Mega-pastor Andy Stanley is at it again – running down the Ten Commandments.
In a new article in Relevant Magazine, he tells Christians God’s words from Mount Sinai don’t apply to them any more.
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
- Don’t take the name of the Lord your God in vain. …
- Honor your mother and father.
- Don’t murder.
- Don’t commit adultery.
- Don’t steal.
- Don’t bear false witness against your neighbor.
It’s all apparently irrelevant today, he says.
“Participants in the new covenant (that’s Christians) are not required to obey any of the commandments found in the first part of their Bibles,” Stanley wrote. “Participants in the new covenant are expected to obey the single command Jesus issued as part of his new covenant: as I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Is that what Jesus said? Did He ever suggest the Ten Commandments were irrelevant, outdated and replaced by a single new one?
You won’t find that suggestion anywhere in the words of Jesus, the Gospels or the rest of the New Testament no matter how hard you search for it.
Instead, here’s what you will find:
- Matthew 5:17-18: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”
- Matthew 5:19: “Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
- Matthew 19:17: “And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.”
Jesus did say in John 13:34-35 that He had a new commandment to give His disciples – that they love one another as He loved them. Remember how He loved them. He gave His life for them so that they might receive eternal life as His children. That’s how He expected them to love each other. It was a higher calling, not a lower one.
Jesus never stopped calling for His followers to follow His previous instructions. Not killing each other, not profaning God, honoring your parents, not stealing – these were baseline commandments for all humanity. Breaking these laws without repentance means one thing – death.
God wants His children to live – forever. And that’s why He called His disciples, His followers, those who love Him, to a higher standard – to love one another as He loved them. It was not a light commandment. He was not lowering the bar to be welcomed into His Kingdom.
Maybe you say: “Wait a minute, Farah! Andy Stanley has 33,000 people attending his five Atlanta-area churches every week. Who are you to dispute what he says?”
I do so because what He is preaching is heresy. He is leading his flock astray by tickling their ears with a false gospel.
While it’s fundamentally true that if you truly follow Jesus’ commandment to love one another as He loved His disciples, you will not kill each other, steal from each other or commit adultery, to suggest that believers no longer need to obey these commandments is a lie. It’s categorically untrue. Breaking God’s laws without repentance still carries a death sentence for each of us. Make no mistake about that.
Yet Stanley is telling anyone who will listen to him that this one commandment is a “replacement for everything in the existing list.”
God’s commandments are not temporary. The New Covenant is a beautiful gift for the future that will place God’s laws in our hearts, but that won’t change their meaning. It won’t mean, as Paul explained in Romans 6:1-2, that we can embrace sin. Rather, it will mean that we no longer have a sin nature.
I wonder if Andy Stanley believes he and his 33,000 followers no longer have a sin nature, that they no longer need to measure their behavior against the standard of the commandments? Do they believe they are completely New Covenant creatures, who, the Scriptures tell us, will not need to study the law to know it and embrace it because it will be “written in their hearts”? (Jeremiah 31, Hebrews 8)
The New Covenant will not be fully realized until we are living in God’s Kingdom. Today, we still need to learn right from wrong. We still need to contend with temptation and sin. We still need to understand God’s ways and our own evil, uncircumcised hearts.
It’s sad to see such an influential pastor teaching error like this.
But it is to be expected. In fact, it is prophesied.
Jeremiah 23:1: “Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.”
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