How to tell when you can begin hating someone or separate them from the flock, follow this simple flowchart:
Get it? Love bears all things, even when someone is behaving really, REALLY badly. Love believes all things, even when the evidence shows exactly the opposite. Once they start living in unrepentant sin or are a disruption to the body of your local church you can follow church discipline guidelines and work on the process of reconciliation. Let’s look at this in detail: Let’s say that when you were struggling with pornography, wrestling with this between you and God, someone was watching over your shoulder and reporting all of your failings to the church. If your pastor responded to you the way that you respond to the failings of others, would there have been any hope of reconciliation between you and those in your church?
Carry this over to Perry Noble and his actions as a pastor. He has stated that he did not intentionally seek discord in his choice to play the song “Highway to Hell”, and then, when speaking with his church, he said that they thought it would be hilarious to do it because it would piss off the religious people. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13, says that we should believe all things. We should put the best construction on this and trust that his actions and intent, from start to finish, were to glorify God and make His gospel known to the flock that God has provided to him.
Now, there are other revelations that make him, by all accounts, a bad servant. It could be that what he said was true and that he won’t visit the sick in his flock until they die. Again, putting the best construction on this, we need to trust that God will handle the situation and regardless of the outcome that we see, we can know that He is in complete control of this whole scenario – from start to finish.
There are three things we know about Perry Noble. First, he claims to be a Christian and to adhere to the core doctrines of our faith. Second, he is a passionate pastor who was chosen by God and placed into his role as lead pastor of the church that God has given him. Third, we are not his judge. Anyone who is within the body of believers is the servant of God and not us – who are we to judge another man’s servant? His actions, however, are going to cause a rift within his church. Those soundly saved believers are going to put up with it for only so long before they leave to find something else. Those who are drawn to controversy and publicity will seek him out and fill the remaining seats.
Let me finish with this – In my church, I would never start a sermon with “Highway to Hell”, I would never seek to piss off the “religious” people outside the church or within, and I would not want to sit under his headship. Is God using Perry Noble for His kingdom and His glory? Of course – Romans 8:28 confirms it. But to those who seek the controversy and can’t find a way to forgive them, I ask this simple question: Because Jesus suffered and died on the cross in your place to forgive your sins, when can you stop forgiving Perry Noble? Any answer other than “never” is an indication that you don’t understand the gospel.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.