10 May 2014

Perry Noble on Women Preaching and Being "Barefoot and Pregnant"

Perry Noble, senior pastor of NewSpring Church, is well known for once declaring that "this church is going to be a church that does anything it takes short of sin to reach people far from God and bring them to where they need to be." (Please see this post at the Pajama Pages blog for a helpful discussion of this and other issues.) Sin, then, apparently is off-limits for Noble in his efforts to "reach people far from God," though based upon much of his preaching and methodology, Noble's definition of sin seems to be a bit more relaxed than what others might affirm. This once again became evident in a recent Facebook Q&A Noble did, wherein he appeared to liken those who think women ought not to preach to those who think women must merely remain "barefoot and pregnant."

This comes as Mother's Day approaches, and Noble is "beyond excited" to welcome Lysa TerKeurst to preach to his entire church at the weekend services. TerKeurst is the face of Proverbs 31 Ministries and may be profiled more extensively here in the future. For now, it is enough to know that she is willing to usurp the role of pastor by preaching in a weekend service before a mixed audience.

When asked in his Facebook Q&A how people ought to respond to those who disagree with women preaching, Perry Noble replied with the following:

So, according to Perry Noble, those who believe that God's Word forbids women to preach must by necessity believe that instead, all women are good for is to be "barefoot and pregnant." Noble followed up his comments later with this post:

Now, are Christian women called to proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ? Of course. One cannot help but wonder what the early church may have been without women such as Priscilla, or Lois and Eunice (Timothy's grandmother and mother). All Christians, without exemption, are called to proclaim repentance for forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus Christ. At the same time, God has ordained roles within the Body of Christ, and the role of women is expressly not to hold authority over men within the church.
Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:11–15)
This does not render women useless. This does not resign them to a life of being "barefoot and pregnant" and never leaving the kitchen. Women have a high and noble calling within the Body. But women are not to preach. Period. To teach and affirm otherwise is to stand in defiance of the Word of God. In other words, to affirm women preaching in this capacity is sin. And so, Perry Noble, you have stepped over that line that you drew when you declared that your church would "do anything short of sin." To welcome a woman into your pulpit (or onto your stage) for weekend services, where she will preach to mixed audiences, is quite frankly, sin. There may be many, many people in this world who do not know Christ, but the end does not justify the means: we do not defy the Word of God in our efforts to reach those people. If we are willing to do so, then we tarnish our witness before we even open our mouths.

Further Reading
Women Elders: the World vs. the Word
Perry Noble "Loved" and Recommends the Book 'Heaven Is for Real'
Church-Going Gimmicks


  1. I don't agree with Noble's characterization, but I am also not sure a one-off message from a woman who knows here field is forbidden in the verse you cited. What if a woman spoke on the plight of Christian moms in todays world, and a pastor came up and preached the gospel following? I had a woman who was a Baptist History expert speak in my pulpit a number of years ago on Reformation Day, and she shared with us key events in Baptist History that helped shape who we are today. She also did it with the express request that I not say she was 'preaching.' She didn't teach on theology but she incorporated some theological/soteriological concepts into her non-sermon. And I'm still fine with it!

    1. Clark,
      By nature of his comments, Noble seems to be giving the green light for women to preach in more than just a one-off situation. Besides, this isn't the first time he's had a woman in his "pulpit." Christine Caine has spoken at NewSpring in the past as well.

    2. I would argue that based on the 1 Timothy 2:12, even that example you gave was sin. It doesn't say no preaching; it says no teaching. I would contend that a woman teaching ANYTHING from the pulpit to a mixed audience, whether it be doctrine, history, or how to change the oil on your car, is forbidden.

      There are many places a woman can teach, and can even teach and have authority over men, that is permitted; none of those is a church worship service.

  2. This issue is getting old, fast. That being said, it is quite evident that Perry Noble is not a man of God because men of God are man enough to adhere to the Word of God. As a woman, I am not diminished by what God says my role is in the Church. In fact, my role in the Church is only here on earth. In the Kingdom to come, where there is no respect of persons, we do not know what we will be, so I am content with the way God wants it. To do otherwise is pride and disobedience and I will not be part of that.

    I own my own business, yet at home I am a wife and mother and that is actually what I prefer, but I live in this time, but even so, you won't see me going to a church that allows women preachers/pastors or preach myself. If a stranger, who may be a man, ask me about the Lord, I will gladly tell him and then direct him where to go for Jesus centered preaching by a Pastor who is male not female. Women have no place in the pulpit. Sounds like Mr. Noble is a one extreme to another kind of person and has no common sense regarding the gender issue in church. He is to be ignored but prayed for. He will go on my prayer list.

    your sister in Christ Jesus

  3. Churches like "New Spring Church" are not doctrinally sound. I'm not sure they are part of the true Church. Also, men like Perry Noble are not pastoring as they should be in general. Only God knows for sure, but I doubt Noble can be considered a real Pastor. Now days, if I want to say my dog is a pastor I can. Sad times we live in, in some ways.Many are deceived by places like New Spring and people like Noble.

  4. No surprises about Perry Noble, but I am very glad that you are going to address Lisa TerKeurst....I have been uneasy about her without a specific reason. I look forward to reading your more extensive profile.

  5. Not to defend Perry Noble, because I certainly agree that scripturally speaking a woman is not to preach, but I cannot imagine how much pressure there is right now to be a pastor and not to compromise. With a few notable exceptions, the only way that most pastors and leaders in the church can keep their popularity and grow their numbers is by compromise and in some cases, like this one, to abandon scripture altogether. Our society wants to erase any gender distinctions and it has gotten so ridiculous and so extreme that if you so much as question whether or not a woman can or should do everything a man does then you'll be a target. They have to go along with the program or they will not be able to keep their place in the world that they have worked so hard to carve out.

    Plus, sadly, the church is full of people who, when you show them what scripture clearly teaches, they say, but what about......The foundational truth of sola scriptura is lost. Church goers don't know what it means and most have never heard of it. So if somebody says, hey women can teach now because it will draw numbers, or if someone says "God told me_____" they nod their heads. They have no understanding of the fact that scripture is both sufficient and authoritative and doesn't need to be added to. Most everyone is bottom line oriented. This is almost the American way: if it works, it's right, no matter what. This is the opposite of what scripture teaches, but its seeming wisdom certainly appeals to most people.

    I was so thankful at on church Sunday; our pastor has recently begun a series on the book of Romans and in his opening comments said that often on Mother's Day he would do a sermon about parenting or mothers, but this year he was going to stick with the Romans series. Even though I am a mother and grandmother, I felt like applauding because I don't want to be the subject of the sermon. I want to hear the word of God taught faithfully and expositionally. If the passage deals with parenting, then go ahead. Otherwise, lets stay on task. Church is for Christians to worship God and to hear His word faithfully preached. This is what we need, and this glorifies the Lord.

  6. I've been wondering about this too. Proverbs 31 ministries makes it clear that the teaching/instruction/encouragement it publishes is intended to bless/minister to/teach/exhort women, so I thought that was Lysa's position in general. I once saw a youtube video in which Francis Chan brought his wife (also, incidentally, names Lisa) up on stage to discuss her thoughts/input on a subject but made it clear that the intended goal was "to teach the women" (I believe the topic was motherhood, or possibly about submission in general); there were men in the audience of course, and his wife was "teaching" at church, but obviously, they were still obeying the Biblical command. This in general raises the question for me about whether I can trust *anything* a leader says who is as "off" as Lysa is about an obvious command in Scripture. She often discusses experiences in which she has heard in her spirit; I'm sure she believes she has "heard" Him in this, too, which makes me wonder whether I should just "toss out" all of the other advice she has given in regards to experiencing God's leading in nour lives. On the flip side, I'm guessing the truth lies somewhere in the middle: God Himself and His word are the only innerant authorities/sources of teaching in this world. I wonder if He doesn't allow our leaders to make mistakes in order to ensure we keep them in mind and don't idolize them or their instruction.


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