Another prominent pastor in America has resigned from his position at his church due to being disqualified because of making “unfortunate choices and decisions that have caused much concern” due to his alcohol abuse (I Tim 3:3): Perry Noble, who was the founding Senior Pastor of NewSpring Church in Anderson, South Carolina.
The statement that was posted on the website of this church from Noble reads as follows:
“Hello NewSpring – I hope all of you had an amazing week and I know the service today is going to be awesome. However, I come to you with a heavy heart to let you know that effective Friday, July 1, I will no longer be the senior pastor of NewSpring Church. I wish this were a joke, a part of a sermon illustration…however, it’s true. I have often told you that NewSpring exists to help hurting, imperfect people. I have joked that you should not attend NewSpring if you are already perfect because I will mess you up! That was my way of telling you that I am traveling on a journey each day alongside each one of you to try to take my next step to become more like Jesus. If you have attended NewSpring for any length of time, you know I’ve never claimed to be the perfect pastor, or even more, the perfect Christian. What we’ve seen the Lord do over the past 16 years has been a modern day miracle. However, in my obsession to do everything possible to reach 100,000 and beyond – it has come at a personal cost in my own life and created a strain on my marriage. In my opinion, the bible does not prohibit the use of alcohol, but it does prohibit drunkenness and intoxication. I never had a problem drinking alcohol socially, but in the past year or so I have allowed myself to slide into, in my opinion, the overuse of alcohol. This was a spiritual and moral mistake on my part as I began to depend on alcohol for my refuge instead of Jesus and others. I have no excuse – this was wrong, sinful and I am truly sorry. For those who are disappointed in me – let me assure you no one is more disappointed in me than myself. I realize that I cannot continue to do effective ministry if this issue in my personal life is not adequately addressed. I plan to immediately seek the spiritual guidance of some amazing men and women of God in my life – and am currently under the treatment of an excellent psychiatrist who is helping me take major steps forward. Let me be very clear, neither Lucretia nor I have committed any sort of sexual sin. I have not stolen money. I have not been looking at porn and there was absolutely no domestic abuse. This is the story—period. I simply need to address an issue that has gotten out of hand in my life. I receive this decision as from the Lord as I trust the leadership of NewSpring Church – and I would ask you join me in trusting them as well. I still believe NewSpring is the greatest church in the world, I still believe our children’s ministry is going to provide Jesus on the level of the children who will attend there. I still believe the next generation will be loved and invested in – and, I know every Sunday in our church lives will be changed as Jesus is exalted and the Gospel is declared. As for me – I am uncertain as to what my next step is…the ONE THING I know I am going to put 100% of my time and effort into is becoming the best husband and father I can become. I would ask that you pray for my family and me as we seek out what’s next for our lives. I’ve preached that the best is yet to come for 16 years – I can’t just say it for you, I must receive it as well – I don’t know what’s around the corner, but I know Jesus isn’t finished with me yet – and He is not finished with NewSpring Church. I love you – and I always will! I’m really sorry and ask you to forgive me. – Perry Noble“”
Many professing Christians are going to take advantage of this announcement of his resignation to talk about everything that is wrong with the modern church or the Southern Baptist Convention or say “good riddance” to Noble. And frankly, some of those criticisms are valid and need to be heard.
But may I encourage you, today, to pray for this man and his family.
Pray that he truly repents.
Pray that he finds his contentment ion Christ alone.
Pray that God helps deliver him from the slave that alcohol has become.
And then pray that you too do not let your heart enter into temptation (Mark 14:38).