Category Archives: Sufficiency of Scripture

Saturday Sampler: July 1 — July 7

Pretty Things Sampler

Except for a few minor points not worth mentioning, I think Stephen McAlpine is onto something. When Ground Floor Projects Are Pushed One Floor Up delivers intriguing insight into secular culture. It also challenges a horribly compromised Church.

So, how many people asked you to tell them about Jesus this week simply because you behaved nicely? Uh-huh. Evangelism by example doesn’t work that well for me, either. Perhaps reading Is Being Nice Enough? by Leslie A of Growing 4 Life will help you rethink that approach to evangelism.

If you read Elizabeth Prata’s blog, The End Time, you’ll know that her mission is Speaking up for prophetic scriptures. I think you’ll benefit from reading why she recommends reading prophetic passages in the Bible just as eagerly as you read other passages.

I didn’t see Josh Buice’s post, Rejecting the Sufficiency of Scripture Results in Cultural Chaos in Delivered By Grace when he posted it last week, but I definitely believe it needs our attention. Responding to the “woke” movement pervading evangelical circles lately, Buice explains the demands of the “woke” movement and then calls us back to God’s Word.

While correctly maintaining that some sins carry greater culpability than others, Tim Challies has us look at The Utter Horror of the Smallest Sins. Talk about a  reality check!

I promised myself I wouldn’t include any articles related to Independence Day in this edition of Saturday Sampler, mainly because the holiday happened three days ago. But Michelle Lesley makes such powerful points in Top 10 4th of July Twisted Scriptures that I simply had to break that promise. Please read her careful treatment of these Scriptures for an excellent example of rightly dividing God’s Word.

Co-authoring Learning to Hate our Sin without Hating Ourselves for Public Discourse, Denny Burk and Rosaria Butterfield argue that same sex desire, even if it’s not acted upon, is sinful. Interestingly, they trace the current debate on this issue back to differences between Roman Catholic and Reformed Protestant theology.

We need to remember that the Obergefell decision legalizing same sex marriage has accelerated persecution against Christians. Steven Ingino, writing for The Cripplegate, documents this growing problem and provides Biblical answers to the question: Would Jesus Bake the Cake?

Those of you who follow my Monday Bible Studies on the resurrection will will want to read 5 Things You Need to Believe About Jesus’ 2nd Coming by Dennis E. Johnson in Core Christianity. It wonderfully supplements the passage we’ll study Monday.

Steven Lawson explains and defends Divine Sovereignty on the Ligonier blog with his characteristic passion for God. Oh, that more Christians exhibited such passion for truth!

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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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Beth Moore Heard God Speak — Dare We Question Her?

Out of Charismania

Having to skip church this past Sunday was wise, given the oppressive humidity and the breathing issues that John and I both have. But we certainly hated being separated from our church family! Besides missing the Lord’s Supper and a sermon on a passage that I don’t understand as well as I’d like, it was one of those rare Sundays when we’d sing everything from the infamous Green Hymnal.  Those who know me well know that I look forward to Green Hymnal Sundays. All that to say that I really struggled understanding God’s sovereignty in having us stay home.

But staying home gave me extra time, allowing me to listen to an Equipping Eve podcast. I found an old episode entitled What Happens When We See Beth Moore Teach the Bible? Since I’ve been blogging about Beth Moore lately, the topic intrigued me. While I never recommend skipping church unless it’s absolutely necessary, I recognized God’s providence in allotting time for me to listen to Erin Benziger’s podcast.

Erin touched on several troubling aspects of Beth Moore’s ministry, and I encourage women to listen to the podcast. One point, however, particularly caught my attention. Erin remarked that, in claiming to receive direct revelations from God, Beth Moore makes it impossible for anyone to question her teaching.

Although there are many things about Beth Moore’s teaching that in fact warrant a great deal of questioning, do you see how she circumvents any challenges with the simple statement that God spoke to her? Since she heard personally from Him, how can anyone cast doubt on what she teaches?

What a truly frightening implication!

Of course, Moore would probably deny that she claims these direct revelations as an attempt to guard against her critics. She may sincerely believe she hears directly from God, for all I know. Actually, she probably does. So I suspect it’s subconscious on her part that she uses her supposed revelations as a means of gaining control over her followers. The Lord has not given me permission to judge her motives.

Yet the fact remains that, whether deliberately or subconsciously, Beth Moore manipulates her followers by telling them that God spoke to her. The words, “God told me,” powerfully shut down any cross-examination. If God told her something, anyone daring to question her ultimately dares to question Him.

In considering whether or not the Lord has indeed given Beth Moore authority by virtue of her visions and personal revelations, we really should think about Scripture’s position on such matters.

18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. ~~Colossians 2:18-19 (ESV)

We hold fast to the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, by clinging to Scripture. Therefore we reject any possibility of extrabiblical revelation, challenging people like Beth Moore who base their ministries on direct revelations supposedly from God. The very claims that false teachers use to establish their desired authority should cause us to run as far  away from them as we possibly can!

In evaluating the ministry of Beth Moore (or anyone who teaches), we must make sure that they consistently direct us back to Scripture, not to revelations that God supposedly gave them apart from Scripture.

John and I anticipate returning to church next Sunday. We’ll be singing contemporary hymns rather than hymns from the Green Hymnal. But that’s okay, because our pastor will preach from the Bible, not from any supposed revelation that God spoke directly to him. And that’s preaching I can trust.

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Beth Moore And The Subtle Overthrow Of Scripture’s Sufficiency

In writing about Beth Moore and the serious problems with her teaching, I realize my inability to present any new information. It’s not my intent to replicate research that other discernment bloggers have presented for the mere sake of joining the chorus. However, to reassert what I said in my last post, I’ve mentioned this woman many times on this blog, always identifying her as a false teacher. Lately I’ve been convicted that I should substantiate my remarks by demonstrating why I believe she teaches falsely.

Please understand that, although I firmly believe Beth Moore has caused tremendous harm to the Body of Christ, I don’t believe she realizes that she does so. After watching numerous videos of her sermons and reading her blog posts and Tweets for years, I’ve concluded that she honestly believes she’s serving the Lord. Therefore, I definitely pray that He will mercifully lead out of deception, just as He mercifully led me out of deception. I have no interest in writing articles simply to bash Beth. I dearly hope you’re not reading these articles looking for ammunition against her, but that God will motivate you to join me in praying for her repentance.

That said, we bear a responsibility to examine her teaching in light of God’s Word, and to call her out on deviations from it. Along with that, we must help women understand how Beth Moore misrepresents the Lord, and then offer correctives to her errors.  Obviously, I can’t adequately address all the problems with Moore in a single blog post. Actually, I don’t intend to address all the problems anyway. But let’s look at one today, just to begin establishing why Beth Moore poses such a danger to Christian women.

As I said Wednesday, perhaps the most disturbing problem with Beth Moore is her repeated dependency on personal revelations. Despite her protestations to Jessica Lam, she does tend to “hear” God “speak” in actual words. Whether she admits it or not, she is adding to the canon  of  Scripture because God cannot speak less authoritatively depending on the venue. If He truly speaks to her directly, His words are every bit as authentic as they are in Scripture.

Here is her most popular story. I post it to draw your attention to her claim that God “spoke” directly to her. In words. You’ll find this claim at the 3:08 mark of the video.

Certainly, the fact that Beth Moore ended up witnessing to the flight attendant lends credence to the notion that God told her, in clear words, to brush that old man’s hair. But ask yourselves, ladies, if the happy result of the story — which undeniably points to God’s wonderful providence — necessarily means that He would violate His own Word, which explicitly says that He finished His revelation in sending His Son (Hebrews 1:1-4) and sternly warns against adding to His Word (Revelation 22:18-19).

Twenty years before I’d ever heard of Beth Moore, I had a similar experience of believing God “spoke” to me, in words, telling me to do something that seemed ridiculous. Like Beth Moore, I argued. And like Beth Moore, I eventually obeyed, seeing a good result. But now I understand that I simply had an idea, debated against it, and eventually tried it. Providentially, my idea worked so well that I began telling the story, embellishing it as the years passed. I honestly believed the Lord had spoken to me personally until I learned that Scripture is His final word. I’ve since repented of telling that, and other, stories of God speaking to me.

Perhaps Beth Moore brushed that man’s hair because she subconsciously remembered Scriptures about doing good to those who can’t care for themselves. In that respect, we might say that God spoke to her as she remembered Scriptures. But that’s not what she’s claiming, is it? Rather, she couches the story in a way that enforces the teaching that God speaks directly to Christians (or, to be more precise, to Christians who are “filled up” with Him). We are to be like her, hearing directly from Him, in order that He can work through us.

Sisters, it’s perfectly fine to acknowledge that the Holy Spirit brings Scriptural principles to mind and prompts us to act on those principles. But claiming that He speaks directly and personally to us flies in the face of God’s Word. Rather than seeking to emulate Beth Moore, godly women should depend only on Scripture as the way to hear His voice. Please avoid the false teaching that God speaks apart from His Word.

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What’s My Problem With Beth Moore, Anyway?

Thoughtful Lady

I’ve realized lately that, although I frequently blog about Beth Moore, none of the articles on The Outspoken TULIP  actually explain why I believe she’s a false teacher. I’d written several articles on my old blog (which I’ve since taken down) enumerating some of the serious problems with her teachings. Apparently I moved to this  blog with the erroneous assumption that my readers automatically understood my objections to her ministry. For that oversight, I apologize.

The sheer volume of problems with Beth Moore’s ministry prevents me from adequately addressing them in a single blog post. Additionally, Elizabeth Prata and Michelle Lesley have already provided such excellent resources on Moore that I couldn’t possibly bring anything else to the table. Why reinvent the wheel?

That said, some of you may not have the time to go through all their arguments and documentation. Others of you may think I’m referring you to them because I’m not really as informed as I seem to be, or that I’m blindly parroting Elizabeth and Michelle. For those reasons, let me briefly list a few of my concerns, which I’ll document in future articles.

  • Beth Moore claims to receive personal revelations from God. This fact is probably my greatest objection to her ministry.
  • Beth Moore teaches men as well as women in violation of 2 Timothy 2:12, demonstrating her inability and/or unwillingness to conform to God’s Word. You know — the same God’s Word she supposedly loves and teaches.
  • Beth Moore partners with other false teachers, sometimes praising them as men and women of God.
  • Beth Moore interprets Scripture in narcissistic ways, often ignoring context in favor of her agendas.
  • Beth Moore has recently jumped on the Social Gospel bandwagon, making vague references to her “repentance” from racism as well as accusing the Southern Baptist Convention of systematic misogyny.

Each of my concerns warrants its own blog post. Whether or I address all five concerns remains to be seen, particularly since I’d much prefer to write about the Bible. Sadly, my Bible Studies (which I write to show you correct ways of handling Scripture so that you can spot Beth Moore’s errors for yourselves) are the least read of all my posts, whereas you flock to anything even mentioning her name. Hopefully showing you where she goes wrong will encourage you to pursue healthier Bible study habits.

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The Tenderness Of Our Shepherd

Who doesn’t love the tenderness of Psalm 23, in which King David pictures the Lord as his Shepherd? Having himself been a shepherd before Samuel anointed him King of Israel, David well understood how thoroughly a shepherd needed to care for his sheep. This understanding gave him beautiful insight into God’s love for His sheep.

Even in our largely metropolitan culture, something about the imagery of Psalm 23 resonates with us. David’s words evoke a sense of intimacy with the Shepherd that sets a believer’s heart at rest while it fills an unbeliever’s heart with yearning. Jesus guards us from our stubborn wandering, leads us to peaceful places, corrects our errors, nourishes us and promises us eternity with Him. How could we fail to see His love? Psalm 23 assures us of His intimate care.

Following the progression of thought in this beloved psalm, today’s hymn elaborates on the various ways our Lord expresses His love and care for us. Please enjoy this gentle hymn as you reflect on how your Shepherd lovingly attends to you.

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Throwback Thursday: How Do We Hear The Holy Spirit?

Originally published in August of 2017.

Voice Of God

Charismatics have claimed personal words from God for years. That figures, since the bulk of charismatic theology (despite their insistence to the contrary) depends on exalting experience over Scripture. In light of that fact, I can almost expect them to believe that God speaks apart from the written Word of God.

A Facebook conversation with someone from the Charismatic church I belonged to in California reminded me recently that a primary argument for God speaking personally pits the living Holy Spirit against the “dead letter” of the Bible. It’s not a denial of Scripture’s authority. In this person’s mind, it’s not even a denial of Scripture’s sufficiency (though that’s pretty much exactly what he’s doing). Rather, it apparently adds a personal relationship with the Spirit that Scripture somehow can’t provide.

Of course, my friend hastens to add, the Spirit never contradicts Scripture. Which raises the question: Why would He then need to speak apart from Scripture in the first place? Why not trust Him to speak through the Bible He inspired?

The mere suggestion that God’s Word is a “dead letter” needing augmentation with personal experiences absolutely chills me. That very idea completely ignores what the Bible says about itself.

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. ~~Hebrews 4:12 (ESV)

As we read God’s Word, the Holy Spirit uses it to convict us of sin, instruct us in righteousness and reveal Who the Triune God is. Through Scripture, the Holy Spirit teaches us what to look for in a spouse, how to conduct ourselves in business, how to order our families and what His Church should do. Above all that, He shows us His nature and His priorities. He lets us know what angers Him, what pleases Him and what honors Him.

Certainly, during the course of a day, the Holy Spirit will bring Scriptures and/or Scriptural principles to our minds that we can apply. Even then, please notice, He’s speaking Scripture. He doesn’t, as some claim, direct us to brush a stranger’s hair or purchase an extra bottle of milk. Rather, He commands us to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love others as much as we love ourselves.

Until we obey everything He tells us in His Word, what would be the point of Him speaking personally to us?

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