(Photo: North Point via The Christian Post)
Pastor Andy Stanley recently left some Christians questioning his stance on homosexuality after preaching a message on grace and truth that included an account of a gay couple last month. He told The Christian Post he may issue a statement in the near future.
In the meantime, he pointed people to his 8-part message series on what it means to be Christian, which concludes this Sunday.
"We are requesting that everyone watch the entire series: Christian. It concludes this Sunday. It's 8 parts. That's a lot of content to wade through. But I figure that's better than a sound bite or an interview," Stanley, who leads North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., said in an email to CP.
The sermon in question was delivered on April 15, titled "When Gracie Met Truthy." While preaching on the tension between grace and truth ("the truth is 'you're a sinner,' and the grace is 'I don't condemn you'"), Stanley told the story of a divorced couple who formerly attended North Point together. They separated after the woman's husband began a same-sex relationship with another man, who was still married to a woman.
The man and his partner wanted to serve as volunteers at the church, but Stanley explained that the two men were committing adultery since one of them did not finalize his divorce yet and thus could not serve as volunteers.
The "messy" story, as Stanley described it, ends with the gay couple, the first man's ex-wife and their child, as well as her new boyfriend and his child from another relationship, all coming together to worship together at a big service at North Point Church. The pastor refers to them as an example of a modern day family. Christians, he said, are called not only to hold on to the truth, but also to grace which includes forgiveness and love.
That message prompted a few Christian leaders, including Dr. Albert Mohler of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, to ponder whether Stanley was condemning only adultery and not homosexuality.
"Stanley clearly and repeatedly stressed the sin of adultery, but then left the reality of the homosexual relationship between the two men unaddressed as sin," Mohler wrote on his blog this week. "To the contrary, he seemed to normalize their relationship. They would be allowed to serve on the host team if both were divorced. The moral status of their relationship seemed to be questioned only in terms of adultery, with no moral judgment on their homosexuality."
Dan Delzell, pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb., also commented that Stanley seemed to send "mixed messages."
Both Mohler and Delzell are hoping the Georgia pastor will clarify his stance and "affirm the biblical declaration of the sinfulness of homosexual behavior, even as he preaches the forgiveness of sin in any form through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ," as Mohler stated.
The first seven parts of Stanley's "Christian" sermon series are available for viewing on North Point's official website. His story about the "modern day family" begins half-way through Part 5: "When Gracie Met Truthy."