My interview on Fighting for the Faith 24

Yesterday I talked to Chris Rosebrough of Fighting for the Faith radio for about an hour about this story. In that time, we couldn’t cover everything, but I offer you the link in case you’re interested in hearing a bit more in a different medium.

He starts by asking whether I hate NewSpring and Perry Noble. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know my answer to that.

I describe the beginning of the harassment and some of the implications of the Twitter messages.

Rosebrough plays a clip of Noble talking about jackass bloggers, which I had not heard before, which starts a discussion on dealing with critics.

Here’s something you haven’t heard before: I tell about my offer to Perry (through Brad Cooper in April) to join him in writing a book that answers the common criticisms against churches like NewSpring. For all who continue to think I hate NS and PN, ask yourself why I would offer to write something defending them.

In my favorite part of the interview, we talk about the beauty and sufficiency of Scripture, also of how there’s no need to jazz up the Bible or to reinvent the church.

Finally, we talk about “discernment blogging” in which I recommend that everyone starts such a blog.

24 thoughts on “My interview on Fighting for the Faith

  1. James Downing Dec 8, 2009 10:45 am

    You handled yourself quite well. I do wish there had been more time to go into the story, but I understand. Also, Roseborough goes WAY further into his critique of Perry, later in the show, than we ever did.

  2. John Malton Dec 8, 2009 10:55 am

    I did not know this but I need to ask….

    Is Gary still with the woman that he had the affair with?

    a tweet by @MissyMelissa….Miss seeing you and Elena! come visit

    That was followed by a tweet by @garylamb…[email protected] we miss you guys too. We will be up there in a few Sundays

  3. The Highland Host Dec 8, 2009 12:17 pm

    I am a listener to Fighting for the Faith, and have actually had a couple of my sermons played on the programme. I am a pastor of a small Reformed Baptist Church, so I can write as a pastor. Things like the whole awful experience you went through are why I blog semi-anyonymously. I have had personal experience of a man accusing me of homosexuality, but thankfully it was a single crazed fundamentalist from America! It is still not pleasant at all. Where do people get the idea that this is an appropriate way to deal with people who criticize those you idolize? Of course, most of the problems come from the said idolisation…

    Treating those who oppose you as EVIL is frankly silly. It concerns me that more and more of these rising stars in the American Church are using this sort of language. It is entirely possible for someone to disagree with you and be WRONG without being EVIL.

    As a pastor myself, let me say that I welcome criticism, and if I ever reach a point where I do not, I will no longer be fitted to be a pastor. I can well imagine that in a church the size of New Springs there will be people who are mentally unstable who latch on to the pastor as sycophants. It is part of the pastor’s job (my job here!) to discourage those people, and to make sure he says nothing that could be misconstrued as encouragement. We have a great deal of responsiblity!

  4. Will Kindle Dec 8, 2009 10:09 pm

    I am still amazed at this whole story. It sounds like something out of a movie. On one side, I believe your comments about Gary Lamb are 100% on the spot. What he did was wrong, and I believe he has no business in ministry. Although, I really don’t get what the issue is with Perry Noble or Steven Furtick. Especially when you talk about Perry Noble setting up accountability in his life. I am not a pastor, but I follow the same set of rules. I believe there is no value for me to go to lunch with a woman of the opposite sex, unless it is my wife. I feel like you take things that Perry Noble says, specifically to target non-believers, and then you spin it to try to make him look bad. I can tell you, I know people who have attended Elevation Church, and it changed their life.

  5. Tommy F Dec 8, 2009 11:17 pm


    You wrote: “I know people who have attended Elevation Church, and it changed their life.”

    I know some people who attended Newspring, and it changed their life.

    Apparently, NS changed JDuncan’s life, too.

    When you start making “life changes” the criterion for a successful church, what do you do with people who have bad life changes from the same place?

  6. Will Kindle Dec 8, 2009 11:45 pm

    Newspring didn’t change JDuncans life. There were individuals who responded to his blog, Newspring had nothing to do with it. While I think it was inappropriate what happened to JDuncan, Newspring cannot be blamed for it.

  7. Matt C. Dec 8, 2009 11:49 pm

    Someone just publicly accused you of extortion.

  8. Chris Dec 9, 2009 12:40 am

    Don’t post yet…I need to get some more popcorn. This reads like a junior high girls facebook. Such juicy gossip. Oh wait…it’s not gossip it’s the truth. Which you’re defending! I almost forgot. Keep fighting the good fight.

  9. CG Dec 9, 2009 1:33 am

    Do you ever talk about anything else?

  10. The Highland Host Dec 9, 2009 3:05 am

    When I was in secular employment, we had a young lady join the team who had been involved in all sorts of immorality, drunkenness, taken drugs, etc. Her church had literally turned her life around. I have rarely seen a life so dramatically changed.

    The only trouble was, it was a Mormon Church. What do you do with that if your criterion for evaluating a Church is ‘life change’?

  11. PastorJason Dec 9, 2009 9:48 am

    @Will so Elevation Church and NewSpring changed those folks life… funny I thought God would have had something to do with it…

    and that is really the crux of the issue. Most, not all but most, of these churches set themselves up as the source of the life change. The pastor sets himself up as a celebrity who wants to get on stage and make demands and proclamations but never have much to do with his congregation. (Perry Noble himself has said to his congregation in the past that they should not expect him to come see them or visit them and such.)

    The problem here is the watering down of the Gospel, which is really not another (Galatians 1:6-9) and the idolizing of a “church” all behind a shallow mask of worship. Simply because there is “life change”

    Two things on that… 1.) time will tell, as with any “life changes” at any church, whether or not that change is genuine… whether or not any who profess Christ continue on in the faith

    2.) 12 step alcohol programs, Joel Osteen, Weight Watchers, and Richard Simmons can make significant “life changes” to a person… but a life change is not in and of itself anything of significance… LIFT YOUR EYES TO GOD!

  12. sam Dec 9, 2009 10:31 am

    Charles Finney once claimed “life change” as well. Only to bemoan later in his life that his “converts” turned out not to be regenerate.

    This is modern day Finneyism.

  13. John Malton Dec 9, 2009 10:47 am

    Just ask those of us from Canton GA. Did Gary Lamb have a “live change”…..

    Yes he did. He is now going through a divorce, living in an tiny apartment and trying to milk insurance companies for money for new roofs.

    Now there is a life change

  14. JT Dec 9, 2009 1:06 pm

    Click on my name to read a disinterested observer’s take on this situation. I didn’t write it, but I wish I had.

    Here’s a blurb:

    “I’ve gone thru this multi-day process of incredulity and shame, disbelief that Christians are out acting this way… PN and NewSpring seem to have failed their responsibility to lead with the Spirit of Christ from the top down, in some ways, and it opened the door to horrible things being done to JD and his family. (If only half of the things actually happened as JD sees them happening, it’s truly deplorable.) Also, having read thru JD’s blogs, he has exhibited a true proficiency (he is a communications prof) to nit-pick, spin and negatively portray PN and NewSpring no matter what they’re saying, and also forgets the Spirit of Christ in his blogging content.”

    Read the whole post. He takes both sides to task, and I mostly tend to agree with him.

    Here it is again:

  15. Linda Dec 9, 2009 1:20 pm

    Tommy F, The Highland Post & Pastor Jason, You hit the nail! Change say does not equal regenerated.

  16. Anthony Dec 9, 2009 1:53 pm

    JT — Thanks for the post! I agree with almost if not everything he said.

  17. Bart Barber Dec 9, 2009 4:33 pm

    Dr. Duncan,

    I have not kept up with your story. I linked over here from Chadwick Ivester’s blog. I have paid very little attention to Perry Noble or Newspring Church or whatever. Ecclesiology is a passion of mine, and I’m sure that I would have strong opinions if I knew more, but being even beyond arms-length all the way over here in Texas, and having enough windmills at which to tilt in my own life, I’m not going to bother. Otherwise, I’m thinking that we might land in pretty much the same spot.

    I am commenting for one and only one reason:

    My wife and I have been through adoption loss. A couple of times. Once after taking the baby to the hotel from the hospital for a night.

    Thus, I feel a tremendous empathy for you in your grief. I haven’t read all of the comments. I’m presuming that most of them are about the whole church business, which certainly is important enough to merit discussion. I just wanted you to know that, for at least one person, what stuck out prominently as a matter of prayer is to ask God to answer the pleas of you and your wife for another child.

    May God bless you.

  18. Mike Dec 9, 2009 7:23 pm

    It is just interesting to me that what Noble is accusing all the “non-Christian bloggers” of doing on the internet, he is doing from the pulpit. There is nothing wrong with critiquing a sermon…after I preach (I am a Youth Minister) my Senior Pastor and I sit down and critique the sermon together. It is amazing what you can learn when you put down your pride and really listen so as to truly bring the Gospel to those listening.

  19. Chris Dec 9, 2009 9:35 pm

    Mike if you think this blog is “critiquing” Perry Nobles sermons than you may have a little to learn about speaking the “truth in love”.

    This whole episode is sad on both sides. One side arrogantly assumed that they are holier than the other. And the other side assumed that they had the right to call the other on their lack of holiness.

    What compounds it is the mujahideen bloggers.

  20. Dave Dec 9, 2009 11:29 pm

    Sorry Chris, but can you define that word “love” in your quote of “truth in love?”

  21. Chris Dec 10, 2009 9:16 am

    Sure Dave.

    1If I speak in the tongues[a] of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,[b] but have not love, I gain nothing.

    4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    Fail on both sides of this debacle.

    Care to define “gossip” for me?

  22. Jacob Nieto Dec 11, 2009 12:40 am

    I really enjoyed the interview. I have been a listener of Fighting for the Faith for awhile and I am glad your blog has come my way!
    I decided to create a blog for myself (and others) and already it has greatly enhanced my daily scripture learning! Thank you for being an example and showing us younger Christians how to handle these types of situations. I am praying for you and your family.

    Praise God for his glorious grace! and for Christ and him crucified!
    Your servant in Christ,
    Jacob Nieto

  23. everydayman Dec 13, 2009 6:44 pm

    JD. Thanks for all the free advertisment. NS broke another attendance record today on a non holiday weekend. Which is something that has been happening for 10 years now. So good job, your bashing NS is really working. Keep it up!!!

  24. Tommy F Dec 13, 2009 7:59 pm


    I don’t think attendance is a very good use of determining whether NS is right or wrong.

    By your measuring stick, you and Perry should be very happy about critics. It’s funny that Perry never compliments them.

    I wonder if they broke any tithing records. Or if people might be worried that their tithes might eventually end up going to JDuncan. They already know it went for jet fuel and attorneys fees.

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