Unlike Mark Driscoll, Perry Noble serves an affiliate church of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). NewSpring Church's main campus is in Anderson, South Carolina and has experienced phenomenal growth over the past decade, expanding to several campuses in several cities with a combined Sunday attendance of approximately 14,000. But like Mark Driscoll, Noble's influence among the younger generation of Southern Baptist pastors remains impressive1 >>>
Below is a clip2 from Brad Cooper, student pastor for NewSpring. He's speaking to a youth assembly (grades 6-12) during the Christmas season, 2011. Note very carefully Cooper's language as he speaks about one of the great tragedies of Western culture--we've forgotten how to party:
What apparently makes hell hell, according to Cooper, is the absence of partying, fun, celebration, joy, and 'high-fivin' "There absolutely is not any partying of any sort" in hell, he says. Hence, what Cooper wanted to "offer up" to the kids that night is, "our world has forgotten how to party." Cooper goes on to suggest the only real partying going on in eternity will be partying in the New Jerusalem, the New Kingdom, during the "millenia."
Cooper continues asserting the only dancing to take place in eternity is going to be those dancing in heaven. "It gets better!" he tells the kids. The only celebrating, 'shoutin', the only 'high-fivin' that's going to be taking place is among God's people in heaven.
Then, the capstone:
And, I'll go so far as to say to a bunch of under-aged kids: The only place there is going to be alcohol in all of eternity is going to be in heaven. We know this from the Bible...
Are we to conclude that we're supposed to somehow look forward to going to heaven because heaven is a place where an eternal kegger awaits us? Is this a viable deduction junior and senior high school students may be apt to conclude? For some reason I do not think our Lord had in mind a kegger when He said, "I go and prepare a place for you..." (John 14:1-3).
The sad reality is, thousands of NewSpring junior and senior high school students were indoctrinated into believing there's surely nothing bad about drinking alcohol. After all, one could reasonably infer, if God is going to provide it eternally in heaven, what could be wrong about getting one's fill right here on earth? God's eternal party in God's eternal Kingdom includes God's eternal keggars.
Cooper's thinking is so fundamentally warped it's hard to imagine how parents could allow their children to remain under such irresponsible teaching.
I'm afraid we're going to have to face it.
Conservative evangelicalism has, for all meaningful purposes, collapsed both in moral suasion and sound doctrine. We might as well accept it. And, unfortunately for Southern Baptists, we fail to heed God's wisdom the inspired Prophet spoke:
May our Lord help us in what may be the final hour of our beloved convention.
Even so, come Lord.
With that, I am...