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When You Have a Big Name

I have rescinded most of my admiration for big name preachers because many of them get too comfortable with themselves as truth creators. That’s right, “truth creators,” these are people who like to insert some of their own creativity into the theology of the Bible. Let’s take the well-known son of Charles Stanley, Andy. WorldNet Daily did a short article on Andy Stanley - here is the opening headline:

Andy Stanley, pastor of the 34,000-member North Point Community Church in suburban Atlanta, who famously advised his flock to “unhitch” from the Old Testament in a sermon last spring, has now penned an article promoting his new book saying laws such as “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and “Thou shalt not kill” are no longer relevant to Christians living in the New Covenant era.”

"Participants in the new covenant (that's Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles. Participants in the new covenant are expected to obey the single command Jesus issued as part of his new covenant: as I have loved you, so you must love one another."

What Andy seems to dismiss is that all promises made to Israel are not temporary, nor are they done away with just because we now are living under the new covenant. The scripture is quite clear that Jesus did not come to replace or remove the law He came to fulfill it. Fulfilling it doesn’t mean it is now done away with it is the end result. It is completed. Unfortunately many Christians feel they are privileged to be in Christ, by passing by all the issues of the law and they never have to learn about our spiritual heritage that is the Old Testament. 

The Ten Commandments have not been replaced; they are the moral backbone of the scriptures and they remind us of how we should treat God and each other as we live out our lives. 

The Ten Commandments are about idolatry and character, and as we all know, these two have not been done away with. Andy Stanley has been a prolific writer and speaker but that does not make him infallible. He is popular because he brings spiritual life down into practical bite-sized revelations that relate to everyday life. His leadership podcasts have been extremely popular by challenging existing and emerging leaders to a higher standard of excellence. I am not sure why it has become important for leaders who have become well known to insert themselves into issues that are not worth the time to argue about. 

John MacArthur is another famous preacher who has drifted into telling Charismatics and Pentecostals that the fascination with the gifts of the Spirit are no longer important nor are they necessary. These gifts for the most part have been replaced because we now have the Bible. 

So Andy Stanley feels that the Ten Commandments are no longer necessary, and John MacArthur feels that most gifts of the Spirit have been replaced. 

Of course no one would pay attention to them if they were not pastors who are well known. If these men were simple bi-vocational pastors, everyone would dismiss their theological missteps as simply a lack of education. Yet, I think this is not the end of the story. 

The Apostle Paul had some problems with well-known preachers in his day too. 

2 Corinthians 11:5

"I do not think I am in the least inferior to those “super-apostles."

Question: "Who are the super-apostles Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 11:5?"

Answer: The “super-apostles” were false teachers who appeared to be superior to Paul in their manner and authority. Paul calls them “super” in a facetious manner.
As Paul went throughout the Roman Empire preaching the gospel, others would come behind him and try to steal away the new converts. Often they would claim that the gospel that Paul preached was inadequate in some way and needed to be supplemented. In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul explains why his ministry does not seem very successful. First, there is a spiritual war, and unbelievers simply cannot understand the gospel that he preaches on their own (verses 1–6). Also, Paul lacks all signs of outward success and blessing. He is afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down (verses 8–9). But he explains that this is only his outward condition. Spiritually he is not crushed, driven to despair, forsaken, or destroyed
. -Got Questions

Even Paul had his well-known preachers and theologians to content with, all competing for recognition and the supremacy of spiritual maturity. Things haven’t changed much have they? It is amazing to me that the scriptures teach us that we are to be of one mind, one emphasis, and one spirit. 

Yet, we can’t seem to keep that oneness alive for too long. 

If you have a big name you are called upon to speak, to write and to make new paths for the faithful to follow. All of this makes you a prime candidate to make big mistakes that no one has the right to correct. After all, successful well-known preachers didn’t get there by chance, they got there because they are gifted and took chances others were not willing to take. Be thankful if you have great influence in this world, but remember that Jesus will judge influence as to how you used it and how you promoted it. If that influence has any shred of self- serving appeal, you will not be rewarded for your efforts. 

I do not want to be critical of another brother in Christ, but there comes a time in every generation that you need to correct those who are leading the flock. I hope Andy Stanley comes to realize how important Israel is to God. Andy may not feel the need to change his mind, but Israel and the Ten Commandments are very important to God. If they are important to God, then they should be important to us. That is my main point and I end on it today. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K 

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