Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Andy Stanley is Wrong! The Ten Commandments Do Still Apply.

Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church in Georgia, one of the largest churches in America, recently wrote a column for Relevant Magazine arguing that Christians no longer need to follow the Ten Commandments.  I advise you NOT to read it.  It is horrible!  And it is terrible that Relevant Magazine is publishing this column. 

When Stanley says that the Ten Commandments no longer apply to Christians, which ones does he mean?  Do not murder?  Honor your parents?  Do not commit adultery?  Only worship God? 

Stanley says that the only commandment Christians need to obey today is the commandment to love one another.  However Jesus said that the most important commandment was not just to love one another, but to first and foremost love God with all your heart (Mt 22:37-40).  And the Great Commandment -- Love God and love others -- was not first spoken by Jesus.  He was quoting Moses in the Old Testament.  The Great Commandment does not replace the Ten Commandments; it summarizes them.  It expresses the heart of the Ten Commandments; the proper motivation.  But without the Ten Commandments we would not know how to love God or others. 

Stanley says that the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7) is what Christians should focus on rather than the Ten Commandments.  But the Sermon on the Mount did not reduce the commandments, it was an exposition of the Ten Commandments.  Jesus's point was this:  "You Jews have been misinterpreting and misapplying God's law.  Let me show you what it really means." 

There are many laws in the Old Testament that are no longer applicable to Christians, such as the ceremonial laws, and the civil laws that applied to the Jews as a theocratic, autonomous nation.  But God's moral laws in the Old Testament never expired.  They are a reflection of God's unchanging moral nature.  The New Testament makes it very clear which Old Testament laws no longer apply, and which ones still do.  All of the Ten Commandments except for one (the Sabbath) are reiterated and reinforced by the writers of the New Testament. 

To find out whether Andy Stanley is sincere, or if he is just trying to get attention, he needs to specify which of the Ten Commandments can be ignored by Christians today.  It's easy for him to say "all of them," but I doubt he'd be willing to specifically say that Christians no longer need to avoid idolatry, coveting, or lying, for example.  But if it is still wrong for Christians to do those things, then why in the world would a preacher say that the Ten Commandments no longer apply? 

Maybe I'm missing the point, but at best Andy Stanley's message is very confusing and misleading; at worst it is heretical.  As a pastor, I must advise my congregation to steer clear of his content. 

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