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A new challenge for Andy Stanley
Andy Stanley, founder of North Point Community Church, embraces his father, Rev. Charles Stanley, founder of In Touch Ministries.
November 17th, 2012
07:11 AM ET

A new challenge for Andy Stanley

By John Blake,

(CNN) – Since President Obama’s re-election, pundits have asked if the Republican Party needs to change its message to adapt to a changing America.

Here’s another question: Will conservative Christians have to adapt their message as well?

I thought about that question as I interviewed one of the nation’s most popular pastors, Andy Stanley. He is a Christian conservative who is also the pastor of North Point Community Church, a sprawling 33,000-member church in suburban Atlanta, Georgia.

I talked to Stanley about his relationship with his father, Charles Stanley, a famous Southern Baptist pastor. But the informal conversations I had with him, and his colleagues, were just as intriguing. Most revolved around change.

Two preaching giants and the 'betrayal' that tore them apart

Stanley is an apostle of change. His church has pioneered new ways to reach people turned off by traditional churches. North Point’s funky architecture, the hologram that beams Stanley’s image to satellite churches, the stage lights and visual props Stanley uses during sermons – all of it is geared toward pulling in that new audience. Stanley told me that church leaders come to his staff to learn how to be innovators. “I have little tolerance for doing things just because we’ve always done them,” he said.

Though in many ways Stanley’s church is cutting-edge, its theological foundation is conservative. The church website lists the congregation’s beliefs: The Bible is “without error;” Jesus is the “sole basis for the forgiveness of sin,” and people are “incapable” of having a right relationship with God through their own efforts.

That’s the message conservative Christians have been preaching for over a century. Can that message retain its appeal as the nation’s racial and religious makeup changes?

The religious right experienced what CNN called a “nightmare scenario:” in three states voters approved same-sex marriage; anti-abortion candidates were defeated in red states; and Obama, whose opponent had the support of Billy Graham, won a second term.

Some may still call the U.S. a Christian nation, but the fastest growing religious group in America is people who are not affiliated with any organized religion, according to a recent Pew survey.

“We are witnessing a fundamental moral realignment of the country,” Albert Mohler, who heads the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, tweeted on Election Night.

Jonathan Merritt, the son of another Southern Baptist leader, wrote in a recent essay that the evangelical influence on America is declining because of the “seeping impact of globalization and the digital age.”

Said Merritt:  “Evangelicals once presided like chairmen in America’s political boardroom, but they must now sit down with others at a common table to dialogue and search for common ground.”

Stanley may have already shown how that can be done.

He’s a conservative but he’s not a culture warrior in the pulpit. Most of his sermons revolve around personal growth, not politics. His church recently hosted a visit from first lady Michelle Obama even though some members grumbled. Stanley has even been accused of not condemning gay people enough.

He told me he has never compromised his theology to attract people.

“I never felt the need to make decisions with money or with growth in mind,” he said. “I don’t live with that fear.”

But the past shows that some pastors do change their theology with the times. What preachers once taught as biblical truth – slavery is sanctioned by God; women aren’t allowed to preach; gambling and dancing are sin – is now rejected by many churches.

As the nation becomes more diverse, will white conservative Christians reexamine their teachings as they encounter others with a different history and worldview?

Playing hip music and wearing jeans when you preach may not be enough to catch a new generation of Americans.

How Stanley, and others, address these questions will be fascinating to watch.

- CNN Writer

Filed under: 2012 Election • Church • Church and state • Culture wars • Evangelical • Faith • Politics

soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. Tim

    Hahahaha...this reminds me of Israels iron dome. Someone sends a message and before that message can reach us counter message missliles are fired to destroy them. Anyone who thinks we are free to make decisions based on clear communication of messages is not a thinking person. Through all the schrapnel we will pick those slivers that support what we already believe but I would not go so far as to blame the messenger when it may be that the anti-messenger may have been more affective in destroying it then the messenger was in ensuring it made it safely. Either way...we are all being played...it's all about the game. I play the game and could care less about the message.

    November 18, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  2. Stanleysteamer

    WHO CARES?????

    November 18, 2012 at 12:44 pm |
  3. John Stefanyszyn

    "A nightmare scenario"...a scenario which shows what is the true primary belief and way of life of "christians"...,the desire for and belief in equality freedom of self rights, self-interest.

    And the church leaders themselves embrace this belief.

    They confess freedom of rights first and Christ second.
    They confess a Christ that represents equality and freedom of rights, freedom of all religions, freedom of all lifestyles.

    The believe in serving and magnifying oneself (XES) .

    But it is Christ that will rule, and the way of freedom of self-will will be put to an end.

    The signs are clear for the king of the north is afvancing his "god of fortresses" to all nations and will soon place this "high place" above the Mountain of God.

    November 18, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Internet thug life

      Your god doesn't exist home boy.

      November 18, 2012 at 1:46 pm |
    • God is Great

      Thug, God exists. Only people who refuse to control their carnal lusts hate him.

      November 18, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • God is a joke

      God doesn't exist. Only delusional people believe in an imaginary diety. Grow up.

      November 18, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  4. Marjawar

    I enjoyed reading this article for its literary value. Lengthy but captivating with twists and turns all the way. Good piece!

    November 18, 2012 at 7:22 am |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    November 18, 2012 at 7:09 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things", but your assertions regarding atheism and prayer are unfounded. Using my Idiomatic Expression Equivalency module (IEE), the expression that best matches the degree to which your assertions may represent truths is: "TOTAL FAIL".

      I see that you repeat these unfounded statements with high frequency. Perhaps the following book can help you:

      I'm Told I Have Dementia: What You Can Do... Who You Can Turn to...

      November 18, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  6. Christian

    I daresay some Evangelicals ardor for Romney might have been dampened a bit by the fact that he is not, in fact, a Christian. Mormon theology, christology and soteriology are anathematic to mainline Protestantism. The problem is that many mainline Protestants don't know that. Explain to them that Mormons believe that God was once a man, just like us; that he still looks like one; and that we can, by following Mormon practices, can become gods just like God. When you do, they are either shocked or accuse you of distorting their beliefs for partisan purposes.

    November 18, 2012 at 1:55 am |
    • tallulah13

      Perhaps they are swayed by the fact that both christianity and mormonism were created by men who made unsubstantiated claims of divine authority. If you believe the story that Saul of Tarsus fell of his horse and met the dead messiah, then it would be hypocritical to doubt Joseph Smith's account of his encounter with the angel Moroni.

      November 18, 2012 at 2:28 am |
  7. lionlylamb

    Four Biblical Quotes to Keep on one's Mind

    Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God!"

    Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is inside you!"

    John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world!"

    1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!"

    If one does "literally believe" the above four verses of KJVB scripture you will then slowly begin to understand the Truth in God's Word.

    November 18, 2012 at 1:00 am |
    • Bob

      Since you keep dumping bible bile on us, let's have a look at some of the other fine stuff in your Christian book of horrors AKA the bible. Fine demands from your vicious, vindictive jerk of a sky fairy like these:

      Numbers 31:17-18
      17 Now kiII all the boys. And kiII every woman who has slept with a man,
      18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

      Deuteronomy 13:6 – “If your brother, your mother’s son or your son or daughter, or the wife you cherish, or your friend who is as your own soul entice you secretly, saying, let us go and serve other gods … you shall surely kill him; your hand shall be first against him to put him to death”

      Revelations 2:23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.

      Note that the bible is also very clear that you should sacrifice and burn an animal today because the smell makes sicko Christian sky fairy happy. No, you don't get to use the parts for food. You burn them, a complete waste of the poor animal.

      Yes, the bible really says that, everyone. Yes, it's in Leviticus, look it up. Yes, Jesus purportedly said that the OT commands still apply. No exceptions. But even if you think the OT was god's mistaken first go around, you have to ask why a perfect, loving enti-ty would ever put such horrid instructions in there. If you think rationally at all, that is.

      And then, if you disagree with my interpretation, ask yourself how it is that your "god" couldn't come up with a better way to communicate than a book that is so readily subject to so many interpretations and to being taken "out of context", and has so many mistakes in it. Pretty pathetic god that you've made for yourself.

      So get out your sacrificial knife or your nasty sky creature will torture you eternally. Or just take a closer look at your foolish supersti-tions, understand that they are just silly, and toss them into the dustbin with all the rest of the gods that man has created.

      Ask the questions. Break the chains. Join the movement. Be free of Christianity and other superstitions.
      http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/

      November 18, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  8. Topher

    "The church website lists the congregation’s beliefs: The Bible is “without error;” Jesus is the “sole basis for the forgiveness of sin,” and people are “incapable” of having a right relationship with God through their own efforts. That’s the message conservative Christians have been preaching for over a century."

    A century? Try 2,000 years.

    November 18, 2012 at 12:54 am |
    • Emma Dilemma

      "The Bible is “without error;”

      Strange. Islam says the same thing about the Quran - perfect, without error. The Bible and the Quran do not agree on quite a number of things. Both cannot be right, but both can be wrong.

      November 18, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • Topher

      Very true, Emma.

      November 18, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • tallulah13

      I wonder if the quran has as many contradictions as the bible does? I'd say that neither are terribly reliable.

      November 18, 2012 at 2:29 am |
    • Topher

      There are NO contradictions in the Bible.

      November 18, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  9. lionlylamb

    Russ et al,

    "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ." (Col.2:8)

    Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

    Col 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

    Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

    i could go on Russ with a myriad of otherly same Gospel verses. It is you who are deceitful and do hold fast to your decrepit and soulfully hardened pholosophy of fallacies by your wanton clinging upon libations seductions and not rightly dividing the word of truth.

    If we can get own to brass tacks then why don't today's religious pharisees (all of them) sell all that they own and give all the money to the poorest of lots?

    November 18, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  10. Apple Bush

    lionlylambm, you have a real hard on for drugs, s e x and gambling. lol. I am all for pot though. I miss it.

    November 18, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  11. Reality

    For the Stanleys' eyes only:

    JC's family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 "And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.")

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann's conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit "touched". After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today's world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J's gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today's followers of Paul et al's "magic-man" are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and "magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

    So why do we really care what a first century CE, illiterate, long-dead, preacher/magic man would do or say?

    November 17, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  12. John T

    "Changing America", man it makes me sick that the liberal news media thinks conservatives got their clocks cleaned in the latest election and need to re-adjust their position. Only about half of America even voted! Of those half only slightly more than half voted for Obama. Of the group that voted for Obama, the majority of voters were black people. 95% of black voters voted for Obama! Why?? Because of his Race. If the Republicans simply put forth a Black candidate next time they will get a majority of minority voters...

    November 17, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • End Religion

      That would be awesome. Go for it. The Repubs could use your help at running a top notch campaign.

      November 17, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • CTed

      Please don't procreate, you can't even do simple math, or egage in simple reasoning skills.

      the majority of Obama's votes came from white people not black people so your assertion is compelte lie. Blacks made up only 13% of voters, and Latinos made up 10% of voters. Even if Obama got 100% of the black AND latino vote, TOGEHTER they didn't even account for 1/2 the votes obama got.... You are deluded.

      Second, Blacks didn't vote for Obama becuase he's black. Care to take a look at the black vote for Clinton? Or Carter? Or Gore in 2000? They generally vote democratic. It is idiotic to think that if Republicans put up a black republican he would get the black vote...

      November 17, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • roy

      I actually agree with both responders.

      1. Please run the next Republican campaign, then
      2. Don't procreate.

      November 18, 2012 at 12:09 am |
  13. Chad

    It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning Alexander Vilenkin "Many Worlds in One"

    Our universe is finite in the past.
    Our universe had a beginning.

    November 17, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Not aware of any proof of a particular theory of the origin of the Universe that excludes other theories that it has no origin. You?

      November 17, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      "Our" universe is but like a snowflake amid immeasuable snowflakes. It is a Cosmos filled with ever unending universes and we do not have the time to visit otherly universes but alas, our universe will be all that matters in mankind's Lifetime.

      November 17, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
    • tallulah13

      That's nonsense, Chad. We don't know if the universe had a beginning.

      November 18, 2012 at 2:31 am |
    • hal 9001

      I'm sorry, "Chad", but your assertions regarding the beginning of the universes are unfounded.

      November 18, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Nice Jewish Boy

      Chad from CARM
      There you go again quoting Vienkin right out of the article on the web site of Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry as if it were gospel or proven fact, shame on you? You asked why so many see you as dishonest, I posted a response on page one, in reply to your post yesterday, check it out.

      November 18, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • Chad

      @Tom, Tom, the Other One ?Not aware of any proof of a particular theory of the origin of the Universe that excludes other theories that it has no origin. You?”
      @Chad “hunh? You may want to retry that statement…
      And, while you’re at it, read the Borde Guth Vilenkin Theorem which proves that our universe had a beginning.
      It does not say that an external causal agent was required, it merely says that our universe had a beginning.
      As it is meta-physically impossible for something to come from nothing (non-being), it can be determined that an external causal agent was required (that determination is not part of the BGV theorem).
      ========
      @lionlylamb “"Our" universe is but like a snowflake amid immeasuable snowflakes. It is a Cosmos filled with ever unending universes and we do not have the time to visit otherly universes but alas, our universe will be all that matters in mankind's Lifetime.
      @Chad “the really fascinating aspect of Alexander Vilenkin Kinematic Incompleteness Theorem (the Borde Guth Vilenkin Theorem) is that not only demonstrates that OUR universe had a beginning, but it goes further to demonstrate that ANY universe (Multi-verse, Eternal Inflation, Cyclic Evolution, and Static Seed (Emergent Universe), etc.) that has a Hubble expansion greater than zero had a beginning.

      ========
      @tallulah13, hal 9001 “That's nonsense, Chad. We don't know if the universe had a beginning.”
      @Chad “yes we do :-) see above.
      It is said that an argument is what convinces reasonable men and a proof is what it takes to convince even an unreasonable man. With the proof now in place, cosmologists can no longer hide behind the possibility of a past-eternal universe. There is no escape, they have to face the problem of a cosmic beginning Alexander Vilenkin "Many Worlds in One"

      =======
      @Nice Jewish Boy “There you go again quoting Vienkin right out of the article on the web site of Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry as if it were gospel or proven fact, shame on you.”
      @Chad “A. that quote is from Alexander Vilenkin’s book "Many Worlds in One" (I guess you somehow missed that citation, cant imagine how since it is right there.. but somehow you did..). Many others have cited it, one of which as you note, is CARM
      B. Alexander Vilenkin is not a Christian
      C. You aren’t possibly saying that any scientific finding that supports the theistic claim that the universe had a beginning, be rejected, simply because it supports the theistic claim? (LOL)

      November 18, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad, I don't want to discourage you from reading on cosmology, but you must on some level suspect that something is amiss since cosmology wasn't brought to its knees years ago by BGV. Hartle-Hawking have rather neatly avoided the boundary problem – perhaps they weren't even aware of your friends. You should write them a letter.

      At any rate, what God are you representing, defending or apologizing for? What is it like? Do you have a personal relationship with it? Does it speak to you? Does it tell you it loves you? How can we know?

      November 18, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Chad

      Hartle-Hawking no boundary initial condition is a mathematical construct only, relying on imaginary time. It does not do away with a creator, just the initial singularity.

      In that respect, it is very similar to Krauss's "something can be created from nothing (you just have to redefine something as nothing and voila!!".

      "I take the positivist viewpoint that a physical theory is just a mathematical model and that it is meaningless to ask whether it corresponds to reality. All that one can ask is that its predictions should be in agreement with observation." Stephen Hawking

      November 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      I don't think it's anyone's goal "do away with a creator" since no one has advanced a theory (falsifiable and testable) that has a requirement for one. Why does the apologist dismiss uncomfortable ideas as "mathematical constructs" and not ones useful to his religion? Because he has an absolute requirement for something before he even begins to think? "There must be a creator therefore I will find one."

      November 19, 2012 at 8:13 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      BTW: Current thinking by Hawking is more along the lines of this – the models are all you can know about reality:

      "There is no picture- or theory-independent concept of reality. Instead we will adopt a view that we will call model-dependent realism: the idea that a physical theory or world picture is a model (generally of a mathematical nature) and a set of rules that connect the elements of the model to observations. This provides a framework with which to interpret modern science."

      November 19, 2012 at 8:19 am |
  14. lionlylamb

    Four Biblical Quotes to Keep on one's Mind

    Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God!"

    Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is inside you!"

    John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world!"

    1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!"

    If one does "literally believe" the above four verses of KJVB scripture you will then slowly begin to understand the Truth in God's Word!

    November 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • DUMP HINDU ATHEISM, SELF CENTER ISM AND BE A TRUE AMERICAN IN FOLLOWING OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      From book of hindu Mithra sim, pagan savior ism, by un known authors, called bible.

      November 17, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Russ,

      "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ." (Col.2:8)

      Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

      Col 2:8 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

      Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

      i could go on Russ with a myriad of otherly same Gospel verses. It is you who are deceitful and do hold fast to your decrepit and soulfully hardened pholosophy of fallacies by your wanton clinging upon libations seductions and not rightly dividing the word of truth.

      If we can get own to brass tacks then why don't today's religious pharisees (all of them) sell all that they own and give all the money to the poorest of lots?

      November 18, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  15. Russ

    This article falsely assumes conservative "teachings" can be "updated."
    That's a failure to comprehend the nature of their beliefs.

    Sure, methodology can be updated to address cultural norms (attire, technology, styles, etc.). As Paul said: "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." (1 Cor.9:23).

    But consider the mere definition of "conservative:" one who conserves, keeps the central thing the same, etc.
    Theological conservatives are not going to change their core teaching – ever. Or they cease to be conservatives.
    Again, as Paul said: "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" (Gal.1:8)

    I would hope the author would understand that fundamental difference. It'd be the same as hoping evangelicals would stop evangelizing. It's assumed in the name. To stop doing so is to stop being an evangelical.

    The author might as well be saying: are conservatives going to cease to exist? it's rather naive.

    November 17, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Mmmmmmmmmmhhhhhhhh

      Matthew 7:13 is what we chalk it up to.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      @ Russ

      1Cr 9:23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with [you]

      Gal 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

      blueletterbible.com is where and how I can "check up" what others who blasphemously do quote ever so wrongly as you so did regarding 1 Corinthians 9:23! Try again to rightly quote the KJVB old fuddy duddy !

      November 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      1Corinthians 9:22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some.

      Whomever spoke this is speaking regarding yes what you did dare quote.

      Here are some verses for you to meditate upon whenever you have time to do so,,,,

      Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God!"

      Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is inside you!"

      John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world!"

      1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!"

      If one does "literally believe" upon these above four verses of KJVB scripture you will then slowly begin to understand the Truth in God's Word!

      November 17, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Russ

      @ lionlylamb:

      1) I was not quoting the KJV.

      2) yes, I was mistaken on v.23. It's actually v.22.

      3) the KJV is not as accurate as it does not rely on the earliest manuscripts available. Even the NKJV recognizes that the 1611 version did not have access to the best manuscripts & has corrected past mistakes.

      4) you clearly are overstating your case for the Kingdom of God. It's not just ethereal or "in your heart."
      Note well the Lord's Prayer (in your KJV): "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in heaven..."

      November 17, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Russ, et al,

      The four verses I quoted above U take very "literally" as well should all those wanting to willingly believe in God, His first born in the "elemental gods" once being God's sons!

      Here is what I call My Lord's Prayer,,,,,

      Our fathers who art in the heavens hallowed be their names. Their kingdoms come, their wills once here done, is now done in the heavens where they do now reside upon, Give all their days, God's daily bread and lead no more into temptations. For in thy fathers' glories are we all kept safe and will forever be! For our fathers' glories will last forever to forever thru God's graces. God is the Power and upon our fathers does go the glories even till the world does end! Amen!

      November 17, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Russ,

      BTW, there is no such scripture declaring "ethereal" for either there is nothing or there is matter. There can be nothing with matter being contained in nothing. The Great Void which dichotomizes or breaks into two the inner-Cosmos an the outer-Cosmos is very relevant when one considers Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is inside you!"

      November 17, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Russ

      @ lionlylamb:
      1) you are dodging the point. Jesus says other things about the Kingdom that make your interpretation invalid. It will come "on earth as it is in heaven." It is clearly a tangible thing. After all, it comes down from heaven in fullness in Rev.21:2.

      2) God is not subject to creation (time, physics, etc.). He MADE it. He is transcendent & stands outside of it – as evidenced in Gen.1:1; Eph.1; etc. Your view of God is one subject to creation – a god WITHIN it & answerable to it. The biblical view of God is an utterly transcendent One, who "is before all things & holds all things together" (Col.1:17).

      3) for all your talk about taking the Bible literally, you clearly don't care about mutating the Lord's Prayer with "your own version."

      4) per your inner/outer cosmos, we had this same conversation the other day, but you had a different handle. as i told you then, your inner/outer cosmos thing is preposterous. it's like you simply co-opted the end of Men In Black, but fail to understand the difference between transcendence and immanence. as Soren Kierkegaard said: "there is a qualitative, infinite difference between God and humanity." It's another category. Not just God is really big or really small. But totally other. Again, transcendent. Outside of space & time – not *subject to it*... (well, at least until the Incarnation...)

      November 17, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      Russ et al,

      2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

      1.) Russ, in order to 'rightly' divide the word one needs to know what is real or right and know what is just stories or parables meant to appease or pacify. Your wantings for to appease is self-centered based upon your emotionalized hardness in religious circular reasoning capabilities that only the emotionally foolish would dare take the proverbial bite upon.

      "Your view of God is one subject to creation – a god WITHIN it & answerable to it."

      2.) My view of God is yes 3-folded. God who was and yet still is the Holy Spirit is the Great Sea of Nothingness, therefore the outer-Cosmos is subjected to His Holy Spirit's wantonness and is yet a work in progress. God who resides within the inner-Cosmos was the very first elemental being to be created within and upon God's Holy Spirit, which is the vastness of the Sea of Nothingness. This very first elemental being was God, the very first being ever to be made upon the Cosmos of inner-space placings.This now said I will continue to dichotomize your otherly written word.

      "for all your talk about taking the Bible literally, you clearly don't care about mutating the Lord's Prayer with "your own version."

      3.) Nice jab in the gloots Russ! I may have written 'My" Lord's Prayer as you so say but I wrote it to amuse myself and to get your reaction for it. Just what I expected, a low blow you did hammer upon me! So be it!

      "your inner/outer cosmos thing is preposterous."

      4.) God does never change His spiritualism for His Holy Spirit is the Great Sea of Absolute Nothingness! Always was and is and will ever be no matter what matters of materialized shapes to tend to seemingly clutter up His spiritual abundancy It is truth that God has troubles within the fractal paradigms of inter-cellular cosmologies as protruding 'activists' are sometimes revolting against the grains of our embodied sanctifications creating many undulations of travesties not uncommonly being viewed by us celestial beings as being viral and bacteriological in the way we understand things to be and become.

      5.)What was first made can never again become that which was made first for only in varying differential constructs can another thing be made to be outdone against that which was firstly made. The pillars of one's DNA, the spirals of all celestial life forms and formations cellularized containments is where God's Sons and their given wives are taken in as residents there abouts.

      November 17, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
    • Russ

      @ lionlylamb: per rightly dividing the word...
      the video below is what Paul was talking about (focusing on Christ), not philosophical abstractions...
      "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ." (Col.2:8)

      November 17, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • End Religion

      Finally! This blog has gone far too long without religious people wagging fingers at one another over whose "truth" is the truthiest. Where's my popcorn?

      November 17, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion: ahh, but don't forget... the man who claims merely to be watching the so-called blind men arguing over the elephant is also necessarily claiming to have sight (to exclusively know the truth)...

      November 18, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • End Religion

      Wrong Russ. You claim to know there is a creator, and not only that but what he thinks, what he expects of you, what he apparently has said as recorded in a book. I claim I don't know if there is a creator.

      I do claim there is no abrahamic god, the one from the bible, because the bible is a known fraud and collection of myths and lies, and that seems to be christianity's only "proof" the abrahamic god exists. But that still leaves a tiny crack in the door open to some creator, which none of us truly knows in the literal un-religiously-redefined way.

      November 18, 2012 at 12:48 am |
    • lionlylamb

      Russ,

      BTW, Who is the author of Corinthians 1 & 2?

      November 18, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • Russ

      @ End Religion: philosophically speaking, you are making the exact same exclusionary claim for which you mock Christians. In the blind men & the elephant analogy, you are claiming the unique position of sight. And that exclusive claim means you are asserting the same philosophical basis that you mock Christians for asserting. It's self-refuting.

      November 19, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  16. lionlylamb

    Andy Stanley is the son of a preacher known as being 'Dr' Charles Stanley. His son has taken steps away from his daddy dearest and raised up a good number of churches to yes fleece his sheep by introducing state of the art issues such as holographic imaging and stage lights and props made to 'impress' his emotionally dysfunctional masses all seeking a little societal excitement! What a racket Andy has wrought!

    November 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
  17. lionlylamb

    Andy Stanley the son of Charles Stanley who has 'created' more than one structure/building for people to flock towards. Just where do these mobs come from and why are they massing at Andy's places? Really inspiring minds they really want to know! Anyone got a clue?

    November 17, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Desmond ThreeThree

      Christian sheep are naturally clueless. That is why they are so easily deluded. Stupid goes with the territory.

      November 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      This article is a total fluff piece and could not be more incorrect. The author seems to be as stupid as this snake oil salesman's sheep. This is not a man who is concerned about anything but his bank account. There could not be a better, classic, example of an evangelical charlatan...

      November 17, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      @ Desmond ThreeThree,

      Are you DTT insinuating my cluelessness is sheepish? I attend no man made churches and I do not t i t h e! My body is my church which is a building built by God and His servants! God's husbandry of my own body is all I need to know whenever I look around this world and see much turmoil going on! 1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!"

      November 17, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      A.B. Seas,

      Heard you say that earlier but no matter! Andy Stanley is the son of a preacher know as being 'Dr' Charles Stanley. His son has taken steps away from his daddy and raised up a good number of churches to yes fleece his sheep by introducing state of the art issues such as holographic imaging and stage lights and props made to 'impress' his emotionally dysfunctional mobs! What a racket Andy has wrought!

      November 17, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      LL, yes,

      November 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Mmmmmmmmmmhhhhhhhh

      Desmond ThreeThree, Christian sheep is it. Those narcissistic. deluded so called Christians are just as lost as you. You can't say you call it as you see it, since, you, like those lost folks have no eyes to see or ears to hear.

      November 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  18. Apple Bush

    Do what you will, it is a free country. I think.

    November 17, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      I am an idiot. Sorry, wrong place.

      November 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  19. DUMP HINDU ATHEISM, SELF CENTER ISM AND BE A TRUE AMERICAN IN FOLLOWING OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

    Humans, goon judge, denier of truth absolute, ordered my mother to hold "IDIOT" sign, it is on CNN, skunk

    November 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • HeavenSense

      Hi hindu-bot.

      November 17, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Jesus is never coming back

      What the fvck are you on? For real, what is wrong with you?

      November 17, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • DUMP HINDU ATHEISM, SELF CENTER ISM AND BE A TRUE AMERICAN IN FOLLOWING OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      he is a hindu copy cat at his usual hinduism, absurdity.

      November 17, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • DUMP HINDU ATHEISM, SELF CENTER ISM AND BE A TRUE AMERICAN IN FOLLOWING OF TRUTH ABSOLUTE GOD

      shut up goon, like you are any better

      November 17, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • Akira

      That was your mother that drove on the sidewalk to avoid having to stop for the schoolbus?
      Ah, that explains a *lot*.

      November 18, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  20. lionlylamb

    Mathew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God!"

    Luke 17:21, "The kingdom of God is inside you!"

    John 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world!"

    1Corinthians 3:9 "For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, [ye are] God's building!"

    If one does "literally believe" the above four verses of KJVB scripture you will then slowly begin to understand the Truth in God's Word!

    November 17, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Hello Mr. Lamb. How are you today sir?

      November 17, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      A.B. sees?

      I can't much complain A.B. And you? Are you feeling well today?

      November 17, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Tip top my verbose friend.

      November 17, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      A.B. Sees,

      I am somewhat sorry for using far too many words in my sometimes lengthy blatherings. I will make attempts to shorten my thoughts. I do though reserve the right to lengthen them should the need arise. :-)

      November 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Apple Bush

      Do what you will, it is a free country. I think!

      November 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • lionlylamb

      A.B. Sees,

      Free to trade one's goods? The Trading of drugs for money is not a freedom! Free to trade one's money for s e x? Freedom to gamble one's money is highly regulated and truly not free! The drug trades have been thwarted and the s e x trade is being (like the drug trade) made into actions of illegal isms! Free you say? I very much am in doubt about True Freedoms for we live within a nation of one scam after another by governing bodies pilfering the mobs and the masses!

      November 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.