One aspect of NewSpring’s apologists that has genuinely surprised me has been the repeated appeal to fatalism, the idea that because everything is predestined it is inevitable, uncontrollable and acceptable. It has been invoked to disqualify criticism of NewSpring’s leaders’ bad behavior on the basis that God made them do it.
For example, one commentator said we dare not judge because God ordained NewSpring’s pastors’ bad language:
I do know that God knew about what Perry and Brad were going to say trillions of years ago. If they are in sin about anything that has been communicated from stage or any other medium then they will be held accountable…BY GOD, NOT YOU!!!
If God doesn’t want what’s going on at NewSpring to happen…it WON’T. He’ll wipe it off the face of the earth if He pleases.
There’s only one way to explain how this is happening – God is completely in control. Like many others have said here on your site, if God doesn’t want NS to continue, then He will shut it down. [Emphasis added]
- It blames God for sin. If you’re going to argue that God approves of something you like merely because because it exists, logical consistency insists that God is also on the hook for evil.
- It contradicts Scripture. 2 Peter 2:3 tells us that God’s punishment for false teachers is certain, even if not evident now.
Their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.
If we make the lack of judgment our litmus test for truth, we are susceptible to all the false teachers Peter warned us about. The whole point of verse 3 is that false teachers do endure for a while without punishment.
- It invites unthinkable punishment. If we wait for God to wipe our false teachings off the face of the earth, in the words of one commentator, we are inviting fearful punishment for them. 2 Peter 2:4-6 tells us what kinds of eventual judgements await false teachers by comparing them to the angels’ fall from Heaven, the Flood, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. False teachers need to be confronted and corrected, not passively encouraged along a sleepy path to destruction.
- It fails an important test. False teachers have a purpose, as explained in Deuteronomy 13:3-4.
You must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.
It is the LORD your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.
This explains why God will not wipe false teachers from the face of the earth; He uses them to test our discernment. If we favor fatalism, we fail that test and leave ourselves and our leaders defenseless.
Just to be clear, I am not making an argument here that Perry Noble is a false teacher. I’m sounding a warning that it doesn’t appear to me that some NewSpringers would know it or care if he were.