I have a fascination with megachurch preachers, and I’ve wanted to write a post on Perry Noble for awhile. I didn’t however want to be like all the other writings that simply bash the man. Whether you love him or despise him, his story is quite interesting. He’s a man who rose from early tragedies of abuse and the death of his parents, to pastor the largest church in South Carolina (Newspring Church) and one of the largest ones in America. He attracted people with his “realness” to Christianity and his comfort with bashing all critics as Christian “haters”.
I particularly learned more about him from the writings I read of him at pajamapages.com. Dr. James Duncan wrote many critical pieces about Mr. Noble on his page. He once put a writing in the local Anderson SC paper where the main church is located. Dr. Duncan ended up going through a thorny court battle with Mr. Noble after some people on Mr. Noble’s staff harassed him and attempted to destroy his reputation. If you want to know more about the story, I encourage you to go to his website and see the full story for yourself.
But as Perry Noble’s celebrity in the Christian world grew larger, he courted more and more controversy with his messages. Messages that critics have remarked as a severe lacking of exegesis at best, and at worst a blurry distortion of Christianity. One of the most controversial messages Mr. Noble preached was on the Ten Commandments, as he stood on his stage proclaiming that the ten commandments should now be known as the “ten promises”, and declaring with loud excitement one would convey upon making a new discovery, what each commandment stood for as a promise
In an earthquake shaking announcement many months after that preaching, Newspring Church announced they had fired Perry Noble for alcoholism and marital issues. Mr. Noble checked into a rehab facility and the church moved on with Mr. Noble’s friend Clayton King as interim pastor.
There was a lot of silence in this story after that period. But after a few months, Mr. Noble started communicating more on social media again about how he was sober and healed from his issues. In a move that would surprise the elders at Newspring, he began preaching at other churches again. He also started his own business, lending his experience on growing churches to other pastors for money. Because Mr.Noble had a loyal following that would defend him against all criticism, many people who still went to Newspring questioned why he could preach at other churches but wasn’t allowed to preach at Newspring.
The thundering uproar from the members led the elders to address the issue in an open church meeting talking about the future direction of Newspring church. In that meeting, the elders declared they still deemed Perry Noble unqualified to preach based on him not fitting the qualifications of preacher listed in scripture. They declared their church would continue with no head pastor, but instead a group of pastors leading the church with Jesus as everyone’s “head pastor”.
Mr. Noble heard about all this still living in the city where the main church was, and responded to the elders on his personal Facebook page. In the video, he claimed the things they said were misleading, and he was disappointed in the elders for the public denouncement of his character. Some of his Facebook followers were disappointed in the response, but many others stood by him and expressed they no longer felt welcome at Newspring Church.
After Mr. Noble announced his decision to divorce his wife, the story of Perry Noble has now risen to a sky high boiling point. Mr. Noble announced within the last month that he planned to start a new church called “Second Chance Church”. He further announced after his first sermon done online this past Sunday, that the church meeting place would be in the same area his former megachurch is headquartered, Anderson SC.
Many questions came to mind when I heard this news. Will many of Mr. Noble’s fans still at Newspring all start going to Second Chance Church? Is it acceptable for a man that’s currently divorcing his wife to become the head pastor of a new church? And one last question came to mind most. Is Mr. Noble starting a new church for the good of reaching people for Christ, or is this a potential Civil War battle brewing between himself and his former megachurch Newspring? As the old idiom used on radio and television goes, stay tuned.