Andy Stanley, like Marcion of old, rejects Old Testament–but what did Jesus and the Apostles do?


Andy Stanley

COGwriter

The latest post from World Net Daily has the following:

Mega-pastor Andy Stanley caught a lot of theological flak back in May for telling his congregation it was time for them to “unhitch” from the Old Testament.

This weekend, however, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, hit back hard by comparing Stanley’s continuing controversial comments on the matter with an ancient heresy.

Writing in Salem Communications’ ChristianHeadlines.com, Mohler alluded to error of Marcion, who claimed the God of the Old Testament was not the same as the God of the New Testament. For his part, Stanley recently suggested they were the same God but “he was doing two different things.”

“We are looking here at the ancient heresy of Marcion, who argued that the Old Testament must be repudiated by the church,” wrote Mohler.

“Marcion, who lived about the years 85-160, taught that the Old Testament revealed a Creator deity who is not even the same God who sent Jesus. Unsurprisingly, he also held to a heretical Christology. The Old Testament deity was repugnant to Marcion, who argued that Christianity just make a clean break from Judaism. The Old Testament, he taught, reveals a vindictive law-giving Creator deity who bears no resemblance to the merciful redeeming God revealed in Jesus Christ. As Irenaeus, one of the most significant church fathers argued, ‘Marcion himself divides God in two, saying that one is good, the other judicial, and in so doing takes God away from both.’”

He continues: “Marcion was embarrassed by the Old Testament, and so are many modern people. Andy Stanley, at the very least, seems to fear that embarrassment in others, even if he does not identify with it himself.” …

Stanley …  claimed that “Peter, James, Paul elected to unhitch the Christian faith from their Jewish scriptures, and my friends, we must as well.” …

But what put Mohler over the edge were recent comments by Stanley in a podcast in which he said he had outgrown his simple childhood belief about the Bible and that references in the New Testament to “Scripture” “did not mean the Bible.”

“This is something I’m trying desperately to help people understand, and every time I try to explain it I get misunderstood, so here I go again,” said Stanley. “There was no ‘The Bible’ until the fourth century. When we think about the Bible we think about a book that contains the Jewish Scripture and the Christian writings, and such a thing did not exist until after Christianity became legal and scholars could come out of the shadows and actually put such a thing together. So, in the early church no one ever said in the early church, ‘the Bible says, the Bible teaches, the Bible says the Bible teaches,’ because there was no ‘The Bible.’ But the point of your question, there was Scripture but every time we see the phrase ‘the Scripture’ or ‘Scripture’ in the New Testament, as you know we have to stop and ask the question, what was this particular group of people referring to because there was no ‘The Bible’ and there was no book that contained all the Jewish Scripture because it was contained in synagogues and as you know virtually no one could read and write.”

To which Mohler responds: “Well, wait just a minute. It is true that Jesus and the apostles did not have the Old Testament and the New Testament bound together in a book (codex) form. It is, of course, also plainly true that the New Testament did not exist until it was given, book by book, by the Holy Spirit to the church in the first century. But it is not true that references to ‘the Scriptures’ or ‘the Scripture’ by Jesus and the apostles are any mystery to us. They are plainly referring to what we know as the Old Testament. There are references to ‘Moses and the Prophets’ (Luke 16:29) and to the ‘Law and the Prophets’ (Luke 16:16), but faithful Jews in the first century would emphatically have known exactly what the Scriptures are.”

“I’m convinced that we make a better case for Jesus if we leave the Old Testament or the old covenant out of the argument,” said Stanley. 08/11/18 https://www.wnd.com/2018/08/mega-pastor-accused-of-heresy-for-attack-on-old-testament/#hEPPYRWZYdmKqF7L.99
Concerning the Ten Commandments, Stanley remarked, “You are not accountable to the Ten Commandments, we’re done with that. God has done something new.” https://thewitnessbcc.com/andy-stanley-and-the-dismissal-of-the-ot/

Let’s deal with several of the issues and improper assertions by Andy Stanley. Protestant scholars consider him the “first Protestant’?

First, nearly all the references to “scriptures” (21 times in the NKJV) or “scripture” (30 times in the NKJV) in the New Testament are referring to the Old Testament portion of the Bible. The only reference that is not, 2 Peter 3:16, refers to Paul’ writings which were part of the New Testament. Hence, Andy Stanley is wrong about scriptures not meaning the Bible. Jesus is mentioned at least 20 times referring to the Old Testament as scriptures in the Gospels.

Second, the full canon of the Bible was known from the time that the Apostle John penned the Book of Revelation–that was in the late 1st century (see The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History). The belief among Greco-Roman-Protestants that it took centuries for THEM to finalize a canon does not change the fact that the canon was known by John. Notice that history affirms that John passed the canons on to Church of God leader Polycarp of Smyrna:

There remained [—]ter him a disciple[e —] name was Polycar[p and] he made him bishop over Smyrna…He was… {an} old man, being one hundred and f[our] of age.  He continued to walk [i]n the canons which he had learned from his youth from John the a[p]ostle (Weidman, Frederick W.  Polycarp and John: The Harris Fragments and Their Challenge to Literary Traditions.  University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame (IL), 1999, pp. 43-44)

By mentioning the term “canons,” the Harris Fragments seems to be suggesting that John passed the knowledge of the proper books of the Bible to Polycarp–and that would have been the case.

The Church of God (which is NOT Protestant) had the full Bible by the end of the first century–it did NOT wait until the Roman Empire supposed made Christianity legal (I say supposedly because Emperor Constantine changed the ‘legality’ to go against those he considered heretics).

Third, notice something that the Apostle Paul was inspired to write:

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The above included the Old Testament.

Here is absolute proof from the verse that preceded 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)

Paul was writing to Timothy. At the time of Timothy’s childhood there was no New Testament. Hence, in order to be a COMPLETE “man of God” the Old Testament is needed according to what the Apostle Paul was inspired to write.

Fourth, notice that in 2 Timothy 3:15 the Apostle Paul was writing that it was from the Old Testament that Timothy was able to learn about salvation through the Messiah Jesus. So, for Andy Stanley to claim that “we make a better case for Jesus if we leave the Old Testament or the old covenant out of the argument” is clearly wrong.

In a podcast, I heard Andy Stanley say:

“I’m convinced that we make a better case for Jesus if we leave the Old Testament or the old covenant out of the argument … you don’t need ancient prophs when somebody rises from the dead” (Jonathan Merritt interview of Andy Stanley. Seekers & Speakers, podcast. August 9, 2018).

By “prophs” he meant biblical prophecies from the Old Testament. That position is contrary to what Christians did.

The reality is that Jesus, the Gospel writers, and the Apostles frequently referred to the Old Testament to demonstrate that Jesus was the Christ. While there are too many references in the New Testament to list directly in this post, notice some examples of what Jesus and the Apostles did:

27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:27)

42 Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was? (John 7:42)

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. … 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’ 29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. (Acts 2:14, 28-32)

12 So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, … 18 But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. … 24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.  (Acts 3:12,18, 25)

2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas. (Acts 17:2-4)

24 Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, … 28 for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ. (Acts 18:24-28)

While everyone would not accept the biblical testimony, it was often used as proof by the early Christians. Philip also did this (Acts 8:32-35).

Peter and Paul did NOT unhitch from the Old Testament, nor did James (cf. Acts 21), like Andy Stanley claimed. Jesus resurrection did not prevent them from using Old Testament prophecies–it was a factor that increased their interest in doing so.

Consider also that Saul (soon enough after his conversion that he was not then called Paul) proved that Jesus was the Christ:

22 … Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who dwelt in Damascus, proving that this Jesus is the Christ. (Acts 9:22)

The way he would have proven that was to use prophetic scriptures in the Old Testament. By this time he realized that Jesus had been resurrected.

He also taught that the Jews should have been able to accept Jesus from the prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures (had they been willing to do so):

26 Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. 27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. (Acts 13:23-27)

Notice also that, later, the Bereans checked out what Paul was teaching:

10 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men. (Acts 17:10-12)

The Bereans were using the Old Testament to do this.

Furthermore, I should add that the New Testament shows that over 200 Old Testament statements and prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. To see those, check out the free online book: Proof Jesus is the Messiah.


11th century artist’s impression of Marcion

Fifth, in the 2nd century, Irenaeus also noted that the faithful Church of God leader/bishop Polycarp opposed Marcion:

But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time — a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles — that, namely, which is handed down by the Church. There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, “Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within.” And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, “Dost thou know me?” “I do know thee, the first-born of Satan.” (Irenaeus. Adversus Haereses. Book III, Chapter 3, Verse 4. Excerpted from Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 1. Edited by Alexander Roberts & James Donaldson. American Edition, 1885).

Another to specifically oppose Marcion was Church of God leader/bishop Theophilus of Antioch (late 2nd century). The Syriatic version of Eusebius’ Church History notes:

BUT as to Theophilus, concerning whom we have said that he was Bishop of Antioch, there are three treatises by him against Antolycus, and another which is inscribed “Against the heresy of Hermogenes,” in which he uses testimonies from the Revelation of John; and there are other books by him which are suitable for teaching. But those, who pertained to heretical doctrine, even at that time like tares were corrupting the pure seed of the doctrine of the Apostles; but the Pastors which were in the churches in every country, were driving them like beasts of the wilderness away from the flock of Christ; at one time by teaching and exhortation to the Brethren, but at another time openly before their faces they contended with them in discussion, and put them to shame; and again, also, by writing treatises they diligently refuted and exposed their opinions. But Theophilus, together with others, contended against them; and he is celebrated for one treatise, which was ably composed by him against Marcion, which, together with the others that I have already mentioned, is still preserved. And after him Maximinus received the Bishoprick of the Church of Antioch, who was the seventh after the Apostles.

But Philip, respecting whom we have learned from the words of Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth,2 that he was Bishop of the church of the city of Gortyna, he also composed with accuracy a treatise against Marcion (Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, Syriac version, Book 4 (Extract), Chapter 24. Spicilegium Syriacum (1855). This text was transcribed by Roger Pearse, Ipswich, UK, 2003. Greek text is rendered using the Scholars Press SPIonic font/Polytonic Greek).

What were some of the doctrines of Marcion that Polycarp and Theophilus would have objected to?

While Simon Magus, seems to have held some similar doctrines, in an organized way Marcion:

  • Seems to have been the first associated with Christianity to try to “do away” with the seventh day Sabbath.
  • Seems to have been the first associated with Christianity to try to “do away” with the Ten Commandments.
  • Seems to have been the first associated with Christianity to try to “do away” with the Old Testament.
  • Seems to have been the first associated with Christianity to try to “do away” with the Millennium.

Because of his radical approach, some Protestants have claimed that Marcion was the first Protestant–see Marcion: The First Protestant? — even though Protestants do not agree with all of Marcion’s doctrines. Here is a link to the sermon: Marcion: The first Protestant reformer?

Oddly, though some Protestants have claimed Marcion, Marcion actually was part of the Church of Rome–even decades AFTER he was condemned by Polycarp of Smyrna.

The Catholic Encyclopedia states this about Marcion and his followers:

Marcionites Heretical sect founded in A.D. 144 at Rome by Marcion and continuing in the West for 300 years, but in the East some centuries longer, especially outside the Byzantine Empire. They rejected the writings of the Old Testament and taught that Christ was not the Son of the God of the Jews, but the Son of the good God, who was different from the God of the Ancient Covenant. They anticipated the more consistent dualism of Manichaeism and were finally absorbed by it. As they arose in the very infancy of Christianity and adopted from the beginning a strong ecclesiastical organization, parallel to that of the Catholic Church, they were perhaps the most dangerous foe Christianity has ever known

We can take it for granted then, that Marcion was a bishop, probably an assistant or suffragan of his father at Sinope. Having fallen out with his father he travels to Rome, where, being a seafarer or shipowner and a great traveler, he already may have been known and where his wealth obtains him influence and position. If Tertullian supposes him to have been admitted to the Roman Church … His episcopal dignity has received mention at least in two early writers, who speak of him as having “from bishop become an apostate” (Optatus of Mileve, IV, v),

Rome tolerated Marcion for decades after Polycarp condemned him and eventually adopted several of his doctrines.

Many Protestants accept at least part of Marcion’s position on the Ten Commandments.

For one example, in its Ten Commandments article, Wikipedia reported:

Modern Evangelicalism, under the influence of dispensationalism, commonly denies that the commandments have any abiding validity as a requirement binding upon Christians (Ten Commandments. Wikipedia, viewed 7/30/08).

And sadly, this is a fairly common Protestant view as the following quotes may help demonstrate:

The 10 commandments are Abolished

Today Christians keep the Law of Christ which is superior! 1 Cor 9:21; Gal 6:2 (http://www.bible.ca/7-10-commandments.htm viewed 7/31/08).

The Ten Commandments Were Abolished
Saturday, 5. July 2008, 22:51:09

Introduction The ten commandments are no longer lawful: they are not binding on the Christian. Christian scripture says the ten commandments were abolished Ephesians 2:15; a bible believing person is no longer bound to follow them; in fact (http://my.opera.com/richardinbellingham/blog/the-ten-commandments-were-abolished viewed 7/30/08).

THE TEN COMMANDMENTS ARE NOT FOR CHRISTIANS (Richard Bethel. http://www.bethelministries.com/ten_commandments.htm viewed 7/30/08).

The Ten Commandments: Christ Nailed to the Cross (The Ten Commandments: Christ Nailed to the Cross. By William A Worley. Published by the Author?, 1959).

Prof. M.D. Canright, an ordained Baptist preacher says:…”The Ten Commandments and the whole Jewish law are abolished, and the Sabbath is not binding upon Christians…we are not under the Ten Commandments, but under Christ” (Religious Delusions: A Psychic Study By J. V. Coombs Published by Kessinger Publishing, 2003, pp. 34-35).

One of the Ten Commandments was not carried over into the Law of Christ

Not all of the Ten Commandments were carried over into the law of Christ (Jeffrey W. Hamilton, preacher. La Vista Church of Christ. http://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2004-11-23.htm viewed 7/30/08).

The Ten Commandments were given to the Jews; and when Christ came and died they were all nailed to the cross (The marked Bible By Charles Lindsay Taylor. Published by Pacific Press, 1922. Original from the University of California. Digitized Nov 30, 2007, p. 53).

The keeping of the Sabbath as commanded on the tables of stone was nailed to the cross…The Sabbath of the ten commandments had its mission (The Gospel Day: Or, the Light of Christianity By Charles Ebert Orr. Published by Gospel Trumpet, 1904 Original from the New York Public Library Digitized Jul 18, 2006, pp. 336-337).

While there are Protestants that claim that the Ten Commandments are in effect, many disagree. Also, the Jehovah’s Witnesses teach Marcion’s errors related to the Ten Commandments and the Sabbath (for proof, check out the article Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Continuing Church of God).

It is sad that even today, people like Andy Stanley promote views held by apostates such as Marcion.

Some items of related interest may include:

The Old Testament Canon This article shows from Catholic accepted writings, that the Old Testament used by non-Roman Catholics and non-Eastern Orthodox churches is the correct version.
The New Testament Canon – From the Bible and History This article, shows from the Bible and supporting historical sources, why the early Church knew which books were part of the Bible and which ones were not.
Proof Jesus is the Messiah This free book has over 200 Hebrew prophecies were fulfilled by Jesus. Plus, His arrival was consistent with specific prophecies and even Jewish interpretations of prophecy.
Marcion: The First Protestant? Considered to have been an organized heretic, he taught against the Old Testament, the law, and the Sabbath. Some have considered him to be the first Protestant reformer. But was he? Here is a link to a related sermon: Marcion: The first Protestant reformer?
The Ten Commandments: The Decalogue, Christianity, and the Beast This is a free draft/unedited pdf book explaining the what the Ten Commandments are, where they came from, how early professors of Christ viewed them, and how various ones, including the Beast of Revelation, will oppose them. A related sermon is titled: The Ten Commandments and the Beast of Revelation.
Simon Magus, What Did He Teach? Sometimes called “the father early heretics” or the “father of heresies”, do you know what early writers claimed that Simon Magus taught? Sadly, most who profess Christ still hold to versions of his teachings. Here is a link to a related sermon: Simon Magus and ‘Christianity’?
Why Be Concerned About False and Heretical Leaders? There have been many false leaders–here is some of why you should be concerned about them. Here is a related article in the Spanish language ¿Por qué estar preocupado acerca de falsos y heréticos líderes?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the real Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background. As far as some changes affecting Protestantism, watch the video Charismatic Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it? Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near? Two related sermons are available Millennial Utopia and The Millennium.
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions. [Português: Qual é fiel: A igreja católica romana ou a igreja do deus?]
Similarities and Differences Between the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to represent the original Christian faith.  Do you know much about them? Both groups have some interesting similarities, but many major differences. Would you like Christian answers for Jehovah’s Witnesses to give information on how to deal with Jehovah’s Witnesses? A related sermon is also available: Jehovah’s Witnesses: Right and Wrong Teachings?
Where is the True Christian Church Today? This free online pdf booklet answers that question and includes 18 proofs, clues, and signs to identify the true vs. false Christian church. Plus 7 proofs, clues, and signs to help identify Laodicean churches. A related sermon is also available: Where is the True Christian Church? Here is a link to the booklet in the Spanish language: ¿Dónde está la verdadera Iglesia cristiana de hoy? Here is a link in the German language: WO IST DIE WAHRE CHRISTLICHE KIRCHE HEUTE? Here is a link in the French language: Où est la vraie Église Chrétienne aujourd’hui?
Continuing History of the Church of God This pdf booklet is a historical overview of the true Church of God and some of its main opponents from Acts 2 to the 21st century. Related sermon links include Continuing History of the Church of God: c. 31 to c. 300 A.D. and Continuing History of the Church of God: 4th-16th Centuries and Continuing History of the Church of God: 17th-20th Centuries. The booklet is available in Spanish: Continuación de la Historia de la Iglesia de Dios, German: Kontinuierliche Geschichte der Kirche Gottes, French: L Histoire Continue de l Église de Dieu and Ekegusii Omogano Bw’ekanisa Ya Nyasae Egendererete.



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