It’s ironic that Perry Noble of NewSpring Church in South Carolina, produced the article “15 Signs Your Church Is in Trouble”. In the article below he offers some signs that could indicate that your church is in trouble. In spite of key essentials that are missing in this piece, Perry Noble fails his own list spectacularly. Scoring, according to research and observations from key discernment ministries, indicates Perry Noble’s own church is in trouble. Sadly, Noble fulfilled thirteen out of the fifteen points, highlighting the fact that his church is definitely in trouble. Yep. Perry Noble’s NewSpring Church gets a big red ‘F‘. Without exception Noble fails his own standard. So who is Perry Noble to lecture the Christian community when he fails to even come close to fulfilling the “ideal” and even refuses to acknowledge?
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matt 7:1-5
Below is an explanation why he failed his fifteen standards. THE FAILED FIFTEEN? You’d think after years of being critically examined by Chris Rosebrough, Perry Noble would man up and stop making excuses to do things his way and not God’s way. After being exposed (and corrected) by Rosebrough, you would think perhaps Noble would stop twisting God’s Word and put an end to the gimmicks furthering his own purpose driven nonsense. As for point two, the seeker sensitive “church” model that Noble uses is all about attracting nonbelievers to the church. This approach only reinforces that Christians do not have to be equipped to share their faith. The model itself relies heavily on the pastor to win the world through his gimmicks and latest innovations. (No gospel necessary?) So why does Perry Noble insist on using his model of “receiving people” but say there’s a problem when “church becomes content with merely receiving people”? These are just two points that expose that his own church as highly problematic. He also fails points three, four, five and six. We included point six because ceasing “to be coachable” is not a biblical requirement for a leader. We generally know he means “coachable” or teachable by the Perry Goebbels himself. However this is not a biblical understanding of church leadership. A biblical leader is to submit, listen and serve the body of Christ. They are also to submit themselves to the body of elders for correction or teaching. But this biblical church structure is not in operation in NewSpring Church – thus becomes problematic in itself. The most important point in Noble’s article is point seven. And Noble fails this completely. This is because he has created a culture for unbelievers. That means, he has to play down the bible and the gospel and preach feel-good messages to entice the world into his church. As Chris Rosebrough pointed out within the Seeker Sensitive “church”, the gospel that is presented is a Jesus that offers life tips that died for you to discover your purpose. It has been proven again and again that this is the “Jesus” presented at NewSpring. This gospel leaves hell out completely, shuns the “sin” word and redefines the cross (which is why you hear sermons at NewSpring that resemble something you’d hear in a magazine or a TEDTalk.) With this gospel presentation, urgency has been replaced with apathy Perry also fails point eight: “Scripture isn’t central in every decision that is made”. This is because the seeker sensitive church model is not founded on the bible. The seeker sensitive gospel begins by assuming that we need to use the world to appeal to the world to finally win the world (thus the gimmicks Perry uses in his church). The sermons are also about the world to win the world. And as you often hear with Noble, he gives topical messages on his ideas and twists the scriptures as if God sanctioned them. Thus, he is reinforcing that people enforce their ideals rather than God’s Word, stamping their ideals as legitimate, rather than hearing what God’s words actually say and making God’s words central. Now similar to the world, Noble’s church can only follow his example and treat God’s Word the way a New Ager picks and chooses the bible and other sources to construct their own ideas. Perry also fails point nine: “The church is reactive rather than proactive”. The Seeker model was birthed in reaction in fear that the world would leave the “church” in its wake. The idea that the Seeker model gives is that they are proactive but it’s not. If Noble’s church is proactive, then they would be relying on and be driven by the authority of God, not the culture. Perry Noble should be taking God’s standard to the world rather than enforce the world’s standard above God’s standard and His Church’s standard. Thus, having complete disregard for God’s Word and His church – Perry fails point ten. He is only thinking about himself and not the devastating effects he is leaving on young believers. Furthermore, because he is driven by success and numbers, Noble fails points eleven and twelve spectacularly. Now we do not know what NewSpring’s intitiative’s are in the community. So we will give him the benefit of the doubt and say he has one healthy church point out of fifteen … for his social club.
Perry Noble also fails points fourteen. Noble is a high ranking Seeker Sensitive leader. We do not call men like Perry Noble “fuhrers” (leaders) for nothing. These purpose driven “fuhrers” (leaders) demand that people submit to their god-given “vision” for their church. Their philosophy in a nutshell is this: if you do not submit to the vision you are not submitting to God and His church. False Christian leaders like Noble condition people to submit to their visionary leadership. To operate independently of the “vision” will only cause trouble. Perry Noble could be given a healthy church point for point fifteen, (although it can be disputed on the motive or reason why his leadership should go the extra mile). What are your thoughts? How would you rank Perry Noble’s church against his own criteria? Perry Noble writes,
15 Signs Your Church Is in Trouble
1. When excuses are made about the way things are instead of embracing a willingness to roll up the sleeves and fix the problem.
2. When the church becomes content with merely receiving people who come rather than actually going out and finding them … in other words, they lose their passion for evangelism!
3. The focus of the church is to build a great church (complete with the pastor’s picture … and his wife’s … on everything) and not the Kingdom of God.
4. The leadership begins to settle for the natural rather than rely on the supernatural.
5. The church begins to view success/failure in regards to how they are viewed in the church world rather than whether or not they are actually fulfilling the Great Commission!
6. The leaders within the church cease to be coachable.
7. There is a loss of a sense of urgency! (Hell is no longer hot, sin is no longer wrong and the cross is no longer important!)
8. Scripture isn’t central in every decision that is made!
9. The church is reactive rather than proactive.
10. The people in the church lose sight of the next generation and refuse to fund ministry simply because they don’t understand “those young people.”
11. The goal of the church is to simply maintain the way things are … to not rock the boat and/or upset anyone … especially the big givers!
12. The church is no longer willing to take steps of faith because “there is just too much to lose.”
13. The church simply does not care about the obvious and immediate needs that exist in the community.
14. The people learn how to depend on one man to minister to everyone rather than everyone embracing their role in the body, thus allowing the body to care for itself.
15. When the leaders/staff refuse to go the extra mile in leading and serving because of how “inconvenient” doing so would be.
Source: By Perry Noble, 15 Signs Your Church Is in Trouble, Church Leaders, http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-blogs/138516-15_signs_that_a_church.html | http://www.churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-blogs/138516-15_signs_that_a_church.html/2. (Accessed 23/03/2014.)
NOTE: If you attend NewSpring Church – please don’t throw the typical brainwashed response “You don’t go to my church so who are you to judge” or “How you can make these claims if you don’t know my pastor personally”. Please measure your church’s standards against the Word of God – not catchy mantras, experiences or relationships.