Believe it or not, the buffoonery and erroneous teachings advanced over the past few years by self-ascribed evangelical leaders, was surpassed this Christmas by Andy Stanley, founder of North Point Ministries, and son of renowned evangelists, Charles Stanley.
No stranger to controversy, Stanley’s assertions this year about the Bible are worse than those made by former mega-church leader Rob Bell on homosexuality, marriage, and hell. They are far more destructive than Russell Moore’s divisive comments about Christians and violence. Many argue Stanley’s departure from biblical truth and rejection of the authority of the Bible only solidifies his role as a popular false prophet and heretic.
But in actuality, he’s worse than that. He’s closer to an apologist for Islam.
On December 3, 2016, Stanley declared:
“Christianity doesn’t hinge on the truth or even the stories around the birth of Jesus. It really hinges on the resurrection of Jesus.”
And that’s only one sentence in an entire nonsensical argument that could be part of Humpty Dumpty’s conversation with Alice in Through the Looking Glass. Historically, his use of false comparisons, false equivalences, false presuppositions, and blatantly disregard for biblical truth should be reason enough to demand that he step down.
(Notwithstanding the scientific fact that the numerous prophecies specific to historical and geographical context fulfilled by Jesus’s birth were statistically impossible. In Science Speaks, Peter Stoner and Robert Newman point out that based on the science of probability, the probability that Jesus could have fulfilled even eight prophecies out of the known 60 major prophecies (and subsequent 270 ramifications of these prophecies) was 1 in 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000. That’s 1 in one quadrillion.)
But for Stanley to argue that Jesus being supernaturally conceived is not really relevant to Christianity exceeds even vacuous thought or heresy. He’s actually making the same claim that Islamists make about the Bible– it’s stories aren’t true or relevant. According to Stanley, “Christianity doesn’t hinge on the truth or even the stories about the birth of Jesus.” Since Christians can’t believe what’s in the Bible, perhaps the Qur’an can shed some light on the truth about Jesus’s birth. After all, there’s an entire chapter devoted to it: Ch. 19, “Marium.”
According to Islam, Mary, or Marium, was both the mother of Jesus and the sister of Moses. Prior to giving birth, Marium cried out that she’d rather die than give birth to Jesus.
She gave birth to Jesus by herself, holding “herself to the trunk of a palm tree,” saying:
“Oh, would that I had died before this, and had been a thing quite forgotten!” (Surah 19:22, 23; emphasis added.)
The numerous prophets who foretold of Jesus’s birth over hundreds of years apart from each other and prior to his birth, were wrong. Jesus wasn’t born in Bethlehem. He was born in an undisclosed location, which the Qur’an describes as “a remote place.”
Jesus also spoke to Mary as she pushed him out of her birth canal. According to the Qur’an:
“(The child) called out to her from beneath her: Grieve not, surely your Lord has made a stream to flow beneath you. And shake towards you the trunk of the palm tree, it will drop on you fresh dates: so eat and drink and refresh the eye. Then if you see any mortal say: Surely I have vowed a fast to the Beneficent God, so I shall not speak to any man today.” (Surah 19:24-26)
And, as a new-born baby, Jesus spoke fluently to a group of Arabian nomads, saying:
“Surely I am a servant of Allah; He has given me the Book and made me a prophet; and He has made me blessed wherever I may be, and He has enjoined on me prayer and the poor-rate so long as I live; And dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, unblessed; And peace on me on the day I was born, and on the day I die, and on the day I am raised to life.” (Surah 19:30-33)
The Qur’an’s account of Jesus’s birth is critical—because it emphasizes the key truth of Islam: although Jesus was supernaturally born to a virgin, Jesus is not God’s son and he is only a prophet of Allah:
“Such is Isa, son of Marium, this is the saying of truth about which they dispute. It beseems not Allah that He should take to Himself a son, glory to be Him; when He has decreed a matter He only says to it ‘Be’ and it is.” (Surah 19:34, 35)
Again, according to Stanley, “Christianity doesn’t hinge on the truth or even the stories about the birth of Jesus.” Therefore, Christians are silly to believe that Mary magnified the Lord (Luke 1:46). They should believe the Qur’an that she’d rather die than give birth to Jesus.
Likewise, where Jesus was born wasn’t marked by constellations or even by nine points of a single star. It was in the middle of nowhere. And no one knew about it. The multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God (‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!’’ (Luke 2:10-14) obviously weren’t there either.
These are just meaningless stories. Stories can be rewritten. Which is exactly what happened and continues to happen when people reject the authority of the Bible as the word of God. Because the Bible isn’t enough, additional revelation is necessary, like the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon. Sadly, Andy Stanley doesn’t appear to know on whom Christianity hinges. If he did, he couldn’t possibly make such statements. Worse still, why is anyone paying him to say such things?
If Jesus Christ was not born to a virgin, then all of the Old Testament prophecies pointing to his birth– both in time, date, and location, are false. If his birth didn’t matter, then why care about who Jesus Christ is at all? No living historical human being other than Jesus Christ, who was both fully human and fully God, was miraculously born to a virgin. No one in the history of humankind on earth.
A Memphis pastor says it best: “The birth of Jesus fulfils prophecy, defies logic, demands declaration, prompts obedience, and inspires obedience.” (https://twitter.com/bellevuememphis/status/811266935409229824)
Contrary to Stanley’s false assertions, Bible isn’t a book or a compilation of questionable stories. It is a living, breathing message from the creator of the universe, from a father to his children, in which every word points to the living and saving work of his only begotten son.
To disbelieve it is to call God a liar. (1 John 5:10) But to claim to worship a God whose word can’t be trusted is nothing less than delusional insanity.