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Andy Stanley Praises Faith Deconstructers ‘Good for You. That’s Wise, Honest and Mature’
With dad outta the way, his apostasy should accelerate even more
North Point pastor Andy Stanley has begun a sermon series on “The Fundamental List of the Faith,” where he’ll seek to answer the question of what is fundamental (indispensable, necessary, crucial, central, and required) to the faith vs. what are peripherals (cultural, comfortable, fashionable, traditions, harmful) and therefore can be cast aside.
It’s unsurprising that Stanley would preach this series at this juncture in his ministry, given that he’s been under fire by us, along with now the Christian Post and Charisma News questioning some of the pro-LGBTQ shenanigans happening at his church and whether or not he accepts openly and unrepentantly queer Christians as believers. (He does)
North Point Community Church has tons of gay-affirming pastors, leaders, and ministries who are allowed to flourish and openly propagate their beliefs and ideology (see end notes), and in this sermon series, Stanley is likely laying the groundwork to suggest that sexual orientation is not fundamental to the faith but a peripheral issue.
Furthermore, he goes out of his way to praise those who are deconstructing their faith, even though this almost always leads to spiritual death.
(Your mom) will never have anything to do with organized religion and neither will you because of how the church responded or treated somebody you love. Or maybe it’s brother or a sister, and the church says, ‘oh, they’re going to hell’ and you’re like, ‘they’re like the kindest person I’ve ever met. If that’s what the church teaches I am out.’
And you wonder, and you should wonder; does Christianity have anything valuable and important to offer me? And if that’s you, I understand, believe it or not, and I get it. I understand why you threw baby Jesus out with the bathwater. Because your church, or your church tradition, made it impossible to distinguish between the two (fundamental vs peripheral issues.)
Now the deconstructers:
But there’s another group of people and maybe this is you. There’s another group who doesn’t just abandon church and abandon a faith and abandon the whole thing. They just decide, ‘you know what? I’m just going to leave the church. I’m not leaving my faith, but I cannot be apart of that. I can’t be a part of organized religion.’
And they begin to process, and then this is certainly a current term, people are talking a lot about, they begin, or maybe you began to deconstruct or deconstruct your faith. Because you still believe in God and you still believe in baby Jesus, you believe in Jesus. But you just had to, or maybe you’re in the process of deciding ‘You know what? I just need to step away for a minute. I’ve got to step away from organized religion, kind of catch my breath. I’ve got to figure out what’s really fundamental. I got to figure out what’s really essential and what’s not.’
And you’re pretty confident what’s not. You know what you feel like you need to leave behind, and you know, or you feel pretty confident you know what everyone needs to leave behind. And I just want to say something to you. If you’re in that process, good for you.
Stanley begins to praise the deconstructers while at the same time granting their premise and insistence that some things they don’t want to believe in because ‘it doesn’t fit in the world I live in.’
Mature of you. Honest of you. Because you’ve been honest enough to acknowledge that a faith or a faith system, or a church or a church system, a faith that can’t be questioned, can’t be trusted. And now you’re trying to figure out what worth hanging on to. So I’m going to tell you what’s worth hanging on to. Hang on the baby Jesus.
That’s what you got to hang on to… Okay, this is, this is what we’re going to discover together for the next few weeks. Because at the center of our faith, isn’t a building. At the center of our faith isn’t a system. At the center of our faith isn’t a systematic theology. At the center of our faith is a person and some of you who are in the process of trying to figure it out because you stepped away, you are wise enough and mature enough and smart enough to know that.
But you’re asking a very important question. That’s why we’re talking about it. ‘So what do I have to believe? I know some things I just can’t possibly believe because it just doesn’t fit with the world I live in, but what must I believe?’
However, Stanley has it all backward because this is not how things work in the real world. Name a single person who ever deconstructed and came out more biblically faithful, more conservative, and more of a fundamentalist in their word and deed. They don’t exist because deconstruction = death.
You never hear someone say, “I deconstructed, and now I hate sin even more.” You never hear someone say, “I deconstructed, and now I’m even more against same-sex marriage and unbiblical sexual activity.”
You never hear someone say, “I deconstructed, and now I have an even more particular and emphatic view of what the gospel is and what one must do to be saved.” You never hear someone say, “I deconstructed, and now I’m even a more ferocious defender of the exclusivity of Christ.”
You never hear someone say, “I deconstructed, and now I’m more pro-life and even more of an abortion abolitionist.” You never hear someone say, “I deconstructed, and now I have an ever higher view of the scriptures and a greater intolerance for bible twisting and exegesis.”
Instead, all you hear is, “I deconstructed, and now I don’t go to church and am more open to other truths, and also, love is love, and the gay sex is ok. Maybe, it’s ok to curb stomp a fetus.” Deconstruction is spiritual strychnine, and those looking to indulge in it never come out the other side whole or healthy but rather passers-on of the very theological poison they claimed to reject.