not want our children instructed on a perversion of the Gospel regarding adultery, sexual perversion, abortion, and lots of other secular ideas that have malformed the clear teachings of the Gospel.

    In the last year or so, I’ve come to understand the church’s position on being more of a “feeder” (Emergence) church than a place for the hard realities of being a Christian and this message has solidified that understanding. I’m not going to debate the positions of North Point any further as my wife and I have actually already decided we’re moving to another church after this summer when my period of serving is over.

    Thanks for your time and God Bless.

    • May 3, 2012 at 7:38 AM

      I wish you well as you seek a new church.

  4. Bruce H.
    May 3, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    The homosexual represents both the reprobate and debased mind. I do not think they can possess the double-minded man since there is a big question about their salvation. They only live in a fornicative relationship, but that should only apply to male/female relationships. There should be church action if the church is set-up right. Apparently, this church is structured with a CEO at the top with no accountability surrounding the leadership. Someone should be able to speak out about this.

  5. Lydia
    May 3, 2012 at 10:07 PM

    Wow, After reading the comments, I am more confused than ever as to what NP believes. And that is the problem.

    But what Adam seems to be suggesting is exactly what I saw as the mentality of many mega churches for years: Get them in, we will eventually save them and they will eventually change. We don’t want to offend anyone.

    The emphasis being on getting them in but such teaching that they were never really convicted. But they were happy to be in such a great place.

    I cannot find that model in the NT. There, it seemed those already in belief wanted to be in fellowship with others. I realize there were a ton of problems but what Andy Stanley seems to be advocating is the clear opposite of what Paul was advising the Corinthian church in 1 Corin 5 that had a similar problem and were not ashamed of it.

    • May 4, 2012 at 8:37 AM


      I am confused, but that may or may not have anything to do with North Point 🙂 The longer that Andy Stanley delays in issuing a clarification, the less confused (unfortunately) I am becoming. If he makes no statement, then I and others are left with the very strong impression that he is somehow supportive of homosexuality within the church. Perhaps its the Joel Osteen, “it’s a sin, but it’s a sin just like every other sin” approach. I like Andy Stanley and have profited from his books, even though I don’t subscribe to all of his ministerial philosophy. It would be sad (but I guess not surprising at this point) if Andy came down in the same ball park as Joel Osteen on this issue. Has it gotten to the point in the megachurches (I think I know the answer to this) that some inconvenient truth is shaded or intentionally blurred so as not to offend certain “constituencies within the church? Is this done “under the radar” most of the time, but in this case it was made public and got legs because of Dr. Mohler’s article?

      Does Andy Stanley and NP now find themselves between a rock and a hard place? If the illustration was just a big misunderstanding and it was NOT true that he has changed his position on homosexuality, then why not issue a short clarification and put this to bed? It reminds me of folks who are accused of some type of moral impropriety who, when asked about it, reply that they will not dignify the question with an answer. That maybe their right, but it leaves the very strong impression that there is something to hide and that there maybe truth to the question at hand. Andy will not be able to remain silent and expect that this all goes away. That will not happen. He will have to make a hard choice (practically, not Biblically speaking) on whether he will clearly state homosexual conduct is a sin or whether he will side with the Joel Osteens of the world. That’s not a good place to be in, but there’s only one way not to get impaled on the horns of a dilemma of his own making. Have a great day and God bless,


  6. Lydia
    May 4, 2012 at 1:28 PM

    What I find even more confusing, Howell, and perhaps I have it wrong but because of their adultery and not their homosexuality they cannot “serve” in certain areas like children’s ministry.

    But then here is Adam’s take on it:

    “He has been pretty clear that they are open to gay people participating in our church, that they cannot serve in areas of leadership, with children or in a teaching role. But they may serve as greeters or in parking team. It is clear from the church over time that they are trying to reach out to the gay community but continuing to declare homosexuality as sin.”

    I am not getting this. Are we speaking of people who are leaving the homosexual lifestyle and need support? Or, are we talking about those living as homosexuals? I ask because I have read through the Word quite a few times and cannot remember seeing where this was ever presented as something genetic or that it mattered whether it was genetic or not. It is a sin and one that God has responded to. It is one of the big reasons God burned Sodom. And why we call sodomy, sodomy today!.

    See, I doubt that all would know who the embezzlers are at church…perhaps a few would. So why would all people know who the homosexuals are who are struggling to come out of it at church except for a few who are disciplining them? It is hard to articulate but it really does sound like ‘reaching out to the gay community” is morphing into acceptance of that lifestyle when you consider the confusing words used by Stanley and how it is being interpreted by others. It reminds me a lot of the parents who let their daughter bring her boyfriend home from college and sleep together at their house. They might think, Well we want her to visit and we want her to be close to us so we have to accept this. I am not sure I see a difference in what NP is doing under the guise of grace which, if true, is really cheap grace.

    Or it could be Stanely thinks it is a sin but “we can love them out of it by keeping them close”. But this is not what Paul wrote in 1 Corin 5. In fact, what he says sounds mean but is total love: Hand him over to Satan so he can be saved.

    This just seems to be more of the “we are all sinners so we just keep sinng” doctrine that is preached to those who supposedly are Born Again.

    Is NP affiliated with the SBC?

    • May 4, 2012 at 1:44 PM


      To answer your last question first, NP is not affiliated with the SBC. However, I would say that NP and Andy Stanley are very influential within the SBC. While he is no longer a Southern Baptist, I would say that many Southern Baptists hold him out as a model for ministry. Although I don’t always agree with North Point’s methodology or the methodology of most megachurches, I have nevertheless benefitted from reading some of Stanley’s books. Up to this point, he as not gone off the rails like Ed Young, Jr. and he is not out there like Joel Osteen. That being said, I think that NP probably already has moved under the radar to not only a “welcoming” church, but a more “affirming” church when it comes to practicing homosexuals. Again, the issue is not those who have repented of the homosexual lifestyle, but continue to struggle (as do all sinners with certain sins), but those who are openly gay and who have shown no indication of repenting and turning from that lifestyle.

      One of the commenters on this post or the other post tried to argue the “sin is sin is sin” approach, meaning that the sin of homosexuality is no different than smoking or obesity. While all sin separates us from a loving and holy God, the fact of the matter is that God does view some sins differently than others. Andy Stanley has already clearly stated that heterosexual adultery is sinful and therefore grounds to exclude someone from not just working with children or student, but from even serving on a host or greeter team. The question is simple: Is homosexual conduct also considered sinful which would preclude openly gay people from serving (or being members of) at North Point. As I don’t see Andy Stanley completely abandoning the Biblical stance on homosexuality like the liberal churches in America have, I think he has only one of two choices: either affirm the Bible’s clear teaching that homosexuality, like all sexual activity outside of marriage between one man and one woman, is sin that should be repented of (the truth part) and can be forgiven by the the shed blood of Jesus Christ (the grace part) OR, go the way of Joel Osteen and call homosexuality a sin, but not really mean it. If he goes the Osteen route, that will not only be sad, but it will be a dangerous precedent to set because many others will, sooner or later, follow Andy even if they would not have followed Joel. Thanks and God bless,


  7. May 5, 2012 at 5:54 AM

    I want to take a different tack at this. I was rewatching sermons yesterday. I watched The Seperation of Church and Hate ( Usually at least once a summer Andy does a sermon or a short series as an internal reminder of what the church’s outreach strategy is all about. This is a long sermon, just over 50 minutes with a pretty detailed reasoning about why he believes public statements rarely solve the problem. I would encourage you to watch it. It is likely that you will disagree with his understanding of the role of the church, but I think that it is the best illustration of why you are unlikely to hear a statement from Andy outside of a sermon.

    But one last take at this particular sermon. If you have paid attention to any for any length of time you will notice that he almost always says something like “if you only get one thing out of this sermon…”. He has written lots about how to communicate and preach and one of his most consistant messages is that every sermon should have one point. Just one. If you have more than one, it should be a series.

    The point of this sermon is that we should strive to love in difficult situations just as Christ did. Can you think of a situation that is more difficult to love in than an ex-husband that is in a gay relationship. Not a single friend of this woman’s would tell her that she needs to reach out to them and invite them over for meals and maintain a relationship with them and invite them to church. That is the point of the illustration. The details of the illustration are there to show the extent of her love. Andy is just a side character, to make him the center of the illustration is to void the illustration.

    Do a thought experiment with me. Can you imagine what theological bloggers would have thought about Jesus’ parables? Look at the prodigal son, bloggers writing, “And the father forgives him? After he had rejected God and worshiped other god with temple prostitutes? The law says that the should should be put to death but the father in Jesus’ story has a party for him. Jesus is getting liberal, it must be because he is a traveling teachers, all traveling teachers must be bad.” What about the Samaritain? “Jesus yesterday gave an illustration of a Samaritain and said that the Samaritan loved God. But Jesus never said that the Samaritan rejected his countryman and left Samaria and worshipped the temple as prescribed. He didn’t say anything about that. He just said go and be like the Samaritan.”

    If you want to see what church policy is about homosexuality, read this covenent. This is language is used in all teaching, children and leadership roles. And it is also included as part of the membership agreement. It is just easies to link to in this application. Scroll down to the Covenant: Regarding Sexual Behavior

    It is pretty explicit. Not just about homosexuality, but any sexual relationship outside of marriage, any addiction

    • May 6, 2012 at 10:36 AM


      Sorry that I have not responded to your comment sooner. I did have a chance to watch most of “The Separation of Church and Hate” sermon that you linked to above. After watching that sermon, I would tend to agree with you that Andy Stanley is unlikely to issue any kind of clarification. Two things he said in that sermon stuck out: 1) “I could care less” was his attitude when others criticized him for his approach to reaching sinners and, 2)”There are some questions you should never answer.” That, taken with #1, will probably mean that Andy Stanley does not answer the questions that others have asked regarding his recent sermon illustration.

      Lydia has already given a good counter-argument regarding Jesus and the parables, so I won’t belabor that point. I would say, that after watching the other message, that Stanley paints with such a broad brush that he is able to redefine the Biblical model of engaging sinners into an “either/or” approach instead of a “both/and” approach. His recent sermon on grace and truth makes more sense to me now, although I do still fundamentally disagree with what I think is a false dichotomy. Thanks again for the dialogue on this issue. God bless,


  8. Lydia
    May 5, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    “Can you think of a situation that is more difficult to love in than an ex-husband that is in a gay relationship. Not a single friend of this woman’s would tell her that she needs to reach out to them and invite them over for meals and maintain a relationship with them and invite them to church. That is the point of the illustration. The details of the illustration are there to show the extent of her love. Andy is just a side character, to make him the center of the illustration is to void the illustration.”

    Andy, you have just described cheap grace. You are trying to say that love will eventually cause the sinner to repent and change. We also must make the distinction if the person was saved when going into a homosexual relationship. Frankly, the last thing I am going to do is affirm open and depraved sin of a confessed Born Again believer nor should they with me. How do you contrast this with 1 Corin 5? Paul made it so clear: Do not judge the world. But we are to judge those within the Body.

    “Do a thought experiment with me. Can you imagine what theological bloggers would have thought about Jesus’ parables? Look at the prodigal son, bloggers writing, “And the father forgives him? After he had rejected God and worshiped other god with temple prostitutes? The law says that the should should be put to death but the father in Jesus’ story has a party for him. Jesus is getting liberal, it must be because he is a traveling teachers, all traveling teachers must be bad.” What about the Samaritain? “Jesus yesterday gave an illustration of a Samaritain and said that the Samaritan loved God. But Jesus never said that the Samaritan rejected his countryman and left Samaria and worshipped the temple as prescribed. He didn’t say anything about that. He just said go and be like the Samaritan.””

    Andy, I am sorry but this only shows a very shallow understanding of the parables. The prodigal son was sorry and was willing to come back and be a SLAVE to his father. Not a son. The point of it was he “came back” home ready to be a slave but his father greeted him as a son. He came “home”. Do you not get the metaphor?

    Likewise, there is a lot missing in the Samaritan metaphor, too. It has nothing to do with being like the “Samaritan” as in giving up temple worship, etc. And there is a very faulty understnding of what the “law” teaches too. Jesus kept the law perfectly so if the “law” was to put him to death, Jesus would not have taught against the law. So many people get this aspect wrong. Jesus was upset with the Pharisees because they did not keep the spirit of the law but added to it. They were “lawless”.

    There is so much twisting here to make it look loving to affirm sin, that it sears my heart. It sounds so good, Andy but it is death. The wages of sin are death. That is something to be taken very seriously. Jesus did not hang on the Cross so we could glory in our sin. We can be Born Again, new creatures in Christ. We can “put off the old things”.

    This has nothing to do with liberal/ conservative. It has to do with truth.

    • May 5, 2012 at 9:44 PM

      Lydia, that is my point.

      Andy’s story had a point as well. And to focus on wrong thing is to miss the point of the parable.

      Thank you for proving my point. Have a good evening.

      • Lydia
        May 6, 2012 at 7:07 AM

        Andy, I am afraid you have lost me. Perhaps others understand where you are coming from and can explain.

        • May 6, 2012 at 4:10 PM

          Sorry, I am not trying to be obtuse.

          My point with the parables wasn’t that I believed (or think that the right interpretation) was what I said. It was that the original hearers of Jesus’ parables, if they focused on the details and not the overall story might have misunderstood them as well.

          For instance with the Prodigal Son. When it says the son wasted his money on prostitution, it was likely that Jesus was saying that the son was worshiping another god through temple prostitution. So people that wanted to focus on that particular point, may have stopped listening to the overall thrust of the parable and instead condemned Jesus for not having the father condemn the son for violating the first commandment. A son that acted as that son did would have deserved death in that culture. But instead, Jesus had the father welcome the son back with open arms. The fathers’ actions were reprehensible in the culture. The father ran (not something an elder did), the father forgave a son, the father actually did what the son wanted and gave him half of the inheritance. Detail after detail shows a father that violated the cultural and religious rules of the time. That is what makes the parable so powerful.

          My point isn’t that those that misheard the parable heard it correctly, but that by focusing on the detail, instead of the point, we often miss the purpose.

          The purpose of Andy’s illustration in that sermon was to show a woman that was loving a person (her ex-husband and his boyfriend) into the kingdom. That story is not done, it is in process, but it is the right direction.

          Today we heard the story of a woman that was baptised that was sexually abused as a child. As she came to faith she realized that she was withholding part of her life from Christ because she was unable to forgive her abuser. She recounted the story of how she came to forgive him over the past year and has spoken to him in person. He was confronted with the pain he had caused, but also her forgiveness that could only come through Christ’s power.

          That is another example of the difficult type of love that we are called to have in Christ. It is not affirming sin to love those that harm us. It is affirming Christ because it is only through his power that we can love those that harm us.

          I agree this has nothing to do with liberal or conservative. It has to do with Christ’s command. As Christ said the greatest command is to love God and the second is to love your neighbor. Truth that is about winning, about being right is not what Christ is about. Christ was never about winning the argument, Christ was always about winning the person.

          Truth that is not shared in a loving way, (ie shared in a way that causes a person to see it and then repent), is not truth. It is just facts. Love requires that we do what the other needs, not what makes us happy or makes us feel like we are doing the right thing.

          I hope my point is clarified. You still may disagree but I want you to be clear about what I am trying to say. I wish you well.

          It is far easier to condemn as person as sinful, than it is to love a person toward repentance.

  9. Lydia
    May 7, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    “The purpose of Andy’s illustration in that sermon was to show a woman that was loving a person (her ex-husband and his boyfriend) into the kingdom. That story is not done, it is in process, but it is the right direction.”

    Andy, how does the above fit with Paul’s counsel in with 1 Corin 5? it seems Andy Stanley is teaching the opposite of what Paul counseled the Corinthian church. Paul said that by turning him over to Satan he would be saved. He rebuked them for fellowshiping with the person and pretending there was no sin when it was obvious to all. In other words, they were accepting of it.

    As to parables, Here is something interesting that Jesus said:

    10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that,

    “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
    and ever hearing but never understanding;
    otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’[a]”
    Mark 4

    I know you keep trying to map Andy S’s illustration to one of Jesus’ parables and saying we don’t get it. Trust me, I do. And “love” is not about affirming sin. It is not about meaness, hatefulness agaisnt those who are in this sin. It is about tears in our eyes as we love them, fall on our knees in prayer for them and tell them the truth because the wages of sin is death. We will never be perfect but we will be pure if we are His.

    What many seekers think is love is actually a form of hate and self preservation. I know that is hard to understand and sounds very mean. But I did see so many people fall into this cheap grace trap over the years. .

  10. Lydia
    May 7, 2012 at 8:32 PM

    “It is far easier to condemn as person as sinful, than it is to love a person toward repentance”

    And Andy, the above is a false dictonomy. It is either/or. And it is not kingdom thinking. We don’t condemn. God does. We love people by telling them the truth and showing them the truth in the Word. We do it with tears and much prayer. Jesus’ first sermon was “repent” and believe. The repent part is much hated by the seekers. It does not grow huge churches.

    • cb scott
      May 8, 2012 at 4:54 AM


      You are right. The problem is that we are in one of the grievous seasons of which Paul warned Timothy would occur in the Church during the last days in 2 Timothy 3.

      One of the symptoms is the refusal to embrace the truth of the Word of God. Therefore, teachers are sought who will compromise the truth of the Word for convenience sake. (And larger offerings help also)

      2 Timothy 4:11-5 tells the tale.
      “In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage —with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.”

  11. marilyn
    May 8, 2012 at 6:27 AM

    What is very true about this blog as well as churches like NP, it really stands out how “narrow” the road is that leads to life. You will only find a handful of people who know their Savior and walk with Him, following His example. Why? Because it’s hard. People hate you. They want to stone you to death. That is why most are not willing to see the Truth of scripture. Thank you, Lydia, for reminding us of 1Cor 5. Even in Rev, the letters to the churches, Jesus tells us that tolerating false teaching is sin itself. What has happened to our church? We’ve left the NT model behind to embrace a very wide road mentality. If the Truth of scripture were being proclaimed from the pulpit (stage) either conviction and repentance would result from those listening or anger and disappearing. That is what the gospel message is meant to do….call out the elect!… and stand firm when the stones hurl in your direction.

  12. Judy Madison
    May 16, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    Thanks for the article I am just sad to think maybe another Pastor has given in to the world’s religion

    • May 16, 2012 at 8:14 PM


      Thanks for reading and for leaving a comment. I would say there is a spirited difference of opinion as to whether or not Andy Stanley “has given in to the world’s religion.” While I remain confused over the initial sermon illustration which started this whole kerfuffle and am perplexed by Andy Stanley’s silence in the face of such confusion, I nevertheless am erring on the side of grace and accepting that Andy Stanley and NPCC do not condone homosexuality (practice), but that they walk a tight rope in trying to reach the gay community in Atlanta with the life transforming power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That being said, I do not expext others — including those who have commented here — to come to that same conclusion. I do not fault them for their continued questioning, particularly when it would be much easier for Andy Stanley to issue a brief clarification (as opposed to being told to listen to nearly nine hours of a sermon series). And, even though I have come to the conclusion that I have, that does not erase all lingering doubts that I have about how NPCC handles this issue. Perhaps, as Adam states, it’s simply a matter of ecclesiology. But, then again, it maybe more. I think only time will tell. Thanks and God bless,


      • Scott
        May 17, 2012 at 5:35 PM

        I am a missionary, recently returned to the states for furlough. We work in a remote tribal location and have been pretty much out of the loop of what is going on in America. It has been disheartening to see the progression of deprivation in the American church. The church has welcomed in the wolves under the auspices of “evangelism”. Why is it that we are trying to make the world comfortable to come into our “worship” services meant for the praise of God and the edification of believers? I’m 100% for reaching out to the lost, to sinners no matter what their sin, that is Christ’s commission to the church and God will add to His church those that are being saved. (Acts 2:47)
        I am afraid of what the outcome will be from watering God’s Word down in order to make our services more comfortable for those who are engaged in intentional sinful behaviors that God’s Word very explicitly points out as sin. We as believers have a responsibility to speak out clearly from God’s Word a warning to those who don’t know Christ. They need to know what God says about sin and what He says about salvation in Jesus Christ.

        Over the past few days I Corinthians 6:9-11 has been echoing in my mind as I think about this topic. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

        Notice that Paul in addressing the Corinthian Christians states, “And such were some of you…” In the past tense. This congregation like any Bible believing congregation was made up of repentant sinners. I don’t need to recapitulate what has already been mentioned by others on this blog about how Paul dealt with the man who was living in sexual sin. He wasn’t making it comfortable for that man to continue fellowshiping with the assembly of believers and yet Paul’s motivation was true love with the desire that the man be saved.

        Have we underestimated the impact that these sins of our culture have on our families? We can’t quietly entertain sin in the church without an ill effect from the compromise.

        • May 17, 2012 at 6:47 PM


          Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. You have a cool name, by the way 🙂 I agree that 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is a key passage for understanding how God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, have been changed from what they used to be to who they are in Christ. I think that there are large, Evangelical churches in America that see no need (either theologically or practically) for this transforming work in the life of sinners. I do not know that Andy Stanley and NPCC would fall into this category, but there has been a divergence of opinion on just this blog about that conclusion. At this point, I am inclined to not view a confusing illustration as definitive proof that Andy Stanley or NPCC have changed their position on homosexuality.

          However, I am not going to fault others for not coming to that conclusion. There have been several members/attenders of NPCC who have commented who have been confused by the illustration. Given that these folks would be more familiar with Andy Stanley’s ministry, I am certainly not going to dismiss their concerns out of hand. How churches address the issues of truth, grace, sin, forgiveness, etc. will be challenged in the days ahead. I would wholeheartedly agree with your last sentence. Thanks again for stopping by. God bless,


  13. Tibor3 Breining
    June 13, 2012 at 5:16 AM

    (‘Preface’: I have paraphrased a lot of scripture, but did not have time to put which verses I am paraphrasing from, I do my best to write scripture on my heart, but I don’t memorize their locations in the Bible. I can re-post with all the references though – just ask.)

    I want to start by saying that I love you all and I trust that you are all my brothers and sisters in Christ, our Saviour and Lord (but only God truly knows). Therefore, I urge you to study the scriptures within its original context and language and examine yourselves. Use this amazing knowledge to not only give glory to our Father in Heaven, but also to teach, reproof, correct, and to train in righteousness. Furthermore, put yourselves aside and ask God to show you what He means by His words.

    Brothers and sisters, please do not take my word on this, but study the words God has graciously provided us with and has preserved for thousands of years!

    Now, here are my issues (my thoughts aren’t well organized, sorry):

    1. The big one (@ Adam Shields): Please please PLEASE do NOT imply that minor details are not important in scripture. God is very deliberate and intentional with each and every word in scripture. Andy’s story of grace in the face of sexual sin CANNOT be compared to the parable of the lost sons (plural). To say that it’s like it (because the point of the story is grace) is totally wrong. Well, not totally. The gay ex-husband in Andy’s story is actually better represented by the older son. He does not realize how he is sinning against the Father (he thinks it was just the adultery, but it’s the continual living is sin: the homo-SEXUAL relationship). The Father still welcomes him back at any time at all (like the end of the parable), but the son is not going to come to the party as long as he lives in sin (but the story is not yet over, praise the Lord! Just like Jesus does not tell us if the older brother repents and joins the party or not — Jesus left the choice to the Pharisees). The older brother is rejecting his father (God) by worshipping the rules (Law) and placing them above God. The ex-husband is worshipping his relationship to his partner and placing it above God.

    Side note: Our perfect older brother, Jesus (we are co-heirs with Christ) left His Dad to search for us, found us and brought us back to His Father and now we are reconciled to the Father, through Christ!

    Back to Andy’s story: If you were to compare the gay ex-husband to the younger son, the parable would have to look something like this: “The younger son, still living a life of indulging in sin, wants to come back to his father, but brings with him the prostitutes and disgusting habits. His father runs to him (and to his prostitutes) and welcomes them all into the house and parties with them all.” Does that sound like our heavenly Father? BY NO MEANS! First, we must realize how sinful we are and we must accept Jesus’ sacrifice for us and repent of (turn away from) our sins. We cannot bring sin with us into the Kingdom.

    2. I love love LOVE NP and the podcasts and I totally get it! I get that they want to reach the un-churched, but at what cost? We need to be reminded that ANYTHING can become an idol, even “evangelism”! When we (I do this too) put our own methodologies in place of God’s PERFECT methodologies, we are telling Him that our ways are better than his (sound like someone in scripture?)!!! So we must be open to our brothers and sisters when they correct us with God’s perfect word.

    How can we have someone blindly living in sin (or worse, knowingly living in sin, but being o.k. with it) greet people at our churches? Don’t get me wrong, I will be the first to admit that I am a sinner in desperate need of God’s grace daily! For I do what I do not want to do and do not do what I want to do! But that’s just it, I don’t want to sin, and I put “guardrails” in place to avoid these things (“Guardrails” is one of Andy’s series by the way)! This point is not well organized, but basically, it bothers me that NP is not following God’s word with respect to methodology in reaching the lost (hiding the truth).

    3. There are clear clear CLEAR passages in scripture saying to put un-repentant sinners out of our church family. That’s been mentioned above. With love and gentleness. Again, this can be misinterpreted as being harsh, but it’s actually loving. Allow them to attend and love them, but do not allow them to serve until they realize that they are sinners and accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Saviour. Lord, meaning that we serve God, not sin. Nobody can serve two masters. If Jesus is our master, we cannot keep living in sin. Jesus gives us the desire to repent.

    Here is another unclear point, but what bothers me is that the ex-husband was not asked to stop serving even though he was living in sin (un-repentant). Andy gave the impression that it was just when we discovered that there was a second sin, that he was asked to stop serving.

    4. Accepting some sexual sin, but not others… It really bothers me that people openly living in homosexual sin are allowed to serve, and people committing adultery are not. It doesn’t bother me that adulterers are not allowed to serve. What bothers me is that people living in ANY sin (which is not being dealt with) are allowed to serve. Unless it’s secret, because then we, the church family, cannot confront them (if we don’t know).

    5. It bothers me that members who are offended by this are leaving instead of staying to make a difference. If members leave every time a church makes a mistake, that church will evolve into something that is nowhere near what God intended a local church to be.

    6. This story was a really poor illustration of grace. I was already mentioned, but the ex-wife, opening her life to her ex-husband (while he is still living in sin) also goes against God’s word. We are to cut off the people who, claiming to be saved, fall into living in open and un-repented sin.

    That’s it for now. I’m sure I will get counter arguments, but before you post them, please study the word and test your arguments against the only measuring stick we can use — God’s. Also, if you do not agree with something I have stated, please ask me to back it up with scripture and I will.

    To my North Point brothers and sisters, know this: I have been praying and will continue to pray that God reveals His perfect will to us and that we all stay in His word and do not let the affairs of this world cloud our understanding of Scripture. I pray that we all rely on the Trinity to lead us through confusing times and that we all put our trust in Him. I will continue to pray these things as long as I feel led to. I will also continue to listen to NP podcasts because I don’t think Andy had bad intentions or that he condones homo-sexuality. I have made WAY huger mistakes.

    With brotherly love,
    Tibor III

    • Terry
      December 27, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      Thanks for speaking God’s Word. I think everything you said agrees with Scripture. I detailed my personal experience ( in another part of this blog) with Andy ‘s teaching and responses to my requests for leadership with a member’s known sexual sin (heterosexual)with by applying biblical church discipline to my husband and father of my three children.

      I did push hard against any false teaching six years, but to no avail. The machine isn’t
      changing. I even called and talked to them about Andy’s double standard for me and my biblical husband (divorced by the state but not allowed by Jesus) but they did not care

    • David
      April 22, 2018 at 9:52 PM

      Not sure if I will get a reply but concerning your statement: “We are to cut off the people who, claiming to be saved, fall into living in open and un-repented sin.”, what does it mean to “cut off the people”?

  14. Nicole
    August 28, 2012 at 11:45 PM

    In my opinion he was very clear. If Dr. R. Albert Mohler didn’t get the message clearly, maybe it’s due to his own ears and eyes not being clean enough to hear God’s word. Since when does Andy Stanley and the Northpoint Ministries answer to Dr. Mohler, rather than to God himself? Simply because Mohler “demands” Andy clarify his stance on homosexuality, means he must do so? Sorry, there is only one demand Mr. Stanley must meet, and that is God’s demands and God’s will, not Dr. Mohler’s.

    • August 29, 2012 at 10:09 AM


      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. I respect your opinion in that you think that Andy Stanley was very clear in his illustration. There were obviously many people who thought otherwise. I’m not sure that I would attribute all the blame to Dr. Mohler and others, like myself, who were confused as to the illustration in question. That being said, I would agree with you that Andy Stanley is accountable to his congregation at Northpoint and ultimately accountable to God, not to any outside authorities, including Dr. Mohler. I would just say that as a pastor myself, if I had so many folks confused as to something that I said from the pulpit, that I would make every effort to clarify what I had said so as to either minimize or eliminate the confusion. Others may disagree and do it differently. That’s okay by me. Thanks again and God bless,


  15. Jimmy Griffin
    January 31, 2013 at 5:54 AM

    What about Sodom and Gomarrah and the first chapter of Romans. Are these scriptures to be taken out of our Bible.

  16. March 12, 2015 at 8:01 AM

    I don’t expect a reply to an old string like this, but I have been reviewing it because it seems like all churches everywhere are becoming more debilitated over this issue of homosexual sin… I accept that we have to recognize the truth that homosexuality is sin, and that we need to find ways to allow God’s grace to work in countering sin in God’s patient and gentle way. I am very confused about the 1 Cor 5 reference. Paul saying, hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord, does very little to convince me of the mechanism for his salvation on the day of the Lord. Satan is not one to lead a man out of depravity to “save his soul”. This seems like a despicable course of action–throw the sinner seeking God onto the street. The current approach in many Churches however is to bring them into association with Christ by getting them exposed to God’s word and work in the local church. This leads to the unwanted leavening and corruption Paul was worried about perhaps. My church is even worse I think, going the route of allow the “faithful” to define their own faith and standards of truth, mysticism really. Perhaps the end of the Christian faith is not the second coming, but to being torn apart by the dogs of politics and factionalism. Perhaps we are approaching a point of instability that will lead to great blood shed and “purification” of the faith. Perhaps we can find a way to be the body of Christ which challenges us to grow in faith without the polarization we get from being led by men and women we do now wholly trust. I guess I am hoping for the third outcome.

    Sorry for this input, I know you probably have the answers to the dilemma that I should see more clearly. I am just a rank and file believer, no particular theological training.

  17. Terry
    August 16, 2015 at 3:54 PM

    John, You are correct. There are churches in Atlanta that are letting homosexuals (practicing and unrepentant) serve as elders. I study the Bible a lot, and I believe that people sitting in church who are not in the Word themselves do not have a personal, saving relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the Word. When we are born again we have a hunger to get to know Him more and more and have the Word written on our heart. We have a hunger to love Him, live in obedience to Him and tell others about Him.

    As far as 1 Corinthians 5 the chapter says that it MUST be done three times for those who are in the church. We are not to judge the world but we must do this for the person’s good. It is God’s prescription. Later the man did come to repentance and was restored to the church. God’s ways are not for us to understand or always agree with, but if Jesus is LORD we are to obey and do things His way. This takes courage and faith in the inerrancy of God’s Word, but since so many churches are just businesses, they dumb down and cheapen the grace of God. Jude 4 says that they creep into the church using the grace of Jesus Christ as a license to sin and they are condemned. This is the church making up a god of their own liking which is idolatry. Idolaters and cowards do not gain eternal life (Revelation 21:7-8 for instance). I believe it has been going on for years with not wanting to give people the bad new in order to soften their hearts for the Good News. As far as homosexuality, the church gave up the truth long ago to other sexual sins of porn, adultery and divorce and remarriage which Jesus says is also adultery. 1 Corinthian 6 says that sexual sin is worse than other sins because it is a sin against your own body and we are to run, run as fast as we can, away from it.

    1 John 3 tells us how to know the difference between the children of God and the children of the devil. The way is narrow and few will find it. It is interesting to me that the same chapter–John 3– that gives us John 3:16 also says that we must be born again and in verse 36 says that if we don’t obey Jesus we remain under God’s wrath. Matthew 7:21-23 says that only those who obey God will receive eternal life in heaven, that many will think that they are going to get away with all their sins, but Jesus will say “go away, I never KNEW you, you who continued in your sins”. I pray that people will be forgiven of their sexual sins just like the woman caught in adultery that they wanted to stone, but Jesus forgave her and instructed her to leave her life of sin and go and sin no more. Only God can do this in the sinner’s life. Just as it cost God the life of his only son (a very high cost) to give us forgiveness, there is a very high cost to follow Jesus which is being willing to lose our lives in order to gain eternal life. We must take up our cross (the instrument of death) and follow.

  18. Dee
    April 26, 2016 at 5:51 AM

    I hope it’s still acceptable to quote the Bible in a Christian setting. Well, here goes:

    1 Corinthians 5:9-11
    [9] I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: [10] Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. [11] But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

    2 Timothy 4:3-4
    [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

    2 Peter 2:1-3
    [1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

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