I realize that Andy Stanley is a very popular and successful minister. I’ve read many of his books and seen many of his videos myself. Even the early ones, before he had a stylist, where he looked like he thought the only shirts that “fit” were the ones that were big enough to sell advertising space on the fabric between his ribs and his arms.
He’s clearly very good at what he does. He’s grown an enormous church and his messages have reached a whole bunch of people. If evangelical religion was the Internet, he would be Twitter, or at least Instagram. (If you’re wondering, Rick Warren is Google.)
However, he keeps doing stuff like this, and making me concerned. Here he is in response to a proposed law in Kansas that, much like the recently vetoed Arizona law, would protect business owners who chose to deny services on religious conscience grounds:
He said, “Serving people we don’t see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity. Jesus died for a world with which he didn’t see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn’t want to sell its products to a gay couple, it’s their business. Literally. But leave Jesus out of it.”
I’ve been in church all my life. I’ve heard a lot of sermons. I mean, a lot. And you can break them all down into basically one of two types: 1) Pastors urging people who don’t know Jesus to get to know Jesus, and 2) Pastors urging people who already know Jesus to make Jesus more the center of their lives.
Pastors are constantly pleading with their congregations to take their faith with them out of the church and into every other part of their lives — their family, their finances, their businesses. It is a constant theme in every church I have ever been in.
But Andy Stanley has found an area where Jesus doesn’t belong. If a gay couple tries to get you to participate in their wedding — if they try to force your participation through lawsuit or threat of lawsuit, even if your own conscience and your understanding of your faith demands otherwise — you should “leave Jesus out of it” and just go along. Because nothing says “bold servant in the kingdom of God” like feeble capitulation to gay activists.
I’m starting to feel like I should move Andy Stanley and his enormous dress shirts from the “solution” column into the “problem” column.