Perry Noble is Back!

Perry Noble is back and ready to help you.
He is busy tweeting, recording podcasts, and launching his consulting service – The Growth Co. at www.iwantmychurchtogrow.com. He also has a business consulting wing at www.iwantmybusinesstogrow.com. Looks like he is going all John Maxwell on us.
Last we saw Noble (September of 2016), he had “gone dark” on social media and was submitting to his psychologist/pastor/mentor while dealing with personal issues. Just prior to his brief absence from the public eye, Noble was relieved of his duties as founding pastor at NewSpring Church.
Noble’s consulting service is based on his success at New Spring and seems pretty ambitious. Here are some of what Noble offers:

“We would love to talk to you (the senior leader) and/or your entire team about maximizing your potential, delegating what drains you, and making sure you do not burn out.”
“One of the ways we can serve leaders is by providing personal leadership coaching and development, making sure you are maximizing every aspect of your leadership.”
“We can do a deep dive on culture and create a place that both you and others love.”
“We would love the opportunity to partner with you and show you why this is so important and how to maximize social media to connect to more people and grow your church.”
“One of the things we can do is come alongside of you and plan out a 52 week preaching calendar that will maximize attendance, give you several preaching breaks and allow you to establish momentum unlike anything you’ve ever seen before.”
“At NewSpring we took a budget of $58,000 (our first year) to over $63,000,000 – and in so doing learned a few things along the way I believe will help you maximize giving in your church.”
“Jesus said He would build His church, and your church is not the exception.  Let’s chat about what we can do to set your church up for healthy, lasting growth.”

The last quote confuses me. If Jesus is going to build His church, then why do I need Perry Noble to do it? I suspect Noble and any number of other consultants could help me build a bigger religious business with more customers and a bigger budget. What I don’t understand is why I need Noble to help build the entity that Jesus is already building.

Spread the Light – Sparrow Cartoons

Recently, I discovered Mark Frontczak and Sparrow Cartoons. A long time cartoonist, Mark draws mostly biblical themes with some limited social commentary. I especially like this one:

Mike Frontczak - used by permission
Mike Frontczak – used by permission

Lighting up the place is what I hope to do here. Go over to Sparrow Cartoons to check out Mark’s work.

Trump Transition Team Member Darrell Scott Touts Doctorate from Unaccredited, Unlicensed College

Recently, I have been looking into diploma mills and questionable doctorate degrees given to celebrity Christians. One such celebrity is Darrell Scott.

Darrell Scott and TrumpIn two weeks, Cleveland pastor and Donald Trump supporter Rev. Scott will be honored by former Cleveland Browns running back Jim Brown’s charity Amer-i-can for his work in support of Trump’s election. Throughout the presidential campaign, Scott promoted Donald Trump. He served as CEO of the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. Scott was rewarded for his efforts by an appointment to the executive committee of Trump’s transition team.
Dr D Scott Tweet
In his Twitter profile above (and his Facebook page), Scott refers to himself as Dr. Darrell Scott. During the campaign, Trump also referred to Scott as “Dr. Darrell Scott.”
Trump Dr. Darrell Scott
On his church bio, Scott describes himself as

Already a 21st Century Theologian and Scholar in his own right, Dr. Darrell went on to receive his Doctorate of Divinity in November of 2004. His astute wisdom of religious and biblical studies not only qualifies him as a 21st Century Theologian but also serves to further amplify the fact that he is a gifted and anointed teacher and preacher of God’s Word.

Twenty-first century theologian and scholar Scott did get an honorary doctorate in 2004 (since deleted but archived here) from St. Thomas Christian College (now University). However, his bio is worded in a way that creates the impression that he earned the degree. As noted above, Scott uses the title “Dr.” in referring to himself which is inappropriate and misleading since the degree was not earned.

Compounding the problem is the questionable status of the college. St. Thomas Christian University is not accredited by any Department of Education or Council for Higher Education Accreditation recognized accrediting body. The Chancellor of the school Zamekio Jackson told me in a tweet that the school was accredited but declined to tell me the name of the accrediting body. A search of the ED and CHEA websites failed to turn up any proof of accreditation by any federally recognized accrediting body. St. Thomas’ website does not describe any accrediting agency.

St. Thomas is currently unlicensed in the state of Florida. In Florida, religious colleges can be exempted from state licensing if they file a request for exemption (see this post for the process). St. Thomas is not on the list of exempt schools maintained by the state. A representative of the Commission on Independent Education told me this morning that 2014 was the last year St. Thomas had filed for exemption. Chancellor Jackson said the school needs to update their paperwork.
Z Jackson tweets
Mr. Scott appears to be using his degree from an unaccredited school to create an impression that he earned a doctorate. He joins other celebrity Christians such as David Barton, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, and and Lance Wallnau who use questionable degrees in a questionable manner.

More Questionable Quotes from David Barton: Who is Disrespecting History?

I realize this isn’t exactly big news but David Barton’s use of questionable quotes caught my eye because there is a local connection.
In a WND article out yesterday, David Barton described a situation in nearby Oil City, PA. Here is his not-quite-accurate version:

Because these groups are non-discriminatory in their God-hating, even our venerated military heroes are not off limits. The Veterans of Foreign Wars in Oil City, Pennsylvania, placed a bench in a city park, and on the bench was an inscription of a famous quote by William Penn: “If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants.” This quote, selected by retired military veterans from the historical writings of the founder of their state, was too much for these history-haters. It generated a lawsuit from the American Atheists Legal Center.
(Maybe I should apologize for my patronizing tone, but my defense is that “Sarcasm is the body’s natural defense against stupidity.” Albert Einstein once noted: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe.” It seems he’s still being proved right on the latter.)

With those details, I was able to piece together a more accurate narrative.
In a city park there, the VFW in 2003 placed a bench with the slogan: “Men who aren’t governed by God will be governed by tyrants.” Late last year, the American Atheists Legal Center wrote the Oil City leaders a letter of complaint (not a lawsuit) and asked that the slogan be changed. The AALC offered to replace the bench for free with another slogan less offensive to them. According to a Venango county news report, the town Council voted in early December to remove the bench. Now, a citizens’ group has created a website to raise money to defend the bench. Liberty Counsel has also offered to defend the city pro bono. As of now, the bench is still there. A representative of that group told me this morning that nothing has happened with the bench to date.
When I read Barton’s account, my first thought was that both quotes (Penn’s and Einstein’s) were questionable. I also wondered if the facts of the situation were described accurately.
What is so typical of Barton is that he is off on both the current event and the history. First, he tells us that the Oil City bench has a William Penn quote: “If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants.” However, the bench doesn’t have that exact quote. It says: “Men who aren’t governed by God will be governed by tyrants.” Second, it is extremely unlikely that Penn said or wrote either quote.
I traced the quote back to a book by Mark Beliles where it is combined with something William Penn did write. Often the quote appears like this (e.g., from William Federer’s book of quotations):
Federer Penn
The first part of the quote is correct and comes from a letter Penn wrote to Peter the Great. However, the second part appears to be added on. I found the letter Penn wrote to Peter the Great and the phrase, “Those who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants” is just not in it.

Thus, Barton claims in his WND article that the atheists are disrespecting history. On first analysis, it appears that it is Barton who has it wrong.
Regarding the Einstein quote, I learned that the claim on that quote comes from founder of Gestalt therapy Fritz Perls. Perls claimed Einstein said, “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe” to him in a conversation. Rather than reinvent the wheel, I point readers to a very thorough blog post on this quote at the highly recommended Quote Investigator blog.
Knowing a little about Perls, I don’t have any confidence that Perls ever had a conversation with Einstein, or if he did that Einstein said that quote exactly as Perls reported it. I note from the blog post that Perls recollection of the quote crystallized in Perls’ books written after Einstein died, and thus could not contest it. In any case, I am not surprised Barton used a quote which has a questionable source.
UPDATE: I spoke with Oil City Mayor William Moon this afternoon. He told me that the AALC and the VFW are in discussions about what slogan to include on the new bench. He said the bench will remain in the park until AALC and VFW agree on a slogan and a new bench is delivered.
 

K-LOVE Removes NASCAR Content; Still Sponsoring Michael McDowell

KLOVE nascarNote: When I first published this post, I wondered if K-LOVE had dropped sponsorship. According to Gene Krcelic at McDowell Motorsports, K-LOVE is still racing.
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(Original post)
Radio giant K-LOVE may have dropped sponsorship of car #95 with Michael McDowell as driver. A search of K-LOVE’s website finds a link to the old article introducing McDowell, but when one clicks the link, it goes nowhere. A site search shows several news article relating to NASCAR were once available via K-LOVE news, but they have been removed from the site. An archived page regarding McDowell and K-LOVE is available via the Wayback Machine.
I asked K-LOVE and Michael McDowell for comment but there has been no reply. I have been unable to find any indication from NASCAR sources that K-LOVE will be involved in the 2017 season.
I wrote about the K-LOVE NASCAR connection several months ago as an indication that K-LOVE may not need donor money just to keep stations on the air.
UPDATE: Gene Krcelic with Michael McDowell Motorsports wrote to say K-LOVE is still a sponsor. No word from K-LOVE about why all NASCAR content has been removed.

Where in the World is Phoenix University of Theology?

Last month, I pointed out that dominionist minister Lance Wallnau claimed a doctorate from Phoenix University of Theology. The school grants credits for “life experience” and appears to award entire degrees without any classes or tests. This characteristic alone makes it appear to be a diploma mill (see the federal definition of a diploma mill).
Holding classes would require classrooms and it may be that PUT doesn’t have those either. Recently, reader Dee Holmes went by the address listed on the PUT website to see their facility. It turns out that PUT wasn’t listed among the many businesses which also claim 3420 E. Shea Blvd., Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ as an address. See the photo below (click the image to enlarge it):
3420ESheaBlvdPhoenixAZ
An examination of the list of businesses on the directory reveals no address for Phoenix University of Theology. The school did not reply to my question about the location of the school. On PUT’s incorporation papers, 2401 W. Paradise Ln., Phoenix, AZ is listed as the address. This address is a private residence.
Like diploma mill Life Christian University, PUT has a distinguished graduate list. Among them are:

William Boykin – Family Research Council
T.D. Jakes – The Potter’s House
Ben Kinchlow – 700 Club
Lance Wallnau – Seven Mountains Underground
H. Norman Wright – Family counselor, formerly on the faculty at Biola University

The last name surprised me since Wright has taught as reputable schools (e.g., Biola). He apparently is not on Biola’s faculty at present.
I asked Wright twice via his website about how he earned his D.Min. He did not respond.
Although with a slightly different method, PUT appears to be another Christian diploma mill which provides famous Christian people with a means to persuade the trusting masses that they are experts.