Readers - my experiences through the past few years, and my observations of preachers especially of the mega church variety, have taught me that many mega church preachers have egos so large they would barely fit into their massive mega church auditoriums. And thus they don't like critics. They can't STAND public criticism.
They believe their profession, that of a preacher/pastor, to be the most noble and sacred and holy of all professions, because they are the ones "called by God" into their profession. And that anyone who would dare to be a critic, especially a public critic, of the holy and sacred position of "pastor" and his church (especially one so annointed as to be pastor of a mega church), must be of the devil.
The followers and supporters of such pastors - especially their fellow ministers and closest lay leaders - don't like critics of their church or pastor any more than the mega church pastor does, as they get the cues from their pastor about how to act towards critics. Ironically, often these pastors LOVE to use their own pulpit as a bully pulpit to criticize others Christians about things they don't like or differing doctrines or practices...but by golly let there be a public critic on the blogosphere analyzing THEIR actions and THEIR doctrines...well, they don't handle that so well.
Generally these preachers view their critics, especially persistent, public critics, as being of the ENEMY, and aren't afraid to teach this to their church members. The storyline goes something like this: these critics (often called "slanderers" and "deceivers" and "gossipers") must either be on God's side or Satan's side, and if they are criticizing a church were souls are saved and the Bible is taught, they most certainly CANNOT be on God's side. They must be on Satan's side for sure, and thus worthy of ridicule and punishment at the hands of the church until they repent. To go after such critics to expose them, or to do them harm, is to do God's will.
I have come across a situation that is eerily similar to the FBC Jax Watchdog scenario, but with some very interesting ironies and twists - and some extremes that go way beyond the story of this blog - some that are just to unbelievable to comprehend.
But these stories have at their root: mega church pastors who can't stand criticism, who teach their churches to view critics as the enemy, and the resulting efforts undertaken to identify and punish such critics. My criticism wrought me several subpoenas and a letter of 16 sins, trespass papers for me and my wife, a publicly read deacon's resolution ratified by my fellow church members, and newspaper quotes by the mega church pastor and his church president calling me terrible names...this blogger's criticism brought him, as you will see, a very different set of punishments.
Suppose I started to describe to you this scenario: a situation involving a professor who was a blogger critical of a mega church preacher, the preacher who couldn't stand for there to be a public critic of him and his church, a preacher who would equate critics and opposers to his vision as being on the devil's side, church members who didn't like the critical blogger and accused him of dissension and wickedness and evil intent, a person on the church security staff involved in teaching the blogger a lesson, and a sheriff's department involved in the ensuing investigation to find an anonymous party. And of course, brewing legal maneuvers on both sides.
You might think I was referring to FBC Jax and the FBC Jax Watchdog.
But I'm not.
The mega church is the New Spring Church in Anderson, South Carolina.
The pastor is a man named Perry Noble.
The blogger is Dr. James Duncan and the "Pajama Pages" blog he authors. (Note: his blog is not a typical "blogspot" blog and thus looks a bit odd at first glance...each article is in its own white box on the page, with the title of each article in a small green box at the top - what looks to be like a series of comments, are actually the blog posts).
I am going to close this article with a few hyperlinks; if you are curious and would like to do some research into this blogger/pastor/church scandal, there is plenty here. Very soon I will provide a summary of events for my readers to shine a light on what has happened to this blogger at the hands of this mega church. Some incredible similarities, but some awful, awful differences.
Here is a direct link to a blog post earlier this month entitled "Holy Rage at the Spring" that gives the detail on the whole bloody affair - he posted this on December 5th, 2009...its very long and detailed:
Holy Rage at the Spring - December 5, 2009
Here is a link to a radio interview of Dr. Duncan on what seems to be an Internet radio site called "Fighting for the Faith"...you can get a good feel for who Dr. Duncan is, what his intentions were behind his blog, and also hear some excerpts from Perry Noble's sermons and excellent analysis by both Duncan and the interviewer:
Radio Interview of Dr. Duncan - December 7, 2009
There are two parts to the interview, and they are very long, and they seemed to take a long time to download and start playing, so be patient.
One interesting twist in this story that I'll leave you with, and that you'll see: the anonymity in this case was NOT the blogger, but a man on the church's side, an employee of the church, who went after the blogger anonymously to teach him a lesson to try to get him fired by sending a phony resignation letter to his employer, to paint the blogger as pervert, a homosexual, his kid as a cross dresser, and to make him fear for his family's life by actual threats against him...all in the name of God to punish the blogger for the audacity in criticizing a mega church pastor.
I see so many similarities, including the invective (comments) hurled at Watchdog at this blog.
WD, thanks for this post.
BTW I do read all the posts and comments. I have not been commenting much. But have been praying for Matt Chandler.
This makes your saga look like a fairy tale. It looks like good makings for a television series if it weren't so sad.
God help us all.
So Perry Nobles is at it again. Old Truth Blogger, Jim Bublitz, used to take Perry to task for his constant heretical teaching and very bad boy behavior years ago. Unfortuantly, Jim retired from blogging due to serious health problems. One of last true gentlemen bloggers out there and a man who loved Jesus Christ.
Perry is as mean as they come. Pray that his followers will run from that church and come to know the real Jesus Christ.
Matt - I had never heard of this guy until Thursday night when I stumbled across the blog.
Do you know what is his education? Where did he go to seminary? What denomination did he get his start in? How does his doctrine compare to a typical SBC mega church pastor?
Just another note: For those of you who do not think your pastor would dare do any of the things you read about Nobles, Furtick or Lamb, think again. It goes on all the time.
My experience is that the older ones are more subtle and play for keeps behind closed doors patiently aligning support. (Note Mac and his support by the SBC. This circling the wagons is typical of the older breed of wolf)
The younger ones are like bulls in a china shop ,brash and arrogant. They are shock jocks both in person and in the pulpit. They make their living that way. Unfortuantly, that is part of their draw.
But in the end, both types are the same--wolves-- only using different methods. I have given up on them. They are wolves. And they were set out for condemnation long ago.
However, their followers are worth warning and we must. It is our duty to present the real Jesus Christ to them and warn them they are following and supporting wolves.
The scary part is that folks have no clue. They like the wolf and believe he has some special anointing they cannot have.
Jim left up his blog and you can see some archives on Perry going back to 2006
Sorry about my link being so long.
If I remember correctly, Nobles did not attend seminary. Jim came out of the "evangelical" seeker movement as I did and wrote a lot about it from a theological perspective. I was more involved behind the scenes and saw more of the evil inherent in the system of maintaing and growing the operation.
Therefore most of his writing is going to be taking Perry to task for methods as it relates to theology. But he drove Perry nuts for even daring to write about him unfavorably. And Perry used to skewer Jim on blogs with invective worthy of a sailor. Not a nice guy. Be careful
Just another thing...because it is the same everywhere...
Perry's apologists used the same arguments your detractors use here. They learn these from the wolves.
Of course the most typical is how many souls you could win for Jesus if you were not blogging. This is an attempt to make you the sinner for daring to question the great pastor or put embarassing information out on the internet. They, of course, do not understand that the wolves are not winning folks to Jesus but to themselves.
Jim handles these ridiculous comments with deft, patience and spiritual maturity.
Tom, do you think the above post was the article the prof wrote about Perry initially? Or was this another professor? It does not say he goes to that church but lives in the neighborhood. the thing I remember about this is that the larger secular community was offended by the church's marketing.
Yes, same professor. But his article was a letter in a newspaper, not on a blog. Then, in 2009 when he had his class each start their own blogs, he picked up again analyzing some of Perry Noble's antics, and then later the antics started with him being harrassed.
Sounds like the MOB, as does FBCJax.
These Churches are NOT Churches, but the members would never see it that way. God help us all.
This week the Florida Times Union
featured 4 days of articles of The Downtown Dilemma covering the failure of revitalization efforts to live and shop downtown. It's a downtown full of crime, panhandlers & the homeless.
It stated Church leaders control the fate of a lot of downtown real estate and the question asked was why aren't they more vocal about fixing the core.
The article quoted that the church is changing - it pictured 2 young people from FBCJ praying with couple of the street homeless.
Impressive photo opt, pray & leave.
Most noted was the fact the article stated that despite several requests for interviews on the subject Mr.Brunson refused.
Found that interesting as it would have been a wonderful opportunity to speak to our community about a serious need in our City.
I see FBCJ following the money as Monies have been spent for a start up Academy - mostly the affluent can really afford this education, certainly the downtown residents can't afford this luxery.
Monies have been spent for a start up church in the affluent communities of Ponte Vedra and Nocatee. We have the beautiful beach "surf" pastor, also we do street witnessing @ the St. John's Town Center with the upscale shops.
Now let's hope we see FBCJ come on board and help the downtown and do as the newspaper quoted and be a part of "Saving Jacksonville's Core."
I will most certainly agree that the stuff happening at NewSpring is very strange at best and criminally vile at worst.
But where is the parallel to FBC Jax and Brunson? Certainly you don't claim that your story is similar Watch Dog, do you?
Where are the similarities Thy Peace? Perry Noble is a heretic in his theology, not so with Brunson. New Spring is an autocratic system led unilaterally by Noble. FBC Jax has a constitution, deacons, and trustees.
Watch Dog, I am certain that you have received some harassments over your blog - but I really do think the parallels are WAY off.
Jon G, your argument is really: "My guy is less evil than Noble so I can feel good about him"
I think Matt explained it well. They are wolves but their methods are different.
Perry is trying to shut up criticism in his own way. Mac tried to shut up criticism in his own way. Both are little men with great big egos that make their very nice living off donor money.
You just have a blind spot because you do not want to admit you follow a wolf. You would probably like Steve Gaines, too. He and Mac preach a lot alike. They also act the pretty much the same way.
Now, perhaps like Noble followers you can tell me that I should be out winning souls for Jesus instead of commenting here.
I read the whole account. One word about this man's treatment: Despicable!
I am not sure, though. Was he a member or simply an outside critic? Not that it matters.
I do not wish to dredge old posts at WD's blog where are the parallels could be found. But I would encourage readers to read this post at PajamaPages, and then see the parallels to what WD encountered in comments in this blog. The underlying themes are the same. The methods used are the same, though they are of a different degree. The hate was the same. I was very concerned for WD's safety after reading lot of the comments (especially during Sept. to Nov. 2008).
Shut up, they explained.
In my personal opinion the parallels are mind numbingly similar.
But I will give some credit to FBC Jax leadership. They did not immediately go after WD using heavy hands, though he was contested in the comments in this blog very rigorously. The big weapons were used almost 1 year 2 months since the starting of the blog. That too mainly because of the shortfall in the Chest of Joash commitments. And possibly for other reasons.
I am surprised that Jon G is saying there is no similarity at all. That is very odd. And what he gives as proof for his view is no proof at all. Even Duncan doesn't view Noble as a "heretic", and Noble is not seen in evangelical circles as a heretic in any sense, and I'm not sure that would matter anyways.
And I'm surprised that Jon G seems to be an expert on church governance at Noble's church. I am quite sure that they too have deacons, or elders, and are a 501(c)3 with trustees, and they have bylaws, and committees and such. And there is no way that Noble has any degree GREATER influence on the direction of his church than a typical SBC mega church pastor like Brunson. Brunson and Vines and Lindsay are/were the leaders of the church and they did rule and have final say in all important matters; the December 2007 bylaws concentrated even more power in the position of pastor and his selected trustees at FBC Jax. FBCJ is very much "pastor led" and not congregation led or committee led. So Jon G's arguments don't make any sense. I suppose Jon G is making the argument that Duncan was justified in his blog, and he is justified because of the heretical nature of Noble's teaching, and because of Noble's church governance. If that is his argument, that is weak, very weak.
Thy Peace - excellent observations.
I think the response from the anti-blog posters in both cases are remarkably similar. Your hyperlink to Duncan's 12/14 post where he outlines the most common objections to his blog could have been written for this blog as well - same arguments, same criticisms.
Now, given the similarity in how the anti-blog posters in both the WD and PP reacted,its instructive to look at the DIFFERENCES between the WD and PP.
First, Duncan was never anonymous. One of the recurring criticisms of this blog was the author's anonymity - the argument was made "if you would just give us your name, you would give credibility to your blog, and you would not be a coward", and "Just go talk to the pastor". Well, Duncan wasn't anonymous, but in the eyes of his critics that meant little to nothing to his credit, other than it allowed those wishing to harm him to go after him right away. I was anonymous, and there were a few zealots who did want to know my identity, and a few threats made along the way. One of the reasons why I wished to maintain my anonymity was because I knew there were screwball zealots in a mega church who would think they were doing God's will by harming me, and Duncan's case is just a confirmation of those fears. Let's face it - we all know nuts in every church who would go after a critic of a pastor thinking they do it in the name of Christ. But at the very least a loss of my anonymity earlier, or a disclosure of my identity would have meant for me a faster ticket out the door.
I believe what spared me the same fate as Duncan was that by the time my identity was well known amongst the brethren and in Jacksonville at large, it was a front page story and no one by that point would dare come after me as they know it would reflect worse on their church and pastor and would be newsworthy and they would not be able to succeed. If my identity were known when I was an obsure blogger with just a few hundred visits per day, I am quite certain that a religious zealot may have come after me like they did Duncan; in fact based on the comments on my blog, I'm sure of it.
Also, it is interesting to note how Duncan was not a member of the church he blogged about, but I was. I was a hypocrite in sin they said, and needed to repent or be forcibly removed. Now that I am no longer a member, I'm told I should stop blogging and commenting, that only members of a church have the right to question or criticize the decisions of a church. So which is it - answer: it doesn't matter; member, non-member; anonymous, non-anonymous.
So the main similarity in these two blog/church fiascos is this:
Public criticism of a mega church pastor by another Christian, member or non-member is a terrible sin and the critic is an instrument of the devil. He is by definition anti-God and must be forced to recognize his sin and repent, else he will be "handled" by the church leaders, and efforts to get the person to confess and repent even if unbiblical, are justified in the minds of the mega church pastor followers.
"Public criticism of a mega church pastor by another Christian, member or non-member is a terrible sin and the critic is an instrument of the devil."
Or "tool of Satan." They like that one, too.
People and websites who EXPOSE these kinds of issues and other issues like those written at, purifythechurch.com, wartburgwatch, stopbaptistprediators.com, fbcjaxwatchdog, newbbcopenforum, ministerswatch. ministersexposed, and others sites concerning today's Church,......are my heroes. Seriously.
Thank all of you for having the courage to bring issues to light concerning those with the Baptist Mafia and others who use GOD to further personal causes and agendas. And there are many!
It does make a difference and I personally, along with many others I know, appreciate you!
Matt - Excellent, excellent post. Nailed it. Matt your my go-to guy on these things and I've missed seeing your posts lately. Glad to see ya around. Thank you for your tremendous insights.
Its the Carolinas isn't it? I have to read all about this when I have time, but I don't actually have to read about it cause I lived it myself about 17 years ago. Like I always say, you have NO idea what they are capable of. Up there. In carolina.
Just wow is all I can say. Just wow.
Perry Noble grew up in S.C., not far from where he pastors now. He was called into the ministry out of a very conservative baptist church in Easley, SC. He attended Anderson University in Anderson, S.C. where he graduated in 1994. After graduation from AC, he entered Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and attended her satelite campus in Charlotte, NC on the campus of Hickory Grove Baptist Church. During this time, he was Youth Minister at North Anderson Baptist Church, Anderson, SC. He was also employed by Anderson University as a residence hall supervisor. At SEBTS, he was taught evangelism by Dr Alvin Reid, systematic theology by Danny Akin, church history by Dr. Keith Harper, along with other great theologians- educators. He did not finish SEBTS. He started New Spring in his home- I believe- in the late 1990's early 2000. Moved the church to the campus of Anderson University (rented an auditorium) where it exploded, and then ultimately relocated to property they purchased just outside of the city. New Spring is a part of the South Carolina Baptist Convention as well as the Southern Baptist Convention.
I read not too long ago Akin making excuses for Driscoll's bad boy behavior.
Akin probably approves of Perry's behavior.
Regarding our tithing discussion, below is a post today from Russell Kelly that he posted to an earlier thread. I'm sure Dr. Kelley doesn't mind me putting it here in this thread.
I will resume the tithing theme after Christmas.
Here is Russell Kelly's comment posted today:
To All Concerned; December 23, 2009
Several weeks ago Tim Guthrie said that he was beginning a long series on tithing and would handle all questions and comments in detail. See our Tithing-Study Group at Yahoo.
Guthrie is part of the Eklund Stewardship Foundation and the SBC Today site. He posted the same comments on both.
A friend of mine, Gary Arnold, and I posted questions sand comments on his site. Guthrie encouraged us to be patient and stay tuned because he was going to answer our objections to tithing.
We posted 2-3 times at the most before he decided not to continue his promised long sessions of answers. Worse yet, he did not post out comments and biblical arguments.
That, my friends, is how the SBC wants to face the doctrine of tithing. Their stewardship defender, Kenneth Hemphill, did the same thing after he greatly rebutted my CBS TV comments. I was not allowed to defend myself.
They are bold to pound the pulpit with lies to those who are willing to be manipulated but they will not face their accusers who know how to correct interpret God's Word.
Praise God for SBC leaders like Dr. Daniel Akin, Dr. Andreas Kostenberger and Dr. David Black at SEBTS who will stand up and be counted. And praise God for people like Dr. John MacArthur, Dr. Craig Blomberg and Dr. David Croteau who will stand up and be counted in our religious leadership.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All
Dr. Russell Earl Kelly
You can't stand public critisim either. Is you ego as big as theirs? I think so.
NOT RELATED TO THIS POST:
WD -- thought you might get a kick out of this year's "Pecan Manor Christmas" tour. Pecan Manor is, of course, the home of Paige Patterson. Each year SWBTS produces an over-the-top video tour of his home, describing the various Christmas decorations and how the Pattersons gathered them on their world travels. Pretty sickening, really -- what a use of tithe dollars! Anway, enjoy!
Wow, the amazing thing about the Pecan Manor video is the references to our troubled economic times and how people are struggling and sacrificing -- all the while showing ostentatious displays of frivolity. It's like folks are clueless to the disconnect.
" It's like folks are clueless to the disconnect."
Right. Because they DESERVE it. They are entitled to live off tithes and offerings of those lesser than them. Even when SWBTS is dwindling in enrollment and there have been layoffs.
So, keep giving. It is how they paid to enlarge the presidents home to a Mansion and pay for their pastry chef and all those big game hunts in Africa.
Well! You took that post down pretty quick. Strike a nerve? Maybe a soft spot.
Perhaps you might not know all of the details in the events that you blog about after all.
Just my opinion, of course.
You people are all stupid, you know absolutely nothing about NewSpring Church. Perry Noble to me, is a incredible pastor. You can learn a lot from him if you actually listened to what he has to say, instead of criticising, or in my words "Hating". Do better. #ILoveMyChurch
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