While getting ready for church last Sunday morning, the first Sunday of 2011, I had the television tuned to Charles Stanley. Not Andy Stanley, Charles’ hip pastor son who is the envy of young ministry leaders everywhere, but the senior Stanley, with his ill-fitting hairpiece, and much-too-big suit.
You don’t get cool relevance from Charles. He’s strictly old school, which is to say he doesn’t coddle his audience by trying to make them feel like they’re at the center of the world. Like the apostle Paul, Charles Stanley is all about “Jesus Christ and him crucified.”
What caught my attention on this particular Sunday was Stanley’s insistence that the follower of Christ needs to be about principles, not preferences. This is very un-hip and very non-emergent, which is why it got my attention. Talking about principles is like talking about absolute truth, and everybody knows how irrelevant that is today. It just doesn’t fit with a culture that likes to have options and choices. In other words, preferences.