No, Pastor Stanley, We Should Not Unhitch Ourselves From the Old Testament

In his zeal to reach the lost, Pastor Andy Stanley has dangerously overstated his case.

By Michael Brown Published on May 11, 2018

As followers of Jesus, should we “unhitch” ourselves from the Old Testament, as Pastor Andy Stanley recently claimed? God forbid. To do so is to make a grave mistake. It would be like “unhitching” our torsos from our legs. Or demolishing the first story of a house once the second story was completed.

Now, to be clear, Pastor Stanley has expressed his strong belief in the inspiration of the entire Bible. And he has preached lengthy series based on Old Testament books. And the purpose of his recent, controversial message is to reach those who have been turned off by religion, or who find it difficult to relate to certain Old Testament texts.

His message for them is simple: Start with Jesus! He came to introduce something totally new.

But in his zeal to reach the lost, he has dangerously overstated his case.

According to Pastor Stanley, “[First century] Church leaders unhitched the church from the worldview, value system, and regulations of the Jewish scriptures. … Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well.”

Actually, Peter, James (actually, Jacob), and Paul would be mortified by such claims.

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Pastor Stanley even argued that “Jesus’ new covenant, His covenant with the nations, His covenant with you, His covenant with us, can stand on its own two nail-scarred resurrection feet. It does not need propping up by the Jewish scriptures.”

This is so wrong on so many levels that it would take a whole book to refute. But here, at least, is a brief response. (Those wanting to dig deeper could start with Chapters 11 and 12 of my book Hyper-Grace.)

1. Jesus Came to Fulfill, Not Abolish

First, in Matthew 5:17-20, Jesus said that He did not come to abolish the Law or Prophets but to fulfill them. In other words, He did not cancel, He confirmed (see Romans 15:8-9). He did not remove the foundations, He strengthened the foundations. Accordingly, Paul wrote, “Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law” (Romans 3:31).

In stark contrast, Pastor Stanley interpreted Jesus to be saying, “I am in fact replacing. I’m not going to change what you’ve always been taught. I’m going to challenge you to abandon what you have been taught.”

Had Jesus done this, He would rightly have been rejected as a false prophet, false teacher and false Messiah.

Did He challenge His people to reject man-made traditions? Absolutely, many times. Did He challenge them to abandon wrong things they had learned about their sacred Scriptures? Without a doubt. Did He challenge them to abandon the sacred Scriptures themselves? Heaven forbid.

In his message, Pastor Stanley said that “the Law and the Prophets, the old covenant, had an expiration date.” But it is this imprecision that is so dangerous, since “the old covenant,” meaning the Sinai Covenant, did have an expiration date on it (see Jeremiah 31:31-34). The Law and the Prophets — the Jewish Scriptures — did not.

2. Early Church Leaders Relied on the Jewish Scriptures

Second, contrary to Pastor Stanley’s claim that the early Church leaders made it easier for Gentile converts by unhitching their faith from “the Jewish Scriptures,” the New Testament writers called Gentile believers to follow the moral ethic of these very Scriptures.

Paul used Old Testament texts to warn the Corinthian believers to live holy lives, writing, “Now these things happened to them [the Israelites] as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.” (1 Corinthians 10:1-11, citing v. 11 here; see also 2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1, among many other passages.) He also referenced the Ten Commandments when giving family instructions to the Ephesians (see Ephesians 6:1-3).

Jesus said that He did not come to abolish the Law or Prophets but to fulfill them. In other words, He did not cancel, He confirmed. He did not remove the foundations, He strengthened the foundations.

What the early Church leaders made clear in Acts 15 was that Gentile believers were not required to become Jews and take on the yoke of the Torah in order to be saved. They were not required to keep the dietary laws or the laws of ritual purity. And they were not to seek to be justified by the Law. As Peter explained, they, like the Jewish believers, were all saved by grace (Acts 15:7-11).

But throughout the New Testament, Gentiles believers were called to live holy lives, based on Old Testament teaching. (See also 1 Peter 1:13-17, quoting from Leviticus; it is possible that 1 Peter was written first for Jewish believers, but it was shared with the whole Body).

3. Always a Sacred Text

Third, Pastor Stanley claims that the early Jewish believers had “no sacred texts,” a bizarre statement on every level. In fact, the Bible of the first believers, both Jewish and Gentile, was the Old Testament. You better believe they had their sacred texts!

This is what Paul spoke of in 2 Timothy 3:16 when he stated that all Scripture was God-breathed. He was talking about what we call the Old Testament today. And this is what he spoke of in Romans 15:4, when he wrote, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

And this is what Jesus spoke of when He stated that “Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). That’s also why He rebuked Satan using three verses from Deuteronomy (see Matthew 4). The Old Testament is the living, breathing, indispensable Word of God. Without it, the New Testament is propped up on thin air.

4. Without the Old Testament, Jesus’ Resurrection Means Nothing

Fourth, Pastor Stanley is on very shaky ground when he alleges that, even if the Old Testament were untrue, all that matters is that Jesus rose from the dead. In his words, “Your whole house of Old Testament cards can come tumbling down. The question is, did Jesus rise from the dead?”

Again, this is a staggeringly dangerous claim. If the Old Testament is not true, then there is no such thing as a Messiah, the God of Israel is a myth, and the resurrection of Jesus has no context or meaning.

Pastor Stanley’s claim makes a mockery of Matthew’s opening words: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham” (Matthew 1:1). It makes a mockery of Jesus’ words, when He said to His disciples after His resurrection, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled” (Luke 24:44).

Stanley’s claim makes a mockery of the entire New Testament, which constantly refers back to the Hebrew Scriptures. As I noted elsewhere,

Some scholars claim that almost one out of three verses in the New Testament — 2,500 out of a total of 8,000 verses — contains an Old Testament quote or general allusion, while, quite solidly, it can be demonstrated that “more than ten percent of the New Testament text is made up of citation or direct allusions to the Old Testament.” (Prof. Roger Nicole)

In fact, the Book of Revelation is so dependent on Old Testament references and allusions that some commentators believe that about three-fourths of the book draws directly on the Old Testament. Others have shown that there are perhaps more references to the Hebrew Scriptures in Revelation than total verses in the book.

John the Revelator, along with all the apostles, not to mention Jesus Himself, would have been astounded by Pastor Stanley’s statements, regardless of how he tried to qualify them in his message and regardless of how good his intentions may have been.

5. The New Testament is Fierce, Too

Fifth, Pastor Stanley states that the New Testament message is “liberating for people who need and understand grace, who need and understand forgiveness. And it’s liberating for people who find it virtually impossible to embrace the dynamic, the worldview, and the values system depicted in the story of Ancient Israel.”

What He fails to acknowledge is that the Old Testament Scriptures also bring a glorious revelation of grace (read Psalm 103, for starters). They also give us the clearest theological statement about vicarious atonement anywhere in the Bible (I’m speaking of Isaiah 53). It is anything but liberating to ignore verses like this. And the “worldview” of ancient Israel was, in many ways, the worldview of the apostles.

If the Old Testament is not true, then there is no such thing as a Messiah, the God of Israel is a myth, and the resurrection of Jesus has no context or meaning.

What about people today stumbling over Old Testament texts and Old Testament images of God? The fact is that, in the Sermon on the Mount alone, Jesus spoke of the punishment of hell fire more than all Old Testament writers combined. Is not hell the greater moral issue?

And in the Book of Revelation, Jesus gave this warning to sinners in the church of Thyatira: “Behold, I will throw her onto a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her I will throw into great tribulation, unless they repent of her works, and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches will know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you according to your works” (Revelation 2:22-23). Are not these disturbing as well?

And what of the Great White Throne judgment in Revelation 20:11-15? Might that upset some people today too?

6. The Old Testament Teaches Us About Israel’s Destiny

Sixth, in his zeal to reach the unchurched and to recover those burned by traditional religion, Pastor Stanley forgets that the Old Testament also tells us the story of Israel, including Israel’s blessed future. (For the record, the story of Israel was important for the Gentile converts as well. That’s why Paul can freely reference the Passover in his writings; see 1 Corinthians 5:7-8.)

Cut out the Old Testament, and you cut out much of Israel’s destiny, which all believers should understand. Cut out the Old Testament, and you also cut out the destiny of the nations (see, for example, Isaiah 2:1-4 and Acts 3:17-21).

And, to be frank, once you yield to the critics on the authority and relevance and inspiration of the Old Testament, you will find yourself yielding to them on the authority and relevance and inspiration of the New Testament.

Not a New Heresy

Back in the days of the heretic Marcion in the second century, the Church had to reject calls to sever itself from its Old Testament roots. (Marcion, to be clear, was far more extreme in his beliefs than Pastor Stanley.) Yet this heresy has risen again in different forms over time, some more severe than others. (At one point, Nazi theologians actually rewrote the New Testament to disconnect it from its Jewish roots.)

A pastor as influential as Andy Stanley needs to distance himself from such heresies. He must make a public, clear, and unequivocal correction that undoes the confusion he has caused. (He knows that I write this a friend, out to help, not to hurt.)

Stanley can preach against legalism and against Judaizing, exalting the grace of God and celebrating the newness of the New Covenant, without undermining the very foundations on which that New Covenant is established. I will wholeheartedly join him in that, just as I wholeheartedly urge him to bring correction to his recent comments.

(I sent Pastor Stanley an advance copy of this article for review before posting. He expressed his appreciation for me sending it to him. He said he felt that in reality, we are not that far apart, but stood by his comments, in context. And he strongly encouraged those who have concerns to listen to his entire, relevant series, since he crafts his series as other leaders craft individual messages.)

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  • Ken Abbott

    Any discussion of the relevance of the OT has to include the views of Jesus. He had a robustly high doctrine of Scripture and made constant reference to it. In his prayer to the Father as recorded in John 17, he declared that God’s word is truth. God will honor those who honor his word. We neglect the OT at our grave peril.

  • Suba Rue

    Bravo Michael right again as usual thanks so much for your hard work and awesome insight

  • James Blazsik

    Israel’s future is Christ. There is no separate covenant. The New Covenant is Jewish. The Church is the fulfillment of the People of God, and Israel’s destiny.

    • Well said! Technically speaking, the whole Bible is Jewish. Every book from Genesis to Revelation was written by Jewish men. The New Covenant is only defined in covenantal terms in Jeremiah 31:31-40 and by all appearances seems to be between G-d and the re-combined houses of Israel and Judah.

      Grace and peace…

      • Trilemma

        I thought Luke was Greek not Jewish.

        • A common error that is being corrected with modern scholarship.

          • Ken Abbott

            I gather that remains a minority academic opinion–from what I’ve been able to find out so far, the consensus supports the longstanding traditional view that Luke was Greek, likely a God-fearer, quite possibly a native of Antioch.

          • The idea that Luke was Greek is a longstanding tradition but it is inconsistent with at least one passage of Scripture and there appears to be no logic supporting it. Wishful thinking of Gentiles to have one of “our guys” play a part in writing Scripture, perhaps? 🙂

            To be entirely clear, no passage of Scripture explicitly identifies Luke as Greek or Jewish. As a consequence, we must examine Scripture for clues and derive our conclusions from them.

            Arguments often presented for Luke being a Gentile:
            1) The name “Lukas” is not Jewish
            2) Luke is a physician
            3) Luke appears to be writing to a Gentile audience
            4) Ancient sources state Luke was born in Antioch
            5) Luke is not mentioned among the group “of the circumcision” in Colossians 4:10-11

            These are flawed arguments:
            1) The name “Paulos” is not Jewish either but Paul identifies himself as a Hebrew of Hebrews.
            *Name* does not equal ethnic identity.

            2) What… there weren’t any Jewish physicians?
            *Occupation* does not equal ethnic identity.

            3) Paul (that Hebrew of Hebrews again) writes extensively to a Gentile audience.
            *Audience* does not equate to ethnic identity.

            4) Paul (dang he is just messing everything up today) was born in Tarsus.
            *Birth town* does not equal ethnic identity.

            5) Natural-born Jews were “brothers” while Gentile converts were “of the circumcision” and “sons of Abraham”. The fact that Luke is not mentioned among those “of the circumcision” simply rules out that he wasn’t a Gentile convert to Judaism or a person who believed that concept.

            Some arguments often presented for Luke being a Jew:
            A) Paul is not accused of bringing a “Gentile” Luke into the Temple although he is an eyewitness to events of Acts 21.
            B) Luke expresses an intimate knowledge of the Levitical Temple service and begins his gospel with an account of Zacharias’ priestly service there.
            C) As the single most prolific author of Scripture in the first century (Luke wrote about 38K words versus Pauls 32K), a Gentile author would have experiences enormous and innumerable challenges to his authority to relate the Jewish Scriptures (much less interpret them) yet history records no challenge of this kind. Paul, on the other hand, the student of Gamliel, the Hebrew of Hebrews faces challenges left, right, and sideways.
            D) Luke uses a Jewish interpretive technique called gezerah shavah to connect multiple passages of the Hebrew Scriptures in a manner that reflects an extensive education in Jewish thought and interpretation.
            E) Jews have been entrusted with the oracles of God (Romans 3:1-2)

            These also have flaws:
            A) This is an argument from silence even though it seems likely that the mob would have done everything to bolster their (false!) charges against Paul if they saw a “Gentile” Luke joining him in the Temple.

            B) This may simply be something he learned from a Jewish source.

            C) Seems legit (flaws?)

            D) Seems legit (flaws?)

            E) This to me is the clincher. If Luke is a Gentile then Paul’s statement is (at best) inaccurate or (at worst) flat out false.

            Rick Strelan’s book, Luke the Priest: The Authority of the Author of the Third Gospel, outlines these and other arguments in much greater detail and represents (in my mind) some of the best of modern scholarship on this topic.

            I’m open to other perspectives! 🙂

            Grace and peace…

          • Apologies, Mr. Abbot, I thought I had replied to your post!

            Yes, it is currently a minority opinion but that’s because only a minority of scholars have chosen to actually examine the issue. History has been chock full of Gentiles wanting to have one of “our guys” in the club but the logic of labeling Luke as a Gentile is flawed.

            Arguments used in support of Luke as a Gentile:

            – The name “Lukas” isn’t Jewish.
            (Neither is Paulos, but Paul identifies himself as a “Hebrew of Hebrews” (Philippians 3:5) so names do not provide a clear indication of ethnicity.)

            – Luke is a physician (Colossians 4:14).
            (What? There aren’t any Jewish physicians?)

            – Luke appears to be writing to a Gentile audience.
            (So did Paul. Audience does not dictate the ethnicity of the author.)

            – Luke was born in Antioch.
            Jews were born throughout the Roman Empire (Acts 2:5) and Paul was born in Tarsus (Acts 21:39, 22:3) but that made them no less Jewish.

            – Luke is not mentioned among the group “of the circumcision” (Colossians 4:10-11).
            This fails to take into account the first-century distinction between men who were born Jewish and converts. “The circumcision” refers to Gentiles who have converted to Judaism or those who believe it is necessary to do so. Luke’s views on this topic do not dictate his ethnicity.

            On the other side of the argument:

            – Paul is not accused of bringing a “Gentile” Luke into the Temple.
            Paul’s enemies (falsely!) accuse him of bringing Trophimus into the Temple. Why not add Luke—who was an eyewitness to the mob—to bolster those charges? (Acts 21)

            – The Jews were entrusted with the oracles of G-d (Romans 3:1-2)
            If Luke were a Gentile then Paul’s statement would be false.

            – Luke has an intimate knowledge of the Levitical Temple service.
            Luke begins his gospel with an account of Zacharias’ priestly service in the Temple, describing his selection by lot from among the rotating divisions of priests, and noting his exact position next to the altar of incense. Based on this and other evidence, some scholars take the position that not only is Luke a Jew but he is a member of the Levitical priesthood.

            I’d be interested to consider other perspectives! 🙂

            Grace and peace…

  • Paul

    Never heard of Andy Stanley, not missing much apparently. Pastors sure can make up some crazy stuff.

  • I guess we’ll have to excise out of the Bible Jesus’ rebuke of the disciples after his resurrection on the road to Emmaus, that the whole Old Testament was about him.

  • Grasshopper

    I believe Bro. Stanley is attempting what Mark achieved in his Gospel primarily written to Roman citizens. A quick, concise story of Jesus without the O.T. detail. Not a rejection of the O.T., but a minimizing of it for THOSE WHO KNOW NOTHING ABOUT IT.

    Consequently, the Gospel of Mark is the most translated book in the world. Chosen first by translators because of it’s concise simplicity.

    Context, background, politics, traditions are all details needed to understand a lot of the O.T.

  • Patmos

    How can you receive grace without first acknowledging sin? How can you determine what precisely is sin without the Old Testament?

    This foolish pastor is essentially preaching grace without repentance, which is not the gospel, and will merely have people dragging sin around with them while mistakenly believing they are under God’s grace.

    • Madeline Brooks

      God gives grace in so many unexpected ways. Look at what happened to unrepentant, hate filled Sol who became Paul. He had no idea of the sins he was committing till he was forcefully struck by grace. Not to dispute your argument though, ’cause I agree that the First Testament is needed and speaks fully of God’s presence.

  • davidrev17

    Perhaps Pastor Stanley should prayerfully consider studying at length, or in great depth, Messianic Scholar/Theologian, Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum’s classic (’94), “Israelology: The Missing Link in Systematic Theology”? By diligently and humbly approaching this overly-contentious topic of our “times,” — he just might acquire some greatly needed insight into this most critically relevant, though tragically neglected subject?

  • Patmos

    And even after grace has been given you still need the Old Testament to know what sin is. After showing mercy Jesus himself said to go forth and sin no more, well how would we know what he is talking about without the Old Testament?

    Yeah it’s generally true that when you get when you get touched by God’s spirit and reconciled to him you lose the desire to sin. As Paul wrote to the church at Corinth, the love of Christ constraineth me. You still need the measuring stick though.

    Small personal example here, I started observing the sabbath a few years ago for the simple reason that God commanded it, and have noticed a significant improvement in my health. The sabbath was made for man and not man for the sabbath, for it is a day of rest, and just as the children of Israel got taken into captivity for not observing God’s statutes regarding the land I am quite certain that if I did not lay down for the sabbath I would be put down with sickness. In other words, I am going to lay down one way or the other, and I can follow God to receive his blessings or turn away and be cursed.

    Now, do you then lose your salvation if you don’t observe everything God said to do? No, but you will certainly have to give an account for everything you have done, salvation or no salvation. In my personal instance, if I were to not observe the sabbath and become sick, I would have to give an account of that choice and I get the sense I would be asked how did I glorify God in my sickness?

    We are grafted in, and what advantage hath the Jew? Much in every way, as to them were given the oracles of God.

    • Stu Nahan

      There is no scriptural injunction for “observing the sabbath”. Show me the NT command for observing the Sabbath.

      Christ is our Sabbath (Matthew 11:28, Heb 4:3).

  • Kathy

    This is not the first time that Andy Stanley has made a controversial statement. I have yet to hear his father, Dr. Charles Stanley, stray from the truth…he is forthright and avoids sugarcoating to make Scripture more palatable for non-believers.

    • Paul

      Sounds like the fruit fell far from the tree

      • Kathy

        As a new believer, I had listened to Pastor Stanley and found his messages to be very meaningful, which I still believe some were. Now that I am more biblically grounded, he has been weeded out of my “playlist”.

  • Janet Johnson

    After walking with Jesus for three years and actually hearing the voice of God, Peter refers to Old Testament scripture as “a more sure word.” 1 Peter 1:16-20

  • Tianzhu

    Following Campolo and company, post-Christian Christianity.

  • Trilemma

    1. Jesus abolished the Law by fulfilling it – Ephesians 2:15.

    2. Gentiles were unhitched from the Old Testament at the council of Jerusalem in Acts 15.

    6. There are no unfulfilled prophecies concerning the nation of Israel.

    The Old Testament is morally bankrupt. It condones genocide, child slavery, and chattel slavery. It condones polygamy and commands a woman to marry her rapist. It permits the kidnap, enslavement and rape of women. The Old Testament makes Christianity look bad. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go.

    • Patmos

      You are easily one of the more confused people I have come across, continually interjecting your own views into scripture, and interjecting a host of other things as well. Yikes! The height of delusion!

      • Trilemma

        Everyone interjects their own views into the Bible. That’s why there are thousands of Christian denominations.

        • Jackie

          And this is a huge problem!
          I’m pretty sure this is not what God intended.

    • Earl Baker

      “Theres no unfullfilled prophecies concerning Israel”
      Daniel and Ezikiel and Isaiah and Jeremiah have some, and thats off the top of my head.

      • Trilemma

        Can you quote one?

        • “The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
          Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
          Until Shiloh comes,
          And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” (Genesis 49:10)

          Hasn’t happened yet. All the nations of the world (including and especially Israel!) have yet to bow to the King of the Jews who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

          “So it shall be when all of these things have come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind in all nations where the Lord your God has banished you, and you return to the Lord your God and obey Him with all your heart and soul according to all that I command you today, you and your sons, then the Lord your God will restore you from captivity, and have compassion on you, and will gather you again from all the peoples where the Lord your God has scattered you. If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.” (Deuteronomy 30:1-5)

          Hasn’t happened yet.

          “Moreover the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live. The Lord your God will inflict all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. And you shall again obey the Lord, and observe all His commandments which I command you today. Then the Lord your God will prosper you abundantly in all the work of your hand, in the offspring of your body and in the offspring of your cattle and in the produce of your ground, for the Lord will again rejoice over you for good, just as He rejoiced over your fathers; if you obey the Lord your God to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the law, if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and soul. (Deuteronomy 30:6-10)

          Hasn’t happened yet.

          “Rejoice, O nations, with His people;
          For He will avenge the blood of His servants,
          And will render vengeance on His adversaries,
          And will atone for His land and His people.” (Deuteronomy 32:43)

          Hasn’t happened yet.

          Shall we keep going? I’m game if you are. 🙂

          Grace and peace…

          • Trilemma

            Genesis 49:10 is a prophecy about the Messiah. “Until Shiloh comes,” refers to the coming of the Messiah which has happened. This is fulfilled prophecy.

            Deuteronomy 30:1-10 refers to the Babylonian captivity when the Israelites were banished to Babylon and then followed by God gathering them back 70 years later. This is fulfilled prophecy.

            Deuteronomy 32:43 refers to the Gentiles joining in with the Jews to all be God’s people because of the atonement of Christ. This is fulfilled prophecy.

          • Shalom and good morning! 🙂

            Genesis 49:10 What makes you think Shiloh is Messiah? Even if it is, the rest of the verse has not yet been fulfilled “And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.” You think the nation of Israel is obeying Jesus? They spit at even the mention of His Name! We must include *all* of the verse not just bits and pieces.

            Deuteronomy 30:1-10 includes “If your outcasts are at the ends of the earth, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you back. The Lord your God will bring you into the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers.” Hasn’t happened yet… since the dispersion there has yet to be a time in history when there are more Jews in the Land than outside it. Seems like there are some outcasts who haven’t been gathered in yet. Related note: what makes this a one-time-only prophecy? Can’t it be cyclical? Any time “A” is true then “B” will happen?

            Deuteronomy 32:43 includes “And will render vengeance on His adversaries, and will atone for His land and His people.” I’m unaware that Christ has returned and rendered vengeance on His adversaries and atoned for His land and His people. Can you point me to that historical event or some place in Scripture where that is recorded?

            Grace and peace…

          • Trilemma

            In Genesis 49:10, the obedience of the peoples refers to gentiles coming to obedience in Christ which has happened.

            I don’t see how you’re getting Deut 30:1-10 to say that there will be more people in the nation of Israel then not. Yes it could be cyclical but not after 70AD.

            Vengeance was rendered on His adversaries (the Jews) with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD.

    • Earl Baker

      About your 1sr point, Jesus specifically says he didnt come to abolish, so you quoting a verse that says “circumcision is noting” is void.
      You’re directly arguing with Jesus’s own words.

      • Trilemma

        In Ephesians 2:15, Paul said Jesus abolished the law in his flesh. What Jesus meant was that failure to fulfill the Law and prophets would constitute abolishing the Law and prophets.

        • If a police officer pulls you over and cites you for speeding, he writes you a ticket. If the judge tosses the ticket and says “not guilty”, he’s not eliminating the state law that says speeding is illegal, he is declaring the specific charges against you as invalid. That is the “enmity” about which Paul writes.

          If Paul says Jesus abolished the Law then Paul is directly contradicting the words of Christ, Himself, who said we shouldn’t even THINK He came to abolish the Law (Matthew 5:17).

          Is *Paul* wrong or is *Jesus* wrong? Or is it (perhaps) that interpretation of Paul?

          Grace and peace…

          • Trilemma

            Or is it (perhaps) that interpretation of Jesus?

          • Entirely possible! A very wise man once told me, “If we aren’t willing to be wrong then we can’t really learn and we can’t have a real discussion.” I’m entirely willing to be wrong! 🙂

            What meaning would you ascribe to the words of our first-century Jewish rabbi speaking to His Jewish students in Matthew 5?

          • Trilemma

            In Matthew 5:17, the word abolish is the Greek word katalysai which means to destroy, overthrow.

            In Ephesians 2:15, the word abolish is the Greek word katargēsas which means to make of no effect, annul, abolish.

            The words are similar but not the same. If a policeman sees me and lots of other people driving 75 in a 55 on the freeway and doesn’t hand out any speeding tickets, then he is destroying or overthrowing the law. The speeding law is in full force, requiring speeders to get tickets, but the policeman is not doing what the law requires. This would be like Jesus not going to the cross as the Law and prophets require.

            If a judge rules the speed limit law is unconstitutional then he has made the law of no effect, annulled or abolished. The law is still on the books, but it cannot be enforced and nobody is considered guilty because of it. Nobody deserves to be punished for driving more than 55. This is what Jesus did to the law of Moses when He died on the cross, the law was made of no effect.

          • That interpretation presents (at least) four problems:

            1) It posits that in Ephesians 2, Paul claims that Jesus came to “abolish” [katargēsas- render idle, inactive, or of no effect or consequence] the Law but Christ says that anyone who even LOOSENS [lysi- unbinds, releases, dissolves] the least of the commandments will be least in the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:19). According to this view, by rendering the Law (not the charges against us but every single commandment within the Law!) abolished/idle/inactive, Jesus would by His own hand made Himself least in His own Kingdom.

            2) It posits that Jesus (the Son, the only corporeal person of the Trinity), the One who gave the Law to Moses at Sinai, just up and changed His mind a few centuries later and declared “Yeah, you know all that stuff I said was sin? That was wrong. My bad. Nevermind. Disregard.” If He changed His mind then how can He be the same yesterday, today, and forever? (Hebrews 13:8) He would be the same yesterday, today, and forever… or until He changes His mind again, whichever comes first. *Offer not valid in Tennessee (sorry, Tennessee!)

            3) It posits that some portion of the Word of God, which became flesh in the person of Christ (John 1:14), and which Jesus, Himself, declares is Truth (John 17:17) is no longer true and of no effect. What part of God/Jesus/The Word is not true and why would He declare some portion of Himself to be abolished?

            4) It posits that the commandments of God, which Scripture declares “are not just idle words for you- they are your LIFE” (Deuteronomy 32:47) are (in actual fact) just idle words and of no effect: they aren’t our life… they’re powerless and irrelevant.

            If we point Paul’s ire and dissolution at the *charges* [dógmasin from Ephesians 2] rather than the *Law*, there is no problem.

          • Trilemma

            1) Matthew 5:18 says that nothing will disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. By accomplishing everything, Jesus abolished the Law. We are now living under a new heaven and earth.

            2) After mankind had been around for thousands of years, God suddenly declared, “Yeah, you know all that stuff I’ve been letting you do? That was wrong. My bad. It’s all sin and if you keep doing it you’re going to hell.” God does change his mind. God changed his mind about creating humans and killed all but eight. God changed his mind about the Israelites and decided to wipe them out and start over with Moses. Then Moses got God to change his mind again. That’s three times God changed his mind. Nothing stays the same. If God never changes then God is nothing.

            3) Jesus being the Word and the Bible being the word are two completely different uses of the word “word.” Jesus is not the Bible made flesh.

            4) I’m not saying the Law of Moses was idle words, but Paul makes it clear the Law of Moses was meant to be temporary. The fact that the Law of Moses has been abolished doesn’t mean there’s no law. Paul said that he was no longer under the Law of Moses but he was under the Law of Christ.

          • Excellent conversation… THANK YOU! 🙂

            1) “Until everything is accomplished.”
            When in history did all the nations of the world come up against Jerusalem (Zech 14:2) and Jesus ride in on a white horse (Rev 19:11) to save them resulting in 40,000 square miles of blood up to the level of horses’ bridles (Rev 14:20) about 4-6′ high? When did Jesus’ foot rest upon the Mount of Olives and it split in half creating an enormous valley (Zech 14:4-5) that the entire nation of Israel escaped through? When did *any* of the events surrounding His promised return occur?

            If we are living in a “new heaven and a new earth”, it isn’t the one Scripture describes in Revelation because on that new earth there is no longer any sea (Rev 21:1) no longer any death, mourning, crying, or pain (Rev 21:4). Last time I checked those are all still present so the evidence says this is the same ol’ heaven and earth. So which new heaven and earth are you talking about?

            Everything is not (yet!) accomplished ergo the “smallest letter or stroke” has not disappeared from the Law.

            2) “G-d changed His mind”. Such a concept would be in conflict with other passages of Scripture like Numbers 23:19 (God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent), Malachi 3:6 (For I, the Lord, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.), and James 1:17 (Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.)

            During the time of Noah, G-d did not change His mind. The Hebrew of Gen 6:6 states וַיִּנָּחֶם יְהוָה כִּֽי־עָשָׂה אֶת־הָֽאָדָם בָּאָרֶץ וַיִּתְעַצֵּב אֶל־לִבֹּֽו which literally translates as “And it saddened (vayinachem) the Lord that He had made man and it grieved Him at His heart.” Nothing said there about changing His mind.

            Moses and Israel? If G-d had wanted to wipe out Israel, He would have. Period. There was nothing Moses (or anyone else) could have done about it. In Exodus 32:10, G-d tells Moses “Now then let Me alone, that My anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them; and I will make of you a great nation.”
            “Now let me alone…”? Like anything Moses could have done would have impacted the Sovereign Creator of the universe. That moment was a test for Moses! And as far as the verses in Exodus 32 about G-d “changing His mind”… they use the same word as Genesis 6 (vayinachem) which is properly translated elsewhere as “mourning” (Gen 38:12), “comforted” (Gen 50:21), and “having compassion” (Deut 32:36). Nothing about mind changing.

            3) The Bible is the Word made print. Jesus is that very same Word made flesh. Are you suggesting Scripture isn’t the Word of G-d or Jesus isn’t?

            4) The Law of Moses temporary? Chapter and verse so we can discuss that in more detail. Christ gave the Law to Moses at Sinai but He gave a different Law to Paul? Now we’re back to G-d changing His mind again.

            Grace and peace.

          • Apologies… I thought I had replied to this. Your reply is reasonable.
            How would you interpret the words of our first-century Jewish Rabbi to His Jewish disciples in the Land of Israel?

  • tz1

    Well, Protestants unhitched the deuterocanonical books without any logic. Where do you stop?
    The Old Testament was the template, but Paul said it failed ot make anyone righteous. Only Jesus can do that.

    I see far more problems with unhitching much of the New Testament and the Church Jesus founded (Jesus was literate but never wrote any book – wouldn’t he have been able to settle every question, dispute, and quarell with his written word?), while welding the hitch to the OT so instead of celebrating the Lord’s Supper (the only words in red in the Epistles!) they carefully celebrate passover. And the day of Atonement to the exclusion of the Cross. I’m waiting for everyone to condemn celebrating Christmas (see Cromwell) but adding back Hanuka.

    • Kathy

      I’ll stay on the topic of the books you mentioned at the start of your post:

      -The Jewish authors who wrote the books never accepted them into their canon. They themselves put the books into a different category from the recognized Hebrew scriptures.

      -The early Christian church debated the status of the Apocrypha, but few Christians believed they belonged in the canon of Scripture.

      -The NT quotes from the OT hundreds of times, but nowhere quotes or alludes to any of the Apocryphal books.

      -There are many proven errors and contradictions in the Apocrypha as well.

      • tz1

        The Jews are not the Church and not the Holy Spirit, but you hold them – the Pharisees who opposed Christ – as superior authorities?

        Also the NT does quote the DeuteroCanonical books and some non-canonical books (2nd Enoch in Jude). Do try to verify what you think.

        There are many proven errors and contradictions across the entirety of scripture if you use the same basis, and the entire science of hermenutics is figuring out how to resolve them.

        • Kathy

          I had no idea why the Apocryphal books were removed, but after researching numerous sources, these are the answers I found to that question. It is not my opinion.

          You seem to be calling the Jewish authors of those books Pharisees. They are the ones that never accepted them into their canon in the first place.

          I believe you are correct…all verses/passages in the Bible should be compared to the entirety of Scripture and not taken out of context.

          • tz1

            I am not calling the authors the Pharisees, I am calling those who rejected their canonicity Pharisees because that is what they did. The Saducees only accepted the Torah and no other book as canonical.

            The problem is that scripture doesn’t itself state what the Canon is, and only the Torah and Revelation – the endcaps – assert even their own canonicity. Even Peter says Paul writes things hard to understand, but he doesn’t say they are inerrant.

          • Scripture actually *does* state what the canon is… as long as we recognize the first-century Jewish context of the Gospels. Jesus said “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44) The phrase “Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms” is the language used by first-century Pharisees to describe the Tanakh: the Torah, the Nevi’im (prophets), and the Ketuvim (the writings… which were predominantly the Psalms). With this statement, Christ, Himself, affirmed the canon of Hebrew Scriptures… what Christians commonly (and mistakenly) call the “Old Testament”.

            If you need a second witness, Paul (a Pharisee) affirms it: “Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” (Romans 3:1-2) What would a Pharisee consider to be the oracles of God? The Tanakh: the Torah, Nevi’im, and Ketuvim.

            Grace and peace…

          • tz1

            So it doesn’t include Job, Ecclesiastes, or other “poetry” other than the Psalms? Or the historical non-prophets like Ezra and Nehimiah? Kings and Chronicles?

          • The three sections (Law, Prophets, and Psalms) include these books:

            The Law (Torah)

            (the early prophets)
            Samuel (both 1 Sam & 2 Sam in a single book)
            1 & 2 Kings

            (the later prophets)

            Psalms (the writings)
            Song of Songs
            Ezra- Nehemiah (as a combined book)
            1 & 2 Chronicles

          • tz1

            Please cite the chapter and verse in the bible where the canon is listed as I can’t seem to find it.

          • If you are looking for an explicit enumeration of specific texts, you won’t find it. To properly understand any ancient text, we must consider the historical context in which it was written. In Luke 24:44, Christ uses a phrase that had an explicit meaning to His first-century audience: the canon of Scripture as it was identified by the rabbis in the first century.

            If a newspaper quoted someone saying “Bob kicked the bucket about 10 years ago,” it would have a very specific meaning even if the word “death” or “deceased” was not used. In linguistic analysis, pragmatics uses both linguistic and situational context to determine meaning and this context refers to a known and very specific set of texts. Easy as pie. 🙂

            Grace and peace…

    • The term “deuterocanonical” (i.e. second canon) was adopted by the Catholic church at the council of Trent (1546) in response to the Protestant reformation (which reached a tipping point around 1517 with Martin Luther and the whole Wittenberg church door thing). Over a thousand years earlier in the fifth century, Catholic “Saint” Jerome translated the Hebrew Scriptures into the Latin Vulgate and rejected the “deuterocanonical” books as outside the canon. For the first 1500 years of Christianity they weren’t considered canonical and for the last 500 years half of the Christian world hasn’t considered them to be canonical. I’m not a Catholic so I’ll let them fry their own fish. I’ll stick with those books recognized by the group God entrusted His Word (see Romans 3:1-2).

      The term “Old Testament” is never used in the Bible so Paul could not (and did not) say it failed to make anyone righteous. The unnamed author of Hebrews wrote “the Law made nothing perfect” which is entirely true (that wasn’t the purpose of the Law) but that statement is utterly irrelevant to a discussion of whether or not Christianity should “unhitch” ourselves from the very Word of God that became flesh in the person of Christ. What part of Him are we willing to reject?

  • David Hess

    sadly Pastor Stanley has been drifting into the “Progressive” camp for some time now. I don’t call it Christianity because it has proven to be a departure from the Historic Christian faith. The trajectory leads to heresy (just ask Rob Bell and so many others like him). I pray he repents.

  • Kevin Quillen

    A question for Mr Brown and the entire board……if God gave Israel land in a perpetual covenant, why in 1948, did Israel only get a small portion of the land originally given to them?

    • Earl Baker

      Its theirs FOREVER, thats the covenant. Ownership doesnt neccessitate possession, and that’s the difference.
      I can go live on their land right now, but my being there cant negate the fact that God says its theirs.

    • God’s not done yet. 🙂

  • Earl Baker

    Thank you for this article!

    • Trilemma

      The Bible was translated into English by fallible humans which means English Bibles are not infallible. If the Bible could be translated into English infallibly, then there would be only one translation. The Bible is also interpreted by fallible humans which means the doctrines of Christianity are not infallible. If it were possible to interpret the Bible infallibly, then there wouldn’t be thousands of denomination. From a practical standpoint, the Bible cannot be considered infallible.

      • davidrev17

        “Remember this and stand firm, recall it to mind, you transgressors, remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, DECLARING THE END FROM THE BEGINNING [i.e., Genesis 3:15], and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose…” (Isaiah 46:8-10/ESV – emphasis added of course.)

        That’s a textbook definition of “sovereignty,” just in case you’re totally unaware of biblical passages such as this.

        ☆ ☆ ☆

        Unfortunately, I see your continued bush-league speculation in matters related to theology; aside from your anything BUT omniscient assessment re: the attributes of the Bible’s sovereign Creator of this “contingently existing” universe – a valid 21st-century scientific rendering of reality, unique to the reigning paradigm called the “Standard Model of Physics” for over 60-years now – is only surpassed by your wholesale ignorance of what the term “sovereign” means, infers, or implicates!

        You pejoratively (though ignorantly) refer to some “god” you’ve created in your own image – a description of which is actually light-years from the truth about the “only true and living God” self-revealed in the Judeo-Christian Scriptures – while foolishly assuming your misguided “finite” notions about Almighty God must necessarily render null-and-void the facts about this “Yahweh” (or the “Holy One of Israel”), of which one encounters in the Bible.

        It’s simply astounding to consider that people continue to believe (by faith alone too), that the transcendent, personal, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent (i.e., “sovereign”) God of the Holy Scriptures – was simply UNABLE to communicate His personal “will” clearly and effectively, TO his specially-created spirit creatures in time-space-dimension-history; thus generating this present moral and/or theological “free-for-all” amongst we Homo sapiens?

        Can you say the “perfect storm” for outright moral & theological relativism?? And yet this very diagnosis is evident throughout the constellation of cultures found on planet earth in our “day.”

        Contrary to popular opinion: the biblical Creator is “NOT the author of confusion” (e.g., 1 Cor. 14:33); such as what one can no doubt encounter when examining the suffocatingly constrained attributes of “Trilemma’s god” – of whom he’s confusingly created in his own “fallen” image.

        • Trilemma

          Why is there so much confusion in Christianity? Why so many different translations? The differences are significant between the KJV, NIV, NKJV, NASB, Message, ESV, etc. Why so many different denominations? The differences are quite significant between Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Evangelicals, Mormons, Protestants, Oneness Pentecostals, etc.

          • My nickel’s worth on this… the differences primarily result from the different set of assumptions each group brings to the text. If everyone started with the same set of (correct!) assumptions, we wouldn’t be in this mess. Now if we can only figure out what the right set of assumptions actually ARE! 🙂

            Oh, Lord, please return soon and get us all straightened out!

          • Trilemma

            I agree that the differences primarily result from the different sets of assumptions. It would have been very helpful if the Bible had not used idioms or figurative language (except for the parables).

          • Ken Abbott

            Take it up with the Author.

          • Trilemma

            All the authors are dead.

          • Ken Abbott

            *The* Author lives and reigns forever. Take it up with Him.

            And you are quite wrong about the human authors being dead. They all live in Him. Have you not read, He is the God of the living, not the dead?

          • Trilemma

            Then the authors are not available for comment.

            Did God inspire the Bible or did he dictate every single word?

          • Ken Abbott

            This short (for space reasons) treatment taken from the Ligonier Ministries website sums up the matter: “Organic inspiration is the process by which God guided the human authors of Scripture, working in and through their particular styles and life experiences, so that what they produced was exactly what He wanted them to produce. The text is truly the work of the human authors—God did not typically dictate to them as to a stenographer—and yet the Lord stands behind it as the ultimate source.”

            If you’re really interested, T, the classic work on the doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture was written by Benjamin B. Warfield. I encourage you to look it up.

          • Trilemma

            So, who is to blame for creating a document that has caused so much confusion and human suffering? Sounds like the answer is God.

          • Ken Abbott

            Then your hearing is bad, T. The blame lies with the sinful men and women whose hearts are heard and whose understanding is corrupt. If the document was rightly received there would be no confusion or suffering.

          • Trilemma

            Why is it that spirit filled born again Christians are unable to rightly receive this document? If God were omniscient, He could create a document that is rightly received by those wanting to rightly receive it.

          • davidrev17

            “And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?” And he [Jesus] said to them, “Well did Isaiah [that would be the OT Isaiah, chapter 29] prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the COMMANDMENT OF GOD [i.e., the OT] and hold to the tradition of men.” (Mark 7:5-8/ESV – emphasis added – but read entire context in vv. 1-13.)

            ▪ ▪ ▪

            So what do you make of the Lord Jesus’ unambiguous reference to the Hebrew Bible, as containing the “commandment of God”?? Yet there you go again – finitely, thus incoherently, standing in truly speculative pea-brained judgment of the ONLY source of omniscience throughout the known universe?? Come again Trilemma?

            I’m now going to abide by the Apostle Paul’s sage advice in Titus 3:10 – see also a sampling of his [Paul’s] final words to Timothy in 2 Tim. 3:15-17 & 4:1-8 – something of which I should’ve done months ago. Please forgive my disobedience Lord Yeshua!

          • Ken Abbott

            1. As a matter of fact, believers in Christ indwelt by the Holy Spirit do exhibit a better appreciation and understanding of Scripture than do unbelievers, even those who have made a lifetime academic study of them. This is a consistent testimony.

            2. However, believers in Christ remain incompletely sanctified. There are persistent issues of sin that affect intellectual and emotional receipt of Scripture.

            3. Human beings are limited–the finite cannot contain the infinite. We may apprehend God but we cannot comprehend him. His thoughts and ways are higher than our thoughts and ways. Even a lifetime of study of the Scriptures under the guidance of the Holy Spirit does not exhaust their depths.

            4. “If God were omniscient…” Again, T, take it up with him. I’m sure your criticisms will be dealt with in an appropriate manner. Remember Job.

          • Trilemma

            Here’s some examples of what I’m talking about.

            1. Many Christians believe God is triune but many don’t.
            2. Many Christians believe in eternal torment but many don’t
            3. Many Christians believe in a 6 day creation but many don’t.
            4. Many Christians believe in salvation by faith alone but many don’t.

            On these and many other things, the Bible could have been much clearer for even limited, finite humans.

          • Ken Abbott

            It would be helpful if you define what you mean by “Christian.” Christianity has content; there is a specific meaning to the term “Christian.”

            1. Anti-trinitarians are heretics as defined by historical orthodox Christianity. These are not Christians.

            2. While eternal conscious punishment has been (by far) the majority report in orthodox Christianity and persons holding other views are likely in error, there is room for charitable in-house disagreement on this one.

            3. Likewise, disagreements over the time length of creation are in-house debates and not a core feature of the Christian faith.

            4. Justification by grace alone through faith alone by Christ alone is the biblical gospel. Anyone who teaches another “gospel” (really no gospel at all) is under apostolic condemnation. Anyone who denies the biblical gospel cannot rightly be considered a Christian. But there are also many real Christians who live within apostate communions. In the end, we are saved by true faith Christ and not entirely or solely by our thoughts about him–it is mostly a matter of the heart. The Good Shepherd knows his sheep and his sheep know his voice.

          • Trilemma

            Did God not know Christians would kill each other over these issues? Why couldn’t God make the Bible clear on these doctrines?

          • Ken Abbott

            1. God is not ignorant regarding sin and he will hold all to account one way or another.

            2. T, the Bible IS clear on these doctrines (the formal theological word regarding this is perspicuity), but people have their own biases, prejudices, and blindfolds. You underestimate the power of wanting to make God and Christianity conform to personal preferences and to reject biblical teachings we do not like because they offend us in some way. Humans like to be in control.

          • Trilemma

            I’m well aware of the power of wanting to make God and Christianity conform to personal preferences and to reject biblical teachings. That’s how trinitarianism won out over Arianism. Why couldn’t God have simply had Paul write 1 Corinthians 8:6 as, “yet for us there is but one God in three persons, the Father, from whom all things came and for whom we live, the Lord Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live, and the Holy Spirit,” and saved Christianity so much confusion?

          • Ken Abbott

            Personal preference led the bishops gathered at Nicaea to make a near-unanimous statement upholding the doctrine of the Trinity and rejecting Arianism, thereby rejecting the teaching of Scripture. Riiiiight. You’ve never read Athanasius or the Cappidocians, have you?

          • Trilemma

            Trinitarians and non-Trinitarians killed each other by the thousands over this doctrine. God could have prevented this with just one verse in the Bible.

          • m-nj

            differences in the major translations, done by reliable and qualified translators (eg., NOT the Mormons or the Jehovah’s Witnesses), are not “significant” with respect to the meaning conveyed, and none of the differences impact any core christian belief.

            the question about denominations is totally separate.

          • Trilemma

            Revelation 14:11 NIV: And the smoke of their torment will rise for ever and ever.

            Revelation 14:11 WNT: And the smoke of their torment goes up until the Ages of the Ages.

            One translation indicates time in the Lake Fire has no end while the other indicates there is an end. Is that a significant difference affecting a core belief.

  • John Ronning

    When John describes the Lord Jesus as “full of grace and truth,” 75% of commentators on John (according to an article from quite some time ago) recognize that this is how the Lord describes himself to Moses on Mt. Sinai after the golden calf incident (Exodus 34; rab chesed we’emet). (and multiple versions of the Aramaic Scriptures – Targums – have this revelation in Exodus 34 as a revelation of the divine Word). I get the impression that Stanley doesn’t see Jesus that way, i.e. as the God of Moses who has come in the flesh, for our salvation. “It was about me that Moses wrote” (John 5 – not referring to messianic prophecies, but to what Moses wrote as his spokesman long before his incarnation, e.g describing him as “full of grace and truth.” Actually, that’s a problem throughout Evangelicalism.

  • Grasshopper

    Acts 6:4 “But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.”

    Since the New Testament had not been written yet, What “word” were the Apostles ministering? THE OLD TESTAMENT.

    • Trilemma

      The “word” would have been what Jesus taught them and would be written in the New Testament.

      • davidrev17

        Wrong again Trilemma…as usual. The “Word” [Greek “Logos”] – aka the Lord Jesus – is clearly identified throughout the New Covenant Scriptures as being our Creator “Yahweh,” in the flesh.

        (e.g., John 8:42-59; 14:1-11; Colossians 1:15-18; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 1:1-4; then compare Revelation 1: 8, 10, 11, 17, 18; with Isaiah 43:10-13, as well as Isaiah 44:6, with Revelation 19:11-16 & Mark 15:24-32)

        Don’t you ever read the very text, over which you incoherently stand in Godless-mocking judgment? This ain’t rocket science! See for yourself:

        ☆ ☆ ☆

        “In the beginning was the WORD, and the WORD was with God, and the WORD WAS GOD.”

        “He [the WORD, or the Lord Jesus] was in the beginning with God [i.e., Genesis 1:1] All things were made through him [the WORD], and without him was not any thing made that was made.

        “In him [the LORD Jesus] was life, and the life was the light of men. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1-4, 14/ESV – my emphasis)

        • Trilemma

          Okay. So, in Acts 6:4, what exactly were the apostles doing when they gave themselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Lord Jesus? Were they preaching the Old Testament?

          • davidrev17

            Just continue reading very carefully, the same narrative of which continues thru Stephen’s (the first NT martyr) powerful sermon to the religious leaders in Acts 7 – including their almost maniacal response in stoning him to death.

          • Trilemma

            You didn’t answer my question. Logos does not always refer to Jesus. In Acts 6:4, logos refers to the gospel. The apostles wanted to devote themselves to prayer and teaching the gospel.

          • Ken Abbott

            Don’t take Acts 6:4 in isolation–look at the immediate context of chapter 6 (especially verses 2 and 7) as well as Luke’s use of the associated words and phrases throughout Acts. That preaching the gospel was at the core of their activities is obvious; the apostles relied heavily on the OT witness, especially its prophecies fulfilled in the person and ministry of Jesus, to authenticate their message.

          • Trilemma

            I agree, but I don’t think that’s what Grasshopper was saying about Acts 6:4.

          • davidrev17

            It is written:

            “Heaven and earth will pass away, but MY WORDS will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:35/NASB, emphasis added.)

            By faith we understand that the worlds were set in order at God’s command, so that the visible has its origin in the invisible.” (Hebrews 11:3 /NET)

            “And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, THAT HE MIGHT MAKE YOU KNOW THAT MAN DOES NOT LIVE BY BREAD ALONE, BUT MAN LIVES BY EVERY WORD THAT COMES FROM THE MOUTH OF THE LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3, my emphasis.)

            “By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath [Hebrew “Ruach” = Spirit = wind] of his mouth all their host.” (Psalm 33:6/ESV)

            “Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread out the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it and spirit to those who walk in it”: (Isaiah 42:5/ESV)

            ☆ ☆ ☆

            “Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.”

            “Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.”Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me, and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me….

            “…What then if you see the Son of Man ascending to where He was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; THE WORDS THAT I HAVE SPOKEN TO YOU ARE SPIRIT AND ARE LIFE.” (John 6:32-38, 62, 63/NASB, my emphasis.)

  • He who turns away his ear from listening to the law, Even his prayer is an abomination. (Proverbs 28:9)

  • Ray

    Jesus fulfilled the law, and through his body, abolished it.

    • Hi, Ray! 🙂 Why would anyone think the Law was intended to save us? That was never its purpose.

  • Ray

    Here is what my Bible says in Matthew 5:17: “Think not that I am come to destroy the Law, or the Prophets. I am not come to destroy them, but to fulfill them. (1599 Geneva) I believe there is a difference between destroy and abolish. Jesus abolished the law, not by destroying it, but by fulfilling it.

    • For the sake of conversation, let’s use the word “ended” instead of “fulfill” or “abolish” and just say Jesus “ended” the law. Then we are without law and 1 John 3:4 says that “sin is lawlessness”. By taking the position that Jesus “ended” the law and leaving us lawless, we are essentially saying He brought us into a state of sin. May it never be!

      We also need to consider the rest of the passage and the words of the Master:
      “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17-19)

      1) Don’t even THINK He came to end/abolish/cancel the Law or the Prophets.
      2) Heaven and earth are still here (at least from what I can tell). 😉
      3) If anyone annuls/ends/cancels one of the LEAST of the commandments, they will be called LEAST in the Kingdom.

      If we’re saying Jesus anuls/ends/cancels ALL of the commandments that would make *HIM* (the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!) the absolute LEAST person in His own Kingdom. May it never be!

      Fulfill means to “give the fullness of”. A waiter, after filling your glass of water, doesn’t take it away from you. He fills the glass so you can enjoy it. The ultimate servant leader, Christ, has given us the fullness of the commandments He delivered to His chosen people, Israel at Mt. Sinai. Why would He take away the very thing Scripture declares “For it is not an idle word for you; indeed it is your life”? (Deuteronomy 32:47)

      Grace and peace…

  • Kathy Verbiest Baldock

    “And he strongly encouraged those who have concerns to listen to his entire, relevant series, since he crafts his series as other leaders craft individual messages.” How many commenters will bother to listen to the messages. I did. I see much concern about sentences and thoughts taken out of context and without understanding what Andy Stanley is suggesting.

    Reading Brown’s take is not a substitute for listening to the messages. It may be easier to have someone predigest your intake, but it is not a replacement.

    • Ken Abbott

      No, certainly not–those with a strong interest in the matter should themselves take the time to listen to the messages. But it is not as if Dr. Brown’s concerns are isolated; there are several who have carefully considered Andy Stanley’s words and published critical responses.

  • m-nj

    Based on what is presented here, and not having listened to the whole series, Andy seems to have drifted from the solid teaching of his father, Charles. And all in the name of “relevance”, which is really a dumbing-down the faith and a departure from declaring the WHOLE counsel of God. Sad.

  • TheSaint4JC

    I recommend everyone watch Jeff Durbin’s video on Christian epistemology titled “Ireland, Andy Stanley, & the Foundation of Truth” on YouTube. He addresses this very issue quite well.

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