Discernment, False Teachers

Andy Stanley

If you are considering commenting or sending me an e-mail objecting to the fact that I warn against certain teachers, please click here and read this article first. Your objection is most likely answered here. I won’t be publishing comments or answering emails that are answered by this article.


This article is kept continuously updated as needed.


This article is what I call a “clearinghouse article”. It is a collection of articles written by others on the teacher, ministry, or unbiblical trend named below. Either I have not had the time to write a full blown article on it myself, or I felt that the articles listed did a fine job of explaining the biblical issues and there was no need to reinvent the wheel.

Disclaimer: I did not write the articles below, and I am not thoroughly familiar with all of the websites used in my clearinghouse articles. I do not endorse anything on these sites that deviates from Scripture or conflicts with my beliefs as outlined in the “Welcome” or “Statement of Faith” tabs in the blue menu bar at the top of this page.

Here are the  biblical criteria I use when deciding whether or not to recommend a teacher, ministry, etc.:

Generally speaking, in order for me to recommend a teacher, speaker, or author, he or she has to meet three criteria:

a) A female teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly preach to or teach men in violation of 1 Timothy 2:12. A male teacher or pastor cannot allow women to carry out this violation of Scripture in his ministry. The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be living in any other sin (for example, cohabiting with her boyfriend or living as a homosexual).

b) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be partnering with or frequently appearing with false teachers. This is a violation of Scripture.

c) The pastor or teacher cannot currently and unrepentantly be teaching false doctrine.

I recommend against any teacher or ministry who violates one or more of these biblical tenets.

I am not very familiar with most of the teachers I’m asked about (there are so many out there!) and have not had the opportunity to examine their writings or hear them speak, so most of the “quick checking” I do involves items a and b (although in order to partner with false teachers (b) it is reasonable to assume their doctrine is acceptable to the false teacher and that they are not teaching anything that would conflict with the false teacher’s doctrine). Partnering with false teachers and women preaching to men are each sufficient biblical reasons not to follow a pastor, teacher, or author, or use his/her materials.

Just to be clear, “not recommended” is a spectrum. On one end of this spectrum are people like Nancy Leigh DeMoss Wolgemuth and Kay Arthur. These are people I would not label as false teachers because their doctrine is generally sound, but because of some red flags I’m seeing with them, you won’t find me proactively endorsing them or suggesting them as a good resource, either. There are better people you could be listening to. On the other end of the spectrum are people like Joyce Meyer and Rachel Held Evans- complete heretics whose teachings, if believed, might lead you to an eternity in Hell. Most of the teachers I review fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum (leaning toward the latter).

If you’d like to check out some pastors and teachers I heartily recommend, click the Recommended Bible Teachers tab at the top of this page.


Andy Stanley
Not Recommended

Primary issues with Andy Stanley (and his “church,” North Point): False doctrine, twists and mishandles Scripture, allows women to preach

From my article 6 Reasons You Need to Stay Hitched to the Old Testament:

…The apostles cut out the requirement for circumcision to make things easier for Gentiles who wanted to come to Christ, he reasons, so the 21st century church should basically divorce itself from the Old Testament to make it easier for lost people who have a problem with certain Old Testament passages to come to Christ.

There’s only about a million problems with this line of thinking, and, honestly, the more I investigate what Stanley said and his subsequent explanations of why he said it and what he meant, the angrier it makes me. That a man with a master’s degree from a decent seminary, who’s a pastor of several churches, a best-selling “Christian” author, and a leadership and church growth guru to thousands of pastors across the globe should say, or even believe, such things is reprehensible…. 

Theological Issues

The Dangerous False Teaching of Andy Stanley by Chris King

Andy Stanley — We Can’t Arrive at the Empty Tomb without a Bible by Josh Buice

Andy Stanley’s Problem with the Bible by Josh Buice

Andy Stanley’s Troubling New Sermon by Alexander Griswold

Women preaching the Sunday sermon at North Point

Sarah Anderson   Annie Downs   Danielle Strickland   Jen McMillan

Homosexuality

When Gracie Met Truthy (audio of sermon citing homosexual couple at North Point)

Andy Stanley Sermon Illustration on Homosexuality Prompts Backlash at Christianity Today

Andy Stanley’s stance on homosexuality questioned at Baptist Press

Andy Stanley: Churches Should Be ‘Safest Place on the Planet’ for Gay Youth at The Christian Post

Secular music in the worship service

Love The Way You Turn Me On (Love Saves the Day)

We Are the Champions (Christmas Parody) (Queen)

Free Bird (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Fight Song (Rachel Platten)

Renegade (Styx)

Life Is a Highway and Sweet Home Alabama (Tom Cochrane / Lynyrd Skynyrd)

Sweet Child O’ Mine (Guns ‘n’ Roses)

90’s boy band mashup

“Don’t use the Bible/say, ‘the Bible says…’ in evangelism”

“The Bible Says So” Is Enough: A Response to Andy Stanley by Gabriel Hughes

Andy Stanley’s Statements about the Bible are not Cutting Edge—They’re Old Liberalism by David Prince

For the Bible Tells Me So: Biblical Authority Denied … Again by Albert Mohler

3 Nagging Problems with Andy Stanley’s Approach to the Bible by Jared Wilson

“Church for the unchurched” ecclesiology

Andy Stanley’s Business Model Sermon by Josh Buice

“Verse by verse preaching is ‘cheating’/not how you grow people”

Andy Stanley on Communication (Part 2) with Ed Stetzer

Andy Stanley: Expositors are cheaters at No Compromise Radio

“If you don’t go to a large church, you’re stinkin’ selfish and don’t care about your kids”

Big churches are better, megachurch pastor says; attending small church is ‘selfish’ at AL

Andy Stanley Apologizes for Saying People Who Go to Small Churches ‘Are So Stinkin’ Selfish’ at The Christian Post

Marcion heresy / “Unhitching from the Old Testament”

Christians Must ‘Unhitch’ Old Testament From Their Faith, Says Andy Stanley at The Christian Post

Getting ‘Unhitched’ from the Old Testament? Andy Stanley Aims at Heresy by Albert Mohler

Aftermath: Andy Stanley Unhitched by Gabriel Hughes

Andy Stanley Says We Need to “Unhitch” the Old Testament from Our Faith at Answers in Genesis

Book Reviews:

We Have No Divided God: A Review of “Irresistible” by Andy Stanley by Owen Strachan

Collections of Articles/Episodes

The Andy Stanley Cornucopia of False Teaching, Fast Talking & Postmodern Ambiguity at Messed Up Church

Andy Stanley at Messed Up Church

Andy Stanley at Apprising

Andy Stanley at Berean Research

Andy Stanley at Fighting for the Faith

11 thoughts on “Andy Stanley”

  1. Sadly, totally agree. His theology is not accurate. We used to listen to him, but the Holy Spirit was opening our eyes and we stopped. It’s sad, his dad Charles is great, I haven’t heard him say anything unbiblical.

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  2. Thank you for taking a stand! Lord bless you!
    I agree wholeheartedly, that women have no authority from the Lord to teach over men, yet a whole congregation!
    I agree with your summation’s however I have researched “Kay Arthur”, and she is ecumenical, and also appears at various types of “Conferences” so to me she is still acting like a “teacher” with men. Also those with whom she joins in speaking at these conferences are some of the worse heretical ecumenical teachers out there!

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      1. So you feel just because Andy is a false teacher that Charles should exile his son and no longer speak nor have anything to do with him? Where is that in scripture? How is that Christ like? Shouldn’t he love him despite and pray for him to see God’s truth and continue to try and reach him with the truth?

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      2. I’m not saying (and this isn’t about what I “feel”) Charles can never speak a word to Andy or be in the same room with him again. Yes he should love him and pray for him. The problem, as I clearly stated in my comment is Charles’ capitulation. Charles is not, to my knowledge “trying to reach him with the truth”. That’s what “capitulataion” means. It is my understanding that he has traded standing firm on Scripture for a closer, temporal relationship with his son. Holding fast thoroughly to Scripture with Andy would (due to Andy’s opposition to sound doctrine) naturally result in some degree of estrangement initiated by Andy. Where is all of this in Scripture? Right here:

        Matthew 10:35-37: For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

        2 John 9-11: Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

        Romans 16:17-18: I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

        Titus 1:9: He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.

        Titus 3:10-11: As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

        2 Corinthians 6:14-16a, 17a: Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?…Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord,

        1 Corinthians 5:11-13: But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

        I could go on, since separation from false teachers is a major theme in Scripture, but I think you get the idea.

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  3. You have done a terrific job. Your research is appreciated and yes this kind of foolish and slick deception needs to be brought into the light. I live 10 minutes from North Point and know many who attend. The shallowness and worldliness and lack of biblical knowledge of so many who go there is no surprise. It trickles down or rather in Andy’s church it flushes down from the top.

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  4. Hi Michelle,

    I work at a Christian bookstore, and I frequently have family members ask me for “discernment” advice regarding various false teachers in the contemporary church. My grandmother just asked me to help her research Andy Stanley, out of concern for a friend who has begun listening to his teaching. I knew about Stanley’s seeker-sensitive ecclesiology, but little else. This article was the first one I stumbled on in my search for information. I was greatly encouraged to see that someone had already put together such a thorough compilation of materials from a wide variety of sources, giving a clear picture of Stanley’s ministry and teaching.

    Thank you for your work. I will definitely be returning to your website for future research projects.

    Lauren

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