Baptists’ message to NewSpring: You’re not one of us 80

The official publication of the South Carolina Baptist Convention carried a public rebuke of Noble and NewSpring

The official publication of the South Carolina Baptist Convention carried a public rebuke of Noble and NewSpring

The South Carolina Baptist Convention has told Perry Noble and NewSpring that they must correct serious errors in their church before they can once again associate with the Convention. In a bold and praiseworthy statement, the president of the SCBC, Tommy Kelly, turned what has been general public criticism of NewSpring into official church discipline, though the public rebuke went much further than just the Ten Commandments sermon. Kelly condemned Noble’s pulpit profanity, his sloppy exegesis and preaching, his lack of accountability and inability to receive correction. It also criticized NewSpring’s regular use of anti-christian music in its services.

After Noble’s persistent defense of his error and his obvious antipathy towards the Baptist Convention, it’s hard to see this public rebuke making much difference inside the executive offices at NewSpring. Instead, this is really a warning for everyone else. Kelly instructed every Baptist church in South Carolina to publicly state the truth regarding Noble’s teaching and remove themselves from being associated with NewSpring.

The statement appears to concede that the Convention has already separated itself from NewSpring, and it demands that NewSpring must correct its positions on worship, doctrine, accountability and biblical scholarship before the church is again permitted to associate itself with the Convention. That the statement was made publicly suggests that Kelly doesn’t think it’s going to happen.

It’s highly unlikely that a denominational leader would publicly ambush one of his own churches with something so serious, so I think it’s certain that Kelly has already talked to Noble privately about the denomination’s concerns. For Kelly to have gone public suggests that Noble rejected his correction quickly and unequivocally, with Noble understanding that the consequences would be expulsion from the Convention. On Thursday afternoon Noble tweeted, “Pressure is nothing more than a call to humility!” The statement, which didn’t seem to fit any particular flow of thought in his Twitter feed, was likely his response to Kelly’s warnings. Noble and Kelly probably spoke for the last time on Thursday afternoon. Kelly’s announcement was published in the Convention’s official newspaper and website on Friday morning.

Over the last week, Noble’s Tweets have indicated that he is not willing to be corrected, and he resents it that other Christians are still criticizing him. Here’s a sequence from the last few days:

Sometimes “fighting the good fight” means knowing which fights to walk away from. (Jan 12)

Unless a person is willing to be misunderstood they will never make a difference. (Jan 13)

The world would be a good place if sinners repented of sin. The world would be an AMAZING place if religious people repented of religion! (Jan 14)

Get that? Religious people are more harmful to the world than sinners. If you didn’t know that his man was a pastor, would you assume he wanted to be identified as a member of Christ’s church?

I think Kelly knows in his heart that Noble is gone for good, so he’s doing the right thing as a faithful leader in God’s church to warn others not to associate with Noble or his church. Assuming the separation is a permanent one, how might this affect NewSpring?

NewSpringers

Many will be surprised that NewSpring is even associated with the Southern Baptists, so discovering that they’ve lost that affiliation won’t matter much. Though some have already left over the Commandments sermon, if they’ve stood with Noble through his obvious error, they’ll probably stand with him through a denominational rebuke, too.

Noble

Noble will probably be relieved to be done with the Baptists as a denomination, with whom his connection springs primarily from their $20,000 investment in NewSpring’s founding. Noble has announced that he has paid that investment back (with 3 percent annualized interested added), so he probably assumes he has no further obligation to them.

It’s possible this affects his future publishing efforts. In late December Noble announced that he submitted the manuscript for his third book, though it remains to be seen whether any publisher is willing to take a risk on him now that he has built a reputation for embracing obvious error to the point of being disavowed by his own denomination. Noble’s publisher, Tyndale House, is under intense pressure at the moment for knowingly publishing factually false and biblically unsound books. Mark Driscoll’s next book was put on indefinite hold by Tyndale when he was engulfed in scandal last year, so it’s not a stretch to see that happening to Noble as well. As NewSpring’s dependance on Result Source demonstrated, there’s not a huge market (that’s not on NewSpring’s payroll) that’s anxiously waiting for Noble’s next book.

NewSpring Staff

The example of Mark Driscoll’s departure from Mars Hill Church and its almost immediate implosion must have a few NewSpring staffers concerned. How long can Noble continue his duties as a pastor if he stubbornly clings to obvious heresy? How does NewSpring survive if he walks away? It would be reassuring to see a few staff leave as a matter of principle, though there might be a few who are seeing the writing on the wall and are quietly freshening their resumes.

Fuse

NewSpring’s mid-week youth ministry attracts many youth from other churches, even though they return to their parents’ church on Sundays. Once parents discover that NewSpring’s own denomination is warning people to stay away, will they continue to allow their children to be a part of it, especially if they attend SCBC churches on Sunday?

NewSpring College

The college promises to prepare its students for church work, and most probably plan to stay with NewSpring. Smart students should be tracking Noble’s recent doctrinal trajectory and thinking about where he’ll be (both doctrinally and physically) in two years. If they do stick it out, will other Baptist churches place much stock in a diploma from a church that has just been expelled from their denomination?

Clayton King

Best I can tell, NewSpring’s official teaching pastor has been silent on the controversy. Does he agree with his NewSpring boss? Dare he say anything if he doesn’t? King’s main vocation is as an itinerant preacher to small and mid-sized Baptist churches, many of which also send their young children and teens to his summer camps. Will parents balk at trusting their children’s spiritual growth to a leader who is so closely affiliated with Noble and NewSpring?


A denominational leader like Kelly, who is willing to defend biblical authority at the cost of losing the denomination’s largest church, is an admirable example of integrity and leadership.

Someone should offer him a book deal.

80 thoughts on “Baptists’ message to NewSpring: You’re not one of us

  1. LU Alum Jan 23, 2015 11:15 pm

    Wouldn’t it be so much better if Perry would genuinely admit his wrongs fully, and then commit to quality, professional exegesis as the Bible offers us a model (Acts 6:2, 4). My prayer is that he would lead folks to the Lord of the Bible, not a “popular lord” hatched out of some guy’s head. Jehovah calls them mitzvah (commands), and that is not debatable. Telling folks the Ten Commandments are really just promises is a fabrication that the God of the Bible did not say. No pastor gets to make up a new Bible.

    We are called to be ministers of the Word, and we are judged by the Word for how we represent It. If a chorus of learned colleagues showed me how my exegesis was sloppy, I would prayerfully ask God to remove the pridefulness that led me to to the error. Any admission less than full, complete and contrite is pastoral malpractice and leads people to a lord of man’s choosing, not the Lord of the Bible. Perry and Newspring can recover. I pray they do.

  2. Pingback: Baptists’ Message to NewSpring: You’re not one of us – Guest Post by James Duncan of PajamaPages | The Wartburg Watch 2014

  3. Rod Jan 23, 2015 11:56 pm

    Uh, no. I’m a Lutheran. “God” is a very ambiguous term in the modern Church.

  4. Dan Rangle Jan 25, 2015 5:32 am

    For someone who is so concerned with “tough conversations” about sin, unquestioned obedience to leadership, as well as an insistence on pointing out others’ perceived hypocrisies, you would think Perry Noble would be more open to hearing correction…

    • ohmy Jan 25, 2015 10:01 am

      I think he has admitted he should have spent more time researching the Christmas Eve service right? I have heard he did and was just wondering.

  5. Shearon Lenderman Jan 26, 2015 8:57 am

    I never hear about any weddings or memorial services at the new spring centers .
    I wonder about where the center recommends folks to congregate for such Christian
    Sacraments ?
    Thanks,
    Shearon

    • Jordan Jan 27, 2015 9:03 am

      @Shearon Lenderman,

      Nothing points to the sacred nature of marriage like a rock band, stadium seating, smoke machines, and a light show. I don’t know how many weddings or memorial services NS hosts, but it doesn’t seem like an ideal location for either.

      Additionally, I seriously doubt that NS or many, if any, other Protestant churches would refer to marriage as a “sacrament.”

  6. It didn't say Jan 27, 2015 12:14 pm

    All this info from the SBC is nothing but like the Pharisees that executed Jesus I’m not comparing Perry noble to the crucifixion but I work as a volunteer at newspring and I left a totally engulfed SBC church because of the control issues that all members had nothing in this church was Christ like to me I worked at that church too and at the most we had 80 to 100 people every Sunday and on Wednesdays we had a whopping 15 to 20 at the most! The church was falling apart!! Churches like ours don’t grow because Jesus isn’t apart of them and I grew up at what is now known as First North loved my church but when I was going their and I had been there since it was New Pisgah but our church was considered in the town to be a cult because of the growth we had but that church now has lost members to Newspring!! So many of us who have been there for more than 20 years have realized that our former president of the SBC mike hamlet who I still appreciate today for how he used to run that church but over the years the affiliation and politically driven motives have shown him to be more like this guy who made this false statement about Perry but they are all legalistic Perry has shown me how some of the narrow mindedness that I grew up in is false doctrine as in many of perrys sermons have shown me that issues such as homosexuality and blacks marrying whites how both of these issues were told to me incorrectly in the SBC church they said that its all wrong yes homosexuality is wrong but we are called as Christians to embrace these people and not beat them over the head with the bible! We are called to explain that like heterosexual couples living together is wrong and those that have sex before marriage are just as wrong we are not told to make homosexuals feel like they are monsters but that they are sinners like me and you too many times we as Christians compare our sin to others but we are told that all sin is the same to Jesus! That we are all called to follow his lead and Perry has revealed to me a lot about the bible that SBC churches teach wrongly they interprete the bible according to their own thoughts and feelings and not how God views it where all are welcome! By the way it has long been known that our church disassociated ourselves from the SBC many years ago it’s been told as such in the newspapers years ago before Newspring came to spartanburg!! He only asked for their money to start the church and has refunded them more than enough!! I speak for myself as an owner of Newspring that this church has shown me how to love others better how to be more open and available to anyone regardless of color sexual orientation whether these students I work with are taking drugs cutting themselves or being abused we as volunteers are prepared how to respond to these children and we are told Wednesday night is about life change and that all our attention is to be on the students we are called to leave our own issues outside the church that when we step in its all about the kids not us!

  7. Alexkenas Feb 9, 2015 9:53 pm

    As a Catholic, I have to give applaud the SCSBC for its critique of Perry Noble and Newspring. Perry Noble strikes me as a false teacher as Saint Peter described in 2 Peter 2. He implied that he believed that a teenager dancing fervently and screaming “I LOVE YOU JESUS!!!!!” at the top of her lungs is more reverent than a monk or nun quietly abiding by the teachings of Christ and His Apostles. He openly admitted that. he made fun of his critics on stage. The examples of his poor conduct as a pastor, who is supposed to set the example of Christ to his congregants, are ob YouTube.

  8. Pingback: SCBC vs. NewSpring Is No Reason to Cheer | The Tom LeGrand Blog

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