Going beyond ridicule 30

A few days ago I referenced Noble’s tweet about the future of the church in a way that was intended to dismiss it with a deserved bit of ridicule. To refresh your memories, here’s what he said:

WHAT IF this past 2,000 years of the church was merely the foundation to set up what God REALLY wants to do? That thought pumps me up!

The more I think about it, the more I think this warrants a more substantial response.

  1. It contravenes Scripture. This was the essence of my first post. Jesus laid the foundation of the church in Matthew 16:18. All the church needed was provided by Jesus and the apostles and can be found in Scripture. There can only be one foundation for the church, and it was created two thousand years ago.
  2. It contradicts special revelation. The most galling aspect of Noble’s thought is one of the words he emphasized: REALLY. Think about that idea and let it roll around in your mind. What is Noble saying? God has been hiding his real intentions from us. When we read Paul’s instructions to the church in Corinthians, for example, we can ignore that because it’s not really what God was meaning for the church. Appalling.
  3. It condescends to the saints. According to Noble, the last two millennia were merely a foundation for today. Merely–another word to linger on. There’s an awful lot of amazing history dismissed by that arrogant word. Augustine. Aquinas. Luther. Calvin. Spurgeon. Graham. Persecutions. Reformation and revivals. Never mind them. There are merely mere.
  4. It contains secret knowledge. This is the dangerous bit. If we believe what Noble says, and if he really believes it himself, what that means is that God has a new blueprint for the church that has been hidden until now. We will learn what it is from special leaders who receive special visions from God that they expect their followers to commit to.
  5. It creates space for error. If Noble can establish that the church is about to change is form and function, he can make whatever rules and set whatever standards he likes. Because it need not be based on Scripture, it will necessarily be wrong. It will also be impossible to criticize his beliefs because it will be impossible to tie him down to the standard of Scripture. Noble is notoriously slippery when it comes to defending himself.

    People will question our motives and our ministry. But our goal in all of this should not be to try to explain ourselves but to simply keep our eyes on the Lord and strive to become more like Him. If we spend too much time explaining ourselves we won’t have time to actually do what it is God has commanded of us in the first place!

    If you can simply show that how you do church conforms to the established Scriptural standard, there’s no need for your defense to take very long. If the Bible compels listeners to test teachers, I think you might also say that a true Biblical teacher will be happy to show that he can pass those tests. They didn’t bother Paul. If Noble spent as much time defending his beliefs and behaviors as he does complaining about being questioned, we’d all be much better off.

    If, on the other hand, he is doing church a new way and on the basis of special personal revelation, he’d better find every excuse he can to not submit to those tests and to keep doing what his vision compels him do to.

To be clear, I am not making a case here that Noble is doing church in violation of Scripture. I am pointing out that he is clearing space for himself that makes that not only possible, but difficult for his followers to detect and impossible for his critics to correct.

30 thoughts on “Going beyond ridicule

  1. Robin Jun 12, 2009 8:41 am

    Hallejuah! Someone has finally recognized the Perry Noble for what he truly is. A bully, making the appearance of I am always right, making comments that people should forgive others and not talk trash about them when I know for a fact that has happened to people he knows. Maybe Perry and his followers should spend more time delving into the scriptures and research instead of taking his word for it, because many times he has been proven wrong–but I guess he doesn’t have time to check on his quotes because he is too busy telling everyone what he has to eat, that he would like Buckle gift cards for his birthday and not to mention the arrogance that he exudes daily. Thank you.

  2. Ben Jun 12, 2009 8:56 am

    “…and impossible for his critics to correct.”

    Thus the reason for your problem with this in the first place. Hope you have a great weekend James. I hear Perry has a cold so I look forward to your posts Monday on why he should have taken Sudafed instead of Mucinex.

  3. James Duncan Jun 12, 2009 9:11 am

    Ben, I appreciate your weekend wishes for me. There’s a test match between the All Blacks and France that expect I’ll be enjoying this evening.

    Why do you assume that I’m the only one testing him? Aren’t there also testers in his own church? Would they be able to correct him if he failed their tests?

  4. Ben Jun 12, 2009 10:27 am

    When did I assume that? I’m sure he is tested everyday. The only difference is that I don’t
    see others devoting their life to tearing down one man and one church. I’m not sure we should assume he hasn’t failed and hasn’t been “corrected”.

    There is a reason I don’t try to talk to the man on the street corner who yells Bible versus and tells everyone they are going to hell. For the same reason I’ll withdraw myself from your blog. “Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips.”

  5. Ben Jun 12, 2009 10:27 am

    P.S. The All Blacks win going away.

  6. Seth Jun 12, 2009 10:46 am

    I think some key words from this tweet is “WHAT IF” and “foundation”. I think the foundation he is talking about in no way belittles what was already done, infact, i think it makes the churches history all the more important to what happened today. I think it gives importantance to number 3 on your list. If you think about the foundation laid in the Bible, Jesus came a reformed the current syatem of the time and the aposltes were persecuted. If you think about it, everything that happened proir to today is actually a foundation for what happened today. Lets say for exapmle a church was planted in Anderson 80 years ago that was going to reach people for Christ. With that foundation, they built upon that and the church they would be today was built on the foundations they started on. Your beliefs are built on the foundations of the Bible, but also on Luther and calivn, who also built their beliefs on scripture.

    The other point that Perry makes here, the main point b/c I have heard him speak on it, is what he really means. And that is that because we have all the technology we and how connected we as humans are that we have the potential to reach more people for Christ than ever before. That is what he means. That the church is and will be reaching large numbers for Christ.

  7. Burningp Jun 12, 2009 11:15 am

    The word of God never changes but technology does. Churches like elavation and Newspring and revolution are using technology to make the name of Jesus famous and I don’t like it. That’s why people like JD TOMMY F and me have to bring them down by starting at the head. We have to use technology like twitter, and blogs to fight them at their own game.

  8. JT Jun 12, 2009 11:25 am

    In regards to Seth’s last paragraph, I heard Jerry Falwell speak on this topic a number of times. He used John 14:12: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” Falwell always said that preachers in modern times have much more capacity to reach the lost than their predecessors did, because of increased technology.

  9. P.M. Jun 12, 2009 11:27 am

    burning p–

    are you suggesting there is a “wrong” way to make Jesus’ name famous? if others see Christ as famous, glorious, and give all credit and praise to Him, what does it matter the method used? God used a former Christian-killer to point people to Christ. can’t He use technology?

    unless you think that He can’t or doesn’t want to. then that is another story.

  10. Robin Jun 12, 2009 11:36 am

    If PN gets pumped up much more then they will have to expand the walls of NS

  11. Seth Jun 12, 2009 11:54 am


    Every church uses some form of technology. Whether it be lights, the internet, a telephone, pens and pencils, paper, the desks and chairs where made using technology, even the modern Bible uses technology. The part that confuses me is that you say they are using technology to make the name of Jesus famous and that you don’t like it, and my question back is why do you not like that? Do you not want them to spread the gospel to as many people as possible?

  12. Burningp Jun 12, 2009 12:21 pm

    Yes I do, just the old fasion way, using pews, and singing hymns and suite and tie. I don’t know how to say what I mean, I just think this blog shows the light in the darkness and twittering from @tommyfredericks and @jduncandotcom and pastor dans imputs are helping me see that my thinking is not wrong. These new churches have really hurt alot of churches. My church in Cherokee county is barely keeping the lights own. Maybe I’m wrong. It just seems helpless to fight it.

  13. Seth Jun 12, 2009 12:39 pm

    Why must we fight? Jesus one of Jesus’s prayers in John before he went was captured was that His believers would be one. Yes, there are different churches out there, The Bible also describes many different churches. There are different churches for different types of people. Just because something is different does not mean it is bad, yes, NS, Elevation, Revolution are different, yes, their pastors make mistakes, every pastor has made/will make a mistake in the lifetimes. I am a NS member and former Home Groups leader, and I was saved at NS, There are great things going on at these churches, great life changes and great stories of the churches going out into the community and meeting the needs of the people. I’m sorry to hear that your church is struggling, but blaming it on other churches will not help any. So, don’t fight it, embrace it as a move of God where people are getting saved.

  14. Sara Crocker Jun 12, 2009 12:44 pm


    I am no fan of PN, his ego, or his style of church and organizational structure, please know that. However, the clothes they wear and the fact that they do not sit on pews is of no concern to me. (Attire is not a concern assuming women dress as if they are in the presence of the Lord as opposed to attending a beach party…) I do prefer hymns over self-gratifying rock songs, but that’s another issue. I think if you are genuinely concerned with their attire and seating arrangements, then you are just as misguided as you think they are. You become the reason they do church the way they do it and say the things they say.

  15. Albert Jun 12, 2009 2:14 pm

    @ Burningp

    I, like Sara, agree with most of your stance (the traditionalism part). But, like Seth said, every church uses technology to some degree or another (though I think we should establish what exactly technology is). It sounds like you are trying to argue the MANNER in which technology is used.

    Is this true? If so, go with that argument…you and I would probably get along very well.

  16. Scott Pollard (RevScottie) Jun 12, 2009 2:28 pm

    To quote Burningp:

    “Churches like elavation and Newspring and revolution are using technology to make the name of Jesus famous and I don’t like it”

    Please don’t tell me that all of you deep thinkers who regularly contribute here take this seriously? If so look up at the ceiling; it says gullible on it 🙂


  17. Revolution Member Jun 12, 2009 2:30 pm


    Wow.. I just don’t understand a statement like “These new churches have really hurt alot of churches”. Could you please expand on that some ?

    The “the old fasion way, using pews, and singing hymns and suite and tie” is great and no one would be right to be critical about that way of worship. But, If people are coming to know CHRIST through attending REVOLUTION or your church then how could that be wrong and hurtful to other churches ?

    I think each person should ask themselves. Is my church focused on and spending it’s resources primarily on those already saved within it’s walls or on those non-church going friends and neighbors, those that are far from GOD, the unsaved out in the community ?

    Which is it ?

    G. Wood
    Revolution Church volunteer

  18. Burningp Jun 12, 2009 2:39 pm


    It just makes me mad the way they reach these people. I watched a service on newsprings web site that I heard kirk cameron talking about on his radio show and went checked it out for myself. They played acdc in a service. I know Moses quoted script from a poem that was about zesus to reach people for God, and that around 150 or so people got saved that day but acdc is for the devil. I’m sure JD knows more about it since he lives in the same county.

  19. Albert Jun 12, 2009 3:00 pm

    @ Burningp

    One thing that this blog has helped me to see is that people respond very differently to different forms of worship. Trust me, it took me a while before I truly realized this. You and I. We prefer hymns like “Onward Christian Soldiers” whereas they prefer to rock out to more modern “worship” songs (http://www.jduncan.com/blog/?p=1495).

    The same can be said of technology. More lighting and effects can be used to emphasize a point or draw attention to a particular aspect of their worship service. You and I don’t find it necessary, but perhaps it works for them and clearly that’s what members want.

    The only thing we can do is to discuss why we don’t agree with their worship style. I completely agree with you on the AC/DC point. I don’t think that the house of God should be defamed with that kind of music. The only reason I can think of as to why it was used was probably to show what kind of path sinners are on before the saving knowledge of Christ–which apparently fit well in the service. When Duncan wrote a post about it, I payed attention and gave some of my opinions (I think…I may have sat that one out).

  20. Albert Jun 12, 2009 3:06 pm

    @Rev. Member

    You’re right, outreach to the unsaved is of utmost importance in any true form of Christianity. However, you seem to be diminishing the importance of maintaining healthy walks with God within the church walls. I disagree with you that a church should be PRIMARILY spending it’s time and resources on reaching the lost. If a church does nothing but focus on that, who’s focusing on tending the sheep? I think this is a major problem with most of the “mega” churches today. The focus of every sermon is to convince people (hopefully newcomers) to come to Christ and “give their lives today!” That’s all well and good and Biblical, but there needs to be growth within the church walls as well. Outreach should not trump discipleship.

  21. Burningp Jun 12, 2009 3:25 pm

    I don’t understand the feedback I’m getting, I’m on the side of anti mega church pastors. That’s what I get when I read this blog and it’s replies. Even the twitters from @tommyfredricks are all in the face of rick warren and PN. Twitters from @jduncandotcom are using terms like “preacher bashing.” at first blast away then build it all back up? I’ll keep my 2 cents, i’ll sit back and watch until I get a clue. Sorry!!

  22. Seth Jun 12, 2009 3:29 pm


    Correct, outreach shouldn’t trump discipleship, but at the same time, discipleship shouldn’t trump outreach. They are equals. Some mega churches focus time on each one equally, though it may seem like they don’t b/c the sermon always seems to be about getting saved. The discipleship for mega-churches comes in the form of home groups, classes the church offers, and some churches do it very effectively through outreach. Its a cricle, people get saved, they learn, they go out in the community to witness to people and/or to invite people to church.

    On the topic of music, It is the exact same as churches, different people use different music syles to worship God. Whether it be rock, rap, country, or hymns. I have heard hymns that were modernized. I think as long as it is praising God or holding true to the scriptures, it is ok to use. I have heard great songs and like boths syles out there.

  23. Revolution Member Jun 12, 2009 4:13 pm


    We will need to agree to disagree on some of your points.. I do believe there is a need for maintaing a healthy flock. One way is too make sure everyone able is involved in the mission of the church. What greater mission is there than reaching out to those far from GOD ?

    I do support a balance between the two but so many churches I’ve been in are 95 percent about the flock. Guess it is good that we all have lots of choices to where we want to serve.

    G. Wood
    Revolution Church volunteer

  24. Tommy F Jun 12, 2009 4:33 pm

    Burningp: You’ve been hanging out with Joe too much. First stop: Lowe’s. To buy list: hinge.

    And the twitter account you are referring to is bogus. JDuncan is not a preacher basher.
    I’d say it lasts another day or so. A cheap impersonation is easy to spot.

    Observe for a few days. Then join in when you have a clear thought.

  25. James Duncan Jun 12, 2009 4:44 pm

    Some quick notes before the All Blacks start their haka.

    I don’t take BP seriously. The statement, “Churches like elavation and Newspring and revolution are using technology to make the name of Jesus famous and I don’t like it,” cannot be for real. BP, you lost all credibility with that one. Until I see something more sensible, I don’t think you’re for real. If you are, you’ve picked up Seth’s shovel for my side (nice work, Seth). Put it down.

    As TF observes, the new Twitter account is not mine, as should be obvious to anyone with any sense at all.

  26. Burningp Jun 12, 2009 10:10 pm

    Your right, your right, I can’t act like some one else, what I meant by that statement was they are using that tech. Claiming they are trying to make the name of Jesus famous when they are really trying to me the first to have let’s say a web campus. 2nd of all I could tell @tommyfredrick was a fake twitter due to the ip address of the computer. My I.t. department is pretty good. 3rd of all, my nickname is burningp, stands for burning pitchfork. You know because I’m………SATAN!!!

    Lou-dog out!!!!

  27. JT Jun 12, 2009 10:36 pm

    I don’t think this is same person who was posting comments as Satan. The Satan comments were coherent and on topic. This commenter just makes no sense at all.

  28. Albert Jun 13, 2009 1:08 pm

    @ Seth

    Thanks for the reminder about home groups. I’m curious as to how NS home groups are structured. Can you give me an insight?

  29. Seth Jun 13, 2009 7:43 pm

    Albert, well, they are structured based on where you are in life, leaders go through a training class. All leaders have to go through this class at least once a year. Then, you have different groupd for different people who are at different stages of life, college home groups (they can be split or coed), sinlges (male and female are seperate), couples/married (some have it where you meet together and then break into male and female sessions or they stay together the whole time), married with kids (some groups provide childcare and some do not, it varies from group to group), and an older persons group (I think the age of this starts at 60). The singles groups usually have between 7-12 and couples have no more than 24 people (8-12 couples). Groups have the same leader and also have a “helper” who assists them in any way needed. The “helper” is generally expected to go on to be the leader of their own group. The independent meetings vary also, some proved food, while others provide more like snacks and drinks. Some are at the same location each week and some move around to each persons house. Once a month they have a massive home groups get together where everyone comes together for fellowship. The curriculum right now is done thru a mixture of video teaching/the leader prepares material to go with it. If i’m not mistaken, it is now done through workbooks and interaction. But, again, each group is defferent. They have a group sign-up card, you fill it out and they find a group with the best match. Sometimes if you already have a group of friends or know what group you want to join they will let you join that one. And if you don’t like your group you are free to leave or switch groups. Some people go to the groups long before they go to the church b/c they are invited by friends. Hope that helps, any questions just ask, though I might not be the fastest in replying as I am at the beach this week, but I will try.

  30. KeithO Jun 14, 2009 10:41 am

    @GWood, Revolution Church Member,

    In your earlier post you said,

    “I think each person should ask themselves. Is my church focused on and spending it’s resources primarily on those already saved within it’s walls or on those non-church going friends and neighbors, those that are far from GOD, the unsaved out in the community ? Which is it ?”

    This question puts us right in the middle of the very important issue of how we view and respond to Jesus. For the church, the more immediate answer to your question should perhaps be that the church spend resources on both endeavors. Jesus calls us to “make disciples”. Not church members. Not converts. The church is to prepare people for works of service. This requires opportunities (educational, worship, fellowship, church and community involvement and outreach) that a church can provide over a lifetime. I would view these opportunities as vital to the development of disciples. Discipling is a lifetime effort.

    On the other hand, if your idea of outreach is merely limited to telling people to get saved from their sin so they can go to heaven, then you have reduced Jesus to nothing more than a mere sin management strategy in your efforts to make him famous. This approach (notwithstanding how it belittles Jesus) has the effect of producing people who depend on Jesus for their destination (heaven), but will not depend on him to learn how best to live their lives now, or in the presence of God in the next life.

    Here is an idea for thought: We have to learn how to live in heaven. How else can we without learning from Jesus? The church can be a very powerful provider of those opportunities to learn and practice.

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