You should, you can’t, you must, you may never again talk to Perry Noble 37

The story of my attempts to meet with Perry Noble is one of changing rules and massive discrepancies between what’s said in public and done in private. Whom I meet and why isn’t normally of much interest to anyone, but this particular story reveals important features of Noble’s character and leadership which should be concerning to anyone who has chosen to follow him or listen to him. In this post, I’ll describe the four main shifts in Perry’s meeting policy.

Early 2009: You should meet Perry

When I started blogging in early 2009, commentators on the blog repeated the rule they had heard from Perry and other NewSpring preachers: You cannot criticize Perry in public until you’ve met him and come to know him in private. Although by my actions it’s obvious that I disagree with the rule (I’ll do a post on this later), in early 2009 I invited him through email and personally through Brad Cooper, his youth pastor, to meet. We know that NewSpring received the requests, because we saw them later in the discovery documents they provided us, though, not surprisingly, there wasn’t any response from Perry.

All other things being equal, I didn’t mind that Perry didn’t want to meet. My writing about him doesn’t oblige him to meet with me, except that his meet-me-first rule allows him and his followers to ignore and censor critics like me who haven’t met his particular requirements. The rule is empty but important posturing. So long as they never take a meeting, they make all criticism illegitimate.

Mid 2009: You can’t meet Perry

Upon returning from New Zealand at the end of June 2009, I emailed Perry through Brad Cooper, with whom I had had a personal meeting, to request a meeting with Perry to alert him to the harassment (the long story is here). Here’s what I said:

In the last week or so my family and I have been under enormous and highly distressing harassment from someone who obviously strongly objects to my blog. In at least one instance, the harassment has crossed the line into criminality and caused significant damage to me that I am sure is both criminally and civilly actionable. It is relevant to Perry because I have evidence to suggest that the source of the attack is someone on NewSpring’s staff.

They refused my request, but even after a detective had identified a NewSpring staff member as the main culprit, vindicating my initial allegation, Perry still refused to meet, and flew his attorney up from Texas to talk to me. We got the message. When you ask to talk to a pastor and get an expensive attorney instead, the rules have changed. By the end of 2009, we had found our own attorney to continue that conversation, which meant that we were forbidden from talking to Perry or any of his co-defendants about it unless they had their lawyers with them. Importantly, it also meant that they also couldn’t talk to us without our attorney.

Late 2010: You must meet Perry

On October 1, 2010, I was surprised to open an email with the subject line, “From Perry Noble,” which said,

Dr. Duncan,

Howdy!

I will bet this is the last email you expected you would receive today.

I will make this short…I feel like you and I should get together and talk.  Just me and you…no lawyers, no media…just a brother in Christ face to face with another brother in Christ.  You can pick the place.

In my prayer times the past several days I feel like the Lord has made it very clear to me that we should have this meeting.  I have consulted no one about this…just taking a step of faith.  Here are some of what I want to talk about…

#1 – I believe you and I are brothers in Christ.

#2 – I know you were deeply wounded by the actions of a guy who was on staff at NewSpring.

#3 – At no time was I ever aware that a staff member (or members) of NewSpring were taking any sort of action against you.

I honestly believe there is a lot that you and I could learn from one another.  So…there you have it.  I honestly feel like I’ve done what the Lord told me to do…and I look forward to your response.

Be Radical,

Perry

My first thought was that a friend was pranking me, but I forwarded it to my attorney to check with Perry’s lawyers just in case it was real. It was, though his lawyers had no idea that he’d sent it and quickly and predictably cancelled the invitation.

There’s a lot going on here. In a few short paragraphs, Perry displays a number of problems that ought to concern every NewSpring member and staffer.

It defames deity

It’s notable that Noble twice emphasizes the idea that God told him to do this. I don’t know what tests Perry has for testing God’s particular revelation to him (I know, you only need one: Is it Scripture?), but it might have been worth asking the following questions:

  1. Was God snoozing? Why didn’t God tell Perry that he should meet me in July 2009, when Perry could have actually done something to end the actions that were deeply wounding us? Had Perry been content to rely on Scripture rather than waiting for God to speak to him, he might have seen enough advice there to recommend a meeting. What would the Good Samaritan have done?
  2. Why is God so unethical? Why did God want Perry to violate legal ethics by speaking to me without my lawyer? Even Perry’s own lawyers knew better than God that this was a bad move.
  3. Will this cause Duncan to sin? Now that a Duncan-Noble meeting is part of God’s revealed will, it makes me into a grievous sinner–even more than usual–by refusing God’s will and not meeting Perry without my lawyer. As soon as you say “God told me,” what follows must be treated as a holy obligation, no less important than the Ten Commandments.
  4. Has God also told Duncan? Why did Perry even need to tell me that this was what God wanted for the two of us? If God has the ability to tell Perry, he can tell me, even if I hadn’t been listening his voice in the same way that Perry had been (think Jonah and Balaam, for example). This points to one of the special values of Scripture, through which God speaks to all of us the same way and with the same voice.
  5. How permanent is this commandment? More on this later.

God did not tell Perry to meet with me in 2010. After a weekend of reflection, Perry thought that a meeting might change my mind about proceeding with our lawsuit and wanted to give it a shot. It was no great surprise to me that Perry might have trouble recognizing God’s will, but the problem for his church is that this is how he governs it. For example, this is Perry from 2011:

Something the Lord taught me very clearly in 2007 was the principle that – Life And Leadership Is As Easy As Listening To God & Then Doing What He Says.

I really do believe that God still speaks…I believe He speaks clearly, loudly and often.  Most people do not struggle with not knowing what to do…but rather with not doing what they already know.

I believe God’s Word and God’s Spirit work together, not in conflict with one another.

The model that Noble, Furtick and others like them follow is that God gives special revelation and vision to the leader, and everyone else has to obey the pastor’s God’s will. NewSpringers, if Perry can get something as important as this so wrong and be so convinced that this really was God’s voice, what else is he wrong about?

It’s faithless to his friends

Perry’s two board members, Jason Moorhead and Shane Duffey, were also defendants in the suit. Although they were partially covered by the church’s insurance, there was no guarantee that a judgment against them wouldn’t exceed the church’s coverage and threaten their personal assets. Perry’s testimony about Moorhead and Duffey mattered very much to them and their families.

Yet, here’s Perry offering to meet with me without having even told his co-defendants about it. Having already thrown Maxwell and the volunteers under the legal bus by blaming them for everything, who’s to say he wouldn’t have done that to them? Oh, he might not have intended to do that, but it’s reasonably likely that an impulsive meeting would produce impulsive and ill-considered admissions.

I imagine that Moorhead and Duffey were probably more judicious in their reaction to this invitation than I would have been had I been them, their paychecks being signed by Noble, but our next meeting would not have been a warm one.

It imperils the institution

It’s worth noting that NewSpring was also a corporate defendant in the suit. Just as a private meeting put his friends at risk, it also threatened the entire church, which had much more to lose than Moorhead and Duffey. Now, my lawyer and I didn’t take advantage of the opportunity Perry offered us, but what if we had have? Who knows what he might have said?

Did Perry even think about the affect his actions would have on the church and on his friends? Probably not, but at least he was obeying God, so it didn’t matter. Yet this man’s vision and feelings direct a massive church with a multi-million dollar monthly budget. What could go wrong?

It abrogates advice

Perry’s legal team was a very good one. He had five distinguished and experienced lawyers at his disposal to help him navigate the threat that our lawsuit had created. Yet after a weekend of prayer he decides that he knows better than they do about how to get this resolved. Take a look at the second point of his proposed agenda again; he acknowledges that a NS staff member deeply wounded us. In one stroke he admits both liability and damages.

His lawyers are all gentlemen, but even they might have let loose some blue language after seeing that one.

 It’s clumsy communication

This is a more personal, thus minor, point, but the language doesn’t suit the moment. Perry is feted as a master communicator, but it’s not on display here. After what we’d been through–and Perry indicates that he knows what that is–you don’t demonstrate empathy by starting with “Howdy!” And you certainly don’t end with “Be Radical.”

For my wife, the casual tone of the message was yet another punch in the stomach, she who still walked past a room with an empty crib and worried about who was following her or posing a threat to her son whenever she went out in public. Howdy? Not so much.

Late 2012: You may never again talk to Perry

Taking Perry at his word that he really believed that God wanted us to meet face to face, I accepted his invitation the day after all the settlement paperwork had been signed, which was the day that our lawyers had done their jobs and no longer needed to mediate between us. Although we had met for a day for Noble’s deposition, only my lawyer talked to him, except for some light conversation between us over breaks about football and common friends. My invitation was also based on the optimistic assumption that Perry was on the up and up in wanting to meet as Christian brothers, and wasn’t just wanting to use his personal charisma to talk me out of the litigation absent my lawyer’s advice.

In my emailed response, I explained why I wasn’t able to accept the first invitation, but now that the lawyers were out of the way, I was pleased to accept it. I also added a few agenda points of my own so that he’d know what I would like to talk to him about, some of which weren’t about the case itself.

Here’s what my attorney received from Perry’s Texas lawyer the next day:

NewSpring Community Church considers all matters pertaining to Dr. Duncan to be concluded at this time, and does not anticipate engaging in further discussions with him. Please advise your client of the church’s position, and request that he refrain from contacting either Perry Noble or other members of NewSpring staff to discuss the litigation.

God had changed his mind.

Update: This post was edited slightly on 1/8/2013 to delete certain allegations in order to comply with a standing court order. Because the edits were legally necessary, I have not followed typical blog etiquette and showed the deletions.

37 thoughts on “You should, you can’t, you must, you may never again talk to Perry Noble

  1. AB Jan 7, 2013 12:07 am

    James,

    Guess who is a legalistic, judgmental Pharisee?

    Me.

    Why?

    Because I pointed out some of my problems/concerns with NewSpring… I attempted to do it in love out of concern for a brother, but it was not to pass. The NS member immediately threw verbal punches, defended Noble and used Scripture out of context in order to defend their positions.

    James, keep serving Jesus. I believe part of that is calling out those who corrupt the Gospel. Thanks.

  2. Concernedparent Jan 7, 2013 8:48 am

    Be radical?

  3. Richard Jan 7, 2013 11:07 am

    I have talked to many New Springers over the years and they have always fallen in three distinct categories. The first is the “recovering group”. These are the ones who were very comitted and visible there only to see problems in doctrine,leadership, logistics, etc with the church. They raise their concerns, and are basically told to get in line or leave. Many were hurt, but later expressed gratitude that GOd moved them. They’ll tell you Newspring looks great on the outside, but is very unhealthy on the inside at best, and apostate at worse. The other group is the committed, visible members who are so enamored with Noble that you cannot reason with them. Talk doctrine, fingers go in the ear. Raise concerns, “you hate Perry”. Point out errors, “your jealous of his work!” and on and on it goes. It’s amazing, but it has always been in those two groups without fail. The last group like Newspring, are committed, and visible. Upon talking to them, they are in unrepentant sin and could not even explain the Gospel to me, but according to Perry, they prayed a prayer and “accepted Christ”. Some members for a long time, but knew very little about the Bible. And I say these things not in a condescending way. I say these things with a sad, heavy heart for many are deceived. And I know there are those who say they’ve grown and flourished there to which I say amen. BUt the ends do not justify the means. I am afraid those that are truly, biblically flourishing there are the exception to the norm.

  4. concernedparent Jan 7, 2013 12:28 pm

    Richard’s comments are interesting.

    I would like to add my observation that recruiting at the high school and middle school levels seems very aggressive. There is no reason why a kid should ever feel pressured by their friend to visit any church or other religious organization. I think it is healthy for friends to talk about and share their faith experiences. However, exploration of faith is very personal and should not be driven by the desire to be popular in school or peer pressure or an opportunity to get a slice of pizza or some popcorn.

    • James Duncan Jan 7, 2013 12:38 pm

      Concerned,

      I like your name/handle because it’s exactly those kinds of concerns that got me interested in NS in the first place, and I still have those concerns. Perhaps you’ll allow me a little shameless self promotion and let me refer you to other posts I’ve written about the troublesome relationship between NS and parents. I you start here, you can follow other links from within it.

  5. FormerFellow Jan 7, 2013 12:34 pm

    Richard, your description of NewSpring is exactly the same description that I would offer for Perry’s mentor and great friend, Ed Young’s Fellowship Church in Dallas. Here is the scary thing, after many years of “leadership” conferences led/attended by these two “pastor/leaders” how many other pastors are building churches to look just like the definition Richard offers.

    God help us all.

  6. concernedparent Jan 7, 2013 1:39 pm

    Thanks for the link.

  7. AO Jan 8, 2013 12:42 am

    @Richard:

    You may have to add a fourth, as I am a “NewSpringer”, but do not fit any of your categories. I am challenged weekly in my walk with Christ by Perry or whoever might be preaching, and encouraged in the faith by a very awesome small group and by very awesome volunteers that I work with.

    I am not at ALL enamored with Perry Noble, and get just as challenged when he’s not there, in fact this past summer when he was on leave for a few months…I may have been encouraged and challenged even MORE, nor would I leave if he quit and left.

    And I’m definitely not an unrepentant sinner who only “said a prayer”, but a Christ-follower from the age of 10, very aware of my sins, and slowly learning more about God every day and in desperate need/thankfulness of his grace.

  8. Danny Jan 8, 2013 8:45 am

    My biggest problem is Perry’s preaching. Unless something has changed recently, Perry preaches a lot about himself and a little on Jesus. Kind of the opposite of John the Baptist’s technique(“I must decrease and He must increase”). If I could have coffee with the guy I’d tell him that I don’t find his life that fascinating. People in the congregation who find Jesus boring and Perry entertaining should seriously re-evaluate their election.
    AO, I’m encouraged by your post. Just don’t ask Perry to “go deep”.

  9. Richard Jan 8, 2013 9:26 am

    AO,

    Then I say a hearty amen. but sadly, my fear and I think the reality is that you are the exception to the norm. In even apostate churches, I have often found a few faithul believers who truly love their church, and want to remain to hopefully be used by God as a catalyst of change. As a pastor, I do not recommend them doing that, but I understand their heart. Perry’s character disqualifies him from the position of elder. His preaching is at best a sermonette on a topic and at worst heretical (listen to his Code Orange Revival Sermon). Newspring’s entire form of authority and hierarchy is unbiblical. and I could go on. I encourage you to find a biblical healthy church where you will grow all the more. but should you choose to remain, by all means speak the truth and love and pray that Noble will begin to see the error of his ways.

  10. JT Jan 9, 2013 8:45 pm

    I am disturbed that after everyone got all lawyered-up, Noble sends you an email asking to met together as “brothers in Christ”– a meeting you had asked for repeatedly and even publicly criticized Noble for denying you– and you rejected it.

    You had a chance to at least attempt to resolve this wound on the bride of Christ with some grace.

    Instead, you take what appears to be a heart-felt private communication of a man trying to make something right, and you pedantically pick it apart in public two years later (see, you aren’t the only one who can alliterate).

    I cannot imagine what you and your wife have been through. Those who caused you harm should have been prosecuted. However, your insistence on making this Duncan vs. Noble appears misguided. Perry Noble has his flaws, to be sure, but you have never provided adequate evidence that he is responsible for what happened to your family.

    You have reached a settlement. You have told your story. What further good is served by airing it all out in public? Does this benefit the cause of Christ?

    I pray that you will consider the cost to all involved of your continued public criticism of Noble.

    • James Duncan Jan 9, 2013 11:12 pm

      JT,

      Welcome back, and with alluring alliteration!

      Concerned is right. I didn’t reject the meeting; I did the right thing and alerted Perry’s lawyers about what he was wanting to do. They, as we expected, put an end to it. Even so, accepting his invitation would have been wrong. Let’s say you’re in litigation with a weak-minded man (speaking hypothetically here) who, having his own attorneys, comes to you and wants to talk without them. Would it be right to take advantage of a childish and stupid opponent (hypothetically, again)? Absolutely not. You help him out by letting him use the help that he has available to him, his own legal advisors. I’d do the same thing again.

      The moment when our opponent no longer needed legal help was when I accepted his invitation. If God had told him to have this meeting then, why is Perry hiding behind his lawyers now?

      Second, I appreciate the hanging curve about having never provided adequate evidence that he is responsible for what happened. Earlier this week, I thought I had, but NewSpring asked for it to be buried. Actually, I still have enough to share that doesn’t have to be kept secret, but if you want to know what really happened, you’ll need to ask them. They have my permission to share it.

  11. Concernedparent Jan 9, 2013 9:13 pm

    Dr. Duncan did not reject the invite. He merely questioned the validity given all that had occurred. PNs attorneys retracted it.

  12. Downing Jan 10, 2013 8:14 am

    JT – After all you’ve read, Perry is still the victim here?

  13. David Strickland Jan 10, 2013 8:49 am

    Of course he’s still the victim! This may indeed be my sinful flesh unleashing itself but I’m just going to speak my mind. I can no longer honestly say that my only problem with New$pring is its leadership, not the people. If I lie about it, it becomes two sins instead of one. These people make me absolutely sick. How can any decent human being defend this behavior? What more proof do you want? Stop making excuses.

  14. JT Jan 10, 2013 5:05 pm

    Duncan,

    In your own words, you see Perry Noble as a childish and stupid opponent.

    In his words, he sees you as a brother in Christ who was deeply wounded by someone on his staff.

  15. Karen Jan 10, 2013 7:37 pm

    Koolaid drinkers line up Perry has something for you

  16. concernedparent Jan 10, 2013 8:04 pm

    JT

    If Perry saw others like Duncan as a brother in Christ, then why does he bash other churches during his sermons? and why, once he knew what was going on with Dr. Duncan, did he allow that member of his staff to continue the horrible things he was doing? If he saw Duncan as a brother in Christ, wouldn’t he have actually apologized (long ago)?

  17. David Strickland Jan 10, 2013 10:22 pm

    Noble’s email is just a small part of typical bully behavior. Perry was taking shots at people long before Dr. Duncan ever wrote his article in the paper. Tearing down the traditional church. Tearing down people that like to dress according to what they consider appropriate. Tearing down pretty much everyone that doesn’t do things the way he thinks they should be done. Essentially, doing to others what he says you shouldn’t do to others. I see his thought process as something along the lines of “oh dang, y’all. Dudes, we’ve picked on this guy so much that he went and got him a dang ol lawyer dudes. I mean like seriously, I’m kinda, like, scared now or whatever. I’m gonna try to email him and be real nice and hopefully he won’t sue us”. He has always been real good at bashing everyone else but let just one person call him out on it and you’re gonna get an entire sermon series, a few days worth of tweets and a Perry Noble Leadership Podcast all about it. How dare you talk to him that way?

  18. AO Jan 10, 2013 11:54 pm

    Richard,
    You say that I am the minority of people at NewSpring who are actually growing and love the church…but how can you possibly know this? Especially since you say you are a pastor…Having your own church to lead, I know you’ve not had time to be a fully committed member of NewSpring and gotten plugged into a team volunteering, and in a small group that is doing life together and digging deeper into the messages and other biblical study.

    So how do you know what it is like? Every one I know is growing stronger in Christ together.

    To all those who dislike NewSpring. I am very curious to hear from you of any “megachurches” (for lack of a better word) that you DO agree with and would be on board with, whether you attend there or not?

    I ask this because it seems to be a HUGE trend that if a person calls one such pastor heretical, they tend to think the same about ALL churches that are that big. As if any church that big MUST be heretical somehow and to be shunned.

    Thanks

  19. David Strickland Jan 11, 2013 8:41 am

    I love Matt Chandler. He’s a excellent preacher of the gospel and has a megachurch with multiple campuses. He’s got it right. And get this: he is battling brain cancer. What’s Noble’s excuse?

  20. Soli Deo Gloria Jan 11, 2013 10:33 am

    David, I would echo that about Matt Chandler. I’d offer up David Platt as well. Though, I think the dig about Noble’s “excuse” may be too personal for this conversation. Let’s keep it clean.

    One of the things I’d like to point out is that the mentality of defending the pastor, or “God’s anointed” one, at some of these churches is way out of line. We’ve seen firsthand with Duncan’s situation where that leads to at NS. Go to http://www.elevationchurch.org/thecode and look at the Vision one (with the gears): We Are United Under One Vision – Elevation is built on the vision God gave Pastor Steven. We will aggressively defend our unity and that vision.

    Folks, that’s dangerous…

  21. Soli Deo Gloria Jan 11, 2013 10:34 am

    I should say that it’s especially dangerous when we have pastors who talk FROM THE PULPIT about wanting to punch people in the face (i.e. Noble and Furtick) and teach their flocks to “agressively defend” them. Pray for these brothers and sisters of ours.

  22. Downing Jan 11, 2013 10:55 am

    I’m actually shocked. I always wondered what it would take for these guys to be held accountable by their congregation. I assumed criminal activity would be the trigger, but now I see that is not even the case. Still pointing at the victim, saying he’s at fault. Never daring to question the pastor…he can do whatever he wants. He is unquestionable.

    AO asked about megachurches. I think this situation with Duncan and Newspring is directly related to Ns’s ecclesiastical structure. If there is no REAL accountability for the top man, this is what happens.

    Here is what I wrote about Meagchurches in 2009 -http://www.pajamapages.com/mega-church-conundrum/comment-page-1/#comments

    I don’t think Duncan ever made a statement wither way.

  23. AO Jan 11, 2013 12:06 pm

    Well, at least it is good to hear that not ALL of my favorite pastors are as hated as Perry is. I am a HUGE Platt and Chandler guy.

    And for the record, I don’t care for Furtick, nor am I an aggressive defender of Noble, I merely understand his humor (which can be a bit brash at times, yes). It is an error to equate him joking about “laying hands on people” as being his character to actually DO so.

    I do in fact like Platt’s and Chandler’s more expository preaching better than Noble’s blend of textual/topical style. However, Perry does stay true to the scriptures, and if there are those who falsely believe they’ve been saved and haven’t…that is not through any manipulation on Noble’s part, as he is VERY clear each and every Sunday that it no prayer that saves you, nor can behavior-change happen before heart-change.

    I feel bad for the guy really, how much hatred he takes, when at the end of the day, when church is over, all that’s left is a guy who’s trying to love his family and church, and grow closer to God and give him his very best, but who has already openly admitted to having to battle image issues and depression.

    Just seems like no matter whether you love the guy or strongly dislike him…that all would be better off if he and his family were Prayed for, instead of being subjected to fiery arrows.

    • James Duncan Jan 11, 2013 3:42 pm

      AO, this is a genuine question, not a challenge. What steps do NS pastors take to verify the salvations of the people who raise their hands (or whatever it is that Perry counts and reports each Monday)? I want to know about what the pastors do, not what’s delegated to volunteers and members. I haven’t seen anything, but perhaps you have.

      Downing, re. megachurches, you’re right; I’ve been agnostic on the issue, but I’m starting to come to a position. Look for a post on that in the future.

  24. Downing Jan 11, 2013 12:12 pm

    AO – Read what happened to Duncan, Perry’s part in it, and then tell me who is hating.

  25. Concernedparent Jan 11, 2013 3:02 pm

    What are the important qualities in a pastor that causes him or her to be a “favorite”?

  26. Richard Jan 11, 2013 9:30 pm

    Downing,

    I think you are on to something. NS does not have a biblical church gov. Is anyone familiar with Mark Dever and 9 Marks of a Healthy church? Dever has done great work in helping me understand what the Bible actually teaches about the church. Dever lists Expository preaching as absolutely essential to the spiritual health of the church. Noble rarely preaches this way. Church gov is another one. The Bible teaches a congregational model of authority lead by a plurality of QUALIFIED elders and lead servants (deacons) to take care of the physical needs. NS is now 0 for 2. And just in passing, NS gov. structure seems to resemble Roman Catholicism. Noble seems to act as a pope. Each campus is a dioces with a bishop (campus pastor)but Noble has final say. Staff often acts like a priest in how the directly relate to and oversee church life. Anywa, next: Robust church membership and discipline are marks as well. many churches have lost these two but they are critical in the health and purity of the church. Brad Cooper said himself that once you join, this church is not for you. The primary purpose of the body gathering together is mutual encouragement, prayer, worship, and Bible teaching….not evangelistic outreaches. Those are good to do, but not in place of gathering for these things. I had a NS member tell me church discipline only happens at the staff level at NS, not in membership. So, NS is now 0 for 4. A solid biblical theology is absolutely vital in growing in understanding of the entire Bible. I’ve never heard PN preach an O.T. sermon that actually came from it’s context and interrpreted in light of Christ. Now 0 for 5. And I could go on. At the end of the day, NS is an unhealthy church. And I have heard all teh arguements: we are reaching the lost, i’m growing spiritually, your jealous of Perry, etc. No matter how many positive things are happening, NS is still unbiblical in many ways. As I’ve watched Robert Schuller and Crystal Cathedral over the years, I see an uncanny resemblance (similiar gov. structure, church marketing, centered on one man, cutting edge, and huge budget) and we all saw what happenend there. Oh, and can any New Springer explain to me why Perry is video fed into every campus? I thought NS was not a one man show? Lastly, some pastors of mega/large churches are quite faithul to the Bible as are their churches: Matt Chandler, David Platt, John Piper, John Mcarthur, Alistair Begg (although he makes me scratch my head at times), and of course my hero Charles Spurgeon.

  27. AO Jan 12, 2013 1:19 am

    Bear with me while I catch up and address different people here.

    Downing:
    I’ve never said I think Perry Noble is an awesome perfect guy. I’ve read Duncan’s stuff, and I truly feel sick at what went down. I personally don’t think Perry was as acutely aware of the abuse as early as is said here, but either way I DO think he should’ve put a stop to it the minute he got wind of it, and if he didn’t, that was poor decision and he will be held responsible to Christ for it.

    ConcernedParent:
    Well, for my favorite pastors, they need to show a love for God and enthusiasm/passion in their calling as a pastor, and they need to have biblical teaching that is not just nice “Jesus Loves You, God is Awesome” sermon, but a sermon that is challenging me in some aspect of my life, and engaging me in the Scriptures. Growing up in my southern baptist church back home, I thoroughly loved my preacher as a great man, however, the bible would maybe get opened once for a quick verse to get the topic going. So now, in my favorites pastors…there needs to be constant ties back to Scripture, digging through and unpacking what’s being said.

    So my favorites include many of those listed by others here…David Platt, Matt Chandler, John Piper, John MacArthur, Tom Nelson, Thabiti Anyabwile, Clayton King, Perry Noble…and dare I use another taboo word in internet world…Mark Driscoll.

    James:
    I can only speak for my campus of course, but I happen to know the campus pastor fairly well, we’ve talked quite a bit through my volunteering with production team, getting to hang out with him between services. He’s an awesome guy, and he is always back in the Care Room after every service talking with people and praying with people.
    As for verifying every person, are pastors supposed to do this personally for everyone? I guess I’m just a little confused on what your expectations are. If 20 people get saved in a service…are they to line up to take their turn with the pastor to be quizzed on whether they were truly saved? Are volunteers not good enough to pray with people and ask questions?

    And last but not least Richard:
    Haha, don’t even know where to being on that novel, so will just say awesome list of pastors at the end there, though I honestly haven’t heard Alistair Begg…might have to check him out. He makes you scratch your head in what way?

  28. Downing Jan 14, 2013 11:50 am

    AO- Imagine that maybe Perry did know. Imagine it is even worse than Duncan has laid out here. What would be the repercussions for Perry? The answer, is none.

    Do you see the danger in a system that allows one man unchecked power? It is begging for abuse.

  29. AO Jan 14, 2013 1:20 pm

    Downing,
    Imagine a guy who IS checked, a guy who’s incoming text messages, emails, and tweets are all filtered by others. Imagine a guy who never travels alone and especially not with just women, to keep himself accountable at all times.

    Do you see the danger in assuming that he is an all-powerful dictator who has no accountability? It is begging to make a…butt…out of u and me.

    • James Duncan Jan 14, 2013 9:34 pm

      AO, yours is an interesting point. If PN’s incoming and outgoing messages really are checked, who else read the Maxwell tweets that were addressed to him? (Actually, we know the answer to that. His PR department did.) Also, who read his “let’s meet without your lawyer” email to me before he sent that out? He said no-one had. Bottom line, I think you assume he’s more protected than he really is.

      Richard, it’s governed by a Board of Trustees, but all of them are paid by and report to Perry. In fact, most of the board were involved in or aware of this case (Noble, Moorhead, Duffey and Wilson). NS is a Baptist church, which means it has little denominational constraint over what it does. That’s not anything distinctive to NS; Baptists are characterized by their respect for local church autonomy. As far as I can tell, Perry’s only accountability (literally) is to the committee that sets his salary.

      Downing, you are spot on. If it were more than I’ve said publicly, I imagine that the repercussions would be exactly what you’re seeing now. None.

  30. Downing Jan 14, 2013 1:32 pm

    You think I assume these things? I am assuming nothing.

    But answer MY question: if Perry WAS involved in this, or something else like this, what are the repercussions? We know God will deal with him, but is that all the parishioners can hope for? Is that the line of accountability – God, then Perry, then everyone else?

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