Andy Stanley, leading Christian pastor and author, just came out with some eyebrow-raising comments about the Ten Commandments. In today's day and age, you can expect controversy over sexuality, marriage, even abortion. But the Ten Commandments? Most don't think of there being much wiggle room.
But Stanley just made headlines by saying Christians shouldn't really put much import on the Ten Commandments. Instead, the North Point Community Church pastor argued that the focus should just be on the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus took the Ten Commandments even further.
For example, instead of not murdering, we are to not even call someone a fool. Or instead of not committing adultery, we are not even to lust after someone in our hearts.
"[I]f we’re going to create a monument to stand as a testament to our faith, shouldn’t it at least be a monument of something that actually applies to us?" he wrote in a column posted by Relevant Magazine.
Stanley posted his column with the instigating question of why Christians want to post the 10 Commandments but not the Sermon of the Mount. “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,” wrote Stanley. “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.”
Stanley says this overarching commandment is "a replacement for everything in the existing list. Including the big ten," he maintained. "Just as his new covenant replaced the old covenant, Jesus’ new commandment replaced all the old commandments."
“Dear Christian reader: Why? Why? Why would we even be tempted to reach back beyond the cross to borrow from a covenant that was temporary and inferior to the covenant established for us at Calvary?” Stanley continued. “The author of Hebrews says it best. Jesus was the ‘guarantor of a better covenant’ (Hebrews 7:22). Later he writes, ‘the new covenant is established on better promises.’ Besides, you weren’t included in the old covenant to begin with! So why are we fighting to build monuments to it?”
But critics are quick to point out that you don't have to choose. In fact, Jesus even said that not one letter of the Old Testament would pass away until the end. "For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished," (Matthew 5:18).
Messianic Jewish author and radio personality Michael Brown, explains what's wrong with Stanley's unorthodox stance against the Old Testament: "A pastor as influential as Andy Stanley needs to distance himself from such heresies, making a public, clear, and unequivocal correction that undoes the confusion he has caused. (He knows that I write this [as] a friend, out to help, not to hurt.)," wrote Brown.
"He can preach against legalism and against Judaizing, exalting the grace of God and celebrating the newness of the New Covenant, without undermining the very foundations on which that New Covenant is established," Brown continued.
What do you think of Stanley's statement against the Ten Commandments and Christians' honor of them? Share your thoughts in the comments! Thank you!