Dr. James Duncan and New Springs Church – Holy Rage at the Spring

This is a sickening and unfinished story of a professor and his family who is targeted by mega-church staff.

He blogged – he dared make some mildly critical posts about this church and a few staff.

What happened to this man and his family over a series of months as church staff targeted him for character assassination, identity theft, cruelty, slander, stalking, threats…is terrifying.

This is a church which has a staff of about 109 people, and about 15 thousand attendees. It is independent and leadership answers to no-one. Think about it, this church is the size of a town and leadership answers to no-one.

You can read Dr. Duncan`s story here.
A great deal has happened since he posted his chronological account and you can follow what has happened since at his blog.
Dr. Duncan, who is an assistant professor of communication at Anderson University, was interviewed by Chris Rosebrough.

This hour long interview goes into the evil of complicit silence, arrogance of unaccountability, culture of violence, and crushing of critics.  This is a mild excerpt from Holy Rage at the Spring:

On August 2, Maxwell asks his NewSpring readers if anyone has any ideas to further harass me. Jason Moorehead, a NewSpring pastor, lives just a few houses behind mine, in the neighborhood from which we had welcomed kids into our yard. It was Moorehead who was receiving Maxwell’s messages in his Twitter feeds. The very next day, Maxwell is chirping about kids playing on my zip line. More than just reading, did NewSpring’s pastor feed content to Maxwell? I don’t know for sure, but the only other way that Maxwell knew about kids playing on my zip line was for him to have parked outside our house to watch my son play, or to enter my property to see what was back there. Perversely, the Moorehead theory is the most comforting.

Even so, once we connected those dots, all those possibilities were rather terrifying for my wife. She, quite reasonably, feels violated and unsafe in our own home.

As he points out in the audio interview, none of what occurred is innocuous.

This content is not appropriate for younger readers, it is not safe for the spiritually sensitive.

This is bone chilling.

Months of willful, depraved, escalating bullying by the perps on the church staff does not leave anyone unscathed.

Update: I’d like to make a link above more prominent because of concerns expressed in the comments by someone who follows US mega church ministries. Here part of the statement from  New Spring Church:

Recently, certain events occurred that Pastor Perry and the Church’s leadership feel the NewSpring Church family needs to know about.

Earlier this year, a critic of the church from the Anderson community created a critical blog site and posted numerous blogs disagreeing with the methods of NewSpring Church and the messages that Pastor Perry has preached, including basic theological doctrine.

In February an employee of the church met with this individual in an attempt to resolve any misunderstandings and listen to his concerns. Since that meeting, the frequency and intensity of the critical blogs have increased.

In the summer of 2009, one NewSpring employee and two volunteers, acting on their own accord and unbeknownst to the Church, began a wholly inappropriate campaign directed at the author of the blog site. None of their actions were known to, or condoned by, the Church or its leadership in any way.

Here is a tweet from Noble after the church statement was posted.
James Duncan re: errors in the church statement.

Update: I’ve read every post about what the Duncan family went through. I’ve read Dr. Duncan’s blog (yes, it took a couple of days and I learned a lot).  One of the better posts was by Phoenix Preacher who gave James Duncan some advice.

My advise to the blogger?

Run away!

Noble will survive and prosper and you will be demonized for life.

His survival will embolden him and he will learn that he is indeed bullet and blog proof.

Been there, done that.

Butts in the pews cover and pay for a multitude of sins and few will leave his church over this.

Nobody really cares as long as the show is good and the props are refreshed on a timely basis.

I take that back;

Jesus cares, but nobody will know that until He returns to finish cleaning up the mess.

Duncan has told his story and taught his lessons (after reading his blog I got romping around Ecclesiastes -seemed like a good place to go after reading so many opinions;^). He gave readers room to think and he spoke to critics gracefully on the front porch of his blog. Here’s the declaration:

I couldn’t really think of how to say this, so I’ll resort to a bit of cricket speak, if you’ll indulge me.

I think it’s time to declare the innings closed and retire to the pavilion.

Pajama Pages will stay here as an archive, but I don’t foresee any more new posts for a while. After all that I’ve written over the last nine months, and especially in the last 10 days, if you don’t see what I’m saying yet, no more words from me are going to get that done.

via: kinnon.tv

About Bene Diction

Have courage for the great sorrows, And patience for the small ones. And when you have laboriously accomplished your tasks, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.
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11 Responses to Dr. James Duncan and New Springs Church – Holy Rage at the Spring

  1. Bene Diction says:

    I grieve for what James Duncan and his family have been subjected to, and I ask that you pray for this family.
    I don’t think the Duncans are physically, emotionally and spiritually safe; as lead minister (Perry Noble) carries on about this and has begun to mock and posture.

  2. Veronica says:

    I feel sorry for James Duncan and his family too. Very disturbing.

    How can a church act like that? It is contrary to Jesus’ teachings.

  3. John Payzant says:

    Bene

    Re: Dr. James Duncan’s story about the firing of a staff without explanation who went overboard with a critic who was Dr. James Duncan sounds strange.

    Dr. James Duncan and his family continues to experience difficulties in this Church-Town.

    The answer to no one unaccountability sounds scary.

    I think you know and I know that I know what Dr. James Duncan and his family must feel.

    But it does seem there is some council and board or directors of some sort.

    There had to be in order for that staff to be fired.

    But it sounds like that Council/Board does not answer to and is not accountable to anyone above or beyond them.

    They are as high as it gets.

    Now, by the reaction as to how the 1st person reacted followed by reactions that could seem similar as to what the 1st person did sound like there could be more firings.

    So, this rather large group could be at the start of tearing itself apart.

  4. Bene D says:

    I don’t think this group will tear themselves apart anytime soon.
    I think they will down the road when they need a new senior pastor.
    Mega churches built on personality don’t survive that change well.
    This organism is built around personality and twisted scripture.

    As long as there is the heirachy of leadership, the celebrity of senior pastor, the tone and teaching this celebrity has set; this church will not only keep functioning, members will keep laughing at the entertainment value of attending and belonging, remain desensitized to violence and the culture will not change.

    This church doesn’t exist and function in any sense you and I understand church; why would they need accountability, good goverance and biblical principles?
    They have convinced thousands it’s in place.

    Attendees have had it drilled into them how anointed their senior minister is, how questioning and critiquing is a threat to their faith, leadership and community.

    That is partly why I fear for Duncan.
    With over 100 staff and 15 thousand people, this was not an isolated group of employees with anger management issues.
    Nothing will change, it is not in the interests of leadership or attendees to seek change.

    This is the church as a corporation, without basic checks and balances in place that a market driven company would have.
    This is church as entertainment.

    This was built with pride in size, wealth and charisma.

    There are no checks and balances, if anything this event will embolden the senior guy, he’ll brag, minimize, dismiss, justify; see himself as untouchable, reinforce and escalate his verbal violence and hand any problems to lawyers and his security team.

  5. Perry Noble is a wild card to be sure. His over-the-top statements in his sermons and the manner in which he delivers them make him completely unpredictable. He’s comfortable enough in his own Sunday environment, but you wouldn’t want to invite him as a guest speaker to your own church because you never know what might come out of his mouth next. I’m not even sure I’d have him over for Sunday dinner. He’s not the kind of person I would choose as my pastor, yet, in his hometown, thousands have indeed made that choice.

    Maybe there’s something there that you can only experience by being part of that church culture. Maybe it’s something you cannot dissect through blogs and YouTube clips.

    That said, I was surprised to see this story here, but mostly disappointed. I believe that many times — and I believe it certainly applies here — there are indeed two sides to the story; and it concerns me that a blog that has a good track record of investigative reporting has decided to only go with one of those sides.

    Bene, the first thing that discredits this blog post — and would do so even if it all turns out to be true — is the use of Chris Rosebrough as a credible source. Noble may be a bit of wild card, but Rosebrough is insane; insane in the sense of man who proclaims himself judge and jury over all of Christendom; insane in the sense of a man who chooses to evaluate the ministry of those who are reaching out to a generation he can’t possibly comprehend, the way I might try to evaluate a book written in a language I cannot speak. He operates a discernment ministry that doesn’t have enough discernment to choose its targets more carefully and more lovingly.

    Nothing — absolutely nothing — that Rosebrough wishes to communicate should be considered credible. This is a man with a real hate on for Emerging, Emergent, Postmodern, Next Generation Christian communicators, of which Noble cannot be anything other than a prime target. I’ve heard enough of this man online to last a lifetime. He takes some kind of sick delight in tearing down young pastors’ sermons — broadcast without permission from church online resources — without reaching out to them in love in any direct way or giving them any opportunity for rebuttal. In absolutely no way indicates anything resembling the fruit of the Spirit. So of course he’s going to jump at the chance to cut Noble into tiny pieces.

    But then there’s NewSpring’s own statement to his congregation.
    http://www.newspring.cc/blog/an-announcement-to-the-newspring-church-family/
    Even if that statement were only half true, it would have to cause anyone to give pause to any one-sided treatment of this issue.

    The statement indicates that NewSpring is acting under the advice of legal counsel, and clearly indicates the person they’re dealing with has a desire to ‘extract’ — I won’t go so far as to say ‘extort’ — a large amount of money from the church.

    Quotation from the prepared statement:
    [Duncan - not named, though] “ended the meeting with NewSpring’s counsel with a demand for payment of one and a half million dollars ($1,500,000.00) if he was allowed to share the pulpit with Pastor Perry during the Church’s weekend services or through various other “public options” in order to denounce the Church, its leadership, and its “culture of hatred.” Alternatively, the blog site author demanded payment of three million dollars ($3,000,000.00) from the Church in exchange for him to not reveal his complaints against the Church to the public. The Church, of course, rejected both offers.”

    This is a guy who is demanding three million U.S. dollars, but willing to offer a ‘fire sale’ half price reduction if he gets Noble’s audience at each of the services for one week. Defamation of Noble has a price! Maybe Rosebrough could join him. Personally, I’d like to see it happen because for people like that who just want to rant, it never ends well. Noble’s parishioners — who I doubt are all brainwashed as you suggest — would see the true character of who they’re facing, and that would be the end of it.

    Bene, I know you thought you were on to something here when you heard that interview, but please, consider the source. Perry Noble may not be the first to come to mind — yours or mine — when we picture a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and his ‘style’ and the ‘tenor’ of his ministry may someday be his undoing. But the person NewSpring is dealing with here and the person who is supporting that person (Rosebrough) are cause for much, much greater concern.

    A house is known by the company it keeps.

  6. Brianmpei says:

    Paul, it’s interesting that you take Noble’s version at face value and trust that it’s even 50% spin free.

    Reading both sides and a few other sides is a very good idea.

  7. Bene Diction says:

    Hi Paul:

    Thanks for your concerns and I owe the respect of addressing them given your expertise.
    This is a personal blog, where I do investigative pieces. I also do personal ones which affect me spiritually and emotionally.

    I am taking sides.

    I’m human and a Christian. I am stunned, shocked and sickened by the what the Duncan family has been subjected too.

    Duncan laid out provable facts and clearly made the distinction between those facts and speculation.

    I have not seen that at New Spring blogs. Please correct me if I’m wrong, I’ll link them.

    “That said, I was surprised to see this story here, but mostly disappointed. I believe that many times — and I believe it certainly applies here — there are indeed two sides to the story; and it concerns me that a blog that has a good track record of investigative reporting has decided to only go with one of those sides.”

    I see events such as the abuse the Duncan family has been through as multi faceted, like a diamond, I had a personal reaction to this terrorizing and treatment, read all the blogs that covered it, listened to some Noble other than what Christian Pirate Radio provided in the interview.

    I know Bill Kinnon has blogged about Noble, I had not read those posts or followed his links on New Spring.
    Other than Kinnon that I’d not heard of New Spring, never heard of Christian Pirate Radio, Chris Roseburgh or to the best of my knowledge, Anderson Uni.

    If Hustler, Playboy, Limbaugh or Stern had given air time to Duncan I’d have linked them.

    Ken Silva has a tweet from Noble after the statement was posted on the church website. I didn’t link the tweet.

    The statement from the church is in the post above, if you feel I need to make it more prominent, I’ll do so. If you want the quote added, I’ll add it.

    Duncan has blogged since 2004. I counted about 54 posts on New Spring and Noble. I do not know the total number of posts on the blog.

    http://www.pajamapages.com/?s=Perry+Noble
    http://www.pajamapages.com/?s=New+Spring+Church

    Correct me if I’m wrong, I submit to your knowledge of some of these players and the theology: this started two years ago with a letter to the Anderson newspaper.

    a) Anderson Independent: Letter from James Duncan re: Billboards. 2007
    http://tiny.cc/zUANF
    b) Anderson Independent: response 2009: http://tiny.cc/pQHOy

    “Nothing — absolutely nothing — that Rosebrough wishes to communicate should be considered credible.”

    Fair enough. Rosebrourgh gave Duncan air time, I’d have linked if that air time had been provided by Playboy, Limbaugh, Stern, Fox. I’ve no interest in listening to that show other than the Duncan interview.

    1) If you have a better audio interview I’ll link it.
    2) The link to New Spring Church statement is in the post and I’ll make it more prominent.
    3) If Maxwell has made a public statement or posted about his firing, I’ll link it.
    4) If the adoption agency has a statement, I’ll link it.
    5) If the confessions of the staff given to the Sherriff’s department are online I’ll link them.
    5) If law enforcement has a statement about an ongoing investigation I’ll link it.
    6) Noble tweeted after the statement. I believe it is at Ken Silva’s site. I did not link it. If you think it will be helpful, I’ll link it.

    The statement indicates that NewSpring is acting under the advice of legal counsel, and clearly indicates the person they’re dealing with has a desire to ‘extract’ — I won’t go so far as to say ‘extort’ — a large amount of money from the church.

    It does, that information is laid out by Duncan and is in the post.

    8) If the lawyer is disputing the account I’ll link it.
    The none payment etc. is also linked in the post.

    Help me out.

    If you have links to information (not theological slugfests) about this event I’ll accept them with gratitude.

    Bene, I know you thought you were on to something here when you heard that interview, but please, consider the source. Perry Noble may not be the first to come to mind — yours or mine — when we picture a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and his ’style’ and the ‘tenor’ of his ministry may someday be his undoing. But the person NewSpring is dealing with here and the person who is supporting that person (Rosebrough) are cause for much, much greater concern.

    Again, fair Paul.
    Doesn’t negate the facts laid out of the terrorizing of the Duncan family, events, timeline, time stamps, staff confessions, firing, lawyer, sherrif reports etc.
    This abuse from those called to shepard God’s people is evil, and several notches up from what FBC Jax watchblogger has experienced because he was critical of his mega church pastor.
    Give me what ‘the other side’ is offering and I’ll link it.

    Did I miss any of your concerns?

  8. Considering that Noble sometimes comes across on video like a hillbilly, I’m sure there’s been a lot of tension between the Hatfields and the McCoys down there. I’m not sure if it’s “birds of a feather” or if something in the water breeds this in people. But really, that’s what you’re seeing.

    I’m willing to concede the possibility that some people on Noble’s staff may have done some things on their own, as their carefully crafted statement indicates. I just don’t accept the choice of Rosebrough or his broadcast as a source of any kind. I did a Google Blog Search on this a few days back and one blogger called Duncan ‘obsessive,’ which is probably a good choice of words. On the other hand, it’s amazing the number of bloggers who reference, quote, and show great respect for Noble, hence the second paragraph of my comment.

    I don’t know that Noble’s staff acted circumspectly in every aspect of this. When your church projects a kind of ‘cowboy’ mindset, I’m sure something will implode down there at some point. (I would have put my money on something involving slander, though; not this.)

    I do know that anybody who suggests suing a church for $3M USD simply isn’t reflecting the heart of God. For me, that taints the rest of the their case.

    I’d encourage BDBO readers to do a Google Blog search like I did, using “Perry Noble James Duncan” as search criteria. You might even see something the rest of us have missed that’s insightful. There will be more as this develops.

  9. Bene D says:

    Paul:

    I would have asked for 4 million, one million for every staff member who confessed to the sheriff.

    After all if you want to bribe me after crimiinal behavior and complicity by staff, make it worth my time.
    And I’d hope I’d be able to do what James Duncan has done. Laid it out and walked away.

    Duncan could have laid charges against one staff member, Travis Dickson for distribution of pornography.
    He didn’t.
    He didn’t take any money from leadership which had the audacity and the temerity to send a lawyer to try to buy off this family in merely a different manner.

    I think that even in grief over the adoption loss, genuine fear and wearing down over the harassment, James Duncan showed a lot more of the heart of God than I could.

    http://www.pajamapages.com/?p=3952#comments

    “After all that I’ve written over the last nine months, and especially in the last 10 days, if you don’t see what I’m saying yet, no more words from me are going to get that done.”

    Out of over 100 staff at that church there has to be some righteous among them. I hope so. I hope a minister or two or 20 at New Spring laid his gift at the altar and went to his brother.

  10. Tim says:

    Stumbled across this site and – for what it’s worth – wanted to clear up one major factual error. NewSpring Church’s leadership DOES answer to a group of outside pastors that has the authority and ability to remove or reprimand leadership if necessary.

    I know that was not the point of this post, but be careful making statements as bold as “this church is the size of a town and answers to no one” when you have no basis for such a claim. It makes the rest of your arguments seem baseless.

    Furthermore, to those of you who trumpet accountability as your argument against leadership of large churches, I’ve often wondered something…who held Paul accountable as he went around the world starting churches and writing all of his letters? From what I can tell, it was simply the Holy Spirit.

  11. Pingback: New Springs Church and blogger James Duncan | Bene Diction Blogs On

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