Perry Noble, pastor at South Carolina's NewSpring Church, the largest Southern Baptist church in America (32,000 people during weekend services at multiple campuses across the state), is in trouble. On Christmas Eve, Noble claimed that God spoke to him directly and commanded him to tell his congregation that the Ten Commandments aren't commandments at all. Many objected and tried to correct the pastor, but he isn't having it:
What did he say? From Perry Noble's blog:
At our Christmas Eve service I challenged our church to take a look at the things we had always seen as commands (and could never keep anyway) as more like promises from God that are fulfilled in Christ.
Promise #1 – You do not have to live in constant disappointment anymore.
Promise #2 – You can be free from rituals and religion and trust in a relationship.
Promise #3 – You can trust in a Name that is above every Name.
Promise #4 – You can rest.
Promise #5 – Your family does not have to fall apart.
Promise #6 – You do not have to live in a constant state of anger because you will be motived by love and not hate.
Promise #7 – You do not have to live a life dominated by the guilt, pain and shame associated with sexual sin.
Promise #8 – I will provide.
Promise #9 – You do not have to pretend.
Promise #10 – I will be enough.
At Christmas he preached that God commanded him to share these Ten Suggestions. But now Noble says he got this new interpretation from an Israeli taxi cab driver.
The reaction - and Noble's response - speak volumes about the hot water this pastor is now treading. Via Pajama Pages: Noble departs Christian orthodoxy, announces he’s staying put:
Perry Noble took the unprecedented step of directly addressing criticism from the pulpit Sunday morning in response to Rosebrough’s and my critique of his Christmas Eve claim that God told him to preach that the Ten Commandments aren’t commandments. After having a week and a half to reconsider his error, Noble dug in his heels and reaffirmed his assertion that there is no Hebrew word for command.
The following is via Pastor Chris Rosebrough over at Pirate Christian Radio's Fighting for the Faith. Chris will be our guest next week, and will share more about what Noble claimed about the 10 Commandments:
Jesus Called Them Commandments, Mr. Noble
On Christmas Eve, not only did Perry Noble make the outrageously false claim that the Hebrew language has no word for command (see the graphic on this post to see the proof that this is not true), he claimed that God was the one who laid it on his heart to preach that.
To add insult to injury, this past Sunday Noble defended his false claim by saying, "I didn’t try to rescind the Ten Commandments. I simply declared that they are actually promises from God, because Ten Command…–that word command in Hebrew–it is not command, it is saying. I have resear… I have gone back and talked to people in Israel that confirm those things (Online Source)."
In other words, Perry Noble, rather than retract his false claims regarding the commandments has decided to dig in and double down. But, here's Noble's embarrassing problem, Jesus called them commandments, not promises.
A brief survey of the words of Jesus will suffice in proving this fact.
Quick note: the New Testament was written in Koine Greek, not Hebrew. The Greek word for commandment is entole, and it means:
ἐντολή, 1. an order authorizing a specific action, writ, warrant, 2. a mandate or ordinance, command a. of commands by pers. in high position b. of commands given by divine authorities α. of commandments of OT law.
Below, are examples of how Jesus referred to the Old Testament imperatives.
Matthew 5:18–19: “For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”
Matthew 15:1–4: “Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” He answered them, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’”
Matthew 22:35–40: “and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Mark 10:17–19: “And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.”
Notice that in Mark 10:17–19 Jesus quotes directly from the ten commandments, and Jesus does not call them promises, he calls them commandments.
Jesus speaks Hebrew. Jesus grew up in Israel, and Jesus is God in human flesh. In other words, Jesus is the very God who gave these commandments and Jesus knows full well what His intention was in giving them and Jesus calls them commandments of God and says they were commanded by God.
So, who are you going to believe?
Are you going to believe Perry Noble who admits that he does not know Hebrew but claims that there is no word in Hebrew for command or are you going to believe Jesus who speaks Hebrew and is the God who gave the commandments and calls them commandments commanded by God?
As for me, I'm going to go with Jesus.