Andy Stanley the pastor of North Point Community Church is the subject of controversy again. In his sermon on December 4 of this year some claim he discredited the Virgin Birth of Christ.
Andy said, “If somebody can predict their own death and resurrection, I’m not all that concerned about how they got into the world…Christianity doesn’t hinge on the truth or even the stories around the birth of Jesus. It hinges on the resurrection of Jesus.”
That is a very strong statement when you realize that the Virgin Birth of Christ is a foundational truth fundamental to orthodox Christianity. Andy managed to anger several in the theological community.
Andy never said he did not believe in the Virgin Birth of Christ, nor did he deny its theological significance. Like anything said or written one needs to consider the context of the statement.
North Point Ministries’ website clearly says it was “founded in 1995 with the vision of creating churches that unchurched people love to attend.” With six different locations within the suburban Atlanta area and an average weekly attendance of 36,000, they appear to have succeeded. But success means nothing if it is founded on heresy.
What was the evangelistic thrust of the early church?
Many believe the Church was conceived when Christ first mentioned it, Matthew 16:18, but was born on Pentecost. Peter’s sermon resulting in the first three thousand converts to the new faith on Pentecost focused on the resurrection of Christ and said nothing of His birth. Peter proclaimed, “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses,” Acts 2:32.
Paul would later write, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.
In all of his writings Paul never mentions the Virgin Birth, but declares the resurrection of Christ is “of first importance.” He further writes that our salvation is secured when we “confess…Jesus as Lord, and believe…God raised Him from the dead,” Romans 10:9.
It seems that the Virgin Birth of Christ was not an essential element of evangelizing the unchurched two thousand years ago, and Andy seems to be saying it is not an essential element in evangelizing the unchurched today.
This does not mean the narratives of Christ’s birth recorded in Matthew and Luke are unimportant. The infinite God confined the revelation of Himself to a finite Book, and nothing contained in it should be considered insignificant. It simply appears that if Christ’s birth was not the evangelistic thrust of the early church, should it be today?
Paul tells us, “But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another,” Ephesians 5:15. This is not a defense of Andy; I just believe the cause of Christ is not well served by senseless sniping.