"Ignore the jackass. In Greek, 'jackass' is translated 'blogger'....bloggers that go online, that will take shots at you, that copy parts of your sermon...who has time for that? The jackass. You [the jackass] have no friends! The reason you have no friends is you're a jackass! That is your problem, either that or you're demon possessed or oppressed. Because when a move of God is working and people are getting saved and lives are changed, who would criticize that, God or Satan?" Perry Noble at 2009 "Unleashed" pastor's conference.
It was about three years ago that I first introduced Perry Noble and NewSpring Church on this blog. If you go back and read that WD post here, posted way back in December 2009, you'll see it was concerning a blogger named Dr. James Duncan, who dared to criticize Perry Noble's teachings and methods on his blog "Pajama Pages".
What did Duncan get for his criticism? In 2009 Noble's employees and volunteers smeared Duncan's reputation by starting a phony Twitter account with gross and profane sexual posts attributed to Dr. Duncan, a fake resignation letter to his employer, and perhaps worst of all, sabatoge of Dr. Duncan's adoption efforts in 2009. You can read all about these here.
Thankfully, Dr. Duncan fought back. It is not an easy process to fight a powerful church and pastor for the harm they have done to your reputation, but Dr. Duncan fought back by filing a lawsuit against Noble and NewSpring. Since December 2009, Dr. Duncan's blog has been silent as he has fought the difficult legal battle.
I am happy to announce that Dr. Duncan did prevail in his lawsuit, as NewSpring and Noble settled with Dr. Duncan after months and months of depositions and legal discovery. Very likely all that came out of the discovery process would have been much too embarrassing to Noble and NewSpring in a public trial, so they decided to settle. But thankfully, it doesn't stop there, as Dr. Duncan has decided to begin blogging again to tell his readers what he learned from the months of depositions that led to NewSpring settling the lawsuit.
I am going to follow and write about Dr. Duncan's posts about the inside story of what was going on at NewSpring, and why these people at NewSpring did what they did to a very fine, Christian man. Dr. Duncan is a committed Christian, has a wonderful family, and is highly educated . He has a master's and Ph.D. from Regent University, and is a professor and department chair in communications at Anderson University, yet he was vilified and persecuted by Noble's sycophants because he dared to criticize the most prominent and powerful pastor in his community.
But there is much to be learned from this saga, and I will delve into it over the next few weeks as we learn more details from Dr. Duncan. This sort of thing, the demonization and persecution of church critics is a natural outflow from modern evangelicalism and fundamentalism which teaches pastors are special "God-appointed agents", modern-day prophets sent by God to teach Christians how to live. This is what is taught in the seminaries, and it is what is preached from the pulpits. Thus, when a church critic arises, they aren't just criticizing a man or an institution, they are attacking God himself.
Read the Perry Noble quote again at the top of this post - this is the view of many fundamentalists today. It is all black and white. Challenge or criticize a pastor, you're doing the work of Satan. You're probably demon possessed. You're a jackass with no friends, a blogger in your mom's basement eating Cheetos.
So WD readers, stay tuned for more analysis on this topic. And NewSpring members and employees and volunteers, please begin following Dr. Duncan's blog so that you can learn in more detail what your church did to a fine man in your community - and what your tithes and offerings had to pay for to defend the lawsuit and to repair the damage that your church did to Dr. Duncan and his family.
Meanwhile, if you want to do some research on the Duncan/Noble saga, here are some links that will help you:
"Holy Rage at the Spring" - Dr. Duncan's detailed account of what NewSpring did to him and his family - it is grotesque and disturbing, so be prepared.
"Shut Up, They Explained" - Dr. Duncan's 2009 defense of his blog
"Perry Noble Says You're a Jackass" - Apprising Ministry December 2009 summary
Duncan Interview by Chris Rosebrough - Chris Rosebrough interviewed Dr. Duncan in December 2009 on his Fighting for the Faith radio show.