Perry Noble and His Pastor Fans Are Full of It!

A great many of those who 'debunk' traditional…values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process. CS Lewis


Perry Noble- FBC Jax Watchdog

12/13 9:45 AM-There has been a major development on the Pajama Diaries in the last 2 months.  I am not at liberty to tell you more at this time but Tom Rich is putting me in contact with James Duncan. Here is a hint-it appears that Duncan's story is correct and there have been some serious repercussions for NewSpring. I plan to tell you the details as soon as i receive permission.

12/13 update-Special thanks to Nicholas, I have added a post at the end in which Noble calls people jackasses.

Before I begin, I want to assure our readers that you are dearly and deeply loved by the One who created you. If any "cool dude" or "oh-so-serious, theologically correct" pastor tells you anything different, get out and find a fellowship that rejoices in the love, grace and freedom that was gained for us by Jesus. 

I guess old Dee is not beyond being shocked. Due to our alert readers, I read something this week that astonished me. Did you know that we have a pastor in the South who is after Mark Driscoll's title as the shock jock of American Christianity? His name is Perry Noble, pastor provocateur of NewSpring Church, coming soon to yet another location in South Carolina.

I learned of Perry Noble from Tom Rich of FBC Jax Watchdog.  Here is a link to an illuminating post on Noble titled Perry Noble to NewSpring Members Who Don't Like the Music: "You Officially Suck as a Human Being." Watch the following is a video, edited by Tom, to see this guy in all of his glory.

In the post, Tom refers to a inactive blog, The Pajama Pages, written by Dr. James Duncan who attended Noble's Newspring. What happened to him is beyond belief. Really, really, really despicable- as bad as Driscoll and worse. Here is a link to this story at that blog called Holy Rage at the Spring.

So that you will go to read the whole sordid story, here is a summery provided by Tom Rich here. It is important to point out that there are far more incidents than this summary provides, including interference which prevented the Duncans from adopting a baby.

"One interesting twist in this story that I'll leave you with, and that you'll see: the anonymity in this case was NOT the blogger, but a man on the church's side, an employee of the church, who went after the blogger anonymously to teach him a lesson to try to get him fired by sending a phony resignation letter to his employer, to paint the blogger as pervert, a homosexual, his kid as a cross dresser, and to make him fear for his family's life by actual threats against him…all in the name of God to punish the blogger for the audacity in criticizing a mega church pastor."

Why anyone in his right mind would continue to attend such a church is beyond me. But, then again, I don't get Mark Driscoll either.  So, when other people quote this man as an authority, it surprises me. 

In 2009, Essential Church Planting posted Lifeway's research on the top ten reasons that people leave the church link.

  1. The church was not helping me to develop spiritually. (28%)
  2. I did not feel engaged or involved in meaningful church work (20%)
  3. Church members were judgmental of others (18%)
  4. Pastor was not a good preacher (16%)
  5. Too many changes (16%)
  6. Members seemed hypocritical (15%)
  7. Church didn’t seem to be a place where God was at work (14%)
  8. Church was run by a clique that discouraged involvement (14%)
  9. Pastor was judgmental of others (14%)
  10. Pastor seemed hypocritical. (13%)

So far, so good. Now, enters a man who purports to "advise" churches on how to do church. He refers to the above list. Shouldn't such a man be able to tell right from wrong? Perhaps "right" means filling the pews with people who are religiously masochistic? The name of his blog is Ministry Best Practices link.  As you will see, he gets pushback from using a Perry Noble quote. This is not unlike the infamous Jared Wilson/Doug Wilson dustup. Just like Jared Wilson presented, in a positive manner, a ridiculous quote by Doug Wilson,  Bill Reichart, this ministry advisor, quotes Noble, to put a positive spin (from the perspective of the pastor) on people who leave the church.

After 21 negative(to say the least) comments about the post, Reichart decided to put a line through the part of the statement that caused the controversy. It is the area in bold.

People leaving your church is a double edged sword.

On one hand it can be a healthy thing. Perry Noble say that because the church is a body, and every good body has a back door (I think you know what I mean here!) – it is important for the church not to be constipated. It can be healthy for a people to leave a church. If they are not aligned to the vision or if they are being contentious, then we should allow them to leave.

Did he really say that people who leave the church are….? Well here is a comment from that post by Shadowspring, whom I am proud to say has commented at TWW from time to time. Smart woman!

Wow, people leaving the church are excrement and good riddance to them? I can't imagine why people might not want to spend their time listening to you….

Now let's take a look at more of the above quoted section of that post.  In the last sentence we read 

If they are not aligned to the vision or if they are being contentious, then we should allow them to leave.

Come again? If people are members of a church which calls them "turds" ( I am struggling to be polite here) Reichart/Noble says they need to be allowed to leave!! Good, flaming night!!! What is this. Some sort of holy hall pass? I have news for Reichart, Noble and every other puffed up, egotistical, vulgar, Calvinista or non-Calvinista out there. Anyone who makes the supreme mistake of getting involved in a church with a pastor that resembles anything on the order of a Noble, should make like Joseph and get the heck out of there on the double. They do not need said pastor's,  or anyone else's, "permission" to do so. The fact that these guys think members do shows an underlying unbiblical authoritarianism that is to be avoided at all costs. Besides, by leaving such a church, I think people might find they are in good company. My bet is that Jesus left a long time ago! 

Then there is the bad ending to this post. It involves "the exit interview."

When people are in a position and willing to give us honest feedback, we want to take advantage of that opportunity to learn from their departure. Here are some points about the exit interview:

  • They are usually done over the phone and last only 5-10 minutes.
  • Make sure to listen – don't be defensive or try to excuse – use it as an opportunity to learn.
  • An exit interview allows closure for the church and for that person.
  • Use the interview as an opportunity to bless them -pray for them over the phone as you conclude.

Preston, another commenter at the original post summed it up nicely.

I'll sidestep the obvious problem of equating some who leave with excrement to get at the obvious blunder of calling this a best practice.

Exactly how is it pastoral care, life affirming, or representative of the Body to conduct 5-10 minute, over the phone exit interviews? Are people leaving so constantly that ministerial staff is unable to meet for coffee or visit a home or invite someone to their office in order to sincerely listen to their heart instead of ticking a box? Sure, not everyone will want to meet. Sure, not everyone who leaves needs to stay in that particular church and sometimes the reasons for leaving are differences that are not in-step with orthodox theology or practice. However, an exit interview is a business model, like when you lose a customer. Church members are not customers. The church is not a business.

Honestly, in what Christian worldview does this make even the slightest amount of sense? Exactly how disconnected with the laity are ministers of the Gospel supposed to be?

Ridiculous! This is shameful. A phone call is about as thoughtful as sending an unsubscribe email. The Gospel is an embodied practice. The best practice is to make your body present to another as much as possible.

I know a couple who attended one of my former churches for almost two decades. They were involved in ministry to the youth, led Bible studies, participated in Sunday school and missions. They let some folks know they were leaving. I bumped into them at another church.  They expressed their deep regret that not one person at their former church ever called to see where they were. They said it indicated to them that they were essentially used by their former fellowship. Oh yeah, the lead pastor of that church was an authoritarian, pastor-centric guy, just like Noble. (Noble is not a Calvinist but likes to hang with Driscoll and the Elephant Room guys. Thanks for picking up on this, Nicholas))

Also, just because one has been abused in a church does not mean that their critique is invalid. Recently I heard a Calvinista pastor address those who have been hurt by other churches. He said that it is time to get over being upset and to play ball with his agenda. Let's take a look at what Reichart has to say about his post and the negative reaction to it.

And I have sensed many of the comments have come out of pain from abusive churches and leadership…and that is why I always try to keep my tone filled with love and grace and don't want to merely react – and I don't mind taking "hits" or not given the benefit of the doubt since my confidence and acceptance is found in Christ's acceptance…and I don't mind being corrected or told that I am wrong..since I am wrong more times than you know.

He starts by assuming that the negative commenters have been abused. Even if some of them had, why does that fact have anything to do with the evident problems with his post? This is a technique known as marginalization. "You poor person, you just cannot understand because some pastor whooped you." It is also a way for an insecure person to blow off valid criticism.

Time to take a clue. Calling people "feces" is uncalled for no matter the background of the people who object. It is rude and vulgar, just like Perry Noble.This calls into question why Reichart would even quote from such a man. Since he is a ministry expert, we must assume that he has investigated him and believes he is a good role model.

Finally,  I have had enough with beating around the bush. What ever happened to "I was wrong. I am sorry?" Instead we are treated to  a lecture on why the author, not being given the benefit of the doubt (you bad Christians), is confident in Jesus. You see, he had all the right intentions. But how does any sane person give another the benefit of the doubt when they are told that they are akin to poop and are just constipating the church. Try as I might, I can find no way to put a positive spin on that one. It was a mega-fail. He needs to give it up and apologize.

I leave our readers with this. You are precious. Jesus paid a stunningly high price for you. You are deeply loved. As CS Lewis said so beautifully:

“'You come of the Lord Adam and the Lady Eve,' said Aslan. And that is both honor enough to erect the head of the poorest beggar, and shame enough to bow the shoulders of the greatest emperor on earth. Be content.'”

We leave you with this video. Noble says he doesn't care about you!  Ask yourself, "Do you feel the love?"

(PS-Sorry about the title-I could not help myself).

 

Lydia's Corner: Leviticus 25:47-27:13 Mark 10:32-52 Psalm 45:1-17 Proverbs 10:22

Comments

Perry Noble and His Pastor Fans Are Full of It! — 240 Comments

  1. I think that the metaphor is quite appropriate for THAT church. They just didn’t explain themselves clearly enough. They actually sum up their goals very well when you start from the beginning of the metaphor, which they unfortunately left off. Not only does every healthy body have a derriere but it also has a mouth. It’s obvious that the purpose of this church is to ingest people, chew them up, digest them, draw out any nutrients available and then discard what no longer has a use. This last part is to make room to start back at the beginning and do it all over again with new people. After all, if the others stuck around they might prevent new food from volunteering.

    Now they just need to back it up with the appropriate verses about eating their own – since that is what they clearly admitted to doing.

  2. Noble isn’t a Calvinista (though he’s friends with Mark Driscoll) but a leader in the seeker-driven movement. It’s a whole nother can of worms. They believe that the pastor is a “vision caster” and that everyone in the church must get on board with the vision. The vision is supposedly given to the pastor from God. I learned about all this stuff from listening to Chris Rosebrough.

    The “allow them to leave” statement reminds me of Mohler’s recent decree that church members are not allowed to leave their church: http://fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com/2012/09/al-mohler-declares-church-members-dont.html

  3. 1) That “back door” analogy has got to be one the stupidest philosophical/religious arguments I have read in a looooooong time. The other one involved an atheist who claimed that since blue monkeys do not come flying out of his butt, God does not exist. Sensing a pattern, anyone? New rule: no philosophical/theological argument involving butts and excretion shall be taken seriously.
    2) If he wanted to prove that church exiters need a pastor’s permission before leaving, he picked a BAD metaphor. If you choose not to evacuate your bowels for whatever reason, you will end up in a medical emergency pretty quickly. The logical corollary is that a pastor should never try to stop anybody from leaving EVER, no matter what their reason. But Noble and Reichart’s wording implied that there are some situations where a pastor should not “allow” congregants to leave. Except according to their own analogy, this cannot happen or the church will get “backed up” and sick.

  4. Nicholas

    Whoops-my bad. I meant to say that he was an authoritarian, pastorcentric guy like my former pastor.  I shall correct it immediately. Noble plays the game with Driscoll and the Calvinists but does his own thing and has been known to insult Reformed theology.

  5. @ Nicholas:

    “They believe that the pastor is a ‘vision caster’ and that everyone in the church must get on board with the vision.”

    Actually that sounds a lot like some of the stuff that went on at Mars Hill.

  6. The seeker-driven guys aren’t known to have much theology at all, they usually self-help techniques and motivational messages. But they are very authoritarian. You wouldn’t expect it at first from churches trying to be hip, cool, relevant, and modern, but they are. And anyone who reads FBC JAX Watchdog knows how these guys browbeat their members into tithing. The seeker-sensitive model is the most expensive way of doing church.

  7. Nicholas

    I attended Ed Young Jrs church for 1 1/2 years. Perry is a lot like Ed. This blog is one way of repenting for that mistake.

  8. You’re welcome Dee. I have family that have attended Ed Young Jr.’s church before. Hopefully they won’t anymore. I showed them the video where he asks for his parishioners’ bank account numbers and routing numbers. They weren’t there the Sunday when it happened.

    Did you see my comment on Sunday’s e-church post?

  9. @ ES: Nailed it. I’ll never use the phrase “revolving back door” to describe a church in the same way again. It’s too true, people are being treated as a resource, something to be used up or bargained with. This is the end game, IMO, of the type of “soteriological utilitarianism” that drives the seeker-sensitive movement. “Get people saved by any means at any cost” always leads to “fill the seats at any cost” which results in exploiting the willing in a spiritual ponzi-scheme.

    @ Nicholas: Guess I’m not the only one who enjoys Chris Roseburrough’s commentary. His “museum of idolatry” is killer entertainment, in a grotesque can’t-stop-watching-it-like-a-train-wreck sort of way.

    I am NOT a Perry Noble fan. I think he’s the epitome of everything that’s wrong with mega-church evangelicalism and just another talking head on the 7 face freak show that the evangelical celebrity circus has become. However, I gotta give him this: He is clearly not saying that if you don’t like the music at his church, you suck as a human being. What he is saying is that if you use not liking the music as your excuse for being late every Sunday, then you suck as a human being.

    I dunno. If the music really is that bad, perhaps you should consider not going at all. But otherwise, it is kind of a lame excuse for not participating fully in the worship life of your congregation. As a vocational church worker (in music, no less!), I can sympathize with pastors who are frustrated with how fickle the laity can be at times. Noble addressed it with the tact of a bull in a china shop, but ironically enough, there’s a hint of truth behind his buffoonery. It’s one thing for pastors to treat the laity like sh*t, but keep in mind that church workers are often on the receiving end of the bowel movement too. PN’s got no excuse to complain, but I’ve seen quite a few doormats get more respect than some hard-working pastors I know.

  10. “vision caster/casting” sounds like “spell caster/casting.”

    I suppose some of these guys are former D&D players. (Sorry, HUG – but you know the kinds I mean, especially the part about never admitting to having become engrossed in D&D.)

  11. Oh, yes – I’m very familiar with people who’ve recently been the victims of the vision-caster model in a church that thinks Perry Noble is The GUY to emulate, right after Troy Gramling down in Ft. Lauderdale. When the pastor’s demand for 2.5 million for a new building yielded a mere three hundred thousand, he began to blame his staff. He began to yell in staff meetings, “If you are not on board with THE VISION, then you need to leave NOW or I will FIRE YOU.”

    The vision, simply stated, is whatever the pastor believes God is planning to do to expand the pastor’s church/ministry and bring in huge amounts of money in order to buy large plots of land, build big buildings, and multiply “campuses” where it’s okay for different worship teams to be at different campuses, but only ONE preacher is in the vision for being projected on-screen for all campuses. The vision of this particular church was oft-stated from the pulpit as having ten thousand people worshiping in multiple (I think it was 10) campuses every week-end within five years.

    After two years of working 60+ hours per week (a married couple–the husband was employed at a very small salary and the wife volunteered FULL-TIME for no salary), they saw the light. “The pastor has ONE sermon, and it can be summed up in one sentence: You were created to do great things, and it’s up to you to work yourself up into frenzy enough to accomplish it, and oh, yeah, God is somewhere in the mix and he’ll be pleased if you clean up your life.”

    Within a two-month period, all but one staff member resigned from this church — most of them had nowhere else to go, but realized they could no longer in good conscience be part of a sham. And, wonder of wonders, any pictures of them in candid photos of church events, all disappeared from the website in short order. Staff members began to realize that attendance numbers were inflated; staff members were required to attend every service (sometimes 6 per week-end), and their bodies were counted for every service. Huge baptism services were held; staff members began to realize that some people got baptized every time there was an opportunity, never having been taught that it’s not something you need to do every time you sin or backslide.

    Lots of smoke and mirrors — literal smoke and mirrors — stage sets that would make a Broadway director envious, rock-star musician types in tattered blue jeans — but oh, my goodness, if you’re on the worship team and you kneel down in worship on stage, you might as well have spoken in tongues and will be summarily removed, as was the Holy Spirit. The pastor shut down the faithful prayer warriors who offered to pray with people after every service. Too charismatic.

    The problem with many of these old-style cessationists who’ve adopted charismatic-looking physical settings is that they equate anything related to a continuist mindset as “somebody wanting to speak in tongues.” That’s their only point of reference.

    Money problems became evident. Church credit cards were maxed out. Pastor began to spend 20 minutes talking about giving at every service, as they passed around the KFC buckets, provided drop boxes at the back, and computer kiosks for credit/debit card giving.

    Five years of true exponential growth is now being followed by exponential shrinkage. The first five years, the pastor was a genuine servant — he’d be out there sweeping the floors, went out of his way to meet people, even when he was tired from preaching three services; but then, something unknown happened that caused a dramatic change. He began to isolate himself; his temper flared; he began to blameshift. When confronted, he yelled that he will continue to be true to his vision.

    Sadly, his vision has darkened, and is now damaged and distorted; I believe because he has forgotten that it’s God’s church, and not his own.

  12. @ Miguel:

    “What he is saying is that if you use not liking the music as your excuse for being late every Sunday, then you suck as a human being.”

    This is, I admit, a really lame excuse for being late, but that hardly means the person sucks as a human being. That designation should probably be reserved for bigger failures, like torture and child molestation.

  13. This dude’s church is about an hour’s drive from me, IIRC. I read the Pajama Diaries a couple of years ago; what that blogger went through was hellish! As bad as what Tom Rich went through but without the same ending.

    (Dee, you might want to edit your quote from Reichart — you’ve duplicated some of it within the quote.)

  14. I just read over at pajama pages. Sad…makes me cry…
    Just confirms my decision to take no heed to what Perry Noble or his like say….

  15. The article at Pajama pages is enough evidence for me that the leadership of Newspring are not Christians. Newspring is simply a business to make money, not a church.

  16. Perry Noble is right about one thing. Knowing him is definitely not going to help anyone. :)

  17. The straw that broke the camel’s back for me when I left pdi/sgm many years ago was when the pastor said”When you give your tithes and gifts to the church you are furthering the vision of the leaders of pdi/sgm.”

    That stopped me in my tracks because I realized that I wasn’t supposed to follow their vision of what God wanted me to do, financially or otherwise, but that He wanted me to follow the vision He had specifically for me.

  18. Miguel

    I know you are an expert of great music.  I am not but I have a modicum of taste. I love just about every genre of music. However, some of these seeker churches are playing some of the loudest, most garish music, ofen “written” or adapted by the music leader who we are assured used to be in a “famous” unnamed group and wrote all sorts of unnamed music in Nashville, etc. I have friends who go to a church at which ear plugs are avaialbe, the loudness is that painful. I have been there. The bass resonates in my chest even when I sit at the back near the door which I used and will never enter again.

    No, this is not some ministry that reaches out to some young people who frequent grunge concerts. It is in the middle of an upper middle class, conservative area. So, I do not blame people who wait unto the decibel level lowers to go into church. Such music is there for the pastor and the worship team who are trying hard to pretend that they, and they alone, understand what the epitome of cool is. But then again, I would not join such a church. 

    Trust me, these people  are not critquing some high school kid that just did an awful rendition of a Michaal W Smith song. 

  19. David Landry (I think that is his name), the pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Goodlettsville, Tennessee (just outside of Nashville) preached a sermon a year or 2 ago where he used this very illustration. He started the sermon by baking some of his grandmother’s famous sugar cookies. Somewhere in the sermon he starts talking about the “back door of the church” and comparing it to the back door of our bodies, and that it is good to have a back door etc. so that people who don’t like the church can go out the back door.

    It was unbelievable.

    So, one of these guys is stealing from the other.

    Do you know the date of Noble’s sermon?

    Landry’s used to be on the church’s website. It may be on Youtube.

  20. I read this and wanted to cry. I noticed that the story was written in 2009. Does anyone know where James Duncan is now?

  21. {sigh}

    Another poster child for the atheists. This garbage is closer to Jim Jones and David Koresh than it is to anything Jesus taught.

  22. Hester

     I do not believe Perry Noble. Guarantee you there is more to that than “not liking” some music.

  23. Not really a comment about Perry Noble (really glad we moved away from SC years ago!), but what is it with these Top 10 lists? Looking over this 2009 list and a “Top Ten Reasons why People Don’t Go To Church” list that our former local church published in a newspaper ad a few weeks ago, who merged with another church and has completely gone seeker-sensitive, all of these listed reasons are very worldly! What about my #1 reason for leaving the church: The Word of God is not being taught! It’s now the word according to Driscoll, Noble, Furtick, et al., with a few scriptures sprinkled in for good measure!

    Okay, off my soapbox ’cause I feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about the removal of the Word of God from our churches!

  24. The curious thing is that just about all the points our Noble friend makes have a grain of validity to them. For instance, wandering in and out of a lecture is discourteous to the lecturer and to the other attendees. I used to be a member of a really good local business network here in Scotland that met once a month for a midday meal, where the rule was that if your mobile phone went off during the meal, you were cordially invited ;-) to contribute £50 to one of the charities represented at the group. (It never happend, btw, though there was plenty of support given to said charities otherwise.)

    But herein lies the rub. The “mobile phone ban” was not because Simon, who runs the network, is a control freak, but because we had all positively agreed to focus on the reason we’d met together, and respect the other people who’d taken the time and trouble to attend. I don’t doubt that if there had been a good reason for someone to take a phone call (say, a man whose wife was 40+ weeks pregnant…), an honourable exception would have been made.

    I could go through all of these Noble points one by one, but you get the idea. What concerns me is not the points he makes; and I respectfully take issue with the linked blog there – to some extent. If people really are wanting more intellectually entertaining sermons that they don’t have to obey, then that is something a responsible pastor should address. But there is an attitude behind those points that is a concern. I don’t see any basis in scripture for setting an example in word and deed to those under your care by calling them jackasses who “officially” (on whose authority, may I ask?) suck as human beings. And I agree that you can lecture, or at least encourage and exhort, people you don’t know – I’ve never met any TWWoids, for instance – but you cannot pastor people you don’t know from a pulpit they can’t approach. Arguably, Jesus himself taught the crowds, but pastored twelve. You certainly can’t pastor people who you don’t want to hang out with because they make you uncomfortable.

    All in all, there is a lack of love apparent in all of this. Maybe we all need to re-read 1 Cor 13. In amongst all the flaunting of our PSA credentials, I don’t think we’ve grasped the seriousness of a lack of love.

  25. Nicholas

    I added the video as an update with speical thanks to you.

    The Pajama Pagese affected me so much that I find it difficult to even talk about NewSpring and Noble. I may contact the good doctor and ask if I can reprint the post on TWW to add a few more people in this world who have read about it and will know what is going on down there.

     

  26. Here is a Biblical gospelly suggestion from someone who has survived one these type pastors/churches.

    Do a year where daily you read the Bible–just the Bible, not devotionals or study materials or notes on the bottom of the page.

    But make sure you stay in “the red letters.”

    Yep, let Jesus Christ be your teacher for a year.

    After that, I guarantee you that these wanna be gods (isn’t that what Satan is?) will stand out like a sore thumb and you will FLEE.

  27. Tikatu

    Thank you for having my back. I finished the post rather late for me. I read it over so many times that I no longer see the mistakes. It is a combination of an aging brain and the Christmas season!

  28. Jen

    I am so glad that you reacted in the same way that I did. I have never read such a horrendous story involving a purported evangelical church in my life. How people could read that and still attend the church is beyond me. If this story was not true, lawsuits would have been flying. 

  29. I knew about Perry Noble, but I had never heard of James Duncan before. Thanks for writing about this story Dee.

  30. Important UpdateTo Our Readers

    Well, is God in the business of getting the truth out or what?! Tom Rich emailed me and will contact James Duncan on TWW’s behalf. Here is the announcement I just placed as a second update on this post.

    12/13 9:45 AM-There has been a major development on the Pajama Diaries in the last 2 months.  I am not at liberty to tell you more at this time but Tom Rich is putting me in contact with James Duncan. Here is a hint-it appears that Duncan’s story is correct and there have been some serious repercussions for NewSpring. I plan to tell you the details as soon as i receive permission.

  31. @ Nick Bulbeck
    I very much agree with what you say. What I see in the excerpt of Mr, Noble’s preaching (and granted, they are just clips) regarding coming to church on time is a very important issue that, instead of teaching the word of God and helping people understand the importance of corporate worship, he is basically just ridiculing and guilt tripping people into doing what he (the pastor, not God) says. Further, the issue of people not “getting” the importance of corporate worship is just as much the fault of the leaders as the people in the seats. If you are basically putting on a church show, how can you blame your congregation for viewing it as such?? If someone is repeatedly not understanding the message you are preaching it’s time to do a little introspection.

    Just my thoughts.

  32. “…the anonymity in this case was NOT the blogger, but a man on the church’s side, an employee of the church, who went after the blogger anonymously to teach him a lesson to try to get him fired by sending a phony resignation letter to his employer, to paint the blogger as pervert, a homosexual, his kid as a cross dresser, and to make him fear for his family’s life by actual threats against him…all in the name of God to punish the blogger for the audacity in criticizing a mega church pastor.”

    Ah, Doing The LOOOORD’s Work(TM)…

    1) Was this “employee of the church” a fanboy doing this on his own or as Plausible Deniability for the CELEBRITY MegaChurch Pastor?

    2) Didn’t this guy Jesus routinely snub the Holy God Squadders (like CELEBRITY MegaChurch Pastors) and hang out with the losers (like all us piles of shit constipating the Church)?

    We leave you with this video. Noble says he doesn’t care about you! Ask yourself, “Do you feel the love?”

    No, Noble SPEAKING FOR GOD says He doesn’t care about you.

  33. Kristin

    When one’s pastor views his congregation as turds, can anyone be surprised that people are not enthised about showing up on time. People rarely show up on time for abuse.

  34. They believe that the pastor is a “vision caster” and that everyone in the church must get on board with the vision. The vision is supposedly given to the pastor from God. — Nicholas

    Any of these visions involve Angels with Golden Tablets in Reformed Egyptian? Or Mary at Bayside? Or Electro-Alchemy from the Hollow Earth? Or “I Demand Human Sacrifice — Offer your Children to Me through the Fire”?

  35. Yeah, Driscoll is a vision caster as well. — Nicholas

    Not surprising.
    “I SEE Things…”
    (cue spooky music)
    (or porn soundtrack)

  36. HUG

    Well, it appears that Duncan’s story was not exaggerated. And I bet you that the employee was “serving” his pastor, just like the various employees of SGM “served” CJ. I cannot wait ro reveal what has happened but I must!

  37. it appears that Duncan’s story is correct and there have been some serious repercussions for NewSpring. I plan to tell you the details as soon as i receive permission

    Can’t wait! Despicable. So hoping justice will prevail civilly if not criminally. $1.5 million would be the starting point for me.

  38. @Dee
    LOL I suppose also there are some folks who think being called a turd is a proper form of “admonition” from the pulpit.

    Bottom line is I am not amused with Mr. Noble’s attempts to mask manipulation with humor.

  39. I am NOT a Perry Noble fan. I think he’s the epitome of everything that’s wrong with mega-church evangelicalism and just another talking head on the 7 face freak show that the evangelical celebrity circus has become. — Miguel

    So who are the Seven Faces of the Dr Lao Freak Show?

    (Or, sounding more Biblical, the Seven Heads of The Great Beast…)

    “vision caster/casting” sounds like “spell caster/casting.”

    I suppose some of these guys are former D&D players. (Sorry, HUG – but you know the kinds I mean, especially the part about never admitting to having become engrossed in D&D.) — Numo

    The guy over at the now-defunct blog Totem to Temple/Onward Forward Toward coined the term “Charismatic Witchcraft” for this.

    I suspect these guys are fanboys and “vision casting” is their thing. And we would all be better off if these fanboys had gotten turned on to D&D instead of Spiritual Warfare and Seeing Visions.

  40. Vision Casting–?

    I believe God came in the flesh to to cast a vision for all mankind . . . what needs to be added to that? They are turning a beautiful, simple message into a monstrosity.

  41. What Noble’s followers did to Dr. Duncan reminds me of what the followers of Jack Hyles did to Vic Nischik and Robert Sumner.

    Noble and Driscoll must constitute what Darrell Dow called “fundamentalism with skinny jeans and praise music.”

    All the authoritarian false “churches” are the same but with a different facade (IFB, SGM, seeker-driven, etc.).

  42. Exactly, Bridget. These “pastors” have no authority to cast their own “visions.” The Church’s mission was given to us by the Lord Himself.

  43. Gavin –

    I noticed that PN’s blog post was all about “leadership” (he didn’t seem to follow his own advice three years ago – BTW) and said nothing about pastoring or caring for people. What kind of church must that be . . .

  44. When it comes to Perry Noble, I can’t seem to stay quiet. We have too many nuts who call themselves pastors and do more damage to people Christian and non-Christian and it makes me sick. We have much cleaning up to do in the SBC. We have done some cleaning up but we have a very, very long way to go.

  45. When it comes to Perry Noble, I can’t seem to stay quiet. We have too many nuts who call themselves pastors and do more damage to people Christian and non-Christian and it makes me sick. We have much cleaning up to do in the SBC. We have done some cleaning up but we have a very, very long way to go.

  46. Me (if I may be so stupidly vain as to quote myself):

    In amongst all the flaunting of our PSA credentials, I don’t think we’ve grasped the seriousness of a lack of love.

    The reason is that I’ve just read through James Duncan’s story in full. When a “church” (or public speaking business) is built around shock-jock populism, aggressive posturing and put-downs towards selected opponents, it cannot help but produce fruit after its kind. It will therefore attract the spiteful, the cruel and the thuggish who find the “church” provides them with a conveniently amusing stamping-ground and who behave accordingly.

    If I may make a theological claim here..? (With which you are all free to take issue, naturally.) I believe that is why Jesus would not allow the unclean spirits to speak – not despite the fact that they knew who he was, but because they knew who he was. If you get taught technically accurate theology, but through an unclean spirit, you’ll end up doctrinally sound but spiritually warped and perverted.

    I feel a blog post coming on…

  47. Well, it appears that Duncan’s story was not exaggerated. And I bet you that the employee was “serving” his pastor, just like the various employees of SGM “served” CJ. — Dee

    And how Cee Jay’s wife “served” The Humble One while she was suffering from Morning Sickness?

  48. Noble and Driscoll must constitute what Darrell Dow called “fundamentalism with skinny jeans and praise music.” — Nicholas

    “Fascism is Fascism, whether it comes with jackboots and chrome epaulets or tie-dyed shirts and Birkenstocks.” — Eric Blumrich

  49. I remember reading the piece on Pajamas media a few years back. Chilling. This man was dealing with a father battling cancer in another country and these “frat boys”, in the Name of Christ, were abusing him and his family.

    I hate to say it but this sort of thing is not as rare as people might think. I saw some pretty evil stuff in mega churches. What bothers me the most ar the pew sitters who can listen to guys like Noble and Furtick and think it has anything to do with Christ and his teaching.

  50. If I may make a theological claim here..? (With which you are all free to take issue, naturally.) I believe that is why Jesus would not allow the unclean spirits to speak – not despite the fact that they knew who he was, but because they knew who he was. If you get taught technically accurate theology, but through an unclean spirit, you’ll end up doctrinally sound but spiritually warped and perverted. — Nick Bulbeck

    Well, the Oyarsa of Thulcandra was known as “The Bent One” or “The Bent Oyarsa”…

  51. Can someone clue me in a bit more on this “vision casting” thing?

    I’m quite familiar with the New Age usage of it from our time in the Four Corners. Ditto quite familiar with the Native American usage.

    And that leaves me wondering how in heaven’s name bringing such a pagan concept ever got into churches?

    And of course, as former SBC, wondering how we went from the idea that Jesus Christ is Lord over His church, and that the congregation was vested with the power to determine His guidance for the local church? What happened to pastor recall votes and the pastor serving as God led the people to retain him or not?

    When did this pastors take on the role of shaman?

  52. I think Miguel is right on- the criticism wasn’t over the music but the attitude. It’s an attitude in many churches. People do not arrive on time to worship and some are completely OK with missing the music altogether. “You suck” is a horrible response to this, though, especially since he has likely groomed them to be this way.

    Are we surprised that people think music is optional when the focus is on the sermon and exalting the pastor?

    Are we surprised that people think music is optional when our “worship” services are crafted around evangelizing and self improvement?

    We have created this consumer driven redefinition of the worship service that isn’t focused upward, but rather inward (self help) and outward (evangelizing). I believe both the sermon and music constitute “worship” when done right, but if the music is done in a way that exalts the performers and the sermons are done in a way that points toward humans, who can we blame for wanting to skip past the music and get to the meat of it (“what are you going to do for ME this morning?)

    The music portion of the worship service should be about allowing people to corporately and personally exalt God in an active way that they cannot do through the hearing of preaching (which is a different form of worship). It’s important and we should be ashamed to think of it as optional or a “lesser” part of the service. But with the attitudes of the churches today, is it any wonder it is viewed as such?

  53. About 5 year ago someone I know did some research and Calvanism of any flavor was at about 5% in the SBC. Not sure if that was congregants or pastors. But Calvanism is a grown thing as that’s what the seminaries seem to be teaching as the one true way.

  54. “So Noble is SBC? I thought the SBC was more of a Neo-Cal denomination. Am I wrong?”

    SBC churches are free to be whatever they want to be in terms of Calvinism, Armenianism, or whatever. The real goal was to pool resources for missions.

    They are not a denomination unified around doctrine like others are (for example, Presbyterians).

  55. They are not a denomination unified around doctrine like others are (for example, Presbyterians). — JeffS

    Instead, they are unified around Adult Credobaptism by Immersion, i.e. their tribal identity mark.

  56. Thanks re the vision casting links.

    Yep, just what we encountered in the corporate world, where it was so bad one district leader stormed out of a meeting labelling it as just a form of new age witchcraft.

    So why do we tolerate it?

  57. “So Noble is SBC? I thought the SBC was more of a Neo-Cal denomination. Am I wrong?”

    Rick Warren is SBC when it suits him. :o)

    There is acutally a big war in the SBC over Calvinism. Mohler has worked hard to put his loyalists in positions of power in the SBC entities. SBTS is considered ground zero for YRR. So far, Mohler is winningby sheer force of numbers by training young men to covertly take their Reformed agenda into non Calvinist SBC churches. That led to a lot of problems because they are mean so he put his former pastor, Ezell, as leader ofthe SBC church planting arm, NAMB. Ezell has parthered with Acts 29 and pushed for planting YRR churches.

    By the time people figure it out, the YRR are planted in and doing thier goseplly thing. There is even a book on how to do it. The Quiet Revolution written about 30 years ago

    There is a reason Mohler protects and promotes Mahaney. Just connect the dots.

  58. NIcolas, And SEBTS rides the fence. Akin was a big promoter of DRiscoll not long ago until it got too embarassing.

  59. Oh and Mid America just hired the very young new PhD, former MOhler assistant as President of Mid America seminary. Mohler is one of the most brilliant political strategists out there.

  60. @Dee:

    Expert is quite a stretch, believe me, but I am certainly opinionated. But I’m with you 100% when it comes to volume levels. When a church ostracizes the elderly because it is physically painful for them to even be present in worship, the message that is sent is that the younger generation doesn’t need them. Not only is this completely untrue, but segregating generations through niche marketing sucks vitality from the church. I’m sticking with my guns on that one: Why even go to such a church? But what sort of definition is that organization even a church? Not by the classic Protestant, Catholic, or Orthodox understandings.

    Perry Noble may not be reaching straight for the scene kids, but he is no stranger to exploiting cheap gimmicks to get attention. If you have to wait for the decibel level to lower, consider that the ministry philosophy of the church makes it not worth being a part of. Believe me, the music and worship are a reflection of the faith of whoever is in that pulpit.

    It’s not all cut and dry, though. At our church, we can often struggle to keep our volume under control. Our sound system is a wreck, and often when integrating younger members into music teams (especially drummers) it takes time for them to learn moderation and sensitivity to others. But we communicate with the elderly and those who suffer from migraines and they know they have my full attention to let me know exactly how they are experiencing the service, and we bend over backwards to keep things at a level where they can still participate (there’s this device we call the “frown-o-meter” :P ). There is no reason the music has to be so loud.

    NewSpring Church is also quite infamous for their performance of AC/DC on EASTER SUNDAY: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2vUt4pJgHZQ

    Hard to take them seriously after that. It’s not a church, period.

  61. Eagle

    One day we shall toast to the fact we both woke up! Nicholas is correct about the SBC. If you want to read a blogger who is anti-Calvini within the SBC, you can go to Peter Lumpkin here. 

    http://www.peterlumpkins.typepad.com. However, do not be fooled. The Conservative Resurgence within the SBC means that these guys are the same as the Calvinistas minus the Calvin. Virtually no functional difference. 

    Wade Burleson wrote a book called Hardball Religion.We reviewed it before we ever met Wade. http://thewartburgwatch.com/2009/06/30/yep-there-still-are-more-reasons-why-we-are-leaving-the-sbc-part-6/

    The book is a real eyeopener.

  62. JeffS

    The only two things that can get you thrown out of hte SBC are women pastors and homosexual blessings. But, those who play a game with coddling pedophiles get to stay.  So, women pastors are more dangerous than pedophile coverups in the eyes of the SBC.

  63. Peter Lumpkins writes criticisms of Mahaney and Driscoll, but he hypocritically defends Ergun Caner to this day. His criticisms and defenses of individuals are simply partisan.

    Lumpkins and Patterson also promote the fundamentalist anti-alcohol position. The war in the SBC is between the Calvinist fundamentalists and the Arminian fundamentalists.

  64. Nicholas/All Readers

    Did you know we wrote a nursery rhyme about Petter Lumpkin and Caner which garnered his attention many moons ago? Here it is. 

    A Christian Bumpkin met a Lumpkin on the road to Oz

    Said the Bumpkin to the Lumpkin,  “Would you kindly pause?

    Could you please explicate the meaning of exonerate?

    So that the pounding in my pate, you may help alleviate?”

    Said the Lumpkin to the Bumpkin, “Sir, I have no time.

    A Caner said some silly things and some say it’s a crime.

    For Caner I must formulate excuses they will tolerate. 

    Allowing us to obfuscate and forever more to exculpate.”

    And so the Bumpkin left the Lumpkin to find a better way

    The Bible always speaks the truth, beating nonsense any day

    http://thewartburgwatch.com/2010/07/02/caner-and-lumpkins-a-nursery-rhyme/

  65. Did you know we wrote a nursery rhyme about Petter Lumpkin and Caner which garnered his attention many moons ago? Here it is.

    A Christian Bumpkin met a Lumpkin on the road to Oz… — Dee

    Oz may be L Frank Baum, but that nursery rhyme is much more Lewis Carroll. Very Logical Nonsense.

  66. HUG

    I will take that as a compliment-especially since our blog featured, in tis nascent days,  the infamous Leaving Wonderland series-an allegory of a bad church experience. To this day, my friends give me Alice in Wonderland trinkets!

  67. There is acutally a big war in the SBC over Calvinism. Mohler has worked hard to put his loyalists in positions of power in the SBC entities. SBTS is considered ground zero for YRR. So far, Mohler is winningby sheer force of numbers by training young men to covertly take their Reformed agenda into non Calvinist SBC churches. — Anon1

    That’s a combination of the National Socialists “coup from within” and both NSDAP and Communists “Win the Hearts and Minds of the Young” strategies. Really says something when the first parallels you find with such Godly church politics are the swastika and/or the hammer and sickle.

  68. Julie Anne

    Gas……hmmm. Given our recent post on Perry Noble that comment defintiely has play.

  69. “Lumpkins and Patterson also promote the fundamentalist anti-alcohol position. The war in the SBC is between the Calvinist fundamentalists and the Arminian fundamentalists.”

    Nicolas, There is no foundational difference between Patterson and Mohler. Both are into power and influence and measure their success by it. It is just Patterson has had his day and no longer is a power base. Mohler is the new power base. The power base just shifted, that is all.

    The problem is tyrants and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some of the most revered guys on stages out there are tyrants behind the scenes.

    But be careful with the Arminian/Calvin dictonomy. There is a tendency to refer to all non Cals as Arminians. Nothing could be further from the truth.

  70. And Nicholas, Patterson never dreamed of the success in obtaining power and control that Mohler has now. Patterson spent most of his career one step ahead of the firing ax. Mohler is the pope.

  71. I am rather surprised that no one has yet interconnected Mr. Noble’s/NewSprings’ rather “novel” theological takes on doctrine of the church/ecclesiology and doctrine of end things/eschatology, which apparently have kind of morphed into one another to form a rather unorthodox end-of-church/e-scatology.

  72. @ Dee & Miguel:

    “However, some of these seeker churches are playing some of the loudest, most garish music, often ‘written’ or adapted by the music leader who we are assured used to be in a ‘famous’ unnamed group and wrote all sorts of unnamed music in Nashville, etc. I have friends who go to a church at which ear plugs are avaialbe, the loudness is that painful. I have been there. The bass resonates in my chest even when I sit at the back near the door which I used and will never enter again.”

    “But I’m with you 100% when it comes to volume levels. When a church ostracizes the elderly because it is physically painful for them to even be present in worship, the message that is sent is that the younger generation doesn’t need them. Not only is this completely untrue, but segregating generations through niche marketing sucks vitality from the church.”

    I once heard about a church that got itself cited by the cops because they played their music so loud that the neighbors filed a noise complaint. When this happens, we call it a rock concert…NOT a church service. And guess what rock concerts are about? The performers. As are many of these churches…people come to see the band and only the band. (Now of course this can happen in traditional services too – though usually I find the content of those services is more conducive to worship even if you did come solely/partially to hear the music. Though that might just be me.)

    Per the alienation of the older generation(s) – it may be that that was the entire point from the very beginning. Rick Warren, for instance, is known to have recommended high levels of secrecy when implementing his “Purpose-Driven” plan in a church, and his response to dissent is that the Purpose-Driven supporters must either drive those people out or just wait for them to die. In other words, we might as well call it the Purpose-Drive Coup. The older generations MUST be taken out of the picture, because they often have the wisdom to see through the lies and the crap and will work to prevent the takeover; whereas the younger people conditioned to accept whatever is new, cool and hip will drink the Koolaid without a second thought. Unfortunately for Warren, it’s no mystery what happens when the older generations are removed entirely. One good example is Lord of the Flies.

    Of course, if you want to be less conspiratorial, you could just say that Warren and his ilk are frighteningly shortsighted…though the outcome will be the same.

  73. Anon1

    Standing ovation for 2:38 PM comment.

    There is no foundational difference between Patterson and Mohler. Both are into power and influence and measure their success by it. It is just Patterson has had his day and no longer is a power base. Mohler is the new power base. The power base just shifted, that is all.

  74. Hester

    Excellent comment on music.

    “Per the alienation of the older generation(s) – it may be that that was the entire point from the very beginning.” As my years advance, the alienation thing looms larger. However, we are the babay boomers. If they alienate us, they will lose money  in the very near future. 

  75. Dee and Deb,

    The complementarian patriarchs are up to their old tricks. Here is Doug Wilson, by way of The Resurgence by way of Tim Challies talking about the necessity of the virgin birth. Is it just me, or is this line of argument – Christ needed to be born of a virgin because sin is ‘imputed through the male line’ not an attempt to advance the complementarian agenda? Why is everything about gender for our dear Mr. Wilson?

    http://theresurgence.com/2012/12/13/why-a-virgin-birth

  76. WOW THOSE LAST VIDEOS! So Christians shouldn’t keep educating themselves about Scripture until their obedience is PERFECTLY IN LINE with the stuff they already know? I guess we’ll all be waiting a while. Also, the sound on the first video was kinda quiet – did he really say that, basically, he’s a megachurch pastor because he doesn’t want to perform traditional pastoral duties? Well, then at least he’s honest. Because we all know shepherds can just sit around eating bonbons and writing books while the sheep wander off to take care of themselves.

    Doesn’t want to teach, doesn’t want to visit sick parishioners…sounds lazy to me.

  77. Regarding the sound wars, I never had to deal with this myself. As the worship leader I had little control over the sound levels. The pastor and the sound guy would go to war over it regularly (sound guy always wanted to push it).

    The only step I did take was recommending we replace the acoustic drum set with an electronic one so we could manage the volume. The church did go for that and it helped a great deal. What I always tell sound engineers is “whatever you do, the vocals have to sit on top- because that’s the part the congregation is listening for. It might sound better to have the guitar higher in the mix, but the vocals MUST get through”.

    In our congregation the older folks tended to approach me and tell me they enjoyed the music, but I always figured there were a few who might prefer something different, so I always worked in a hymn or two every week and there were some weeks we did songs in a really traditional manner. I don’t like “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”, but you know, I’m not everybody. If that’s someone’s favorite hymn, how disappointing would it be to go to church every week knowing there was not chance you were ever going to get to sing it? So we did it sometimes as traditional as could be, and I worshiped as I sung it too.

  78. Okay, and that toilet seat article he wrote (esp. the laziness part) is really ironic in light of his insistence on not performing pastoral duties.

  79. Maybe these guys never did mature past their teenage years. Sex, sports, hoodies and bathroom humor. Sounds like middle school/high school to me.

  80. “They expressed their deep regret that not one person at their former church ever called to see where they were” So typical…That’s because the majority of people at “church” are pretenders. It was all an ACT and just a facade. It’s just a small precentage of people at “church” who are truly Christian.

    I look back at my experiences in the “church” and I see it as a complete joke. The way they treat people and the arrogance is just appauling…

  81. I currently lead worship at my church and I have to chime in there are often multiple factors that go into determining sound levels.

    One, in my experience it’s not the young people pushing for obnoxious loud, it’s the middle aged rock n roll folks who are re-living their youth through jamming on the worship team. Just my personal observation.

    Second, many sound guys aren’t trained or have blown out their hearing through the years and they’re running house sound from the very back of the room. So they crank it so it sounds good to them but no one is objectively measuring levels where the congregation actually is. The problem is lack of objectivity and this is where sound can turn into a runaway train.

    Finally, for every complaint I get about the loud music lack of hymns (I personally love hymns and incorporate them when I can in a manner that makes sense) I get another one about how slow, boring, and wordy the music is. I’m sure there are some jerk worship leaders out there, but please cut your worship leaders some slack because a lot of us are just doing our best to navigate criticism from all sides.

    PS I have an archive of emails that I have sent in my life pleading on behalf of the people I see in our congregation with THEIR HANDS OVER THEIR EARS during service! Hello! This should not be so! I feel awful about it and I am so, so, sorry to anyone out there who has endured physical pain trying to worship!

  82. @ Nicholas:

    “They believe that the pastor is a ‘vision caster’ and that everyone in the church must get on board with the vision.”

    Actually that sounds a lot like some of the stuff that went on at Mars Hill.

    It’s Warrenesque as well. (Rick Warren.)

  83. Caleb W, that is a standard theological belief that original sin is transmitted from fathers to children.

    It is certainly true that Christ needed to be born of a Virgin.

    I don’t see that particular article as trying to advance complementarianism.

  84. Nicholas,

    Why does original sin have to be transmitted from fathers to children? Didn’t Adam and Eve sin together? Isn’t my mother equally as sinful as my father?

    I have never had it explained to me quite so explicitly that the reason Christ was born of a virgin was because sin is imputed through the father.

  85. LOL
    These guys are all “Elephant Room” buddies, strutting around patting each other on the back and endorsing each other’s books. It is hilarious to see these guys trying so hard to “engage culture.” They’ve gone from cheesy Mickey Mouse t-shirts and argyle sweaters, to now wearing suits (see Noble above and Driscoll who’s been showing up everywhere wearing a white shirt, no tie, and blazer).

    But there has been some fallout, and probably a diminution of tithes and offerings to the coffers of these guys’ churches. Earlier this year, there was a big controversy surrounding The Elephant Room and heresy. Now, if you go to http://www.theelephantroom.com there is nothing there. No videos. No propaganda. Zip. Apparently, even with their little armies of professional PR and marketing people on staff, the blogosphere is having an effect in stripping away these emperors’ clothes, and they are being seen for the phonies they are. Glad to see TWW in the frontlines of exposing these wolves in sheeps clothing.

  86. It is impossible for a megachurch pastor to perform his pastoral duties. He may hav a pastoral staff, subordinate to him, who may carry out these duties.

    This to me is a good reason against having megachurches at all. It seems best to have small to medium size churches.

  87. I find the use of the word “suck” in modern vernacular as crude and vulgar. Why do Christians talk that way?

  88. Caleb, I’m not sure about whether sin is really transmitted just by the father or by both parents. But it’s a common belief.

    Christ was born without original sin because He was conceived of the Holy Spirit.

  89. Yes Kristen, the amount of messages you get as a worship leader can be astounding. There is always someone upset with whatever you are doing. More hymns, less hymns, lower keys, higher keys, more speaking, less speaking, more Christmas music, less Christmas music, more specials, no specials, louder, softer, more emotion, less emotion. It can drive you nuts.

  90. @ Hester:

    It’s not just you. Many church-growth oriented parishes are shamelessly crafting seamless productions in order to build audience/clientelle. It’s a business marketing strategy adopted wholesale without thinking through the spiritual consequences. And it is the end game, IMO, of revivalist decision theology. Preaching the cross of Christ is not enough for these groups, you have to convince the unbeliever to make the decision for Christ by moving them emotionally through music and speaking. Once the cross of Christ is not enough, it is only a matter of time before it is not necessary either. Exhibit 1 A of moralistic, therapeutic deism creating a Christ-less Christianity. The beauty pageant of the evangelical circus truly is a “Lord of the Flies” spirituality. You have hit the nail on the head with that one.

    But yes, I think Warren is a decent chap, a bit shortsighted, but ultimately living out the results of the theology he believes. I think he’s the real deal, unlike many other charlatans who don’t believe it anyways but just want to make a buck.

  91. Caleb, I have certainly heard that taught before. To me that gets into the realm of going beyond what scripture says, but it is a common belief.

  92. “It is impossible for a megachurch pastor to perform his pastoral duties. He may hav a pastoral staff, subordinate to him, who may carry out these duties.”

    I don’t know about this. It seems to me that acts contains examples of those within the role of only doctrine/teaching without other “pastor” duties. That’s why they invented deacons.

  93. I had no idea it was so common. I agree, Jeff, I just don’t see a clear argument for it in scripture. It is circumstantial in Wilson’s argument and it just seems to argue that patriarchy is the natural order. That is my problem with it.

  94. Has anyone noticed these “visionary leaders” with all their “authority” seem fixated on going after what they perceive as “the cool kids?”

    Upwardly mobile and financially successful young adults? They are out to win them.

    Good looking, athletic young adults? Want them also.

    But where are the geeks and the generally introverted supposed to worship?

    Some of them make it sound like it is a sin to be bookish, quiet, and not highly emotional.

  95. One, in my experience it’s not the young people pushing for obnoxious loud, it’s the middle aged rock n roll folks who are re-living their youth through jamming on the worship team. Just my personal observation. — Kristin

    i.e. Baby Boomers trying to convince themselves “I’M YOUNG! I’M YOUNG! I’M YOUNG! REALLY! I AM! I’M YOUNG! I’M YOUNG! I’M YOUNG!” and that it’s still The Sixties. We call them “The Thin Grey Ponytails” out here.

    As a vaguely-related aside, does anyone remember Seventies-vintage SF set in the far future where The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were up there with Bach and Beethoven in that Future’s Classical Music scene? Now the RIAA has to figure how to keep selling complete Rolling Stones and Grateful Dead collections to the nursing-home set.

    Because nothing gets old-fashioned faster than over-relevance.

  96. Maybe these guys never did mature past their teenage years. Sex, sports, hoodies and bathroom humor. Sounds like middle school/high school to me. — Hester

    Just like porn’s target audiences, where “Adult” and “Mature” translate to “high school horndogs”.

  97. Has anyone noticed these “visionary leaders” with all their “authority” seem fixated on going after what they perceive as “the cool kids?”

    Upwardly mobile and financially successful young adults? They are out to win them.

    Good looking, athletic young adults? Want them also. — Linda

    Question, Linda, Everybody in the Massmind:

    How does that differ from High School?

    (I went to high school from 1969 to 1973. I have spent the subsequent 40 years trying to blot out the memory of those four.)

    But where are the geeks and the generally introverted supposed to worship? — Linda

    They’re in comics fandom, anime fandom, Furry fandom, My Little Pony fandom… More or less networked with others of their kind.

    Some of them make it sound like it is a sin to be bookish, quiet, and not highly emotional. — Linda

    Like I said, High School.

    “I was a Football Star in High School. Once I Scored Three Touchdowns in one game!” — Al Bundy, forty-something loser of Married with Children

  98. Caleb

    Good one. I shall do some reading about this. Everything is about gender because that is the only way a person of the caliber of Wilson could make himself appear more manly.

  99. Headless Unicorn Guy–can’t convince the local SBC pastor, but those introverts here, young and old, are over at the RCC, the ELCA, and the UMC churches. So are the not so upwardly mobile young adults, the not so well educated ones, the really well educated bookish ones, and quantum physicists.

    There really are Christians not into noisy evangelicalism.

    I hate to think what we lose when we make them know they just are not our target demographic.

  100. Nicholas

    It is standard theological thinking? I have been in churches all of my life that range from calvinist to everything else and never once did I here that sin came only through the father. So, can you tell me why it is standard or am i just stupid for never hearing of such a thing.

  101. I have never heard of “sin passed on through the male line” before either. Count me in the stupid club. This sounds like some made up doctrine to rectify original sin with the incarnation.

  102. Dee, I know I’ve heard that before. In fact, I know I’ve heard it specifically stated to come through the sperm of the father, though my guess (hope) is that that is just someone on the fringe.

    To be honest, whenever I’ve heard that kind of thing I just tune out. I just know I’ve heard it before, and multiple times.

  103. Hmmm, a quick internet search ascribes the “passed through sperm” theory to Augustine. So there you go. Not sure if anyone believes it today, and not really wanting to do the leg work to find out.

  104. I’ve been in churches all my life and I don’t ever remember hearing this formulation. I don’t know if I tuned it out too, or if it actually never came up. In any event, it seemed new to me.

  105. Dee, I shouldn’t have used the word “standard.” It was just something I’ve probably read somewhere.

  106. Reichart’s article was horrible & his feeble responses to people’s feelings of insult & outrage in the comments were totally lilly-livered & limp-wristed, far far far from the ‘robust’ humour he was ‘showing’ in his article. The idea that this comes under Ministry Best Practice is so depressing as to be off the scale…

    And then that poor Doctor & his family…what did those church idiots think they were doing? Sending him gay porn? Writing a fake resignation letter? Letting him know they knew details of his wife/son/life? I couldn’t believe what I was reading…seriously, I am agog with…totally appalled by…out of words for this level of both juvenile & yet chilling behaviour. And then, the baby…I feel sick for them. Please blow this thing sky high & shame those who damn well should know better.

    That entire thing comes off with a very scary vibe, when someone extremely immature takes against you it can be very frightening, as you know they have no sense of proportion, or the boundaries that normally limit what you can expect, behaviour wise, even from those who dislike you. Every now & then anyone who works with troubled teenagers, like I do, will have the experience of one of them getting a bee in their bonnet about you (normally because you’ve had to ask them to modify their language or behaviour)& it can be very scary because you just don’t know what they’re capable of, or intend to do. It can also be very hard to convey the level of threat they are actually meaning by what can seem quite innocuous or not very troubling language. Last time I had to face this my back up plan was to ask the cage-fighting Croatian former secret policeman security guard (!) working in my area to have a word, because I knew a bigger threat was the only thing that would change that kid’s mind…thankfully I never had to resort to this. But it’s a sign of how unspeakably low this church group sank that it would remind me of that. Sheesh.

  107. Here’s another area where the celebrity pastor-led mega-church has pushed Christianity off the rails. The word “liturgy” literally means “work of the people”. That is, the liturgy involves the entire congregation with prayers said by all, responsive reading, hymns sung by all, etc. That’s all been gutted by many mega-churches. It’s no longer liturgy, it’s entertainment wrapped around a fiery speech on how the congregation must obey what the celebrity minister says. The congregation is passive, so much so that most of the service of a satellite church is simply a broadcast on a giant screen by the parent church. In fact, no participation by the congregation seems to be wanted – the congregation is to sit, listen and obey.

  108. Caleb W – it is completely possible to believe that sin comes through the male line, without advancing a comp agenda. (It ties in with Adam being the source, and it is important for some egal marriage arguments to understand head as source.)

    Here is egalitarian Cheryl Schatz explaining the idea:
    http://strivetoenter.com/wim/2006/11/20/adam-as-head-of-the-family/

    (I plan two posts on federal headship and why it should not be an argument for the comp agenda on my blog soon, hopefully before the year is out.)

  109. just listened to that final gem of a video clip… something about “i love my wife, i love my kids,… that’s it… not going to sacrifice my life on the altar of ministry to hang around with people who make me uncomfortable… other pastors do that and they only last 2 years…”
    ********

    i’m more certain than ever that these churchorg profit center paradigms are all wrong. (org chart, pastor as chief executive officer and chief people officer at the pointy end of said org chart, salaries, nameplates, expense accounts, the invoice for the brand new carpet and taupe paint, all of it.)

    The fact that pastors get burned out so quick that the ony remedy is not to care about people — i don’t know which is more nonsensical.

    As Cyndi Lauper says, “MONEY….. money changes everything…”

    And as my british friend says, “You Americans take yourselves so seriously!”

    And as I say, “I wonder if God regrets the shepherd and sheep metaphor as much I do.”

  110. Caleb W – it is completely possible to believe that sin comes through the male line, without advancing a comp agenda. (It ties in with Adam being the source, and it is important for some egal marriage arguments to understand head as source.) ~ Retha Faurie ~

    It is also possible to believe that there is no such thing as imputed “sin” from Adam as the federal head of the human race, and that one is a free moral agent with the ability to choose to do good things or bad things via one’s own conscience.

    After 17 or 18 times through the Bible, over a period of 35 years, I no longer come up with the same conclusions as Augustine & the Reformers. I must also confess, and to paraphrase Fendrel, imputed guilt from Adam now sounds to me like imputed unicorns from the old forests of Lebanon.

  111. Wow. just wow. So he doesn’t think it’s worth his time to hang around with people who make him feel uncomfortable or whom he doesn’t particularly like. Perhaps someone needs to remind him that he purports to follow the One who hung around with and ministered to the outcasts and the rejects, and who was not only willing to be uncomfortable for us, but to die for us, while we were yet sinners.

    Also, and of considerably less importance, why do so many of these guys have to look and dress so grungy? I believe it goes beyond aesthetics and reveals a basic selfishness and self-centeredness.

  112. *Delurking on the grounds that the monstrosity known as Newspring is about ten minutes away from my front door*

    This is a relatively small town. I can say with pretty much absolute certainty that about 90% of my friends, acquaintances, and family members all attend Newspring and man, they do not like it when someone around here speaks badly of His Lordly Masterness. I almost, *almost* linked to this story on my FB but then I remembered that doing so would probably set me back about 20 fb friends or so, and I guess it’s not worth all that since no one listens anyway.

    I’ve been to that church many times with friends, mostly out of sheer fascination with the whole enterprise. I remember sitting in the audience once while he was onstage going on about tithing (which he does a lot of, shockingly) and he told us that if we weren’t willing to give at least 10% to the church, we needed to get up and give our seat to someone who would. Those were his exact words. Another time, he was talking about Adam and Eve in the garden and how hot a naked Eve must’ve been because Adam HAD to have wanted to sex her which was why he took a bite of the apple. Which, okay whatever. But there were teenage girls in the audience. It makes my head explode that they can’t even go to church without being reminded about how they are pretty much nothing but hot sex toys for tha menz. Bahhh!!

    Mostly from what I’ve seen, he could be worse. But as someone who has followed his blog forever, it seems to me that he *is* slowly taking a turn for the worse, and it started some time ago when Driscoll came to town to frighten all the women on his Real Marriage book tour. Suddenly Perry is talking about how women need protection from men, “real men” work, watch porn 24/7 because SEX, treat their wives like the hired help, and
    fight each other in the back yard over beer and football, and how women need to stay home and center their lives around the whims of their husbands. This is the crap he’s pushing into the heads of my dear friends, and they just
    nod like robots and accept it all for gospel. It’s maddening.

    Another thing. For years I worked at an apartment complex, and quite a few members of his staff lived there. They were so overbearing, so creepy, and so entitled to whatever it was that THEY wanted (to the point of aggression) that the women who worked in the office tried to never be alone in the office with them. Seriously. We’d call maintenance and have them come intk the office like the were bouncers or something because we were kind of afraid of these guys.

    I could go on, but I’ll just say that I’m glad ya’ll finally worked your way around to ole Perry. I figured it was only a matter of time.

  113. Okay, so I always picture an animated body when the ‘church-body’ concept is discussed. This article actually made me laugh because I pictured people in business suits traveling down an escalator-colon out of a wooden door in the rear.

    Honestly, I think this guy is, thick as a brick wall….. yes, but also mainly trying to illicit a response. He wants to be “cool” and “hip” for my generation, and my generation is really crass. Shock-value crassness is really “in” right now (watch any JennaMarbles video on youtube).

    This is the same guy who said that we are constantly “giving God the finger” throughout the day as we fail to (basically) be perfect. He’s one of those proponents of frequent microscopic introspection for the purpose of self improvement. Listening to these guys- like Noble- who like to preach by taking a scenario (church involvement for example) and coming up with a microanalysis of 10,000 ways that your motivation might be even ever so slightly off (that you never would’ve thought of unless you’re very self critical), stresses me out! It’s like the main goal of their/ his Christianity is to constantly question your motivation for EVERYTHING throughout your day.

    A Calvinista x-roomie of mine really liked him because he’s “aggressive with sin.” The same chick who (seriously) told me God has to “kick her in the face” to deal with her sin. The Father always brings hope and life when He deals with sin; He would never make someone feel like they were being kicked in the face- He loves greatly! That is the problem with Christians running their mouths on behalf of God, without having His heart for a person (guilty!): the people who are hurt feel as though God Himself is the one inflicting the dissaproval and judgement. So sad!

    Another girl who I know from Teen Mania really liked him too. She was another micro-inspection type who embraced Teen Mania’s Kool-Aid. “Beat your body and make it your slave.” Someday I may share my TM story- spiritual abuse.

  114. @ Kristin:

    “One, in my experience it’s not the young people pushing for obnoxious loud, it’s the middle aged rock n roll folks who are re-living their youth through jamming on the worship team. Just my personal observation.”

    Thanks for the correction. I had forgotten about those types. You’re right, they are very common and actually, they’re usually worse than the kids. In my experience you can usually still educate the kids to widen their taste beyond guitars and drums; the aging boomers are pigeonholed into their narrow comfort zone and God help them, they will NOT move. Esp. the ones who are trying to be the teens’ buddies. They’re usually the same people who enable/actively promote the introduction of substance-free, feel-good theology into the youth program.

  115. @ Miranda:

    “…’real men’ work, watch porn 24/7 because SEX, treat their wives like the hired help, and
    fight each other in the back yard over beer and football, and how women need to stay home and center their lives around the whims of their husbands.”

    Maybe this is what Driscoll thinks real men do. But it’s usually not a good idea to model your behavior after the guys getting arrested on Cops. Jesus is a much better choice, but then again, he wore a dress and sandals so…

  116. Nikilee – that “aggressive with sin” thing is a hook that deceives a lot of folk. I’ve known several believers who openly stated that God needed to give them a kicking, or some variation on that theme. But of course, those clips above aren’t clips of someone being aggressive with sin; they’re clips of someone being aggressive. I honestly don’t know how aggressive he is with his own sin, but it’s very easy to stand on a stage (or write in a blog; a fair few of us have done both) and get aggressive with other people’s sin.

    That’s the thing with doctrine for doctrine’s sake; you just end up spouting the doctrine without ever living it or even understanding its implications. Your calvinista friend presumably was very bold in her commitment to Penal Substitutionary Atonement (I make that working hypothesis simply because PSA goes very explicitly with the calvinist territory)… and yet at the same time believed that God’s anger at, and punishment for, her sin did not fall on Jesus at all, but had to go on, and on, and on, falling on her. And yet the biblical Bible Scriptures refer to the goodness of God leading us to repentance.

  117. Miranda

    Thank you for your comment. Your narrative sounds a lot like those that come out of Mars Hill as well as those coming out of Fellowship Church (Ed Young Jr)-right down to the tithe or leave stuff (Ed Young Jr) and creepy apartment dwellers (Mars Hill).

    Noble appears to have carried it even beyond those extremes if the Pajama Diaries are any indication.  That boils down to downright evil. i would like you to go on about what you have seen. We may use it in another post one of these days.  We have been remiss in not discussing Noble and Furitck-proving that the South can launch their own branch of Redneck Theology.

    We will be discussing Noble in the enar future. I am hoping to focus on the Pajama Diaries.

  118. Retha, That may be, but it seems unnecessary and not clearly biblical in the sense that Wilson is using the idea. There is a lot of reasoning based on circumstantial evidence, but I can’t see clear biblical warrant or need.

    Adam is the human head, but why does his maleness have anything to do with anything, especially in the very literal sense in which Wilson is talking? The article you linked to says that Adam is Eve’s source, so she is part of the sinful line that starts with him. But she came from him before there was sin, and then they sinned together. How is she part of his sinful line? I don’t think that Adam’s sin was imputed to her because he is her federal head.

    I just don’t see the need for that kind of reasoning. It also sounds like Wilson says that the sin comes through the father, from Adam right down to my own father. But where is the warrant for that? I just see an attempt to naturalize patriarchy.

    I look forward to your blog posts about it!

  119. Caleb, I can relate to where you are coming from. The problem I have with the Augustinian original sin concept is multifold but pretty much accepted as correct doctrine by most of the Western church.

    Speaking of the inherited sin coming from the father, this does not exclude Mary even though Messiah was conceived by the Holy Spirit. Mary comes from both a mother and a father which means that the so called inherited sin juice or whatever it is one inherits was in her and a perfect Holy God was in there with that sin juice for at least 9 mos.

    I believe the wages of sin is death. That is the consequence of Adam’s sin we all inherited.

    I have come to the conclusion reading Plato and Greek philosphers that Augustine borrowed from them in that all of te material world is evil and only the spiritual can be good and mapped that concept to Christianity. That is over simplifying it of course.

    I wonder how much we are missing understanding about the tree of the “knowledge” of Good and Evil that happened with the fall?

  120. Nikilee

    One of the saddest things about the current crop of Calvinistas is the constant focus on sin. This is damaging to the soul. We preach grace, we preach out inability to deal with our sin, and after accepting the sacrifice, we go right back to the Old Testament. I have news for O’Neal and many others. No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to overcome your sins. The harder you try, the more you will be caught up in how much there is to overcome.And the more depressed you will become.

    That depression will result in all sorts of psychological mind games to pretend that everything is OK. For example, one might choose to focus on a sin that they personally have no troubles with-alcoholism, pornography, the practice of same sex relations, etc. Then one can say “Thank God I am not an alcoholic because I am a good Christian.” But deep down inside, said person knows they struggle with severe anger, self centeredness, cheating on business deals, etc.

    How many of these sin sniffers would like an audio playing to the world of what goes on inside their heads from moment to moment?

    The bottom line: you cannot do it. That is why we must rejoice and relax in the grace that is given to us by the love of Jesus. The knowledge of that love will spur us on to deal with our issues but that love will not allow us to be overcome by our pain because it is all forgiven. 

  121. Dee,

    Preach it sista! Couldn’t agree more!

    I’ve watched a lot of peers (and a few staff) not just suffer because of this doctrine, but live what is almost a sin-focused faith. And you’re right, the one guy arguing with the teacher in our “Freedom from Introspection” chapel, defending how “biblical” it was, was indeed a calvinista.

    I didn’t mean to condone Noble. I was simply stating that I was so ‘not shocked’- this guy is full of this stuff (not to steal his analogy :)

  122. Dear Dee

    I bought the Philokalia for my Kindle yesterday and the first thing I read was that God made is beautiful in His high calling by making us in His image and likeness.(St Theodore the Studite). I think we forget that we have such a rare pedigree and that Christ is fairer than all the children of men and we are called to follow Him.

    Does that sound too Calvinist?

    Regards
    Gavin

  123. Nick B.,

    Yes it does ensare many. As I stated to Dee, we actually have a chapel at my college about introspection (as we’ve deemed it) because a lot of believers come here very “sin conscious.”

    I realize that he was not preaching on sin specifically in the clips. I was trying to bring in the bigger picture of what this guy believes and how he winds up blurting out so many rude comments. It seems to me that he feels it’s his job to ‘whip people into shape’ in general and the sin thing is another example of this pattern of behavior. It’s a “god appointed leader” complex: “all leaders are appointed by God people, listen up!” I’m guessing he doesn’t empathize very well, otherwise he’d consider the effects of his words. What bothers me most is when he criticizes specific people who’ve emailed him in private and criticizes them from on stage. I’ve had this happen to me before (with another guy) and it sucks because you can’t defend yourself and the speaker gets to portray you however they want.

  124. Also, I mentioned those girls I know becaue they are good examples of what sort of people enjoy Noble- what the thier mindset is.

  125. Maybe this is what Driscoll thinks real men do. But it’s usually not a good idea to model your behavior after the guys getting arrested on Cops. — Miranda

    That is ONE GREAT LINE!

  126. Nikilee – I should probably clarify my previous comment. I didn’t mean he wasn’t aggressive at sin; I’m daresay he is. I only meant that this is probably just a coincidence because the clips portray someone who is aggressive about everyone and everything. His quote about not wanting to hang out with people who make him uncomfortable suggests that he certainly doesn’t empathise any better than the next man. Whereas a pastor really needs the gift of empathy.

    I suppose, to be as fair as I possibly can to the guy, he comes across rather like Park Fiscal. His gifting is in leadership (as distinct from teaching or pastoring), but the only way to exercise this in church circles is to become a Motivational Teacher / Megachurch Pastor. If either of those two had been properly discipled as leaders, by mature elders, they might have turned out very different.

  127. Also, and of considerably less importance, why do so many of these guys have to look and dress so grungy? — John

    Well, Grunge fashion began in Seattle, AKA Mars Hill’s back yard…

  128. Another girl who I know from Teen Mania really liked him too. She was another micro-inspection type who embraced Teen Mania’s Kool-Aid. “Beat your body and make it your slave.” Someday I may share my TM story- spiritual abuse. — Nikkilee

    Nikkilee, what you call “micro-inspection” has a formal Catholic theological name: Excessive Scrupulosity. It’s a type of OCD that goes hand-in-hand with Worm Theology and Perfectionism.

    “Beat your body and make it your slave” sounds a lot like the fringe Asceticism and Mortification you see on the real lunatic fringes, the inspiration for the whip-scarred Albino Monk Assassin in Da Vinci Code. (And according to OrthoCuban, Extreme Monastic Asceticism — without actually taking vows or putting yourself under any monastic authority — is the preferred way for Eastern Orthodox to flake out.)

    And the name “Teen Mania” just says it all.

  129. That depression will result in all sorts of psychological mind games to pretend that everything is OK. For example, one might choose to focus on a sin that they personally have no troubles with-alcoholism, pornography, the practice of same sex relations, etc. Then one can say “Thank God I am not an alcoholic because I am a good Christian.” — Dee

    “I THANK THEE, LORD, THAT I AM NOTHING LIKE THAT FILTHY PUBLICAN OVER THERE…”

  130. No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to overcome your sins. The harder you try, the more you will be caught up in how much there is to overcome, and the more depressed you will become. ~ Dee ~

    Respectfully Dee, I must disagree. I am completely responsible for, and in charge of my own sins, whether they be real or imagined.

    I think that the obsession with sin as a codified list has led to the schizophrenic xtian belief that the Almighty holds humanity to an absolute standard of perfection they are unable to achieve, said perfection of course, based on the codified list. I no longer subscribe to this, nor the belief that all sin is the same in magnitude.

    I think the writer of Ecclesiastes said it best in a practical homily this way:

    In my vain life I have seen everything. There is a righteous man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his evildoing. Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself? Be not overly wicked, neither be a fool. Why should you die before your time? It is good that you should take hold of this, and from that withhold not your hand, for the one who fears God shall come out from both of them.

  131. @Muff Potter

    It is true that we are unable to meet God’s standard of righteousness, and that is why Christ had to die a subsitutionary death on the Cross in our place so that any of us might be saved.

    What your pushing is the Pelagian heresy, condemned by all branches of the Christian Church.

  132. About the whole “sin is transmitted through the male line” thing:

    I looked this up recently (prior to this post), as I had run across it elsewhere and was curious to know why anyone would believe – let alone repeat – something so clearly weird and scientifically off.

    As it turns out, there’s a pretty simple answer per the origins of the notion: the ancients didn’t know about human eggs. They viewed sperm as literal “seed” and women’s uteri [hah – how geeky of me!] as being the fertile “ground” in which male seed was sown.

    Those ideas persisted well past the era when dissection and serious study of human anatomy began.

    Given the number of weird folkloric beliefs about women that *still* exist (cf. all those recent comments about “legitimate rape” and pregnancy, etc.), it’s not all that surprising that some people would continue to pass off mythology as fact.

    It *does* make sense to me that the ancients would not have known about ovaries and eggs – so their hypothesis makes sense for their time – but definitely not ours!

    (I hope Debra Baker comments on this topic, since she can explain it far better than I can, with scientific examples.)

    *

    Nicholas – Was that necessary? (Calling Muff a heretic.)

  133. Muff wrote

    I think that the obsession with sin as a codified list has led to the schizophrenic xtian belief that the Almighty holds humanity to an absolute standard of perfection they are unable to achieve, said perfection of course, based on the codified list. I no longer subscribe to this, nor the belief that all sin is the same in magnitude.

    Boy howdy, can I attest to the rampant perfectionism in evangelical and charismatic circles! It kept me constantly in pain – often, inner torment – and I spent more years than I’d like to think about running, running, running on the hamster wheel of perfectionism – that goes nowhere, that never, ever ends.

    * Nicholas – I think you have misunderstood what Muff was trying to say, though given your church background (pretty hard-core evangelical, right?), it’s understandable that you might characterize his beliefs as “pelagian.”

    The thing is, a LOT of us have been burned by the perfection demanded by many churches and ministers (though I hesitate to use that word, since so many have never had any education and are not ordained). Unless/until you have felt it for yourself – or seen it harm the lives of people close to you – it might be hard to understand.

    The thing is, God’s grace and mercy and love have been shed abroad through the Holy Spirit.

    Better to focus on that than incessantly looking for sin. (am not saying that you personally do the latter, but I think you can see what I’m trying to get at.)

  134. Churches are not should not be teaching that we should try to attain perfection or meet God’s standard of righteousness ourselves (like Pelagius thought we could). I did know this was a problem in the Charismatic movement and the Wesleyan Holiness tradition from which it stemmed. I wonder if some neo-Cals have fallen into the same trap.

    Christ has met God’s standard of righteousness for us.

  135. Oh, it’s *definitely* a problem among calvinistas, and in the stricter versions of Presbyterianism, too.

    And in lots of evangelical churches, no matter their theological affiliation.

    I do not think that the kinds of perfectionistic demands being made = Pelagianism, though some might (or even semi-Pelagianism, as best I understand it).

    Nicholas, I didn’t know you were from a Holiness-type church. That makes a lot of sense to me, and I can see why a Lutheran church would be very freeing for you.

  136. numo,

    Yes, that makes a lot of sense. The idea of sin through the male line does have a very pre-modern sense to it is not longer necessary or even reasonable. It is as if sin is some kind of material disease that is transmitted to the child through the infected sperm of the father…or in premodern terms, infected sperm implanted (colonizing, Wilson might say) in the womb of the woman.

    I really do think that presenting this argument as it was is an attempt to naturalize patriarchy (at least it is for Wilson, we know). And of course Challies posted the link to the Wilson piece without any comment or qualification, as if Wilson’s account of the necessity of the virgin birth was perfectly fine. This only further naturalizes these kinds of views. I asked him Challies if he agreed with Wilson’s argument (since he didn’t say either way with the link) but he ignored me.

  137. Note on my most recent posts: My experience of perfectionism in churches could be summed up in a few words –

    “You will never be good enough for God.”

    No love there, but tons and tons and TONS of legalism and gracelessness. God was a stern and demanding judge, not a loving father, and he was *extremely* OT.

    These places didn’t talk much about Jesus, though lots of lip service was paid to him.

    Of course, given that the “strategic-level spiritual warfare” crowd doesn’t truly accept the atonement and Christ’s defeat of sin and death, it stands to reason that one would have to somehow try to be perfect. (In other words, making a whole wacko doctrine out of “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”)

    Nicholas, have you ever read Jonathan Edwards’ sermon Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God? That’s the ne plus ultra of Puritan views of humanity as completely worthless, deserving to be dangled over the flames of hell like a spider hanging from a single thread of its web. (See Edwards; it’s his imagery, not mine!)

  138. Thanks numo! Glad to be back. I’ve been traveling for research again (note the US flag) and haven’t been able to keep up with WW. Should be back to normal in a week though.

  139. @numo,

    Actually, I was into Independent Baptist Fundamentalism, then moved to Calvinism, and finally to Lutheranism. Yes, Lutheranism is very freeing.

  140. Seems to be a bit of confusion. Calvinists and Presbyterians do not generally hold to perfectionism as they rely on Christ’s completed work – substitutionary atonement. So maybe instead of neo-cals they should be called neo-perfectionists.

    Edward’s sermon doesn’t say we are worthless, he says we are hopeless and our works are worthless apart from Christ. In other words, back to perfectionism and Pelagianism.

    On the question of sin being passed through the male line, I think the reference is about generic man = mankind. Otherwise how would you explain “in sin did my mother conceive me”.

    Gavin

  141. Nicholas,
    Respectfully, I have no desire whatsoever to convert others to my belief system, it is merely stated. If it can be characterized as Pelagian heresy, than so be it, I will stand on my conscience as a human being and live for the hope that God’s kingdom is a kingdom of conscience.

    numo,
    By definition and in view of what Roman Catholic & Protestant theology teaches, Muff is a heretic, although he prefers the term ‘dissenter’.
    ===> (smiley face goes here)

  142. “Respectfully Dee, I must disagree. I am completely responsible for, and in charge of my own sins, whether they be real or imagined.

    I think that the obsession with sin as a codified list has led to the schizophrenic xtian belief that the Almighty holds humanity to an absolute standard of perfection they are unable to achieve, said perfection of course, based on the codified list. I no longer subscribe to this, nor the belief that all sin is the same in magnitude.”

    Totally agree! Well said.

  143. Muff

    Let me say it in another way. I am responsible for my sin. But, no matter how hard I try, I cannot conquer over my innate selfishness, ego, etc. There is a difference between taking responsibility and not being able “not” to sin. I could get caught in a whilrwind of self assessment as I discover how mixed my motives are (to quote my pastor). My life could be filled with discovering every last sinful way in me. But, in so doing , I become frustrated, depressed and closed to the freedom that has been given to me. 

    So, I give it to the One who can forgive me and rejoice that I am no longer caught in a cycle of sin after sin after sin. There is joy and peace in the midst of it all. Am I making any sense to you?

  144. Muff – I’m not so sure that you’re as much of a “heretic” as you claim to be. If you look at a lot of very early church (pre-Augustine) material, I think you’ll find that you fit quite comfortably in that … even, in some ways, in Eastern Orthodox belief and thought. (Though that is an entirely different discussion and not one I feel qualified – or inclined – to get into.)

    I think some of your problems have to do with beliefs that evolved in the Western church that have never been accepted or terribly important in the Eastern church. (for the most part.)

  145. Gavin – Edwards’ sermon certainly made me feel both hopeless and worthless; his preaching also had some profoundly negative effects on those who heard him. (Can’t think offhand of the name of his most recent biographer, but the book is huge and the documentation is pretty exhaustive.)

    As for the effects of such things, have you read any of Hawthorne? I’d recommend his story “Young Goodman Brown” – easily found on the web – for starters. (He was, btw, a direct descendant of one the the Salem with trial judges, and changed the spelling of his last name to try and create some distance between his own life and the actions of his ancestor, which he greatly deplored.)

  146. It is true that not all sins are of the same magnitude. No disagreement there. But all of them did have to be paid for by Jesus.

    Sorry for talking about “heresy” again.

  147. Numo, was it Marsden? he wrote about some of the gruesome suicides of people Edwards was discipling.

  148. Thanks Numo.

    I have Marsden’s works on the Puritans but not on Edwards. Perry Miller and Iain Murray both did bios and I have the latter but I don’t recall the suicides..

    I haven’t read Young Goodman Brown but having Googled it I think there’s probably an ‘agenda’ behind it.

    I like Edwards because he did try to establish what was a true work of grace in the soul and what was a true work of God in revival.

    Regards
    Gavin

  149. Gavin – I find it interesting that you’d think that there’s “an agenda behind it.”

    You did not suffer through the fallout from Winthrop’s “city on a hill”; we are still feeling its effects today.

  150. By no means do I mean to imply that Edwards and others were uneducated, or that they wanted to harm other people. Neither thing is true.

    But the Mass. Bay Colony turned into a highly intolerant place – and quickly. I thank God that I did not live there, in those times. I’d probably have been tried in salem. (and no, I’m not joking or exaggerating.)

  151. Dear Numo

    Of course there’s an agenda. This is the quote from wickiwotsit on Hawthorne-

    “Hawthorne frequently attempts to expose the hypocrisy of Puritan culture in his literature”

    Regards
    Gavin

  152. Gavin – If there was no hypocrisy there, he would not have written about it.

    But see, you haven’t read him, have you? Quoting what other people say about his work – as opposed to reading for yourself and having your own opinion – well, that’s pretty typical of those who condemn an author without a hearing. And that happens a lot.

  153. After reading some of the comments about loud music here, I’m beginning to think that I am fortunate to be part of a Church of Christ which sings without instruments! :-)

  154. Oh Numo

    Your non sequiturs are a wonder to behold. I openly said I hadn’t read the book. I deduced he had an agenda in writing it from the simple fact that you had recommended it! Lol :-)

    At this point I am tempted to do a Fendrel and ask you to prove your assertion that if there was no hypocrisy there he wouldn’t have written about it.

    How can you possibly know
    – if there was /wasn’t hypocrisy there?
    – if he did or didn’t make it all up out of bias?
    – if I’m typical of those who condemn authors without reading their works?

    I ask the last question because I didn’t condemn anyone. I just said I thought he might have had an agenda in writing.

    And look Headless at the passive/aggressive skill you so much admire. :-) (South Park quote forthcoming no doubt).

    Regards
    Gavin

  155. Gavin – can we just drop all this “merriment,” please?

    I am NOT in the mood for any of it, especially given how I’m feeling (how lots of us are feeling) after the horrible murders in CT yesterday.

    Hawthorne – love him or hate him – is a perennial in US high school and college lit curricula. so is Jonathan Edwards, or at least, he was at one time. (I had to read “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” for a HS American lit survey course, along with Ann Hutchinson and others of that era – though Hutchinson was quite different to Edwards.)

    American lit began in new England; the Quakers and the Virginia plantation owners (et. al.) were not nearly as fond of writing – whether sermons or poetry – as the New Englanders.

    Hawthorne actually seems to have many ideas – from his upbringing – that the new England Puritans would have applauded. But he was a very original writer (an early fantasist, for one) and his take on early New England history is very much worth reading.

  156. As for what I just said about the CT shootings, I’m not joking – I think most people over here are in shock and hurting.

    I personally am just not up to dealing with sarcasm and/or pointed comments today. If my comments sound a bit disjointed, that has a great deal to do with the events yesterday. (This is hitting me almost as hard as 9/11, and I lived less than 4 miles from the Pentagon at that time… I did not know anyone who died there or in NYC, but the emotional trauma was very real.)

    Please pray for us; that there will be comfort and hope for the grieving, that solutions will be found and a STOP to the string of shootings that have been plaguing this country; that God will have mercy on us. We need it, and nobody knows that better than him.

  157. I know I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s interesting to note that Edwards’ “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” is not necessarily a silver bullet for revival, so to speak. R T Kendall said he tried using it once and noted that the congregation did not react much and one man even fell asleep.

    You don’t have to agree with Edwards to recognise that he was an intelligent and literate man.

  158. As an interesting thought (and just that) on “perfectionism”, Chadwick in his History of the Reformation notes that in the conclusion that standards of conduct rose in the areas where the Reformation and Counter-Reformation had taken hold. So far so good. However somewhere along the way some Protestants possibly confused law and gospel (eg the fear of being a “sabbath breaker”) and in seeking to become more holy slid instead into legalism, completely putting the cart before the horse. But as I say, that’s just my suggestion.

  159. RE: Dee on Fri Dec 14, 2012 at 05:03 PM,

    I’m not sure what you mean by innate selfishness and ego as bad things. Even the lowly paramecium will act in its own self interest to move away from the hot light on an old fashioned microscope stage, just as I act in my own self interest when I put my faith in Messiah to resurrect me to a better reality than this world can offer.

    You are an intelligent and accomplished woman and your ego has every right to revel in it. In my world view, so long as selfishness and ego do not harm others, they are not bad things at all, but rather part of the Almighty’s portion to us in this life.

    I’m equally puzzled as to what you mean by mixed motives. If you mean that your “good actions” are somehow tainted by sin, we’ll just have to agree to disagree amicably, I now take the Judaic view that sin is bad action and not a default state of being.

  160. You don’t have to agree with Edwards to recognise that he was an intelligent and literate man. — Kolya

    Who if he lived today would probably be under treatment for OCD.

    The thing about Edwards was he was one of the BIG movers and shakers among American intellectuals of his time — founding at least one university, writing scientific treatises about the flora and fauna of the New World. Yet all he’s known for these days is ONE hellfire-and-damnation sermon. A perfectly-structured sermon that’s still used as an example of an essay making a point, the prototype and archetype of the hellfire-and-damnation sermon, but still only ONE sermon.

  161. I think I got the guy’s last name wrong in my previous post:
    It’s “Robison” not “Robinson”

  162. I’ve read some books and things about why people leave churches. It seemed to be a theme that there was no actual community. Despite the fact that people served and joined groups and participated heavily in their church for 5, 10, 20 years, when they finally had to leave for good, nobody would ask them why.

    Some of them said when they were sick or hospitalized and unable to attend church for weeks on end not a single person would phone them to ask them where they were, nobody from their church even phoned!

    I saw something like that on one woman’s blog. She chalked it up to the fact that she is over 30 and has never married.

    She was a very active member of her church for about 13 years, but when she had to stay out of church for a Sunday or two (due to illness, I think), she was deeply wounded that her pastor did not check up on her.

    Nobody else from her church went by her home to see if she was okay, nobody called her. She said when she got better, she went to the pastor’s office and chewed him out. He hemmed and hawed. She finally told him, “You know if I were one of the church’s 75 year old widows, someone from this church would have called my house immediately.” Her point was in part that unmarried younger people are ignored (I agree).

    I don’t think church exit interviews are necessarily a bad idea. I know one guy on that blog page objects to its business sounding tone, but the point isn’t the semantics, it’s finding out why people are leaving, so it can be fixed.

    One pastor in one book I saw said he actually thinks churches should conduct exit interviews. The problem is, he said, tons of people are leaving churches, and the churches don’t want to know why.

    Preachers would rather not ask people why they are leaving, because, he said, it would mean they would have to admit their church is broken and they might have to change things to keep who they have left or to get the quitters to come back.

    Dee said,

    Time to take a clue. Calling people “feces” is uncalled for no matter the background of the people who object. It is rude and vulgar…

    I noticed in Reichart’s comment under his post, he actually typed out the word “sh*t” -with no asterisks. I was shocked.

    I’ve never liked obscene language, and it’s surprising to see a pastor using it so casually in a comment area of his blog.

    I’m not saying I’m perfect about crude language (the time I was almost hit by another car on a busy street prompted me to yell out a vulgar word without thinking about it), but I was raised you don’t talk like that if you can help it (particularly if you are a Christian), so I try not to use that sort of language.

    Even though I have been struggling to hold on the Christian faith lately, I haven’t been going around using obscene language on blogs (or in real life) as of yet. I can’t imagine why a pastor who is supposed to be secure in the faith is going around using potty language.

  163. I just realized…

    That picture of Perry Noble at the top — that face! He looks like he’s sitting on the can straining after a week of total constipation! I can almost hear the grunting!

  164. Jeff S,

    (“what are you going to do for ME this morning?)

    I’m sorry but after being conditioned intensely since childhood by one parent, and from listening to many sermons by many pastors from the time I was a kid, that my needs do not matter, and/or other people’s needs are more important than mine (which created all sorts of problems for me as a child, teen, and adult), I came to realize in the last few years that God intended for me to occasionally get my own needs met, and getting one’s needs met is one reason for the church’s existence.

    It is not selfish for a Christian to have the attitude of “what’s in it for me” on occasion.

    The Bible does not condemn all self-interest, but actually commands it of you (you are responsible for getting certain needs met, but under extreme circumstances your bros and sis in Christ are to help carry your burden).

    (Jesus Christ even modeled that behavior on occasion – there were times He put his bodily or emotional needs before serving other people, like when he was physically / mentally exhausted he would retreat to pray to the Father etc.)

    In the New Testament, Christians are told to go to other Christians to get their needs met. Weep with those who are weeping, offer practical assistance to your Christian family (spiritual family) who comes to you in need of encouragement, money, food, clothing.

    The needs of unmarried adults over the age of 35 are routinely ignored at most churches.

    However, these same churches often exploit this group to do the menial tasks they feel it beneath the marrieds, or it’s perceived that unmarrieds have so much free time, why not put them to use doing nothing but providing free baby sitting for the marrieds, or sweeping kitchen floors?

    And all the while, ignore their particular special needs. This is one precise factor of several why unmarried Christian adults have stop attending churches. Singles are guilted into allowing themselves to be exploited under terms such as “servanthood” or “being content with being single.”

    But after awhile, a lot of them stop being naive and walk out of churches where they finally realized they are being used. They are doing all the giving,the church is doing all the taking.

    I don’t think anyone, unmarried or not, should attend any church that regularly takes from them but does little to give back to them. One way relationships like that are unfair to the party who is being taken advantage of.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t like 99% of most music played at most churches.

    I have never intentionally walked into a church service ten minutes late to avoid the opening music but would sure consider it, should I ever go back to church.

    I have not been to church a long time, but even when watching church shows on TV, I ignore the first 10 – 15 minutes of singing and guitar playing. I watch the cooking network for ten minutes then change the channel back.

    For one, a lot of the music in churches I’ve heard is awful, and secondly, my nerves get jangled listening to loud sounds.

    I don’t like the loud, wailing type singing some singers like to perform, either, it sounds like a dying calf in a thunderstorm.

  165. However, these same churches often exploit this group to do the menial tasks they feel it beneath the marrieds, or it’s perceived that unmarrieds have so much free time, why not put them to use doing nothing but providing free baby sitting for the marrieds, or sweeping kitchen floors? — Daisy

    And stacking chairs, and making coffee for Fellowship Night, and mowing the pastor’s lawn, and generally being a Free Labor Pool so the marrieds can stay home Focusing on their Families.

    And all the while, ignore their particular special needs. This is one precise factor of several why unmarried Christian adults have stop attending churches. Singles are guilted into allowing themselves to be exploited under terms such as “servanthood” or “being content with being single.”

    Until they’re able to grab someone of the opposite sex, stick a ring on his/her finger, say “I Do”, and finally be allowed to sit with the other grown-ups at the grown-ups’ table.

  166. @ Gavin:

    “How can you possibly know…if he did or didn’t make it all up out of bias?”

    I haven’t read Young Goodman Brown, but it’s pretty well-established that Hawthorne didn’t just make stuff up willy-nilly to poke at the Puritans. Much/most of The Scarlet Letter is quite well-rooted in historical fact.

    Of course, I’m almost required to comment on this particular thread…just look at my name. ; )

  167. Hester

    But, irreverently consorting with these grave, reputable, and pious people, these elders of the church, these chaste dames and dewy virgins, there were men of dissolute lives and women of spotted fame, wretches given over to all mean and filthy vice, and suspected even of horrid crimes. It was strange to see that the good shrank not from the wicked, nor were the sinners abashed by the saints

    Not unlike TWW!

    Gavin

  168. Just a comment on the power of blogs, God’s ways of working, and how small the world is. I was visiting family in Columbia, South Carolina, last week and saw a large new campus going up for NewSpring on a major thoroughfare. I warned my relation about this vulgar and abusive “church” and showed her this blog post. She is a faithful Christian and a longtime member of a small and sound mainline denominational church; and she connects with lots of people through her business and her other activities. No one who mentions NewSpring in her presence will fail to be warned!

  169. We as southerns are raised where there are churches on very street corner. I visited a lot churches and I was not pleased with majority of them, but I continued to searched and I found NewSpring! Ok so I get that you don’t like Perry or the church, but as Christians should we really try to throw mud in someone’s face for trying to bring people to Christ? There are churches every where that have offended people but thats why there are so many churches for different people to choose from! Not everyone worship Jesus the same everyone has a different relationship with God. Different Strokes for different folks, that is all that Perry means. Show me what man or what preacher is perfect? I appreciate your views I truely do, but as Christians we are taught to love and to forgive and to forget. What about the verse in Luke 6:41-42? Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? I am not defending Perry as much as I am defending myself because I feel slightly attacked by your words. I feel a lot of hatred in your words and ask that you let go of that pain and let Christians worship where they feel comfortable at. I love you and I will pray be praying that God blesses you.

  170. That is not all how it is! I am married I serve because it is my love language and I am serving others because that is what Christ calls us to do, to serve. Did Jesus not wash the feet of His disciples! Was this not below His status as Lord? But He served others! There are tons and I repeat tons of married people if not more then singles that volunteer each and every service. These jobs are not below the people who actually work there, but their day is so incredibly packed with all that they do to serve others that need help. It makes us, who volunteer, feel more part of Church . Ephesians 6:7 “Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people. I love you and I pray that God truely blesses you.
    @ Headless Unicorn Guy:

  171. Heather

    I am afraid that you are quite naive. Do you have no understanding about the lawsuit that was settled on behalf of Newspring? I suggest that you do a lot more research of the pain that has been caused by people who are supposed to be pastors/teachers. It is a deeply distrubing situation and I am afraid that you do not understand the purpose of a church.It is not to persecute people and act like a group of street thugs. This is not a church. I ould rcommend that yo spend some tie reading your Bible as opposed to finding “proof” texts.

    http://fbcjaxwatchdog.blogspot.com/2013/01/perry-noble-and-newspring-church-settle.html

  172. You don’t even need to research all the readily available evidence online. Just watch a few of his videos. Thought oughta make anyone with a smidgeon of discernment run the other way.

  173. @ dee:

    I’ll keep you posted as the demise of the vision caster continues.

    For now: I met a couple the other night who said they used to go to that church. And without a single prompting from me, the husband said, “We went there until he (Pastor Vision Caster) elevated himself and isolated himself from the people.” I had never seen these people before, yet he used the very same terms I had thought of when describing the beginning of the demise.

    And, if the blog queens want to see this thing up close and personal, you know where to find me!

  174. Pray for NS. I left in Dec. upon learning of the lawsuit and treatment of Dr. James Duncan. I have been an owner/ member for 10 years. I have seen many accept Christ. I am not sure where The Lord will lead our family. To actually step in and take a child that was promised to another family? Oh my!
    I will answer to my sins and so will everyone. I will keep my eyes on Christ! Church was never meant to be a business where you place money before GOD. THANK YOU FOR REACHING OTHERS AND PRAYING FOR THE CHURCH. IN THOSE 10 years I never once met my Pastor. I kept my eyes on Christ and he has let me know that now is the time to leave this place. I love the vision to reach 100,000 for Christ but the business money side should not be making staff rich. Our community should become rich…the children, the orphans, the widows…
    Do you know how many children are in need of a family in our state?

  175. Jane

    We understand. So many of us were members of churches that were involved in all sorts of things and we did not see them. As our eyes were opened in our own situations, we became more aware of other problems in churches. I am sorry for your church. If I were you, I would continue to use a pseudonym when posting. As you have seen, there are some who are vindictive.

    Can you imagine, besides the adoption scandal, signing him up for porn magazines?

    Keep your eyes on Jesus and find a decent church which isn’t into all the hoopla. We plan to do some followup on this situation. Frankly, what was doen to Duncan was disgusting and I wonder how Christian leaders justify this stuff.

  176. Jane,

    Hang in there! As one who was involved in the mega industrial complex, let me just warn you that NS will survive. Those who question will eventually leave. They will be replaced by new comers all bright eyed because of some new program or event. It is like a turnkey operation. They are always replacing “customers”.

    When they proclaim they want to see “10,000 saved”…..ask yourself…saved to what, really? That was the question in my mind as I finally left that world. What are people really being “saved” to?

  177. (Not a attendee or member of NewSpring)

    The problem is this, we have turned into Christian cannibals…if someone (especially anyone with influence) says something that touches on a nerve or does not jive with what we perceive as “the way to do things” we eat them up and try to scream and shout to let the world know that they are WRONG! As I’ve looked at many of the post written in response to this article, it made me sad the core. You guys tear up a guy who at the end of the day is doing his best to reach as many people as possible for Jesus, as you guys sit back and criticize. Because that is what Jesus did right, he sat back and criticized while peoples needs were unmet. Ask your self this, why is the church so large? Because Perry is the most amazing communicator ever? No, it is because God has touched it and as a result thousands of people have been touched & saved. Even if you don’t agree with the theology, I have seen testimony after testimony of peoples lives that have been changed as a result of NewSprings faithfulness to proclaim and teach the Word. John the Baptist followers came and asked Jesus if He was the one they should expect or someone else. He then told them of all the signs, wonders & in essence the lives that had been effected, changed & touched.

    You guys can shout “bad christian” all day at these leaders (Driscoll, Noble, etc) but at the end of the day, God is using them to bring thousands into the Kingdom, marriages are being restored, lives are being healed, those that were lost are now found. So instead of eating up Christian leaders, maybe we should use that energy to come of with better ways of reaching the lost, hurting & broken. Just sayin…

  178. @ Ryan:
    Marriages are also being broken, lives are being destroyed, and those who were found are often lost because of the physical, sexual, and spiritual abuse that thousands have suffered under the hands of wolves disguised as shepherds. Are you suggesting that we remain blind and silent to the horrific treatment of our brothers and sisters from those who claim to have the authority of God? Should thousands of Catholics have remained silent as to the abuse that went on for decades in their Church? What you’re proposing we do HAS been the status quo for far too long. It is way past time that people begin to speak up. Obviously, the church isn’t going to take steps to correct itself.

  179. Ryan

    First of all welcome to TWW.

    Now, onto you critique. I would suggest that you review how Jesus looked at the Pharisees of his day. I think he called them snakes, vipers, white washed tombs and accused them of burdening the people.  Newspring behaved in a despicable manner and received a swift kick in the butt from the authorities. Driscoll’s antics are well documneted by this blog and newspapers all over the world.  Take the time to read them. I would be amazed if some of them did not give you pause.

    Whenever anyone jumps up and down, asking us to look at them, we take them at their word. However, they do not get to control what we see. And what I see is baloney from Noble, Driscoll, and lots of others.When you plan to go public, you get to be critiqued publicly.And I am the public.

    So, “God is using them to bring thousands into the Kingdom, marriages are being restored, lives are being healed, those that were lost are now found.”  Do you know that I became a Christian during an episode of Star Trek. Does that mean we should show Star Trek episodes in church? Also, I am not convinced that what you say is true.

    One final caution, as you read Scripture be careful that you do not conflate Jesus with today’s megchurch pastors. John the Baptist was talking about the coming of the Messiah. The signs and wonders were there to prove that he was divine, an essential part of his nature as God/man. That is not meant to applied to Perry Noble-really, really not meant to be applied to Perry Noble.

    If you find yourself getting upset at this stuff, you might want to examine yourself. You may be upset because it is challenging a paradigm in your life. You may be upset because you know that some things are not right and you feel the need to provide cover. Be at peace. Driscoll and Noble like to say that they are “real men.” They can take it just like the two of us women can take it.

     

     

  180. I have been a me,ber of Newspring g for almost 11 years. I grew up attending a traditional Baptist Church in Greenville, SCand before coming to Newspring, attended a other similar, here on Anderson. Bote of these churches have had members leave to attend/join Newspring; but neither pastor of these two, VERY LARGE, churches(that have doubled in membership during the past 10-12 years) has made it their mission to destroy the name of Newspring, Pastor Perry, the staff, the body and especially the owner of this House, Our Father…our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ! All of these blogs just broke my heart and the remote possibility that anyone can get on such a vengeful bandwagon “in the name of Jesus” and think that they are in anyway ministering to unbelievers is a sadly mistaken one. I absolutely do not get anyone not being less than obnoxciously ecstatic over ONE unsaved soul meeting Christ and being rescued from Hell, much less hundreds. There are many churches that don’t see one salvation in one, two, three……years, but when that ONE does come to know Christ as his /her personal Lord and Savior….JUST ONE, you can bet there is a rejoicing in Heaven that will out-do any “loud music” you’ll ever hear at our church or any other so-called Mega Church! I wonder how many of you would be worthy contenders for a jury selection….as you are no better than the one on trial! I doubt, very seriously, that any of you have I clouding those you say “went put the back door”have ever even attended, much less been at all involved at, Newspring. I see jealousy and ignorance all over this entire conversation….because you are building a book on heresay. The situation with Mr. Duncan was very sad and distasteful in many areas, but it was not YoUr situation In the first place, I am very familiar with this entire chain of events and also know that just because there were people from Newspring involved in “unChristian behavior” , has no bearing on the fact that God has His hands and arms all around this church and Pastor Noble. We are all hypocrites because we cannot live like the only perfect Man who ever existed, we are all fallen and sick sinners…Saved by GRACE, through the death of God’s sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ; and, therefore we make mistakes, we “retaliate” against others who try to compromise or criticize something or Someone valueable to is.
    I love my church, I am not monetarily wealthy, but I do tithe faithfully. I have seen friends and loved ones saved here,and my life asmwell as that of our families have

  181. @ Gw:
    None of your statements does anything to excuse the campaign orchestrated by Perry Noble against Mr. Duncan, for which Mr. Noble should be as his name would suggest, and be humble and apologize sincerely, and pay more than the damages sought, as a sign of his repentance.

  182. Gw wrote:

    Gw wrote:
    Gw wrote:
    I have been a me,ber of Newspring g for almost 11 years. I grew up attending a traditional Baptist Church in Greenville, SCand before coming to Newspring, attended a other similar, here on Anderson. Bote of these churches have had members leave to attend/join Newspring; but neither pastor of these two, VERY LARGE, churches(that have doubled in membership during the past 10-12 years) has made it their mission to destroy the name of Newspring, Pastor Perry, the staff, the body and especially the owner of this House, Our Father…our Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ! All of these blogs just broke my heart and the remote possibility that anyone can get on such a vengeful bandwagon “in the name of Jesus” and think that they are in anyway ministering to unbelievers is a sadly mistaken one. I absolutely do not get anyone not being less than obnoxciously ecstatic over ONE unsaved soul meeting Christ and being rescued from Hell, much less hundreds. There are many churches that don’t see one salvation in one, two, three……years, but when that ONE does come to know Christ as his /her personal Lord and Savior….JUST ONE, you can bet there is a rejoicing in Heaven that will out-do any “loud music” you’ll ever hear at our church or any other so-called Mega Church! I wonder how many of you would be worthy contenders for a jury selection….as you are no better than the one on trial! I doubt, very seriously, that any of you have I clouding those you say “went put the back door”have ever even attended, much less been at all involved at, Newspring. I see jealousy and ignorance all over this entire conversation….because you are building a book on heresay. The situation with Mr. Duncan was very sad and distasteful in many areas, but it was not YoUr situation In the first place, I am very familiar with this entire chain of events and also know that just because there were people from Newspring involved in “unChristian behavior” , has no bearing on the fact that God has His hands and arms all around this church and Pastor Noble. We are all hypocrites because we cannot live like the only perfect Man who ever existed, we are all fallen and sick sinners…Saved by GRACE, through the death of God’s sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus Christ; and, therefore we make mistakes, we “retaliate” against others who try to compromise or criticize something or Someone valueable to us. I love my church, I am not monetarily wealthy, but I do tithe faithfully. I have seen friends and loved ones saved here,and my life as well as that of the lives of my family, has become much richer through power of Gods messages( not Perry…but GOD IN AND THROUGH Perry.

    I saw several interesting comments, considering they were supposedly made by God-fearing individuals, that obviously came from total disregard for an unbeliever who may be reading this….why would they ever want to be like you all example yourselves here? The person who made the statement along the lines of ” Jesus has probably already left Newspring”….and the comment about tithing being bigger and essentially so that Perry would I’ve richer, as well as such knowledge from many of you who have read Mr. Duncan’s posts but know nothing about what actually happened.. Why would you not just say nothing at all? What a witness baring this is. It just makes me pray harder, believe stronger and realize everyday why He chose Perry to send His word through to reach our community…and a staff who is passionate for Christ!

    The Mr. Duncan situation was very disheartening to him and his family, I’m sure, but first of all newspring was not responsible for the decision made by the birth mother, tho it was a last minute change of heart…that she prayed about… And above all, said within this four year discussion by people who should be putting there effort into their churches and in finding people to lead to Christ, are things that come from a hardened heart that needs a lot of prayer and also needs to examine your relationship with Jesus . I am going to do just that…pray hard ..and pray that God will Never stop drawing people to Him, through His word and every church who lifts His name on High, he is the only Judge that matters. Stop wasting your life criticizing others and put your efforts into finding lost people….don’t you understand? That’s our vision…and our never-ending desire to bring God glory. We love you all and pray you will never stop growing, and will learn to find love for any church who is passionately seeking our Lord, Jesus Christ !

    Remember, God has a plan and what happened in this Duncan saga,was part of that plan, as the way this bashing conversation is. Many lives were changed thru this,but if not allowing them to fall deeper in love with Jesus,was not an option of choice, then eyes are totally focused on this world and not on God. he is sooooo much bigger than this!
    I <3 My Church, my Pastor and MY AWESOME GOD!

  183. Gw

    I am shocked by your comment! Just shocked! Do you know what you church did to a good man? Do you care? You did not mention the pain of this man, or the fact your church setted a lawsuit.They settled! Did you read what went on there? The things that were done to his are sickening and bizarre and speak clearly to the type of church you attend. Shame on all of you for blowing this thing off!

    And yes, we do have the right to have an input because your pastor and church jump up and down and tell us to look at the wonderful church that you are. I looked and I don’t like what I see.  When you go pulbic to “spread the Noble message” then you get to have a public response.And this member of the pulbic is crying “Foul.”

     

  184. Hmmm, just removed a third comment-theexact same as the other two. One tirade is enough. I refuse to read it three times.

  185. An.Attorney

    You said “Mr. Noble should be as his name would suggest, and be humble and apologize sincerely, and pay more than the damages sought, as a sign of his repentance.”

    You know, if something like that ever happened, I would shout ift from the rooftops. But, it appears that being one of these megaweirds means never having to say you’re sorry.

     

  186. Wow, brothers and sisters, these comments are painful to read!

    I have little invested here, as I have never attended a NewSpring service – I have however listened to several FULL sermons online.

    Pastor Noble is indeed crass and has a unique style of presenting the Gospel. Nevertheless, that is exactly what he does. He presents the Gospel. I understand it is not traditional and that rubs people the wrong way, but seriously, taking a few out of context snippets and passing wholesale condemnation on the man and his entire congregation is appalling. No one is perfect – not one! Grow up and let people worship in their own way, even if it is not your personal preference.

  187. Micah

    Good night! Do you really think this has to do with style??  I would highly recommend you look into the lawsuit which NewSpring settled. What was alleged in that suit is enough to make any normal Christian sick to his stomach. If you think this stuff is normal, then we are not the ones who need to grow up. http://www.pajamapages.com