First, this isn’t whether or not I like Beth Moore. It is not about Moore’s attire; it’s not about her ‘heart.’ This is about whether she should be teaching in the church in which I’ve been called to pastor.
Second, knowing that many women (including some in our church) report how they have been encouraged by Moore’s teaching and learned much from her, this blog may feel like I am ‘dissing’ your best friend. I recognize that and grieve with you. I too have had strong affinity for different teachers over the years. However, some I’ve come to realize had either changed doctrinally or I had become more discerning in listening to them. It was not easy detaching myself from them.
It hasn’t ever been emotionally easy — this standing for truth. The Apostle Paul speaks of weeping about people who’ve changed, who revealed their true colors (Phil. 3:18). In Acts 20:31 he speaks of admonishing others with tears. Jesus himself was a man of sorrows. For Christ’s people to no longer be children, to no longer be tossed here and there by every wind of doctrine, the shepherd must reprove, rebuke and exhort (Eph. 4:14-16; II Tim 4:1-4). Discipline, correction — rarely feel necessary or sweet when they’re being administered. Even when the truth is spoken in love, there tends to be a sting to it, particularly if it involves the correcting of another person to whom we’ve become emotionally attached.
With that, I present the following: Other leaders in our church have helped me determine what were surface issues and what were essential issues. We determined there were matters significant enough to urge the women of our church not to use Beth Moore materials. Below is why we lead them in that direction. They have been very gracious in their response (although not without strain on our church).
For the glory of Christ,
Pastor Tedd Mathis
Pueblo West Baptist Church
Over and over, the New Testament warns that Christ’s people will have to deal with what is being presented as truth and that we are to battle for the truth. The Bible warns of false teachers who will secretly introduce destructive heresies in the local church. No one pounds on the front door of the church sporting a “Heretics-R-Us’ T-shirt. No one deceives us by shouting, “All weak women, follow me so you will never be able to come to the knowledge of truth” (II Tim. 3; II Peter 2; Jude).
In every church started by the Apostles in the first century men were appointed as shepherds to feed Christ’s people on the truth and to guard them from false teaching and prophets. They were to do this by exhorting in sound doctrine and refuting those who contradict (Titus 1:9; I Tim. 6:12; Matthew 24:9-11; II Peter 2:1-3; Acts 14:21-23; 20:17-32; I Tim., II Tim.; Galatians 1:6-10; 2 Cor. 10; II Thess. 2:8-12). Since the members of Pueblo West Baptist Church have called me to be their shepherd, feeding them on the truth already revealed, and guarding them from false teaching is part of my job.
Therefore, when several women in PWBC expressed concern three years ago about what was being taught by Beth Moore in our women’s Bible studies, it was not unfitting to examine Moore’s teaching.
In our day, doctrinal clarity is not popular; nebulous feelings about God’s presence are. Yet the apostle Paul admonishes those in leadership in the local church to pay close attention to doctrine, to be rightly dividing the word of truth (I Tim 4:16; II Tim 2:14). To be able to do that means there is a final and sufficient source of authority by which one can discern error from truth. This source, Paul says, is the Scriptures. Visions, voices, angelic visitations are warned against not promoted. Rather, he and the other writers of the New Testament explicitly state it is the written word of God that is fully adequate to bring people to saving faith in Jesus Christ and guide them through life in a way that honors Him (II Tim. 3:14-4:5; Col. 2:18; Heb. 1:1-4; 2:1-4; Gal. 1:6-10).
So let’s turn to Moore. According to her website (www.lproof.org) Moore claims she sensed God was calling her to serve Him and in 1994 founded Living Proof Ministries with the purpose of ‘teaching women how to love and live on God’s Word.’ Her website further states she has a “burden for unity in the body of Christ, and counts serving women of all denominations as one of her greatest privileges in life.”
Here are five reasons why we concluded Moore shouldn’t teach in our church.
- Because she claims to receive direct personal revelation from God and intentionally teaches others her new revelations
Here are several examples (I’ve put her claims and/or statements about direct revelation in bold face):
“Fast forward 12 months exactly to the most recent November. A year after hearing from God so clearly about sowing further than the field that I’d loved and served in for so long, I had a very disturbing dream. I can count the significant dreams I’ve had through the decades on one hand so I’m not prone to look for messages in my sleep to keep from having to actually pray and read the Bible. That God can speak through dreams is clear in our own Bibles, of course, but for many of us it is unusual. I don’t feel the release right now to describe the dream though I may someday. What I do feel is a strong compelling to share with you what I knew beyond a doubt it meant. I believe that I can either be obedient to God in the faith walk He is setting before me or He will take my voice. I do not feel that it was a rebuke. I felt that it was a warning.”
From A New Year A New Time blog post January 2014
“… I beg to differ with people that are ten times smarter than I am. But I want to say to you I see something different than that. I see God doing something huge in the body of Christ. I do not know why I have had the privilege to get to travel around, see one church after another…one group of believers after another, interdenominationally, all over this country, but I have gotten to see something that I think is huge. And I’ll also suggest to you I am not the only one. And tonight I’m going to do my absolute best to illustrate to you something that God showed me out on that back porch. He put a picture…I’ve explained to you before I am a very visual person…so He speaks to me very often of putting a picture in my head. And it was as if I was raised up looking down on a community, as I saw the church in that particular dimension- certainly not all dimensions, not even in many, but in what we will discuss tonight, the church, as Jesus sees it, in a particular dimension.” Transcription from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rVkJiYEyRwc&feature=relmfu
“And this came as a direct revelation of the Spirit because this would never have come to me. I know God spoke this over me as He began turning through a concordance in my mind and I started thinking about one Scripture after another.
You know what He told me not too long ago? I told you when I first began this whole concept, He first started teaching it to me about five years ago, and He said these words to me: “Baby, you have not even begun to believe Me. You haven’t even begun!” You know what He said just a few days ago? “Honey, I just want you to know we’re just beginning.”
Oh, glory! That meant I had begun. Hallelujah! But He was telling me, “When this ends, we ain’t done with this. Honey, this is what we do for the rest of your life.” And He said those words to me over and over again: “Believe Me. Believe Me. And I hope it’s starting to ring in your ears, over and over again, Believe Me.” — From Believing God, DVD, Session 1
“What God began to say to me about five years ago, and I’m telling you it sent me on such a trek with Him, that my head is still whirling over it. He began to say to me, “I’m gonna tell you something right now, Beth, and boy you write this one down, and you say it as often as I give you utterance to say it: ‘My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief. My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief.’” And He said, “Starting with you.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOlCicOQygE
“Beloved, I am convinced one of our severest needs is pure rest. Not only sleep, but refreshment and recreation. Recently God spoke to me about capturing what He and I are calling “Sabbath moments.” Like many of yours, my schedule right now is particularly tough, and I see no time in the near future for a number of days off. God spoke to my heart one Saturday morning while I was preparing for Sunday school: “My child, in between more intense rests, I want to teach you to take Sabbath moments.” I wasn’t certain what He meant. Just that morning God confirmed His desire for me to drive all the way to the other side of Houston to the medical center to visit a patient with brain cancer. I was very thankful for the privilege of visiting this patient, but I knew in advance it would be tough emotionally and far from restful.” From Beth Moore, The Beloved Disciple, (B&H Publishing: 2003), 220.
RESPONSE: By writing and speaking this way Moore intentionally presents herself to others as a present-day direct source of divine revelation. Which raises many questions:
By claiming to have been called by God to be a teacher of His word and repeatedly making claims of His speaking directly to her, why wouldn’t we conclude ‘His word’ includes what she claims He’s revealed to her?
If God is speaking directly to Moore, why should we consider it any less than an inerrant, infallible word? Since it is from the God who cannot lie, in whom there is no darkness at all, who does not change, why would His word that Moore is receiving deserve any less attribution than, ‘Forever, O Lord, your word (through Moore) is settled in heaven’?
If God is speaking directly to Moore, should we not tremble at His voice? Should we not respond in whole-hearted conviction, faith and obedience to what has been revealed by the God of the universe through her?
If God is speaking directly to Moore then how does that effect the canon of Scripture? Why wouldn’t we include what He has spoken through her in our Bibles?
Here are two quotes from other men who have considered this issue in detail:
Granting the status of revelation to anything other than the Word of God inevitably has the effect of removing that status from the Word of God. What may start out as an additional authority alongside the Word of God will eventually supplant its authority altogether. – David Wells, God In The Wasteland, 109
To claim a personal direct revelation from the Lord undermines the sufficiency of Scripture. I cannot say ‘the Scripture is sufficient’ and ‘I need this special word from the Lord’ at the same time. One cannot have it both ways. Either the Scripture is sufficient or it is not. – Dr. Sam Kurien (http://kurienforum.blogspot.com/)
Conclusion: Dozens of essays, blogs, e-mails, etc. have confronted Moore regarding her claims. Yet she continues to present herself to others as a conduit of new revelation from God. Her claims do two things:
First, Moore contradicts what the apostles of Jesus the Christ unequivocally state: In the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments we have been given everything we need for saving faith in Christ and wisdom to live lives pleasing to Him (II Timothy 3:16,17; II Peter 1:3,4).
Second, Moore undermines and detracts from the Gospel itself. The precious promises – recorded in Scripture — that were purchased for God’s people by Christ’s death are what give us eternal life, wisdom, peace, hope, contentment. To claim God is providing new or fresh revelation means that what has been given to the saints isn’t enough. Like the numerous ‘teachers’ who’ve claimed fresh revelation since the Christ-exalting canon was completed, Moore draws attention away from Christ and puts it on herself.
- Because Moore promotes a mystical communication with God outside of what is revealed in Scripture and twists Scripture to do so
“Jude 21 says, ‘Keep yourselves in the love of God, expecting the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ That means practicing the mindset of being profusely loved by God. We must invite our souls to plunge into His love like a dolphin romping in the sea. Actively engaging in His unending, extravagant, no-strings attached affection for you is not narcissism. It’s necessity. It can mean our survival when we’re faced with loving the loveless.”– Children of the Day (I,II Thessalonians) workbook, p 21
RESPONSE: The book of Jude is encouraging its readers to ‘earnestly contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints’ (verse 3). The reason is because “certain persons have crept in unnoticed (v.4). By the time one gets to verse 21 it’s clear from the context the admonition to keep themselves in the love of God is to stay true to what has already been revealed in the gospel (24,25). This book does not address loving the loveless; it says nothing and has nothing to do with inviting ‘our souls to plunge into His love like a dolphin romping in the sea.’
As she closes the session she speaks of what she desires for those watching/present/listening and has her audience turn to I Thess. 4:9. “Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.” She zeroes in on the phrase ‘you yourselves are taught by God’ saying that she desires her audience will “bypass all human agency in this journey and that you will just be taught by God. You will have such an intimate encounter with Him that he will teach you something I could not have thought of or dreamed of.” – Children of the Day (I,II Thessalonians), CD of first session (track 12)
RESPONSE: An examination of I Thess. 4 will show that Paul’s addressing sexual immorality (4:1-8) was a necessary warning due to the temptation to resist or deny what God has decreed about sex (vs. 8). But when it came to the Thessalonians’ love and care for one another in general (9-12) they continued to show they were ‘taught by God’ – so they didn’t need any written admonition regarding practical care for one another.
Moore has access to multiple commentaries and references to the original languages that explain what Paul meant by ‘taught by God’ in context. Yet to promote a mystical experience, she intentionally takes the phrase out of its context.
By doing so, Moore puts herself in a very awkward position: If it’s possible to have such an intimate encounter with God that bypasses all human agency, why does Moore finish the series? Why doesn’t she prove her confidence in this possibility by sending everyone home? Apparently her materials are necessary to teach others that they don’t need human agency to be taught of God.
- Because Moore indicates what is being revealed to her is above correction
That is, people who disagree with what she claims God tells her are the ones who are false. Here’s a verbatim transcript from her speaking at AwakenNOW to 4,000 people in 2013. I’ve underlined the times she claims God has spoken directly to her and speaks of the prophetic. I’ve capitalized what she emphasized with the tone of her voice. Then I’ve put in bold face where she indicates her prophecies are beyond correction:
As we cry out for down pour I’m gonna tell you something, I believe it’s coming. You know what because I believe the truth we are thirsty… And the only thing we have to do –– the only thing we have to do is (cry out) I’m thirsty. I’m poor and needy Lord and I’m just crying out. I’m just crying out. He says if you do that, I’ll pour it out on thirsty land. On a land that says we’re plenty wet here that’d scare us half to death. We don’t want anything new, just as long as you have done what you have done before. We’re good with it; you know how we are here.
… I believe God placed it on my heart to tell you – that as it (this out pouring) comes, and it will. If we own our thirst it will. If we’ll be willing to stop telling what it will look like, it’s coming, it’s coming.
But we must be prepared in advance for scoffers. I want to say that again, WE MUST BE PREPARED IN ADVANCE FOR SCOFFERS. … And here’s the thing: the unbelieving world, their scoffing is not gonna bother us that much; we are used to them thinking we’re idiots. Can we just own that one? I mean, of course they think that. … That’s not what’s gonna bother us so much. What’s gonna bother us – and I believe God is saying, ‘Get prepared for it’ so that when it does happen you are not all disturbed and all rocked by it, but it’s gonna come from some in our own Christian realm. From our own brothers and sisters. We’re gonna honestly have people who are gonna want to debate and argue with us about awakening and downpours. I go, ‘what do you want here?’ ‘It’s not the way it should look.’ ‘You know what dude, I’m just asking you, are you thirsty? Are you hungry?’ I can’t think of the way to say it – of the semantics to get it like you want it. But I will say to you, ‘I’m just thirsty and I’m hungry.’
But there will be scoffers and they will be the far bigger threat – the ones within our own brothers and sisters, our own family; it will be far, far more demoralizing. And yes it will come from bullies. And yes it will come from the mean spirited. … I want to tell you something… James and Betty Robison have lived something, they’ve taught me something… James says, ‘You know what, when people hate you, ya just love em. Just keep lovin em. The more they hate you, you just keep lovin em’. … We gotta be ready. We’ve got to be ready. …
What God began to show me is that it would not just come from the mean spirited it will also come from people who are just genuinely concerned about us (laughter from audience). They say, ‘man, I just hate to see that happen. They’re gonna say, ‘bless their hearts, they were really balanced for a while.’ I don’t where they get that….. ‘Let’s all be balanced in Jesus name, let’s all be balanced.’ They’re gonna feel sorry for us; they’re gonna say, what a shame.
In that early downpour of the New Testament church the apostle Paul said in 2 Cor. 6:8 – we are treated as imposters and yet are true. That’s gonna be us. The scoffers – I believe God put it on my heart – please test the spirit, pray and see if it is confirmed to you in prayer and the study of the Word – I believe that He has placed it on my heart, that the scoffers will have an alternative answer for everything – an alternative for everything we see, they’ll have an alternative. They’ll not see it as the hand of God. An alternate answer. Unity will be called defection. Brokenness will be called instability. Grace will be called compromise. And the genuinely prophetic will be called false teaching. You see if this does not happen. And because of those things: defection, instability, compromise and false teaching. Because those things will be simultaneously in effect – you and I, who are believing God for a vivid down pouring of His Spirit and will recognize it as it comes, we will have to be taking the risk of being lumped in with the ones who really are defecting, unstable, compromising and false.
And it will be hard for us because we don’t want to be mixed up with them. We’ll wanna say, no, our’s is the truth. Listen, people are not convinced by our saying, no, we’re really true here, we’re really true here. That just doesn’t work. They won’t take it by our words. We’re going to have to risk being lumped in with something not of the Holy Spirit to endure in that which is of the Holy Spirit. And this will be the hardest part, that the weeds will be among the wheat and just exactly as Jesus said in Matthew 13:24-30 to pull up all the weeds you run the risk of pulling up the wheat. So – you and I have gotta be prepared to be mixed up with the false as we’re trying to be the true
RESPONSE: Moore gives no biblical defense for this coming downpour, only ‘what the Lord spoke to her heart.’ She says nothing as to what those who want this downpour are going to be united around (other than that they are, like her, thirsty for a down pouring). She speaks rather incredulously of anyone questioning what she means by ‘thirst’ and ‘downpour’ and clearly implies anyone who questions her prophetic utterance is the false teacher. In his blog shortly before the event, organizer of Awaken NOW, James Robison quotes Moore as follows:
“If Christ is to do what He longs to do, we must relinquish all our expectations and formulas for revival. Lest we think we can’t leash a work He’s willing to perform, the words of Matthew 13:58 and Mark 6:5-6 won’t peel off the gospel page. We keep getting together and rehearsing for a revival He’s not yet fully attending. Why? Why does He wait?… We say to You this day, write Your Name across our sky and bring revival! Save by whatever means brings You glory. Bring it any way You like but bring it, Lord. We free You from using our methods. We free You from using our denominational names.”
It is not quenching the Spirit of truth to require of Moore what she means by ‘downpour.’ In the same blog referenced above, she writes of her desire to see souls saved. But as we’ll see in my final concern stated below; Moore is fuzzy on the doctrine of salvation. So if the outpouring she desires is to see the genuine salvation of many souls, she must be clear about what is the only Gospel that does save (Galatians 1:6-10).
What Moore diminishes and supplants with her prophecy of future downpour is what the Lord in the Scriptures has promised to do (and is doing) — something far more glorious and lasting than her blurry vision. He has promised to keep saved every person for whom He came to save — not one shall perish (Matthew 1:28; John 6:39; John10). And the means by which our Lord accomplishes that is the clear and faithful proclamation, explanation and application of the Scriptures, not new prophecies.
Jesus specifically instructed His apostles to go and make disciples among all the nations…teaching them to observe all that He commanded them… The Apostle Paul exhorted Timothy in the last days to ‘preach the Word in season and out of season (II Tim 4:1-5). To put it simply: Christ-honoring unity is not created by appealing to people’s emotions about what we want to happen. True unity is preserved by faithfully proclaiming and explaining what is already revealed by Christ in His written word.
Tragically, in her dramatic portrayal of what God wants to happen in the future (if we will only want it bad enough), Moore ignores what the Bible does promise –the return of Christ and the sanctifying work that results as we anticipate His return (I Peter 1:3-9; Heb. 9:27,28; Titus 2:11-14; II Tim. 4:8; I Tim. 6:14; I Thess. 1:9,10; 2:19; Phil. 1:6; 2:17-21; I Cor. 1:4-9, etc.). Moore detracts and diminishes the truth already revealed about Christ’s return that is fully adequate to stir us on to love and good deeds (Titus 2:11-14).
4. Because Moore’s ministry lacks clear doctrinal oversight and accountability
I have yet to find any clear publicly declared entity to whom Moore is accountable (Eph. 4; I, II Timothy, Titus; Acts 17:17-32; Jude; II Peter 2).
Any search on the internet will find multiple essays and blogs criticizing Moore (as well as those supporting her). Yet I see no overseers/elders from a local church or affiliation of churches, publicly stating, “Beth Moore is under our leadership and this is what we have to say to her critics.” One would think a ‘Bible teacher’ using the internet and social media as much as Moore does, would want that accountability to be known front and center since the Bible explicitly states there is to be that kind of oversight (I Timothy 2:12; Hebrews 13:17; Acts 20:17-31; Eph. 4:11-17).
- Because Moore diminishes or clouds essential doctrines for an undefined unity
There is much of what might be called psychological, or self-talk in Moore’s teaching. Moore’s style of delivery consistently seeks to relate to her students on the emotional/experiential level. This style is the way she has come to be accepted among so many denominations.
When unity becomes the stated goal, the question that must be asked is, ‘United around what?’ For many today, the essential doctrines that define “the faith” are often set aside for the sake of perceived or minimalistic unity.
I find no doctrinal statement on Moore’s website. No statement that addresses the Trinity, no statement as to whether justification is by faith alone in Christ alone, no statement as to whether baptism contributes to one’s salvation. Yet the very denominations with whom she seeks unity have been divided over those very issues for centuries. If she is convinced sinners are justified by faith alone in Christ alone, one would think she’d be calling to repentance those do not hold that conviction and inviting them to unite with her in that that doctrine. If she is convinced justification occurs by some other means, you’d think she’d be correcting those she believes are wrong and invited them to unite with her. Yet what I’ve read and others have noted, there is diminishment on Moore’s part of essential truth pertaining to salvation. Here’s a very good review that addresses this: https://thekingsdale.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/beth-moore-false-teacher/
As a shepherd of the Pueblo West Baptist flock I’ve concluded Beth Moore should not teach in our church. The other men who provide spiritual oversight for the church have agreed. We as a church remain united with those who, over the centuries, are convinced Scripture alone is fully adequate to bring us to saving faith in Jesus Christ and equip every believer for a life that honors our Lord. Speaking the truth in love, we believe it our duty to warn others when the sufficiency of Scripture is undermined and the Gospel of Jesus Christ diminished.
Here are other websites and writers that, I believe, fairly critique Moore’s teaching: