I want to examine this Twitter post from Perry Noble and take a hard look at some of his more colorful antics at NewSpring Church. I will focus on his statement that "God did not call the church to withdraw from the world" and compare it with what God told us about the world in the Bible. I have already dealt with the "scoreboard" logic in my blog Confessing Christ, false professions, and the numbers game, so I'm not going to get into that part again.
The first bad advice from Perry Noble is assuming that pastors and leaders can run up a spiritual scoreboard. This is very flawed advice that puts the emphasis on the pastor and church leadership rather than on Jesus Christ. This type of advice leads to a cult of personality with heavy emphasis on the leaders and church culture. I would suggest that Perry Noble ponder the Doctrines of Grace a little more or think about what he is posting to Twitter before he posts it.
Let's move on to the subject of the church not withdrawing from world. I fully agree with Perry Noble that the church must not withdraw from the world (Refer to my blog "In the hedge and on the highway" for my thoughts on how we reach out to people). Perry Noble is big on outreach and numbers. He is always referring back to his slogan, "to make the name of Jesus famous one life at a time!" as his rallying battle cry. To me, this slogan is just another marketing tool used to promote NewSpring Church. It's not like Jesus needs us to make His name famous. I'll put aside my prejudice of this slogan for a moment to say I fully agree with it and Perry Noble's vision. In making the name of Jesus famous should we not focus on more than just saying the name and counting heads? In making Jesus' name famous we should show the world Jesus as Jesus is described in the Bible. Perry Noble's visions for making Jesus' name famous does not accurately reflect the outline found in the Bible for spreading Jesus' name. Let's dig a little deeper into Noble's rabbit hole and see what we find. As a former NewSpring Church member, I have some first hand knowledge of how NewSpring's rabbit holes work.
When Perry Noble gives advice that the church is not to withdraw from the world it sounds really good until you get to know what Noble is referring to with this statement. Perry Noble uses the hooks and snares of the world to bait and switch unregenerated people into visiting NewSpring Church. This tactic works, and it works well. The proof is easily seen in the numbers of people who attend NewSpring Church.
Let's examine some of Perry Noble's advice and actions from the past:
Last Easter Perry Noble used AC\DC's Highway to Hell as an opening song at NewSpring Church (see also Perry Noble's message from AC/DC Sunday). Perry has claimed people were saved because of using AC\DC's "Hell's Bells" . If you read the links, you will see how Perry Noble believed that God used worldly music to spread His Gospel. Perry Noble's severe lack of discernment is seen in his blog called I-Pod as he refers to Rob Bell (see link for Bell's heresy) as a preacher he listens to on a regular basis. Perry Noble also uses some very colorful language(cussing), crude language, prophetic visions , and bad advice. He promotes worldly songs like those by Usher (refer to Can I enjoy movies and culture and still be a Christian? around the 35-40 minute mark) that encourage people toward sinful thoughts, and uses lust- filled songs like "Crazy in Love" (refer to NewSpring's "Crazy in Love” by Beyonce) all in the name of making Jesus name famous. These antics are used by Perry Noble to help spread the the Gospel of Jesus Christ by reaching out and appealing to culture to draw those without Jesus into the church.
We can see in these examples how Perry Noble details what he means by "not withdrawing from the world" which is translated: "Use the world's music, tactics, and language to be relevant to reach the lost. As long as we worship Jesus this is all good because the ends justify the means." Perry Noble adds to his statement by saying, "Run up the score" which is translated: "When you are criticized for your actions, simply point to the number of members attending your church as evidence God is working in your ministry through your vision".
Now let's examine Perry Nobles's actions and claims using the Berean example found in Acts 17:11.
Acts 17:11 (New International Version)
11Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
The Bible tells us to not have a filthy mouth (Col 3:8).
When we compare the Scriptures to Perry Noble, we see a problem with his ministry. Do we see Perry Noble when we read this passage?
Titus 2:11-13 (New American Standard Bible)
11For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,
12instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,
13looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
In this account of the unknown god in Acts 17, Perry Noble's carnal interpretation of this event fails the test of the Scriptures. One would think Paul studied and regularly used Greek pagan culture in his preaching to the Greeks according to Noble's presentation of this event. Paul did not bring this idol, Greek culture, or any relevant secular works into the church to draw the Greek people in. Paul did not use the relevant excuse to put worldly culture into the church like Noble uses to justify his antics at NewSpring Church. Paul warned us against these things in Romans 12:1-3, 2 Corinthians 10:1-3, Romans 6:1-3, Romans 6:14-16 so why would Paul tell these Greeks they are the exception to the rule? If this was the case then why did Paul even bother writing 1 and 2 Corinthians?
I can explain the point of Acts 17:22-24 using myself as an example. If I walked by a group of Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses debating who God is and how we know who Jesus was, then this would be very similar to what happened in Acts 17. Because I have studied the Mormon and the Jehovah Witness faiths, I can answer their questions using their terminology about who Jesus Christ really is by simply leading them to the true Scriptures. If I took Perry Noble's explanation of this event as a guide to my walk with Jesus, then I would add Mormon/Jehovah Witness culture and literature: The Book of Mormon and the New World Translation, to my study and include them in my sermons. Taking Noble's advice a little further, I could go back to my church to add Mormon and Jehovah Witness books, study guides, magazines, lesson plans, etc... in the church to lure Mormons and Jehovah Witness into the house of God. I could turn right around and claim that because I used Mormon/Jehovah Witness culture that God used this "relevant" material to lead "x" number of people to Christ! Clearly this poor explanation from Perry Noble about the Apostle Paul is laying a foundation of foolish advice, worldliness, confusion, and carnality in the Christian faith. The bottom line is Perry Noble willingly twisted the Scriptures out of context in order to defend his love of the world and the world's culture that holds him captive. Noble jumps through hoops in order to make the Word of God sound as if it justifies Noble's rebellion and love of the world.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17 (New American Standard Bible)
14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
15Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?
16Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
"I WILL DWELL IN THEM AND WALK AMONG THEM;
AND I WILL BE THEIR GOD, AND THEY SHALL BE MY PEOPLE.
17"Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord.
"AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN;
And I will welcome you.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (New International Version)
13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.