Megachurches, Monochurches, and Blog Post Titles: The Debate Cannot Neglect the Real Issue of Compromise and Capitulation

As can be imagined, the debate is heating up regarding the issue I posted about yesterday concerning the very controversial sermon given by Andy Stanley.  I linked to an article by Al Mohler wherein he stated part of the problem with compromising the gospel/biblical doctrine and capitulating to the world’s agenda rested with the issue of the phenomenon of the megachurch.  Mohler did state that not all megachurches are abandoning the Bible, but the reality is that many are doing so in effort to sustain large crowds of attendees in the context of a culture growing more hostile to Christian doctrine.

Yesterday on Twitter, Rick Warren challenged Al Mohler claiming that perhaps his article, or at least its title, castigated all megachurches as compromising on truth.  Warren tweeted to Mohler, “Would a sensational blog title ‘Are THE Seminaries the New Liberals?’ be fair if 1 seminary pres. messed up?”  He then asked Mohler to apologize to megachurch pastors for the inference.  Yes, there are many pastors of megachurches who are faithful to the Bible (as Mohler noted), but the reality is that there are many, not just one, who are not.  The pressures of the culture are making doctrinal faithfulness too challenging for many.  That was Mohler’s point- and one that should be well received.

Another response that I found fascinating was one Bart Barber posted on his blog in response to this controversy.  He claims that perhaps the issue is not the megachurch, but the mononchurch, that is the problem.  Monochurches are ones that have no denominational affiliation and are accountable to no one for the doctrine they proclaim.  Barber brings up some very interesting points in this debate and his article is worth reading.  Find it here:

The issue that Stanley’s sermon has arisen should not be forgotten in the midst of debating blog titles and what types of churches are foregoing biblical doctrine.  The key issue, which Mohler’s article addressed, is that there are a growing number of churches, and ones once considered doctrinally orthodox, that are altering or neglecting biblical truth to accomplish selfish agendas.  This is an issue the church must be aware of, address head on, and leaders of all churches must be sure not to replicate similar mistakes.

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5 Responses to “Megachurches, Monochurches, and Blog Post Titles: The Debate Cannot Neglect the Real Issue of Compromise and Capitulation”

  1. I completely agree with Dr. Mohler. I am very thankful to God to have his voice to point out any biblical error that he thinks should be addressed. I pray he will never compromise the gospel and give in to this ungodly culture.

  2. Total agreement, Todd! Accountability, accountability, accountability! Cannot be said enough.

  3. 2 Timothy 4:3
    For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.

    If the megachurches want to cater to the world, then they really aren’t serving the Lord. And if we are praying for discernment the Lord and His word will guide us. I think it is our own responsibility to recognize when we are following the wolf instead of the shepherd.

  4. I do not believe that Andy’s choice to not address the homosexual relationship in his illustration automatically assumes a slippery slope of abandoning theology. The purpose of his illustration was to show how a new outlook on grace and truth can work in a real, modern-day, messy situation.
    When you see Jesus fellowshipping with the “tax collectors and sinners” questions were raised on His stance on their sins, but His theology never changed. He pointed out sin when necessary and didn’t when it wasn’t. THIS was the purpose of the message.
    The very thing that people are accusing Andy of is what he was preaching against. He said that the tension that grace and truth creates is necessary, and that preaching either one without the other would be inconsistent with the gospel.
    Andy was not “normalizing homosexuality.” He was using his illustration to get the central point of his message across and nothing else.

    • Melanie thanks for the comment. After listening to Stanley’s sermon, I find it hard to interpret it any other way than that he was condoning homosexuality. To my knowledge, Stanley has not publicly commented on the controversy over his sermon to clear up any misunderstandings. I don’t see a tension between grace and truth. To say that one exists infers that sometimes grace trumps truth. When God finds it convenient or necessary, He “looks the other way” regarding sin. God clearly doesn’t do that. God’s grace works within the framework of His truth. Stanley’s message seemed to clearly show that there are times, perhaps as you said in “messy situations,” where God’s grace supersedes His truth (in this case the biblical teaching on homosexuality). This is an error. Jesus never did this with the tax collectors and sinners. He told the woman caught in adultery that her sins were forgiven (grace) and then to go and sin no more (truth). Stanley’s illustration reveals that he does’t seem to believe this. Yes, we must always exercise grace when teaching/standing for the truth. But there is never a time when our focus on grace can exclude the truth. The world seems to think this is impossible- just like a person cannot say that what another person believes is wrong without the automatic assumption that he/she hates that person. Not true. I can genuinely love a person and still tell them I think they are wrong. Same is true in this situation. We should never extend grace void of the truth.