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South Carolina megachurch pastor fired

Perry Noble dismissed for issues related to alcoholism and his marriage


The Powdersville, S.C., location of NewSpring Church that's under construction. Photo by Molly Hulsey

South Carolina megachurch pastor fired

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 Journalism Institute graduate and a former WORLD intern.

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JerryM

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?

DWBrown

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.

Greg Mangrum

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").

NEL8315

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,