Monday, April 9, 2012

a newspring agenda .

Today being Easter and all, I put a little bit of thought into the other places of worship that are out there. One that I think has always sort of been in the spotlight of controversy is Newspring, which has been growing exponentially and seems to be a bit hit for many people at the college age, in addition to many young adults. But I'm still not buying into it. Some say that I should try it; and to that, I say no thank you. I'm going to try to approach this from an objective standpoint for the most part, but, I obviously have an opinion, and this is not a newsletter, this is a blog, my blog, and so my opinion will inevitably come through in that. So keep that in mind.

Many people are quick to say that Newspring is a cult, and I am one of them. Yet that statement seems a bit too bold to declare without a further look into who is running this movement. In the same way that we all should have probably looked deeper into Invisible Children's Kony 2012 movement against the LRA, so should I look equally as hard into what the real story is here.

The best place to begin is easy: a man named Perry Noble, a 'pastor' who is not really a pastor. You can see the controversy runs deep on the many Youtube videos that this man and Newspring in general are involved in. People always complain about haters -- but if the man was really so great, why would there be so many? I think that often society doesn't get credit for being able to accurately feel out the general correctness in a situation. No one is perfect, but I don't think that there is any way there could be so many complaints if everything that was going on at this 'church' was completely okay. And so I challenge it. I have that right -- and I invite everyone else to challenge it too, instead of following blindly.

I think that lots of people are looking for a leader in times when there aren't many to follow. Moreover, they are looking for the support of having a church to go to. And inviting people is a great way to get more people to ome. However, going to Newspring is just not the way to do it. But I wonder how many people just go there because their friends go. I have no idea. I just wanted to understand what made this one guy tick. And so I did some digging. Here's what I found:

Here's my first complaint. It's about the tithe. Noble takes this to an extreme level and distorts Bible verse to the point where, as one commenter/reviewer put it, God is portrayed as a mobster where you'd better pay your 10% off the or you'll get blown away. I have always had an issue with churches begging for money. The Catholic one I go to does it too. It is a nice gesture though, to be so generous. But when you feel guilty for not being able to afford your tithe, I don't think that's right. Here's a news flash -- God doesn't give a crap about money. What's he going to do with it? I think that the most important part here is lost -- the part about having a relationship with the Lord, and really praying often and bettering yourself as a person by reading and learning from scripture. God wants devotion, not money, in my eyes.

From a related link on the first video, I found another that I found pretty disturbing. One person had commented on the tithe video saying:

"You know what? Perry has a passion for God's people and he loves all people. He is getting bashed all the time because he is doing the work for the Lord. People who work for Satan don't get bashed! Perry, we love you and Newspring. God has poured out His blessings on Newspring and we are all happy and blessed to be a part of it. Praise the Lord!"

Well, the next clip I watched spoke otherwise. While watching, think, would I want this man to be leading me in my journey to become closer with Christ?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but he basically says, I don't give a shit about any one individual that's here. I put my family and myself above my 'ministry.' I have a huge problem with this. If you're going to call yourself a pastor, if you're going to have your own ministry, if you're going to preach to thousands upon thousands of people then you must be there to serve. There is a reason the Catholic church doesn't allow priests to be married or have children. They are married to the church and to God, and that is their sole purpose: to serve the congregation and be there no matter what the odds.

"I don't have time" is a bullshit excuse. If people want to know their pastor, they should be entitled to that, whether you have time or not, and whether you want to or not. What kind of self-righteous twat that calls himself a pastor would refuse the company of his congregation? I don't give a fuck if your 'congregation' is 8 million people -- you started this, so see it through. BE THERE for those people.

And thus if I were considering Newspring, I would consider the people running it. Just because your friends go and you like the music or whatever the reason is that you go, look into it a little bit farther. You at least owe that to yourself, rather than following blindly. I know I sure don't want to be following this twat down some mystery path.

What do you expect in a pastor/priest? How do you feel about Newspring in general?


  1. I think it's interesting that you say the best leaders are not hated or persecuted. Consider the worldly examples of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. These men have gone down in history for the work they did. We teach our children about them. King was assassinated for his beliefs and leadership. Still not buying it? Look at the Savior your claim by calling yourself a Christian. Jesus was hated by many people to the point that they put him on a cross. Do you know why? Because this world is fallen, and people don't like feeling convicted and seeing the face of God. "If a man was really so great, why would there be so many?" Jesus was literally God becoming flesh and it was the "religious" people that were too obsessed with empty rituals that schemed and did everything they could to put Him on that cross. Perry is not perfect. I think it would be a bold claim to say anyone is when you try to put them up next to a perfect Savior. This post is both ignorant and misguided. It is very obvious that you approached the situation with preconceived notions and a closed mind. Yes, this is your blog, and yes, you are entitled to your own opinions, but you just make yourself look unintelligent by posting half-truths and things you've found on the internet after google searching anti-Perry and anti-NewSpring, On that note, you should also do a little more research on what the word cult really means. For one cults, are typically small in size and do not grow quickly...the opposite of NewSpring. For two, once in a cult it it nearly impossible to leave. There is nothing at NewSpring that forces a person to stay. Many new people try the church on every campus and are able to exercise their free will afterward as to whether they will return or not. But, you can do the research for yourself...that is if you have the time and desire to post opinions backed up by legitimate research. If not, that's your choice because it is your blog. Finally, you neglected to include clips when Perry has talked about the tithe in full. NewSpring does not try to scare people into tithing. Tithing is principle established in the Bible, so it is important to God. The Bible says the number one competitor for our hearts is money. No, God doesn't need your money and neither does NewSpring. If you walked into NewSpring for the next year and gave nothing, the church would still be standing and Sundays and all of the other ministry would still happen because people have given faithfully and been blessed by God for their obedience. Matthew 6:24 says we cannot worship both God and money.

    1. You make a valid point about other leaders. However some are good and some are bad. Present day example being the recent explosion about Joseph Kony that put the Invisible Children's leadership into question. They may go down in history for the work they did, but that doesn't mean that they are instantly a good leader.

      I did not say that anyone was ever perfect or should be. I did not outright say that it was a cult. If you read carefully, I said that many people are quick to jump to that conclusion or assumption, yet the next sentence implies that I am breaking from that assumption and making a point to look a little bit deeper, if only scratching the surface.

      I did not go and look up "anti-Newspring" or "anti-Perry Noble" on Youtube. It literally was a related video that popped up on something else that I was watching, and that's what inspired me to write about it. I also read lots of the comments on many videos, which provides a base for both sides equally, and arguments for and against whatever the video was presenting.

      Thank you again for your condescendingly-written comments.

    2. You seem to have missed the point. You made the assertion that great leaders do not have many haters, and I was giving you examples to refute that claim. I never said that making history made you a good leader.

      Also, I would consider this to be calling it a cult outright- "Many people are quick to say that Newspring is a cult, and I am one of them." Your next sentence goes on as one that is launching support for your claim.

      Finally, comments on youtube videos merit as scholarship to make decisions and informed opinions? Maybe you should consider actually attending a service at a NewSpring campus to come to your own conclusions rather than relying on what you've assumed happens there or what you've heard from others.

    3. Okay, well I'm glad we agree on that first part at least.

      I'll have to agree to disagree on the second portion, it's all about wording and how it's interpreted... I think it's clear enough.

      Granted, there are many videos on Youtube that warrant extreme levels of absolute poop, and shouldn't be trusted or used to make declarative opinions or statements. But, so does the rest of the Internet -- what makes Youtube any less reliable than any other place on the web? I think that it's safe to say that the silly and stupid comments are easy to weed out over the other quality ones. Maybe I should go to a service first. But I don't want to. I have no desire to even try it. I'm perfectly happy attending and being a part of the church that I am with now. And I'm not even 100% happy there; it's just the best fit, for me. I've tried other places and been to lots of different services (DCF, a presbyterian service, and Episcopal service) And if after all of that I am still "ignorant and misguided," to quote your initial comment, I'm completely and okay with that.

      I know people that go and love it, and I know people that are completely opposed. I've talked and had some pretty decent conversations with people that are regulars. I may be somewhat ignorant on the topic, but I'm not completely clueless. Some people are out for blood, some are willing to do anything to spread the word of the good things/experiences/times they've had there, and some just don't give a fuck either way what goes on.

      I'm sorry if I offended you, but in the end this is just one person's word against another's. Whether my opinion was rude, uninformed, ignorant, douche-baggy, or whatever negative adjective we could use, it's just one person's opinion in the end. No need to get all up in arms over it.

    4. A lot of the youtube videos are nicely edited, taking points out of context. For example, the clip above where he mentions that he doesn't have time for everyone in the church doesn't include the part where he says that there is a care team from the church that will come visit you in the hospital or pray for you etc... and the fact that other pastors at the church would do stuff too. Perry doesn't shut himself from the congregation, I've seen him out there before the service talking to people. The point he's making is that people insist that he PERSONALLY do everything in the church (which is not possible for 20,000 people even if he didn't have a family) instead of allowing other people in the church to minister to them as well who are just as capable. One of the biggest reasons pastors quit is because everyone in the church feels the need to have the pastor do everything in the church and the pastor burns out from fatigue. It's much more effective when the pastor and the congregation are working hand in hand to solve the problems and needs in the church. I'm not saying the people in the church should just start preaching funerals etc.. but there is stuff everyone can do (hospital visits, taking care of the elderly etc..) instead of just sitting back and assuming that the pastor will do everything for you.

      If you don't want to attend Newspring, all the full sermons are posted online at under the "Watch and Listen" section.

    5. Here are some things I found that might be interesting. This was after you challenged me to reconsider the definition of a cult:
      Here is the definition as found on (which happens to not mention anything about small size, just for the record..), and by that definition, I don't know, perhaps all churches can be considered cults.

      Here is an article written by someone who used to attend Newspring, and why they left:
      And here's another, questioning what cult-like-nature means, and if it applies here:
      (It references this article,, written on the official blog)

      And here's a relevant post even on Tigernet:

      Here's an interesting youtube video, posted by Newspring, and you can see how the comments can often offer thoughtful questions and insight, on both sides of the court.

      I looked for a pros/cons list, or reviews or something like that and couldn't find anything on line (feel free to point me in that direction if you know anything). I think the main point here is that one doesn't have to look far to find complaints... I'll keep looking though. I'm interested. Something about it just rubs me the wrong way, is all. And it's not so much about the idea of Newspring, it's more about Mr. Noble himself.

    6. I've read the argument back and forth between you and anonymous 1 we'll call them. You say you don't have to look far to find hate. To put that into context, you don't have to look far to find love also. To be fair, your claims are one-sided and ill-informed. If you think the pastor should have time for everyone, then you think the church should be smaller. Everyone pastor there is fully capable of catering to the members. Just because someone is the head pastor does not mean they need to take every single person on his or her shoulders personally. That's why NewSpring has a support team. As long as they are all working towards the same goal, Jesus, then I don't see anything wrong with Perry having a support team to fuel the church. Jesus had his disciples, so why can't the church have multiple pastors to build the church?

      Yes, this is your blog and you can do what you want when you want. I just think you should take a more balanced approach to it. Your blog suggests Perry is a terrible pastor, but you cannot say that without acknowledging the good things he has done in his church. I just want to ask you to dwell less on the negative and try a more positive approach. I understand if your opinion of him remains the same, but at least your criticism will be informed.

    7. You're right. I am not a fan of megachurches. I think one of the things that is so great about a parish or church in general is that fact that you get to individually get to know everyone and have a relationship with them as a fellow follower of Christ. I attended a National Catholic Youth Conference four years ago or so, and it was a 4-day conference that was held in an indoor stadium with 20,000 Catholic youths all there celebrating Jesus and his teachings. We sang songs and learned and listened and celebrated mass even. And as great as it was, and as moving as it was, it was nice to go back to my hometown church.

      I know about the support team, and it makes sense that they would have that. A church hierarchy is not anything new -- yet let's compare the church hierarchy for a moment. I'll use the Catholic church, simply because that's what I know. There are deacons, then priests, then bishops, archbishops, and finally the pope. So if we start at Perry, which seems to be the end-all be-all of Newspring (given that he preaches and it's projected out to many people, by video or whatever else, right? Correct me if I'm wrong... I seem to remember that no one really preaches except him, and if they do, it's rare), then the next level down is the support team, who reaches out to members, who in turn usually starts a small-group of some sort. Right? Again, correct me if I'm wrong.

      By that logic... it would appear that Noble is on the same hierarchical level as the pope -- that being the top. I don't think there is anything wrong with a support team. I used to belong to a Youth Group through my church in high school, which is essentially the same thing, run by a Youth Leader. But the people that do preach in my church are priests... ones that have gone to seminary school and completely devoted themselves to teaching about Christ.

      And so I question the credentials there. And that's of any pastor or preacher who hasn't attended seminary school. They have been taught by those before them and are on a much different level than I am, and that's why I can respect that so much. If Perry has been, then I've been proven wrong. But it seems that he pushes everyone reading their own Bible often. That's a good thing, I can't deny that. But my interpretations of the Bible, then, are just as good as the next person's, or his. And in essence I would no longer need Perry or anyone else if I was living strictly by the Scripture. To say that Perry is a "terrible pastor" is up for dispute, and that's any one person's opinion. It all depends what you think makes up a good pastor. And also, people can be a great speaker and public idea, but not a great pastor. I don't know. Like I said, up for dispute.

      I've had trouble finding the good things that he's done. On the web at least. And people say to that, then go to the church. And what, start randomly asking people "What has Perry done for you?" I'd love to hear more about it, and if you can find information for me, I'll read it.

      Well, that ended up being longer than I intended. I, by nature am a glass-half-empty person. I tend to see the negative before the positive. Thus, admittedly, this post was written in haste and I did not look at a wealth of information or all sides of a circle. However, part of my reason in writing not just this post, but on this blog in general, is to create a cathartic experience for myself over things that bother me. Something happened to rub me the wrong way, and so I went and rolled with it. I'm not a newsletter, or a news editor, or an esteemed critic, or a critic at all. And therefore it can't be expected that what I write will be entirely truth. It will be an emotional output, in addition to something that hit me hard enough to get the gears in my mind rolling.

      Thanks for your comments, I appreciate them.

  2. No other church in the area causes as much controversy. I have to agree with you--there's something fishy about that. I have only been to NewSpring once but I was very turned off by Perry Noble. I find him abrasive, albeit entertaining, and misguided. If I'm going to give money to a church, I'd rather the money go to youth or service programs instead of towards professional cameras and gigantic broadcasting screens. Perry Noble pities those who do not hold the same beliefs as he does--not in a loving way, but in an arrogant way. The clip about not having time to know his church disturbs me. Why, then, does he have a church at all if it's not for the people in it? I know that cult is too strong of a word, but I have heard multiple stories from many different kinds of people about feeling victimized by NewSpring members simply for not being one. I would not want to be a member of a church that angers and upsets so many and the mentality that causes members to victimize others certainly starts with the leader.

    1. Thanks for your comment. I too am sure there are great things about the place that many enjoy... but you say it best when you say that there is something fishy about it. Many people describe it as a purpose-driven place, which is one of the things I kept seeing over and over again online.

  3. There's a lot I don't agree with Newspring - the fact they have a coffee shop in a church, some of their music choices, the fact that 10% of your money must go to the church etc... but in the end I still feel like attending has changed my life for the better. Sure I don't agree with the whole tithing thing but I've learned that God gives me everything that I have and I need to be generous with it to people who need it, I've been forced to think and deal with a dark side of me that nobody has known before. Newspring's nowhere near the perfect church but God can use anything for his glory and maybe that's what he's doing here. Last point, one of the thing Perry teaches about every 2 months or so is to read your bible and do what it says. If you do that, there should be zero reason why you should be following Perry blindly.

    Enjoyed reading your post though! Makes me reconsider once in a while whether the reasons I have for attending Newspring are directly related to my relationship with God or not.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts. Good point about reading the Bible. In the end, that would be the end-all-be-all word, right?

  4. When it comes to religion, I'm still trying to find my way. I've grown up with the United Methodists, and at this point I believe that's where I'll raise my kids as well. But my beliefs in this world go beyond just one faith, I've also always been interested in Wicca. I think there's something amazing with reaching out to everything that God created, not just praying to the mighty one Himself. And who's to say that there isn't another side to God? It all comes down to personal decision, I believe. And when it comes time for me to move away and look for a church, I'll be looking for one can I can truly consider to be a "family". The church I am at now is involved with running a lot of dinners and working with the community and we do a lot with the kids as well. Rev can always be seen popping in to a Sunday School class in between services and appearing at the dinners for food. I think a pastor should be there for his or her congregation if needed, and should be active in the events that the church puts on. Now one person for "20,000" people? Is this guy like the pope or something? And yes I know a church needs money to run, but it shouldn't be for profit. Everything should go back into the church to take care of it's members and it's community. There's no reason for flashy things... (and just to clarify I've done no research on the Newspring thing, I've only read this post)

    1. I know what you mean about being interested in other faiths. In 8th grade I spent a lot of time studying other religions in my history class, and was very must interested in the amount of time mentally preparing yourself in religions like Hinduism (at least I think that's what it was). I've been raised Catholic and embrace a lot of parts of it, and I like most things that go on in the Catholic mass, but there are things that I still have a problem with there, too.

      I completely agree with you that a church should take care of its members and that the money should not be for profit. It's one of the reasons I have such a problem with Newspring... I question that the money is going to the right places.

      Thanks for your comments Stephanie. Good to hear from you.

  5. Coming back to this post - now that I've been working pretty much full-time for the last 6 months, tithing is something that I've been exploring in terms of how biblical it is and I've pretty much concluded that it isn't. The verse Perry and a lot of church leaders (even my church back in Boston) use is from Malachi in the Old Testament about how we should bring the tithe to God or we will be cursed (and if you do you will be blessed financially). Like I commented earlier today in your blog about tattoos, we like to pick and choose what we want to believe in the Bible without knowing the reason behind it (Old Testament rules were used as a means of regaining peace with God - Jesus replaced all of these rules with his death and resurrection). We are free from a requirement of paying 10% of our income and there is absolutely no mention of the tithe in the New Testament after Jesus came. Now does this mean that we don't have to give? Absolutely not, Jesus says that whatever we do for the less fortunate, we do for him and I feel we should give to organizations that help people in need (and I feel the church has some sort of hand in this as well). It also says in the New Testament that we should give cheerfully and what you have decided in your own heart to give. I feel that this isn't possible if you feel like you set a number such as 10%. Yes you should give away as much money as you can to those who need it but this is not the church exclusively nor is it a set percentage, it is dependent on your financial status and other factors. I do not believe that God curses or blesses you whether you give 10% of your income or not but if you are intentionally storing up wealth for yourself and not even thinking about others who need it - he isn't gonna be too happy about that.

    I've been in Charlotte the whole summer and haven't really been keeping up with Newspring too much but I glanced at their website and saw that they are doing a "90 day tithe challenge". I currently attend a church in Charlotte that I know has in the past taught tithing as a biblical principle (and I know my church in Boston does too) but it is something minor that I've been able to overlook because I know better. However when you make a false teaching a priority and it's the first thing you see when you go to their website - I have a serious problem with that. Honestly, I think I will look for somewhere else to attend church when I get back to Clemson in the fall.

    1. your first mistake is going to Clemson in the fall. ;)

    2. I think everyone at my school can agree that going to Clemson was never and never will be a mistake, thank you very much.

    3. The book of Malachi is written towards the Priest's. It's the Priest's that are to be cursed if they take or steal from the farmers tithe. The word tithe just simply means 1/10. The word tithe doesn't have anything to do with money. The farmers were to give 1/10 of their crops every 3 years to feed the fatherless, motherless,elderly etc..The book of Malachi warns the Priest's that they will be cursed if they take/steal from the storehouse which the food is stored. Tithe has nothing to do with money.


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