Perry Noble, former pastor of NewSpring Church, had admitted he’s still “unqualified” to start a new church over a year after being removed from his position due to alcohol addiction and other issues.
“Back in July it was announced I have filed the paperwork to one day begin Second Chance Church. Since that time there have been those in the online world who have been quite consistent in communicating to me I am ‘unqualified,'” Noble said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
In addition to losing his church, Noble announced in October the “deeply personal and painful” news that he and his wife of 17-years, Lucretia, are divorcing.
“I’ve intentionally not responded to that accusation in particular until now…and to that accusation I say…Those who are calling me ‘unqualified’ are absolutely correct,” he continued. “Taking a look at this Scripture I will point out why I feel unqualified…”
He first pointed to 1 Timothy 3 which lists the various qualifications for biblical leaders, including “to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money,” among others.
Noble highlighted how he has fallen short of each requirement: “Like I said before – I absolutely do not dispute the fact that, according to the letter of the law laid down by Paul in this passage…I am unqualified,” he stated.
“AND…I am POSITIVE there are those on Facebook who will be more than happy to fill in the gaps of the things I left out that point even more so to the fact I am unqualified…O God to be as awesome one day as those who attack others on social medial!”
Still, the former pastor contended he doesn’t know anyone “batting 1,000 on all of these qualities” and reiterated that he has never felt qualified in his life.
“I am also UN-wavering in the fact people who fall down need a Second Chance, and I’m called to start a church not for perfect people, but for those who want to get back up!”
He added, “I am UN-willing to allow those who don’t know my story to try to tell me what my future should look like.”
“I am UN-able to give my life to anything other than the local church. I am UN-phased by those who want me to quit. I am UN-afraid of the future God has for me.
“And I think it is UN-real that God still wants to used a messed up, busted and unqualified guy like me to take the Gospel to as many people as possible.”
Christianity Today notes that earlier this year, leaders at NewSpring-which spans across 15 locations in South Carolina-reiterated that Noble is still unfit to be restored to the pulpit.
“We have been asked why Perry can preach at other churches but not at NewSpring,” said teaching pastor Clayton King. “We cannot speak for other churches and how they make decisions. For us, Perry currently does not meet the biblical qualifications of a pastor, teacher, shepherd.”
At the time, Noble reacted to the comments in a Facebook live video: “There may be quite a few things I did wrong as senior pastor of NewSpring Church; however, I preached Jesus every Sunday that I had the privilege to serve at NewSpring Church,” he said. “They can continually talk about my sins. They can talk about how I’m seemingly unrepentant-although I would say in order to determine if someone is repentant, you have to have a relationship with them because it’s hard to call out repentance from the cheap seats-but while I will allow those things to go on, I will not allow anyone to talk about my motives for ministry.”
According to a 2015 survey by Barna Group and Pepperdine University, nearly 1 in 5 pastors has struggled with drug or alcohol addiction. Those pastors were split on whether being open about their own addiction would have a negative (46%) or positive (41%) impact on their ministry.