The growing fascination with mega-churches and celebrity pastors continues in the land of “bigger is better.” In the United States of entertainment, it seems many professing Christians would rather follow a man or what seems popular instead of God and His Word. Certainly not all large churches are bad, but the number of mega-churches and celebrity pastors drifting from sound doctrine is on the rise. So is controversy in the church.
Today, Mike and David hone in on one celebrity pastor and author, Andy Stanley. Stanley has never shied away from controversy, making outrageous statements in the recent past. His latest advice: Christians need to “unhitch” themselves from the Old Testament. His rationale? Paul and Peter told the first century church they should do the same! We’ll weigh in with what the Word of God says about the Hebrew Scriptures and try to figure out why Stanley would say something so outrageous.
Andy Stanly actually appears to aim for the heresy of Marcionism; He clearly says that God is the same God in both testaments, but says that he reveals himself in two completely different ways. Just like Marcion, he argues that the church must “unhitch” from the Old Testament. He actually says: “I am convinced for the sake of this generation and the next generation, we have to rethink our apologetic as Christians, and the less we depend on the Old Testament to prop up our New Testament faith the better because of where we are in [the] culture.”
The church cannot “unhitch” from the Old Testament without unhitching from the gospel Jesus preached. Speaking of the Old Testament Scriptures, Jesus said “it is they that bear witness about me.” (John 5:39)
Several years ago, I argued that Andy Stanley represents a new face of theological liberalism. In our day, he is playing the role that was played by Harry Emerson Fosdick in the early twentieth century. Stanley may not intend to play that role — he sees himself as an apologist.
So did Fosdick. He sought to rescue Christianity from itself, from its doctrines and truth claims. He cited his own “deconversion” stories as justification for remaking Christianity.
He also sought to “unhitch” Christianity from the Old Testament. In his famous 1923-1924 Beecher Lectures on Preaching at Yale, Fosdick called for a new, modern understanding of the Bible. This would require jettisoning what were for him and many others the embarrassing parts of the Old Testament. He described the effort to retain much of the Old Testament as “intellectually ruinous and morally debilitating.” To the young preachers of that day, Fosdick argued: “The Old Testament exhibits many attitudes indulged in by men and ascribed to God which represent early stages in a great development, and it is alike intellectually ruinous and morally debilitating to endeavor to harmonize those early ideals with the revelations of the great prophets and the Gospels.”
More from Ablert Mohler: Getting “Unhitched” from the Old Testament? Andy Stanley Aims at Heresy
America’s megachurch model “isn’t working.”
“My suggestion is that people (and I’m talking primarily to evangelical Christians) be much more suspicious than they tend to be — about powerful, celebrity spiritual leaders who are not accountable to anyone but themselves and their handpicked boards (‘yes men’),” he wrote.
America’s “obsession with celebrities, ‘bigness,’ entertainment, and ‘success'” is one of the underlying problems. “This obsession has obviously filtered into American religion and, sadly, even into American evangelical Christianity,” he warned.
Olson pointed out that in recent years, “several founders and leaders of evangelical, independent mega-churches have fallen off their celebrity-pastor pedestals hard. (read more:)
Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine’s Department of Dermatology wrote an article published by a peer-reviewed medical journal this month that touches on the “alarming trend” of people requesting surgical procedures to make their facial structures as appealing as their selfies.
The trend is referred to as “Snapchat dysmorphia” and has been on the incline in recent years with the development of social media filters that incorporate photo-editing technologies similar to ones used to glorify models and celebrities on magazine covers.
Although some filters can be used to smooth skin, enhance lips and whiten teeth in photographs, the report claims that the trend is alarming because “filtered selfies often present an unattainable look and are blurring the line of reality and fantasy for these patients.”
The researchers warned that the use of these filters can have an impact on a person’s self-esteem and even make a person “feel inadequate for not looking a certain way in the real world.”