Irresistible by Andy Stanley


(Tabitha Gallman) #1

I was just wondering if anyone has read Andy Stanley’s new book called: “Irresistible”? I have not read it yet, but was wondering if this is a book I should read since I am currently reading the Old Testament and I feel that the OT is of vital importance to the Christian faith. Some of the reviews pertaining to the book are not very favorable, but maybe I should read since Andy Stanley is so influential, and to see if the book is just misunderstood.


Irresistible Book Discussion: Chapter 1 - How the Church Became Resistible
Irresistible Book Discussion: Chapter 3 - The Creator Doesn't Need a House
Irresistible Book Discussion: Chapter 2 - A Blessing to the Nations
Irresistible Book Discussion: Chapter 4 - An Empty Temple and God's Unexpected Move
(SeanO) #2

@tabby68 I have not read it, but I have never heard anything from Andy Stanley that I thought was wrong theologically. He does intentionally target people who have left the Church - so the way he communicates offends some people because he does not always start with the Bible. But he is trying to reach the unreached - so I can understand. Personally, my suspicion is that the book is fine.


(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #3

I’ve read multiple reviews of his book from trusted sources and they both weren’t all that favourable. here they are:

https://www.str.org/blog/we-still-need-old-testament


(SeanO) #4

@O_wretched_man I think the article is correct that Andy Stanley has made an overstatement - but I do see Stanley’s point.

From the Gospel Coalition article:

What is the pay-off of Stanley’s proposed paradigm-shift? He thinks it will help reach unbelievers more effectively. In essence, the final chapters of Irresistible offer a new (it’s not really new) approach to apologetics: take the focus off the Bible (especially the Old Testament) and put it on the resurrection.

I would need to read the book myself to know for sure - but from watching Andy Stanley preach my impression is that he thinks the whole Bible is God’s Word and should be studied, but parts of the Old Testament can be a stumbling block for new believers coming from non-Christian cultures. As apologists, I think we can see this is true in our culture - people get upset about the destruction of the Canaanites, confused about Levitical laws, etc.

So I think there is a healthy debate to be had here - what role does the Old Testament play in evangelism and discipleship of new believers? Of course the Old Testament is crucial to understanding the New Testament! But should that be explained up front or further along in the discipleship process.

That is my understanding of the debate that is going on here and I do not have the perfect answer. It probably depends on who you are trying to reach.


(Tabitha Gallman) #5

Thank you Sean. You are such a sweet person, and I don’t think you have a mean bone in your body :slightly_smiling_face: I value everything you say because you seem very humble and trustworthy.

I am still conflicted. Not just about this book, but about modern Christianity in regards to God’s wrath. This new modern teaching is almost like a culture shock to me so to speak. From early on I was taught to fear God, and I know that no one could argue with that. God is to be feared, but in a good way. I am not nearly as educated in theology, philosophy, science, psychology, etc, as most, but I don’t believe God makes the gospel complicated for anyone with an intellect to allow the Holy Spirit to grow us in our spirituality.

I know many are fans of N.T. Wright, and I haven’t read nearly enough of his teachings to know exactly how he believes, but I checked out his book “Simply Good News” and from what I read it appears he believes similarly to that of most modern Christians with a view of God’s kingdom is already here? (You may have to correct me on that @SeanO.

Is it correct to assume that God has relented from his righteous anger? Or are we in a window of grace (as John Piper says) before God pours out his wrath in order to put an end to sin?

I sincerely believe that it is imperative that we are all educated about the incidents within the OT in order to appreciate that Jesus is fulfilling the old covenant. God’s mercy is great, very great. Sin is sin not matter how it’s packaged. Young Christian adults on their way to college, especially need to be more educated on the theology of the OT as this writer states in this article:


(SeanO) #6

@tabby68 Maybe I need to buy the book and read through it so we can discuss it here on Connect? I really suspect that when people say things like Stanley ‘wants to jettison the Old Testament’ that they are completely misunderstanding what he is saying. It’s easy to pull quotes out of context and make accusations. But I would need to read the book to know for sure. I might do a book review.

I agree we need to understand the Old Testament. Again, I think Andy Stanley would agree too.

I am not sure what Piper means by ‘window of grace’ - is he referring to the fact that Jesus came first to save sinners and when He comes again it will be in judgment?

God’s character is the same yesterday, today and forever - so in that since His anger at the abuse of the poor and misuse of His good gifts has not changed. In the same way, His mercy and compassion on all who seek refuge in Him has not changed and His desire that all men repent.

I would need to read Stanley’s book - but I would be shocked - and I mean shocked - if he did not take sin seriously. His preaching always exhorts people to walk wisely and in purity from what I have heard.


(Tabitha Gallman) #7

Yes, that would be awesome if you could do a review on it. I will purchase the book soon to read as well.

Here is the John Piper video I saw this morning:


(SeanO) #8

@tabby68 Alright, yea, he is saying what I thought - Jesus’ first coming was one of salvation and forgiveness for sinners. His second coming will be one of judgment. So the idea that we are in a ‘window of grace’ simply means that Jesus has come and we have a chance to find life in Him. But when Jesus comes again He will judge the living and the dead. That is a Biblical statement imho.

I’ll get a copy of the book and over the course of weeks or months we can discuss the chapters. I think this is a great opportunity to practice good reading skills where you truly try to understand what the author is saying and the offer a legitimate Biblical critique. My guess is Stanley does make some over statements, but that his general argument is solid. Of course, my hypothesis could be wrong.


(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #9

Here is frank turak supporting Andy’s book, so not everyone is against his book:

I think it would be great if you could do a book review. I haven’t read the book either, but I probably should. I would love to know what you think of his book.

Did you watch his sermon on the same topic? that is what started the conversation. It’s a three part series called Aftermath. Here is a podcast discussing what he said in that sermon:https://seanmcdowell.org/podcasts/episode/29


(Lakshmi Mehta) #10

@tabby68, I haven’t read the book but the strategies discussed in the written reviews posted above are alarming. I have also seen a growing trend of focus on the NT while ignoring the OT in local churches. On whether OT should be used or not for evangelism needs to be assessed on a case by case basis I think. Who are we to decide what part of the Bible, God will use to convict someone’s heart? As for me, I came out of Hinduism reading OT scripture about God’s hatred of idolatry in Isaiah. Jesus affirms the OT as God’s word. The NT records in 1 Corinthians 10:6 of how OT gives us examples. I find this trend to ignore OT dangerous especially at a time when Eastern practices of spiritually which are similar to pagan practices are on the rise even in the West. This may be the time we need to pay even more attention to OT.


(Isaiah J. Armstrong) #11

i suggest you listen to the podcast with frank tuark i gave above. Andy Stanley tries to clarify what he means when ignoring the OT.


(Tabitha Gallman) #12

I will definitely do that :slightly_smiling_face:
I’ll admit that the authors I love the best are those that I have to work at reading (and re-reading) to understand what it is they are conveying. I have a number of Ravi’s books that I often re-read and something else stands out to me. I love when I finally see the “forest instead of the trees”, and it begins to make sense.


(Tabitha Gallman) #13

Thanks @O_wretched_man, I will look at that.

@Lakshmismehta,

Yes, I totally agree with you when you said:

“On whether OT should be used or not for evangelism needs to be assessed on a case by case basis I think.”

Everyone is unique in their perspective of God and faith in general, and are in different seasons of their life. I do think we need to be sensitive to how we relate to people. As in your life, praise God someone took time to share with you that part of the Bible you needed to hear. (It is wonderful that God can use you to witness to people that I myself would not be able to witness to affectively. )

I also think too many times many leaders worry about the volume of people that are saved verses the true repentance that someone should encounter which will springboard a desire to learn more about God. True repentance can only come about when you have a moral compass of what sin truly is, because nowadays sin is often times blurred through culture acceptance…and I’m not talking about any sin in particular, but any sin you can think of often gets blurred into a gray area, so we tend to not feel as critical about our choices.


(Tabitha Gallman) #14

Thanks @O_wretched_man, I will look at that.

@Lakshmismehta,

Yes, I totally agree with you when you said:

“On whether OT should be used or not for evangelism needs to be assessed on a case by case basis I think.”

Everyone is unique in their perspective of God and faith in general, and are in different seasons of their life. I do think we need to be sensitive to how we relate to people. As in your life, praise God someone took time to share with you that part of the Bible you needed to hear. (It is wonderful that God can use you to witness to people that I myself would not be able to witness to as effectively. )

I also think too many times many leaders worry about the volume of people that are saved verses the true repentance that someone should encounter which will springboard a desire to learn more about God. True repentance can only come about when you have a moral compass of what sin truly is, because nowadays sin is often times blurred through culture acceptance…and I’m not talking about any sin in particular, but any sin you can think of often gets blurred into a gray area, so we tend to not feel as critical about our choices.


(Lakshmi Mehta) #15

@O_wretched_man, thanks for sharing that podcast by Frank Turek. Andy Stanley shares the same chapter 1 Cor 10: 11-13 of how OT examples are given as instruction to those who believe in Christ. In that text, I see a warning of how those of us who are in Christ though considered righteous by the new covenant must still be warned of falling and flee from idolatry. He states that OT points to Jesus, gives examples and moral principles but application is based on loving Jesus. The main case Andy Stanley seems to be making is to evangelize based on Jesus’s resurrection rather than requiring people to believe Bible is true before they place their faith in Christ. I will have to read the book to get a better understanding of the contrast between old and new covenant.


(SeanO) #16

@O_wretched_man Yes, I think reading his book together would be helpful. Whenever people are making an accusation against a brother or sister regarding their theology it is always best to get it from the original source and to listen very carefully.

James 1:19-20 - My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.

The podcast you provided is very helpful. I have not watched the sermon, but I think that if we read the book together as a community and try to listen graciously and only then offer Biblical critique, we will benefit.


(Tabitha Gallman) #17

@O_wretched_man,
I listened to the podcast and will have to listen over again and hopefully when I get the book it will be easier to study more in depth. Andy does make a lot of sense, but I was wondering what point he was trying to make quoting 1 Cor. 10:11 because that reinforces the importance of the law although I agree that you can’t mix and match the two covenants and they aren’t equally applicable today because love trumps any law (based on Jesus healing on the Sabbath and other examples in the NT).

I totally agree about Andy stating that the two covenants aren’t equally applicable today because my parents made my sisters and I wear dresses because we weren’t allowed to wear anything that resembled men’s attire based on a portion of the law from the OT (Deut. 22:5).

What about communion? We have open communion at our church, so how would you explain that to a non-believer who may have questions. I guess (out of fear) I worry that this book will become a radical change for many churches in regard to traditions and rituals because of Andy Stanley’s influence.

I do believe Andy Stanley has God’s best interest at heart in evangelizing. I thoroughly enjoy his teachings because our S.S. class has used some of his studies and they do provide growth in the Word. At the same time, I want to read and study this book to be able to help any of my friends/family down the road that it may confuse.


(SeanO) #18

@tabby68 Do you want to go through the book simultaneously? If so, I can wait until you guys get it and then we can continue forward - I went ahead and posted the initial discussion thread. Just let me know what you guys want to do.


(Andrew Bulin) #19

I downloaded a Kindle version so I’m game!
If we are jumping into this, what’s a timeline we can agree to for allowing time to read and process?


(Tabitha Gallman) #20

Yes, for me that would be good to go through it simultaneously with you guys/gals :slightly_smiling_face:

Just checked with a local Christian bookstore, so I will pick it up tomorrow.

Thanks Sean!