It’s fairly routine for Perry Noble to use his pulpit to rant against other churches. I’ve always assumed that the implicit assumption was that we should all just get back to a New Testament kind of church and we’d all be living in the ecclesiastical Promised Land.
Until Sunday that is, when Noble showed his distaste for the churches of Jesus, Paul, and the Apostles.
His pre-service Twitter offered this wisdom:
Keep seeing in the book of Acts that Paul would always go to the synagogue every time he went to a new place…why…BECAUSE religious people NEED JESUS!!! Not a program…OR a process…but a relationship with a PERSON!
The context was Noble’s sermon about how Jesus saves us from our churches and our religious programs. Problem is, the accounts in the Acts show that the Apostles liked religious programs and processes to the point of insisting on them.
Paul went to the synagogue wherever he went because it was the Sabbath and he wanted to worship with God’s people.
As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures. (Acts 17:2)
Again, from Acts 14:1:
At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue.
It’s also in the synagogues that Paul meets the commendable Bereans (who insisted on “going deeper”).
As for religious programs, Paul was quite convinced that they provided the best context for meeting Jesus.
As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God.
On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. (Acts 13:42-44)
Paul and Barnabas apparently believed that church was the best place to hear Jesus preached and invited the city to join them the next week for their weekly religious program. Yes, they spoke to the people outside the synagogue, but they recognized that the sabbath and the synagogue were God’s special time and place for preaching and hearing the Word.
Noble treats Paul’s sabbath synagogue trips as rescue missions into hostile territory, when it would be more accurate to say that the Apostles were eagerly and regularly obeying Jesus’ command to meet on the sabbath to worship with the saints.
So Noble doesn’t like most existing churches. He doesn’t like Jesus’ church. He doesn’t like Paul’s church.
Is there any church that existed before the age of Hybels and Warren that he does like?