I Should be Shocked

kinnon —  December 8, 2009 — 8 Comments

But I'm not particularly.

I spent far too many years working and consulting in the mega-church world not to have continually stumbled across the dead and dying faith of former followers – victims of the vision of the leader.

" Hey staff, here's an important saying you need to memorize,
'Any vision that's not my vision is di-vision'.
Division! – Get it! "

As the number of butts in seats increased, these mono-vision leaders felt as if they had the God Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

"If God wasn't happy with me, He'd tell me."

PerryComic.jpg

It doesn't help to remind them that God had to use an ass to get through to Balaam. One would think a pyjama-clad blogger or two wouldn't be out of His reach.

"Balaam wasn't a minister of the Gospel. That passage could never apply to me. Although any blogger who dares criticize me is definitely an ass. And probably not a Christian one."

I referenced a young 'successful' preacher in my recent post, What We Win Them With Is What We Win Them To;

A case in point, this painful video at Out of Ur. I have no doubt this young man basically has good motives. But he's not interested in hearing any critique. Entertainment is good because it gets butts in seats – "cuz, it's all about the numbers, baby!" And this young man's church has the numbers to show – so the rest of us just need to shut our festering gobs.

But, in line with Whitmarsh, do those numbers reflect the raising up of people who are disciples of Christ – whose lives exhibit "sacrifice, service, humility, forgiveness, love, grace and mercy."

Pajama-Pages-3D-1.jpg

This stomache-turning story of humiliation, fear and just plain evil would suggest otherwise.

It's the story of Dr. James Duncan, critiquing the ministry of Perry Noble (in a strong, somewhat obsessive, but reasoned manner) and finding his world turned upside down with threats of violence, actual identity theft, harassment, stalking and much more – this viciousness from a fulltime security person at Newspring and a number of Newspring volunteers – with the apparent approval of other Newspring staff (if one follows the Twitter trail according to Dr. Duncan). Noble claims not to have known.

Is it any wonder that a 'pastor' whose Twitter bio is "Wanna Be Ultimate Fighter!" – who spends an inordinate amount of time talking about 'ignoring bloggers and critics' in videos he has posted on YouTube (where in one he talks about God stopping him from smacking a woman in a restaurant he thinks has dissed him) – assuring his loyal listeners of how much smarter he is than the rest of us while he confuses missional with attractional then goes on to insult emerging – is it any wonder he would raise up combative, arrogant followers.

That those followers engaged in what might appear to be crimes worthy of a RICO investigation suggests the minimum response of the "leadership" at Newspring would be to meet with Dr. Duncan and profoundly apologize – seeking forgiveness. Instead they post weasel words in their statement that suggests Dr. Duncan is to blame and was simply after a big payout from Newspring.

I should be shocked. And you, Mr. Noble, should be ashamed.

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UPDATE: Please read the good folk at Phoenix Preacher in Michael's Not Very Noble post and the comments that follow.

Previous kinnon.tv posts that have mentioned Perry Noble:
Church of the Little Rascals (2006)
Perry Noble and Out of Ur (2006)
Perry's All Fired Up (2007)
How to Rebuild a Bent Toadley and Other Church Ministries (2009)
The De-Churched or Not EVEN Virtual Part II (2009)
What is What?(2009)

kinnon

Posts

A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

8 responses to I Should be Shocked

  1. I wish I could say this was far and few between but it’s not. If you shoot someone’s sacred cow, they moo and sometimes hit you with their cow patties. I am still floored whenever Christians use violence against another Christian.

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  2. I read the story of James Duncan on Sunday morning. Horrible. Simply horrible. To me it looks more and more as if evangelicalism (the conservative/fundamentalist church) has gone the way of it’s older brothers and sisters – and become a social club/institution rather than a church.

    I recognize that people have always belonged to churches for a variety of complicated reasons, but especially here in the south of the U.S. it would appear that it is primarily a social institution complete with a very rigid hierarchy. Ce va.

    There was nothing (repeat … No thing) of that church that had anything to do with Jesus Christ. Those people will have to look God in the face one day just as we all will and understand what horrors they have done. May She have mercy on them.

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  3. Sadly it’s another case of cheap grace where the end goal is to preach salvation by faith to as many people as possible without counting the true costs of discipleship. When disciples are not created the results aren’t pretty… or noble.
    Thanks for this collection of links and needed perspective.

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  4. we’ve had a couple of families connect with our church because of exactly that 1st quote about vision & division… sad that this is prevelant & that leaders are so insecure

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  5. Well Bill, I for one was actually shocked. I just figured being playfully blunt was part of Perry’s schtick (which, I can forgive), but it appears he is actually deeply arrogant. What other word is there to describe someone who publicly flaunts ignorance as knowledge and apparently doesn’t even know what he doesn’t know?

    Perry is probably in for a serious lesson in humility someday soon. What’s really sad is that it will probably end up causing a ton of collateral damage.

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  6. Bill,
    I pointed a couple of our staff fellows to this post. One came down the hall earlier and regretted that I had sent the thing. He noted it made his blood boil. I was glad it did. Now maybe we won’t ever have to worry about (1) any staff member taking after some who disagrees with whatever it is we do, and (2) violating Lenconi’s dysfunctions of a team wherein order is maintained by explicit and implicit agreement rather than healthy disagreement and conversation.

    Keep writing.

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  7. When I think about this story I cannot help but think of what is said about vines bearing good fruit. If vindictiveness, cruelty, and slander on the scale of what was done to James Duncan are the fruits of Noble’s ministry then perhaps he should consider another line of work. Trying to destroy your critics with the utmost of malice is a teaching of L. Ron Hubbard, not Jesus Christ.

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  8. My apologies for not properly engaging with all of you. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in work as days have rolled into nights, and nights back into days. I’ll have more to write on this in the not too distant future – and I appreciate all your comments.

    My biggest concern is that this will be a momentary flare up, a mini-storm which PN will weather – and then he and his church leadership will just keep on doing what they do best – providing Christian-lite entertainment to an every growing audience while running roughshod over those who would dare critique them.

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