“Standing straighter” without Torah

This blog post is written to the Christian Church more than to Messianic believers.  If you are a gentile and are going to a church and the teaching is sound, that is logical and laudable.  I have no issue with that, may you continue to learn more of God’s teaching.  I do have an issue when a Christian pastor teaches poor doctrine.  It is Biblically my obligation to correct them.  I hope, after this, you can see how the mainstream Christian church is slipping away from the truth.  Note: there are still many churches that teach sound doctrine, but it is becoming rare.

Teachings that are based on scripture are something that can not be taken lightly.  All scripture is God-breathed so says Timothy.

All Scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for restoration, and for training in righteousness, so that the person belonging to God may be capable, fully equipped for every good deed.  — 2 Timothy 3:16-17

For the first 20 years of my life, I attended First Baptist of Atlanta.  My dad for 40 years, and my grandfather 50+.  The teaching was sound as far as I knew, but as you can see, I am no longer attending a Baptist church.  I have realized that the church, even though it uses the same text as a Messianic believer does, the thoughts and Jewish concepts that are in the Tanakh (or the Old Testament) and the B’rit Hadasha (New Testament) cannot be understood without understanding a Hebrew mindset.

I am not stating that all denominations are wrong, I’m saying that God has led me to something different, something Jewish.  I am a gentile, following a Jewish “sect”, or as I would say the traditional teachings of Yeshua (Jesus).  All of the apostles in the B’rit Hadasha (New Testament) were Jewish, and were never taught to abandon the Torah (or law).  For example, Yeshua (Jesus) himself taught this:

Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps and teaches them, this one shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. — Matthew 5:19

Even more so:

Matthew 23:1 Then Yeshua said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.

Let me quote Yeshua’s words again, just in case you missed it:

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So you must be careful to do everything they tell you.

The Pharisees always taught to follow Torah.  Yeshua said to follow Torah, and never taught to steer away from God’s instruction (Torah/law).  The Pharisees did teach, to their detriment, that Rabbinical laws or man’s traditions are equal to Torah.  That is not true and Yeshua addresses that thinking in Mark:

He was also telling them, “You set aside the commands of God, in order that you may validate your own tradition.” — Mark 7:9

Following Torah is not the way to salvation as Yeshua teaches: “No one comes to the Father except through Me“.  So do not think that I am writing this promoting a mindset that teaches that Torah is salvation.  We obviously needed a Messiah that can save us all, Jew and gentile alike.

My ex-youth pastor (and later my pastor), Andy Stanley, is teaching a different Gospel than what Yeshua Himself taught.  In his sermon dated January 28th, 2018, he begins to stray far, very far away from truth.  You must be familiar with these verses to understand how poorly he grasps basic teaches of the Jewish Messiah:

“Do not think that I came to abolish the Torah or the Prophets! I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. 18 Amen, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or serif shall ever pass away from the Torah until all things come to pass.  Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever keeps and teaches them, this one shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”  — Matthew 5:17-18

Here is Andy Stanley’s translation of verses 17 & 18:

“I am not adding to, I am replacing.  I’m not going to change what you have been taught, I’m going to challenge you to abandon what you have been taught.” — Andy Stanley

“The law and the prophets, the old covenant, the old testament, had an expiration date.”  — Andy Stanley

“The old testament way, is going away, it was about to expire.” — Andy Stanley

”Until everything is in place. And then everything will disappear, along with everything associated with it.” — Andy Stanley

I’m not sure how an educated person can mistranslate that and come up with the statements above. Yeshua said “I did not come to abolish the Torah”.  How can someone translate that to “I’m telling you to abandon it”?

In the same sermon, Andy moves past this and moves on to Matthew 5:20 and talking as a member of the audience he says, “Are you saying that the sacrificial system is going to disappear?” What an absurd conclusion.  Yes, the sacrificial system was shut down because the temple was destroyed in 70 C.E.

The issue is, the sacrificial system will be restored, and everything associated with it.  Ezekiel’s prophecy in Ezekiel chapters 40-48 talks about the restoration that will come when Yeshua reigns during the millennial reign.  For this is also prophesied:

Then all the survivors from all the nations that attacked Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Adonai-Tzva’ot, and to celebrate Sukkot.  — Zechariah 14:16

And that is not all, Sukkot, the feast of tabernacles, will be once again, restored.  Just like the other festivals, this will continue forever.  God’s definition of forever, is pretty clear concerning the other holidays also.  Yes, maybe we celebrate Yom Kippur differently because the sin sacrifice was paid, but it is commanded forever.

He continues, in his message, to incorrectly explain the following verses.  Without a Hebraic mindset, he misses the whole point of what Yeshua says.  He quotes this verse:

Mathew 5:21-22 “You have heard it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,[c] and whoever commits murder shall be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be subject to judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca’ shall be subject to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be subject to fiery Gehenna.

But Andy translates the Rabbinical teaching style incorrectly.  The correct style is as follows, “You have heard this …. But I tell this ALSO”.  Andy teaches it as “You have heard this …. but I tell you that is wrong, this is what is meant”.  To truly understand what Yeshua is saying you need to put on a Rabbinical hat and think about how a Rabbi at that time taught.

The best way to understand that is to read the whole article about this style of teaching from First Fruits of Zion, but I will quote the crux of it here:

This common formula from rabbinic teaching never introduces a contradiction to the Torah. Instead, the rabbi who speaks this way introduces an elucidation of the Torah. It’s a common form of rabbinic rhetoric to open a new teaching with the words, “You have heard” or the words “It is said” followed by “And I say to you.” The first statement means, “Up until now, you have understood this passage to mean such and such.” Then the second phrase, ‘And I say to you,’ presents the rabbi’s new insight or new explanation of the passage just quoted.


So, to clarify, Yeshua did not come to contradict and to think otherwise is an attempt to alter the Gospel.  Yeshua did not come to replace anything.  He came to fulfill, teach, love, explain and provide a way to follow Him.

He moves on to talk about Matthew 28:19, which in the NIV reads as:

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Which, is obviously a good and accurate quote.  Where Andy fails, is that he seems to magically create a Jewish tradition.  He clearly and directly implies that before Yeshua, Jewish people were “baptized in the name of Moses and the Prophets, but it is no longer the case”.  That was never the case.  In Judaism, it is called a Mikvah, and a “baptism” is rooted in the Mikvah.  But this is what is said when someone is “baptized”:

Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning immersion. (Translation from Wikipedia)

Call this what you will, but this type of teaching is misleading, at best.

Here is my final Andy quote:

“This means that Christianity can stand on its own two nail-scarred resurrection feet.  It does not need propping up by the Old Covenant because it is a stand-alone, brand new message for the entire world and it stands straighter this way, it stands more defensible this way, and it has stood the test of time and the test of an empire this way”.  — Andy Stanley

The B’rit Hadasha can not stand on its own.  It makes no sense without it.  Like my dad, Jim Reimann (editor and author of My Utmost for Highest and other devotional books) said, “The New Testament is commentary on the Old Testament”.  It doesn’t make sense without the prior.

Edited 2/14/18.


2/14/18 – I had a call with a pastor from North Point Church (not Andy, which I makes sense).  I did not address all of the issues because it is clear that we are far apart on the view of the Old Testament.  After the conversation, it is clear that North Point church does not think that the Old Testament is null and void, and they do believe that principles within the Old Testament are applicable (including the 10 commandments).  Which, seems to be contradictory to what Andy says when he says “it is to be left behind”. I’m not sure where that lands us.

I tried to discuss Replacement Theology and New Covenant Theology but that was terminology that could not be addressed directly (I could not get a “yes” or “no” on those topics) for some reason.  I still think there is a poor understanding of how and what Yeshua taught.  Nonetheless, these quotes of Andy are not taken out of context.


5/31/18 – I recently was watching a whole series of lectures from a Yale professor concerning the New Testament. His understanding of Matthew 5 is so much more accurate than Andy Stanley’s. This link will start about 12 minutes in, please watch until 19:16. https://youtu.be/93Ce3YZN59o?t=761


10/8/2018 – I watched this YouTube video between Dr. Michael Brown and Andy Stanley that brings some clarification to some of these things. It is worth watching. What is interesting, they are still valid quotes.

Just in case you don’t believe that a pastor would teach this, here are some more quotes, and some links.

Link to his message at North Point church: http://northpoint.org/messages/ninety/new-world-order/

Link to his message on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J–FGhqiE1E

Other quotes from the same message:

“Concerning the Bible, ‘I am the way, the truth and the light’, meaning, that Jesus is the way, not the Bible.”  — Andy Stanley

“Jesus was born under God’s covenant with Israel, to fulfill it, end it, and to replace it.” — Andy Stanley

“The early church had a difficult time making a clean break from all that came before”  — Andy Stanley

“Jesus pitched himself against the Law of Moses”. — Andy Stanley

“[The Old Testament] is to be left behind”.  — Andy Stanley

“See, you have heard it said that ‘There is no conflict between the Old and New Testaments, the Old and the New covenant’ but Jesus said ‘they are irreconcilable’.  So He [Jesus] closed the curtain on one, and ripped the curtain away on the other”.  — Andy Stanley

“A new era had begun.  It was the end of something old and something important.  It was the end of something old and something necessary.” … “Jesus replaced everything that Moses and Solomon put in place.”  — Andy Stanley


  1. David M. LeBlanc on February 15, 2018 at 8:14 am

    Stanley is popular (I’ve attended his church and heard him a number of times, but never on an ongoing basis. He seems to focus on seeker-friendly messages to the un-churched. I think he can be good when he is in his true strength, which is philosophizing the process of wrestling with the gospel message; he communicates effectively, even profoundly, in that context. However, his replacement theology is blatant and very unhealthy. Most have no clue. After all, who dares to argue with success?

    • Aaron Reimann on February 15, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      I do. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment. He as always been seeker-friendly, but that’s not ok if we’re talking misunderstanding scripture and teaching others to follow (as you know).

      • David M. LeBlanc on February 16, 2018 at 7:38 am

        Yes, certainly agree. I’m just theorizing as to why so many are so un-alarmed by these things. I think the packaging lulls them to sleep. That’s what I meant by “argue with success”. I feel that people look at the hugeness of the production, the human touch and connection (which his church is good at) and they assume that it must be good, because “look at all this…goooolllllly.” Or such as it is. I agree with you. He should be running a business (which he is) not pretending to teach about God.

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