North Point Community Church “impastor” Andy Stanley continued his wretched job of smarmily assessing what’s wrong with Christendom and then explaining why he and his church are nailing it 24/7, this time in an interview he did with CNN about his new book Not in It to Win It: Why Choosing Sides Sidelines The Church.
Stanley has been on our radar recently, after saying it doesn’t matter if the bible is true, so long as it’s ‘mostly reliable’, saying that the “foundation of our faith is not the whole bible, and opening up his church service with a Led Zeppelin concert
Stanely, who has mastered the art of clucking his tongue, shaking his head, and speaking in an exasperated tone like everyone should come to his conclusion, makes the case that choosing sides in the current political and social war only sidelines the church. Instead, he says churches should remain neutral so as not to alienate anyone, using his own church’s response to the pandemic, (he closed down for a year and lamented the fact that churches were fighting the government to stay open and have their church services, saying he was embarrassed by it.) the death of George Floyd ( who he called “this generation’s ‘Samson‘ in a since-deleted tweet) and the 2020 election, where he’s said Christians can vote Democrat and run as Democrats all the want, and that there’s nothing wrong with it, repeatedly claiming an absolute equivalence of the current political parties.
Thankfully, the interviewer pushes Stanley on the consistency of his position of not wanting to get involved in political or controversial issues (nowhere in his book does he mention abortion for example) but by and large, Stanley stumbles through the interview, getting caught multiple times in the inconsistency of his own passiveness.
Q- You said in the book that when churches take a political side, they’re already alienating half of the country. Are there political issues where a pastor shouldn’t be neutral even at the risk of being identified with a political party? The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. worked with the Democratic Party and a Democratic president to get the 1965 Voting Rights Act passed. Was he being too political? Was he wrong to align with the Democratic Party?
When a cultural issue intersects with the teachings of Jesus, we definitely should say something. The problem is when we do that — which we should — we do that knowing that … if I take a more left-leaning position on gun control — which I wouldn’t, because in my mind that’s a very complicated issue — but if I did, then I realize that the Republicans in my church are going to put me in the bucket of everything that the Democrats believe, because there’s no middle ground now. There’s no nuance. It’s tricky.
As a pastor I’m responsible for preaching the whole counsel of God. But talking about an issue is different than aligning with a party or aligning with a candidate. Even to say: ‘This is what Jesus teaches on this particular issue, this is what we should do, and that’s why I’m voting for…’ Nope. We should just stick with those specific issues without wholesale buying into a political party.
When pressed about whether he would have spoken out against Jim Crow segregation laws of the 1950s, Stanley is forced to acknowledge that given his ideology, he probably wouldn’t have done anything.
When I hear you talking about pastors being neutral on political issues, I think of history. There were a lot of White Southern Baptist pastors in the South who said they wanted to be neutral when civil rights leaders started holding protests in the 1950s. They didn’t speak out about Jim Crow segregation because they didn’t want to seem political, but it was really moral cowardice.
I understand that pressure. I’m not going to be arrogant enough to say If I’d been one of them, I tell you what I would have done — because I don’t know, and nobody does. But they were wrong. And many of them looked back later and were ashamed, as they should be. I would like to be better than that, but I don’t know.
Despite Stanley wanting to always ride the fence, the fact is that the devil owns the fence. Not all sides are equally righteous, as he seems to think, but one side must be unrighteous and should be avoided. Plus there are some areas where he has clearly chosen sides. Take the George Floyd situation he chided people on., Apart from saying this about the man:
He also went off haranguing and scolding people on the issue. He’s said before that everyone is a little racist, claimed that ‘you have to offend white people’ or else they’ll never repent of racism, said from the pulpit “here’s an uncomfortable fact: white people fear black men” and went on a woke Critical Race Theory tirade by arguing “it’s not enough to be ‘not racist,’ you must be ‘anti-racist,” before telling them that they’re all racists in their hearts.
Stanley chooses sides all the time, it’s just that he picks the wrong one while pretending he’s not at all.