Repentant Pastor Gets 'Second Chance' After Megachurch Scandal

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After what he termed as a "colossal screw up" in 2016, Pastor Perry Noble recalled how 2 Corinthians 7:10 helped him to understand what "true repentance" really meant.

"As followers of Jesus living in America our calling remains the same, regardless of who runs the government," (2 Cor. 7:10).

In July 2016, Noble was fired from his position as senior pastor at New Spring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, for alcohol abuse and other "unfortunate choices and decisions." The elders of the Baptist megachurch, which at the time, had more than 10,000 members, cited the pastor's "posture toward his marriage" as concerning.

Now the founder and senior pastor of the appropriately named Second Chance Church, also in Anderson, Noble believes he has discovered what repentance is all about and is very grateful for the grace God has given him to move forward with his calling to spread the gospel.

Following his moral failure six years ago, Noble says he didn't truly repent of his shortcomings until he started viewing the situation from a Christlike perspective.

"I've got to admit that when everything happened the way it did, my emotions were all over the place (anger, hurt, confusion, shame)," Noble said in a recent Facebook post. "However, after I was able to get way (at rehab as well as an additional week of extensive outpatient therapy) and look at the situation, I came to the realization that, when it came to how I thought, felt, reacted ...

"So often we want to blame everything on everyone, which will literally stop the work of Jesus in our lives when it comes to repentance. Jesus allowed me to see things the way He saw them—to fell the way He felt about them—which was huge in the healing process. And because of that, I was able to reach out to those who I knew had been hurt/offended the most and apologize for the part I had played in all that had taken place."

Seven months after his firing, New Spring Church leaders voiced opposition to Noble's return to ministry. With the blessing of his good friend, Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation in Charlotte, NC, he returned to the pulpit, preaching at other churches while running The Growth Company, which teaches churches how to grow.

"Repentance is not something we can be guilted into by others, but must be guided into by God's spirit in God's time," Noble says. "... It can be led by man, but it has to be something that we allow the Holy Spirit to change in us. ... Repentance is not regret. It's recognition that Jesus loves us as we are, but also loves us that much to allow us to stay that way. Repentance is evidence that Jesus is at work inside of us—and the more we allow Him to change the way we think, it will change the way we live."

And Noble appears to have followed that recipe. He began a new church in Anderson online in 2018, and Second Chance Church opened as a church plant in January 2019.

Second Chance Church has continued to grow—by the grace of God, Noble says—and it is beginning to thrive because Noble says God has given him a great "second chance."

"Because of God's grace, He gave me the power to change the things that He had changed my mind about," Noble says. "A true work of God always comes from the inside. Because of repentance, I didn't say I was sorry and then continue in the same behavior pattern. Jesus changed me, in His time, because I asked Him to let me see and feel the way He saw and felt about me and my situation.

"Jesus didn't die on a cross so the church could establish a behavior modification program by which church leaders lead through control and manipulation and label it "discipleship." He died so that He could come into our lives, change the way we think, so His ways could become our ways."

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Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.

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