Since Susan Heck, Michelle Lesley, Elizabeth Prata, Amy Spreeman and I released Open Letter To Beth Moore last week, we’ve fielded a lot of questions and criticism. Some of the questions undoubtedly come from Mrs. Moore’s supporters, who typically won’t tolerate any questioning of their beloved teacher. Nevertheless, their questions deserve respectful answers such as those Michelle Lesley graciously provided in today’s In the Mailbag blog post. I dearly hope you’ll read Michelle’s thoughtful and important post before you continue on with this article.
That said, a comment by J Mill included a remark that troubled me. Let me quote the entire comment for the sake of context before I discuss the portion that bothered me:
It certainly seems against the gospel to assume that one cannot be friends with people because you interpret scripture differently. The world wide CHURCH has many different interpretations on many theological issues and yet we are one. Just because you disagree with her does not mean that she is operating outside of biblical orthodoxy. Not everyone needs to speak on everything – we all have topics that are especially in our view at certain times. Most importantly, Scripture would direct you to conduct this inquiry one-on-one with Mrs. Moore, not use it as fodder for your blogs. It seems you may have a log in your own eye to remove.
Michelle’s Mailbag post dealt with most of J Mill’s objections, so again I refer you to her wisdom. But the accusation that I used this matter merely as fodder for my blog shouldn’t go without notice.
Regular readers of my blog know quite well that I have been trying to move away from the idea that discernment ministry revolves around calling out false teachers. Too many so-called discernment blogs (most notably Pulpit and Pen) capitalize on exposing teachers they disagree with (even doctrinally sound teachers). Such baptized versions of supermarket tabloids have severely damaged legitimate discernment bloggers, and I have absolutely no desire for The Outspoken TULIP to degenerate into that type of blog. If J Mill had read enough of my articles, she would have known better than to have made such a baseless accusation.
Subsequent to running the Open Letter, I wrote a teaching reviewing the basic Gospel message. At this writing, only 101 people viewed that post, compared to 5,844 people who clicked on the Open Letter. Ladies, that lack of interest in posts that actually focus on the Word of God disturbs me. I would much rather have you excited about posts that proclaim the Gospel and study God’s Word than about posts about Beth Moore.
I was asked to provide input on the Open Letter, to sign it and to post it on my blog. I complied with those requests after consulting my husband. I wanted the letter publicized in order to ask very legitimate questions of someone who has an extremely high profile in the Southern Baptist Convention — to which my church currently belongs. As Michelle Lesley explained in her post today, publicly asking Beth Moore to clarify her views on homosexuality is no different than publicly asking Joe Biden to explain why he no longer supports the Hyde Amendment. The SBC is floating Beth Moore’s name as its next president, making it necessary to understand her position on this issue. In that context, I agreed to donate space to the Open Letter.
I had been planning an entirely different series for last week’s posts. Running the Open Letter derailed those plans indefinitely. Far from being fodder for my blog, this letter has interrupted my train of thought.
Furthermore, the Lord has been convicting me concerning caring about gaining readers. The SBC may be big on numbers, but I am fighting against the lust to have thousands of adoring followers. The lust for numbers has led the SBC and other evangelical churches to compromise God’s Word — ironically that’s the main reason they cling to Beth Moore in the first place. To put it bluntly, they profit from her book sales. I have no interest in compromising my obedience to God simply to have a widely read blog.
Wanting more readers for posts that teach Biblical doctrine than for posts that call out false teachers like Beth Moore doesn’t mean I want a huge following. It simply means that I want the women who read this blog to care more about studying Scripture than they care about the latest dirt on a false teacher. Though it’s sometimes necessary to ask the sort of questions that Susan, Michelle, Martha, Amy and I asked, I prefer to teach Biblical discernment by helping women rightly understand God’s Word.
Finally, although people I highly respect gave me words of encouragement after I published the Open Letter, only one affirming Tweet meant the world to me:
May it be a joy for Pastor Jeremy to give account for me when he stands before the Lord (Hebrews 13:17).
Also see Elizabeth Prata’s essay answering her critics.