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: Believers belong to Jesus; not the Old Covenant.
Believers belong to Jesus; not the Old Covenant. The Old Covenant is the obsolete covenant - the Old Testament should be called the Obsolete Testament. Believers in Jesus do not need to obey any part of the law - even the Ten Commandments. We obey a higher and stricter law - the law of the Spirit of Christ in us. We don’t obey the letter of the law but the teachings of Jesus by the power of the Spirit.
Again, it is good to understand that the Old Covenant is truly obsolete. All on board for a trip to the New Covenant hop on.
I know Stanley knows the difference between misinterpretations of the Old Testament and accurate interpretations. But the way he talks it sounds like David was a barbarian barely worthy of honor and the Old Testament laws are a one way road to oppression and violence and the sacrificial system had nothing to do with the heart. But none of those statements are true! That is only when they are badly, terribly misunderstood and misapplied. None of these portrayals are accurate - in fact, they are the very same misrepresentations of these systems sometimes used by skeptics. So I am very confused as to why Stanley is promulgating them. I understand he is using emphasis to make a point, but I think he has missed the mark on this one and has misrepresented the OT.
I agree the OT is easy to misinterpret - that is the source of health and wealth preaching, legalism and many other false doctrines. But the OT does not support any of those when interpreted correctly. Even the legalism of the Pharisees was a misapplication and misunderstanding of the OT - not an accurate application of it. Jesus came to fulfill the law - not to abolish it. Yes, the law is obsolete. But the law itself spoke much truth and light into the culture in which it was given. Love your neighbor was in there and love God with all your heart - all in the law.
Matthew 5:17 - Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.
I’m not sure that all of the bad things Stanley attributes to mixing law / grace are not more generally due to the depravity of the human heart, which twists the truth to fit its own wants and desires.
I imagine I would agree with Stanley on most of these things if we talked it out over coffee But the way he is making his point in the book is, in my opinion, communicating an incorrect understanding of the OT.
Paul immediately saw the problems associated with blending the old with the new. As an educated Pharisee who spent his adult life studying, teaching, and defending the law, he instantly recognized the incompatibility of Moses and Jesus.
mystery—the mystery of the gospel—a mystery that, while heralded, illustrated, and foreshadowed by the Law and the Prophets, was not revealed until the arrival of Jesus.
The law, and everything associated with it, was a means to an end. And the end had come.
Believers belong to Jesus, not the old covenant.
According to Paul, Jesus followers are dead to the Ten Commandments.
To be clear: Thou shalt not obey the Ten Commandments.
“But wait!” you say. “God forgives sin. All I have to do is ask!” Not under the old Ten Commandment’s covenant, he doesn’t. You’ve gotta kill something or burn something
Under the new covenant, we don’t visit the temple. We are the temple.
Paul could not be any clearer. God’s covenant with Israel was made obsolete the moment Jesus ratified the new covenant.
The Obsolete Testament and the New Testament. It’s not pithy, but it’s accurate.
Our most embarrassing, indefensible moments resulted from Christians leveraging the old covenant concepts.
The issue Paul was responding to in the Galatian church was not how one gains salvation. The issue was the relevance of the entire Mosaic covenant.
If you pick and choose, you lose! The old covenant, like the new covenant, is an all-or-nothing proposition.
Even a pinch of the old covenant will corrupt the taste and texture of the new covenant.
In the minds of those closest to and most intimately acquainted with the old covenant, extreme violence was a justifiable means to an end.
When Paul became a Jesus follower, he could find nothing in the teaching of Jesus or of Jesus’ apostles to justify violent opposition against those who violently opposed him.
David was barbaric and violent. He raided and looted villages and murdered all the inhabitants to cover his tracks.
I knew better than to get into a spittin’ match with him over what the Bible says. I would have won. But she would’ve lost.