Andy Stanley, pastor of the Atlanta-area megachurch, North Point Community Church, on Sunday addressed the controversy surrounding a conference last weekend at North Point, billed as the “premier event . . . to support parents and LGBTQ+ children in their churches.” The sermon was not livestreamed, but The Roys Report has obtained audio of both the 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. services, which we’ve published below.
The sermon was a response to allegations from prominent Southern Baptist seminary president Al Mohler that the conference, featuring gay-affirming speakers, signified Stanley’s departure from biblical Christianity. However, Stanley claimed in the sermon that he “never subscribed to (Mohler’s) version of biblical Christianity,” which Stanley typified as drawing “lines”:
(Mohler’s) version, this version of Biblical Christianity is why people are leaving Christianity unnecessarily. It’s the version is the version that causes people to resist the Christian faith, because they can’t find Jesus in the midst of all the other stuff and all the other theology and all the other complexity that gets glommed on to the message bottom line, that version of Christianity, draws lines. And Jesus drew circles. He drew circles so large and included so many people in his circle, that it consistently made religious leaders nervous.
Stanley affirmed that “biblical marriage is between a man and a woman.” But he also stated that many gay people “are convinced that traditional marriage is not an option for them.” He said some commit “to living a chaste life.” But “for many, that is not sustainable, so they choose same-sex marriage—not because they’re convinced it’s biblical . . . They choose to marry for the same reason many of us do: love, companionship.”
Stanley said the decision of same-sex couples to marry is “their decision. Our decision, as a group of local churches, is how are we going to respond to their decisions.” Stanley said Northpoint has taken the position that it will welcome people “regardless of their starting point, regardless of their past, regardless of their current circumstances, our message is come and see and come sit with me.”
Mohler has not yet responded to Stanley’s sermon. However, Denny Burk, president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, wrote in a post published yesterday that Stanley’s sermon was “subversively anti-Christian.”
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“The message is anti-Christian because it tells unrepentant sinners that they can inherit the kingdom of God—a message that the Bible roundly contradicts,” Burk wrote.
However, Stanley’s message seemed well received by his congregation. One person wrote on Twitter, “I was there. He did great.” Another wrote, “So thankful for @AndyStanley and his courage and faithfulness. He is actively helping people see the goodness of God knowing the criticism he would face. If your God treats people like trash until they repent, you are not following Jesus.”
Full story with more reaction from both sides is coming.