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 is a WORLD intern.