I have spent part of the morning reading reactions to the removal of Perry Noble as senior pastor of NewSpring Church. I understand the necessity of the leadership of the Newspring to move based on the apparent refusal of their pastor to repent of his growing dependence on alcohol. Now before you say, “But he did repent, he said he was guilty of sin and was sorry” let me remind you that there is a difference between saying I am sorry for your sins and repenting of your sins. Repentance is a turning from your sin. According to the churches announcement the leadership has been dealing with this issue for some time and Noble had refused to deal with the problem. That is not repentance. What we heard is Noble being remorseful because of being caught and reprimanded. True repentance is granted by God and does not originate with man. An apology is not repentance.
My concern is not that the leadership removed him for his unrepentant behavior but why they did not feel the same way about the way he over and over again mishandled the texts of Scripture and as he mangled Biblical doctrine. From performing secular songs in a church worship setting, to allowing women to preach from the pulpit, to bringing in a Church of Christ Duck Dynasty baptismal regeneration proponent, to changing the Ten Commandments to something they are not, to the twisting of the Word of God every time he stood before the church. Why was the leadership not appalled by his preaching a different gospel than the one that Bible proclaims to the same degree they were about his behavior? Why where they not concerned that a false gospel was being given to thousands of people week in and week out for sixteen years?
My more personal concern is people that I know who sit under Biblical preaching have rushed to the defense of a false teacher on social media. It reveals their lack of discernment, Biblical ignorance, and their inattentiveness. It indicates that doctrine does not matter and the proper handling of Scripture is of no great concern. It proves that they don’t fully understand what the Bible describes as the gospel. This lack of Biblical understanding is terribly disappointing.
Should we pray for Perry Noble? Absolutely! We should pray for him physically and spiritually. Todd Friel posted a tweet desiring that salvation would become a reality in Noble’s life. He was promptly blasted for his judgmental attitude toward a person’s salvation. However, are not those people making judgments about Noble’s salvation being a reality? Are they not making assumptions as well? We can’t know anyone’s heart, whether they are saved or not but the Bible says by their fruits you will know them. Just examine the spiritual fruit. I pray that God will lead Perry Noble to look away from himself, that God will destroy his pride, that God would crush his self-reliance, and cause him to look to Christ alone as his only hope in this life and the life to come. I also pray that the leadership of NewSpring will look for a pastor that will be doctrinally sound, Christ exalting, and gospel centered and not entertaining, cool, and relevant. I pray that God will be glorified in and through all of this.