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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>BOOK REVIEW: October 26, 2018</p>\n<p><img alt=\"\" src=\"http://conservativechronicle.com/sites/default/files/Olasky.gif\" /></p>\n<p>Frequently asked question by&nbsp; WORLD members: What do you think of Andy Stanley&rsquo;s book,&nbsp;&ldquo;Irresistible&rdquo;&nbsp;(Zondervan, 2018)?<br />\n Answer: I&rsquo;m impressed and depressed. Stanley notes rightly that &ldquo;skinny jeans and moving lights&rdquo; won&rsquo;t keep many young people from abandoning Christianity. But he argues that the way to hold them, and win others who say they&rsquo;re &ldquo;spiritual,&rdquo; is to abandon the hard things in the Bible and emphasize a smiling Jesus. C.S. Lewis brought us&nbsp;&ldquo;Mere Christianity.&rdquo; Pastor Stanley brings us Mere Sponge Cake.</p>\n<p> IS THAT A harsh review? Let&rsquo;s take a run through&nbsp;&ldquo;Irresistible.&rdquo; Its first 80 pages winsomely and validly critique vanilla church life. Stanley&rsquo;s complaints get more pointed on page 90 when he complains about Old Testament &ldquo;leftovers&rdquo; (and does that five times in five pages). He clarifies this on page 137: &ldquo;The Ten Commandments have no authority over you. None. To be clear: Thou shalt not obey the Ten Commandments.&rdquo;<br />\n How bad is the OT? On page 144 we learn, &ldquo;It only takes a small dose of the wrong thing to corrupt the whole thing. Even a pinch of the old covenant will corrupt the taste and texture of the new covenant.&rdquo; But &mdash; page 166 &mdash; the OT &ldquo;is a fabulous source of inspiration. Old Testament narratives are rich in courage, valor, and sacrifice. Everybody faces a Goliath or two.&rdquo;<br />\n That sounds like Steve Martin&rsquo;s comically inspirational speech about a bandit leader in&nbsp;&ldquo;Three Amigos:&rdquo; &ldquo;In a way, all of us have an El Guapo to face someday. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo.&rdquo; How many bad sermons start with a Bible verse, turn to contemporary issues or what the pastor did on his vacation, and never get back to what the Bible is actually saying?<br />\n But back to Stanley&rsquo;s book: His prescription on page 227 is, &ldquo;If we&nbsp;love&nbsp;well, all&nbsp;is&nbsp;well. Period. That&rsquo;s it. Love well, and you&rsquo;re in the light.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s different from the OT teaching he describes on pages 251 and 257, &ldquo;In the Old Testament [God] got so angry, he drowned &rsquo;em all.&thinsp; ... He allowed his own temple to be torn down and then put everybody in time-out.&thinsp;... [Now,] he&rsquo;s not angry.&rdquo;</p>\n<p> WHAT&rsquo;S THE problem with Stanleyism? First, his description of the two testaments &mdash; anger-suffused old vs. love-infused new &mdash; is inaccurate. The OT more than 20 times shows the &ldquo;angry&rdquo; God emphasizing compassion. The New Testament concludes with Chapter 9 of Revelation showing one-third of mankind slain, Chapter 14 reporting a 180-mile-long, four-foot-deep stream of blood, and Chapter 16 describing plagues worse than those in Exodus.<br />\n Second, Jesus warns against attacks on the OT. He says in Chapter 16 of Luke, &ldquo;If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.&rdquo; Jesus in Chapter 5 of John tells critics that if they don&rsquo;t believe what Moses wrote, &ldquo;how will you believe my words?&rdquo; He declares in the Sermon on the Mount, &ldquo;Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.&rdquo;&nbsp;Stanley mentions on page 168 one verse countering his thesis, &ldquo;All Scripture is God-breathed,&rdquo; but he doesn&rsquo;t engage with it. Stanley doesn&rsquo;t even mention other Biblical teaching that undercuts his thesis.<br />\n Third, if we unhitch the church from the OT, we lose its powerful documentation of how deep our sin problem is: Choose a people, give them chosen leaders and prophets, give them a land and good laws, and they still mess up. Plus, the OT repeatedly points to the NT: Abraham&rsquo;s almost-sacrifice of his only son makes no sense unless it&rsquo;s preparing us for God the Father&rsquo;s sacrifice of His only Son. Stanley makes it seem he&rsquo;s discovered something, but he&rsquo;s largely repeating the 1,900-year-old anti-OT errors of Marcion and the 100-year-old errors of liberal preachers and writers such as Harry Emerson Fosdick.</p>\n<p> FOURTH, Stanley&rsquo;s wrong to say that it&rsquo;s his way or the highway for postmoderns. New York pastor Tim Keller&rsquo;s full-Bible exegetical preaching has reached thousands of those Stanley sees as unreachable unless we jettison the OT. The intelligent design movement is showing we don&rsquo;t have to worship Darwin. Maybe Stanley can draw in readers and listeners with sponge cake, but they will need more nutrition.</p>\n<p> Reprinted with permission of WORLD. To read more news and views from a Christian perspective, call 800-951-6397 or visit WNG.org.</p>\n', created = 1575841678, expire = 1575928078, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:1b5ce49556f3d92692de8dc1a2507998' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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  • user warning: Table './conserva_drupal/cache_filter' is marked as crashed and should be repaired query: UPDATE cache_filter SET data = '<p>\n Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit <a href=\"/content/subscribe\">subscription page</a>. If you are already a subscriber, please <a href=\"/user\">login to the site</a>. You can also request a free sample by using our <a href=\"/content/free-sample-issue\">request form</a>.</p>\n', created = 1575841678, expire = 1575928078, headers = '', serialized = 0 WHERE cid = '2:26332461bfe9df08f9ac8dde4bed3db8' in /home/conserva/public_html/includes/cache.inc on line 112.
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Mere Sponge Cake: The problems with Stanleyism

BOOK REVIEW: October 26, 2018

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