Perry Noble removed as NewSpring pastor

"The revelation came as the megachurch, which boasts more than 30,000 members in 17 cities in South Carolina, is in the final stage of two more expansions." USA Today/Independent Mail

4717 reads

There are 15 Comments

Barry L.'s picture

I mean, who will now approve Steven Furtick's salary?

Bert Perry's picture

Barry L. wrote:

I mean, who will now approve Steven Furtick's salary?

I'm not going to speculate, and I certainly don't know what the whole story is, but given the size of the church and the number of controversies Noble has been in, I'm guessing there is a lot more to the story, and it is my prayer that it isn't far uglier than what we see now.

I am reminded of a time I visited a friend and saw an array of "get drunk quick" bottles on top of her fridge--hard liquor of a low price and no particular premium in matters of taste.  While certainly Noble had a bigger budget than my friend did, in general a quick look at a person's "bar" area is going to tell someone who understands alcohol about the nature of his drinking.   Put simply, it takes some doing to get one's BAC to where Proverbs 23:29-35 describes as problem drinking--really .15% BAC, two 750 ml bottles of wine, eight to ten cans of beer, or about a pint of most hard liquors--and it's hard to hide that in your home, or in your credit card statements.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

WilliamD's picture

Of course I am not happy that someone's life is wrecked by sin, but I was glad to hear that this wolf is out of the pulpit finally. How many more "Elephants" from the haughty Elephant Room episode have disgraced and disqualified themselves thus far? 

Bert Perry's picture

WilliamD wrote:

Of course I am not happy that someone's life is wrecked by sin, but I was glad to hear that this wolf is out of the pulpit finally. How many more "Elephants" from the haughty Elephant Room episode have disgraced and disqualified themselves thus far? 

Well, of the seven or eight pastors in Elephant Room, one has fallen into the sin if imperiousness, and another has fallen into the sin, apparently, of drunkenness.  Given that the pastorate can be a rather volatile profession, I am not sure that I could determine whether this is, statistically speaking, out of line. the 95% two sided confidence ranges goes as low as 3.6%, really, around the range at which pastors quit the pastorate, if not lower.

I'm no fan of mega-churches, and would even say that good pastors need to be careful to make opportunities for young elders and deliberately keep their congregations smaller--I think that's where our society is going, really.  But I don't see that this proves anything, and we need to remember that this isn't a little thing like the QB throwing an interception to lose the Super Bowl.  It's tens of thousands of our brothers and sisters at stake here.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Donn R Arms's picture

I predict that Noble will emerge from "rehab" in three months, will be pronounced "cured," evaluated to be an even better pastor because of his experience, and will be back in the New Spring pulpit within six months. He will publish a book about the wisdom he has gained within a year.

Donn R Arms

Ron Bean's picture

I suspect Donn may have the gift of prophecy. It's happened before----and in fundamentalist circles at that.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Bert Perry's picture

Ron Bean wrote:

I suspect Donn may have the gift of prophecy. It's happened before----and in fundamentalist circles at that.

If we're really cessationists, shouldn't we be burning Donn at the stake for this?  :^)

(just kidding, Donn...no need to put on your asbestos union suit as far as I'm concerned!)

Seriously, I would not be surprised if Donn is correct.  Don't know how ugly this will get, or has gotten, but I would be surprised if his problems get the attention they really need from those who care about him.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

Mr Noble obviously has a substance problem whether due to a trajic event, pressure on the job, self medication of depreciation what ever.  As long as this is his only vice and not adultery or theft or other significant matters he should remain Pastor in name while getting treatment hence support the guy. The beauty is that the biblical only counseling model greatly applies to this and has a higher rate of success higher  than  anything out there but Don's right on the money about what happens afterwards. 

Larry's picture

Moderator

As long as this is his only vice and not adultery or theft or other significant matters he should remain Pastor in name while getting treatment hence support the guy. 

Given the pastoral qualifications that one is to be temperate and not addicted to wine (assuming for the sake of argument that he meets all the others), why is this any different than adultery or theft (which isn't even mentioned, per se)?

Bert Perry's picture

Joe, the difference I've got with your comment, beyond what Larry points out, is that the qualifications for being an elder are pretty much a package deal.  Being a drunkard or womanizer shows a lack of self-control and respectability, and you can make a number of other comparisons.  Along the same lines, the drunkard does so for a reason.  I don't know what they are for Noble, and we can debate (probably some other time) whether Noble's disqualification ought to be temporary or permanent, but I think it would be a huge disservice to the church, to Noble's family, and to Noble himself if nobody at least puts in a "good college try" to figure it out and help him work through these issues.

Parallel note is that companies used to use the bars in hotel rooms to evaluate personal habits.  Come to the interview hung over, or if the hotel noted too much liquor gone from the bottles, and they knew they had a drunk they shouldn't hire.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Joeb's picture

Bert you and Larry are probably right but I am not saying he should not be disciplined.  I am saying its hard to see a devoted Pastor who is not involved in any other vice loose his job if for some reason was quietly drowning his sorrows in a bottle due something tragic happening  in his life in the present or the past.  Removed for a period yes so he can get help.  Permanently fired I would have to hear the circumstances.  My father committed sucide.  I heard him say it so much in a moment a weakness I said go ahead and those were my last words to him.  Well the next morning he stretched his neck with a belt. I buried it and three years later it bit me in the rear end. It was right after th date of his death. I went into a deep deep depression and tried to do the same   All I could do was think of hanging myself. Now I did not but I could have very easily self medicate by drinking.  If I was a Pastor should I have lost my job for a first offense.  What was worse I did get help but hid my problem well and carried a gun for work while doing it   Again I guess I have a soft spot for substance abusers and understand where they were coming from   I hurt my back on the job took no narcotic pain killers before being operated on and very little afterward   To be honest it was a three year trip through a hell of pain   I did not want to get addicted which probably would have cost my job  So I muscled through it   Now that I'm retired that pain is so seared in my mind that now I take them but I'm still scared to death   I'll b honest I prayed that God would take me home  many times during that three year journey  so if Pastor has an incident in his life that drives him to drink at least for a first offense he should not loose his job  Esspecially if he is a closet drinker.  Or goes to a bar out of the area to drink and takes a cab home to drown his sorrows how is this a job ending offense.  Now if he is partying all over all over the place and clearly leading a double life that's different   Well I may be wrong but I have a soft heart for substance abusers no matter what the substance is.  Like that poor Seminary  Prof who took his life due to his porn addiction   To me a Pastors job is probably one of the most stressful jobs there is and I would defend my Pastor to the end except ina drastic sin situation   I thank the Lord for these men of God and many of us so many times take them for granted and don't show them the appreciation they deserve   So many times parishioners nit pic the Pastors  Think about who gets the call when tragic circumstances occur in  the church and shares the burdens of  all the church members  What if a young person dies and the Pastor knew he was not saved but was working with him and one day he called off his meeting with that kid and simply because the Pastor wanted sleep in and the kid dies the next day That alone could drive the Pastor to drink   Sorry to get carried away but so many times I have seen people in my church knit pick the Pastors to death over total boloney and it drove  me nuts  

 

 

Bert Perry's picture

Joe,what you're saying reminds me of Proverbs 31:6-7.  Sound about right?  It would appear that God has a soft spot for the one who would drink to forget his sorrow, too.  The question is what the proper approach is for the sorrowing pastor--how do you figure out he doesn't just have a lack of self-control (e.g. he drinks because he likes to be drunk), how do you minister to him in his time of sorrow, etc..?  

Get rid of that "right boot of fellowship", absolutely, but we would separate the pastor from ministry in a time of sorrow....perhaps precisely because of that time of sorrow.

Once again, hang in there with that back.  

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Larry's picture

Moderator

Joeb, I can sympathize with much of what you say, but what would you say to the guy who drowns his sorrows and seeks relief with a woman he is not married to? Would you have the same sort of sympathy for him on his first time? If not, why do you elevate one item in the list above another item in the list? 

I do think not all things in the list are equally concrete. But a "one woman man" and "not addicted to wine" are among the most concrete. 

Kicking a repentant pastor out of the church entirely would be wrong, I think. But to allow such a one to continue in ministry is certainly problematic. He may one day regain the character, integrity, and blamelessness to pastor, but one who has violated the qualifications in this way doesn't have it now. 

jreeseSr's picture

Once again the gift of exhortation or as one of his members said "motivational speaker" does not in and of itself equate to solid spiritual maturity..I do believe we are in a drought of truly "inspirational" speakers,,and when one comes along will have no problem at all gaining support and a following...far exceeding one man's ability to lead or minister effectively.  I will say that this movement as well as some others gaining ground in the south are structured properly with a leadership council (Elders) that have the authority to step in and do damage control before the ministry is totally destroyed.. When this happened in a large fundamentalist work that I am sure you all are aware of..The "deacons" were aware of "God's man's" drinking problem but were in such subjection and were told they never had authority to "Challenge" anything that he did...that was God's job..I believe the example and instruction that Paul gave the elders at Ephesus has been lost on many fundamentalists..

I developed a formula for success in any corporate environment years ago and find it applicable in the Church also "EMAAA"  

1. E = Education...Biblical authority and instruction all the time for all the people aimed at the level of their sp maturity

2. M = Measurement... don't expect what you don't inspect ..have tangible measuring points of the goals of your ministry..I am surprised at the number of churches that can tell you how many conversions they had last year,,but have no idea where they are today ?

3. A = Accountability  .. we must hold one another accountable to our doctrine and service..this is lost under the "peace at any cost"  philosophy that robs our power..and wrecks lives..Love confronts..

4. A = Analysis.... Is our well intentioned "plan" working ,,giving the results we expected..if not find the "WHY"

5. A = Adjustment  ......Once our analysis reveals a "change" in practice is required do we have the courage..?  "Doctrine" is never open to adjustment but "Style" can be.."Music , dress , order of service, times and such are style and subject to change..at my age I do struggle with this but it is my issue,,,just dont try and make "style" doctrine...it will lead you into the ditch every time..

Jim