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What then does this mean? Are we Jews any better off? Not at all! For we have already accused everyone, both Jews and Greeks, of being under the power of sin. As it is written, "Not even one person is righteous. No one understands. No one searches for God. All have turned away. They have become completely worthless. No one shows kindness, not even one person! Their throats are open graves. With their tongues they deceive. The venom of poisonous snakes is under their lips. Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness. They run swiftly to shed blood. Ruin and misery characterize their lives. They have not learned the path to peace. They do not fear God. - Romans 3: 9-18 (ISV)
Perry Noble is one of the young gun new breed of pastors infecting the body of Christ with horrific theology, false conversions and shock theatrics designed to market his brand; not preach the Gospel. He is the pastor of a mega church in the Carolinas and has made the front page of discernment blogs with the same consistency of much bigger names. He is the pastor who played ACDC's Highway to Hell one Easter just to "piss people off." He played Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" during worship another week. He used the racially derogatory "N" word during one sermon and in another he tried to rewrite the Ten Commandments to make them more palatable to unbelievers. He doubly mocks God by claiming in one breath that the tithe is holy and in another offering a full refund if you do not like your level of blessing after 90 days of providing your tithe. He is the pastor who referred to those in his congregation who want to go deeper in the Word as "jackasses" and recently wrote an unbelievably unbiblical defense for why he supports the return to ministry by renegade Mark Driscoll. Quite a record yet over 10,000 people pack into his multi sites to hear him mangle God's Word every single week. Perry Noble is a microcosm of the Great Apostasy the Bible warns us about. A seeker friendly pastor employing the purpose driven church growth schemes while trying desperately to seem hip, cool and relevant. He recently wrote an article revealing the fundamental flaw in his theology and understanding of the Gospel.
So apparently, Perry was watching sermons on You Tube and was greatly disturbed by one sermon in particular. This sermon was so disturbing to him that he felt the core message was a "false teaching that drives people away from the church." The irony is when false teachers themselves feel they have identified a false teaching they usually reveal how pitifully false they are in doing so. Even in this title however we see revealed the true design of the purpose driven church model. The concern is not for biblical accuracy and the Gospel but rather to make sure people come back to your church building. So what was so offensive to Mr. Noble? Was the preacher not adhering to the sufficiency of Scripture? Was it promoting many paths to heaven? No. The statement he gives that offended his delicate sensibilities so badly was when the preacher said that we "are nothing more than a walking disappointment to our heavenly Father." Noble provided no context or link, so it is difficult to parse out the point the offending pastor was trying to make but Noble's reaction reveals he simply does not understand the Gospel and who we are in relation to who Christ is. That is not surprising since Perry tries his best to make the Gospel to be about us instead of Jesus. We are lifted instead of the name of Christ. He seeks to instill value and focus upon this mortal frame instead of the Lord and Savior. That is the point he simply does not understand:
I waited for the punchline"it didn't happen. This dude was as serious as a fat kid in a candy store. No wonder people are walking away from the church. If all they can ever hope to accomplish is in the walking disappointment category then why even try? -- Perry Noble
Moving past his propensity to make unbelievably derogatory comments about people, like fat kids in candy stores, this quote should be all one needs to discern that Perry Noble is a false teacher. Let us reason together by examining the three major problems in this statement that reveal how little Perry Noble actually understands the Gospel.
1) People walking away from the church. Again, under the purpose driven church scheme, the goal is no longer the salvation of men but rather the "churching" of them. To make sure that people come back to your church, get plugged into ministry so you can use them, and thus grow your church to mega status. The Bible tells us two very specific things about people and the Gospel as it relates to this topic:
"Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person's enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. -- Matthew 10: 34-39 (ESV)
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. -- 2Timothy 4: 3-4 (ESV)
The Gospel of Jesus Christ was meant to offend people. It is designed that way. When we finally consider our filthy sinful state before an infinitely holy God, it ought to offend us. The Seeker Friendly Industrial Complex flips the Gospel in its ear by pretending that it should be as inoffensive as possible. That we need to dip it in confectionary sugar to make it more palatable to the lost; excuse me, the unchurched. The true Gospel divides people against each other. Specifically, people who accept their state as a walking disappointment to God and those who take offense at such a notion. People who realize their desperate need for a Savior and those who think Jesus is just their wing man. While these verses clearly teach the need to abandon our lives in order to find Christ, Perry Noble teaches the opposite. The mere thought that someone would say that God sees man as walking disappointment is enough to make him apoplectic because it grates against his theology of how great we art and his need to have people come back to his church building.
But here is today's deep theology beloved. If people are walking away from your church it is quite possibly because you are preaching the Gospel correctly. Think about it. The second verse clearly teaches that in these last days people will gather around them teachers like Perry Noble to scratch their itching ears. To not tolerate the real Gospel. The fact that Perry has over ten thousand people despite how false he is only validates the Timothy verse. But in the warped mind of Perry Noble, people leave the church when correct doctrine is presented. How monumentally sad.
2) The walking disappointment category is not all you have hope in. Dear Lord, do we have to spell this out for Noble? It is Jesus Christ that resolves our walking disappointment problem! That is why He is the focus of the Gospel! But when you preach your whole career that church is all about the seeker and his potential, then you naturally get confused about the role of Christ! But look at Noble's words here. If all you can "accomplish." Who in the world says that Christianity has anything to do with our accomplishments? Jesus accomplished it all on the cross and that is the point that Perry doesn't seem to understand. Let us turn to the key verses for today. Verses you will never hear Perry Noble preach from because they reveal the truth about who we are that he simply cannot handle.
Beloved we are the wretch the song sings about. My pastor was fond of saying he was just dirt talking to dirt. Paul's writings here should remind us all that our background does not matter. Our condition even as Christians does not matter. Without the blood of Jesus Christ these verses is how God sees us. I know this may sound harsh but hang with me for a minute. Paul explains that we are all under the power of sin. It is sin that corrupts us so badly beloved. Paul himself laments this in another chapter of Romans that he constantly has to struggle with the things he knows he ought not to do. And who will save him from this? Only our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! That is the punchline Perry Noble does not seem to understand. The outgrowth of viewing our sinful state correctly is that it leads us to realize that we desperately need a Savior! This is how the great expositor Matthew Henry explained these verses:
Here again is shown that all mankind are under the guilt of sin, as a burden; and under the government and dominion of sin, as enslaved to it, to work wickedness. This is made plain by several passages of Scripture from the Old Testament, which describe the corrupt and depraved state of all men, till grace restrain or change them. Great as our advantages are, these texts describe multitudes who call themselves Christians. Their principles and conduct prove that there is no fear of God before their eyes. And where no fear of God is, no good is to be looked for. -- Matthew Henry Commentary
Matthew Henry points out correctly that we are actually under the government and dominion to sin. That means that we are subjects to it. We serve it. We bow down to it. It controls us. Perry Noble thinks that God does not see us as a walking disappointment? The key verses remind us that this is probably an understatement. That none are righteous, not even one. That no one searches for God. All have turned away. They have become completely worthless Perry! No one shows kindness; Mr. "fat kid in a candy store." Our throats are open graves and the poison of snakes is under our venomous lips. Our mouths are filled with cursing and bitterness; Mr. "N" word in a sermon." They do not fear God; Mr. "I am going to rewrite the Ten Commandments." I think we are getting the point even if Perry Noble does not.