We retort. You decide. 13

Oh dear, I shouldn’t have questioned Perry Noble’s reformation announcement. Commentators to those posts have told us that Noble is a simple man, so what he says shouldn’t be taken seriously. Then we were told, no, there really is a reformation, but how dare we criticize it. We should all come together and acknowledge that there’s no warrant to criticize anything Noble does or says because he’s doing God’s work.

If you’re going to ask for unity, though, you should stop advertising yourself as a reformer.

The 1517 Reformation split the church asunder and had theological and political effects that shook Europe to the core and continue to shape the world to this day. It was literally a war. (Has anyone heard of Northern Ireland?) When Martin Luther pushed his cause, he mobilized a powerful enemy that sought to take his life. The Reformation was all about defining differences and taking sides.

This is why–I don’t know how to say this any more plainly–Noble is foolish to talk of reformation (though he’s only following in Rick Warren’s footsteps). If the word is to mean anything at all in a church context, it means condemning the fundamental beliefs of the established church.

For the record, I don’t think Noble is using the word carelessly; I think he believes in his bones that this is a reformation on the scale of 1517. That accounts for his all-too-common public vitriol against the church.

We need to know exactly what Noble is condemning; we need to know what he stands for. Where are his 95 Theses? Where are his Institutes?

You can have unity, or you can have reformation. You can’t have both.

13 thoughts on “We retort. You decide.

  1. Seth May 7, 2009 1:05 am

    Perry’s “95 Thesis” is the Bible. Not some man written thing but a book by God, and the best book I have evern read. And his Institutes would be Jesus i guess. I know everything he does and teach and say is all about Jesus.

    He is condeming churches that don’t honor God. that don’t preach the entirety of the Bible, where the pastors sell out their vision. etc.

    And yes you can have both unity and reformation. It only happen when people realize they are in the wrong and that they need to change away from the above mentioned paragraph. As i notice, the only people who seem to be against NS/Perry are those who think the church in its current state of decline is just fine and doesn’t need any change, I mean, after all, why change something that is in decline right? decline for Christianity pleases God right? Something has to change or the decline will continue, and as I have noticed, Churches like NS are grwoing(please don’t just attack the growing argument, how about for a change attack the other chariteritics I have listened or else they must be true), lives are being changed, people are meeting Jesus, communities are being impacted, the gospel is being preached, seems to me the “reformation” seems to be working as more and more churches are changing for the better, I have seen churches change because of some of the more recent connectivity amoung Pastors of other churches. So as I see it, its a plus. I see change, I see more and more good news about what Churches are doing. As the church gets away from legalism and politics (by politics I mean worrying about global warming and who should be president) and getting back to what it should be about, Jesus.

  2. James Duncan May 7, 2009 7:13 am

    Seth, I don’t accept your premise that the church is in decline.

    It seems that you (as in y’all) are using a man-made metric to judge what is acceptable progress. What if we had a local Presbyterian church that had a million members (I’m trying to use your numbers argument in my favor) and had a quarter million people give their lives to Christ each week? Wouldn’t it be fair for them to look at NewSpring and say that it was in decline?

  3. Tommy F. May 7, 2009 7:47 am

    Seth: You wrote: “Perry’s “95 Thesis” is the Bible.” That’s preposterous and insulting to MLuther and the Bible, and is ignorant of the purpose of the 95 theses and their role in church history.

    Plus, Ace would disagree. Or rather he should, unless he’s confused. I know he’s just a simple man leading simple people.

    Do some studying and come back when you know what the reformation was all about. It was kind of a big deal.

  4. blake May 7, 2009 9:08 am

    about decline in the church, specifically in america – you don’t accept it? why not?

  5. Sara Grumbles May 7, 2009 9:25 am

    Seth, I disagree that churches, or rather Christians, shouldn’t worry about politics. One’s faith should play the defining role in how one votes, the causes one takes up, and the role one plays in a community. As a Christian, you can’t separate your faith from these things.

    Also, when you use the term “legalism,” can you explain exactly what you mean for us?

    That word is thrown around all the time at Newspring and I would like to know your take on what it means. Being a former member of Newspring, I heard it used over and over to describe people in traditional churches. Now that I am a member of a traditional church, I have realized these “legalistic” people that Noble slams on a regular basis just don’t exist. So, tell me, what does it mean?

  6. Seth May 7, 2009 11:15 am

    James Duncan

    maybe the church your at isn’t in decline, but overall, the church is. I have seen multiple reports, from the souothern baptist to the catholics that the overall christian church is in decline. If you would like, i can find the links and provide them.

    Tommy F.

    Yes, the reformation was a big deal, but I don’t think it was a bigger deal than Jesus and what he said and what he did. that is what Perry is basing his beliefs and statements on. And frankly, i don’t care about Luther, yes, he was an important figure in the history of the church, yes his actions have far reaching consequences, but, I serve Jesus, I am to please and Honor Him, not Luther and his 95 thesis. And honestly, I would rather insult Luther than chance insulting Jesus and my belief of him and what he is.

    Sara

    You can disagree about that church politics, it is a mixed subject, but the idea is that I have seen churches focus too much on vote for this guy or me need to fix this world problem. The church isn’t called to do that, the church is called to Jesus.

    By legalism, i am refering to places where is you don’t fit in, follow the rules, or are different, you get looked down on. I have seen it in churches, I have been apart of it, so I know it is out there. Also, I am glad that you found a traditional church that doesn’t have legalistic people in them, but, I have seen legalism, I have experienced it, so I know it is out there.

    To Everyone

    I know we will disagree about almost everything it seems, and I understand that, some arguements were productive as to what I will be facing some day and others were just pointless, I would love to sit down with everyone and actually talk to face to face, though I know that won’t happen. I think that typing just doesn’t show the emotion that emphisis that actually talking face to face would. So let me say this in closing, yes, I am now going to be cutting back how much I visit this sight, I have an online Bible Study that I need to focus on and I have spent too much time defending myself, my beliefs, and explaining NS to yall then doing person study time and outreach. But, I love the excitement and thrill of debating issues and such, it really is fun and refreshing and challenging. Also, I know I challenge you to get out of the house, the office, the coffee shop, where ever you may be and actually live the gospel, not sit the the computer all day talking about Perry just because he did’t go to seminary. Like I have said, what NS is doing in the community, and in Kenya, is a movement of God, the loves that have been changed, the people that have been saved, the marriages fixed, the addictions overcome, what NS is doing is a move of God, you can’t deny that. Do they always get it right? nope. Do I agree with everything they do? nope. Do I agree with everything Perry says? nope. That is why I won’t ever work there, but I do understand and appreciate the fact that God is doing a work, that God is using NS to help people far from God come to Him. I have also wanted to tell Perry from time to time to stop attacking other churches, since he stopped doing it via blogs, I guess he upgraded to sermons, i don’t know, but I do know that there are churches out there who need to hear some of those things, I have experienced them, I have been in the traditional church and left. So I understand what he is saying and talking about. I will make a bold suggestion here, maybe if other christians were the bigger person and stopped attacking him, he would feel so encouraged to attack others. Maybe you could be the first step towards unity. And one day, maybe I will draw your critcisms and fire and be the one you are attacking, Actually, based on scripture and what Paul went through for the sake of the gospel, I pray I will come under intense fire, that only means I am preaching what God wants me to preach. So to wrap this all up, I can argue you beliefs and my beliefs but the point is that I am going to fulfill the calling God has on my life. I will still be dropping in from time to time but not to really debate, I will give insider insight to NS’s internal works, of which I know alot about. Good luck with doing what ever it is you are trying to accomplish on thie sight, im not sure what it is, but good luck. I’ll be around.

  7. Tommy F. May 7, 2009 4:30 pm

    Seth: You wrote: “maybe the church your at isn’t in decline, but overall, the church is” This is because you are going to base it on population rather than strength.
    You view NS as a strong church because it has a lot of people.

    Would you rather have 1million weak Christians or 200,000 very strong ones?

  8. Seth May 7, 2009 5:54 pm

    Tommy F.

    Have you not read anything I have typed? yes, I consider NS a strong growing church, bu they why seems to continuelly get lost somehwere, yes, I count numbers, but I prefer to use the life changes that have happened, the community impact they have made, the gospel being preached, people getting saved, marriages being restored, and again, all you attack is the numbers because to attack the other things would mean that you were wrong and NS is actually a good church.

    Your blindness to everything good NS is doing is really quite sad.

    And to answer your question, I would take the 1,000,000 weak Christians, why you may ask? because God uses the weak and the tired, God loves to work miracles through the weak, Have you not read scripture? He makes the weak strong. He loves weak people, through them, his love and power is shown.

  9. Tommy F. May 7, 2009 10:16 pm

    Seth: I read your post very closely, actually. My comprehension may be low, but I did read it.

    I do not doubt that NS has some positive features and elements. And I truly am thankful to God when people are saved and God’s word is preached.

    But, when a pastor claims reformation and no one (apparently) from the congregation asks: “why?” “Reform what?” then it is not only PP readers/writers that should cast a light on NS, it is the people who love NS. You ought to ask the same questions we are. If you truly love NS, you ought to want it answer its critics and persuade them.

    Again, NS wants attention, if it’s good. It wants to generate a buzz, so long as people keep showing up. But I would argue that the same attention-seeking behavior is not off limits simply because “good” things are happening at a “good church.”

    Now I can see why you love NS so much. You wrote:
    “And to answer your question, I would take the 1,000,000 weak Christians, why you may ask? because God uses the weak and the tired, God loves to work miracles through the weak, Have you not read scripture? He makes the weak strong. He loves weak people, through them, his love and power is shown.”

    I’d rather have a strong, lean, healthy church that is fed meat, rather than a weak, big, chubby church that is fed milk.

  10. Seth May 7, 2009 11:34 pm

    I love it, you think you know the people of NS and what kind of christians they are, but you don’t. You make statements about them being weak when you don’t know them.

    And you are thankful to God yet you critize what they do? I find that kind of a contradiction. Its like I voted for this president but I don’t like the things he is doing. Also, there is no persuading you guys and you know it, if Perry came onto this site and tried to persuade you or defend what he was about, would you really listen to him? Do you think he could persuade you?

    If you read the Bible, God doesn’t use people who are strong, he finds the weak and uses them. He makes the strong. He makes them seek him more and need and rely on Him more. God loves doing miracles through the weak.

  11. James Duncan May 7, 2009 11:40 pm

    Seth, you write, “If Perry came onto this site and tried to persuade you or defend what he was about, would you really listen to him? Do you think he could persuade you?”

    The answer: Yes.

  12. Tommy F. May 8, 2009 8:51 am

    Seth: “And to answer your question, I would take the 1,000,000 weak Christians, why you may ask? because God uses the weak and the tired, God loves to work miracles through the weak, Have you not read scripture? He makes the weak strong. He loves weak people, through them, his love and power is shown.”

    This week you’ve told us what NS christians are like. You outlined some interesting claims: NS-ers and their pastor are simple (uneducated or dumb) and weak. What a compelling argument. What a great bumper sticker.

    NS: Let’s be dumb and weak together. Got Milk?

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