Is Beth Moore More Interesting Than Bible Study?

Bible Turning PagesFriday I blogged about Beth Moore’s latest publicly stunt. Boy, did that article attract a lot of readers! And praise God that maybe He used that article to help people understand the value of embracing the roles He assigns women in the church. I also hope He used it to inspire people to pray for her repentance. This woman is deceived in many areas, as evidenced in Elizabeth Prata’s curation of critiques about her. She desperately needs God’s mercy.

Yesterday I posted a Bible Study working through 1 Corinthians 15, after spending a week reading it in context with the epistle as a whole and studying commentaries on the first eleven verses. Due to time limitations brought on by my disability, doing this weekly study — a study that many of you assured me you wanted — requires that I use my personal Bible Study time each day to prepare for it.

At this writing, 277 people have read my blog post about Beth Moore. Only 26 have read yesterday’s Bible Study. That disparity doesn’t surprise me, but it certainly saddens me.

In thinking about the disparity of attention between my two articles, I had the thought that if more people cared about actual Bible Study (as opposed to making the Bible about ourselves, as Beth Moore routinely does), perhaps less people would fall into false teaching. Possibly, reading Bible Studies that depend on a verse’s context, citing cross-references so that Scripture interprets Scripture and avoiding the temptation to insert oneself into the text, just might prevent someone from falling into the errors that typify Beth Moore.

Beth Moore claims to study the Bible, yet her teaching betrays her sad inability to interpret it responsibly. I’ve watched enough of her YouTube videos and read enough of her blog posts to know that she mishandles God’s Word on a regular basis (again, I refer you to the link in this article’s  first paragraph for documentation). I believe she studies the Bible in ways that suit her agenda rather than handling Scripture properly.

Hopefully my Bible Studies on this blog do handle Scripture properly, and show my readers how to  handle Scripture properly. I pray my Bible Studies lead women toward sound doctrine that ultimately produces discernment. Consequently, it breaks my heart that my readers gravitate toward posts exposing false teachers like Beth Moore while ignoring Bible Studies that could protect them from her errors.

Writing Bible Studies takes me more time and effort than writing posts warning about Beth Moore and other false teachers. But writing Bible Studies could be the most effective means of preventing women from falling into deception. Sisters, I may not be the most gifted Bible Study teacher on the planet, but I believe my studies can encourage you to study God’s Word in a responsible fashion. Maybe learning to study Scripture will defend you against false teaching.

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Beth Moore Puts On High Heels To Act Like A Man

Trashed BibleWriting about Beth Moore is probably one of my least favorite things to do. Yet her popularity in evangelical circles carries so much influence that I can’t ignore her latest blog post decrying her perceived misogyny among evangelical leaders.

But before going forward, I must agree that the prominent theologian who commented on her physical appearance may have crossed a line into sexual harassment. Even there, however, I don’t know his side of the story. Was he indeed lusting after her, or did he merely wish to complement her? Should I judge his intentions based of her account of the incident, especially when she narrated the story as evidence of misogyny? If she did interpret his remark correctly, though, I must join her in her outrage.

Having reluctantly conceded that point, I must insist that Moore’s overall premise completely ignores Biblical teaching that God has drawn boundaries for women. 1 Timothy 2:12-14 says,  in no uncertain terms,  that women must not teach men. How Moore fails to comprehend such a straightforward passage boggles the mind.

Yet, emboldened by the Social Justice craze currently sweeping evangelicalism, Moore has evidently decided to put on her high heels and act like a man. Is that a contradiction?  Only to people like me who never have understood feminism in the first place.

Beth Moore has now openly adopted the world’s attitude that men and women don’t have distinct roles in the church. I find her newfound complementarian stance interesting in that it coincides with a general drift toward worldliness among younger evangelicals. I can’t judge her heart any more than she can judge the heart of the theologian who called her attractive, but I most certainly can observe a compromise with worldly standards in her blog post. Therefore I consider it reasonable to ask that she seriously examine her motives in this matter.

Ladies, there are many reasons to avoid Beth Moore. This latest diatribe of hers, openly rebelling against 1 Timothy 2:12-14, provides yet one more reason.  Women must teach other women to honor God’s Word, not to trample it in an effort to demand positions that God has reserved for out brothers in Christ. I fear Moore teaches, by example, to follow the fashions of the world.

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When A White Woman Fears To Be Outspoken

Biblical UnityThis bout with writer’s block has nothing to do with a lack of ideas, but rather with a reluctance to write about the ideas I have. For instance,  last week’s MLK50 Conference, added to Beth Moore’s vague “repentance”  from racism a week earlier, have ignited my thoughts concerning the Social Gospel that some evangelicals embrace lately. Although I believe I should address these matters, I question whether or not I possess enough understanding of them to write a responsible essay.

Well, that’s only a partial truth. Yes, I’d like to do more research on the MLK50 Conference, since I don’t have first-hand knowledge of what the various speakers said. Reading reports on Twitter, even from reputable people that I trust isn’t responsible journalism, nor does it reflect Christian integrity. Just this morning, as a matter of fact, I read about the importance of guarding our words.

29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~~Ephesians 4:29-32 (ESV)

But my reticence goes deeper, to be perfectly honest. Now that the Social Gospel adherents have officially attached themselves to the hot potato issue of racism, there’s really no way a white woman can critique it without being accused of racism.

I could, I suppose, defend myself by telling you that my first fiance was black. During our engagement, we encountered more opposition from black people (including his pastor, who refused to acknowledge me) than from white people. Black women advised him to dump me and find a nice black girl. If that’s not racism, please tell me what is!

But my anecdotal evidence most likely wouldn’t convince anyone (and especially anyone on this current bandwagon) that I have valid reasons for challenging the Social Gospel. As far as evangelical social justice warriors are concerned, anything I write that raises questions about their efforts to end racism in the name of Jesus automatically brands me as a racist.

So I’m paralyzed. I do want to examine the Social Gospel from a Biblical perspective, primarily because I see a misplaced emphasis in their efforts. And I think, if this movement hadn’t lurched into the politically charged area of racism, I might have been able to write about it with confidence. But the MLK50  Confidence (and, to a lesser extent, Beth Moore’s “repentance” Tweets) have put me in a difficult position.

Perhaps I suffer from cowardice. Perhaps I should risk being misunderstood and maligned on this issue, just as I’ve risked it over other issues discussed in this blog. I won’t change the minds of evangelical social justice warriors anyway, but I might encourage others to put the focus back on Christ and His kingdom. After all, in His kingdom people of every race and ethnicity will join together in worshiping Him.

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Why Jesus Won’t Be Your Valentine Tomorrow

Tulip Sampler 01Out of curiosity, I spent some time Sunday afternoon researching Ann Voskamp, a popular evangelical teacher, writer and speaker whom we can safely categorize  as a false teacher. Michelle Lesley lists several articles evaluating Voskamp that support my allegation. The two most prominent factors in distinguishing her as a false teacher are her tendencies toward panentheanism (God is in everything) and her erotic descriptions of her relationship with God.

The second factor begs the question: Should Christian women see the Lord in sexual, or even romantic, terms? During my single years, female leaders in my church certainly encouraged me to do so. I learned from my multiple failed efforts to view Jesus as my Husband that the type of cosmic romance that teachers like Ann Voskamp promotes does extensive emotional and spiritual damage to women.

The problems with the “Jesus is my Boyfriend/Lover/Husband” approach to Christianity could keep me blogging for several weeks. Indeed, I would like to write about some of its harmful effects later this week. Because Ann Voskamp and Beth Moore perpetuate this blasphemous notion, we need to understand why it goes against sound Biblical teaching.

This teaching not only damages women by encouraging a self-centered understanding of God, but it drags us into enormous self-condemnation when we can’t sustain romantic feelings toward Him. Many times as a single woman (I didn’t marry until I was almost 49), I tried to imagine Jesus as my Husband, only to be frustrated with myself when I felt unsatisfied with Him.

My apparent deficit in appreciating Him romantically led me to feel spiritually inferior. I wondered why I still longed for a husband who could physically touch me when I knew full well that only Jesus  could love me perfectly. Evidently, I had skewed priorities. I felt intense shame, wrongly believing that He should be enough for me.

The teaching that Jesus fulfills our romantic and/or sexual desires, however, seriously perverts Scripture’s teaching on how believers should express intimacy with Jesus.  Loving the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and strength has more to do with obedience to Him than with having  Him satisfy my romantic desires. The same principle applies to all Christians. Look at His own description of our love relationship with Him:

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. ~~John 15:9-10 (ESV)

I do, very much, believe that the Lord blesses Christians with an intimate knowledge of Him. We talk to Him in prayer, pouring out our hearts with confidence that He cares about our deepest concerns. In turn, He speaks to us through His Word, disclosing Who He is and what He desires. Sisters, that’s intimacy!

Ann Voskamp’s “intimacy” with Jesus has a particularly disturbing component that I want to discuss Thursday (I have a Valentines Day date with John tomorrow). I hope today’s essay laid a foundation that we can build on at that time. Please guard against seeing the Lord in a role that He simply doesn’t have. Instead, rejoice in your correct relationship with Him.

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50 Shades, 40 Days…And None Of The Above (Reprise)

In response to Fifty Shades Freed being released in theaters this past Friday, I’m republishing a post I wrote on February 18, 2016. Please consider its points. And please stay far away from that movie!

2c5ac-swansMost of my readers probably would have no problem with me denouncing 50  Shades Of Grey (book or movie), despite the fact that I’ve never read anything more than  Wikipedia’s synopsis of the book (which was bad enough). In fact, if I had read the book itself, a majority of those same readers would most likely write me off as a hypocrite for writing so much about personal holiness and then reading such pornography.

And such a dismissal of my integrity would definitely be warranted. If I read that sort of book, my readers shouldn’t respect anything that came from my keyboard ever again. I know enough about the book to understand that reading it dishonors the Lord. I really don’t need to read the book (or see the movie) to know that it’s sheer pornography that I must avoid. Obviously. I can’t imagine anybody arguing with me on this point.

So why, when I refuse to read books by Beth Moore, Joyce Meyer and Rick Warren, do professing Christians believe I have no grounds for criticizing them? I have, actually, read some of their blog posts and Twitter feeds, as well as watching their YouTube videos. But that doesn’t satisfy those who ardently support these people. They demand that I invest hours slogging through books that will only reiterate the bad theology that I’ve already seen on their blogs, Twitter feeds and videos.

In other words, I don’t question these teachers before I’ve done my homework. For instance, several years ago, the church John and I attended went through Rick Warren’s 40 Days of Purpose campaign. Both of us initially felt excited about the campaign, especially since the Sunday School Superintendent had asked John to lead the Adult class during those Sundays.

But as we watched the promotional videos leading up to the campaign, we noticed  how frequently Warren wrenched Scripture out of context in order to advance his agenda. Because I have a shameful history of misusing God’s Word in that way (the Lord has graciously brought me to repentance), I picked up on it quickly. In response to my discomfort about him, I researched him and discovered quite a few people who also saw serious flaws in his doctrine. After a few days of  fighting through his book, The Purpose-Driven Life, I could see that Rick Warren simply didn’t respect God’s Word. Therefore, John and I chose not to participate.

Of course, people scolded us for condemning Warren’s teachings without reading his entire book. Yet many of those same people would undoubtedly applaud me for writing against 50 Shades Of Grey, all the while respecting my integrity for not reading it.

If people commend me for pursuing moral and sexual purity, shouldn’t they also appreciate my desire for doctrinal purity? Obviously, I believe they should. The Lord calls for both types of purity.

Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers. ~~1 Timothy 4:16 (ESV)

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If I Mention Beth Moore, Will You Read This?

 

Tulip SilhoutteI’m disappointed.

Yesterday I blogged about the mystery of the Trinity. I thought it was a helpful lesson in discernment, demonstrating how good doctrine can guide us in discerning truth from error.  To tell you the truth, I still think so.

At the time of this writing, however, only 28 people have read that post.

Over the past two-and-a-half years that I’ve operated this blog, I’ve noticed that readers flock to articles with the word “discernment” in the title, and you absolutely swarm to anything with Beth Moore’s name. But you aren’t nearly as enthusiastic when I write about topics like the resurrection or the Trinity. And Bible Studies? I’m lucky if 20 of you read any of them!

Evidently, you like the idea of being discerning, but you’re not that interested in the doctrinal work that builds discernment.

That problem puts me in an awkward position. You see, the Lord has convicted me to name false teachers only rarely. I’ve come to believe that discernment is best developed, not by being up on all the  latest celebrity teachers, but by knowing God’s Word and key Biblical doctrines.

We all know that the appalling lack of discernment among 21st Century evangelicals directly corresponds to an overwhelming spike in Biblical illiteracy. Beth Moore succeeds in developing her following because her fan base doesn’t understand principles of hermeneutics well enough to recognize that she consistently wrenches Scripture out of context and misapplies it, all while appealing to her audience’s narcissistic hunger for self-esteem.

There’s a time to expose Beth Moore, most assuredly. My blogging friend and colleague Elizabeth Prata has arguably the most comprehensive collection of articles on this false teacher imaginable. If you really need evidence that Beth Moore doesn’t teach correctly, Elizabeth certainly can provide the assistance you need.

Similarly, Michelle Lesley offers resources on a variety of false teachers ranging from Beth Moore to Lysa TerKeurst, and I recommend that you avail yourselves of her excellent research.

But I believe Elizabeth and Michelle would agree with me that the most effective way of developing discernment comes from studying Scripture and knowing sound doctrine. I may occasionally call out a false teacher here and there in this blog, but I’d rather direct you to good doctrine as a way to cultivate discernment skills. I believe that drawing you toward Bible Study and highlighting main doctrines will best show you how to discern.

14 Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 16 But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness. ~~2 Timothy 2:14-16 (ESV)

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What John Calvin And Martin Luther Say To Rick Warren And Beth Moore

Medieval Tower

Yesterday I tried to demonstrate that today’s popular teachers who promote new paradigms and/or claim to receive personal revelations from God are completely different from the Reformers of the 16th Century. I noted that, while these present-day teachers distract us from Scripture, the Reformers called Christians back to God’s Word.

So why should we bring up 500-year-old people instead of tackling Beth Moore, Rick Warren and the others directly?  How does understanding a group of religious dissenters from the Renaissance help us combat the false teachings that permeate 21st Century evangelicalism? Most Christians (even those who have excellent discernment abilities) ask such questions.

And in some respects, the people asking those questions have a point. Yet many of the errors that Beth Moore, Rick Warren and others make run parallel to errors that Martin Luther, John Calvin and the other Reformers had to correct.

For example, Beth Moore often bases her teachings on visions and personal revelations she claims to have received from the Holy Spirit. A simple Youtube search on “beth moore visions from god” will document this fact. One of the reasons discernment bloggers warn so strenuously against Beth Moore is precisely because of her extrabiblical revelations.

But did you know that John Calvin devoted Chapter 9 of his seminal book, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, to the very topic of extrabiblical revelations? It’s a short chapter, which you can read by clicking this link, but it offers a Scriptural argument (as long as you know that he understands prophecy to mean the Canon of Scripture) against personal revelations.

On a wider scope,  Rick Warren’s statement that Catholics and Protestants have the basic doctrines of Christianity in common probably would have perplexed an older Martin Luther. Hadn’t Luther risked his very life refuting Rome’s teaching that grace came through the sacraments and through purchasing leftover merits accrued by Mary and the saints? Hadn’t he insisted that justification comes through faith alone?

Until the Catholic Church rescinds the Council of Trent, which stridently condemns the doctrine of salvation by faith alone, Protestants must recognize that Catholics preach another gospel. Therefore we cannot accept Rick Warren’s embrace of Roman Catholicism. The very Reformation itself exposes Rick Warren as, at best, a seriously compromised evangelical.

Of course, we must ultimately measure truth by the Bible, not by the Reformers. Calvin and Luther had a few blind spots of their own. But the Reformers teach us how to apply Scriptural principles to teachers like Beth Moore and Rick Warren. Studying the Protestant Reformation enhances our discernment. Don’t underestimate its value.

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