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Giving Rocket
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How Andy Stanley Handled A Heckler

I go to Browns Bridge Community Church & Andy Stanley is our pastor.  Today, during the first service, a heckler started yelling at him from the crowd during the closing minutes of his message.  I was not at the campus that Andy was preaching at but the video feed was live.  This heckler was loud & screaming something theological in response to Andy’s message.

The point of this post is to help you as a church leader know how to handle situations like this.  I have to say, Andy & North Point security teams did a great job from what I could tell.

Here are a few things I observed today that can help your church:

1. You need a security plan BEFORE something happens in your service

No matter what size your church is, you need a plan for emergencies in your service.  Within a few seconds of this heckler, security teams were on the move.

If this person would have had a gun or something extreme, it would be even more important to have security ready to act.  I believe that every church should have at least one volunteer security person in each service.  Having a person in your service that responds to emergencies will prevent panic.

What is your plan for hecklers or emergencies during your service?

2. Keep your composure on the stage

Andy did a GREAT job this morning of keeping his composure.  The heckler wouldn’t shut up and Andy was gently trying to move the service to a close.  The guy just wouldn’t quit yelling so Andy was patient & very kind.  Andy’s character showed through in the way he responded.  The thing that was impressive was how he kept his composure.  Most people would either over react or not react at all.

Composure is important because there were thousands of people in the room & we were waiting on how to react based on what Andy said.

3. Create calm after the emergency is over

Immediately after the hecklers voice grew faint, Andy gave an explanation.  He spoke about what the guy was heckling about and said why he was heckling him.  The principle was that Andy created a transition that allowed the crowd to move on.

4. Pray

Usually any emergency requires some type of prayer.  Andy immediately said, “let’s pray for us and him.”  This was a great way to end the emergency and transition out of the awkward situation.

Andy did a great job today handling the heckler.  Just like anything Andy does, he did this with class & integrity. Great job, Andy & North Point!

 

 

Comments

  1. I was live in the first service at North Point this morning. I was also in the east auditorium, so I saw all the events first person. I am a host team vounteer, but this was not my Sunday to serve. I have never had the security protocols covered with me, personally, but knowing what I know of host team, I saw the exact people I figured would move in, do just that in a timely manner. It was a tense few seconds, but by the time Andy finished his prayer, they guy and security was out of site. Not sure where they took him or what they did, but it was seemless. You are correct, it was handeled well.

  2. Jordan Hubbard says:

    Is there a recording of this? I would love to see how Stanley handled it!

  3. I usually do not watch services on-line but I listen to the podcast later, because I live in Czech Republic and I go here to great small church where I lead worship. I listen to the podcast for inspiration and different perspective from other countries.

    But I saw tweet from Andy before the service started so I decided to watch the service from NorthPoint on-line. And it was the service with the screaming guy and I guess that Andy was very kind to him and tried to communicate that he understands the ideas what the guy was screaming but would like to pray to close.

    In my whole life I have never seen in my church anything like that, but it seems like a good plan to know what to do in the emergency situation like was this one.

  4. Jordan Hubbard says:

    Was the heckler responding to Andy’s sermon content that morning?

    • Seemed like that was the issue. Sounded like something Theological he was screaming and Andy responded Brilliantly to it.

  5. Wow! Thanks for sharing how one church handled a heckler. We don’t have a plan in our church, but you better believe we”ll be talking about this in our next leadership meeting. Let us know if you find a recording…tweet it or something. I’m curious how the responders moved and the timing of the prayer to divert the crowds attention at the same time.

    • They moved really fast. It was truly amazing how prepared they are.

      • Rome7hills says:

        Yup, can’t have anyone disrupting their perfect world. Funny how we all love the stories of Jesus turning over the money changers and chasing everyone out with a whip but when someone takes a stand against your church and its false doctrines, you’re singing a different tune.

  6. Good post casey, thanks for sharing that

  7. Marilyn Nave says:

    Just wanted to comment here in support of what I believe happened yesterday. Before going further, I must say that I was NOT in the service. My daughter called me after it happened when she got the story from a family who was there. That family was upset at the man who shouted to Andy and verbalized their feelings to my daughter. Their story, told to me by my daughter, matches up with some dear friends who were worshipping at our home last night in small group. My friend was in the service and heard/saw all of it. Both stories are consistent as I said, so I am working on the assumption that they have an accurate perspective. Here is what they said. The “heckler” as you are calling him was not heckling at all. He simply asked Andy a question in a very loud voice and kept asking, pleading almost. Understand that NP is huge and to be heard, I imagine anyone without a microphone would have to shout. Anyway, the question was “why don’t you preach the gospel?”
    The reason I wanted to post here and take a stand, possibly against everyone else, yet with this young man, is because I’ve asked Andy the same thing myself. I’ve sent 2 very heartfelt letters to him after serving on a ministry team where I was asked to serve. This team was supposed to “be his sounding board and give him our opinions” (Andy’s words). But obviously that was not the case. He never responded to me.
    I know everyone loves NP. But I also know that scripture has a clear mandate and description of a New Testament church and NP is operating outside of scriptural authority. In fact, most churches are as well. But don’t take any conclusions I’m writing as fact….go to ACTS, EPHESIANS, CORINTHIANS, etc and you can read for yourself.
    I know that others have asked Andy the same question, maybe privately, maybe in letters or emails. He may have not responded to them either. Maybe, this young man was one of them and felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to call out the apostacy at the end of the message; giving Andy every opportunity to share the true gospel message before ending the service. We no longer go to NP but did go there for 5 years. In that 5 years, I heard the gospel only a few times, less than I can count on one hand……that’s the real shame!……not this brave young man who had the courage to stand up and be humilitated…escorted out being held by both arms as if he was a criminal……
    Remember folks, it’s the woman on the beast who is drunk with the blood of the saints….the woman is any church that is turning away from the true gospel message, the one that breaks hearts, brings sinners to their knees in repentance. The message that’s hard to hear for the wicked, causes hatred and gnashing of teeth. The message that is so blunt and direct and full of Truth that will get the speaker stoned or murdered or crucified or beheaded. Now you tell me, is that what you’re hearing at NP?

    • How do you read Acts or any of the new testament and get “a clear mandate and description of a new testament church?” I have been to seminary and studied the 1st century church extensively and there is nothing resembling any local church denominations (even after the reformation). You are confusing witnessing/ preaching in a public ministry with the activities of a pastor on a sunday morning. I imagine if Andy were born in the 1st century, as you suggested, that he would be exactly like Paul….preaching in a relevant way and leading people to Christ. Paul’s message changed (he expressly endorsed relevant preaching) depending on his audience with the most dramatic examples coming as he addressed those who believed in greek gods. There is no right way to do ministry…there are more effective ways to be certain but no correct way as long as the core beliefs of the local church are consistent with scripture. Different models are needed to reach everyone. NorthPoint creates environments (sunday service is one) where people can come to know Jesus, place their faith in him and grow in their relationship. There are many environments that are designed for different seasons, ages, knowledge etc as you know. What i do not understand is why you think Andy should get up there every sunday and scream God’s wrath and hellfire or in what way that could be possibly effective in given our current culture. God has used NP’s model for ministry more effectively than any other ministry i have ever seen….and what i mean by effective is authentically saved people who understand grace, pursue Christ and grow in the spirit. Here is the simple solution, if you desire to hear the “believe, repent or go to hell” message every sunday then just go to a church that does so. Respectively, it is arrogant to suggest there is any “certain” way Andy should preach. If the message is biblically sound, relevant, engaging and helpful he is doing his job. NP provides many ways to take the next step in one’s walk with Christ.

      Finally, before seeking out the young man and praising him you should know he believes in a heretical soteriology and has been doing damage to high school students with his false teaching. Further, as some have mentioned, his method is most certainly inappropriate. In a country whose churches are largely known by their ungrace, how do you think the unbelievers in the audience reacted to his stunt? How, in any way, was it helpful?

      The church, even though we disagree on some methods and models should be united for Christ and this is at best divisive

      Kelly

      • thanks for your input Kelly. I guess it comes down to how we view the bible. Do we view it as a book of suggestions with a “moral of the story” we can choose to apply or learn from? Or do we view it as sacred text, commands and examples set for us to model? Really, answering this question, answers a whole lot more questions. I believe we serve a Holy God who, in His mercy and according to His desire, reached down to contact us, not the other way around. We are not in a position to tell Him anything or decide HOW we want to to be in a relationship with Him. He already decided how it was to be, how reconciliation is possible. If I am reading the Old Testament correctly, He directed exactly how worship was to be carried out. He gave clear instructions and even imparted heavy consequences for altering His instructions in some cases. That tells me that He cares very deeply how He is approached, how He is represented, how He is dealt with.
        My husband and I were both in seminary also. We withdrew after finding out the false teachings that were being knowingly propagated, all in the name of modern day “church”. Man has many excuses, some sound even reasonable. But then when I go to scripture to see if God has that much flexibility to allow us to interpret or do it our way or be relevant or speak to this culture/generation, I come to the conclusion that He never has been that way before, why would He be that way now?
        I realize that some things have definitely changed after the cross, ie levitical system, sacrificial system, etc. But I also believe that is why we have the New Testament. So that generations later can benefit from those that heard directly from God on what things were fulfilled in Jesus and how they were fulfilled. You asked where the mandate is? Acts clearly shows us a NT church that is not operating in a temple but in homes. The Levitical system is gone, hence no one between us and God except Jesus. No tithe to support Levites, no sacrificial example of an animal, no circumcision necessary as an outward sign, and many more. However, the NT does tell us that with respect to the law (OT), not one stroke of the pen will disappear. So when I read that, I conclude that unless the NT has directly commented (giving great authority to those who wrote it knowing it was the Lord breathing out scripture) then the OT is still the law that Jesus was talking about when He said that the law would not disappear. (matt 5)
        You’ll find more descriptions of the early church in the other letters as well. But here’s the thing. None of this will mean anything to you and you won’t even care what it says if you think the first way that I described and you believe you can act as you wish.
        So, to throw another hat in the ring……CHURCH is about the body of Christ. It is really only for those who’ve been born again. The great commission was to GO OUT and make disciples so that when you bring them IN, you can maintain a sanctified body of believers. Hence, Ananias/Sapphira, !Cor 5, Eph 5, Rev 2&3, all speak about maintaining a sanctified body of BELIEVERS and the Rev passages clearly tell us that Jesus charges the churches with tolerating sin and they need to repent. Now, how do we classify NP or any modern day church for that matter? Well, we don’t. They are almost ALL operating outside of what scripture says. Equipping the saints to go out and share the gospel is the mandate of “church”. When that body is kept pure and holy, the Holy Spirit is present and evident. If a non believer happens to be in their
        midst, he is hopefully convicted. And some people on this blog are right, we can go from milk to meat when the body of Christ is operating in that manner. NP says they are a “seeker” church. I believe according to scripture, there is no such thing, no authority to format a church toward the lost. Church is for the saints. The saints should be conducting the great commission outside of it’s gathering and then bringing the new Christians in. But let’s assume NP can do what they’re doing according to scripture and those of you who are that lenient with the Word of God are right. Then the only message that a lost person needs to have spoken to them is the gospel. Nothing else will do. Nothing else will be beneficial. Nothing else will make sense. They are dead in their trespasses. The things of God are foolishness to them until they have been brought from death to life. So, either way, I believe we have distorted the Word of God significantly and like sheep, we don’t read it for ourselves, we don’t discern God from the OT and realize He hasn’t changed. We just let man mold and manipulate scripture to accomplish his end and we go along because we don’t know any better. By the way, as angry as we were to realize the distortion in seminary, the real problem was us. We sat for years taking for granted that what we were being taught was Truth. We never checked for ourselves….shame on us!

        • Rome7hills says:

          Praise His name for you Marilyn! “Seeker-sensitive” is a crock. This is about being politically correct and giving a message everyone can enjoy.

          Have you ever spent time with the “Northpoint/Buckhead” people? They praise Andy’s name and how great his message is then don’t change a thing about their living. They continue binge drinking, worshiping their college football team, watching filth and smut on TV, listening to disgusting music and speaking and dressing like the world. Yet, they say that have a “relationship” with Jesus because Andy says so. Makes me sick.

          My friends are all trying to get me to go back and I’ve actually lost a few over it. Some Christians we have there.

          • So is it up to Andy Stanley to change people? Or is he to deliver sound messages based on biblical truths. Pastor envy is alive and well in many churches, but if you are not willing to take the words to heart and let God do a work in you then chances are you won’t change… The reason we are never reborn in Christ is we never died to the world.

          • I was an Atheist when I first attended North Point. Within those walls I came to understand that God is real and Jesus is Lord.

            To you seeker-sensitive is a crock. To me it is a vehicle God Himself used to introduce me to my need for salvation.

          • That ignorant Stephen! Why didn’t he realize that to be relative to his generation, he can’t just go skipping through the foyer and the living room and head straight for the kitchen? I mean, surely he knows God wasn’t serious when He said just give it to them straight and leave the rest up to Me……you know that whole “shake the dust…..” comment. And who told Stephen that condemning them of sin was ever going to work? These are people who want a church for the unchurched, not people who want to hear a guy who doesn’t even care about them. For heaven’s sake, couldn’t he have been a little more sensitive to the culture….you know….emotionally charged people……rocks lying around…. bad combination.

            I bet the Lord was real disappointed in that young man. Afterall, He’s given us a brain, He’s laid out the plan, we have the freedom to improve upon it when necessary. And that God in the Old Testament was just a really scary dude who only did stuff to those people, not us.

            Wish we knew what He thought……………….

          • sorry, but sometimes tongue in cheek gets the point across better than straightforwardness…….hence Job 38

        • Actually the New Testament CLEARLY shows that the Early Church operated completely within the temple structure as to the fact that Peter’s sermon was at Pentecost at the temple, the Early Christians were still practicing sacrifices, and were often at the temple, specifically at Solomon’s Portico.

          Wasn’t until after the temple was destroyed and Christians came under intense persecution that they resorted to only house churches. Even when Paul was on his missionary journeys he was consistently visiting the Synagogues to worship and teach.

          Also in your synopsis, you’re completely discounting the Biblical distinction between the “visible” church and “invisible” church. This is most clearly seen in the nation of Israel. All of Israel was the people of God, but not all of them kept the covenant. They would all worship at the tabernacle and temple, but not all of them were truly, in their hearts, followers of God. Throughout the OT you see God talking about the remnant of his people. This carries over to the NT church where we see that there will be the visible church (people who go to a local church) and the invisible church (the actual bride of Christ and body of Christ, made up of the elect). So the idea that in the early church or in ANY church you won’t have non-believers is silly.

          And as for there being no support for a church who’s formatting is specifically geared towards lost people, please see: every time A) Jesus speaks to people (‘not the healthy who need a doctor,’) B) Jesus talks about why he’s starting the church (go into all the nations making disciples…of people already saved?), C) the Bible talks about why it was written (surely the Bible was written with the intention only to tell saved people how to be saved), D) the way in which the Bible was written (for instance, Koine Greek was the simplest and most common place Greek of its day. Easy to grasp, easy to understand and hear the message that it holds) or E) or the incarnation in itself (‘came to seek and save that which was lost,’).

          A church that formats itself around meeting people’s needs, showing them their deeper, eternal needs, and making it as easy to understand as possible is not only allowed, but I would seriously question a church who would read that and say, “Yeah thats not us. We want to make it difficult for people to understand, and we want to tell people they have spiritual needs without ever meeting a physical or pressing need.”

          You seem to have a good grasp on the content of Scripture, but your method of holding it all together and synthesizing it is way off base.

          • Jared, I think you’re speaking to me but I have a few observations. At pentecost, my text clearly says they were in a house. Obviously, those outside could hear/see what was happening and it doesn’t say so but I’m assuming Peter preached the sermon you are talking about either from a window or doorway of the house or he indeed went outside in their midst…..the text does not say. But it does say that they fellowshipped in homes from then on. Again, I assume until they got run out of Jerusalem anyway.
            I know that the most captive audiences for Truth were in the synogogues and that is where conversations certainly started for the apostles but time and time again, we read that the “church” is a body of believers not a place or building regardless where they met. If your point is that the gospel is to be shared inside a religious building, I agree. It should be shared everywhere, hence the reason this blog started. But time and time again, we see the apostles share the gospel while fulfilling the “GO” command (houses, rivers, streets, stadiums) My point is that there is no command or instruction by God to build a building to house the body as there was in the OT. If He wanted to be represented inside a structure, He would have commanded it……He did it before.
            As to my point on the sanctified body…..no one on this blog has yet to investigate the passages I cited, Acts 5, 1 Cor 5, Eph 5, Rev 2 & 3. I did not say the body needed to be kept holy, scripture did. I did not say that the only way to do this is the conclusions I drew, that “church” is for the saints, scripture did (Eph 4:11-13). Tell me how we fulfill the above commands in a seeker environment? Do you not see the huge implications in GO and make disciples verses BRING IN and make disciples? Of course I’m not saying there will not be sinners. Every one of us are sinners. But my sin is to be dealt with regularly and I am to produce fruit in keeping with repentance and you are to hold me accountable in the body of Christ. None of that is happening with the ungodly and that is a HUGE difference.
            And no, we don’t go make disciple of people who are already disciples. We equip and mature those folks inside the church according to Eph 4. We go make disciples outside the church, in our towns, in our neighborhoods, wherever we go. Those that repent (Peter’s sermon you mentioned) come inside the body of Christ both spiritually and physically. This is how we are able to keep the commands in those passages above. If I’m wrong on that, please address 1 Cor 5, Eph 5 and Jesus commands in Rev to repent about tolerating sin inside the body of Christ . How are those commands possible in a seeker environment? It would seem we would have to make some kind of identification system so we would know who to share the gospel with vs who to equip to maturity; who is yeast and who is lost; who needs to be held accountable and who needs to come to repentance and faith. I really want to know your solution……….

          • Marilyn,

            Thanks for your response. I should go ahead and clarify that I cannot speak on behalf of all seeker-sensitive churches. This is ok since this blog post and the subsequent comments specifically is addressed to North Point’s ‘seeker-sensitive’ approach. All that to say, I will answer your (great!) questions based on how NP does it, but can’t say that all ‘seeker-senstive’ type of churches do this the same way (or the correct way). First I’ll address your Biblical concerns (which is always a good thing to do when talking about the Church!!) and then I will address your concerns as to how NP handles the discipling of believers.

            First, to respond to your Biblical comments. Yes, the event of the HS coming down on the believers on the day of Pentecost did occur in a room. However, shortly thereafter (2:5) it speaks of there being a multitude that came together. By the end of Peter’s sermon, it appears that there were 3,000 people that accepted Christ that day. My ESV Study Bible (only referencing that to show a non-biased source! Of course the notes are not inspired so this could be a basic interpretive difference, but I find the evidence compelling!) has a note at the bottom of 2:5 saying that this event (Peter’s sermon to the multitude gathered after the upper room event) almost had to have occurred in the Temple grounds. There was no other place that could have accommodated 3,000 people other than the Temple in Jerusalem at that time. These houses were in the middle of an already crowded city, and the streets can’t just fit 3,000 people (probably more than that since it says 3,000 were added to the Church that day, probably there were a few, or maybe a lot, that did not accept Christ that day). This to me shows that Early Church did not altogether forsake the temple institution right away. This is clearly shown in Acts 2:46, “And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes…” So here we see that the early church did both: they met corporately at the temple and worshipped, and they met in their homes and had community with one another. It was also in the homes that they met one anthers needs as verse 46 continues, “…they received their food with glad and generous hearts.” Next, in Acts 3:1 it says, “Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer.” This, again, seems to indicate that the early church (and early Christianity) still felt very at home in their Jewish context. They still prayed at the temple, and went to the temple regularly for worship. This would continue until the temple’s destruction, and this also was one of the big factors or influences on the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 where the leaders of the Church had to decide what Jewish laws would they want new Gentile converts to follow. This council also shows that early Christianity had not removed itself from an organized religious institution since the Jewish Christians were still practicing their Judaism. In Acts 5:12, it states that “they were all together in Solomon’s Portico.” Again, as Luke is writing Acts he is stressing that the Early Church is not anti-Judaism. He is trying to show that the believers actually embraced their Jewish roots and continued praying, worshipping, and meeting in the temple. But yes, they were also meeting in their homes and breaking bread and having community. They were doing both!

            Second, as to the Synagogue comments. It is true that mainly Paul went to those on an evangelistic mission. However, I highly doubt that Paul just walked in and started shouting. The fact that he was teaching in the synagogue probably shows that he was worshipping there and spreading the Gospel. But there’s not a ton of firm support for this, I suppose. However, its a HUGE stretch to say that God never intended for His church to meet in a church building. And besides, if you are really trying to argue this point, your issue really isn’t with NP or ‘seeker-sensitive’ churches but really with every single church in America. Maybe there are exceptions. Also, one of the primary reasons why the Church became a house church movement was for two reasons: first, intense persecution throughout most of the history of the early church (hence why China today is mainly a house church movement, but you don’t think if they could they would have churches?) and second, this time period wasn’t like today where you can just find a plot of land and build a huge building and call it a church, YMCA, or Wal-Mart. Huge buildings like the Temple required massive costs and massive amounts of manpower to build. However, in Church history, once the Church becomes more widely accepted you see pretty early on the constructions of Churches and houses of worship.

            And lastly, as to your comment,

            “My point is that there is no command or instruction by God to build a building to house the body as there was in the OT. If He wanted to be represented inside a structure, He would have commanded it……He did it before.”

            Well, this can be taken in multiple ways. First, if you think that the church is ONLY allowed to do what the NT specifically commands the church to do then…well, I don’t know how much you can do. The NT writers seem far more concerned with laying out the theology of the church rather than the practice of it. Sure, there are a few verses here or there were Paul gives some commands about how the Church should operate. He also addresses what leadership throughout the church should look like. However, most of the time the NT is concerned with who Jesus is, what happened at the death/burial/resurrection, how this affects our lives today, and that he is coming again. The story of Acts is not trying to say “this is how the church should always be structured.” The story of Acts, the goal of Acts, is to show how the message of Jesus spread from Jerusalem all the way to the emperor of Rome. And as far as throwing out any principles gleaned from how God set up the Israelite religion, thats about 3/4 of the Bible that you’re not taking into consideration at that point, and I think thats an incorrect interpretive strategy. BTW if you only did what the NT specifically allows you to do in church then if you’ve ever sang a hymn that was written after 70 AD or read an english Bible you’re already out of line.

            Ok, now for your Biblical evidence. Acts 5, I’m sorry but I don’t see that Ananias and Sapphira is a story about sanctification, considering there wasn’t much sanctification accomplished by killing them both. Throughout Luke’s Gospel and the Book of Acts, the use of money is a key theme. Luke wants to show that the Early Church was not “in it” for the money, don’t take this to mean that Luke thought that all church leaders should be poor, either! Luke continuously wants people to see that no one in the early movement of Christianity was just getting rich off of everyone. Hence the story of the blind beggar who asks for money and Peter and John reply that they don’t have any money (Acts 3:6), the story of Ananias and Sapphira (the problem wasn’t that they didn’t give enough, the problem was that they tried to make it look like they gave more than they did, they lied to show people how generous they were), Peter’s rough rebuke of Simon the Magician when Simon offers to pay Peter for the secrets to his miracle-working, and many more. I’m not basing this off of my own thoughts, many commentators agree (Polhill has a great commentary on Acts). So as for this story, if you think that Acts 5 is the Bible’s method for creating sanctification then we’d probably have to start killing a lot of people off, or at least wonder why God isn’t killing more people off in church who aren’t sanctified.

            Your other verses, I completely agree with your interpretation that sanctification is vital to the Christian life and to the Body of Christ. No disagreements there. Since the body of Christ is continuously being sanctified, a point on which we both agree, we’ll have to see if NP actually accomplishes this.

            So, on to NP’s strategy for disciple making. There are many different aspects of a sanctification I’m guessing, and we first should say that the Church isn’t responsible for any of them, ultimately. The Holy Spirit is (on which we surely both agree, and by responsible I mean the actual cause of sanctification). One thing that will be helpful to note here is my comments on the Biblical distinction between the local church (visible church) and the universal Body and Bride of Christ (invisible church). There are of course going to be people in the visible church who are not really in the invisible church. The Bible talks about it, and the Bible shows that its going to happen. So, anyways, back to NP. North Point believes that in order to be a healthy disciple of Christ there are three vital relationships that must be formed: intimacy with God, community with insiders, and influence with outsiders (traditionally this has been known as “Exaltation of God, Edification of the Body, and Evangelism of the lost” NP just changed the lingo so people could understand). You would agree, right? A healthy follower of Christ should be deepening their walk with the Lord, deepening their community with fellow believers, and bringing in new disciples. The change that NP has made is that they think they best, most effective, way to do this is NOT necessarily at the Sunday Morning Service but rather in small groups and community. You even pointed this out, the early church didn’t necessarily have a “church” the same way we do today, so either , which you made it seem as if this was the only correct view, that means we should only have it their way (which is impossible and not accurate as stated above) OR it means that the Church will constantly be contextualizing itself and morphing its structure to fit culture (see: all of Church history, the differences in Peter and Paul’s approach to the Gospel in Acts 2 and Acts 17, the lack of emphasis on specific church structure and the greater influence on the moral fiber of the church leaders in Paul’s letters). So if NP decides to change things up a little bit, I think they have complete Biblical warrant to do so, so long as it does not contradict a specific command in the Bible. Because of this, NP has created the “Foyer, Living Room, Kitchen” environment strategy. In a house, when you bring someone into your foyer its usually very relaxing, very introductory. If you don’t know them you introduce yourself and meet everyone and then you always end up saying, “Come in, come in” and then proceed to the Living Room. You don’t start talking religion and politics (the two things that will surely turn any party into…well, these comment boards!!) in the foyer! You don’t immediately meet someone and say, “What are your thoughts on the current economy and which politician will correctly fix it?” Thats lame! No, you are polite and kind, and you invite them in to sit down and talk. At NP, they’ve structured their Sunday morning service to be this kind of environment. They want to have a broad reach, speak to people where they are and be helpful, and lastly not offend people when they don’t have to. This last one I’m sure you want to jump all over. Francis Chan (not seeker-sensitive) had a great comment on this idea. He basically said, “The Gospel is offensive enough, you don’t need to add on to it.” So when we say not to offend anyone we don’t mean refuse to share the tough parts about the Gospel or the Bible, but instead we don’t need to bring something up (like politics and religion at a party) that would go better in a more conversational environment. I have heard Andy give a sermon on how divorce is wrong to a crowd literally filled with divorced people. I have heard him give sermons promoting the authority and reliability of Scripture. I have heard him give sermons talking about pain and tragedy in life and that sometimes life will not be so “prosperous.” Also, the foyer environments are not meant to be the permanent resting place of the church attenders. Just like in your house, the goal is to move people towards a place of more intimacy like your living room. The “living room” environments are meant to be a next step from the foyer environments. These could be larger group gatherings in order to meet and talk with people, or smaller groups designed to talk about some of the “hard truths” of the Bible (Starting Point is a great example). The goal of these, again, is not to be the permanent goal for church-goers. The goal of these is to funnel them into more intimate environments. We call these last environments “kitchen” environments. If you think about the kitchen in your house, the only people who really hang out in your kitchen is your family and close friends. The idea of these environments is small groups. We want everyone to get into small groups because thats where permanent life-change happens. Thats where people not only hear and study the Word of God and the Gospel, but also see it lived out. Small group environments are designed to be just what your saying the Early Church was, house churches that meet during the week and foster community and fellowship.

            Sorry for the long post, and I’m sure I left things out! But my overall goal was to show you that NP cares deeply about developing disciples in Jesus Christ. They want people to go deeper and deeper into community with each other. Another big thing is that we believe that the further and deeper you get as a disciple of Christ, the more and more He calls you to give of yourself. So we also have a strong push towards volunteering in leadership or service roles on Sunday morning. The overall goal is that you get a Sunday church service that is put on by disciples of Christ and built for non-believers. You have Christians watching their kids during the service, Christians helping people find parking, Christians leading them in worship, etc. I can’t think of a better idea than a church where Christians come not only to be “fed” (isn’t the Biblical idea of being ‘fed’ really about giving of yourself more and more in service to your community, the Church, and non-believers?) but also to create a place where non-believers feel loved, respected, and welcomed. This way we have done as much as we can to knock down as many walls as possible so that they can hear the eternal, life-changing truth of the Gospel.

            Again, I’m sure I left things out, but this post is wayyyyyy too long. Look forward to hearing your response.

          • Jared,
            did i mention that I went to NP for 5 years, volunteered there every week for 5 years and served as a ministry team rep? just telling you because I am very familiar with their strategy. Thank you for your very long post.
            Please tell me how the body of Christ at NP lives by and carries out the commands 1Cor 5:7-13, Eph 5:3-13, Rev 2:15-16, 20-25. (not sure whether you will need to research some of the passages in Rev, you seem pretty savvy). Anyway, while I appreciate all of your efforts to explain and defend NP, I would love for you to explain and defend Jesus’ words, and Paul’s words and tell me how these commands are accomplished at NP or any seeker environment (or do you think they are just suggestions?) BTW, isn’t the severe way that Ananias and Sapphira were dealt with tell you how serious sanctification is in the body of Christ? If you believe is was just about lying, why did lying have corporal punishment attached to it? And lastly, when you read the other 3/4 of the bible (as you put it) do you find a God that cares about details? a God that determines how He is to be worshipped? a God that decides where, when, how and by whom He is approached and represented? did the prophets determine their own way of “thus sayeth the Lord”? did the priests have input in the workings of the temple? were they allowed a “foyer”, “living room”, “kitchen” format if they so wanted? Because when I answer those questions, I’m not sure why you would make even half of the arguments you just made. Maybe we view the bible VERY differently.

          • I think you had mentioned that you had attended, but I did not know that you were so involved. Sorry for the redundancy, then!

            First of all, of course I believe these are commands. I adhere to the complete inerrancy and total authority of Scripture. However, we cannot forget that these are specific commands to specific people. Now, they are still completely relevant and completely authoritative for the church today, but we cannot forget that Paul was not writing these letters in a vacuum, these were specific circumstances that Paul was addressing and we must take into account all of Scripture to get an accurate interpretation of any passage. Now, I don’t have time to do that haha, but we should be very careful before taking someone who has committed sexual immorality and kicking them out of the church without really coming to a comprehensive understanding of morality under the New Covenant. Again, I can’t get into it here, mainly because I don’t know too much about it. Probably a great thing to study in the future, and it appears that you may have studied some in this area and in that case I yield to your expertise. But I can look at the verses you posted and give my thoughts, as well as where NP stands on these.

            (BTW none of my views or opinions on NP necessarily reflect the actual views of NP; they’re all my interpretation, having gone there for about 15 years or so, but I just wanted to say that so that we don’t think I’m an official spokesperson.)

            Now, taking those Bible references and trying to summarize them into one main point it would be, “The behavior and morality of Christians is taken seriously by God, even to the point where He says that those who practice such things are going to be thrown out.” Hopefully thats a fair assessment…there are individual interpretive issues with each one, such as your view on Revelation (is Jesus speaking to the current church, the historical church, is he recounting past Israelite history?) or other background issues (as discussed above), but of course we can have a general summary and work from there. Hope that is fair.

            These are intense passages! And yes, NP’s model does allow for these. For instance, the Corinthians passage specifically forbids the seclusion or expulsion of non-believers based on their immoral living. Paul does not see it as his concern to judge the unbeliever since they are under God’s judgement. Now, again we will focus on the kitchen environments. These are designed specifically for Christians, maybe there are unbelievers who wind up in them, but they are meant to be for Christians. NP has, as you know, Starting Point classes designed for unbelievers. So, this kind of church discipline would take effect within these small groups.

            Also, for clarity’s sake, and I don’t have a ton of Scriptural support on hand for this, but I think its there and something tells me you’ll agree with me (if you disagree with me I will do all I can to support my claim, but if we agree than we can just assume it for this discussion) I would assume that when Paul speaks of believers who are found in sexual immorality or other vices he would be speaking of outright unrepentant sexual immorality, not just Christians struggling with sin. Again, I could very well be wrong, but I think there is Scriptural support for this, and in many ways I hope there is or I’m likely to be kicked out of any church I join for the rest of my life since I frequently break many of the commands listed in the Ephesians passage, for instance. Now, when convicted I do my best to repent and trust in the grace that God has offered due to Christ’s work on the cross, but I break them nonetheless. An example of this is the Revelation passage where Jesus speaks of this mysterious Jezebel character. He does mention that He has given her time to repent and she refuses so he’s going to take action. So, I would say that hopefully within the church and within the church body there are avenues for confession and repentance of sin; as well as the church discipline being in place.

            So my overall answer is: the church helping to police its congregation’s behavior is a Scriptural command, and i believe the systems are in place at NP to see that this is done fairly, within the context of community, and with the goal being restoration. it may not be done perfectly (i’m sure it isn’t), but would those things at any church? would they, honestly, at your church? also, they obviously weren’t being done correctly in the Ephesian church but Paul didn’t seem to think they should pack up and go home and try again somewhere else.

            As for your next point about the Acts passage (i hate spelling that guy’s name). My point wasn’t that this passage has nothing to do with the concern for believer’s morality, it certainly does. My point was that the passage is not trying to lay out a model for churches in how to encourage sanctification within the Body. Obviously, you don’t believe that a Christian who lies will be stuck dead by God (if you say you do, then you’re lying, and then you’ll see I’m right. haha). But I think we’re just misunderstanding each other. Obviously, the passage is about taking sin within the church seriously, and this idea is supported by countless other passages, I think my main point was that this probably wasn’t the best one, but I could easily (and may) be wrong.

            Lastly, your point about the Old Testament’s expectations and demands on worship. Yes, God in the OT was a God who was to be worshipped in His way. He had strict demands on worship and strict demands on how he was to be approached. However, I just don’t see how this rules out churches using different strategies to best reach the people they are coming into contact with. For instance, the regulations about how God was to be worshipped were not just because God is nit-picky. The Israelites were headed into an environment that was literally filled with thousands of different religious institutions and cultures. One of the main thrusts of the Jewish belief system was that they were monotheistic, they worshipped only one God. Rather than send them into the land and say, “Just worship me however you see fit!” He gave them strict guidelines to follow. So I feel like there could be some differences there between then and now, considering child sacrifice is no longer a popular mode of worship. Also, you’d have to look at the theological development of things like worship and the temple/tabernacle throughout Biblical history. The dwelling place of God was a huge emphasis in the OT. God’s dwelling over creation in Genesis, His being present with the Israelites in the Tabernacle as they wandered, the Ark of the Covenant as they conquered the Promised Land, all the Temple of David all show a progression in the dwelling place of God. This progression continues in the New Testament where the Holy Spirit comes down at Pentecost making each individual believer a dwelling place for God. Because of this I would be careful about taking the rules and regulations God had on the previous institutions and placing them onto the church. The church is not the dwelling place of God but rather the presence of the Holy Spirit in each believer making up the collective Body. And again, I don’t know your church so in a way I’m fighting a one-sided argument here, but are you honestly telling me your church ONLY does what the New Testament church did? So, Marilyn, (I’m drawing a massive assumption based off of your name that you are a woman, if I am wrong I do apologize!) within your (I’m assuming?) house church are you completely silent and not permitted to speak? Do you wear a head covering? Do you only read the Old Testament since thats what the church recorded in Acts read? Now, I don’t really want you to answer all these questions, but my point is, are there not changes guaranteed to happen within the church when you span 2000 years and 3 continents? I mean, are there not changes that are going to happen when you go from an illegal, persecuted religion to a public, official religion? Are we denying that God’s providence was over these events and it was the direction He ordained His church to go? And so if you HAVE to make some changes, what limits should you put on it? Well, I would say you put whatever limits the NT specifically puts on it. Don’t teach a different Gospel, be morally upright, evangelize the lost, help the poor, proclaim Christ as Lord, be a witness to the resurrection of Christ, worship God, have male leaders in the church, and many others. Does it ever say, “Only do church the way you’ve seen it done in the book of Acts which has not yet been written”? (sarcastic, I know, and I apologize). I dunno, I just can’t see that the NT forbids the continuing development of church ministry and strategy based on the surrounding culture and context you find yourself in. If it does then missionaries in other countries will be severely hamstringed when they cannot adapt to their cultures or form their own strategies, we’ll be forced to continue blindly giving to the poor rather than seeking a strategic, long-term solution to poverty and actually helping them, we’ll need to run from countries where religion is legal and only live in countries where it is illegal, we’ll have to stop singing any song written after 100 AD and since we don’t know any of the tunes or words to those hymns we’ll have to stop singing altogether, Churches will need to give up any tax exempt status they receive from the government, the church will need to become blissfully ignorant of the internet and its usefulness to impact culture, and we will have to start telling a lot of women that they are no longer allowed to speak while in the church building or in any gathering of believers. Now, I say all of this satirically, and I would assume you’re not saying that we need to do these things (not all of them, at least, since we’re on the internet), but my point is that I do not see any Scriptural restrictions on church leaders of the future using their God-given minds to reach people as effectively as possible. God certainly cares about details, but He does so for theological purposes. He detailed out the Gospels in order to show who Jesus was and what he did while on earth, He detailed out the epistles to fully explain what Christ had done on the cross and in His resurrection and how that effects us as believers in him, He detailed out Revelation in order to provide HIs people with hope in the midst of pain and persecution, and he detailed out the way he ought to be worshipped in the OT so that His people would not be caught off guard by the situation they were walking into and so they’d continue to worship Him as their God.

            I hope this answers some of your questions, its 2am and so I guarantee I missed some things and provided some pretty lame arguments here or there. But I do want to say that the people in leadership at NP truly truly care about the people they’re ministering to. I’ve been at staff meetings where baptism testimonials were shown and celebrated. I’ve heard staff tell stories to other staff of people coming to know Christ and those stories being celebrated. Whats going on there is lost people are coming to know that there is a God who is redeeming all of creation back to himself and that he desires that they come to repentance and faith in Him. I really try to understand, but many times am at a loss for words at the pushback that other believers give towards something like this. I’m not saying the ends justify the means, we should still do all things under the authority of Scripture which is the reason why I am responding to your posts, but, again, I hope you know the sincerity and commitment that the people at NP have towards the Word of God and the heart they have towards reaching their community.

          • oops, got lost on the page……don’t know why. my reply (tongue in cheek) is up there somewhere

          • And Jared, in case you’re interested, I would never discount a passage of scripture and say it is not relevant and I can ignore it. Being a woman, I take the passage you cited very seriously. In fact, there are two other passages similar and they caused me much alarm when the Holy Spirit gifted me. So I did extensive study. I came across some very interesting findings and distortions as well as translation errors. I can send that to you if you or anyone else is dealing with these issues. Bottom line? I submit to my husband’s authority. I consult him and ask his permission before stepping out, even when I think the Lord is directing me. I know that Bret is my “head” as his is Christ. If you read those scriptures at face value, you will not only misunderstand, you will either require something of women that the bible never said or you will think it’s irrelevant and ignore it…….thereby opening a door for you to pick and choose other passages that you deem irrelevant.

          • I’m guessing your reply was the comment that started with “that ignorant Stephen”? Hope I’m correct.

            While that doesn’t really address any of the points I made, and your overall tone in sarcasm kinda detracts from the conversation going on here, I’ll submit some responses to what I can gather from your comment.

            Again, I’ve never said, and neither has anyone at NP, that we should change the Gospel or modify it past what the Bible presents it as. That is what Stephen is stoned for. Your expectation that the Gospel ALWAYS be met with harsh opposition is a little flawed Biblically. Surely throughout the Bible, the preaching of the Gospel was constantly met by persecution and pushback (usually by those in power who saw Christianity as a threat to their own control and power), but SURELY it was often met by huge acceptance?? So anytime the Gospel is being accepted do we HAVE to assume that they are preaching a different Gospel? This is a very cynical and not based on much biblical support.

            I never said to improve on the Bible. I said to contextualize the Bible. To take the principles found in the Bible and apply them to situations that are in our own lives today. I’m sure you understand the difference.

          • Yeah I’ll go ahead and say I don’t hold to the interpretation of all the “women in church” passages that I was suggesting. My point was that if you take the NT at face value (face value as in picking it up for the first time and reading an English translation of it) you’re probably bound to misinterpret some pretty important things. Which you, as per your comment, would agree with it.

            I’m sure your church has its own strategy for accomplishing the purposes of God in its own context and culture.

          • Hi Jared,

            I read yours and Marilyn’s string on 1/18 at 1:21 and I couldn’t find a “reply” button at the end, hence why I am replying at this location.

            My main concern is why man thinks he knows better how to approach the unbeliever that God does. Why man thinks it is better to worship on Sunday (Constintine/Nicene council) that to keep the God given Sabbath? I could go on and on…..

            By man changing how God has set things up says: ” I can do this better than God.” Forgetting that God can make ANYTHING happen. It is up to God….we are to do/follow what he tells us. Not to tweak to our desires.
            I believe that God is OMNISCIENT. Nothing needs to be changed to reach the unbelievers. And adapting the Bible to the culture of the time? The bible is to be adapted to NOTHING. If we believe the bible is God’s inerrent word, WE NEED TO ACT LIKE IT.
            We are to bend to Bible,not the reverse. When I accepted Christ, I gave up my “cultural” ways and accepted the Bible as how I am to live in accordance the will of GOD. This is where the walk becomes difficult. Because the bible is so the opposite of today’s culture, I am ridiculed for my beliefs on homosexuality, sex outside of marriage, etc.

            Anyway, too many churches bend the Truth/Word to suit their audience….the big word I hear is “offend.” We don’t want to offend……people? I’d worry more about offending God by misrepresenting the complete and whole truth of the bible…………

            Keep it simple, straightforward and the WHOLE TRUTH. Ther rest is up to God. Not us humans.

            Thanks for your time.

        • You realize that the Bible didn’t just come down from heaven and appear in its current shape, right? It was written throughout CULTURE and history. God completely inspired it, but used men to write it, men within a culture and adapting God’s message to their culture. They did not just come down and give random words about who God is. They had a message, a message that was to a people in a specific time and place. They utilized their culture to deliver God’s message. You’ve got a view of the Bible that is HIGHLY influenced by neo-platonic or gnostic thought that in order for something to be “divine” it must be completely devoid of culture, the world, or anything physical. Which is pretty unbiblical. Anything God even says is adapted into culture just from the pure fact that its placed into language! How can you try to avoid any cultural adaptation to God’s message? Thats insane and honestly, completely against what the Bible teaches.

    • I was an Atheist when I first attended North Point. Through Andy Stanley’s teaching and North Point’s community of believers, I was prompted to read the bible, pray, get into a Christian community, and seek wise counsel. God used Andy & North Point to help soften my hard heart. I was taught that God is real and I was a sinner in need of a savior, something I came to believe thanks to God’s work through them.

  8. Marilyn Nave says:

    Does anyone know who the young man is or how to contact him?

    • please see my comment above

    • Dylan Cross says:

      Yes. He’s a close friend of mine and I was sitting with him sunday morning. Here’s a link to his blog. There is a post that explains our thoughts on the whole event. Also, you will be able to leave a comment to get in touch with him from there.

      Also, I want to thank those who want to argue and fight for the gospel to be presented with truth. I want to encourage those of you who have to continue to do so. We want people to cease tolerating lukewarmness and false doctrine and embrace Christ as supremely valuable as he is.

      Also, this paragraph is addressed to Rome7hills: we appreciate your support and zeal, but I want to ask for you to fight for truth and not against opponents. We have to remember that we’re not fight to defeat others, but to make what’s true known. Thanks.

      http://kgphil121.wordpress.com/

  9. greenwood8284 says:

    So; for a Church that doesn’t preach the gospel they sure do baptize a lot of people… and have a lot of people committed to Jesus’ body… not sure how you get all that without preaching the gospel? I guess we could all write him a letter about the “way” and “methods” he uses to preach the gospel so he will start listening to us about his calling instead of God… then the Church could enter a season of decline and we would all know what to expect and be in control of how we think things should go! Or we could all go into one of his services, stand up and shout at him instead of becoming a part of another Church and doing the work we feel God is calling us to (we’ll say we did this in the name of the holy spirit so we feel better about not following 1 Cor 14 for orderly worship). I’m just trying to give us some options here to help us keep Church attendance in America on the decline while we fight each other about the details of “how” the gospel is shared and the words and methods we use to do that. Any un-churched people want to join that movement? Let me know by shouting at me!

  10. Christopher James says:

    Interesting statement from Marilyn… Ive attended, served and taught at Northpoint for over 16 years. Known Andy over 25 years… Saying Andy or Northpoint doesn’t teach the Gospel …is like saying Starbucks doesn’t sell coffee.

    • Rome7hills says:

      I attended Buckhead for 2 years since moving down south and honestly, nothing has damaged my faith more than living in the “Bible Belt”.

      I’m not trying to generalize even though I know I am, but Andy (and the rest of the emergents) preach their own message and slap the name Jesus on it. I mean, come on. Sunday morning worship is a rock concert and they use every secular marketing tool possible to lure people through the door.

      I haven’t attended in over a year so I cannot comment on what the recent teaching has been but prior to 2011, it was a “better yourself using Jesus” message.

      Jesus is my savior, not my financial advisor or “happy spell”. I’ve never heard Andy preach that Chris is the only way. Perhaps he has, I have just never heard it and after going for 2 years, if I heard it, I would have remembered.

      • Andy and North Point are NOT “emergent.” And that’s just the first of your errors in that reply.

        The following line is intended merely to be a statement of fact and not the argumentative insult it usually is: you don’t know what you’re talking about.

        • OH! I apologize to you Alan. In a reply to one of your posts I thought you were a follower of Jesus with the bible being God’s inerrant word as to how we are to behave, how to worship, and what God/Jesus calls to christians to stand for the TRUTH (bible).

          I now realize you are an emergent church follower.
          Following man and making things up-with a bible twist- to keep things comfortable.

          We that follow the narrow entrance into Heaven don’t want to be confused with those thinking the path is wide.

          Please let the Lord lead you- not man.

          • Maureen, I see you, too, do not know what you’re talking about. And, yet, you’re talking.

            North Point is NOT an “emergent” church. This is not a matter of opinion or perception…you are just wrong. Your claim is not true, and you don’t seem to be truly familiar with either North Point or the definition of “emergent.”

            And, for the record, to the best of my memory, I’ve not been in an “emergent” church in my life….not that, if I had or consistently did, it would matter to the fact that you’re just horribly, completely wrong.

            And, as far as following a man and making things up with a bible twist, I would submit that that’s *exactly* what Calvinists do every moment of every day.

            Please let the Lord, not an evil man’s self-invented theology, lead you.

          • Maureen I’m assuming you’ve kept up with current church theological trends and realize that the Emergent Church “scare” is over now. No one here is Emergent. You may as well start calling people Gnostics or Marcionites (the gnostic influence on the Church today is actually stronger than the Emergent Church movement, please see: literally every sermon that refuses to deal with issues currently going on in the world and this current life, and only talks about ‘spiritual’ things or ‘heavenly’ things. And please notice I said ‘only.’ No I am not saying talking about spiritual or heavenly things is bad.)

            And the Bible seems to think that we should respect and submit to human authorities as well as church authorities. So it would be tough to let the Lord lead us and not man considering God has placed men as leaders within the church for the very purpose of leading us.

          • Actually, Jared, this another of modern day false teaching. “Submit” is very different than “obey”. God commands us to only obey Him and earthly rulers and authorities (Tit 3) The word is Peitharcheo
            He then commands us to give over voluntarily, our will, Hupotasso, to Him, each other in the body of Christ, earthly authorities, wives to husbands, younger to older.
            And lastly He commands us to “have confidence in” those that watch over our souls. (Heb 13:17) Peitho
            In scripture, many times, all of these Greek words are translated as “obey” or “submit”. As I ‘ve stated before, the Levitical priesthood is fulfilled in the Lord Jesus Christ and nothing stands in between God and each of us any longer, no man, no pastor, no evangelist, no church staff, no church authority (because there isn’t one apart from Christ) no one. This is made clear in the following scriptures: Matt 20:25-28 Matt 23:8-12 Acts 4:19 1Pet 5:3 1John 2:27 1Pet 2:5

          • my point Jared, is that it is perfectly within our right to question and/or call out false teaching in anyone….we are commanded to do so….our only authority iin the church s the Lord Jesus, Himself. I know your church would like you to think otherwise…most churches would. Again………LOOK IT UP!

      • And Rome7Hills, Congrats you’ve just completely discounted the huge amount of Wisdom literature in the Bible that specifically deals with, oh I don’t know, finances? You’ve also discounted the numerous times that Jesus deals with, oh i don’t know, finances? In fact there seems to be a pretty strong correlation in the NT with true followers of God and people who are not only generous with their money, but wise with it, shrewd with it, and successful with it. In fact you could make a case that someone who has their theology right, but their finances are COMPLETELY out of order is not truly a follower of Christ considering all the times Jesus and Proverbs chastise people for being foolish with their money.

  11. NP indeed teaches the gospel, while it may not be as frequent as some would prefer they have actual alter calls, and have special nights of worship where that is the main focus. Not every single story in the Bible is actually about Jesus, but just as important to know and learn about. NP is a church for the “un-churched”. It’s a place where non-believers or even new believers can come and feel comfortable and not judged for once. I spent some time going to a church that was not welcoming and was so judgmental that it was sick. While they preached the gospel every Sunday, rarely anyone was ever baptized. NP has hundreds of baptisms every month, which is a direct result of people hearing and learning the gospel. I was baptized at NP & wouldn’t be the person I am as a direct result of hearing the gospel at NP. I agree that being heard at NP may seem impossible because it’s so large, there are ways to voice your opinions, but there’s a time and a place, and at the end of the sermon while the preacher is trying to close in prayer is just inappropriate and disrespectful to be honest, no matter what the person has to say. I am blessed to call NP my church and think there was nothing wrong at all with the way they handled the young man.

  12. Let’s say the person speaking out was, in fact, theologically correct in his position. 99% of those present will immediately dismiss his comment because of the manner in which it was delivered.

    You can be right, but if your methods are wrong, you will not be effective.

    Furthermore, I have listened to the message in question and there was nothing inaccurate or theologically incorrect.

  13. In answer to Marilyn: hahahahaha… Your logic for this is sad and completely off, but nice try.

  14. I have listened to the NP podcast for a few years. Hard to say they do not preach the Gospel. Aard to say there is not fruit in their ministry. I might not go to church there or agree with everything they say…but what does that have to do with turning worship into a place where you shout down the pastor? Even if i agreed with what the guy said, the way he went about it makes me want to not like him. I might agree with the content of Occupy Wall Street, I do. But I is hard to not laugh at them and dismiss them because of their methods.

  15. 1-if we’re studying the bible on our own in addition to being taught we would know first hand how/if/when the gospel is being preached.
    2-NP is a highly relational church – a new comer, first-timer or a person who only attends the services is missing a whole lot of relationship until they plug in to groups designed to teach relationships, community and more intimate learning.
    Come to think of it, that’s the case in any church.

  16. Marilyn Nave says:

    Wow, maybe Andy should have been born in 1st century AD….then he could have given our Lord, Paul, Stephen and few others some pointers on how to correctly communicate…..sure would have saved a few lives and judging by these comments, certainly more people would have listened!

    seriously folks????????

    • Didn’t Paul say that eventually Christians should grow up and get off the baby’s milk of elementary teachings of salvation and move on to our deeper walk with Jesus? Why would a church, which is full of believers, need to constantly hear only a gospel message over and over? It seems that those who think church services are only for preaching the gospel really want to stay in nursery school. I’m sure the heckler, and uutes, that I’d what he was, knew beurre the service what the sermon topic would be and what he planned to do in response. Perhaps security escorted him to a less mature (nursery) church where everyone agrees with him.

  17. Really? This bickering amongst believers is so sad. The simplicity of this is so obvious…if you don’t care for “the message” or how it’s delivered, find a place of worship that suits you. I’ve been at NP for years and know that Andy doesn’t mean to offend. However, he is clear about one thing….being a church for unchurched people to attend is the “point” of North Point.

  18. Regardless of what the “heckler” believes, the interruption was rude. I am grateful to Andy Stanley for creating a church environment that welcomes people who are seeking God and I find his preaching scripturally sound. The man is free to witness in many ways — he didn’t have to resort to such rude and ineffective means. North Point’s whole team executed very well in removing him and I’m grateful for all of them.

    • Rome7hills says:

      … and would have said that to Jesus when He walked into the temple and flipped the tables of the money changers?

      I think most of you are in love with the Jesus you percieve in your mind rather than who He really was and the things He did.

      If you want some blatant examples of Jesus disrupting the masses, go no further than the Gospels and tell me He was rude and should have acted differently.

      • not many people get this Rome7hills……

        too many dessert Christians, not enough meat and potatoes

        • But North Point — and, yes, even the Sunday service — is LOADED with meat! You just don’t recognize it without hearing your preferred buzz words being thrown around!

          One of the funniest things one will ever hear is a gifted pastor translate his clear and understandable sermon back into the institutional-theologian-preferred language that critics want used all the time with all audiences…if the critics are humble and intellectually honest, they, embarrassed, will quickly realize the meat was there all the time but their egos wouldn’t let them hear it!

          • Rome7hills says:

            Alan,

            NP is not meat, it’s sociology. I’ve sat in the auditorium and heard Andy say things like “We’re not saying that reincarnation is wrong” or when pointing to a box of idols, prayer beads, Buddah statues, and the like, he says “We’re not saying this is wrong”. He is to concerned with making everyone comfortable and adhering to the non-Christians than presenting a message to the “believers” that attend.

            Andy has also gone as far to say that we need to “reinvent Christianity” and that “verse by verse preaching is cheating” in some of his interviews.

            Go ahead and google it.

            Now, I hear he’s saying that he is willing to return offerings to people if they lose their job, that is if they tithe/offer an “x” amount in the next 6 months. What a money-grubbing, smug wolf is sheep’s clothing. The church is supposed to help ANYONE who comes seeking help, not just those to tithe.

            For the records, I disagree with many of the “traditional” pastors as well, especially on the paganlike, nonsense doctrines that they preach. Don’t feel so special that Andy is somehow the “only” one with critics. He is less criticized than most.

          • Rome7hills,

            I would agree that verse-by-verse preaching is cheating…or, as *I* remember hearing Andy say it with my own ears, “too easy.”

            Quite simply, it recreates the academy (or “seminary,” in this case) in the church, and you simply do NOT see that as the definition of either “evangelism” OR “discipleship” in the New Testament…mere knowledge “puffs up,” I seem to remember hearing. Further, it creates an environment in which the pastor gets by simply by displaying some knowledge and some ability to talk out of his head…I can’t tell you how many times I’ve see a verse-by-verse proponent show up on a Sunday having done virtually zero prep (the Bible and his notes from seminary will get him through, he thinks). It’s laziness and irresponsibility; it is unkind, unloving, and inconsiderate; it is the FARTHEST thing from what a true shepherd would do. So, yes…it is ABSOLUTELY “too easy.”

            Now, as to your claim about what’s happening there regarding tithing, you are, once again, COMPLETELY WRONG and do not know what you are talking about. And, once again, this is not a matter of opinion or perception…you’re just completely wrong. Whoever your source is consistently lies to you…trust that person no more!

            The statements that were *close* to what you say came as Andy was concluding a message on tithing and giving to the annual year-end event they do (you should check into it…see what they did!).

            After covering the biblical basis and commands for tithing and giving (time, skills, knowledge, resources, and all of life in addition to money), he challenged those who haven’t to begin, and, if they were apprehensive about it because of fear of the economy or job loss, he offered to give them their money back if job loss did occur or something big and unexpected came up and they asked for their money back. It was simply a very real way for people to “test (God) on this,” as you see said word for word in scripture. There was NO stated or implied limitation on “help” to only those who tithe…that is a completely unrelated subject and an ABSURD claim and charge.

            Rome7hills, whoever is telling you these things is a liar…it’s just that simple. And, if, as we see here, you’re repeating those things, you, too, are a liar.

          • Alan, you seem very plugged in to NP and yet you defend it/Andy more than you do God’s word. That’s very dangerous. Let me just say that anyone, teaching you to tithe is distorting God’s word. Read it for yourself. Don’t take my word and certainly don’t take Andy’s word. Read God’s instructions for tithing. It won’t take long. There’s not that many verses. But how anyone can take what God commands the Israelites to do and twist it and distort it to make it into money in an offering plate in a local church is seriously blind to what scripture says. Do you even know that God forbid MONEY as a tithe? There’s much more to this……please read it!

            Our problem is not how we get people to pay the bills in a huge auditorium that we felt we had to build. Our problem is hearing from God, not profaning His Word, obeying it, modeling it and being very very careful before we think we have the flexibility to change it up a little.

        • Marilyn and rome7hills attitude kinda settles the argument for me – by your fruits you will know them- Paul says you can do right and even be right but if you don’t have love you have nothing. The original point of this post was to thank Andy for handling things calmly but Marilyn and rome7hills have hijacked this so that they could …. I am really not sure. Thanks np people for even handling this hijacking well. NP has being gracious, lots of baptism, massive encouragement to all of us pastors, being calm when someone is rude on their side. Marilyn and rome7hills has sarcasm, hijacking and arrogance on their side. My experience tells me you will never convince them they are wrong so best to walk away and leave them alone – don’t reply and maybe they will go away

  19. Can’t help but think of Rick Warren’s quote in “The Purpose Driven Church”. He said “when you’re small, people ignore you, when you’re growing they talk about you, when you’re big they resent you”. I guess in this day & age with blogs attacking churches & pastor, I’m not surprised. I doubt this guy standing up and shouting in church is probably not going to draw many people to Jesus.

    He needs to attend NEXT to see that the Northpoint worship environment is targeting outsiders. Certainly not your grandmomma’s church but I don’t think one could argue that God has given success to their vision. It’s just one of many effective approaches to reaching people with the gospel. I have many friends who have found God and grown in their faith at Northpoint.

    • Hi Les,

      What do you say to Hitler’s abilty to gather the masses? What about Stalin? I could go on and on………
      Was that God “blessing” them?

  20. This has been a very interesting discussion. I have been following it since Sunday. I attended the Buckhead 9 a.m. service and was very interested in what happened before the closing prayer–because of the man’s remarks as well as Andy’s response to what he stated was the man’s position of “radical reformed theology” (Andy’s words.)
    I am interested Andy’s response because it directly relates to some teaching I have received in the past year about “the gospel.” I am currently reading a book by Elyse M. Fitzpatrick called Because He Loves Me. Fitzpatrick teaches that we never move beyond “the gospel” but deeper into the gospel.
    She states “I realize that you might be thinking, ‘Oh yes, God’s love, Jesus and the gospel…yes, yes, I know all about that. It’s true that I love that story, and it’s good to remember it so I can tell it to my unsaved friends, but frankly, isn’t that just a little elementary now that I’m saved? I mean the gospel is great for those beginning the Christian life, but I think I’ve grasped it already. After all, I am a Christian! Are you saying that there’s something more here I need to consider?”
    Her response to these thoughts is “Yes, in fact I’m saying that if you neglect to focus on God’s love for you IN CHRIST, your Christianity will soon be reduced to a program of self-improvement–just one of many methods to help you ‘get your act together.’ And although that might be a worthy goal, it isn’t true Christianity at all. True Christianity is not a program of self-improvement; it’s an acknowledgment that something more than self-improvement is needed. What’s needed is death and resurrection: gospel words, gospel constructs, gospel motives, gospel power–a loving Redeemer.”
    Her teaching then explains how The Gospel is the only means to a transformation our daily life… including what is in our hearts.
    This new presentation of the gospel message is very different than a sermon preached a few times a year about the gospel of salvation so we can receive eternal life. I do not know the man who asked this question of “Why don’t you preach the gospel/talk about Jesus more?” However, I have had similar thoughts over the past year to Andy’s teaching. For example, Andy’s sermon on Sunday asked what is “this one thing” that may be preventing you from having a whole new life this time next year? This sermon did not include Christ except in the closing prayer. This is very different from the sermons that I listened to that got me loving Andy’s messages. His past messages have included the focus of abiding in Christ/staying close to Christ and HE takes care of the rest (ex: Andy’s sermon series “Character Under Construction, part 2 called “Built to Scale” from 1999.)
    Any one else familiar with this message of the Gospel’s power to transform our daily life?

    • I fully agree. Anything beyond the scope of the Gospel and without the Gospel is merely pragmatics. Saying the Gospel is a rudimentary element of the faith communicates a misunderstanding of the faith. While faith without works is dead, we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

      As I have been attending Northpoint upon its conception, I have acquired so much wisdom from Andy’s sermons and the communities of which I’ve been a part. With that said, I can’t help but recognize worldliness in some teachings. As Mandy illustrated, Andy could have easily mentioned that CHRIST is “the one thing” that we need. Replacing CHRIST in that context, in any way, shape, or form, is just trading worldliness for worldliness.

      I’m afraid that people are attracted to Northpoint as a church because it is comfortable and because of its excellent ability to be hospitable, which may be serving as a barrier blocking those from the reality of the Gospel.

      Personally, I feel Northpoint instilled a deceptive faith in my heart for years, up until college. I learned that I wanted Jesus because He gave me good things and I could live in heaven forever with Him. There was no catch; all that I grew up through Northpoint learning was that Jesus loves me and all I had to do was say “yes.” I wish I could look back at myself and say “look, don’t listen to that. You’re BROKEN. You NEED a savior. Your very nature is sin, and that is justly punishable with eternal death. Man was once with God, but our disobedience separated us from Him.” Northpoint had hit the nail of “Jesus loves you” so hard that I had overlooked why I needed Him to love me.

      • Until college, you say? Interesting….

        As a matter of history, you’ll want to know that those who wish to take over a population but don’t have the strength to do it all at once or know they and their ideas would be rejected if they came in the broad daylight have always targeted the young and the institutions that have access to the young…if they succeed there (and success, as they define it, has traditionally been much easier in those places), then it’s just a matter of time until they possess what they could not have taken any other way.

        Just something to think about…and pray about….

        • “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” -1 Timothy 4:12

          • Oh, I certainly don’t despise you for your youth….I like to think I still have a good deal of it, myself!

            On the other hand, I know who these people are and what they’re doing. I know several of them *firsthand* and most of the rest with no more than one degree of separation. One even exploded in rage at me in front of 400+ people because I identified and named the tactics he was using and quoted his own words to show what he was doing!

            These people are often quoting (or near-quoting) scripture, Glenn, but they’re always twisting it a little or going on to attach *their* meaning to it, aren’t they? The words from their mouths sound a whole lot like scripture, but their actions look sooooo much like Alinsky. Pay MUCH more attention to their actions, Glenn…

    • Mandy, we could get into paragraph after paragraph and even page after page about the theology and doctrine of these folks, who they are, their history, and what they’re attempting and doing in recent years and today, but, on my end, the final conclusion would be this:

      Run!

      Seriously….run. Run hard, run fast, and run without ceasing. Don’t get into it, don’t explore it, don’t even consider it…get as far away from it as you can as quickly as you can. Despite never-ending claims of being “historical Christianity” and “Biblical Christianity,” there is no bigger cult on the face of the earth than the one made up of these folks.

      While claiming to *be* the true church, they’re actually *targeting* the true church and its churches. “Existing believers” are their number one target. They target — by name — the people they perceive to be the “most devoted” and “most serious” in a given church, pull them in with their claims of being “even more” devoted and serious and having “deeper teaching,” begin to populate teaching positions and elder boards, take control of physical assets, fire the pastors who won’t teach what they want (including threatening to literally make up “morals” reasons and career-threatening charges if they don’t go away “willingly and quietly”), and then install pastors who will take entire congregations down this road. Once “successful,” they then send out key folks to start the whole thing over at their next selected target.

      They don’t tolerate disagreement with their man-made philosophies. Argue the Biblical basis for their claims, they’ll change the subject to history; argue history with them, they’ll defend it with the “big names” who espouse and have espoused their beliefs; point out the incredible flaws, corrupt motivations, and ugly episodes and eras in those people’s lives, and they’ll change the subject to logic; blow the blatant contradictions in their logic out of the water, they’ll change the subject to “worldview;” argue that with them, and they’ll try to start it all over by going back to one of the other areas.

      Yes, I know all about this — they almost got me, and they did get my church. I’m several-years-removed from that, and it still messes with my mind and spiritual life. And, no, it’s NOT the good kind of “messes with.”

      Watch closely for those who want to redefine, “correct,” or “clarify” words and concepts you’ve long known…they’re going to use all the words and phrases you’re familiar with but mean something *entirely different* by them. They are NOT smarter, deeper, more learned, or closer to God than you…they just want you to think they are to bring you into their camp.

      And learn Galatians 5:19-26…ultimately, you WILL be able to identify them by their (lack of) fruit and display of the works of the flesh rather than fruit of the Spirit.

      Run….

      • Alan,
        You have nailed it. I too, have witnessed this. The emergent church or whatever you want to call it is Satan slipping in using the bible and distorting it.
        I can’t tell you how many christians do not want to acknowledge sin or satan. THAT is why these “churches” flourish.
        These churches espouse “love”(not what God states in the bible) and “grace.” Feel good, no work, no accountabilty and keep living the way lived before one accepted Christ….oh, and God will give you lots of money. ;)

        • No, Maureen, I was talking about your folks — the Calvinists. The cult of the “Reformed.” There is no one more plotting, scheming, manipulative, unGodly, deceptive, divisive, or destructive than those whose mindset and Bible-reading begin and end with the worship of Calvin and his philosophies…those who can’t help but naturally display the works of the flesh in all they do. Now, go back and read the post again, Maureen, and understand it for the first time…. :)

          • Funny, I’ve heard of Calvin but I actually had to go to the internet to see the “big name” you were talking about. Also funny that you’re accusing others of changing the subject to history……the very thing your post was about. In fact, I can’t find much “bible” in any of your posts, Alan. So maybe you should use the very book to defend what you’re so vehemently trying to defend. Anyway, enough squabbling. How anyone can believe that the Word of God is holy, miraculous, inerrant and then say it needs to be improved upon, added to, subtracted from to be relevant to this generation is proving themselves a liar. Either one of those statements is true or the other.

          • But I wasn’t talking about “a” big name….I was pointing out that Calvinists, when you argue various aspects of their cult beliefs, inevitably get around to changing the subject to various “big names” who’ve espoused their beliefs…”celebrity spokesmen,” if you will (and they *are* all men, Marilyn…if you haven’t noticed yet, your people don’t like women much, at all).

            Once you point out the controversial backgrounds (lack of actual influence and impact, mental illness, rabble-rousing, political motivations, outright executions, and so on) of those “celebrity spokesmen,” the Calvinist will inevitably change the subject again…say, to history, logic, or anything I mentioned.

            In other words, you’re intentionally misquoting me to attempt to advance your (supposedly) new-found cultish belief.

            And, in this case, there’s no point in quoting scripture because you Calvinists use all the lingo, vocabulary, and terminology found in scripture and discussion of scripture but mean something entirely different by it. Thus, I focus on the tactics you Calvinists use to target existing believers…believers need to know that “targets” is what they are to you.

          • I have no idea who “your people” are. Nor do I know who you are talking about when you say “they” don’t like women. The most productive arguments are going to be those where we can discuss what the bible says…..not human philosophy or reasoning. We’re all just trying to connect to the divine. He’s given us a book to know Him. Some use it, some don’t. Some think they use it but are relying on others who’ve misused it. I cannot imagine you are lumping me into some group you are describing as I have not used any “big names”, nor have I “changed the subject”, nor have I used any human logic, etc. We’re discussing the actual scriptures here and what they mean. It is impossible to do so without actually reading them personally and knowing what you’re reading. Yet so many have no idea. So many are not even in scripture. So many are making illogical statements based on foolish wisdom that is of the world. It is quite possible that since I have not cited every verse I have discussed on this blog, that some confused readers do not realize their origin…..my mistake. Even in this comment, I am referring to scripture when I write what I write.

          • > I have no idea who “your people” are.
            > Nor do I know who you are talking about when you
            > say “they” don’t like women.

            Calvinists. Your people are Calvinists. You’ve been pulled into the cult of Calvinism.

            > The most productive arguments are going to be
            > those where we can discuss what the bible
            > says…..not human philosophy or reasoning.

            Yes, that would be great, but I know you won’t do it. How do I know? Look here:

            > We’re discussing the actual scriptures here and
            > what they mean…. actually reading them
            > personally and knowing what you’re reading.

            See what you did? You ADDED “and what they mean” and “and knowing what you’re reading,” and what’s coming from you is going to be the meaning *as defined by Calvinists.* Whenever Calvinists speak or write, *every* word and concept actually needs “as defined by Calvin and his subsequent followers” added to it to be properly understood by those not in the cult of Calvinism….those in the cult know that, but regular people do not.

            If anyone is still following these “discussions,” that’s what you need to understand — the “M”-named folks who are trying to pull you in another direction are using words you’re familiar with, but they mean something *entirely different* by them; to realize what they’re *really* saying, you need to add “as defined by Calvinists” to *every* Christian-sounding word they use.

            For example, if a Calvinist says “God,” the Calvinist actually means “the big guy upstairs who held life’s lottery and then created a universe as some bizarre way to try to impress the other similar beings in what’s called ‘heaven.'” If that blows your mind, good….you’re normal! But that’s what they REALLY believe, and that just scratches the surface…it actually gets MUCH worse!

            Calvinism is the cult-religion of those who burned people at the stake, the puritans, the dominionists, and Westboro Baptist Church….and THAT is what these “M”-named folks are trying to pull you into. They try to dress it up and intellectualize it…try to make it something “elite” and “scholarly” and “prestigious” for the more-serious, but it is nothing more than the theology and doctrine of the Westboro Baptist people. THAT is what the “heckler” was trying to bring in…THAT is what the people in these replies are trying to pull you into. Do…not…go!

          • what the heck are you talking about? who is the “M” people? Why would you call me a Calvinist? because I said we’re discussing what scripture means? are you serious? isn’t that the point of a blog? isn’t that the point of studying scripture and then assembling together as the body of Christ……to discuss His word and what it means?
            If spiritual words are used, is that so bad?…..especially since those are the words used in scripture? Why have you never made one single argument about the word of God? Instead you whine and argue philosophical points…..who cares? better yet…who even gets what you’re talking about? did you drink some tainted koolaide?

  21. Maureen Burton says:

    Praise the Lord for you Marilyn, Glenn and Mandy! NP is an example of what so many churches are today. All 3 of you are succint and have actually read the bible….amazing! Today, so many new christians are being misled in not being taught that they (we) are sinners. Nobody wants to hear that. They also don’t want to hear about what they(we ) should or should not be doing as God fearing christians in following Jesus’s example, the ten commandments and the bible as our source for how to live in a way that is pleasing to God….not what is convenient to our lives.

    The reason most mega churches exist is because they preach the prosperity gospel or that mercy/grace gospel, that dismisses sin. Don’t get me wrong, there is mercy and grace but only when there is repentance (look it up in the dictionary).

    I am supportive of the young man or any person who has the courage to stand up to false/misleading teaching. Christianity is Christ and Christ is the GOSPEL.

    The Lord is raising up strong christians right now as we speak, to make the “church” aware of these teachings……….few will respond to this. Others will not because it’s uncomfortable, inconvenient or they don’t like confrontation. christians know what Matthew 10:34-39. This is just one example of how “uncomfortable” our walk should be.

    Any Christian who thinks their walk should be smooth and comfortable, needs to get their bible and READ it.

    My prayer is that all will know that what Christ did for us was difficult to say the least. And when we accepted Christ, we accepted the same lifestyle………is NP teaching you that?

    • Rome7hills says:

      I agree with you Maureen. NP is a “feel good”, entertainment-based church. Andy and the staff are more concerned with numbers rather than hard, Bible truth.

      Have you ever told someone that you don’t like NP? You’d think you insulted their mother. The people at that “church” don’t respect anyone with a different opinion.

      • Hi Rome!
        Thank you for having the courage to stand up for the TRUTH. Many are blinded. Many are afraid. (like I used to be)
        If Christians would read their bible and pray for God’s direction, they might be surprised and what He shows them. AND if christians focused on their sin selves and brokeness, they would realize that we need Jesus (Glen nailed this). This is a daily dying to self and becoming more of what God made us to be. This is work. I have to face my sin everyday. And I can only deal with this through Jesus. I AM NOT STRONG enough on my own.

        IT IS NOT ENOUGH TO “HAVE” JESUS, ONE HAS TO LET HIM WORK IN YOU. THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL YOU BEAR FRUIT.

        Thank you for being COURAGEOUS!

      • The reason people dont like it when you tell them you dont like Northpoint is because going to Northpoint introduced them to Jesus Christ or people who were already Christians had their relationship with Christ rejuvenated to new heights through the word of God taught by Andy Stanley and the love of God that exists at that church.

    • uhh, let me answer your question as thoroughly as possible…….NO!

  22. Andy Stanley is relational AND Gospel-focused. They aren’t mutually exclusive. To say that the heckler was ok to do what he did is ridiculous. The apostle Paul instructed us to have an orderly gathering when we met to honor God.

    I would bet that some of you Gospel-sticklers would come across as the least loving people around. Knowledge does NOT equal transformation. Be transformed! Andy helps people do just that.

    • Hi Neil,

      What would you have said to Jesus when he flipped tables and screaming and chased out the money changers from the temple?

      There comes a time when people refuse to listen and are headed down the wrong path, that someone who cares about our fellow christians has to scream to get the message out.
      We are in these times.
      Love is not standing by idly and in comfort. Love is stepping out and risking ridicule to save those souls that are being misled. Would you not do everything in your power to keep your child off drugs, risking their hating you? Or would that be unloving?

      Christians need to stop with Love being this mushy, make everyone happy nonsense. Love is telling the truth to someone. Love is being there, but not condoning sin. Love is guiding each other by GOD’S WORD which is love.
      If people think me unloving, so be it. But Jesus knows I stood up for him and cared for God’s children enough to be called names, be ostricized. I guess I learned that from Jesus.

      • great comments, Maureen. God IS love, therefore, everything He commanded us to do is out of love. It’s not man’s definition, we would have millions of different definitions if that were so. It’s God’s definition and you find His definition in the pages of scripture. Everything He commanded us to do IS LOVING. That’s easy when we read all the warm, fuzzy, emotional traits into it. But the minute we read things like “repent” or “perish” or even the church discipline that is expected, the modern day church wants to act like those things aren’t in there. Because we have redefined the LOVE commandment to be what we want it to be (emotions), we’ve started diluting the gospel.

    • Rome7hills says:

      I don’t know the heckler or what his theology is but Andy hides from anyone with a different opinion. Perhaps the man was tired of being ignored and he felt that was the only way.

      I’m not saying for certain, just a thought.

  23. Kara Bellar says:

    My heart is broken right now seeing how easy it is for Christians to attack those who think differently. No wonder the world wants nothing to do with organized religion. God’s word says we should be careful talking about the one he anoints to lead. You guys are so far out of line.

    • oh grow up! I’m sorry that sounds rude but give me a break….no one is throwing stones here. We’re all adults, able to disagree passionately and not go home crying. Seriously, you and others like you who have such thin skin and emotions of a child, you need to wake up. Things are going to get tough in this world. Life is tough. We’re told in the bible to call out false teaching. Jesus said He came to bring a sword that would divide families even…..truth does that. No one is burning at the stake….we’re just disagreeing and arguing it out. That’s very healthy and necessary as long as everyone is respectful….save a few….so far, everyone is just that. This goes for you too Tami……..toughen up!

      • Here, Here, Marilyn!
        Beingg a christian means things will get rocky, uncomfortable, etc. That’s what Jesus said when you make the choice to follow him!!!

      • Kara Bellar says:

        Proverbs 20:3 Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarreling.

        2 Timothy 2:14 Remind everyone about these things, and command them in God’s presence to stop fighting over words. Such arguments are useless, and they can ruin those who hear them.

        Colossians 4:6 Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out.

        • i stand convicted…..my apologies for the degradation of my attitude last night.
          However, I still feel that we must contend for the faith….even more so as we get closer to the last days. Kara, false doctrine will come in the form of deception inside the church. It won’t be recognizable. It will look and taste and smell and sound just like it’s absolute truth. How will you tell the difference unless you KNOW God’s word inside and out and really live by all of it, even the hard parts. Even you couldn’t say that NP or modern day churches live by 1 Cor 5 or Eph 5 or take Jesus seriously when He talks about tolerating sin in the body of Christ is sin itself. So we have to live by ALL of His word and it’s getting watered down, picked over, ignored when it’s hard and elevated when it sounds so warm and fuzzy. Did your Jesus ever call anyone names? Did your Jesus ever contend earnestly for sound teaching and expect sanctified behavior? Did your Jesus breathe out every single word of scripture beyond the 4 gospel accounts?

          • You think Andy Stanley tolerates sin in the body of Christ? Wow. What an accusation. Unreal. You think he dosent expect sanctified behavior from committed followers of Christ? Wow.

        • Rome7hills says:

          Let’s take 2 Timothy 2:14 in context:

          “Remind them of these things, and solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers.

          Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

          But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some.

          Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

          Paul is warning against “wordly and empty chatter”. I don’t see how these conversations qualify as such. Now, in a matter of being mean-spirited, I agree that there is no call for that. However, those who are teachers open themselves up to criticsm and rightfully so – especially when one is claiming that his work is God’s work.

  24. I was in the service and was VERY concerned for what signified. It’s very scary when Christians begin attacking other Christians inside the house of God. It really felt like the apocalypse or something. We should ALL pray for the man and condemn the radical group he is a part of. I’m also suprised nobody mentioned that the entire message that day was around Nehemiah and the heckler was yelling about why Andy didn’t mention Christ once. What’s wrong with an Old Testament message, can we not focus on that for one Sunday? Should we just throw that part of the Bible away then?

    God will judge us all one day and do you really want to support someone that attacks his church? This is a true Christian church that has tried its best to modernize the ministry and bring it into the 21st Century, rather than stubbornly throwing in the towel like most hard-line churches. We need to embrace this change if we want to take Christianity into the future…nothing about the message has changed, only the delivery.

    • Tom,
      The ministry is based on the bible and to say it needs to be “modernized” is saying the message as is is not relevant today. That is so wrong! The bible as it stands is relevant in any time. God’s word applies THE SAME today as well as it did 200 years ago.

      It is that thinking that waters down or distorts the gospel/bible…which is the WORD OF GOD. Period.

      If you read the bible you will see that what happened was necessary and is what God wants of us: to make sure the word is taught completely and wholly.

      How does one bring GOD/the Word/Bible properly into the 21st century? Can you please provide scripture on that?

  25. A lot of great comments on here that seem to fall into 2 schools of thought. The first fighting for theological purity willing to condemn those that are more interested in building relationships with those far from God. Tough to determine who to side with…if only the gospels shed some light on Jesus ‘ priorities.

    • HI Hayden,
      You have brought up a valid point. Jesus put the TRUTH out there without concern over offending, upsetting, etc.
      Either the subject will have blinders on or they won’t.
      Thank you for bringing up what I think might be what some are concerned about.

    • by all means….Jesus told us to build relationships with the world….yep that was the priority…not come out from them and be separate…..not if your message isn’t rec’d, shake the dust from your feet….not repent for the kingdom of heaven is near (His first sermon). And certainly not a Jesus who condemned two whole cities for refusing to repent after seeing His miracles.

      I think so many confuse the doormat, longing to have a relationship with you, I accept you as you are, gospel with the true Jesus who called one of His best friends “satan”, rebuked anyone who distorted God’s word, violently cleaned out His Father’s house from those selling “god”.

      Find the command “go and build relationships with world” in scripture and sell me what you’re preaching. You’re listening to man instead.

      • Jordan Hubbard says:

        Marilyn and Rome7Hills,
        You are using the word “gospel” in a very specific, seemingly narrow sense. Would you define “gospel” for me? If someone were to “preach the gospel” what would that encompass?
        What is the problem the gospel solves? How does one encounter the gospel? If someone asked you how they should respond to the gospel, what do you say? What are the ongoing claims of the gospel? How does one live because of this gospel?

        I genuinely want to know.

        • Jordan Hubbard says:

          Oh…and by “narrow” I mean “specific and well-defined.” “Narrow” connotes stupidity and that’s not my intent.

        • Would you define “gospel” for me? If someone were to “preach the gospel” what would that encompass?
          The gospel is the reason Jesus came and what He needed to accomplish and WHY. 1Cor 15
          What is the problem the gospel solves?
          Romans 1:17
          How does one encounter the gospel?
          great commission, Matt 28:19
          how they should respond to the gospel, what do you say?
          I would say what Jesus said and what other’s said He said “repent and believe”
          (you can find all these verses if you so a word search)
          What are the ongoing claims of the gospel?
          Romans 1:16
          How does one live because of this gospel?
          transformed, holding fast to sound doctrine, obedient to the Lord’s word, thereby being able to discern not necessarily true from false but more importantly, true from almost true, and much more in the rest of scripture

      • So you can win people to Christ outside of first having a relationship with them? People dont care what you know till they know that you care. Jesus modeled that.

        • Chris, let’s just explore what you’ve been taught for a minute. Who did Jesus spend the most time with? Who would you say were his “friends”? We know that the bible instructs US about the company we keep. Do you think Jesus would have violated His own word? And I’m not talking about all those He talked to(thousands and thousands), I’m talking about in relationship with. We see that He called a group of 12. We know that the Holy Spirit HAD to be involved in this if these men just walked off their jobs and away from their families. Our Lord is sovereign, in control of every single thing. Do you think these 12 were random? or did they each serve a divine purpose? were they set apart for this before the foundations of the earth?
          So, if you can get a clearer picture of this, would you say that when He talked to the samaritan woman at the well, He was interested in starting up a friendship or interested in giving her Truth? What about the woman caught in adultery and the guys who brought her to Jesus. Was He interested in a relationship with these folks or speaking as the only Righteous Judge for sin? What about all those He preached to. Did He go hang out with them after He gave His message? Or an even better question, did He start up a relationship with them and wait days or weeks or months before sharing the kingdom of God? Did He insist on breaking up into smaller groups before getting to the real point?
          We see over and over in scripture that our Lord, who had only 3 years to get His message out before His mission would end in His own death, never hesitated before discussing the REAL issues. The REAL issue is sin. It caused the disconnection and dealing with sin is the only way to reconnect. Do you honestly think at Matthew’s house that the conversation was about the price of commodities or the newest design in sandals?
          Of course “relationship” is the desired result. But it is impossible to even have a relationship with the Lord apart from repentance and faith. In fact, the bible tells us that we are enemies of God prior to our salvation. It says He hates the wicked. That’s us…prior to conversion. And the bible says that He doesn’t even hear the prayers of those folks. The only prayer He responds to in our wicked state is the prayer of repentance.
          What this generation is trying to say is…..let’s do a relationship first. That’s not possible according to the bible. Even Andy mentioned in his sermon on the “one thing” that some people know they are involved in relationships that are damaging or toxic and get out of them. Now why would he say that? Isn’t the whole format of NP centered around bringing in damaged people, accepting them, being in relationship with them? Letting them know how much they care before that person will care to know anything at all?
          Even Andy obviously has a personal compass of who or what kind of relationships he deems worthy. All I’m saying is let’s not use Andy’s standard. Let’s use the bible’s. Let’s use what God says to make up our ground rules. He says that we are not to associate with people who call themselves Christians but continually and voluntarily sin. He goes on to say that He doesn’t mean the world. So make those two things reconcile. If we consider all of scripture, I believe He is saying that our relationships are with true believers who produce fruit in keeping with repentance and anyone in the Body of Christ that is living differently, we are to rid them from our gathering. Now, I am not the one saying this….the bible is and you can read it for yourself. So if you want to get mad or insulted or offended, go to the source. But we cannot keep the sanctification commands in the Body of Christ when we format a church around the world, around the lost….it’s impossible. We are taught to share Christ with the world, go to them, and then assemble as a Body of Believers.

          • Very well said, Marilyn. I hadn’t read your response yet when I had written mine. I can see many don’t read the bible, but rather listen to the preacing of man- by what is being said here.
            Thank you for brining out all of the points FROM THE BIBLE tha you did.

        • Hi Chris,
          I had no relationship with the person who explained the gospel to me. I went to church every Sunday and now I know God brought me to the the church I was “born” into.

          Lon SOlomon, head pastor at Mclean Bible church in N Virginia was a jewish, drug dealing college student in NC and was preached the gospel on a street corner. He had no relationship with this person.

          Jesus preached to tens of thousands of people he had NO relationship to…some followed. ALOT didn’t. Where do you get get “Jesus modeled that?” THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE JESUS ENCOUNTERED HE HAD NO RELATIONSHIP TO. The woman at the well, the leper, the roman military leader who’s servant died, the THOUSANDS he preached to on the hillsides, rivers and temples.

          It is not in MAN’s power to make a non-believer believe. Stop with the arrogance and cede to the Lord.

  26. Jordan, I am so excited about your questions. Here is some of what I have learned about “The Gospel”. Please let me say that I have never experienced such peace (in the midst of suffering) and joy as a result of these Gospel truths.

    I am 35 years old, and I spent all but the last 6 months of my life trying to (and praying that I could) imitate Christ. It never worked for long. I would become prideful if I felt I succeeded in my external achievements (Ex: commandments of scripture regarding morality), but I became extremely frustrated with myself and in the areas of my life where I could not succeed (the heart issues–ex: bitterness, affectionately loving my enemies, pride, anger, jealousy.) The result was two-fold: self-righteousness, as well as a deep lack of contentment and joy. I was angry with myself, but more so with people around me. I wanted them to “get better” in areas I felt like they should change; for myself, I was frustrated with my own heart issues I could not resolve. I knew I was not imitating Christ in my heart. And I could not figure out how to make that happen.

    These Gospel Truths have changed me from the inside out. Colossians 1:23 lets us know that we are not to shift from the hope of the Gospel. It is easy to shift on a daily basis. Satan wants us to shift away and will try everything to get us to–even focus on our behavior because it takes our focus off the finished work of Christ.

    1. What I knew before: The Gospel is the Good News that God chose to reconcile man to Himself through the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ (the birth, death, resurrection and ascension of Christ.)

    2. What is new to me is that this message of “the finished work of Christ” holds the power to transform me from the inside out.

    3. The Gospel-centered life recognizes that all power to change comes first from what Christ has already done for me on my behalf.

    4. Colossians teaches us that if you’re a Christian, your identity is firmly anchored now in Christ’s accomplishment, not yours. The gospel frees us from this obsessive pressure to “become.”

    5. The root of all fear is our disbelief in the gospel: the truth that all our love, acceptance, worth, value, security comes from what we already have IN CHRIST. We are united with Him, and He shares everything He has with us. We don’t need to go out and try harder to get more love, patience, peace, etc. We ALREADY have these qualities because we are In CHRIST. This is a belief. A “setting our mind on things above” on what Christ has already secured for us.

    6. What comes next? Does Christ care about our obedience? Yes! But our obedience is always rooted in what Christ has done on our behalf. The opposite of this is “moralism” which states that “If I improve my behavior, then I will be accepted”. The Gospel states that “I’m accepted first (because of what Christ did for me) and as a result of God’s work on my behalf, I begin to change.” We LONG for acceptance, and if we think it depends on us, the focus shifts to us–not to Christ.

    7. We have two great examples of how the Gospel changes us in Ephesians and Colossians. In Ephesians, Paul spends the first three chapters speaking of Christ’s finished work on behalf of sinners like me. And that’s basically all he talks about. He marinates our hearts and minds in the triumphant indicatives (what Christ did on our behalf) of the gospel, and it’s not until he gets to chapter four of Ephesians that he says, “Therefore, in light of what God in Christ has done for you, therefore do this.”

    This last part was HUGE for me. My entire life, I had read (and been taught) the commandments apart from where I get my fuel to live them: the fuel is the Gospel, Christ’s Finished Work. For example, I know the commandments given in the last part of Colossians, but hardly knew the first three chapters which are where we get the fuel to live out the commandments. When Christ said on the cross “It is finished”, He meant it.

    I am indebted to the teaching of Pastor Tullian Tchividjian at crpc.org, for his teaching of the Gospel according to the written word. I used many of his teachings in my points above, as well as statements he has made from this interview where Tullian goes further on this topic: http://byfaithonline.com/page/in-the-church/simple-equation-profound-implications-our-conversation-with-tullian-tchividjian

    I have been soaking my mind in these Gospel truths through the reading of the written word, various books on the topic, as well as the sermon series titled Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything by Pastor Tullian Tchividjian. You can download his sermon series titled Jesus Plus Nothing Equals Everything–a study of Colossians–on iTunes or on http://www.crpc.org. I Highly recommend it. It is life changing. His book just won the 2012 Christianity Today Book Award for the category Christian Living.

    Reading the Bible in search for biblical principles and application teaching have not taught me these truths. Anyone else feel this way?

    I know I am in the minority here. Thanks to everyone for a great discussion.

  27. I can only say that I have studied, and continue to study scripture every single day, and I can find nothing that Mr. Stanly has ever said that contradicts scripture…or Jesus teachings. Either Im ignorant then, or only a select number of people (including those the detractors here) have been given true understanding. I’m not a member of NPCC, or any of Andy’s church’s but I appreciate very much his ability to connect people far from God, with Biblical truth and the Gospel. If he is NOT spreading the Gospel then I readily admit to having no understanding of the Gospel myself. I get that some people (always church people btw) don’t accept or recognize NPCC, or similar models as “legitimate” churches due to their design/environment/purpose etc, but that should never justify the outright degradation of the people within that church. If people are accepting Christ as their Savior, and be Baptized in the name of the Trinity…how is that possibly “false doctrine”? The heckler, and those who support him have all the right in the world to disagree with Andy, North Point Church, and anyone who believes as they believe. But why stand and shout during a service? Why attend at all? I disagree with some pastors…but why would I ever do something like that? And why let so much apparent animosity build up that it spews vehemently (on this thread) toward others who are joined by the belief that Christ is Lord?

  28. Infiltrating and interrupting someone’s worship service because you disagree with their theology is simply wrong.

    To justify it as trying to give feedback or ask legitimate questions is ridiculous. This is not the way to uphold truth or ask questions. It is just plain rude and downright un-American. A foundational freedom of our country is a freedom to worship the way we see fit without intrusion. Only someone with an incredibly unhealthy messiah complex would use Jesus turning over tables as the impetus to interrupt someone’s worship service to correct their teaching. That doesn’t make one bit of sense in the context of the rest of the New Testament.

    To think that your version of the truth, or perspective of what the gospel is, is the one and only true way to define it is blind.

    And finally, to view it as ones own role to correct the teaching of other churches is an incredibly arrogant position. And if that is their role where do they stop? Do they travel to any church they disagree with and protest? That line of thinking quickly leads to a Westboro Baptist type of approach. Beyond that, what is the proper methodology to change those churches? Certainly interrupting worship services and forcing the worshipers to respond to their viewpoint would not even make the list of commonsense approaches to make an impact.

    In the Bible Paul turns people over to satan when they teach a false gospel, and he maintains truth in the congregations that he has direct influence in.

    If you think a church is off base, pray for them, engage in conversation with those you have a relationship with, and most importantly, live out what you believe to be true.

    For the record, I’m not affiliated with NPCC in any way. I simply happened to turn on the live stream of the service about five minutes before the disruption and was curious if anyone was discussing it. And I was quite surprised to find people defending this kind of despicable interrupting of a worship service.

  29. Stan Thomas says:

    I would be interested in knowing where Marilyn Nave attends church.

    • Attend church in homes….just like New Testament converts….must say it’s strange and lonely at times…no big crowds, no fanfare. However, it really makes one dig in to the Word without being spoon fed. And it drives home that the relationship between me and my Savior is first and foremost, very personal. The wisdom of a small flock mentality is much more easily managed….needs are easier to identify….prayer requests are more personal …..engaging in each other’s lives is more easily accomplished. Sometimes we miss the traditional model. But too much distortion….too much leniency with God’s word for us in the traditional model.

      • Stan Thomas says:

        Wondering if Marilyn ever thought about why first century Christians met in homes. Wondering if she knows that first century Christians started buying homes and tearing out walls to create gathering spaces. Wondering what would have happened to the church if Christians never did anything but gather in homes and study the Bible together. Just wondering.

        • well, if they never did anything, they would be ignoring what God clearly teaches them to do, thats a sin of omission. But to know what God says, they would have to read it themselves and be willing to obey it then they would be GOING, making disciples of all men, baptizing them and teaching them to obey all the Jesus has commanded…….if they took scripture seriously.

        • Wondering if Stan ever thought that if we were still meeting in homes, that chances are people wouldn’t be lazy and not read their bibles/held accountable for their behavior/know the Lord alot better because we use the bible and not be spoonfed by a preacher?
          Wondering if Stan ever thought that those gathering spaces the early christians created were as big as it was going to get?
          Just wondering……

  30. Hi, Casey. I know it must be taking some time to weed through these comments! I am wondering if my earlier post that I submitted got rejected? Thanks!

  31. I attend BBCC, a campus in NP Ministries, and I don’t resent that some of you seem to have a grudge against NP Ministries and that others don’t agree with how Andy Stanley delivers his sermons. What I don’t get is the reaction to how he handled the person who interrupted the service this past Sunday. The gentleman apparently was calling for Andy to bring the message back to Jesus, as some of you have mentioned is the only true way to give a sermon. The story was of Nehemiah and how when you are living your life, for God, that you have to focus on the good that you are doing, and not be distracted by others who are trying to keep that good from happening. It was about having faith that God is providing for you, directing you, and loving you. Perhaps God does want preachers to connect the dots, but I had no problem equating Andy’s message on Sunday to Jesus asking us to put all our faith in him and to live doing his work. Did any of you think that it might just be a great way to get the message of Christ to those who may be resistant to His message, by planting seeds with stories that happened hundreds or thousands of years before, but are true reflections of God’s will and his love for us, the same love that was personified in Christ, sacrificed in Christ, and given to us through Christ.
    Regarding the money/tithing comments, I’m pretty sure that the ministry is not trying to fatten their wallets, but to help spread God’s love through the community, local and global. Jesus asked us to live a certain way, and to spread the word to everyone. The NP way of spreading the word just seems to get to a different type of people than Marilyn & Rome above. Let me ask you a question, what is wrong with having a church full of drinkers and football fans, learning about God, Jesus and his love for us? Not sure many sinners and tax collectors where allowed in the Tabernacle, but they sure were welcomed to hear Jesus and the disciples speak. And let’s see how many pastors out there would stop their church service when it is 98% completed to start up a theological debate with someone yelling at him from the congregation. I’m guessing it would not be too many.

  32. Hi,Loved what michael said,I am a Long time member of the Church of Christ,And i love Pastor Stanley .I Found him through his podcast and now Watch Online before I go to Church.I gotta saay Andy Teachings are Rock Solid.In 43 years of being a Christian i Have never Been so Challenged as when I listen to Andys teaching And many of my Friends concur with me.Nothing shallow about the word of God when its Presented in a Clear way..Love it. Go Andy Go..

  33. I am continuing to follow this discussion. I just want to make it clear that I am not in support of anyone’s choice to disrupt a service. I think my views on how this man handled himself were not clear. I am very against the way this man chose to make his opinion known.

    I was only trying to state that I have had the same question in my heart for a long time. I was curious if anyone else felt the same.

    Thanks to everyone’s feedback. I am enjoying it!

  34. I have been going to NP for 7 years and I love it, however, I do echo those who feel Andy is relational and grounded in the Faith.. BUT, the gospel is not “preached” on a regular basis.. and unfortunately, can come across as more of a “self-improvement” lesson, based in the Word of course, but most lessons can be learned and applied without “the God bit”. It seems that many are happy just to come and do that. But isn’t that what we are supposed to do? offer what the Word says and leave the nudging to the Holy Spirit? As Mandy rightly pointed out, real growth can only come through the power of the Word and the Holy Spirit working through us.. and this is not usually made clear.. so I too, have been struggling with some of the issues that have been mentioned. It is a seeker Church, no doubt about that, but what about “going deeper” (discipleship anyone?)… where is the “environment” for that? I am reminded of Dr.John R.W. Stott’s church in London, All Souls Church. Those who have been taught the Word and have come under at least 2 years of discipleship and growth in the faith, should move on to another place of worship where they continue to grow in a leadership capacity. Of course, All Soul’s is a small church with no room for physical growth.. there was no other choice.. but what a great idea! Maybe those of us who are thirsting for more, just need to move on?

    I, too, have enjoyed reading your posts…blessings to everyone x

    • Sue, I’ve read the posts, and as someone who spent over 10 years at NPCC/BCC, I have very strong feelings about what has happened over the years to the amount of Scripture used. I don’t want to get into the arguments, though. I do know that the NP elders have discussed whether it should be a “feeder church,” and to many it has served that purpose. You would be welcome to check out Crawford Loritts and Fellowship Bible Church in Roswell to go deeper. We have many NP castaways looking for depth.

  35. So i just decided to go online and listen to “uncomplicating Christmas” the supposed GOSPEL message that Andy gave. I am in such shock……..I don’t even know where to begin. That is nothing but HERESY.
    People, this is the reason so many are upset and think it so important to intervene. The greatest act of love we can do for each other is give them the truth. God expects it of us! Andy never said a word about the need for a Savior. Why do we need eternal life? Why do we need a Savior? Do people really think that there is no eternal death? That, as soon as we take our last breath, not knowing Christ, then that’s all there is? That’s not all there is!!!
    There is a whole 4000 years that Andy has conveniently left out. God has a standard. We don’t measure up. We will experience eternal death, hell, torment, weeping and gnashing of teeth, where the worm dies not if we choose to ignore the Truth. The alternative to eternal life is not NOTHING………
    Andy also said that if you’ve ever felt condemned, it is not God’s fault, it’s the messenger, most likely a church. I’m sorry…….WHAT? The world was condemned in the garden….you and I were condemned the day we were born….by GOD!… because of sin! The law condemns every one of us! Jesus came not to condemn at that point, we already were/are condemned. He came to offer the answer, His life, His blood.
    God didn’t just decide that His first covenant was all wrong so we’ll trash it and start over….this time He won’t have a standard, He won’t have an expectation, we won’t need a Savior, just a guy to be in relationship with…….

    I daresay, and yes, you all who think more of NP than you do the Holy Word of God are going to slam me for this, but I daresay, you better get in your bibles and you better hold Andy Stanley accountable to God’s word or you are on a slippery slope. This is not to be taken lightly. Where are the watchmen? Where are the elders? Where are the Godly men in NP who know God, fear Him, worship Him, would die for Him? Do you not know that if you allow this to go on, you will have blood on your hands?

    The OT, Jesus and everyone who came after Him clearly said it’s REPENTANCE & FAITH made possible only because He paid what we owe with His blood instead of ours!

    Hebrews 10:26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 IT IS A DREADFUL THING TO FALL INTO THE HANDS OF A HOLY GOD.

    • James Monroe says:

      So, Marilyn, you don’t believe John 3:16 is an adequate summary of the gospel? What did Jesus omit that you would add? I watched the same message. Andy explained John 3:16. God loved. God gave. We believe. We receive. What would you add to that?

      • what did Jesus omit? Uh, that’s precisely the problem, James. Jesus didn’t omit anything…..Andy’s doing the omitting. In fact, if you will just read what I wrote above, you will see that is comes also from this same passage in John……but we didn’t hear a word about it.

    • You nailed it Marilyn. But I know exactly what will happen because that is a tough message to hear (although it’s the only one that saves!) NO ONE WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT THEIR SIN. AND THAT IF THEY TRULY BELIEVE and REPENT, THERE WILL BE FRUIT. and with fruit comes a VERY tough road.

      CHurches are successful without God’s blessing. That is why God/Jesus warns us to be prepared(read the Bible)to be aware of false teaching. When sheep go along without verifying the teaching and it is a warm fuzzy message, of course a church will prosper!

      SIN and all of it’s forms and that we are worthless sinners, REPENTANCE, EVIL, SATAN are the most common topics left out of most churches today. And that is what the gospel is about.

      No one wants to hear how they are living their life in sin (Affairs, Living with someone, sex outside of marriage, abortion, abuse, etc.)so they seek a church that won’t make them face their sin and “feel bad.”

  36. This is what Acts 5:33-39 says:

    33 When they heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. 34 But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. 35 Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. 36 Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. 37 After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. 38 Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. 39 But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”

    We can probably debate for a long time just what the role of the Church is and we each have scriptures to support our sides but ultimately God is still in control. If NP is out of line God knows it, and if the Churches of today are out of line, God knows that as well. God’s will is still actively being carried out on earth and if NP and other churches are out of line then they will fail. But if God is with them…

  37. I’ve been attending NP and Buckhead for many years now. Andy and leadership are always on mark in my book. Someone from the church is reading this. Keep up the good work. I guess when you start to become sucessful and making a dent in the dark side. Bashers will come.

    I am shocked to read all of this. Reminds me of the people who heckled the church and Andy when Michelle Obama came and spoke. Maybe its the same people. Many people said they left the church. Good for them… Opened up seats for new people to attend who needed to be there.

    Not going to quote any scriptures here. Seems everyone does to try to PROVE there point. Yet everyone is still divided.

  38. This discussion reminds me of A. W. Tozer’s quote “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” That is certainly true for me. When I began to understand all that God has done for me and His great love for me – only then did I desire (joyfully) to run towards Him and follow all of the rules laid out in scripture. This did not happen through my own efforts or because someone told me I SHOULD (REPENT, ALL CAPS, etc). “You ought to” never worked long term for me.

    I think this story sums up Christ’s great love for us:

    Abraham Lincoln went to a slave market. There he noted a young, beautiful African-American woman being auctioned off to the highest offer. He bid on her and he won. He could see the anger in the young woman’s eyes and could imagine what she was thinking. Another white man who will buy me, use me, and then discard me.
    As Lincoln walked off with his “property,” he turned to the woman and said, “You’re free.”
    “Yeah. What does that mean?” she replied.
    “It means that you’re free.”
    “Does that mean I can say whatever I want to say?”
    “Yes,” replied Lincoln smiling, “it means you can say whatever you want to say.”
    “Does it mean,” she asked incredulously, “that I can be whatever I want to be?”
    “Yes, you can be whatever you want to be.”
    “Does it mean,” the young woman said hesitantly, “that I can go wherever I want to go?”
    “Yes, it means you are free and can go wherever you want to go.”
    “Then,” said the young woman with tears welling up in her eyes, “I think I’ll go with you.”

    Now that I am a 36 year old man I understand this is what God has done for me. He bought me with the price of His son. It is incredibly humbling to even type that. I want to follow His rules and principles laid out in the Bible – not because I ought to or should – because I desire to do His will.

  39. I love what Bryan said. I am experiencing what Bryan said in my own life–no more “I ought to’s, but I WANT to follow Christ.”

    In addition, I think it is interesting that people are categorizing this conversation as 2 camps. I do not feel that is the case.

    I think this is a point worth clearing up. I think many of you think those like myself are questioning whether or not Andy Stanley preaches the message of Salvation?

    In my opinion, I believe that Andy does preach the Salvation message.

    However, what I am learning now is that The Gospel is central to our daily lives–it is the FUEL to keep us going, and it is the FUEL which animates our transformation in becoming more and more like Christ. This includes our actions but the root is the heart issue.

    Christ addresses the heart issue on the sermon on the mount. If you do not take the sermon on the mount seriously, then you may not have experienced this same feeling of failure that I have experienced. Experiencing failure, brokenness and the surrender of “I cannot do this alone” are what we are meant to experience. This failure leads us to see our need for CHRIST, the Son of God, and His purpose in the big story. This now makes the Gospel the AMAZING news to me over and over again.

    Christ was not mentioned, nor central, in the sermon on Nehemiah, “The One Thing”. I have never experienced being able to kick any habit at the heart level that Andy mentioned (he gave many examples: difficulty in relationships, alcohol, prescription drugs, spending habits leading to debt, determination to go back and finish college, etc.) These are external behaviors where the issue is the heart level.

    He briefly mentions that it is with God’s help and our focus that we can say “I will stay on the wall and not come down.” However, it was OUR focus that he hammers out over and over again in sermon, saying that God will get credit in the end.

    This has not worked for me. If it ever has, it was short term, not at the heart level, and it made me a pharisee towards others who came down from their wall.

    My own flesh always got in the way. No commitment of my own will, (and to be completely honest, I even asked God over and over for help to “please help me be more like You,”) has ever helped me with my inner struggles–which were my efforts to be genuinely loving towards my friend and enemy, which is what He commands.

    It is only this new understanding of the power of the Gospel that has fueled my heart in the most liberating way. The focus is not longer on me. My focus is on Christ. Every time I focus on my behavior, and whether or not I am changing, the focus is back on me.

    This focus back on myself is what the enemy wants, in my opinion. He wants Christ out of the picture.

    God sent His Son, as Bryan mentioned above, to achieve His plan and purpose.

    This is central. And I believe it should be central to every sermon.

    I continue to fail, but this failure redirects me back to where the fuel comes from. My heart is changing with this new understanding of what the truly Good News offers me every moment of every day. But only when my focus is on Christ. John 15:5 says “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” This verse brings a whole new understanding of what it means to remain in Christ.

    Again, I know I am in the minority here.

    I thank Casey for keeping this conversation going. I do not think there is anything more important that could be discussed.

  40. I am a ‘member’ of NP main campus. We attend on an irregular basis, and watch online more frequently now. Please, please, don’t ‘Follow The Man’, but follow Christ.

    There are a ton of churches….find the one that best suits you and your quest to follow Christ. As a non-denominational contemporary church, NorthPoint may not be your cup of tea.

    I was raised Southern Baptist, attended a Church of Christ in Atlanta area and now have found Northpoint for the last 7 or so years. Every church is different. Every church consist of a group of people…..following something, preferably following Christ.

    Pray for the heckler. Pray for yourself. Pray for me. Andy is doing his best to lead ‘the church’ to a growing relationship in Jesus Christ. To this end, he has served us well.

    Look to yourself to choose to follow Christ or not. But don’t follow ‘Andy’. He’s the messenger.

    God Bless.

    • Amen,Deb you said that well.We Love Andy and North Point but we Love Jesus More.We dont just get our God fix from Church we are in a Small Group and continue to read the bible Everyday.Also find getting up a Half hour or so earlier and Praying Makes every day Better…P.s. all things I Learned from Andy….:)

  41. Let’s sum this up for you anti-Andy/Northpoint people:

    -If you don’t like Northpoint. Don’t go there.

    -If you don’t like Andy. Don’t listen to him.

    -Start your own church for those that want to hear your message.

    -Your argument is turning more into fame for you, instead of fame for Jesus.

    -If you were trying to make a valid point (on this blog or yelling in a church service), you’ve discredited yourself and are making people WANT to go to Northpoint but you’re coming across as crazy.

    -All of this energy you have could be used against something much more impactful such as human trafficking. Instead of yelling at Andy, you could be yelling at traffickers about their injustice’s.

    -Please move on. We worship God, not Andy, not Northpoint.

    Thank you.

    • Did you miss the whole point of why Paul wrote letters? We are not disconnected just because we have different signs out in front of our churches. There is ONE faith regardless of what you think. There is ONE God we serve, ONE body of Christ and He tells us to guard Truth with everything in us. Those with your attitude refuse to engage in the fight……yes, it’s a fight against a very tough enemy. When you tuck tail and run, you go start another church….not only is that cowardly, it’s against scripture. But you would know that if you worshipped the Lord and His Word and not complacent about things like this. Get off the side lines. Put on your armor and engage. And I’m not talking about this blog. I’m talking about insisting on the whole message being preached. Insisting on defending the scriptures and not an organization, a church, a preacher, etc. I can’t speak for anyone else, but fame is not what I’m seeking. I’m seeking to DO what the bible tells me to do, not pleasing man, not pleasing you, only my Savior. Your “take your ball and go home” instructions are not biblical.

      • Why are you fighting? God is love. Showing love to others. Giving grace. Showing Grace through love, not fighting. We’d rather show you God’s grace through love, not by armoring up and fighting you. Let’s God’s grace shine through you, not by attacking us, but by loving one another.

        • you just proved my point

          • Eric Chai says:

            No, thank you Marilyn for helping prove my point. There are people like you that have your arguments that turn so many people away from God. You turn more away than get more people to go toward him based on your absolute response. So many people are pushed away and that’s why you need places like Northpoint to say hey, we want you to know God. We know that radical people/messages have pushed you away or judged you, but there is Grace, Hope, and Love from our Savior. Don’t let any judgemental people get between you and God. Northpoint’s designed for the hesitant returners thinking about forming a relationship with Jesus. Northpoint would help them move those unnecessary obstacles and the returner might eventually return back to their home church. Northpoint was designed to help people realize that your relationship with Jesus Christ is the #1 thing when it comes to your faith. Even though I no longer attend Northpoint because I moved, I am so thankful that they helped me remove the red tape that had been built between me and God.

          • Eric,
            You’re right. I was too blunt in that last statement without any explanation. Seems like many people in the bible were blunt as well and they got stoned for it. Do you deem them wrong? They certainly were radical. Is that their downfall and we should not model them?
            The reason I said you proved my point is that the point I was trying to make was that people listen to the things being taught at NP and have no idea whether they are in the bible or not. They don’t read it for themselves. You will find the instructions that I wrote in my last post in Ephesians, 6th chapter. I did not make up the concept of a battle and putting on armor. I was referring to the spiritual warfare that is behind this conversation and this distortion in general.
            Do you believe that God is love? I’m going to assume you say “yes”. Then everything He commanded us to do would be out of love, right? So, even the commands to just give them the gospel, if they don’t rec’v it, shake the dust from your feet, would be loving, right? Or how about the commands to keep the Body of Christ pure and sanctified, are those loving? Would God tell us to get rid of the yeast in our midst and that not also be His definition of love? And Eric, who are we supposed to judge and when? Who are we not supposed to judge? (Matt 7, 1 Cor 5) Have you read that part of the bible before you make your statements?

        • Eric,
          This is the stuff that saddens me. Hearing believers quote their own version of love- not the biblical.
          AGAIN, man making God’s word what they want it to be.

          ——————————————————
          1 John 3:18-20, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
          ——————————————————
          The truth referred to here is the truth of the bible.
          It is God’s love of which you speak. HIS truth is very uncomfortable, but the love he showed us by sending Christ to save us is astounding to say the least. But God hates sin. Period. Wether we are saved or unsaved. We need to be reminded of that constantly. How else will we stay on track? God is an angry God. We will be accountable for our sins while still on earth.

          My point is GOd is EVERTHING. Loving, angry, jealous,etc. Don’t make HIM one dimensional- that’s man making God in his image.
          It is in HIS love that we are punished or he allows something bad to happen to us. DO we turn to Him or blame, run from Him. He uses this to grow us, IF we allow it. At the same turn he blesses us to further his message. It’s not all bad, but it’s not all warm and fuzzy.

          Love, love, love(man’s version)……that’s the message that leads to a slow fade….

        • Eric,
          Would you mind providing scripture to what you speak of…..you’re all about feelings and the spoonfed believer come backs. (FYI PLEASE rease the bible)

          Speaking the truth is not attacking, unless a nerve has been hit. There are a few people on here that don’t agree with Marilyn and yet hold an intelligent debate and back it up w/scripture.

  42. Are there any discerning men of God at NP? Will you stand silent after yesterday’s message?

  43. asmit0931 says:

    Shouldn’t we be a WAR with ourselves? Not the body of Christ, “Church”! I have attended NP and BB multiple times. The “Church” is the body of Christ, not a building trying to draw attention (Eph. and Cor.). We need daily reminders of the Gospel each and every day. We can NOT live with out the Gospel. Why can we not come together as the body of CHRIST and unify in HIM and in HIM alone? If you are a Christian we believe Christ has come, died for our sins and has risen and will come again to take us home.We are all Gods children, making us each brothers and sisters.we should be learning from each other, lifting each other in prayer, loving like Christs loved us; not debating with other. HE took our guilt, shame, and everything for us. It is already DONE!! We have already been won, and made righteous in CHRIST. Satan comes in and weaves into our churches bending the TRUTH, GODS WORD. Can you imagine if we came together to block SATAN out of the CHURCH! If we lifted each other up in prayer, sharing our sins and repenting from them, how much GLORY that would bring the KINGDOM of GOD!! That’s what GOD wants, is GLORY to HIS NAME! He created us! He loves us! He hates sin! He sent HIS SON on the CROSS for crucifixion for for us! To make us PURE as SNOW! I pray that we will stop DEBATING and start STUDYING God’s Word. Not just a couple times, but daily, intensely, and going out to share with all Nations!

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