I am no fan, even sorta-kinda-maybe, of Andy Stanley and I am a big fan of Carl Trueman (even though we would disagree on several points of theology). So I have now made my full disclosure so let me point you to a fantastic article where Dr. Trueman weighs in on Stanley’s book on church strategy and growth.
Stanley is much like many mega-church pastors today. The presumption that big equals God’s blessing. Aside from the utter nonsense that is behind that thought comes a lot of deadly advice that flows into the ears of many aspiring mega-church pastors’ ears. It is something that has become more and more blatant as these men seem (note the acknowledgment that I may be wrong here) to think that because they are large and self-funded they don’t “need” the rest of the church. I think of Driscoll and McDonald and their E2 fiasco. Or Furtick and Hillsong conference sideshow in biblical narcissism. Truth is not the driving issues anymore, though all of these men would challenge that in one way or another. Stanley is simply saying what so many others have already believed and embraced.
With that I want to give my favorite part of Trueman’s analysis to whet your appetite for the whole thing,
And that is ultimately the saddest aspect of the Andy Stanleys of this world. It is not their patronizing attitude to others. It is not their arrogant assumption that they represent the culture or that they have the right to tell the rest of us how we should think. It is not the sloppy way they bandy words like ‘culture’ and even ‘happiness’ around without ever offering a definition of what they think they mean. It is not their crass prioritization of raw numbers. It is not their complete lack of imagination regarding the moral possibilities of ‘culture.’ Rather, it is the fact that what they confidently present as radical insights are really nothing but lazy, insipid, prosaic, and predictable capitulations to the values of the spirit of the age. In short, they are simply dressing up their society’s tastes as absolute truth. Unimaginative, respectable, lazy and lethal. The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie, is it not?