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: God chose Israel to be a blessing to the nations and in spite of Israel’s rejection of God as King, God still kept His covenant.
God chose Abraham and promised to make him a blessing to the nations through his offspring. But after God delivered Israel from Egypt in the Exodus the Israelites struggled to understand how to serve this invisible God. All of the surrounding nations had statues of their gods - which is one reason Israel felt compelled to build the golden calf. And even after Israel was delivered from Egypt, they eventually rejected God as their King and demanded to have a human king just like all of the other nations. God had called Israel to be unique - to be a testimony of His holiness and mercy to the other nations - but Israel rejected that order and chose instead to be like the other nations. And yet God did not abandon His promise - He would use Israel to bless the nations.
A good summary of a very large swath of Biblical history focusing on Israel’s call to bless the nations, the uniqueness of a God who is not made by human hands or connected to a specific plot of land and of Israel’s rejection of God as King.
I don’t have any specific critiques for this chapter. It was mostly a summary of core themes in Biblical history as Stanley builds up to his points about temple and empire.
God created the nation of Israel as a means to a divine end. He created the nation for a global purpose. God’s global plan for the nation was first announced long before there was a nation. Around 2067 BC, God promised ninety-nine-year-old Abraham a son who would become a nation that would bless the world.
It’s difficult to bless all the nations of the earth when you’re making bricks for a king who considers himself master of the universe.
It’s confusing for us because we grew up believing in an invisible, everywhere-at-the-same-time God. But this was new territory for the people of Israel. Not having an object to worship was as confusing to them as their insistence on having one is to us.
The problem, of course, was God did not intend for Israel to be like all the other nations. God intended for Israel to stand out from all the other nations because he was planning to do something through Israel on behalf of all the other nations.
As predicted, most of Israel’s kings were disasters. The nation paid for this decision in treasure and blood. In this way they did become like all the other nations. In spite of this, God kept his promise to Abraham. He did not abandon his global purposes for the nation.