She’s adorable with her big eyes, Southern drawl and funny (while also touching) stories that resonate with women. She makes the Bible seem so personal. And lately she assures women that Jesus longs to romance each of them–an idea that I can’t help understanding as a sort of divine polygamy. Okay, so I don’t adore Beth Moore.
Much has been written to document the problems with Beth Moore’s teachings. Erin Benzinger provides several critiques of her, as do Elizabeth Prata and Michelle Lesley, so I see no reason for me to reiterate their research. But today I participated in yet another conversation with a young lady who has lost friends because she dared to express concerns that Beth Moore teaches unsound doctrine.
I, along with several other women in the conversation, identified all too well with the young lady’s anguish. I lost a friend because I took a firm stand that Beth Moore twists Scripture, claims to receive personal revelation and teaches both women and men. Other women have also experienced vicious attacks and broken relationships because of their convictions that Mrs. Moore teaches error.
As I said, Erin, Elizabeth and Michelle already do excellent jobs of demonstrating Mrs. Moore’s faulty theology, so I want to address my concern over the way her admirers respond to those who criticize her teaching. This morning’s conversation reminded me that Beth Moore’s devoted fans may raise additional questions about Moore’s ministry. In turn, I thought of Paul’s warning to the church in Rome:
17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. ~~Romans 15:17-18 (ESV)
My personal experience with a Beth Moore supporter, sadly, typifies what happens when anyone questions her doctrine. For quite some time, I incurred the wrath of a friend who had been “blessed” by Mrs. Moore’s books and Bible Studies. This friend expressed sadness that I’d read (and shared) articles by Moore’s critics rather than exposing myself directly to Beth Moore and consequently allowing myself to experience the blessing of her teaching.
So, wanting to be fair, I spent several hours on YouTube, watching videos of Mrs. Moore “minister” to women by twisting Scripture, telling funny stories and making veiled references to abuse she suffered in childhood that somehow validates her ministry now. I love her Southern drawl, to be sure, and couldn’t help laughing over some of her stories, but whatever blessing I should have received eluded me. I saw, not a woman skilled in expositing the Bible, but a false teacher who distorted the very Word of God she claimed to revere to fit her “gospel” of self-esteem.
When I’d show my friend instances in which Moore misconstrued Scripture, she’d deflect by calling me a Pharisee. How dare I withhold the “blessing” from people by posting articles on Facebook that question Moore’s teaching? (As if my calling Moore’s teaching into question had the power to prevent anyone from reading her books or watching her videos!)
When I posted Chris Rosebrough’s analysis of Beth Moore’s teaching, my friend couldn’t contain her anger. I asked her to show me, from Scripture, how Rosebrough’s actual analysis of Moore’s teaching erred. Rather than offering a reasoned answer with Scripture, she ended our friendship because I “ripped” her “friend.”
Apparently, many women become convinced that Beth Moore is their personal friend, even though at best they’ve only met her at a conference. This illusion of friendship creates an almost rabid loyalty that manifests itself in a willingness to sacrifice real-life friendships in order to defend Mrs Moore. Their disloyalty to actual friends for Beth Moore’s sake saddens me, but it also concerns me. Is it really so terrible to hold someone’s doctrine up against the plumbline of God’s Word? If this disregard for actual friends typifies Beth Moore’s followers, than Beth Moore is far more dangerous than I thought.