An Analysis of Noble’s Unrepentant Apology

Noble’s apology retracts nothing that wasn’t already obvious to us all. Let’s analyze it a little.

Noble doesn’t apologize for the false claim that he heard from God. Even if you think God does give people messages like this, you have to disqualify this one because God surely wouldn’t have asked Noble to proclaim such a huge error. The claim that God told him to preach this message has made it practically impossible for Noble to retract and properly apologize for the sermon. To do so would be to acknowledge that he can be wrong about his claims of divine revelation that are an important source of his authority within the church.

 

Perry Noble and I agree on something important: his Christmas Eve sermon was no accident.

To review quickly, Noble claimed that there was no word in Hebrew for command, which led to the main premise of the sermon that there weren’t really any Ten Commandments. My response, which was confirmed by many others who also critiqued the sermon, was that he was wrong on both counts. Denying the commandments was by far the worst part of the sermon, though the first claim about the Hebrew word was so obviously wrong that it hardly needed refutation.

Noble’s apology retracts nothing that wasn’t already obvious to us all. Let’s analyze it a little.

So I did this sermon on the Ten Commandments once and everyone loved it…  :-)

How many people loved it isn’t the standard that Noble should be using to measure his work. Was it faithful to Scripture? Was it true? Paul tells Timothy to preach the Word even out of season (2 Tim 4:2), indicating that there would be times when people would neither love nor respond to his preaching, even though good and right.

If by everyone Noble includes the leadership of his church, that’s troubling in itself. Did anyone on staff detect a problem with his message, and, if so, did anyone have the opportunity to confront Noble with corrective criticism? This blog didn’t publish anything about the sermon for more than a week afterwards, so there was plenty of quiet before the controversy hit for NewSpring’s internal governance structures to have fixed or anticipated this.

Before I give finality to this issue (it’s time to move on) I want to address a few things first.

#1 – I am imperfect.  I make mistakes and fall way short of who I should be each and every day.

#2 – I fully understand and feel the weight of James 3:1 that clearly says that people who teach God’s Word will be judged more strictly.

Why, then, the antagonism towards people who do critique his preaching? A few days before the apology, he boasted to other pastors that through this controversy he was bravely taking a hit for Jesus, favorably comparing himself to the suffering Christ.

#3 – I take teaching the Bible very seriously and desperately want to always put forth my best effort as I really do believe that when God says “don’t” in Scripture it is more like Him saying, “don’t hurt yourself,” because, as a friend of mine often says, “choose to sin, choose to suffer.”

This mind-blowing paragraph showcases much of what’s wrong with Noble’s preaching. After asserting that he takes the Bible seriously and gives it his best effort, he proceeds to paraphrase it beyond recognition on the authority of a friend. Look at that line again: “when God says ‘don’t’ in Scripture it is more like Him saying, ‘don’t hurt yourself.’” How inconsiderate of the Holy Spirit to have expressed himself so carelessly in the original manuscripts, and how fortunate that we have Perry Noble now to clarify–mainly, to soften–what God said.

That being said I want to go back for a minute, try to shed some light on a couple of things and then make two apologies.

“That being said” is rather important. Noble has demonstrated his habit of arbitrarily rewriting Scripture to make it say what he thinks it should say, so from here it’s no surprise where the apology goes.

On Christmas Eve I really did feel The Lord pressing into me to do a different message than we had previously done in the days before. I wrestled with this for several hours before finally saying “yes.”

Noble doesn’t apologize for the false claim that he heard from God. Even if you think God does give people messages like this, you have to disqualify this one because God surely wouldn’t have asked Noble to proclaim such a huge error. The claim that God told him to preach this message has made it practically impossible for Noble to retract and properly apologize for the sermon. To do so would be to acknowledge that he can be wrong about his claims of divine revelation that are an important source of his authority within the church.

A quick point about hearing from God while we’re here. Noble reports that after hearing God speak to him, he wrestled with the revelation and asked his entire leadership team to confirm that it was God’s voice. It is interesting that the Bible nowhere tells us how to recognize when we’re hearing direct messages from God, yet we know that God did reveal himself to the men who wrote the Scripture. We don’t know exactly how that happened because the Holy Spirit didn’t tell us, though when God spoke to his prophets and apostles, they knew without a shadow of a doubt and didn’t need to poll their associates.

Instead of giving us advice on how to hear from God, Scripture gives plenty of advice on how to test the claims of people who say they heard from God. If God spoke to you, you wouldn’t need to test it, but we always need to test the people who say God spoke to them.

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