Differentiating Jesus from the Word 15

(We temporarily return to regular PP programing. For newcomers, these are the kinds of statements that have kept PP going much longer than I ever imagined it would.)

Perry Noble preached on how to hear from God today. We’ve chronicled problems with Noble’s extra-biblical view of revelation many times on this blog, but today’s statement probably takes the cake.

All too often we seek answers in the Scriptures when we should be seeking Jesus…because HE will ultimately BE the answer to whatever we are facing.

Exactly how does one find answers from Jesus if not from Scripture? Perhaps we ask the portrait of Jesus we have on our wall? The imaginary Jesus we keep under our bed?

Jesus is the Word. To suggest that he has a message that is outside Scripture is–how else to say it?–blasphemy.

Noble’s construction lets believers ignore Scripture altogether and make desisions based on their gut or based on their imagination of who Jesus is. Wearing a WWJD bracelet is not the same thing as knowing and studying Scripture.

After denigrating Scripture, Noble finds another way to hear God’s voice (a point he appears to have added to his sermon at the last minute).

Circumstances are often God’s megaphone that HE is using to scream to us. It’s amazing to many how many times in the Scriptures that God spoke so clearly and revealed who He was during a storm!!!

What could Noble’s circumstances divinity possibly be telling him right now?

What was the same divinity screaming at me this summer?

15 thoughts on “Differentiating Jesus from the Word

  1. Will Kindle Dec 6, 2009 10:50 pm


    I am curious as to what you are hoping to accomplish with this site? Do you have something personal against mega churches? I can understand that people may have preferences, example, I am not a fan of the Catholic church but I wouldn’t start a blog to rip them apart. It really seems like you have something personal against a few Pastors out there. I can’t speak for, or against the pastors you mention. But I do know people who have attended Pastor Furtick’s church, and have heard nothing but good things about it.

  2. Tommy F Dec 6, 2009 11:21 pm

    Will Kindle,

    I imagine you’re a nice guy. But, read up a little, please (semi-serious suggestion: buy a Kindle. Maybe with your last name, Amazon will just give you one).

    You wrote: “I am not a fan of the Catholic church but I wouldn’t start a blog to rip them apart.”
    Well ok, no blog, but would you have posted 95 theses explaining its problems?

    I’m pretty sure Martin Luther – who did post 95 theses – was not a fan of the Catholic church either. He started a little bitty thing called the Protestant Reformation, which eventually led someone to start a church which led someone to start the one you now attend.

    I hear nothing but good things from friends who go to the Mormon church, too. They are – apparently – really nice people. It doesn’t change the fact that they are wrong. Being nice does not mean being right.

  3. Jay Grant Dec 7, 2009 1:12 am

    I think that NewSpring does a lot of great things, and that many people have genuinely given their lives to Christ through the working of the Holy Spirit in their hearts while at NewSpring. However, I think that a lot of people have made the mistake of proclaiming complete loyalty to the church and its pastor rather than to Christ and His word. Such loyalty leads them to always defend the pastor while never holding him accountable for anything, which I think can be quite dangerous.

    I think Dr. Duncan’s approach in this blog is one of attempting to hold Perry Noble and others accountable for what they preach — not in a hateful way, but in a straightforward way, and always using scripture when possible to validate his points. I don’t agree with every point Dr. Duncan has made, but I do respect him. I don’t believe a man in his position would have cause to be hateful, unfair, or deceptive. Such behavior could be damaging to his reputation and his career, and I just think he’s smarter than that.

    At this point I think Perry and NewSpring need to reevaluate their attitude toward critics and criticism. It is true that there are critics out there who publish their criticisms in a hateful way, but I believe there are just as many who have a heart for the true Gospel, and they attempt to speak in a loving way to their brothers in Christ to make sure they are on the right track. Accountability.

    Nobody has it exactly right, and they never will. But I think the Bible is pretty clear about how to handle grievances among believers, and I feel that Dr. Duncan has followed that process. It’s unfortunate that it’s turned out the way it has for both parties involved.

    The Bible says that a soft answer turns away wrath, and I think we should all try to live by that. Dr. Duncan, you and your family will be in my prayers. NewSpring and followers, I’ll be praying for you too.

  4. Kathy B. Dec 7, 2009 6:57 am

    Dr Duncan,
    I attended the 9:15 service at NewSpring yesterday and the message I heard was different from what you’re indicating here. The question was ‘How do we hear the voice of God?’ There were four main points in this order:
    1. His Word – Heb 4:12; II Tim 3:16-17
    2. His Spirit – John 14:25-27; John 16:12-14
    3. Others – God speaks to us through others Proverbs 15:22; Prov 24:5-6
    4. Being still – Psalm 46:10; Mark 1:35

    And one last point which was not in the outline, but was added afterwards – Circumstances – God speaks through circumstances.

    I’m not sure which service your quotes were pulled from and I don’t attend all the Sunday services, but I would imagine the outline PN uses is the same for all. [JD: They come from his Sunday night reflections post.]

    So I’m left a bit confused by this post…


  5. Scottie K Dec 7, 2009 7:31 am


    If you click the link that Duncan presented in the words, “today’s statement,” you’ll be taken to Perry’s blog and a post about his Sunday night reflections. In it, you’ll find the statements in question. Yes, it is easy to take bulleted points out of context, for they are not presented with any context whatsoever, but isn’t having a printed “outline” for an on-stage talk the same? Hearing the voice of God is a tough message to preach safely on (notice I said “safely”), just ask Jim Jones and Joseph Smith.

  6. MichaelD Dec 7, 2009 10:35 am

    I think it is possible that in opposing the stance presented by Pastor Noble, you are making on as equally short-sighted. I think presenting that the only way to encounter Jesus is through the Bible can be problematic. The Word was there from the beginning, pre-existent to the Human Jesus and the written word. Through the presence of the Spirit of God that all of Jesus’ followers inhabit and are inhabited by, I think it is very possible to have an encounter with Jesus from a Biblically external source.

    That being said I am just reacting to what you have written and have not watched all of Pastor Noble’s message, so this is not a commentary on the situation just on your point.

    Also I am moved by your honesty and hope that all involved come to a place where they come move beyond this and learn and grow for it.

  7. KH Dec 7, 2009 11:02 am

    Jay Grant, I second your comment! I agree with every word, and thank you for putting it much more eloquently than I could have 🙂

  8. Paul Dec 7, 2009 11:47 am

    wow! can’t deny sola scriptura any more clearly than that. almost sounds like he has been reading protestant liberals.

  9. Paula Dec 7, 2009 1:14 pm

    I agree, sounds theologically liberal. The Evangelical church, even conservative ones, are rife with trying to ‘hear God speak’ through things other than his Word. Certainly God works through circumstances, because he is in control, but he does not SPEAK through them, nor do we have to discern his voice or ‘perfect will’ for our life. We have a hard enough time studying the Scriptures and learning how to make decisions based on a Biblical mindset. God promises that if we do that he will do the rest… and yes sometimes things seem to flop, sometimes they seem to succeed. We just trust the outcome to him.

    But he does not speak to us outside of his Word. If he did, (and he has in the past to the prophets and apostles) you can be sure there would be NO DOUBT in your mind that it was him. It would never be a nebulous ‘hunch’ or an ‘inner impression’ or a ‘sense of peace.’

  10. Paula Dec 7, 2009 1:17 pm

    btw James I think that whatever God is trying to say to Perry through these current circumstances has probably been chalked up to just a bad case of indigestion.

    The problem with using all these other sources (other than Scripture) to ‘hear from God’ is that we can just as easily tune them out.

    That being said, sounds like Perry has also tuned out Scripture for the most part regarding this whole fiasco, so… there is nothing left for him but to wander around in the dark.

  11. Tim P. Dec 7, 2009 1:39 pm

    Great post, James, and a sober warning. I have had to read a lot of postmodern literature as of late, and this is exactly the same thing I am seeing: differenting Jesus as “the Word” from the “the word” of Scripture, as if the two are diametrically opposed. And Paul is right — this is the same tactic that was employed by theological liberals (and later by neo-orthodox theologians).

  12. Paul Dec 7, 2009 3:17 pm

    Paula, Tim,

    Good thoughts. Noble is going down a dangerous line of thought. Typically what happens next is that you begin to have a cannon within a cannon…i.e. Jesus’ teaching takes priority and all else is interpreted in light of the “red letters.” From there, the stage is set to reject other parts of the Bible that may seem contrary to the “red letters”. Many liberal theologians defend homosexuality using this tactic. I don’t think NOble would go this far, but he is laying the foundation for either himself or his chruch in the future to go down that path. Just look at mainline demoninations around us…they are but skeletons now due to their rejection of sola scriptura.

  13. Tim Dec 7, 2009 9:24 pm

    One of the things that I see over and over in this blog is the “chip” to find something wrong each and every week with Noble. Now, I’m not saying “they” haven’t done anything wrong. But anyone can go on week after week and take a quote from a person and make it into an issue. I read what you linked too and maybe instead of assuming what he means to just let it go?

    He could be meaning that many people in our nation when they come across a problem go to scripture to find a 5 step answer to their problem. They think if they go through a 10 commandment program that it will somehow change their emotion. It’s much like someone who is going through a divorce getting a list of scripture that talks about divorce being wrong. It doesn’t really help much. What they need is a walk with Jesus and not a scripture atomic bomb. They look to scripture for an answer to a problem and hope to find a 1-2-3 boddabing your problem is gone. Much like they would go to an instruction manual for a broken gas tank. Find an answer, fix the problem. Now, scripture fixes problems but experiencing Jesus is much further than knowing some Bible verses. We all know that.

    In the scenario above it might not be even close to what he means. I’m just assuming something positive. You assume something negative. We don’t know exactly what he means.

    I feel you are a bit nit-picky in your approach trying to find something wrong with a phrase that is somewhat open ended for discussion and dialogue. We do know that circumstances are often something that God can speak through. Ever been in a hard spot and someone comes along and helps you out? Does God absent in those circumstance?

    Not that I don’t have problems with Noble. I just feel you try to seek out anything that can be construed negatively.

  14. squirrel Dec 7, 2009 9:50 pm

    you are taking what pn preached out of context..he said more than once to hear from God you need to read “The Word” and it was also #1 on his list of way to hear from God…be careful when quoting someone that you listen to the entire message or better yet attend the service…

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