Sunday, May 2, 2010

In Defense of Beth Moore Again

Beth Moore has been off my radar for quite a while until just recently.  In the past three or four months I have noticed an unusual number of hits on my one and only, blog post about her.  So what is she up to now?  I don't know.  Maybe she's conducting a new, nationwide series of televised women's conferences or  promoting a new book.   I really don't care but I am reposting this item from Feb. 2009 because of the sudden, renewed interest.   

I have been warned, no, actually I have been threatened; DO NOT write anything negative about Beth Moore.

OK, so I’m not particularly intimidated by threats but, in this case, I will attempt to keep all my comments positive. I mean, after all, what possible good could come from exposing the shortcomings of a fine, charismatic, bubbly, and winsome young woman who has devoted her life to writing helpful books and Bible studies, and who travels the country hosting ecumenical, life-changing seminars for thousands of women? Why would anyone want to point out a few little flaws? Aren’t we all flawed? I mean, who am I to judge?

Beth does so much good and brings so much joy to her followers; it’s just not right or profitable to bring disunity to the body of Christ and to criticize a servant of God over a few little, insignificant doctrinal errors.

I know, some of you nasty, negative discerning types, like The Watchman's Bagpipes, and Lighthouse Trails Research will continue to warn us that Beth Moore lacks understanding of basic hermeneutical principles; that she often twists Scripture to fit into her own propositions. Or you might remind us that she often claims direct revelation from God. And, yes, admittedly, some of her teachings are very similar to the heresies promoted by the Word of Faith crowd. And she tends to interject and employ a lot of pop-psychology, self-esteem stuff that is reminiscent of Robert Schuller.  And you might object that she espouses the unbiblical model of spiritual warfare promoted by some “deliverance” ministries or that she teaches the kind of unbiblical, generational bondage that is promoted by Bill Gothard.

But I say, SO WHAT? Why would any church want to remove her books, videos, and Bible studies from their library shelves? After all, it’s good for people to have sufficient information from all philosophies so that we can make informed decisions about what we believe to be truth.   Beth Moore’s material isn’t nearly as heretical as other stuff on the shelves like “The Prayer of Jabez,” or “The Purpose Driven Life,” or the old classic, “God Calling.” And frankly, her teaching is no more problematic than most of the Sunday morning drivel we get from thousands of purpose pastors and seeker soothers each week. And since that is what we have come to tolerate (and love) in our pulpits, there is really no justifiable reason to object to Beth Moore once a year at a seminar. Besides, she is every bit as funny as most pastors and a lot more attractive.

But, “What about Contemplative Prayer and Spiritual Formation?” you might ask.  Come on, give it a rest. Just because her name and picture are on the cover, and just because her comments comprise a major portion of the teaching in the video, “Be Still,” along with some mystics, Quakers, psychologists, and contemplatives like Dallas Willard, Richard Foster, and Henry Cloud, is no reason to assume that she actually believes in or endorses the ancient, mystical practices of Lectio-Divina.

Besides, Beth Moore has already answered that.  In a public letter that she posted on her web site, Living Proof Ministries, she explained that “there really is no problem with the Truth presented on the video.” So, that settles it. There is no problem with “truth” in the video (I guess we should just ignore all the untrue parts).

Look, we should give her the benefit of the doubt. When asked about her endorsement of the unbiblical practice, she said, "I'm a Baptist, for crying out loud." That should be good enough. The fact that the disclaimer letter she posted on her site, when first confronted with this, was quickly removed, I’m sure, was nothing more than just an innocent oversight.  I think Beth should come clean on this but maybe its just me.

30 comments:

Stan McCullars said...
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Jayson Finley in Lacos said...

Yes...you are right. We just have too much negativity going on. I am glad you gave Beth Moore her due. After all, we are all in this together, so attacking each other does not accomplish anything good. It is time to put aside truth and concentrate on unity. Anyway, Beth Moore has a right to make a living, and just because some people think she is just in it for the money doesn't negate her feel-good message.

Daisy said...

I was worried for a minute. You got me.

She has quite a fan club which makes it all the more unfortunate that she has embraced contemplative spirituality. One of her newest Bible Studies (Deeper Still) was co-written by KAY ARTHUR! I'm still in shock over that one.

Guess you don't have to ask me why I don't go to my church's "Woman's Bible Study." I want to study God's Word instead of sitting around singing Kum Ba Ya.

Sarah J. Flashing said...

You're such a gentlemen! But I'm not nearly as ladylike. Can you please tell how much longer you think this Beth Moore fixation will continue? No one is allowed to offer thoughtful critique on her teachings...are people that ignorant? Unwilling to prefer and promote theological precision an appropriate hermeneutic?

Ralph M. Petersen-Always Right; Sometimes Wrong! said...

I appreciate the two comments from intelligent, conservative, THINKING Christian women.

For anyone interested, there is another pretty good and insightful analysis of Beth Moore's teaching by a home-schooling mother of eight named Edie. It is titled "Why I Don't Do Beth Moore...Anymore" and can be found at: http://lifeongrace.blogspot.com/2008/12/why-i-dont-do-beth-mooreanymore.html

HIS Daughter said...

I honestly think you are funny. I was looking for something on Beth Moore when your blog post showed up.

I won't say anything more because I know you are not intimidated! You are the man! A real man! John Calvin would be proud!

Teri

Ralph M. Petersen-Always Right; Sometimes Wrong! said...

Gee thanks Teri,

Besides me, you are the only other person in my fan club. It's feels good to be appreciated.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I just found your site while looking for stuff about Beth Moore for someone who isn't happy with my articles. Wow, I am flattered and honored to have my blog mentioned in this article. Looks like an intersting blog here - I'm going to have to watch this one.

The piper at The Watchman's Bagpipes

Anonymous said...

I feel she is the female Joel Olsteen and I can't stand that my church ladies seem captivated more by her than grace lately. I just wish i could find something that told her income.

terriergal said...

Great post! But the link to the article in the comments section "Why I don't do beth moore anymore" is 404 not found! argh. I hope she will put it back up.

Anonymous said...

No argument here. I used to think I disagreed with her because I was jeolous of her charm and beauty. Kind of like the ugly Christian step-sister.
Well.....I am still the ugly step-sister-- but at least now I know my disagreements with her are more than skin deep.

MA2MEY4 said...

Ok know it all, pick a study and listen to it in its entirety then I would love to hear the heresy line by line.

Ralph M. Petersen-Always Right; Sometimes Wrong! said...
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Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I don't understand why you give Beth a pass on her false teachings just because it isn't any worse than the other trash - shouldn't we endeavor to eliminate ALL the false teachings and don't give anyone a pass on any of it?

Ralph M. Petersen-Always Right; Sometimes Wrong! said...

Glenn,
You are right; I shouldn't (and don't) give her a pass. But this post is sarcasm. As I mentioned at the beginning, I have been warned; no, I have been threatened about criticizing Beth. And those threats actually came from some whose teaching is just as trashy.

Jo Bowyer said...

Think this is the BEST piece written exposing Moore...because of the way it's presented and why you did it this way. And still much needed message, since folks are still looking to her statements, as you pointed out,"I'm a Baptist, for crying out loud." and “there really is no problem with the Truth presented on the video.” You are one funny man, love the hard hittting satire on poor little Bethie-poo. Poor, poor Beth.

Ralph M. Petersen-Always Right; Sometimes Wrong! said...

Thanks Jo. It's nice to be appreciated; you are the second person to join my fan club (I'm first).

Sarcasm as humor is a literary tool that is misunderstood by most people and, I think, requires a higher level of intelligence. So, obviously, you are a very intelligent woman.

Carolina Mom said...

I was just discussing this topic with two friends last night.
We all came to the conclusion that as Beth Moore has become Lifeway's Goose that Laid the Golden Egg, her studies have diminished in spiritual meatiness. We wondered if this was because her philosophy is changing to try to get more women to hear the Gospel and to try to reach the women who don't want to feed themselves, or could that be laid at Lifeway's feet - she's "ordered" to write spiritual drivel to sell more books because women don't have the time or the inclination to do long, in-depth studies but Lifeway wants to sell, sell, sell (when Baptist churches across the nation do her studies, well, I can't even imagine the sales figures). The spirit of buy, buy, buy is always hanging around the Lifeway tables at Beth's Living Proof Live events; and sadly, I have been lead by that evil spirit.

I have learned much from Mrs. Moore so I can't quite pitch her under the bus. But I do think I'm spiritually out-growning her materials (her new one on Revelation seems a little weak - only ONE homework assignment?? What is up with that?).

stan said...

I have been asked about Beth Moore by a woman at our Bible study. I was able to acquire a "breaking free" workbook. From the foreword, Moore says that "God has given her" these teachings. She makes 7 references on that page to God directly giving something to her. In one sentence she claims that the book was the result of "intensity with God." I do not know what exactly she means by intensity with God, for she does not explain it; but examples that come to mind are Moses twice on Sinai, Elijah on Sinai, the disciples on the mountain of transfiguration, or Paul receiving direct revelation as an apostle.

The claim from the foreword is that the study is a result of special input from God. That is a serious claim. It is so serious that the only thing that one should find inside is sound doctrine. But, since the faith has once and for all been delivered to the saints through the apostles, why was it necessary for God to provide special input to Mrs. Moore to discover it?

As to sound doctrine, that is not what you find. For example, in the very first day of the entire study, she tells us to imagine that Isaiah idolized Uzziah the king to such a degree that his death left him hero-less, thereby was forced to find God in the vision of Isaiah 6. Her point is that when our heroes are removed, it opens us to find God. She makes it seem that the vision of the King high and lifted up is the result of coming out of grief over the loss of the hero, Uzziah. Since the term "In the year that king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord . . " She assumes that the term In the year must mean after he died. However it can refer to any of the days of that year before he died, not necessarily after he died. I was in 7th grade in the year President Kennedy died, but I was in 8th grade by November 22.

It can be true about sometimes that we seek the Lord after someone dies, but it is far from a principle of life. If it were true, then Paul would not have written that it would be better for him to remain alive for the sake of the Philippians than to die. For, according to Moore, the Philippians would have better off by being forced to seek God more earnestly after Paul's departure. Also, when Jehoiada the priest died in 2 Chron. 24, the king who had been good during his life went bad after. It did not drive him to God.

So, this study which is the result of God's special impartation to her begins with a premise based on a flight of fancy about the psychology of Isaiah to the doctrine that having our heroes removed is a good thing.

But the worst one in that first week of study (page 22) was when she was speaking of Hezekiah's prayer after his healing in Isaiah 38, that he "started to make knowing statements as if his close encounter with death came with an automatic doctorate." She then goes on to disrespect the prophetic prayer of praise twice. In the second instance, she says, "Someone should have stuffed that fig poultice in his mouth before he was able to utter, "I will walk humbly all my years because of this anguish of my soul." (NIV) Whether or not he stayed true to this promise in the next 15 years, was no reason for Moore to make such a reckless statement because the prayer became part of the Bible by the Holy Spirit. You might as well say that the Holy Spirit was wrong for having Hezekiah utter it. So, Moore elevates herself as a critic of God's word.

What I think is that Moore takes her exuberant and inventive interpretations which may excite her and seem so clear and wise to her to be only from God. Another reason to use God like this is to put up a wall against criticism. After all, if it is God giving this, it is not open for examination or rebuttal by any mortal. Sorry, Beth, but as soon as you put up anything openly to the church, they are required to "test all things. and to hold to what is good." You have no right to put your teachings above examination by hiding behind special revelation.

Stan T.

Anonymous said...

I can discern Christ's love and the purposes of His heart in all these comments. You represent the Father well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your excellent comments on Beth Moore.
I've done some research on her the last couple of weeks after hearing how "wonderful" she is and how the women's Bible study just loves her stuff and how I don't have to worry about what she teaches. I'm so glad I didn't just leave it at that, but investigated so I could know even more about Beth Moore.

I have to complain though that you didn't tell everyone enough about how incredibly flexible she is! She's able to twist (scripture) so well. A real pro at it! Hardly takes one or two words for her to bring in totally new concepts that are nowhere else taught in scripture, not by the Apostles, not by Jesus, not by Jesus' half brothers James and Jude nor the Old Testiment writers. "Wow", is a word I'd use and "Amazing" is another word I think should be used to describe Beth Moore's flexible (Bible) twisting. I hope you'll consider this next time you mention Beth Moore!

I'll be back to see what you say. Thanks for your website.

Anonymous said...

I'm thankful for this post, and others, that seriously consider Beth Moore's teachings. I have to admit, it was a gut feeling that kept me from joining the teleconferences, etc. Thank you.

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Ralph M. Petersen-Always Right; Sometimes Wrong! said...

I know this is hard for some people to understand (or appreciate) but I am going to remind you all; this post is deliberately sarcastic.

To reiterate the point, I was ordered (by my former church leadership) to stop the criticism of Beth Moore's errant teaching for pragmatic purposes. Many of the women in our church were following her, using her materials and attending her seminars. My negativity was uncomfortable for the pastoral staff. And I was threatened with some kind of bogus "church discipline" if I didn't shut up. I was even told that warning people about false doctrine is a respnsibility of pastors only and NOT for others in the congregation. Hence, this satirical "positive" defense of Mrs. Moore (which was written at a time when they were watching me closely to see what they could use against me). By the way, I am no longer a member there.

I know sarcasm, as a literary tool, is not appreciated by some people but I'll post your angry ANONYMOUS comments anyway.

Out of about 750 posts over 7 years, this is the most popular and most visted page outranking number 2 by three times the traffic and it has been quoted and linked by several other bloggers.

Anonymous said...

Thanks!

The most shocking part of this post was posted by the owner on June 25, 2012 9:38 PM. Church leadership (pastoral staff) only serve to make the matter worse by such actions. Glad to hear you have moved on!!

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

An in a Bible study at David Jeremiahs church & was asked to stop sharing. (the study of the patriarchs).I was told I have too much knowledge for a Beth Moore class & it is for broken women who want to feel good.That broke my heart....another Freemason emergent church...Im going back to the Church of Christ.I should have never left...

georgia Hunter-Witkowski said...
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