Pastor Perry Noble, who formerly led NewSpring Church in South Carolina, has officially launched Second Chance Church online, saying that he felt God gave him a second chance despite heavy criticism from others.
"Second chances are not just for some people, they are for all people," Noble declared in a Facebook video on Sunday, preaching his first sermon under the title "So I Screwed Up, Now What?"
Noble explained that he is looking for a physical location for the church in Anderson, South Carolina, but in the meantime will be posting sermons and connecting with people online.
The pastor, who was removed from NewSpring last year following struggles with alcohol addiction and faced a further setback recently with news that he and his wife will be divorcing, revealed that he has received heavy online criticism from people arguing he should not be a minister again.
"There have been days when I have just felt down and defeated. People say 'you shouldnt be in ministry anymore, you shouldn't preach anymore,'" he said.
"There was one day in particular where I had taken a barrage of hate on Facebook," he continued, noting that "middle aged white people" are some of the "meanest people in the world," without getting into specifics.
It was at that low point that a friend reached out to him with the verse Romans 11:29 from the Bible, which reads: "For God's gifts, and His call, are irrevocable."
Noble said it was that verse that spoke to him so deeply and he felt God telling him "now is the time to step into your second chance."
Noble has also been accused by NewSpring leadership, including Teaching Pastor Clayton King, of not living up to the biblical qualifications of a pastor. But Noble has said that he "never felt qualified" at any time while he was at NewSpring.
He has said that those calling him "unqualified" are "absolutely correct."
He insisted that despite all his failings, he is also "UN-wavering in the fact people who fall down need a Second Chance, and I'm called to start a church not for perfect people, but for those who want to get back up."
In his sermon on Sunday, Noble focused heavily on the book of Jonah, a minor prophet in the Bible, and how he reached out and took God's second chance despite running away from His guidance and finding himself in great trouble.
"Empathy gets us further than criticism," Noble said. He argued that Christians who "carry rocks" put them down after a genuine encounter with Jesus, such as the example of the crowd and the woman caught in adultery in the book of John.
Noble argued that Christians who carry around rocks "haven't had a face to face encounter with Jesus" yet, and haven't been in "awe of His grace."
"That's what happens when religion trumps grace," he warned.
Noble positioned that God "has the ability to take a mess and turn it into a miracle."
"If God can take a blood stained cross and turn it into an empty tomb, then He can take my situation, your situation, the biggest mess in the world, and turn it into a miracle."
Noble posted a further study guide on the example of Jonah and other passages in the Bible dealing with second chances on the new Second Chance Church Facebook page.
He said in the conclusion of his Facebook video that he set up the new church "so that we can establish a community, so we encourage one another, support one another," and so that people who are far from God "will have a desire to meet Jesus."
In a follow-up post on Monday, Noble wrote that "yesterday was just the beginning — I know the best is still yet to come."
"I am believing Him for greater things, that we will see lives changed, communities transformed and the Nations reached with the greatest message ever — the Gospel," he stated.