Throwback Thursday: Apples And Pulpits

In response to a recent tweet by Beth Moore, I’m reposting my January 20, 2017 essay.

betty-portrait-paintedHave you ever noticed the parallel between Eve’s temptation in the Garden and women who qualify (or flat-out reject) 1 Timothy 2:12? I don’t remember where I first read about this parallel, so I can’t properly give due credit, but I must acknowledge that this notion didn’t originate with me. That said, I believe we need to consider the possibility that women who seek to teach men or who aspire to pulpit ministry commit the same sin that Eve committed.

Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.

He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.~~Genesis 3:1-6 (ESV)

Eve and her husband had been given full access to every tree in the Garden, with only one exception (see Genesis 2:15-17). She should have been thankful for the Lord’s abundant provision, but Satan twisted God’s Word so that she questioned God’s goodness…or at least her understanding of His Word.As I’ve studied arguments for the ordination of women, I’ve  noticed the same type of Scripture twisting.

Let me show you just a couple examples of how professing Christians try to explain away 2 Timothy 2:11-12.

11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. (ESV)

The website for Brethren In Christ Church (I find amusing irony in the sexist name of the denomination) offers this explanation:

Paul’s seemingly prohibitive statement about women in public ministry is likely a response or plan of action to deal with women who were new Christians, talented, and endowed with spiritual gifts of leadership, but not yet trained and seasoned for leadership in the congregation. These new Christian women likely were also mixing pagan practices and Christian doctrine. One must keep in mind that prior to this time, only the men had the privilege of learning through formal study. Paul’s assertion in verse 11 that “women should learn” was indeed a new day for the believing woman.
Responding to the women’s lack of training and maturity, Paul therefore declares, “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she is to keep silent (2:12 NRSV). The literal translation from the Greek is, “I am not presently permitting a woman to teach or to have authority over men….” The verb used is present active indicative. It was never intended to be a prohibitive statement or a prescription for all times, places, and cultures. If it had been written for that purpose, there are Greek verbs and tenses which would have been used to clarify the intention. (Source)

The appeal to Greek verb tenses almost convinces me, except for the fact that the apostle Paul based his restriction, not on 1st Century custom, but on God’s original order of creation and Eve’s vulnerability to deception (see 1 Timothy 2:13-14). And as for  “mixing pagan practices with Christian doctrine,” might I suggest that “Christian” feminism pretty much does the same thing by adopting worldly standards?

A website called Circle Of Christian Women evaluates 1 Timothy 2 in the context of wives and husbands rather than women in general:

1 Timothy 2:12 is not a blanket rule for all women of all churches. If it were, then the women could not speak at all, for the same verse that tells them not to teach also tells them to be silent.

If all women had to keep silent in church, then that would be promoting disobedience to God, for they could not prophesy, pray, testify, sing, exhort, do personal work, or even get saved.

Whenever an interpretation to a verse contradicts the rest of the teaching of the Bible, we know this interpretation is incorrect, for the Holy Spirit will never contradict His own Word.

This is the chief verse that is used to oppose women preaching and yet it says nothing about preaching, nor does it say anything about a public worship or church service. But, on the contrary, this verse is giving instructions to wives as to how they were to conduct themselves in regard to their husband. Paul says in 1 Cor. 14:35, “And if they will LEARN anything, let them ask their husbands at home.” Now he states in 1 Tim. 2:12 that the woman should learn in silence, and should not usurp authority over the man. Paul is dealing with more of a home problem than a church problem.

This verse still applies to us today. It is wrong for a woman to usurp authority over her husband (in church, home, or any place else) as was the case in Paul’s day. She should not try to teach him or speak words that would cause discord and confusion, but should rather be silent and in subjection to her husband.

It is also to be understood that if anyone, whether man or woman, is usurping authority over the God-given leadership of the church, she or he is to be silent, and not to teach, or act in such a way that would create discord in the assembly.

Um, no. 1 Corinthians 14:33-35, if anything, places further restrictions on women in church, and certainly doesn’t soften the impact of 1 Timothy 2:12. This argument just makes no sense, and it completely ignores the context of the verse. Like Eve, such people fall for Satan’s question, “Did God actually say…?” Despite all the wonderful ministries the Lord opens to women (including the joys of teaching other women and children) they want to also teach and lead men, unwilling to accept the only restriction that Scripture places on them.

As a redeemed woman, I trust God’s wisdom in “denying” me the right to teach men. Maybe men could learn something from me. But that’s really beside the point. Unlike Eve, I choose to appreciate all the wonderful ways the Lord does permit me to serve Him, realizing that He has every right to withhold certain spheres of service. May I serve, not by coveting ministries that He assigns exclusively to men, but in gratitude for the wide variety of opportunities He gives me.

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How You — Yes,You! — Can Be A Woman Of Discernment

Purple Tulip

For all our public denunciations of discernment blogs (many of which actually deserve to be denounced), we feel a certain desire to be women of discernment. As well we should! John MacArthur famously says that the greatest problem in the evangelical church today is the lack of discernment.

According to my blog stats, most of you like reading my articles about discernment, especially if I zero in on popular false teachers. Anything with Beth Moore’s name in the title is practically guaranteed to Continue reading

Saturday Sampler: August 12 — August 18

Blendies SamplerIt never hurts to return to the foundational practices of our faith.  So Greg Peterson’s Back To The Basics: Bible Study You Can Do in Parking Space 23 shows us a simple Bible study method that relieves the feelings of intimidation many of us have as we approach God’s Word.

On the Grace To You blog, John MacArthur writes Social Injustice and the Gospel to introduce a series of articles he’ll be writing on this current trend among evangelicals.

If you or anyone you know is involved in Bible Study Fellowship, I beg you to read (and share) Amy Spreeman’s forward, BSF Leader resigns; warns members about 2018 Study on the Naomi’s Table blog. Amy shares a Facebook post by Linda Davis, who resigned from BSF as a result of reviewing the e-book for this fall’s study.

Debi Martin, who blogs at Sojourner Between Worlds, gives a brief overview of Ezekiel’s Amazing Message, with an emphasis on Ezekiel 16. This blog post reminds us that the Old Testament offers wonderful instruction to Christians as it chronicles God’s dealings with Israel.

Christians do have liberty in what activities we can enjoy. At the same time, liberty carries certain responsibilities. In Twisted Tuesday — Liberty or Sin? Christians Drinking, the author of Biblical Beginnings looks at alcohol consumption from a point of view that frequently gets overlooked.

Walking us through the familiar story in Daniel 3, Mike Ratliff writes The King’s Golden Image in Possessing the Treasure. He holds the example of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego up as a contrast to many professing Christians in 21st Century churches. His post epitomizes what I’m trying to do with this blog.

In his sobering article for The Cripplegate, Eric Davis lists the many Consequences of Sexual Sin.

Yes! I’ve been saying the same thing about The Foundations of Christian Discernment for years that Lara d’Entremont says in her article! Oh ladies, I beg you to take what she says very seriously, knowing that negotiating 21st Century evangelicalism requires as much discernment as we can possibly get. Please make this blog post a high priority.

I appreciate the thoughtful post Michael Coughlin makes in Things Above Us. Who’s the Weaker Brother, Here? questions the demands of Social Justice Warriors  by using Scripture to examine their attitudes.

Leslie A lists Six Hated Truths from the Word in Growing 4 Life this week. Her post brings home the realization that, no matter how gentle and winsome we are in presenting the Gospel, people will despise its message until the Lord opens their hearts to believe it.

Justin Bullington, who also writes for Things Above Us definitely speaks for many discernment bloggers with his post, Why We (Still) Warn Against Beth Moore. I occasionally monitor Beth Moore’s Twitter feed, and it grieves me to see how many women (and sometimes men) hang on her distortions of Scripture. Absolutely, we must continue praying for her repentance, but we must also warn people that she repeatedly mishandles God’s Word.

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Moving Beyond Beth Moore To The Real Problem

Big Woman

Before you label me a hypocrite for having a blog that men obviously read, please look at the Mission Statement on my sidebar and/or If You’re A Man, Please Read This Page, which is prominently posted on my Menu. Throughout this blog you’ll find subtle, and also blatant, reminders that men should absolutely not be reading my blog. Unlike Beth Moore, I cannot comfortably violate Scripture.

I remember reading that Beth Moore began her teaching career by leading a women’s Sunday School class. Over time, men began sitting in on her class, eventually causing the class to develop into a teaching program open to men as well as women. Since then, while insisting that her passion is women’s ministry, she’s been quite comfortable teaching mixed audiences and even preaching at Passion City Church.

Perhaps, I told myself,  Moore really didn’t mean to teach men any more than I do. My willingness to give her the benefit of the doubt never was all that strong, but it completely flew out the window when her post, A Letter to my Brothers, appeared this past May.

This letter betrays her desire to minister exactly as men do. To her, gender roles signify misogyny. In essence, she’s stomping her high heels in a temper tantrum, demanding to play with the boys.

Egalitarianism is an element of the recent “woke” movement coursing throughout evangelicalism (including the Southern Baptist Convention and Reformed churches). Beth Moore has been “woke” lately, giving her liberty to roar against “injustices” women apparently endure.

For decades, Beth Moore has assured her followers that God speaks directly to her. She hasn’t yet claimed to hear from Him on this particular issue. Yet. But even if she never makes such a claim, her reputation for receiving extrabiblical revelation from God lends enormous credibility to her cries for social justice.

I began this series examining the problems with Beth Moore’s ministry firstly because I’d seldom offered a good demonstration that I understand why she poses a danger to Christian women. Now that I have established my working knowledge of her errors, I feel better equipped to critique her support of the “woke” movement. And, based on her history of disobedience to Scripture’s prohibition regarding women teaching and/or preaching to men, I strongly suspect that she will have a devastating influence that leads women to embrace this movement.

Beth Moore has inserted herself into something that distracts people from the Gospel. We must mourn that someone so popular would help lead people into a theology that divides the Body of Christ under the guise of unifying it.

So from here, I want to move on from discussing her in favor of addressing the egalitarian aspect of the “woke” movement that she espouses. Hopefully we’ll learn how proper gender roles adorn the Gospel.

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Flashback Friday: Understanding Beth Moore

Originally posted May 2, 2016.

NarcigesisEarlier today I reviewed a couple articles critiquing Beth Moore. Increasingly, her critics notice  what they call her narcigesis. Narcigesis is a recently coined term describing the practice of interpreting a passage of Scripture as an allegory about one’s personal spiritual experience. Matt Slick’s C.A.R.M. article on Moore cites several examples of her poor exegesis, including this one:

  • Quote: “As stated in the introduction to this book, we may not always be sure God wills to  heal us physically in this life of every disease or prosper us with tangible blessings, but He always wills to free us from strongholds. You will never have to worry about whether you are praying in God’s will concerning strongholds. “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” (Gal. 5:1)(Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds by Beth Moore, B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tenn., 2009, p. 36, italics in original)

    1. Response: The context of Gal. 5:1 is dealing with being under the law (Gal. 4:21). Paul contrasts children under the law and “children of promise” (Gal. 4:28). Paul was warning the Galatians about being enslaved to the Mosaic law, which is why he says in the next verse ” . . . that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.” Beth Moore has improperly applied a verse, taking it out of its original context and meaning, and used it in a manner for which it was not intended–as the Biblical context demonstrates.

As I read through Slick’s article, my mind went back to all the sermons, Bible Studies,  books and women’s retreats where I saw this hermeneutic applied. I remembered two women’s Bible Study leaders in particular that consistently taught using that methodology. At the time I attended their Tuesday morning meetings, I believed that they rightly applied the Bible to modern spiritual struggles. Slick’s article tempted me to resent those two women (as well as other leaders in Charismatic churches) for teaching me this illegitimate way to study and apply God’s Word. Shame on them!

Then, to my horror, I remembered all the counseling letters I wrote for Love In Action in which  I did the same thing. Shame on me, both for misusing the Bible and for self-righteously throwing stones at those who taught me. Shame on me for looking down my sanctimonious nose at Beth Moore! Praise God for His correction and forgiveness!

Beth Moore definitely needs to be called out for her irresponsible handling of God’s Word, so please don’t misunderstand me as excusing her behavior. On the other hand, please do understand that Moore has most likely learned, as I did, that Scripture lends itself to allegorical interpretation. We must judge her narcigesis as being disrespectful to the  Scripture she professes to love and harmful to the people who sit under her teaching, but we must also pray that the Holy Spirit will gently lead her to repentance.

Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.~~Galatians 6:1 (ESV)

Matt Slick’s article didn’t change my conviction that Beth Moore is a false teacher who poses a great danger to the Body of Christ (for several reasons). But it did remind me that I once practiced one of her most glaring errors. That humbling knowledge helps me pray that the Lord will show her the same compassion He’s shown me.
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So Why Am I Suddenly Blogging About Beth Moore?

balloon-turtle-samplerI have a pattern of coming to parties a bit late. My poor mom carried me for ten months before giving birth to me — which was good because I weighed all of five pounds when I finally arrived. So I didn’t write clear articles explaining the various problems with Beth Moore’s teachings years ago, when everybody else was doing so.

In retrospect, I think my tardiness in writing about these problems outside of allusions to her as a false teacher gave me time to consider better ways to address the issues in a responsible manner. I’ve learned, for instance, that attacking her personally violates God’s standard of not judging her heart. I don’t really know if she’s saved, if she believes what she teaches, or if she’s a complete charlatan.

I can judge her teaching and her practice, however. Based on those things, I can conclude that, regardless of her motives (which only the Lord really knows), Beth Moore teaches falsehood on a consistent basis.

I’ve demonstrated in my last two posts about her that she claims to receive direct revelations from God. Although there are many other troubling aspects to her ministry, which Michelle Lesley, Elizabeth Prata and Erin Benzigerhave skillfully addressed back when the party was in full swing, I believe Moore’s insistence on her extrabiblical experiences lay the foundation for all her other deviations from Scripture.

Fast-forwarding to the summer of 2018, we see Beth Moore “repenting” from racism and decrying “systemic misogyny.” In neither instance did she even hint that God spoke to her concerning these issues, but I wonder if her followers accept her recent embrace of these social justice issues precisely because they’ve been conditioned to believe that God speaks to her personally. Perhaps this is speculation on my part, but it certainly seems plausible.

Beth Moore has tremendous influence,  much of which she’s gained through her convincing accounts of God speaking to her and giving her visions. The fact that she’s now using her influence to lead her followers away from the Gospel and toward unbiblical approaches to social issues shows me the necessity of once again warning women about her false teaching.

I don’t delight in writing about Beth Moore. I’d much prefer writing about Scripture and directing my readers to sound doctrine. That’s why I write the Monday Bible Studies, and that’s why it disappointments me that so few of you seem interested in them. But right now, sadly, Beth Moore is hopping on the social justice bandwagon and drawing so much attention to herself that I believe we need to talk about her aberrations from sound doctrine.

Next week, therefore, we’ll look at her pattern of teaching men, comparing it to her recent remarks about “systemic misogyny.” From there, we’ll examine Biblical roles for men and women, encouraging you to maintain a Biblical perspective. If Beth Moore wants to instigate a new party, I’ll  attend promptly.

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