It’s remarkable what passes as teaching in Noble-land 30

Perry Noble gave his annual pep talk to like-minded pastors yesterday and told them they need not worry if their parishioners get offended at what they do in their churches and leave. It’s a good thing when people leave your church, quoth the preacher man.

To support his point, he quoted scripture from

To illustrate his point, he said that the people who leave are the equivalent of–how shall we say it nicely?–bowel movements.

Warming to his task, he went just a little further. If they won’t leave naturally, give them something to help them on their way.

Sometimes an enema is the best thing that can happen to a church. (Perry Noble)

Might I pose a few questions to Perry and those who cheered for him today?

  1. If most of these folk are leaving for other churches, what are you saying those churches are filled with?
  2. Why should I walk in your front door if you’re so eager to push me out your back door?
  3. If your church needs an enema, what have you been feeding it?

Just wondering.

30 thoughts on “It’s remarkable what passes as teaching in Noble-land

  1. Tommy F. Mar 13, 2009 12:47 am

    Don’t take anyone else’s word for it, take it from their Senior Pastor. NewSpring really is full of excrement. Or at least that’s what their Pastor thinks of them.

  2. Micah Mar 13, 2009 2:49 am

    Tell that to the church in Acts.

    Reminds me of the church I grew up in. There was a time when the pastor publicly taught from the pulpit that inter-racial marriage was a sin. A few people left the congregation. A few years later, he recanted and publicly announced that there was no biblical argument against it. Many people left.

    Either way, I guess in both cases, the church was improved…

  3. James Duncan Mar 13, 2009 7:58 am

    Micah, wouldn’t that church have best been improved by the pastor leaving?

    I’m not sure what you mean by the church in Acts. From what I recall, when people left those churches, it was in body bags.

  4. Tommy F. Mar 13, 2009 10:09 am

    At Unleash 2009, Perry Noble announced an exciting new slogan for the church he pastors:

    NewSpring: We’re not #1. We’re #2!

    A bumper sticker will be available in the gift shop on Sunday. Please replace your current sticker with the new one.

  5. Micah Mar 13, 2009 11:01 am

    No, that was my point exactly. I’m agreeing with you. People leaving the church in Acts was no little thing. They either died because they were so unified under the same beliefs or were personally excommunicated because if their ongoing sin. People leaving the way was no small matter nor was it typically seen as an improvement to the body.

    The second part of my post was sarcasm. I was trying to make the point that no matter what you preach, at some point people will be upset and leave. That doesn’t always mean you’re preaching effectively, sometimes it just means they don’t agree.

  6. James Duncan Mar 13, 2009 11:11 am

    Right, Micah.

    The early church is an interesting example of how to handle disagreement. I think you could characterize a good deal of apostolic writing as an attempt to correct important intra- and inter-church disagreements over both theology and methodology. Corinthians, especially, comes to mind.

    Paul’s general response is to point out the source of the dispute, which has usually come from false teachers whom he rebukes. Disputes are settled by teaching the truth, not by eradicating the disagreeable. In the early church, if anyone’s asked to leave (at least in the sense of not being listened to), it’s almost always the teachers.

  7. B. Rink Mar 13, 2009 4:37 pm

    I’ll act as Newspring’s Information Minister here…context from around those words would help a bit to me. I’ve heard a bunch of Perry’s sermons so I think I have a grasp on what the message was about, but I did not hear this one. I’ll answer the questions to the best of my ability:

    1-Those churches are filled with former Newspring goers. They did not like Newspring’s message or form of delivery for the message and they left. Some of those people have legitimate reasons for leaving while others are just jumping from church-to-church to meet their needs.

    2-I think that is loaded question. We are assuming that he is so eager to push people out the door. He is just saying that churches should not conform their vision when a few people are offended.

    3-People have different viewpoints. Perry has been feeding them what he believes God is telling him. The people who are offended are resistant to that message. If they do not like the message, complaining is not the answer…just find a different church that fits your beliefs. Newspring has a clear vision for what they do. They are encouraging other churches to listen to God’s call and not mind the detractors.

  8. Matt Mar 14, 2009 2:23 am

    B. Rink,
    The difference between someone leaving because they are offended.
    What makes Perry’s statement ridiculous is that he used the term “Enema”-a forced filtration. We should purge the church but being controversial because he can is not purging the church.

  9. B. Rink Mar 14, 2009 10:03 am

    What is forcing them out is their resistance to the message. I volunteer at Newspring…we don’t forcibly remove people from the church. It is a decision by the individual person. People are either convicted but don’t want to change or they have some issue with how the church delivers the message.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know Newspring is different than your regular church. They have unique methods, but seeing it firsthand, it works. People are coming to Christ and are being taught the Word unashamedly once they are in Christ. It’s not of a lot of people’s cup of tea, but Newspring knows the group it is trying to reach and edify.

  10. Sara Grumbles Mar 14, 2009 10:27 am

    @B.Rink “What is forcing them out is their resistance to the message”

    Possibly true, in some cases. But could the intentional divisive language (that is the norm) coming from the stage play some part in it?

  11. James Duncan Mar 14, 2009 12:30 pm

    What is this exotic teaching that only exists in a few new churches?

    Content. Tell us about the content, please.

  12. Tommy F. Mar 14, 2009 1:33 pm

    To anyone who attends NS: How does it feel to be called a piece of s#!t by your own pastor? I realize he didn’t mean everyone who attends NS, just those who disagree with him.

    So, the million dollar question: do you agree with him? Is he right? If so, then you’re calling people in your own church, those sitting next to you tomorrow, s#!t. If not, then you should leave, since you disagree with Perry. This is the logic of his comment.

  13. B. Rink Mar 14, 2009 4:51 pm

    Look at this, I got a four on one interweb rasslin’ match now. All I can say is to actually listen to his messages on a regular basis. Every message can be taken to task on a few points(just like any blog can). The content is what Perry and the church feels that God is telling him. He does not preach messages without the Lord’s message. You can take whatever you want out of it, but it is as simple as that is what God is telling him. I have not seen anything Bibically wrong with the direction of the church to stop drinking the kool-aid.

    Yes, he does have intentionally divisive language. You know Jesus was pretty divisive(not comparing Perry to Jesus so don’t have a heart attack people), but the church is not meant to be a place where the pastor pats everyone on the back. He is there to preach God’s Word. God’s Word convicts, it is divisive. It leaves the option to follow God or not. Atleast, that’s where I’m coming from.

    @Tommy F.,
    You’re reading a lot into it, aren’t you? I don’t think anything I say could satisfy you.

  14. Tommy F. Mar 14, 2009 6:04 pm

    4-on-1? Have some of your NS friends join in. There are thousands to choose from.

    Unless they, unlike you, are offended.

  15. James Duncan Mar 14, 2009 9:07 pm

    B Rink, you say that Perry only preaches what he feels God is telling him. That’s rather subjective, wouldn’t you say? Perhaps this is the source of the problem. Perry thinks he’s hearing from God, but there are folk who are not sure they can reconcile what and how he’s preaching with what they see in God’s Word.

    How would you characterize PN’s general reaction to those (in or outside of NS) who question his content and methods? Would you say it’s a good response?

    Re. divisiveness. Can you please show me where Jesus provides a model for pastors to drive sheep out of the fold? Not the wolves, but the sheep. Where does he chase the saints away?

  16. Tommy F. Mar 14, 2009 9:44 pm

    @ B. Rink: While you’re looking in the Gospels to reply to JDuncan’s question, isn’t there a passage somewhere that depicts a shepherd leaving the 99 to find the 1 who wandered off? It’s found in Luke 15, right before the one about a woman searching for a lost coin. In that parable, she stops everything to retrieve the one that “got away.” I realize the analogy doesn’t fit perfectly, but …

    Do you commend your pastor for basically ignoring this lesson? It seems Perry’s response to anyone who leaves the fold on account of disagreeing with him is: “Good riddance. We’re better off without you.” Isn’t there a more constructive approach?

  17. B. Rink Mar 14, 2009 11:53 pm

    I guess I’m just not seeing this the way that y’all are. The argument seems to be jumping all over the place. I don’t think Perry is trying to drive out the sheep. He is trying to correct the sheep, but when they reject the correction, he does not mind that they leave. Does that make sense?

    I go back to the key point of that Perry feels these messages are from God. That is a point that cannot be ignored. It can be disagreed with, but the only two people that truly know if it is, is Perry and God. We can speculate as this blog post does, but what does it solve? We just go round and round while Newspring brings more people to Christ.

    I would say he comes at questioning with a direct and often sarcastic response. He doesn’t care what critics of him say because he feels in his heart that he is doing God’s will. Right or wrong, he has taken a stand.

    @Tommy F.
    Loaded questions again. I don’t think he is ignoring that lesson as he is trying all he can to bring that sheep back, but they are rejecting him. Perry is talking about “Christians” who are not following God’s Word here. I realize that y’all are thinking Perry is doing the same thing, but I digress. “Christians” who do not follow God’s Word are not going to be coddled at Newspring. This is not the “feel-good” church that people claim it to be–Perry preaches the whole Word of God. He is trying to root out the modern day Pharisees who have rejected God within the structure of the Church. He wants them to change, but they have already rejected God. What can Perry do about that?

  18. James Duncan Mar 15, 2009 12:03 am

    This is a very young church. How did the Pharisees get there in the first place?

    Perhaps you do have a group of Pharisees who came and held out for as long as they could, but it’s not like PN has changed. If you come back the second week you’re going to get exactly the same as you got the first week. I don’t know why you wouldn’t leave after 60 minutes if you find PN as divisive as we all agree he is.

    On the other hand, perhaps we’re talking about a group of saints who have matured in their faith and can’t take the theatrics any more.

  19. B. Rink Mar 15, 2009 12:13 am

    I don’t think it matters how old the church is really. It is a people problem. People are fallen. Churches do their best to bring God’s Word to them each Sunday and other days of the week, but some reject still–yet stay in the church structure for whatever reason. Newspring is a popular church and with that can cause people to come to see the show as we are speaking about theatrics. They stay and start coming every week, but never really accept the message–they just take up space every week. Perry is trying to move them past that status to a 24/7 life in Christ. Ultimately, this is not an issue that you can go 50/50 on…you either like Perry or you don’t. You think he is with God’s will or not. No one’s convincing anybody of their opinion being right in the end anyways.

  20. B. Rink Mar 15, 2009 12:23 am

    It denotes that they claim to be in Christ, but do not live a life of a person of Christ. As I say, they are not living in the Word. From all the teaching that I’ve heard from Perry, that seems to be where he is directing the quote in your blog to.

    • James Duncan Mar 15, 2009 12:17 pm

      I may be mistaken, but I thought that our status as Christians (no quotes) had everything to do with what Jesus did for us, not what we do for him.

  21. Tommy F. Mar 15, 2009 9:23 am

    B. Rink: Are you essentially arguing that those who disagree with Perry are “not living in the Word”? That is quite an argument.

    If someone disagrees with Perry, then – your position is – they are disagreeing with God (since Perry is following God). This is very convenient for Perry, wouldn’t you say? Do you not see a potential problem with this?

  22. B. Rink Mar 15, 2009 12:32 pm

    @Tommy F, well that’s the point isn’t it? Are not pastors supposed to be bringing the message of God? I didn’t think this what that radical of a concept. People can disagree with Perry on his methods(which I think are fine, but y’all disagree)…what I’m speaking to is those who Perry is speaking to. He is speaking to those who are not following what God lays out for us in his Word.

    @Dr. Duncan, You are certainly not mistaken, but we are twisting what I’m saying here. How do I put this…I guess it goes back to the James vs. Paul dynamic. We are saved by faith certainly, but how can you be a Christian without acting like a Christian? A lot of people are great at acting(imagine italics if quotation marks are not your thing) like Christians, but are not really pursuing a life in Christ. That is all I’m saying and that is who I believe Perry is speaking to.

    • James Duncan Mar 15, 2009 12:37 pm

      Not to beat a dead horse (which signals that I’m about to beat it mercilessly), but what is this message that Perry is bringing from God that these Pharisees are rejecting? What is the teaching they’re getting from PN that they won’t be confronted with at another local church?

  23. B. Rink Mar 15, 2009 12:56 pm

    See, I’m having a problem with the questions because they make a few assumptions. I don’t think Perry ever says that other local churches do not confront their flock. I may have mistakenly implied that in one of my comments, but I can assure you that that has not come from his mouth. Newspring just confronts the issues in a different way through a number of methods that I’m sure you are familiar with(“secular” music[that’s just another topic for another blog that I won’t address], off-beat analogies in sermons, etc.)

    These Pharisees are people that believe they are doing all the “church”(imagine italics if it helps) things like singing, praying out in public, and the like, but do not have a real relationship where they follow God’s principles throughout their life–it’s just a public show. He is trying to get those people from a show to the real thing. When they continue to reject a real relationship with God, Perry pushes them to the point where they change or they leave.

  24. Simeon Duncan Mar 15, 2009 9:50 pm

    Question for James D. and Tommy F. – What answers will you accept to your questions to NP and B.Rink?
    I’m guessing the only end of the matter will only occur if the answers to the questions asked in the original post are:
    1. “s#!t”;
    2. “Because all good things (even you) come to pass”; and
    3. “s#!t”.

    I’m risking my neck here because I haven’t seen the alleged statement in context (I tried but my technology failed me miserably).

    I’d like to ask – and answer – my own questions:
    1. Could NP have chosen his words better? Of course.
    2. SHOULD NP have chosen his words better? Yes.
    3. Was the general point he was trying to make (albeit ham-fistedly) right? Probably. The fact that people leave a congregation is not necessarily always a bad thing. Jesus even drove a few of the more committed and presumably more established members of the Temple (Mark 11) – the metaphorical effect an enima but with a bar-room brawl feel.

    I think it would be more helpful, since B.Rink’s responses are getting a forensic linguistic going-over, that the discussion return to the appropriateness of the language NP used rather than debating endlessly – and probably futilely – the general point NP was trying to make.

    • James Duncan Mar 15, 2009 10:52 pm

      Thanks, Simeon D. (Hey, did you notice we have the same last name?)

      I’ll be posting some thoughts tomorrow morning on what I think PN might have said and done.

  25. Tommy F. Mar 15, 2009 10:43 pm

    Simeon, I think you have some good points here.

    The answer I am looking for from someone who attends NS is something like….: Wow. PN really screwed up here. He stepped over the line. He should apologize.

    I think the difference between your post and B. Rink’s is pretty clear. You’re in essence admitting that PN’s words were probably regrettable, but his meaning is acceptable. This is certainly a step in the right direction.

    This is something that no one else (so far) has been capable of saying. So, B. Rink defends PN, rather than admitting that the words were careless. It seems like defenders of PN see nothing wrong in what he says or does – ever. It’s as if they are incapable of criticizing him. Can the man do no wrong? PN’s words may give a clue as to why no one from his church – as of yet – has stepped up to criticize him. They defend him at all costs, which seems a bit overboard.

    Your post has a nice level-headed feel to it. Maybe you can advise PN & B. Rink.

  26. Simeon Duncan Mar 15, 2009 11:21 pm

    @Tommy F. – Thanks, as James D. will attest to, if the money’s right, I’ll advise anyone! If B.Rink or PN want to contact me I’d be happy to talk to them.

    @James D. – Wow, same surname. You’ve got my father to thank for that.

    @B.Rink – props to you for engaging.

    @Pajama Pages lurkers – My question for you: In what way does PN’s alleged offensive language reflect Paul’s admonition in 1 Cor 11 to: “Be imitator’s of me, as I am of Christ”?

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