How Perry Noble’s legalism failed Gary Lamb 77

The Gary Lamb story will happen again, mainly because the men who think they’re learning lessons from this and other failings are clutching at solutions that will ultimately fail them.

A few observations:

  1. Structures aren’t the same as sanctification. Perry Noble has preached IN CAPITAL LETTERS and exclamation marks to his fellow ministers about how to avoid sexual failings.

    Call me legalistic…but I am a FREAK about particular personal boundaries…such as…

    • I do not ride in a car alone with a woman other than my wife!
    • I will not be on an elevator alone with another woman. (I have literally gotten off on a floor that was not my destination in order to keep this value.)
    • I will not counsel a woman alone.
    • I will not share a meal in a restaurant with a woman with it being just the two of us…under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! EVER! (And PLEASE don’t hand me that crap about how it is “business!”)

    We’ve seen just how well Noble’s legalism worked for one of his two primary proteges. There is nothing wrong with establishing procedures for avoiding trouble, but you can’t rely on them to protect you from a corrupt heart.

  2. Women aren’t wicked. Perry Noble’s crass advice to pastors seems premised on the assumption that women are more infectious than the swine flu and must be avoided at all costs.

    My advice…take RADICAL steps. Make a committment to NEVER be alone with a woman! EVER…under ANY circumstances.

    There’s a difference between being alone with a woman and having sex with her that most of us have no problem recognizing. One will happen often and be outside your control; the other shouldn’t happen at all and is within your control. The refusal to apologize to Elena or her husband seems to be consistent with this view of women as immoral agents who are on the prowl to bring down otherwise good men.

    The problem is not women; it’s men who can’t control themselves around women.

  3. Self control is seriously compromised. Noble and Lamb have been subjects of criticism on this blog in the past for their gratuitous lack of self control. In discussing their inability to control their tongue, I asked “How can either of these men credibly teach people about purity, sobriety or self control?” The answer, it turns out, is that they can’t. They can’t even teach themselves about it. Perry Noble’s Twitter entries are a constant reminder of his lack of self control or self denial. He is a man of big appetites who relishes in publicly satisfying them. A few weeks ago he made a big deal about driving down to Atlanta just for lunch.

    I am seriously thinking about driving to ATL tomorrow just to have lunch @ Fogo!!! It’s just a thought…am I crazy? Anyone wanna go?

    He ended up taking at least two of his staff members. Here’s another example:

    Here is a HUGE surprise…I am hungry…really desire to consume large amounts of food!!!

    It goes on and on.

    Understand my point. It’s not a sin to eat; it is a sin to lack temperance when it comes to eating. When you act like a three year old expecting your loudly announced needs to be satisfied whenever you have them, why would you expect to have developed the discipline to deny yourself when you do get some alone time with a willing woman? These men have few obvious self-control muscles.

There is wisdom in setting guidelines to help reduce temptations. Perry Noble’s counseling of Lamb didn’t help him because it didn’t deal with his selfish and childish heart. A bad heart will always overcome good rules.

77 thoughts on “How Perry Noble’s legalism failed Gary Lamb

  1. Jake Jun 12, 2009 4:48 pm

    Wow, so you are an ordained pastor (which, by the way, does not automatically mean this “involves you”…not at all. Do you know anyone personally in this situation? Then no…it doesn’t involve you).

    Ordained pastor, mental health professional, public relations trainer. Wow, you’ve got quite a resume there!

    Again…not the reason Elena’s name was mentioned. It was actually a way to thwart gossip. Do you not think people wouldn’t start talking when she was no longer employed at the church either?

    Can you please, please, please stop with the assumptions that she hasn’t REQUESTED to be left out of the picture after the initial letter?

  2. Jenn Wagner-PROUD REVOLUTION ATTENDEE Jun 15, 2009 3:20 pm

    What is going on? Gary once said that he used to read all the trash that was said about him because “EVERY IDIOT HAS A BLOG” Well sir, you must have been the idiot that Gary was speaking of. You make assuptions that Elana & Kyle are no longer on twitter or facebook, but yet they are.. Last time I checked you are not a regular attender of Revolution, you have no idea of what you are talking about. Revolution is a Family of People who love eachother and accept all. We do not judge people for the actions that they commit. We forgive and move on for Who are we to Throw that 1st stone. As for you Sir that is all you have done is thrown stones at MY PASTOR Gary Lamb. He is human he and Elana made a very stupid mistake. She was named becuase The Board of Trustees did not want any speculation as to whom he had an affair with. Elana is not innocent either. This note is not to Lift up Gary but to note that 2 people in or not in church did something that they shouldn’t have done..You sir are not any more innocent. You have belittled, made fun of, and have been abusive to all members of Revolution Church as well as those affiliated with us.. Maybe you should come to Revolution and see the Love that is in that Building-THE NON-JUDGING LOVE! We are the most supportive group of individuals. And We forgive Elana & Gary and will not judge them for they are only human…We at Revolution have a Group that Meets every Tuesday Night at 6pm.. Its called CELEBRATE RECOVERY, it is for those with Hurts, Hang-Ups & Habits. You should stop by, You have obvious issues with Bashing Pastors!. it may not be the Old School Southern Baptist or whatever you believe in and no matter how he taught it.. We still have nearly 3000 people every Sunday at Service to Listen.

    Get Over Yourself. I hope that All the judgement that you have placed upon others on Earth, will kindly be given back to you in Heaven.. Is what your doing Godly?

  3. James Duncan Jun 16, 2009 4:36 am

    Jenn, you write that I am an idiot. On your blog you say that I’m a total Tool (I’m flattered by the capitalization). You say that I have no idea and you wish judgment on me.

    So, how is that non-judging love you’re learning about working out for you?

  4. JT Jun 16, 2009 6:47 am

    JDunc –

    You took the words out of my mouth.

  5. Jenn Wagner-PROUD REVOLUTION ATTENDEE Jun 16, 2009 9:03 am

    I am a NEW Christian so I dont know all the rules and guidelines…I do know that from what we have all been through is extremly emotional and with any tragedy there are going to be those who critize what others do no matter what the situation is..It saddens me to know what your “qualifications” state that your a Mental Health Professional.. How can you teach mental health when all it seems to be is hate that you write about? Our your living a double life? Gary is an outstanding Individual and I truly Respect him and if he is preaching by Labor Day like you State than I will Gladly have my Ass! in that seat. Please stop judging a book by it’s cover when all you have is hearsay information.

  6. Amy- Another Proud Revolution Attendee Jun 16, 2009 9:31 am

    Wow~when people have said that Satan comes to knock down anything Godly that is going on they weren’t kidding! Way too much attention is being given to the whole incident over Gary and Elana. At this point it is between them,their family’s and God! Ultimately God is who they have to answer to. I have read many blogs posted about this~one point I have come to agree with is that the more people focus on this the less they have to focus on them and their sinful nature! I am one of those people that the whole premise of Revolution is based upon~reaching people FAR from God. For whatever reason~God’s plan`not mine~Revolution came into my life and presented itself to me and made it possible for me to develop a relationship with God. At any other time in my life or at any other church~I doubt that I would still be attending or working on my relationship with God.Despite everything that is being said about the recent events with Revolution~which BTW never seems to mentioned the miracles and over 300 people coming into a relationship w/Christ since the beginning of the year~Satan has failed to stop the force that is going on~in fact has only strengthened our resolve to continue with what Gary has started..REACHING PEOPLE FAR FROM GOD! Nothing Gary or Elana has done has shaken the foundation of my faith. It only enforces in me what Gary has been teaching all along~that we are ALL sinners~worthy of God’s forgiveness and eternal happiness thru a relationship w/Christ. It saddens me to see all who seem to have lost that vision and are so quick to judge.Look in your own glass house before you start throwing stones!

  7. James Downing Jun 16, 2009 9:53 am

    Just a couple of things that I feel need to be addressed, in this issue and similar ones to come:
    1.) Why don’t you go directly to this person? BECAUSE THEY WON’T ALLOW IT! These pastors systematically isolate themselves from any form criticism outisde of a small circle of people. If you wanted to address an issue with them privately there would be no avenue to do so. They give excuses for doing this, and claim that the circle of people from whom they will accept criticism are people they trust and respect. This circle actually turns into people who will agree with them on all points. If you challenge the pastor, you are no longer in the group he accepts criticism from. I can show you where all of these pastors have set up this system, and where they have dismissed people who dared disagree with them. Therefore, the only avenue they have left available for criticism is to do so publicly.

    2.) If this is such a private matter on to be discussed privately, Why did Gary Lamb share it with the world via his blog? See, these guys want all the positives of being a pseudo-celebrity, but then cry foul when someone dares stand up to them. They need to grow up. If they can’t take the heat of the public scrutiny, there are tons of ways to live their lives more privately.

    3.) How are people supposed to react to news that a pastor is having an affair with his assistant? The forgive and forget train left town years ago. Some of us are tired of pastors using the pulpit as their personal sex service. You are asking us to take it easy on the guy…I think we need to be tougher on these predators. Bottom line is, someone with so little control over his sexual desires has no business being a pastor. Yes, I said that, and yes, I would stick with that for myself or any other person in ministry. If you are looking for extra-marital encounters, troll the single’s bars, but stay out of the pulpit. Period. This ABUSE has to stop somewhere.

  8. Seth Jun 16, 2009 10:43 am


    On you point number one, I would like to comment, yes, people leave ut that was over a disagreement over the direction of the church. If you follow these pastors blogs, or heard them speak, they have tense moments in the senior staff meetings, they have moments where they all disagree on something, NS has had instances where everyone agreed on something that Perry did not like. They do not surround themselves with “yes” people but surround themselves with people devoted to God. Yes, they do have disagreements on staff, but, they work it out. Many of these pastors go back on either Sunday night or Monday and watch the service to critique themselves.

  9. James Downing Jun 16, 2009 10:57 am

    Seth – A.) How about instead of follwing blogs etc…I know them, and have worked closely with them. I know alot of what goes on behind the scenes, that most people aren’t privy to. Even that being said, you skipped the point of my post, that you can’t take an issue to them personally because they won’t allow it. So, you trust their inner circle, who cares? James Duncan is not in the inner circle and would therefore not be aloowed to take up a matter in private. He has no other option but a public forum.

    AS far as whether the inner circle are “yes men” or not… if they are not, they are no longer in the inner circle. Oh sure, disagrrements over minor issues are acceptable…but for instance, Had someone noticed Lamb’s innapropriate relarionship before this all came out, and tried to take it up privately, I assure you that person would be dismissed.

  10. Seth Jun 16, 2009 11:09 am

    You also have to understand, they pastor a rather large church, if you let everyone come in to talk who had disagreements or agreements or just wanted to talk, he would never have time to do any work. Also, some people have good arguements and others do not, so how do you decide which to listen to and which not to listen to? How do you listen to everyone and still have time to do ministry?

  11. James Downing Jun 16, 2009 11:18 am

    My point exactly. My answer was to those who say “You should take this up privately.” If you are not in the circle, you are not allowed to take it up privately, so that arguement should no be used anymore.

    • James Duncan Jun 16, 2009 12:49 pm


      You are exactly right about their refusing to listen to private criticism, then dismissing any public criticism because it’s not private. It’s a joke and I’m tired of hearing it. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve asked for a private meeting with PN. Someone ask Tony Morgan how well inner circles tolerate even private differences.


      You make a good argument for limiting the size of a church. Isn’t it an interesting dynamic, that you say that when your church gets too big, it becomes impossible for the believers to play the Berean role in the pastor’s life? I’d say that’s when it becomes most critical, because popular leaders may well have become that way by figuring out how to satisfy itching ears.

      Look, if you’re a pastor and someone in your congregation has a disagreement with you, it means that either you are wrong or they are wrong (perhaps you’re both wrong). No shepherd should be content with letting that state of affairs continue. Don’t they at least have a spiritual responsibility to correct one or the other?

  12. Seth Jun 16, 2009 1:04 pm

    And does the Pastor not have a responsibility to also have to take care of everyone in the congregation? So if you have a congregation of 15,000, chances are, you will have have at least 100 people in the congregation (not to mention the countless others who critique NS who don’t go there like yourself) who you would also have to listen to, so, where does the Pastor find time to work on next weeks sermon? where does he find time to work on the other parts of the church? if you gave everyone only 30 mins a week to disscuss their problems they have woth you, thats a more than 50 hours work week and you haven’t even started working on anything else. That is why you have staff, take you problems to them, let them answer, if they can’t they should direct you to someone who does.

    Also, like I said, why should he listen to the critiques of someone who doesn’t attend NS regularly or is even a member. I would say you start with them first, then move to attenders, then people like yourself. So, if anything, he would never get around to listening to you because of the amount of people that would come before you on the pecking order if they did change things up. By listening to you duncan, he would not be tending to his flock since you are not in his flock.

  13. James Downing Jun 16, 2009 4:30 pm

    Seth – you have made your point very clear. J Duncan has ample biblical ground for running this blog. I’m not saying Perry should talk to Duncan, he’s far to big a star for that. I’m saying for those that continually say – take this to Perry privately – that is an impossibility. Blog away J Duncan! Seth agrees!

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