More NewSpring threats. A story we’ve seen before. (Updated) 11

Yesterday a commentator appeared on this blog assuring us that he’d welcome a “great open debate” about the good and bad things that megachurches are doing. The commentator, who identified himself as “Pastor,” came back this afternoon questioning my salvation, my church’s motivations, and, for good measure, throwing in a reference to my employer.

After I notified “Pastor” in the comments that he was no longer welcome to post on this blog, he responded tonight with the following:

What a tool you James. You do know a lot of NewSpringers give a lot of money to AU. I wonder if you stopped until you gt fired what would happen? Nope not a pastor but I bet I could cause you some serious job pain if I chose to .

And then, when he saw that the comment wasn’t automatically posted, he used the contact form to reach me under the heading, Not affraid to stand up for Jesus:

Why are so scared of post that point out what you are really about. And what are you teaching your students at anderson. This really concerns me. Calls will be made to deans tomorrow and board members. And before you dismiss what I am saying make sure you know that I directly or indirectly can effect about 500k in donations.

So after saying he wanted a debate, what he really wants is to blackmail my employer for $500,000 to have them fire me. We’ve seen this script before. The quick resort of some NewSpring supporters to threats and force should trouble the church’s leaders, though it’s hardly a surprising reaction given their continued aggressive rhetoric towards critics like me.

I have enough confidence in the integrity of my employer that they won’t be bothered by these phone calls should he make them. My university robustly supports freedom of Christian conscience and speech. Even so, this blog doesn’t speak for the university, its students, faculty or staff. It speaks for me alone in my role as a member of the church universal, not as a professor.

I have passed this gentlemen’s comments and contact information on to NewSpring church, assuming that he is probably a member there. If he is, I have confidence that their pastors will provide him with some wise and calming counsel.

UPDATE: Dec 2. After posting this, “Pastor” contacted me again privately, though still anonymously, to express regret for his messages and assure me that he didn’t mean them. Today, a senior staff member at NewSpring emailed “Pastor,” using an address I had provided them, on behalf of the church’s leadership team to tell him to desist and that such inappropriate actions did not help the church and were not encouraged by it. I am grateful for their swift cooperation.

11 thoughts on “More NewSpring threats. A story we’ve seen before. (Updated)

  1. SallyVee Dec 1, 2013 10:16 pm

    Hi James. It’s hard to believe these fools are such, well, reliable fools! Thank you for bringing the latest example to our attention.

    The only line I found unbelievable was your last: “I have confidence that their [NewSpring’s] pastors will provide him with some wise and calming counsel.” If you meant that ironically, I’m grinning along with you. Or maybe you meant that due to their lawsuit history with you (in which NewSpring lost, big time), the pastors will jump on this toad because they fear legal reprisal. Please let us know if anything else happens under this incident report.

    Meanwhile, I hope you and your family had an otherwise calm and enjoyable Thanksgiving weekend. Did you see the Iron Bowl? Wowza. Since I was rooting for Auburn I’m a happy camper today. Plus, I’m a really low T fan and did not tune in until the very last play (when my husband yelled “they’re going into overtime”) – and as it turned out, that was the only play I needed to see!

  2. James Duncan Dec 1, 2013 10:59 pm

    Thanks, Sally.

    I am serious about what I think the NS pastors will do. I have met quite a few of these guys, and we got along quite well on a personal level. They might preach and act unwisely at times, but they are decent Christian brothers. I think that if they can help, they will.

    Now, on the more serious matter you raise, yes, what a game. I don’t usually watch college football, but I did happen to catch the end of both of those amazing Auburn games live.

    • SallyVee Dec 2, 2013 1:23 pm

      That’s very gracious but not entirely persuasive. I mean, Perry Noble still “leads” NewSpring, correct? That testifies to a whole lot of denial, incompetence, ignorance, deception, cowardice, avarice or all of the above on the part of his underlings and colleagues. While they may have passable manners and social skills, they are participating in breathtakingly baaaaad teaching, preaching, and activities designed to control and muddy rather than liberate and enlighten. I fear for the souls of the wolves and the sheep at NewSpring.

  3. Bene D Dec 2, 2013 12:11 am

    Sad state of affairs when someone who can’t spell or form a proper sentence can manipulate the giving of 500 thousand dollars.

    Be safe and do keep your readers posted.

  4. Michael D Dec 2, 2013 10:32 am

    This is again a perfect story to show the sad state of affairs within the seeker driven, pastor led church model. No questions, no discernment, no love only ‘obey’ the pastor. Please know we are glad to see Pajama Pages again and pray that you continue your online ministry.

    PS. seeing a comment about the Bama/Auburn game in here causes great angst. Was hoping to avoid thinking about that while reading PP! 😉

  5. Kendra H. Dec 2, 2013 7:11 pm

    James,

    Thank you for your honesty and courage. I’ve been following several blogs for awhile (Wartburg Watch and Wade Burleson) and have been dismayed at many of the antics of some of these megachurches. I’ll be praying for protection for you and your family as you continue to stand up for the truth. Money and power still hold sway, even after thousands of years, over those who call themselves followers of Christ !

  6. Paula Dec 6, 2013 5:13 pm

    Bloggers Verboten!

    hmmmm was this guy’s name Alphonse Gabriel Capone? Sounds like a real charmer. I hope you informed your employer of the threats post haste. But the atrocious grammar, the typos and misspellings, make me wonder exactly how influential this guy is. Could he possibly be a successful businessman with those kinds of mediocre communication skills?

    As I mentioned on your other post, everyone should listen to Chris Rosebrough’s analysis of the Janet Mefferd apology as he describes what he thinks is going on, on the Dec 5th Fighting for the Faith entitled “This was no boating accident!”

    The Christian Media is in effect the Christian Mafia. And these little ‘hitmen’ like that (cough) “pastor” are just coming out of the woodwork, VOLUNTEERING their services and their souls, in order to earn favor with the Dons.

  7. SallyVee Dec 7, 2013 9:45 am

    Paula, well said! In my email to friends & family regarding Chris’s tour de force on Dec. 5th, I also used mafia terminology including “professional hit men.” The exposure of the Christian Mafia is one of the more useful results of the Driscoll scandal. Open your eyes, people!

  8. Stephen Dec 9, 2013 3:58 pm

    Wow…here’s where your offerings at NewSpring go. Give your pastor a big-fat (and secret) tax-free housing allowance to pad his pay (hopefully the unconstitutionality of that one will be upheld…sorry, small church pastors – the mega-church pastors have ruined that one for you). Send a video crew to Israel. Oh, and basically sponsor a sweepstakes contest (link to newspring.cc). What’s next – scratch-off tickets?

  9. Concerned citizen Dec 11, 2013 5:04 pm

    I’ve read not only on your blog (and I must admit I don’t get too into blogging so I’m not super informed on all of this) and others like yours a lot of criticism towards “mega churches” and the like. What local churches do you support? Is it the church “system” in general, or just the oversized? I’m not for or against either, just curious. There does seem to be quite a bit of hate towards Newspring by the folks who follow your blog and comment, but why no hatred toward smaller churches that are just as guilty as hurting people as even Newspring apparently hurt you? I see a lot of generalization in these comments and blogs even putting down people who attend that church and that’s just as wrong! And for the record, I don’t attend Newspring. I don’t attend any church as I’ve been hurt by way too many “small” churches in the past. Just wondering what churches you advocate so I can see if your gripe is equal across the board or you just hate a few in specific.

  10. Justin M. Dec 11, 2013 10:52 pm

    Hey Professor,

    Glad to see that get worked out quickly, that’s quite a serious threat.

    Blessings

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