At The Dissenter, we have been closely following the controversy surrounding pastor and author Andy Stanley and his heretical views on homosexuality, the authority of the Scriptures, the virgin birth, and practically every other aberrant and unbiblical view a so-called pastor could hold.
On September 19, 2019, a private dinner was held with around 15 pastors in Gilbert, Arizona, where they participated in a question-and-answer session with Andy Stanley, a well-known pastor and author. The topic of homosexuality came up during the discussion, and over the course of the next hour and a half, Stanley allegedly shared views that were in stark contrast to what is stated in the Bible.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, according to Pastor Ryan Visconti of Generation Church in Mesa, Ahwatukee, who was in attendance at the dinner, Stanley made statements such as, “I don’t do gay weddings, but I can’t say I would never do a gay wedding….If my granddaughter asked me someday, maybe I would.”
Worse than that, Visconti claims that Stanley also stated, “We need to make room for gay men who choose to be married to each other in our churches, because that’s as close as they can get to a New Testament framework of marriage.”
Visconti says he was shocked by Stanley’s statements, and he and several other pastors present at the dinner argued with Stanley, despite their previous respect for him. Visconti also claims that Stanley said, “I believe in gay people. Some people ARE gay…they can’t change,” which is a direct contradiction of 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
In the wake of the dinner, Visconti wrestled with the question of whether or not he had a responsibility to share Stanley’s statements publicly, but ultimately decided that it would be inappropriate to do so, since the conversation had taken place in private. He held out hope that Stanley may have been going through a period of spiritual uncertainty and would return to a more traditional and biblical understanding of the issue.
However, in 2022 at the annual Drive Conference, Stanley reportedly began sharing similar views publicly with pastors and Christians. Visconti claims that in this talk, Stanley never stated that homosexuality is a sin or that God can set gay people free, and instead held up gay people as morally superior to regular Christians. Stanley allegedly referred to passages in the Bible that clearly condemn homosexuality as “clobber passages.”
Visconti argues that Stanley is a master communicator, which he also claims makes him a master manipulator. He says that Stanley keeps one foot close enough to the line so that he can retreat if backlash becomes too strong and claim “misunderstanding.” Furthermore, Stanley’s team deleted the sermon (Session 4) from Drive ‘22 from the Irresistible App where it was previously viewable.
This story has been corroborated by several others who were also in attendance:
In light of these allegations, and we have absolutely no reason to believe that they are not true, we, along with Visconti and other orthodox Christians argue that they cannot continue to platform or promote Stanley in any way.