We’ve seen over the last few days how Furtick and Noble continue to insist that people believe their visions and that no questions or criticisms of their actions in pursuit of those visions can be tolerated. There is a deep danger in the way that they present their pronouncements as infallible, and then boldly and quickly pronounce anathema on their critics.
Let’s look at some examples of each.
- Infallibility. Furtick specificially told us that when he hears from God, no-one may question him. The only reason that questions would be off the table is if you were sure that what you heard from God, and what you speak in response to it, is infallible. The consequence, as Noble has said, is that the leader must not be doubted.
A leader should never allow doubters to dictate the direction of their ministry…when God speaks our obsession MUST be complete obedience!
Not only does Noble not want to hear from any doubters, he dare not even think about them.
When God puts a word inside of you – “what would others think about this?” is a question that completely dishonors Him!!! HE MATTERS!!!
To ensure the aura of infallibility, they also present their behaviors and words as irrefutable. If you agree with it, it must be true, but if you disagree with it, it must be even truer. See if you can follow the logic in this Noble argument:
Church planter–do what God called you to do…if people are speaking out against you…it probably means God has spoken into you and you are being obedient.
Don’t waste the time God has given you on those who don’t like you…ever! If what you are doing is of God then critics can’t stop it!
Although we’ve addressed the appeal to fatalism on this blog before, this is a more aggressive variation, where because something is is proof that it should be. Under this logic, a leader can never be disobedient so long as he’s being effective and being criticized.
- Condemnation. If leaders represent God’s truth when they speak and act, the next step is to argue that anyone who opposes them is opposing God. Noble forcefully and literally demonizes his critics.
The only person who would criticize a move of God is a jealous, angry, bitter person. And the other thought is that God would NEVER lead a person to criticize something that He in involved in. Well…uh…let’s see–if the criticism is not God led–then who is responsible? Hmm…just know that if you are doing what God desires…and you are being criticized…then it will help to view the critic as a tool of satan. (I make no apologies for that statement!!!) [emphasis added]
When it comes to dealing with critics…Jesus dealt with them. Remember the Pharisees? And when it came to dealing with them He pulled no punches, He even referred to them as snakes, vipers, and whitewashed tombs. This is the attitude I have to take–that the religious will always criticize a move of God…and it breaks my heart because when you boil it down–even though the Pharisees were religious–they didn’t have a relationship with Jesus!
Notice the equivalence. Someone who criticizes Noble is ipso facto criticizing Jesus, which means that they cannot be a part of the family of God.
Here’s another example of Noble characterizing his critics as heathen, while mixing in his irrefutable logic (that is, if you criticize him, it proves that he is right).
I honestly believe that a true follower of Jesus Christ will make religious people both uncomfortable and angry…and as long as those are the men and women shooting the arrows at me then I know I am walking in the right path. (John 15:18-21)
It’s not that I don’t care about you guys…it’s that I care enough to ignore you! You see, if what we are doing is wrong and sinful then the Lord will handle us…but if what we are doing here at NewSpring Church is of God…you can’t stop it (Acts 5:35-39) and are actually not opposing us…but Him. (BTW…you lose!)
There are several notable implications from this approach. First, is it really smart to be raising the stakes so high that you call the faith of your critics into question just for raising a question? Noble is drawing a line in the sand and saying that he’s on the Christian side of it, and the rest of us are on Satan’s side. When you’re a leader of a movement that is sensitive to some people calling it cultish, separating the family of God into saved and unsaved depending on your fidelity to a human leader is hardly going to make those fears go away. We critics are often pressed to affirm that we believe we’re all on the same side. The are you all on the same team? question would more fruitfully be asked of people like Perry Noble.
Second, what are you communicating to your own followers about the worth and dignity of Christians who are outside of your movement and, based on their own commitment to the Word of God, question the beliefs and methods of these charismatic leaders? When you call us sons and daughters of the Devil, what kinds of passions do you unleash and endorse among your true believers?