Christian Research Network is a sister work of Apprising Ministries. We last covered this issue in Perry Noble, Fruit Of NewSpring Church, And Dr. James Duncan, which was a short follow up to Perry Noble Repent and an update concerning the sad issue detailed by Dr. James Duncan in Holy rage at the ‘Spring over at his Pajama Pages blog.

As I pointed out at the time you can learn all the pertinent details of what had been happening in Dr. James Duncan On Pirate Christian Radio To Discuss Issue With Perry Noble’s NewSpring Church. Sadly, it would end up with Dr. Duncan leaving the blogosphere; that is, until now.

CRN associate editor Erin Benziger now brings you completely up to speed:

Dr. James Duncan is an Associate Professor of Communication at Anderson University in Anderson, South Carolina. Several years ago, Duncan took to his blog,Pajama Pages to reflect upon and offer some concerns about a local church, namely Perry Noble’s Newspring Church. This criticism of the megachurch sparked a reaction of indignation from several of Newspring’s staff, which in turn led to a period of harassment toward Duncan and his family.

This harassment and subsequent smearing of Duncan’s name and reputation included such things as a Newspring employee creating a fake Twitter account attributed to Dr. Duncan that shared perverse and profane posts and sending a forged letter of resignation to Duncan’s employer. Perhaps the most grievous of offenses was the alleged deliberate sabotage of the adoption efforts of Dr. Duncan and his family.

All of these offenses can be read about in more detail at Duncan’s blog, in the 5 December 2009 post, “Holy rage at the ‘Spring.” Dr. Duncan also appeared on the radio show, Fighting for the Faith in December 2009 to discuss these acts of atrocity and to share his story.

Dr. Duncan responded to these acts of intimidation by filing a lawsuit against Perry Noble and Newspring Church in 2010. In September 2012, the case reached a settlement, and Duncan is returning to his blog to share what details he is allowed. In his first post of 2013, Duncan provides a link to a 27-page PDF of 804 harassing tweets that were sent and read by many members and employees of Newspring Church.

In a post dated yesterday, 3 January 2013, entitled, “Perry Noble knew about the harassment all along,” Duncan notes:

We sued the parties for negligence, invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, assault (Maxwell only), civil conspiracy, unfair trade practices, and negligent hiring, training and supervision. SOURCE

The ‘Maxwell’ to which Duncan refers is Josh Maxwell, who at the time of the harassment was employed as a security guard at Newspring. Duncan proceeds in this 3 January post to share briefly some of the “highlights of what we found through a combination of documents, sworn testimony and other publicly available information.” He concludes this list with the following:

Noble and NewSpring’s official defense was that the whole harassment campaign was my and my wife’s fault. Their argument was that we should have known that criticizing NewSpring would cause bad things to happen to us, so we were really just asking for it. That’s not an argument you’d expect from a local church, but I assume they believe it, otherwise I’d have to believe that they perjured themselves. Here’s the relevant section from their defense:

Plaintiffs [my wife and I] were negligent, willful, wanton, and reckless in one (1) or more of the following particulars.

  1. In engaging in a pattern of behavior and course of conduct intended to intimidate, harass, and otherwise damage New Spring and the Defendants [Noble, NewSpring and the two pastors] professionally;
  2. Knowingly and intentionally publishing misleading and/or false statements concerning New Spring and these Defendants; and
  3. In failing to exercise a degree of care of prudence a reasonable person would have exercised under the same or similar circumstance.

The Plaintiff’s negligence, willfulness, wantonness, and recklessness was more than 50% of the direct and proximate cause of the alleged damages complained of.


James Duncan then deduces,

This is chilling. They are saying—in a signed, public legal document—that it is imprudent and dangerous to criticize Perry Noble. SOURCE

Dr. Duncan plans to share more information regarding the outcome of this lawsuit on his blog in the coming weeks. To CRN’s knowledge, neither Newspring nor Perry Noble have addressed this issue since the settlement, though the church did provide a statement to its members in December of 2009 when the situation reached its climax. Newspring’s 2009 statement noticeably and unsurprisingly contradicts the claims of Dr. Duncan.

CRN first was made aware of these developments by the FBC Jax Watchdog blog.

Further reading