Jeff Durbin v Andy Stanley on Unhitching Christianity from the OT

Discussion in 'Defending the Faith' started by alexandermsmith, Jun 4, 2019.

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  1. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    The two recently had a discussion on the Unbelievable show. Here's the link to the extended discussion. Well worth a watch.

    At around 43mins into the discussion Stanley asks Jeff why he believes what he believes, what is the foundation of his faith. Jeff responds "the Word of the Living God". Is that a satisfactory answer? It has its context in the conversation and I see where he's coming from. But do we not have to parse out: why we believe; how believe; in Whom we believe; how we come to the knowledge of Whom we believe?

    Another question that I had, which is alluded to in the conversation but not quite in these terms, is: what is the difference between the presup. apologetic and straight evangelism?

    Anyway, definitely worth watching.

     
  2. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    God inspired for us to read and live by both Old and New Testaments.
     
  3. Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

    Seeking_Thy_Kingdom Puritan Board Freshman

    This moment had me raise my eyebrow as well, I believe that Jeff was trying to establish his position rather than give a sufficient answer.

    The foundation of our faith is the Word of God, without divine revelation we would not have sufficient knowledge of God and His salvation. In that sense Jeff is correct, but the answer is not elaborate enough to actually correct Stanley of his errors.

    Right, his one sentence response was too hastily given and he should have explained why the Scriptures, old and new, are the foundations of all these truth claims.

    In this video Jeff goes over his position and why Stanley is incorrect in much greater detail:

     
  4. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    We do realize that these two men engaged for an hour and a half, correct? It seems to me that criticizing Durbin for his "one-sentence response" is unfair given the amount of explanation from Scripture he gave to Stanley over the course of the discussion. If anything, we should be astounded that a so-called minister of the gospel would respond to Durbin's statement about his faith being founded on the Word of the living God with a shrug, a smug grin, and, "Heh, okay..."
     
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  5. Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

    Seeking_Thy_Kingdom Puritan Board Freshman

    Sure, and looking at the entire debate Jeff did a great job defending Scripture as a whole. I was simply pointing to that one answer, it felt to me very abrupt and out of place.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2019
  6. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I thought it was perfect because it allowed Andy Stanley to show his true colors when he responded with a shrug, grin, and, "Heh, okay..." This man holds God and Scripture in derision, and belongs nowhere near a pulpit.
     
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  7. Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

    Seeking_Thy_Kingdom Puritan Board Freshman

    If it was meant as a quick jab to the kidneys, I didn’t feel the pinch, if it hit home to Stanley then well done! I may not have felt the weight of the statement because I already wholeheartedly agree with Durbin.

    Absolutely agree, sadly the reality is that there are many more that think just like him.
     
  8. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    I agree with Bob. I took it for granted that we all know Stanley is a heretic. I wasn't equating the two I was taking Jeff's answer and analysing it on its own terms. I agree with you that it exposed Stanley and that was probably, partly, the purpose of his answering the question in that way. However, taken on its own I don't think it's enough. We know of Christ because of His revelation in His Word; we believe because the Holy Spirit effectually calls us; our faith is in Christ. Our faith is not "in" the written word of God, i.e. the Bible. It is in Christ, the Person.

    In the context of this discussion I'm happy to accept this as secondary but, really, technically, it wasn't quite a correct answer.
     
  9. Chad Hutson

    Chad Hutson Puritan Board Freshman

    Presuppositional apologetics, briefly stated, is the approach to apologetics that states all people have certain first principles, or presuppositions, which influence the way they think. For Van Til and others, they advocate using those presuppositions as points of contact for evangelism. It requires acknowledging that man is fallen ethically and doesn't know God; but man is created in the image of God and can't help but know God. They insist that we must challenge the presuppositions of non-Christians and show how inconsistent these are with one's experience of reality. Only then can the apologist point out that only the Christian presupposition explains what one knows to be true about themselves and the world they live in.
    I recommend "The Defense of the Faith" by Van Til or for a lighter, but still effective, approach to the subject: "The Absurdity of Non-Belief" by Jefferey D. Johnson
     
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  10. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    I enjoyed the video. Durbin did well, especially considering Andy at times would interrupt him. Jeff kept it cool, calm, collected, and centered on the full counsel of God. I can’t help but fear that Stanely’s approach is a veil for “let’s just embrace everyone and their lifestyle (the progressive agendas) and tell them to believe whoever has a “validated” claim of raising from the dead”. The veil was slightly pulled back at one point in the video (not sure of the time), when Andy mentioned a string of social issues as well as creation-6day, Calvinism, and i think taking issue with God’s punishment in the OT.

    One of the strangest moments was when Andy said “the Bible does not give evidence for the resurrection”. Even though he tried to qualify, that is a terrible statement. Sure the words of scripture were physically written by Paul, John, and others, but we should always remember and acknowledge the higher authoritative author, the Holy Spirit (God).

    Andy may himself claim to believe in inerrancy and the related, but his practice and statements from the video signal otherwise. Of course his main defense is “people misunderstand me” & “Jeff your making my point for me” (how frustrating), instead of trying to wrestle with the exegetical questions posed by Durbin.

    Andy wants me to say that my faith is tethered to the resurrection of Christ...and NOT the Bible. Well I wasn’t there to see the resurrection and i have never had a vision.:eek::eek: I only know about this event because of the Bible! So sure my faith is tethered to the resurrection of Christ, but the Bible is the protective conduit (if you will) that shields and guides that tethered string. And when that tether weakens (waning faith), that conduit is there to lead me right back to the source. I’m thinking about wiring and electricity!:2cents::detective:
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2019
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  11. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Of course it was the right answer. Stanley didn't ask him whom his faith was in, but what the foundation of his faith is. Scripture, being, as theologians have put it, the highest and clearest of the principium cognoscendi externum, is in very fact the foundation of our faith. Without this special revelation, we would not know entirely who God is, and we would certainly not know at all who Christ is, what he has done, or what it accomplished. Is not this information the very center of our faith? The other things you mention—i.e., the witness of the Spirit and faith—make up the principium cognoscendi internum. But it stands to reason that the former comes before the latter, since we would not even know of the former without hearing the latter (cf. Rom. 10:14).

    The Westminster Confession concurs:

    "Although the light of nature and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men inexcusable; yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of His will, which is necessary unto salvation" (1.1).​

    So, frankly, I think Jeff gave the best answer possible, and I would have done the same.
     
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  12. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    That's the part that got me. I couldn't believe my eyes. Yet, at the same time, I wasn't surprised.

    Andy's "apologetic" method is "thriving" because he deliberately presents a "gospel" stripped of the Scripture that he himself believes offends so many people. Of course a false gospel is going to attract many people.
     
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  13. Grant Jones

    Grant Jones Puritan Board Junior

    One thing is for sure (and I loved Durbins’s answer), Andy was quite baffled by Jeff’s answer “the word of the living God”.

    Andy should consider that just because his evangelism methods are “thriving” (of course that is based on numbers), does not mean he is being faithful to how scripture calls us to evangelize. Even total pagans were/are often allowed to thrive (temporarily) under the perfect providence of our Lord.

    Often times people hated the words of the Gospel. Often times they were driven mad, gritted teeth, and were filled with murderous rage (Stephen) .

    What is important is to not let the results dictate our method (otherwise we get idolatry quickly), but let the Bible dictate the method and trust the Holy Spirit for results. We plant, God chooses to water or not.:detective:
     
  14. Chad Hutson

    Chad Hutson Puritan Board Freshman

    Andy Stanley is a victim of his own Arminianism. He thinks God needs his help to reach people so he uses clever means and gimmickry to that end. The truth of Scripture is self-authenticating, and it is the Spirit of God who opens blind eyes to see the truth as He is pleased to do. The Spirit unveils the truth that is contained therein when it is faithfully preached. Whether the audience is full of millenials in America (which is who he admits to trying to reach) or Aborigines in the Australian Outback, God, through His Spirit, gives light and life. How can one faithfully preach the Bible if they think the Bible is unnecessary? And how does Mr. Stanley account for Luke 24:27? Jesus was "tethered" to the OT.
     
  15. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    What I'm trying to get at is: I wouldn't use apologetics to evangelise. Apologetics is not evangelism. As I understand it apologetics is about illustrating the reasonableness of the Christian faith. But if one is going to the heathen one proclaims the Gospel. So to me presup. confuses the two.
     
  16. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    As R. C. Sproul explained (in a video that I posted here recently), apologetics is pre-evangelism, not evangelism. Sinners will not be saved through the explanation of theistic proofs but through the proclamation of the gospel. The theistic proofs are still necessary, however, for refuting atheist objections to God's existence.
     
  17. Chad Hutson

    Chad Hutson Puritan Board Freshman

    Brother, for me, presuppositional apologetics equips for evangelism. In giving the Gospel to the heathen, it is necessary to understand their mindset to be prepared to address them where they are/as they are. Paul, in Acts 17, confronted the Epicureans and Stoics in their superstition, while simultaneously telling them about the One True God who commands all to repent. If we don't have at least an internal apologetic approach in mind, we may waste precious time addressing questions that nobody asking. So, no, apologetics isn't evangelism, it facilitates evangelism. Only gospel proclamation saves.
     
  18. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

  19. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Ask him yourself. ;):edwards:
     
  20. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I've never been able to understand Edwards, sadly.
     
  21. Chad Hutson

    Chad Hutson Puritan Board Freshman

    One last comment on Andy Stanley's debate performance, if I may. I know that I am a nobody, laboring in obscurity, and that Andy is a well-known personality with a large church, but I thought his question for Durbin was juvenile and, well, dumb. He asked "without the resurrection, would you have your Bible?" As if that was sufficient to change one's mind to accept his proposition. Without the resurrection we would not have Christianity! Perhaps I'm not enlightened or intelligent enough to see the profundity of his question.
     
  22. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    Stanley is a shyster but it's unfortunate that he actually knows stuff and therefore can come across more credible than the usual snake oil salesman.
     
  23. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    What Jonathan Edwards is saying is that if the Christian does not have valid, rational reasons for his belief, then his "faith" is similar to that of the Muslims, i.e. a credulous leap in the dark, which has no basis in facts or evidence. Obviously, it is not as bad because he at least believes the right things, but he does so without good reasons, which only serves to undermine Christianity's credibility.
     
  24. Jo_Was

    Jo_Was Puritan Board Freshman

    My thoughts resemble a lot of your thoughts. On this point, it was actually interesting what he mentioned as 'issues' and the way he phrased it. To me and my husband, it was an odd tone that he took as if they were a series of non-salvific issues that the church is currently wrestling through; they were: "young earth creation or not, Calvinism or not, homosexuality or not..."

    And that was an odd thing to add because, plainly, one of these things is not like the other...

    Benefit of the doubt, perhaps he just wasn't being clear and was more trying to just list hot-button things. But the way he said it made it seem like these were just incidentals that we can't agree on (and I wouldn't say they are entirely inconsequential, but I certainly would put creation views and wholly taking on Calvinism or not as secondary issues to the Gospel that do not impede it), yet he specifically dropped in homosexuality as if it was just another secondary issue we were muddling through as the church. So that was an odd touch.

    Additional thoughts:

    Stanley is so focused on trying to reinvent the wheel for a 'new generation' that he seems to escape even the basic practicalities and understanding of how the Scriptures were formed. (Has he not taken an old/new testament 101 class? Does he really think the church got together at a council in the early centuries AD and once-for-all brought everything together into the Bible at a magical brainstorm session?? Because that didn't happen.) I just didn't even understand what his understanding of the formation of canon even was. He also seemed to be completely oblivious to or disconnected from the cultural situation of the early church, that many of the early Christians, including some apostles themselves, were well-learned Jews who saw the revelation of Christ as the answer to old testament prophecy. I think Durbin did a better job toward the end drawing out how the early church would have seen Christ as that fulfillment, rather than a divorce, from the Jewish (old testament) scriptures.

    It's sad, because I sympathize with Stanley's initial concerns, which I think are the genuine concerns of many pastors right now in America, of frankly the detachment and misunderstanding of the common people to the things of Scripture and the Gospel. But, in his focus on being novel, I think he routes himself around people and traditions that have already been having this discussion, and have helpful frameworks to think about these things (I think about how I could have answered many of his concerns myself by referring to the Westminster Confession and teasing out those ideas). He's trying be innovative and cool, but it's treading into wrongful territory. And, in a twist of irony, I think his insistence on having only the one evidentialist grounding for one's faith may cause many young people (his target audience) to seriously question the grounds of their faith.
     
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