An NFL quarterback and the SCBC president rebuke NewSpring. The story of what happened next. 58

NewSpring faced two public relations crises last week, and its response to each tells us much about the church’s lack of accountability and unwillingness to submit to correction.

On Friday morning, the South Carolina Baptist Convention published a strong and detailed rebuke of the NewSpring’s pastor, worship style and governance. The statement by the SCBC president, Pastor Tommy Kelly, asked every Baptist church in South Carolina to publicly distance itself from NewSpring. Five days later, neither Noble nor the church has even publicly acknowledged the SCBC’s message.

NewSpring's children bouncers kept a NFL quarterback's family from entering its service last Sunday

NewSpring’s “children bouncers” kept an NFL quarterback’s family from entering its service last Sunday.

Last Sunday morning, Connor Shaw, the former USC Gamecocks quarterback and current Cleveland Browns backup quarterback, tried to attend a NewSpring service with his family, but found that NewSpring’s “children bouncers” (their term) prohibited his children from entering the auditorium with him. He wasn’t impressed, and said so on Twitter:

Me & my wife were told we can’t go to congregation with our daughter. Too young?!? Don’t think He would approve Matthew18:1-3

Perhaps recognizing his name and noting his 37,500 Twitter followers, NewSpring’s social media monitors Tweeted a reply within five minutes.

Each week in children have fun and learn about Jesus on their level.

I’ve written about NewSpring’s family-dividing worship before, so for now I’m most interested in the contrasting responses to these two public complaints. A serious rebuke from the president of their own denomination was ignored, though they publicly engaged with a sports celebrity within minutes.

By NewSpring’s silence regarding the SCBC rebuke, the church is telling the world that it really doesn’t care what the church at large thinks of it. Noble is showing the same insolence to authority that his friend Mark Driscoll demonstrated just a few months ago. Driscoll led a church that, while not affiliated with an external governing denomination, had an internal accountability structure that investigated a variety of charges brought against Driscoll by former elders and pastors in his church. At the conclusion of their investigation, the Mars Hill board asked Driscoll to fix some of the problems that they had identified. In a move that surprised the board, Driscoll responded by resigning and leaving the church, which consequently dissolved as an organization at the end of 2014.

Driscoll’s first public appearance after resigning from Mars Hill was at a conference with Steven Furtick and Robert Morris (who is often used to preach NewSpring’s fundraising sermons). After Morris let Driscoll publicly portray himself as the victim of an unfair process, Noble praised Morris for supporting Driscoll.

So thankful for and the way he is standing with

When Driscoll was about to be properly and gently corrected (they could have fired him) by his own church, Noble, Morris and Furtick abandoned the congregation that Driscoll had left behind at Mars Hill. Instead of telling Driscoll to go back to Seattle and deal with his sin, they praised his unwillingness to submit to correction. Instead of supporting church discipline, they railed against it, and now that church no longer exists.

Driscoll actually had an easier path to restoration than Noble and NewSpring do. Most of the problems with Driscoll were related to his abusive leadership style, not his preaching and teaching. In NewSpring’s case, the SC Baptist Convention is asking for correction in NewSpring’s government structure, its worship style, and Noble’s preaching style, content and very doctrine. In other words, everything that makes Noble Noble and NewSpring NewSpring.

If Noble were to humbly submit to the Convention’s correction, his church would be unrecognizable from what it is today, which is why the church cannot afford to even acknowledge the rebuke. To be healed, NewSpring would have to die to itself, and its pastor appears unwilling to let that happen.

58 thoughts on “An NFL quarterback and the SCBC president rebuke NewSpring. The story of what happened next.

  1. Sherry Jan 21, 2015 12:19 am

    The reason young children do not go to the service is that they can be distracting and can go to Kidspring, have fun and learn on their level. Also, the music is very loud and I would not take my infant in. There are no hidden reasons,they love children.

    • Jesse Jan 21, 2015 8:39 am

      It’s probably for the best that way. I wouldn’t want my children exposed to such toxic, unbiblical garbage. They might be warped into predatory narcissists like Perry Noble.

    • Living Liminal Jan 21, 2015 5:30 pm

      “…they love children.”

      As long as they are kept at a distance and are not “distracting” the important people!

      Not only did Jesus rebuke his disciples for trying to exclude children, but he said that those children must be our model. Unless we become like little children we can’t enter the Kingdom. It would be good for us to remember that.

      • Betsy Jan 23, 2015 7:19 am

        My husband and I raised 3 children in the church. (Not New Spring.) our kids came with us to the service beginning at age 3. We based all of our parenting on Biblical Truth. Any church that divides families is making a huge mistake. Offering alternatives for those who want their kids in children’s church is fine. But completely refusing to allow families to worship together is just wrong. I speak as a trained Christian Educator. Sunday School is the time for age appropriate teaching of the Word. Worship is another matter entirely. Finally, I’d like to say that in all the contraversary surrounding New Spring, I am hearing men’s names far more often than the name of Jesus. I am pleased with Connor’s remark b/c he did not attack a person. He referred to what Jesus would like. Prayer for all concerned seems in order!

  2. SDG Jan 21, 2015 8:41 am

    As a Gamecocks fan, for a couple of years I cheered “Go Connor Shaw.” So I say it again….

    Go Connor Shaw!

    Also, I’m not sure I would ever want to call the blessing that is young children “distracting.”

    Of course, when the person speaking in the service uses bad language as a gimmick, maybe the kids are better off not going to a pg-13 service. And if the music is too loud for you to hear the congregation singing, then it’s too loud period.

  3. Not confused Jan 21, 2015 9:32 am

    This is a near 60 million $ operation. You lose PN, you lose your job and the whole operation, so Leaders from within NS are not going to sanction PN unless he threatens the bottom line. It will all be up to how close PN flies to the sun with his wax wings; though one wonders if the taxi driver told PN about hubris.

  4. BiVocPastor Jan 21, 2015 9:42 am

    I am no fan of Driscoll but even he publicly argued for allowing children in service with parents, calling them blessings and not distractions.

    I would imagine that one of the main reasons Noble doesn’t allow them, and he is not alone in this, is because they could potentially distract others from hearing his oratorical excellence, and that is an unpardonable sin.

    Either that, or someone will miss his guilt-laden call for a tithe.

  5. Escaped Jan 21, 2015 9:44 am

    In the early days it was repeatedly explained by NS staff that there would be aspects of the service that would not be appropriate for young kids. Granted, there may be other teaching approaches that would be considered more age appropriate for kids, but the thing that should be noted here is that if you are the parent it still is your choice. The exclusion of parents becomes even more obvious when kids go to Fuse. Parents and parental input are not wanted and actively excluded. There may be reasonable ‘explanations’ for this but as is the trend nationwide–in education, health care, and now church–parents are being removed from the process of child-rearing, and we are reaping the ills of the dissolution of the family. Church should not be a place where you have to fight for parental control.

    • CP Jan 21, 2015 1:48 pm

      Church should not be a place where you have to fight for parental control.

      Well said.

    • JT Jan 27, 2015 4:21 pm

      The exclusion of parents becomes even more obvious when kids go to Fuse. Parents and parental input are not wanted and actively excluded.

      This is not true. I know many parents of Fuse students who serve as their own children’s small group leaders. Any parent who can pass a background check can be involved with their child at Fuse.

  6. Tripp Jan 21, 2015 10:03 am

    There are a lot of people who want to respond to level of exaggerated attacks that get published, but it’s extremely difficult to do so with love. I’m going to do my best to focus on NewSpring here without all of the other things I’d like to say.

    “Family dividing worship” – Kids under 6th grade are not allowed in the main service for several reasons.
    – It allows services to be much more impactful and adult. We talk about drugs. Adultery. Premarital sex. Alcoholism. Real issues in people’s lives that small children are not yet ready to be exposed to. That is the #1 reason kids aren’t allowed in.
    – The service attempts to be fairly distraction free. Kids talking, doodling (because they aren’t paying attention), chatting with their friends, and getting up to go to the bathroom doesn’t just distract you the parent but all of the people around you. Even adults are asked to watch from a viewing area outside the service if they get up and walk out in the middle of it. There are additional viewing areas where you are welcome to take your children and watch though. It’s not without accommodation.
    – And yes, the music can be loud.

    The SCBC “rebuke”…I went to NewSpring for 2 years before I even knew they were part of the SCBC officially. They operate as an independent and I doubt many people will shed tears if they aren’t officially baptist. If anything, that an official from SCBC made a statement where he states there are “positions” of disagreement but won’t actually say what they are is sad to me. I’ve sat in Baptist services where the preacher called Obama the antichrist from the pulpit prior to an election, another where it was claimed that Jesus turned the water to GRAPE JUICE, and another where political diatribes were common. These don’t get rebuked.

    A different take on the 10 commandments in one sermon saying that if you are with Christ these are things you will do (actually accurate in my life since I’ve been saved btw)…HOLD THE PHONE! THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT IS GOING TO IMPLODE!

    The truth about NewSpring is incredibly difficult for people to hear. They see people go there instead of their church and take only a surface level view of what’s different. The pastor’s edgy! LOUD MUSIC! He used a word that I consider vulgar!

    What’s different is that most Christians don’t realize the environment created in a lot of churches today is one where people don’t feel like they belong if they don’t already know people there. You have an elaborate white church with people in suits and dresses, pretending that nothing is wrong in their lives and people who have real struggles in their life feel ashamed to show up.

    If you’re a single mother, divorced, a drunk, an alcoholic, your husband won’t come to church with you, you can’t afford nice clothes, have a drug problem, don’t know anyone at all, don’t even have kids, haven’t been going to church your whole life, are an atheist/agnostic, don’t really know anything about the Bible in the first place…NewSpring will welcome you and all of the people who are there will to.

    That environment is what makes it what it is. If Perry wasn’t preaching at all, I’d still be there every week because they’ve created a place where I know I can bring anybody no matter what they are struggling with in their life. Personally, I find the idea that such a place comes under regular attack from people who profess the Gospel pretty vulgar…but I should probably just focus on a bad word instead. Or so I’m told.

    • Tripp Jan 21, 2015 11:42 am

      I started out trying to focus on New Spring and then turned to a rebuke of my own, which was inappropriate and done with frustration more than love and I want to apologize.

      I think New Spring receives an undue level of scrutiny in the public square and eventually, it becomes frustrating for those of us who attend there because we know it is unwarranted. We are repeatedly warned against doing this to each other in the New Testament.

      I don’t want to turn anyone away from any church. Some churches are built to serve different purposes and to reach different types of people. All churches are not called to reach the entire kingdom of God by themselves, only the part to which they are able. Collectively, the goal is to reach everyone. New Spring’s charter is specifically “to reach people far from God” and that is exactly what they are setup to do. It doesn’t make their way wrong anymore than yours.

      The only real concern about being misled comes from teaching people to listen to you instead of the Bible, because if you study it yourself it is virtually impossible to be misled. New Spring both encourages it and gives away Bible’s at every service and from my own reading I’ve never seen something preached as absolute truth at New Spring that in any way contradicts God’s word itself.

      I apologize for the harshness of my earlier reply.

      • Jordan Jan 22, 2015 2:18 pm

        I’ve never seen something preached as absolute truth at New Spring that in any way contradicts God’s word itself.

        Perry said that God told him to deliver a sermon in which the 10 Commandments “weren’t commandments but actually promises” and that there is no Hebrew word for “command.” To me, that seems like an absolute truth (message from God) that contradicts God’s Word. Would you disagree?

        • Tripp Jan 23, 2015 1:06 pm

          Yes. Yes I would. From sitting in New Spring services for the last 5 years, I can tell you that whenever Perry has indicated he felt direction from God to do something it’s not been “Perry hears God telling him words”, it’s things that keep pointing him in a particular direction.

          Covenant is literally a synonym for “promise” so he’s not reaching too much anyway. New Spring makes an effort to focus on grace rather than condemnation. If you are with Christ you won’t do these things vs to be with Christ you cannot ever do these things is a perspective that allows for that, and also…not a huge stretch. The “Grace vs Law” confusion is an old one and here’s a pretty good write up of it: link to lifehopeandtruth.com

          Acts 15:19-22 also reinforces the idea of trying to reduce the burden for people turning to God. It doesn’t mean that they should maintain a small burden, but the fear that they’ll never be good enough is strong enough to keep many people from trying. Jesus will do the rest.

          All of that is consistent with everything I’ve ever seen from New Spring in their mission to reach people far from God. I don’t blame Perry for getting excited when he thought he learned something that could add that perspective to the 10 commandments themselves but he certainly didn’t rescind them. And he has, very clearly, apologized and corrected himself with new information.

          As Pastor Buckley has stated much more eloquently than I ever will, “What else must be done?”

          link to marcusbuckley.com

          • Jordan Jan 23, 2015 2:58 pm

            Tripp,

            I was an attendee/member at NS from 2004 to 2008, and I remember how it felt when people criticized my church. So please believe me when I say that I can sympathize with you. It almost felt as if people were questioning my judgment in going to church there. And, to be fair, some of those who criticize NS do so out of spite, not love.

            However, and I say this with all sincerity, I find it deeply troubling that Perry would claim that Gold told him to deliver a sermon that was heretical at worst and misleading at best. I know that Perry would never intentionally mislead his congregation, but I worry that NS’s target audience, seekers and those far from God, may take what he said as absolute truth. Do you see why I, and others, might find that troubling?

          • Tripp Jan 23, 2015 4:00 pm

            I do, partially and I realize that it’s with good intention but at the same time I think you have to give people enough credit to apply their own study for clarification if it’s something you believe they will carry out with them as an ongoing viewpoint.

            As you said, it does call into question the judgement of the congregation itself. I fully understand that it’s not intentional.

            Personally, I feel like most people walked out of that sermon thinking “that was an interesting take on the 10 commandments” and moved on to preparing for Christmas dinner. If anyone was going to take that list, write them down, and use “Perry’s Commandments” as a replacement for the 10 commandments I’m going to assume that person is committed enough to do a little verification.

            All I took it as was a different angle on something that’s been preached about an untold number of times. I think most people paid significantly more attention to it after the explosion than before. But that’s just my view.

  7. Daniel G. Jan 21, 2015 10:07 am

    I have a feeling that too many people are going to miss the point of this post. The kids attendance in service or exclusion from service policy of NS is a side issue and one I’m sort of on the fence about. On one hand, I understand the need for NS to find a way to get some structure in their service and not have kids with inattentive parents interrupting it. On the other hand, it’s tough when you have visitors (such as Connor was) and the first thing those visitors encounter is someone on staff telling them they are not permitted to have their kids in the service. It’s a tough issue and one that will upset one side or another no matter what you do.

    As I said, though, that’s a side issue and I don’t think it was JD’s point. The greater point is that NS made it a point to respond to Connor about a minor issue but haven’t seen fit to respond to the SCBA about a major issue.

    This is very much akin to the fact that most baptisms are conducted off-stage and performed by staff members, but if you are a Clemson football player you get baptized personally by Perry Noble on center stage. It’s all about the publicity and marketing effect. Same thing with funerals. Perry has stated quite a few times that he doesn’t do funerals, but yet when well-known firefighter Mike Hunt passed, Perry was there to speak at the memorial and it made headlines in the Anderson Independent. Would he have done that for someone not as well-known? I don’t know for sure, but there does seem to be a trend of these types of things.

    I don’t know if Connor was right or wrong. I’m not so sure it was necessarily a wise thing for him to tweet publicly about the experience. I wouldn’t have done it and part of me wishes he hadn’t done. Nevertheless, because it’s Connor Shaw and they know the influence he can possibly have, they decided to address the issue (damage control?). Does everyone who has this same concern get a response to their concern? Sure doesn’t seem like it, and I don’t think this is how the body of Christ should conduct themselves. It should not be about the lights, the celebrities, the theatrics, the marketing gimmicks. No church, NewSpring or any other church, should subject themselves to the whims of the world and they way “business” is conducted in the world. The church is not a business.

    • cathy Jan 25, 2015 8:03 pm

      I understand your point but every church and every pastor shows similar sorts of favoritism as you described with the fireman’s funeral. Some of the “pastors favorites” get their services by the main minister while others who aren’t as popular are lucky if they get the associate minister to say a few words over them. If you’re a deacon having surgery or in the midst of a crisis it doesn’t matter if it’s the pastors week to be ” minister on call” or not, the deacon is sure to get a visit by the pastor. I could go on and on but I think you get the point. The truth is every pastor in every church in every town has his “picks” and they will go above and beyond to do things for those members whether they’re celebrity or not. It’s just the truth and anyone who thinks otherwise is avoiding the truth. And as far as the argument for kids in church…. Ask anyone who has ever sat around a child who was talking, crying, wiggling and being generally disruptive during church while the parent did NOTHING what their preference was about kids in church or yet, how much they got out of the message ?

  8. Escaped Jan 21, 2015 10:38 am

    And herein lies the problem. At some point megachurches stop becoming churches and become big business and it more becomes about ‘the show’ and self-promotion and not about what a church is supposed to be. We will be know by our love. Personally, I don’t think that is what NS is becoming known for.

    • Emily Feb 1, 2015 1:14 pm

      Absolutely!! Perfect point! I’m friends with a girl who’s hired by NewSpring to spread the good word. You know, tell how great Perry is and what a great church it is. This person claims to be one of TWELVE full-time employees who do this work. Hired help to brag on a church? Shouldn’t this be something that comes from the heart of those who genuinely love their church? It’s very much a business!

  9. Anderson Native Jan 21, 2015 11:28 am

    I think Connor was correct. His child is an infant. Yes, from time to time infants can create a distraction. However, when my children were under the age of 13, I wanted them to worship with me and not be farmed out to some other children’s worship where they are entertained and not taught the word of God. Not that it can’t happen, but I think we need to show our children that sometimes it is important to just simply sit still. The world is not an XBox and I think NS and other various Megachurches try to simply create an entertainment center for an hour instead of engaging the children as they should.

    James,

    Changing the subject. I have also heard that if you wish to become an “owner” in NS one must provide a copy of your W2 form as well as agree to provide at least 3% of your income to the church. Is this true? Would love to have the facts in order to share with others.

    • James Duncan Jan 21, 2015 11:36 am

      The W2 thing is a persistent rumor, but it’s not true. They do monitor the giving of staff members and will warn or fire people who are giving less than 10%, but regular congregation members don’t have a requirement like that.

      • Daniel G. Jan 21, 2015 2:12 pm

        That’s interesting. Why would they force staff (under threat of termination) to fork over 10% of what they pay them, instead of paying them 10% less? They are, after all, paying them from their coffers. Oh sure, I understand that they can then write if off on their taxes, but I believe the IRS would frown on this being a “forced” tithe. I believe we call forced charitable contributions as taxes.

        • BiVocPastor Jan 21, 2015 3:31 pm

          I am curious: does NS ‘increase’ the salaries of their staff 11 to 12 percent to compensate for the required tithe?

          And like Daniel said, forced (threat of discipline or termination) charitable giving is an oxymoron and meets the criteria of a tax, which is “a compulsory contribution.”

          • not confused Jan 21, 2015 4:16 pm

            The total 2013 budget is ~50 million…31% of budget is staffing = 15.7 million. Subtract 500K for PN salary (being conservative here). So that’s 15.2 million for staffing. 10% of that is 1.52 million in tithing income from staff alone (excluding whatever PN gives). If there are 230 staff (all full time…even though we can guess about a third are part time) that would be 59.4k in take home pay after tithing. That is not a bad salary for a job where you don’t really have to go to college plus you get to put the tithing in the tax deduction column.

          • LT Jan 21, 2015 4:43 pm

            Gateway has the same mandatory tithing requirement as NS. Their staff is also overpaid to meet that criterion – about a hundred grand per employee for base pay including all benefits. It’s not about the money which has a nearly zero net affect on their bottom line. It’s about Morris making his 600 employees sing the praises of tithing and pressuring others to comply as well. You can’t expect the commoners to cough up 10% if your own staff doesn’t. It’s pure manipulation.

            Morris also forces every single employee to favorably participate in the Best Christian Environments to work in survey. None of this is done from the heart, but rather done to comply with mandates. It’s all about the spin.

          • JT Jan 27, 2015 4:27 pm

            If there are 230 staff (all full time…even though we can guess about a third are part time) that would be 59.4k in take home pay after tithing.

            The average NewSpring staffer makes far less than $59K.

          • Jordan Jan 27, 2015 6:48 pm

            The average NewSpring staffer makes far less than $59K.

            The average NS pastor makes far more than $59k/year. Consider only the top-tier pastors like Perry and you get a number that is embarrassingly higher than $59k/year. Should the pastor of a church be one of the highest paid individuals in the state?

          • Not confused Jan 27, 2015 9:28 pm

            The average is an average calculated by dividing salary by an estimated total number of staff. If you are saying there is a high number of staff making much less than 59k, we can only conclude there are some staff making a very large salary.

          • JT Jan 28, 2015 8:38 am

            The average is an average calculated by dividing salary by an estimated total number of staff.

            If NewSpring is employing 230 staff members for $15.2 million a year, the average staffer is not taking home $59k a year. It wouldn’t even be close to that after you calculate benefits and employment taxes.

      • Jean Jan 22, 2015 11:21 pm

        Interesting that a congregation that teaches there are no commands, only promises, makes a command, at least for their own staff and perhaps the children in the children’s classes out of church tithing.

        I happened to read Matthew 15 today:

        He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said:

        “‘This people honors me with their lips,
        but their heart is far from me;
        in vain do they worship me,
        teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

        (Matthew 15:3-9 ESV)

        As I understand it, the NT never commands Christians to give a tithe to the church budget, perhaps this qualifies as a “doctrine of men.” The OT included many other offerings besides just a straight tithe. The OT tithes and offerings went to support the priests and Levites (but at a modest level, priests getting rich off the offerings of the people is never seen as a good thing, e.g. Eli and Samuel’s sons), for tabernacle / temple up-keep, for festivals, etc. In the NT, the church had no expensive building to maintain and what we see is voluntary offerings, not of a fixed percentage, but as much as grace has freed one to give cheerfully, to the poor, the widows and orphans, famine victims, as well as those bringing the Gospel to the unreached (e.g. Paul receives support from the Colossians). The message of the Bible is not, you must give the church 10% and then you can spend the other 90% on your pleasures, it is, God has given you this for a reason–some for the needs of your family (including elderly parents), and some for other peoples’ needs. It’s your responsibility to prayerfully steward every dollar for his glory and his kingdom.

        If the staff or “owners” NewSpring, Elevation and the like choose to give up some of their income to folk like Noble and Fyrtick to buy mansions and to cover the advertising and their own childrens’ babysitting during the service, because they’re not allowed in the door, then best not to call that money “a tithe to God.” Call it what it is: entertainment expenses.

        Entertainment is not necessarily evil, of course, but in terms of being stewards of the extra wealth God with has entrusted this US generation, there are things the Bible tells us that God cares about, besides we and our children having great music, funny speakers, games and pizza: the elderly, orphans, the disabled, victims of famine, war refugees, ebola and AIDs sufferers, and the unreached, that is, those who have never heard the Word of God in any form (not to be confused with folks in the US who simply don’t like any of the five churches in their neighborhood because none is willing to play Miley Cyrus music during worship, or because their pastors are not stand-up comedians and “personalities.”

      • Anderson Native Jan 28, 2015 10:01 am

        James,

        Is there any way to obtain an actual breakdown of the salaries for NS? What about other churches and their financials, do they provide a more in depth breakdown of salaries for their staff? Just wondering what the norm is for most churches. As a church member I know I should know this, but I don’t. Also, as a church member I want to know what salary my pastor is making. I know I have always heard that NS is very hush hush when it comes to their financials. Did not know if this was true or just another rumor.

        • scar47 Jan 28, 2015 11:00 am

          At our church, every penny is accounted for. We have a Finance Committee that rotates. They prepare monthly reports and quarterly reports to be presented to the congregation in a church business meeting. If a church member, wants to ask a special question, they can attend any Fin. Com. meeting. The salaries and other benefits of all the staff are printed in all financial reports. In addition, the Finance Com. prepares a proposed budget for the next year that they present to the church for consideration. After the church has had 2 weeks to review the proposed budget, it is presented in a business meeting where any member can ask questions regarding it. I have never been a member of a church nor pastored a church where it was done differently. My experience as a pastor of over 30 years is that there are 2 places where you can get into trouble in a church; sex and money.

        • Emily Feb 1, 2015 1:21 pm

          Back when we attended NewSpring (while it was still on campus of Anderson College), Perry preached many a sermon on how we should “trust” experts in their particular areas. Finance being one of them. So rather than have a committee of individuals in charge of money, it was supposed to be done solely by the “expert” employees of NS. I never agreed with this but, like I said, it was preached over and over again…really trying to convince the congregation that it was the right way to do things. Instead, I find it gave NS more power to do as they wish without the knowledge of their faithful tithers.

  10. Jack Jan 21, 2015 11:42 am

    Moses wrote about all sorts of tough things, and the Lord told the Jewish parents to teach those verses to their children. If a preacher chooses not to speak in a coarse, jokey, or harsh way (as a way of showing how hip he is), but in an earnest, non-vulgar way, he can preach about anything with children in the hall.

  11. Kim Kelley Jan 21, 2015 1:56 pm

    I was one of the visitors who came and was outraged my kids could not be with me. HOWEVER, I am so thankful they have not been over the last 6 years. I grew up going to service with my parents, so I know what it is like. My children are blessings and the New Spring staff does a much better job with the kids at their own levels. It makes my kids REALLY WANT to go to church. Perry addresses situations I did not want my younger kids to hear, the messages were hard and meant for adults. Most importantly it made me focus on the message and the challenge before me. Many weeks I have sat next to people the world might think as imperfect, but I am so excited they feel welcome at NewSpring. The church has strengthened my relationship with Jesus and made 1,000’s know it is OK to not be perfect. It has been sad to see so many throw stones and see Christians hurting Christians.

    • scar47 Jan 28, 2015 11:08 am

      Kim, If I understand the NS policy on forbidding children into the place of worship, it states that no one under the 6th grade may enter. That means that 10 and 11 year olds are allowed entrance. You wrote that “Perry addresses situations I did not want my younger kids to hear, the messages were hard and meant for adults.” Are you saying that Perry’s sermons are appropriate for 10 and 11 year olds, but not for 9 year olds?

  12. LT Jan 21, 2015 2:58 pm

    I think one of the more important elements missing from this discussion is that in cults, indoctrination of the youth is vital for the future of the organization. Check out Steven Furtick’s coloring book and his black dice with rune type markings used to indoctrinate small children. link to standupforthetruth.com

    Currently Robert Morris’ church is having all the children go through 7 weeks of tithing indoctrination that is being taught at their level using games, fun, snacks and special recognition for those who pay, and peer pressure for those who don’t. GW asks the children to bring 10% of all the money they receive and to give it the church. Not to spend on needy children, or water wells that could save lives, but to dump it into the general fund of a church with over a hundred million dollars in positive net worth. The general fund has no accountability for how the money is spent/wasted. Giving money for water wells and meals for starving orphans constitutes extravagant giving, and is only given after your 10% comes first. And boy do these kids bring in the dough!

    Each age group will bring in tens of thousands of dollars before this is over. They give special recognition to kids who give all of their savings. They have previously told children that they “hate God” and are forever cursed by the Spirit of Mammon if their home church doesn’t get that 10% first. They use a lot of peer pressure in this. If the children were in the main sanctuary they’d be more apt to tune the allegiance and tithing stuff out. But in their own amusement park setting, the leaders can work on them at their level. Parents don’t really know what is going on during children’s church since they are in the main sanctuary.

    Sure, the pastors don’t want screaming babies and fidgety children interrupting them. But getting their hooks into and teaching false doctrine as biblical to the children, is a long term investment with proven results. Sadly, by the time the parents figure out that there is something wrong with all of this and want to leave, the kids – now teenagers or older – will stay and continue tithing and defending the false teachings. This is how these cults both flourish and break families up.

  13. SDG Jan 21, 2015 4:22 pm

    NS nor any baptist church should have children in their service. They are considered not a part of the body and have not reached the “age of accountability.” If this was a Presbyterian Church or Anglican I’d ask why they are discouraging covenant children from attending. Nothing to see here. In this case PN and NS are being theologically consistent.

    • scar47 Jan 28, 2015 11:22 am

      SDG, I realize that you thought you had invented a theological mouse trap, but your logic isn’t logic at all. If only persons who are members of the Body of Christ are allowed into worship services, then unbelievers wouldn’t be allowed either. That would mean that NS wouldn’t be able to convert so many people at their gatherings because they wouldn’t be allowed to enter. Here’s a theological conundrum for you to consider. If worship can only be offered to God by the Body of Christ, then shouldn’t all the elements of worship have a Biblical base? Somehow, I don’t see how Highway to Hell fits your “logic.”

  14. Mother of Two Jan 21, 2015 11:11 pm

    i tried going once when my child was with me in his wheelchair. He was on hospice at the time, I was struggling just to get out to go to church anywhere. I was turned away from the sanctuary. I was offered to send him away to the “special needs” group. Sure my kids on hospice, let me let you take care of him without knowing anything! Then I was offered to sit with the breast feeding mothers area, not! Then the offer of making an appointment to let them get to know my child was an option? Sure, make an appointment to go to church? Shameful! Thankfully I wasn’t totally depressed and suicidal, they just turned me away for the sake of “no children in the sanctuary” I was later told one of the core values was an uninterrupted church service without distractions. It could interfere with someone’s decision to accept Christ. Hmmm, I believe God is in control of that, not NS.

    • Daniel G. Jan 22, 2015 8:43 am

      This is really the heart of the matter. While I half-way sympathize with their logic behind trying to keep “kids” out the service, what I’ve noticed far more (in other areas besides this, as well) is that NS thinks they can somehow “push” salvations. In other words, every aspect of the service has to be controlled in a manner such that as many salvations are elicited as possible. I don’t know whether they know or care how silly and unbiblical of a concept that is, but that is their goal and aim. They will then trumpet that number incessantly and seek to build upon it each and every time. It’s all about the numbers. Quantity, not quality. Check out the scoreboard all you critics! Don’t try and tear us down with your truth. How dare you criticize a service where x number of people accepted Christ.

    • not confused Jan 22, 2015 1:35 pm

      So are you also turned away if you have allergies and are sneezing and coughing…cuz that could be a distraction as well.

  15. Bart Jan 22, 2015 2:01 pm

    The issue is quite simple. Would you (as a parent) just drop off your child at a daycare without first looking into who they are and what they area about? Without finding out more about them? No, you would not. When you first visit a church, you take your children with you to service because you need to know first if the church is teaching the Word and if the people there are genuine. After a few visits, that is when you take your kids to the nursery or classes.

    The church I go to has discussed adult issues and does so without vulgar language or making it so that younger children cannot hear.

  16. Brittany Jan 23, 2015 11:04 am

    This article is garbage!Newspring talks about real struggles that real people go through. Marriage,sex and porn addictions have been addressed in previous sermons. Is that something a child should be learning about? No! Kidspring is an amazing environment where kids are loved and learn about Jesus on their level. They aren’t forced to sit through a sermon they don’t understand and learn to hate going to church. Maybe that’s why we have one of the biggest youth groups in the country full of teenager on fire for Jesus. Seeing a child baptised because of what they learned about Jesus in kidspring is a regular thing. It’s so sad to see such ignorance and hate from brothers and sisters in Christ. At NS people are set free from addictions, broken marriages are restored, death losses it’s sting and people far from God learn to love Jesus so much they can’t bare to see others lost. Our communities are changing because people from the NS congregation have received the good news about Jesus and can’t keep quiet. Our congregation has stood with our Pastor through his mistake (of which he apologized for and corrected immediately)which doesn’t seem to be enough. Y’all don’t seem like you would be happy until he is burned at the stake. Jesus is his master not your “coventions”. So I suggest you fall on your knees and drop your stones because God is behind these men more than you could ever know. And you don’t want to go up against him. You’ll loose every single time. Sounds like a Pharasee wrote this. There was nothing loving about it.

  17. Humblylearning Jan 23, 2015 3:02 pm

    It seems these are the following points I’ve seen from Newspring supporters who’ve left comments not only on here, but on other writings that people have made about this issue.

    * Small churches and critics are just jealous/haters of Newspring.
    * Everyone should stop judging.
    * Newspring is saving people and changing lives, so therefore nothing is wrong.

    I would suggest for thought that legitimate Godly criticism does not always reflect jealousy/hating. Case in point, Paul criticizing/correcting Peter in Galatians 2. I’d also suggest Scripture being presented to make sure we’re following it’s standard is not man judging. Perhaps if anything, it’s God judging, being that He is the Word (John 1). Finally, an establishment does not save people. It’s God that saves people. So it would seem we should be careful of what we’re understanding as responsible for salvation, lest one idolizes a particular church or pastor over God. And if there are genuine changes of life, that’s certainly applauded, but the key is if that change is based in living Scripturally, not in whether people are getting the desires of their heart and proclaim to have experienced a feeling of connection with God.

    For myself, having watched a lot of Newspring sermons, and even having attended a few services before, that’s the crust of my criticism. The majority of messages appear all based on God fulfilling man’s desires once having obeyed the Gospel of Christ, rather than desiring to fulfill God’s will through our obedience to His Word, continuing to advance the cause of the Scriptural Gospel of Jesus Christ, and placing our focus on the future hope of eternity, being content regardless of whether good or bad happens in our life. Instead the messages seem to be more about creating a heaven on earth, and the focus being on Jesus making lives good with whatever one desires such as a new job, a spouse, financial success, general personal happiness, or fulfillment of one’s personal dreams.

    I think the question is, is God merely a facilitator of man’s wishes, or is He our father whom we’re grateful for granting opportunity to be reconciled with Him, and dedicate our lives to living for Him and His cause? I hope for all churches, the answer is the latter, but it seems particularly in larger churches it’s more becoming the former, because of the emotional manipulation tactics of a concert music atmosphere, a well delivered persuasive comedic sermon, and deliberate attempts to invoke emotions out of people teaching that a feeling is the basis of affirming truth and connection with God, rather than knowledge of truth and God through His Word. Finally, as intent and tone can be lost through writing, I want to state that these words are written with only gentleness and love, with a desire to see all of us continually reflect Scriptural authenticity.

  18. Betty Jan 23, 2015 4:22 pm

    “A mom’s viewing room is available at every campus for moms with babies 12 weeks old and under. This is a “Moms Only” room for women with newborn babies to view the service in a more private and quiet environment.”

    So NS not only doesn’t welcome newborns into the service, but only allows nursing moms to use the ‘viewing room’ for a set amount of time?

    I work with new moms for a living- there are plenty of moms who exclusively nurse, don’t pump, and have babies that don’t take bottles. These babies’ needs are second to someone else’s desire to avoid any and all possible distractions?

    According to SC Public Law
    SECTION 63-5-40. Breastfeeding.

    (A) A woman may breastfeed her child in any location where the mother and her child are authorized to be.

    (B) Breastfeeding a child in a location where the mother is authorized to be is not considered indecent exposure.

    The question of whether NS is public or private is up for interpretation.

    HISTORY: 2008 Act No. 361, Section 2.

  19. KB Jan 23, 2015 9:03 pm

    Playing “contemporary” music or in some cases classic rock REALLY LOUD just screams Jesus and His word? Normally one would read all of this and assume that this “church story” is satire! Sadly we know that it is not. Arrogance and narcissism, bragging about $400 shoes and “jet setting” make me physically ill and hurt my heart for those that are being led by a false “pastor”. The things that have come out of PN’s mouth and blogs are appalling in contradictions and full of oxymorons. Refusal to not divulge the financials and “salary packages” should be a huge red flag alone to people. Nobles recent denials of “the N word” and the false teaching of the “Ten Promises” should have had him at least apologizing instead of lying and denying however he became more transparent in his manipulative skills when he “doubled down” theflowing week with a declaration that
    “The church was under attack”; no PN … You were being held accountable by others not “the church”. He completely spun that rhetoric to deter from his words and actions and presented it as an attack upon the “church”… The rallying cry was yelled and they fell for it as he redirected and lead them away from the real issues into another farce. The Bible warns you about people like this and clearly he had no fear of being held to a higher accountaboty to Him or PN and crew would not continue to pomp, rock, glutton themselves with material(expensive) material things while using God to obtain such decadence. I am not a scholar by any means; just a person saved by the Grace of God and it brings tears to my ears everytime I say it or write it.

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  21. Molly Hunt Jan 24, 2015 2:11 pm

    Daniel G. I don’t normally get involved in the ignorance people speak about my church or my pastor but when my fathers name gets brought up I will most definitely correct the ignorance. You made a comment about the only reason why Perry preached at Mike Hunts (my father) funeral is BC he was well known. Perry and my father were very close friends for a very long time. Long before Newspring even existed. Next time you feel the need to speak on something that you know nothing about make sure you have the corrects facts BC without them you look and sound like a fool. Perry did not preach his funeral as his pastor, he preached his funeral as his friend.

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  23. Humblylearning Feb 1, 2015 5:02 pm

    Interesting of note, Mr. Noble defended his “Kidspring” in his sermon today by referencing Acts 20:7-10. Not sure if that really reflects what would happen to children worshiping with everyone else, but tied these verses into concluding that children should worship on “their level”. He also stressed that the verse where Jesus states to let the children come to Him also stated to do not hinder them, concluding from that to mean children worshipping with everyone else could be a hindrance to them coming to Jesus. He closed his defense on the subject by stating services are better with the elimination of distraction, and that one time he couldn’t concentrate on a pastor’s sermon because he was staring at a cute baby. All interesting defenses.

    • James Duncan Feb 1, 2015 5:37 pm

      Many of NewSpring’s “innovative” methods can be tied to Noble’s bad experiences at other churches.

      I’ve heard his distraction argument before. When Noble rids his sermons of all his personal stories, cultural jokes and random rabbit trials, I’ll take that argument more seriously.

  24. Jean Feb 1, 2015 10:26 pm

    How much good just a little study of sound exegetical practice and original languages might due Mr. Noble! Acts 20 as a defense of prohibiting children from worshiping the Lord with their parents? Really? Eutychus was not a child, the Greek term used for him indicates a young man beyond puberty, though usually not married, and is the same term used of Saul when he is introduced in Acts 7:58. But you don’t need to read Greek to know that the cause of Eutychus’s fall was not his youth or Paul’s age-inappropriate worship methods. (Mr. Perry could teach Paul a thing or two!) The text clearly indicates the cause was the long sermon, the late hour, and the heat from the burning lamps in the hot upper room. Not to mention the fact that Luke doesn’t include this incident in the book of Acts for the purpose of teaching us principles of corporate worship! Talk about abusing Scripture for one’s own ends.

    If cute babies pose a personal distraction for Mr. Noble he could redirect his eyes rather than ban them from worship. By Noble’s logic, we would need to ban attractive people from our services so that they don’t pose a visual distraction to anyone, perhaps we could just require all women (and babies?) to wear burquas. Or we could just rely on the Word and Spirit of God to communicate, as Jesus did when he addressed thousands of men, women, children and babies on a mountain side.

    • Chris Feb 4, 2015 10:02 am

      Jean I assume you would not be banned>…. you opened the door!
      Churches including 95% of SCBC churches have done Children’s Church for 100 years… People are blowing that out of proportion!!!

  25. Jean Feb 2, 2015 1:57 am

    Sorry “(Mr. Perry could teach Paul a thing or two!)”
    was not expressing my own opinion, but rather the logical conclusion of Noble’s using Acts 20 to defend NS’s no children in worship policy. If Acts 20 really supported NS’s policy then clearly Paul wasn’t as savvy about preaching the Gospel effectively as Noble is. (Or perhaps the point is that after the Eutychus’s fall, Paul got his act together and banned pre-adolescent children from future meetings?)
    His point about allowing elementary children into his sermons could be a hindrance to them coming to Jesus could have some merit though.

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