Mohler on Stanley: A Problem with Grace

If Jesus were to come back today, he would do it all again.  He would tweak the noses of the powers-that-be.  And he would get himself crucified.

Or maybe he would just get himself crucified on Al Mohler’s blog.

Albert Mohler, who is no stranger to provocative blogosphere discussions, stirred the pot with a post last week on megachurches.  In something akin to the experience of taking your car to get an oil change only to have your mechanic lecture you on the history of the internal combustion engine, he begins by giving us the full-on history of the megachurch movement, its development and its sociological implications, and comes around to make the point that megachurches are, in his estimation, the new purveyors of liberal theology.  Or maybe the object of this exercise was to take a swipe at a particular megachurch pastor?  (You’ll know when you read it.)

At issue for Mohler is a message that was preached by Andy Stanley at North Point Community Church a couple of weeks ago.  The message in question is part of a sermon series called “Christian“.  The big idea of the series is this:  Christianity has an image problem.  One of the biggest reasons is that the Bible is not clear on what it means to be a Christian–the word only appears three times in the entire New Testament.  It is painfully clear, however, on what it means to be a “disciple”–this is the word by which New Testament Christians most frequently identified themselves.  And the largest part of what it means to be a disciple is that we love others the way Jesus loved them.

One of the biggest aspects of how Jesus loved others was that he loved with the fullness of grace and truth.  Not grace without truth, or truth without grace, or some partial combination of the two, but the full measure of both grace and truth.

In the message in question, creatively entitled “When Gracie Met Truthy”, Stanley illustrated this point by telling the story of a couple that were friends of his and North Point attenders.  The wife divorced when she learned that her husband was having an affair with another man.  She asked him to stop attending North Point, so he did.  He and his gay partner began attending the Buckhead campus.  Here the whole thing starts to get really complicated and convoluded–you’d best just listen to the message itself (it’s part 5 of the series).  How’s that for a promo?

At any rate, the wife made the decision that she did not want to live in bitterness forever, so she began to reach out to her ex-husband in hopes of reconciling the family.  Toward that end, she invited him and his gay partner and family to a Christmas service at North Point so that they could all celebrate the holiday together.

Turns out, the gay partner was still married when he and the husband started living together.  This came out when the two men were serving as greeters at their new church.  Stanley determined that they were living in adultery and could not continue serving as greeters under such conditions.

And herein lies Mohler’s issue. Continue reading “Mohler on Stanley: A Problem with Grace”