This is a book discussion of Andy Stanley’s book ‘Irresistible’ prompted by @tabby68, @O_wretched_man, @Lakshmismehta and @andrew.bulin . There have been some accusations against the book and we would like to take the time to hear what Andy Stanley is really trying to say and to offer thoughtful, gracious critique. Below is a podcast interview with Andy Stanley you may find helpful as well as the original post that started the discussion.
To participate - read along with us and share your thoughts and opinions My thoughts are here hopefully to prompt discussion - so please do join in with your observations / thoughts so that we can all benefit from your perspective. May the Lord Jesus guide our discussion.
Big Idea: Jesus is the guy now - not Moses. And Jesus did not consider the mosaic law the go to source for morality. Instead, Jesus pointed people to His own teaching.
Even after Jesus told the disciples to go to all nations and make more disciples, they still hung around Jerusalem and focused on ministry to Jews. And they still thought Jesus was going to return and establish an earthly Kingdom - perhaps in the very near future - like the Messiah they had been expecting all along.
But God had another plan. He chose Saul of Tarsus to take the Gospel to the nations and had Peter pay a visit to a Gentile, Cornelius, to make it clear to Peter that salvation was for all people. And when the other apostles heard about these Gentile converts, they held the Jerusalem Council to discuss what these new Gentile believers needed to do about the mosaic law. And their conclusion? The Gentile believers did not need to keep the mosaic law, but they did need to abstain from sexual immorality and respect the consciences of their fellow Christians who were Jewish.
The days of the mosaic covenant had ended. The new age of the New Covenant in Christ were here and He was for all nations.
I like the emphasis on the fact that Jesus is for all nations and that this realization was a huge paradigm shift for Jewish believers - even for the disciples.
I like the fact that Stanley made it a mission of the Church he pastored not to make it difficult for unbelievers to enter the Kingdom.
Nothing new - this chapter was mostly an attempt to help us see that it was a huge paradigm shift for the apostles to go from Old Covenant / Moses thinking to New Covenant / Jesus thinking. And the Book of Acts is evidence that was the case.
Implication: In the old days, Moses was your guy. Those days are over. Something new has come. Someone new has come.
Jesus’ disciples didn’t go into all the world like he instructed them to. They stayed in Jerusalem in the shadow of the temple. They surrounded themselves with Jewish converts for whom the blended, Jewish version of Christianity worked just fine.
Luke tells us they were hoping Jesus was ready to restore the nation to kingdom status. They were still hoping for a political or military solution. Whatever the reason, they left assuming he would return soon.
There it is again. Christians—Jesus followers—were appalled Peter would enter the home of a Gentile. This is years after the resurrection. They couldn’t get it through their hearts and heads that Jesus had completely—once and for all, stick a fork in it, put down your pencil, exit the plane, tip the waiter—fulfilled the old covenant. It was over.
Notice whose name suddenly pops up in the discussion. Moses. These men were arguing for the blended model. The Moses and Jesus model. The mix-and-match model.
Standing at what everyone in that room considered to be the epicenter of the world, the city Jews had bled and died for, and perhaps a stone’s throw from the holy of holies, Peter declared that God had thrown open the doors of the Jesus movement to outsiders. Divine approval once reserved for the Jewish race was now available to everyone.
It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.20 I love that. Imagine where the church would be today if we had kept that simple idea front and center. Years ago, I printed that verse and hung it in my office.
Those four imperatives had nothing to do with keeping the law and everything to do with keeping the peace. Specifically, peace in the church. Peace between Jewish and Gentile believers.
As we will discover, Paul did not consider the law of Moses the go-to source for Christian behavior. I hope that makes you so nervous you actually finish this book.
But what’s more mind-boggling than that, they decided unity in the church was more important than the law of Moses.