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.
Introduction and Chapter VI
Big Idea: The Jewish people were waiting for a Messiah who would restore the glory of the old things - the sacrificial system, the temple and the nation of Israel. But Jesus did not come to restore what was old - He came to build a new thing - a new movement based upon a new covenant with a new command. The old had gone, the new has come.
Jesus did not come to start a new religion with buildings and rituals. Jesus came to do a new thing that would be not just for Israel, but for the whole world. Jesus made a new covenant in His blood to establish a people who would walk in the Way by loving God and loving neighbor. Jesus came to make a new humanity.
But men tried to rebuild the old things - the religious institutions - and as a result men like William Tyndale and Martin Luther faced death once again at the hands of religious leaders trying to protect their buildings and traditions. That is not the new Way. We must not mix the old with the new - a new thing has come. Let us walk in love.
I liked Stanley’s emphasis that what Jesus started was not a religious institution. It was a new creation. Jesus was the cornerstone of a new building not made of stone, but made up of the children of God and indwelt by the Spirit of God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
I also like the idea of ‘necessary but temporary’. The old covenant had a purpose, but it was temporary.
Hebrews 8:13 - In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.
Stanley is also clear in this chapter that he has a high view of all the Scriptures - just as Jesus did. And I do not think anything he said diminished that statement.
I understand that Stanley is trying to reach a non-Churched audience, but I do wish he had quoted a few more Scriptures to support the passing of the Old Covenant. I felt it would have given the general thrust of his argument more weightiness - if that is the right word. Even if he paraphrased it for his audience.
I’m not sure the word church is quite as much of an issue as Stanley makes it out to be. I understand that he feels that the word ‘church’ is to much like the temple of the Old Covenant - a religious institution. And clearly Tyndale’s persecutors saw the implications of translating ekklesia as gathering rather than church. But I don’t think this one translation could keep an honest hearted person from seeing the implications of the rest of Jesus’ message or a dark hearted person from twisting it.
I’m not discounting the importance of the Jewish Scriptures. When it comes to Jewish sacred texts, I’m with Jesus. His view is my view.
Like the road trips, plagues, fire, brimstone, stone tablets, portable altars, kings, and temples, he (John the Baptist) was necessary but temporary.
no one expected Jesus to architect something new. Just the opposite. If he was indeed Messiah, his role was to extend something old.
three facets of the new that Jesus unleashed in the world. We will begin with his new movement, the church. Then we will listen in as he explains to his disciples the terms and conditions of a new covenant, a new arrangement between God and humankind. And, finally, we will try to wrap our minds around the significance of Jesus’ new command—a single command that was to serve as the overarching ethic for his new movement.
Jesus came to fulfill and replace much of what was in place. New things don’t generally bother us until we realize it means letting go of old, comfortable things.
Ekklesia was not, is not, a religious term. It does not mean church or house of the Lord. It certainly shouldn’t be associated with a temple. The term was used widely to describe a gathering or assembly,
An ekklesia was a gathering of people for a specific purpose. Any specific purpose.
In the beginning, the Jesus movement was called The Way.
Unlike ancient Judaism or the various pagan religions, The Way was not regional. It was not national. It was not tied to a sacred spot. This was a movement offering a way forward to every people group, tribe, and tongue.
Jesus had come to put in place something designed to fulfill and replace all that had been in place before.
“Church” officials executed a man for translating and distributing the words of Jesus in a language adults and children could read and understand. How could that be? It could be because by this time in church history much of what Jesus came to replace had been put back in place. As we will discover throughout our journey together, whenever the church opts to mix old with new, bad things happen.
Access to the text would have removed the primary currency of the official church: fear. Something Jesus refused to leverage. Something he repeatedly instructed his followers not to do.