South Carolina megachurch pastor fired

Religion | Perry Noble dismissed for issues related to alcoholism and his marriage
by Molly Hulsey
Posted 7/11/16, 03:12 pm

NewSpring Church, a multi-campus megachurch based in Anderson, S.C., announced Sunday that the church’s board of directors and pastor advisory team fired Senior Pastor Perry Noble for alcoholism, marital problems, and other “unfortunate” choices.

Noble served as pastor of the Southern Baptist Convention–affiliated church since its founding in 2000. The church has since grown to 17 campuses and 30,000 members statewide, with two new sites under construction in Powdersville and Clemson.

Church leadership decided to remove Noble after he refused to confront his alcohol addiction and other lifestyle decisions, firing him on July 1, but members were not made aware of his dismissal until Executive Pastor Shane Duffy made an announcement during Sunday morning’s worship services.

Duffy told the congregation the firing was a “difficult and painful decision,” but added that Noble was “no longer qualified” to serve as pastor. Duffy noted that the church’s executive pastors had confronted Noble on several occasions about his abuse of alcohol and his “posture toward his marriage.”

Duffy then read a statement from Noble, who was not in attendance, in which the former pastor apologized for his actions, admitting his “obsession to do everything possible to reach 100,000 and beyond … has come at a personal cost to my own life and created a strain on my marriage.” Noble went on to write that he’s “under the treatment of an excellent psychiatrist who is helping me take major steps forward.”

In his announcement, Duffy declined to explain the details of Noble’s other poor lifestyle decisions for the sake of the family’s privacy, but Noble, in his statement, noted the undisclosed vices did not include domestic abuse, theft, a relapse into a former porn addiction, or other sexual sins.

NewSpring has clashed with the Southern Baptist Convention and other evangelicals over the years for theological reasons, including Noble’s assertion the Ten Commandments are not rules for Christians to follow and his use of the rock band AC/DC’s song “Highway to Hell” during an Easter service.

Duffy announced the church has hired Clayton King, who heads up Crossroads Worldwide ministry, as interim pastor.

Molly Hulsey

Molly is a WORLD intern.

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  • SE
    Posted: Mon, 07/11/2016 05:01 pm

    Dear World Magazine, Respectfully, you have misquoted the NewSpring letter in a major way. NewSpring said Mr. Noble was removed in part for his "posture toward his marriage", not his "posture toward marriage." This is a major mischaracterization of the situation. Your article compounds this by stating in the opening paragraph that he was fired in part because of his "views on marriage." This is stated without a source, so I am assuming that conclusion is derived from the misquote above. If there is additional evidence that Mr. Noble had views on marriage unacceptable to NewSpring Church, please be forthcoming as to what those are. This is disappointing to me because I rely on World Magazine for its accuracy in reporting over any other news outlet I follow. I only happen to know about this error because I live in SC. How many other errors have I been accepting as truth in other matters where I do not have access to first hand information? Thank you, 

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Mon, 07/11/2016 06:13 pm

    @Anonymous: We went back to the issued statement from NewSpring and you are correct that the word “his” was missing from the quote. We have corrected the article to reflect this. We have also added links to NewSpring and Perry Noble’s statements.

  •  William Peck 1958's picture
    William Peck 1958
    Posted: Mon, 07/11/2016 09:24 pm

    That's a lot of pressure on a young guy. I'm guessing he had problem with the "computer". What a shame, whatever the issue. 

    @Anonymous - you can depend on World. Not perfect, but 100 times better than any secular source. 

  •  Greg Mangrum's picture
    Greg Mangrum
    Posted: Mon, 07/11/2016 11:01 pm

    The article said that he did not have a relapse problem into a porn addiction, so that precludes a problem with his "computer" unless it was an online gambling addiction he had. That is just speculation though (the statement didn't say anything about a "computer").

  • PaulC
    Posted: Tue, 07/12/2016 03:15 am

    "Duffy announced the church has hired Clayton King. . ."  I fully agree that pastors need to be held to the biblical standard, and shoiuld be dismissed when they do not.  However, the hiring and firing of a pastor is not according to the idea of being called by God through the congregation to serve them.   Churches would not have been able to fire Paul the apostle because he was not and could not be "hired".  Also I did not call Paul, "the Aposte Paul" because we can not find the use of the term apostle in the Bible as a title, but instead as a description of what capacity the man served in.  The same is true of the term "Pastor"--not intended to be a title.  

    Posted: Tue, 07/12/2016 09:37 pm

    I know nothing about this church fellowship.  However, I found one interesting: that Evangelicals felt that the 10 Commandments carried into the New Covenant.

    Can someone explain to my why this is an issue in light of the Apostle's letter the the Gentile believers in Antioch?

    (this is a serious question - and not bait for an argument.)

  • DWBrown
    Posted: Sat, 07/16/2016 03:33 pm

    D. Oliver: From what I understand about God's word and directions from reading and hearing for many years, His directions for how we should live our lives carries from the Old Testiment through and into the New Tesiment. The rules and guidelines that God gave Mose and his people on how to live were for their benefit, some like not touching dead people and being clean were found to be necessary in the medical field only within the last 300 to four hundred years. Jesus is our redeemer to make us acceptable to his Father, the need for animal sacrifices stopped. Can you imagine how many animals would have to be slaughtered for the population today. Jesus is our only way and I am so thankful, everyday. In one of the four gospels it seems to me that Jesus instructed us to keep his Father's Commandments and do his Father's Will. In Pauls letters you will find what his Father's Will is. Search God's word, pray and ask him to help you understand, and he will.

  • JerryM
    Posted: Mon, 07/18/2016 12:44 am

    I am curious if, apart from the church leadership, these problems were not also "spiritually discerned" by some in the body?  Or is this more evidence that numerical  growth alone is seen as the primary sign of spiritual health in a church?