Sunday, July 24, 2011

Beth Moore: reactions to Living Proof teaching in Charlotte. Part 3a: The Teaching

I went to a Beth Moore convention, and below is the series I wrote of my reaction. Be sure also to look to the right-menu for the 7-part series of an explanation of why Beth Moore teachings are in error.

Beth Moore: reactions part 1, The Women
Beth Moore: reactions part 2, The Music
Beth Moore: reactions part 3a: The Teaching
Beth Moore: reactions part 3b: The Teaching
Beth Moore: reactions part 4: A final word

Beth Moore's text for the 6-hour bible study was Deuteronomy 10:11-21. She also used quite a number of other verses, both from the OT and the NT. Here is the main passage:

“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good? Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it. The LORD delighted only in your fathers, to love them; and He chose their descendants after them, you above all peoples, as it is this day. Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer. For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality nor takes a bribe. He administers justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the stranger, giving him food and clothing. Therefore love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name. He is your praise, and He is your God, who has done for you these great and awesome things which your eyes have seen. Your fathers went down to Egypt with seventy persons, and now the LORD your God has made you as the stars of heaven in multitude."

The NKJV titles that passage "The Essence of the Law". The HCSB titles it "What God Requires". NIV's version is "Fear the LORD". Even the NLT calls it "A Call to Love and Obedience." It is a beautiful passage in which His majesty and His Holy character is center stage, prompting all true believers to understand our position below Him, and thus, worship Him for who He is.

Beth Moore's title for the passage is "His affection is set upon us."

She explained how she arrives at the lessons she teaches on her tour. She said that when she prays the Holy Spirit will deliver a word to her. In the case for the teaching in Charlotte, it had been "Hold Fast." In the case of her next tour in Columbia, it will be "Prepare." She then creates an acrostic of teaching points that begin with each letter in the main word. Ours was -

His affection is set upon us
Only He is your praise
Loving Him awakens your true heart
Doing His will does us good
Fleeing to Him means fleeing with Him
Any tighter embrace will also replace
Satan wants what we have
The Lord is your life

Looks kind of OK, doesn't it? I won't explain each of the eight mantras point by point, but share with you some of what troubled me most. I think word studies are good, and I like when teachers look into the Greek or the Hebrew meaning. I am not sure if this manner of exegetical study, finding all the words that relate to a subject and building a lesson out of it is outrageous or wonderful, but I do know that such an approach can be fraught with danger. You lose the context of each passage you are extracting the word from. If you cross OT to NT that context gets more complicated because you have to research whether the word used in a context was meant only for the Jews in the Old Covenant or can be extrapolated into the New Covenant for the Gentiles.

This approach also means that you wind up using a LOT of verses in one study and that tends to feel cobbled together and superficial. You can't really explain to full depth each verse so you simply refer to them, and there winds up being a lot of different points. It gets unfocused, really fast.

She read the passage and then began by saying that this was "the Law of Love." I cannot tell you any more than that, because she did not explain it. It is one of my concerns with her teaching. She will make a sweeping claim, and not back it up with scripture. If I was to take a guess I'd say she was teaching that the deliverance of the law in this section of Deuteronomy was all about how much He loves us, when it is really about how much we should love Him.

The next point was that the Israelites were being taken out of Egypt as the release from bondage so that they could have victorious lives. She referred to 'victory' constantly but never defined it.  And that Jesus brings us out of [metaphorical] Egypt. Then she said, "Anyone ever been stuck in Egypt too long? There is a land of promise for you and for me. Our promised land is characterized by a place where we live in victory. Where we don't live in a lot of defeat. We're walking between those ditches of defeat into victory. And secondly, our promised land is characterized by bearing fruit." Bearing fruit was never defined. "We can be devalued deprived, depraved" and "we may miss our promised land." The promised land was never defined. But she has now set up this vague sense of unease...I might miss something if I don't do it right.

A Beth Moore teaching will be filled with legalism. There will be constant references to "if" you don't do this, you "won't" get that. Here is one: "If we don't hold fast to Him we won't live in earthly security." That is a verbatim quote. I would venture to say that Apostle Paul held fast to Jesus as much as any Christian alive or dead, and he never had a day of earthly security in his life. What about Job's earthly security? Satan tells us to value earthly security. Being alive in Jesus does not mean we get earthly security, as a matter of fact,  Jesus said repeatedly that the opposite will be true. In Luke 14:25 we read that the cost of salvation and subsequent discipleship might mean losing all you have and your life as well.

We love Jesus for Who he is, not for what He can do for us. In Beth Moore's teachings, it is the opposite. I never heard the words holy or glory. In point 4 where we learn "Doing His will does us good" (and it's true, doing His will is good for us,) I never heard the rest of the principle: "Doing His will gives Him glory."

Here is another sweeping claim never backed up by scripture, and actually teaches the opposite of scripture: "He holds tight to us, but are we holding tight to Him? We're called to a life that's supposed to work." Mrs Moore never defined a life that works, nor by whose standard- ours, or God's? By our standards, Jeremiah's life failed. He never had a single convert. Jeremiah was friendless, reviled, he was gloomy, negative, and no one wanted him around. According to principles Mrs Moore teaches, Jeremiah must not have been holding fast closely enough.

She continued, saying "When we latch back on [to Jesus] we have life more abundant here on earth. .. Our life has purpose and life is working with a measurable form of victory." She did not define victory nor by which tool we measure it. All we know is, IF we don't do what she said, we WON'T get something good. Those are her nebulous threats. She creates a feeling of amorphous uneasiness that pervades her talks.

Here is another, referring to Deuteronomy 10:12- "God wants everything from us but IF I don't bring my everything, then my life WON'T work."

In referring to Isaiah 38:17, "Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back" she said "He can love you out of the pit." But I thought He did that at the cross. I thought all believers, once repenting and forgiven by a Resurrected Jesus who is Lord, are yanked out of the pit. Mrs Moore teaches to believers, yet according to her, we are still in the pit and we have to do certain things so that we can access that love of His which will retrieve us out from it. It is that old legalism again.

In my next essay exploring my reaction to Beth Moore's teaching in Charlotte, I'll look at Eastern Mysticism, Fear of the LORD, the reciprocal relationship, and finish with 'It's all about me.'

16 comments :

  1. Interesting!
    The focus in on us not Him. The twist.
    I have heard this teaching before, but I can not remember where.

    Sad, people what a worldly wealth not treasures in heaven. God's ideas are upside down to the world and our focus is not here and now but Him and heaven. We will have all this 'good life' when we are dwelling in heaven with Him. Now, we need to be not of this world and wanting the pleasures of this world but working and toiling here allowing our lives to be a living sacrifice to Him in order to bring people to the cross so they can accept the gift He has, forgiveness of sins and eternal life in glory with Him.

    Oh, I am in tears knowing so many people are being deceived by worldly treasures. But, it was no different in Jesus' day or Noah's day so why should we expect it to be different now. Our day is worse because the return of our King is so close and the devil wants to deceive and put people into a slumber and what better way then twisting the word of God to fool even the elect.

    Praying and praying,
    <><

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  2. Is she talking about the pit and the chains as sins that they are stuck in? Or just problems and pains?

    I mean seriously, some people don't progress in the things of the Lord because they never really repent. They miss out on the blessings. I am not talking about earthly material blessings, at all. They do miss out on the sweet fellowship that they could have with Him if they wanted to seek Him and spend time with Him.

    But if she is talking about problems and pain, that is so blasphemous. I love how you talked about Jeremiah. He was an earthly "failure" and yet He had fellowship with God and He was obedient. I just started reading a commentary on Jeremiah, by Warren Weirsbe.

    Jesus said, "In this world you will have tribulation." But we can be of good cheer because of HIM. We can have hope in Him. Not for our earthly security, like you said. But that He is with us. He overcame the world through the cross. He tells us to take up our cross. We don't have "rights"!!!!

    Lord forgive us!!!! Your church wants to use You for their personal advantage. Please help us be like Smyrna and Philadelphia! We are so lukewarm. We have let false teachers creep in, and we love them. Please Lord move in Your people to be bold watchmen. Help us to be like Jeremiah and Paul. May You be glorified. May You be worshiped. May You be preached in truth. May you be obeyed not so we can profit, but so You are pleased. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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  3. Anonymous, good question, "Is she talking about the pit and the chains as sins that they are stuck in? Or just problems and pains?" She never says which. Because of the emphasis on pop psychology I surmise she means daily problems and pains, but then she attaches such dire conditions on our failure to deal with these problems and pains that it seem like it could mean salvation. it is the dilemma of legalism, you're saved, but you're not UNLESS you do this. Or you are in danger of you do not do THAT. 'We won't have victory unless we get out of the pit.' 'We're cracked and leaking, impotent for Jesus unless we do this.' Legalism in today's all-about-me pop culture is that things have been added to your faith that either supports it or enhances it, things we do in our own strength, works plus...it is in the things Moore says like "If you don't do this. You won't get that". I'm going to address the subtlety of the false doctrine of Beth Moore in the conclusion.

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  4. This verse came to my mind about that. "How foolish can you be? After starting your Christian lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?" Galatians 3:3.

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  5. Gee, I guess according to Moore, since I'm still struggling in some painful areas, maybe I'm not victorious in Christ or fruitless. (false-- Jesus won the victory at the cross and I rejoice in Him!)

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  6. I see more “direct revelation” claims here. The Holy Spirit delivers a word to her. Yeah, right. Every “study” of hers I’ve seen has the same claim of God giving it to her. And yet she and her staff claim that she never says she gets revelations.

    Another very good analysis. On to the next!

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  7. Well this is interesting. Beth Moore is one of the most Godly women I know. I have listened to and sat under the ministry of Beth Moore for many years. She is not a legalistic person by any means. And she is all about giving praise and glory to God. I think you are listening with quite an interesting slant. Makes me wonder where you are coming from. I would rather have Beth Moore's encouragement in the LORD than this tearing apart any day! Praise God!!

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  8. Hi Anonymous,

    I think it is interesting too. There is no doubt Mrs Moore is Godly. The problem is that not all of her teachings are biblical. I made the assertion she slips in legalism into her teachings, subtly but definitely. I used scriptures to show why I think this. But you refuted it without using scriptures to support your belief, nor did you address my presentation of biblical verses.

    There are many people who prefer to rest in the encouragement even if it contains false teaching than do the hard work of discerning whether the teaching should be abandoned. It is never comfortable to examine teachings or look discerningly at people who teach if we hold them dear, but if a teaching is suspicious, by all means, the bible says to tear it apart. Shred it. Chuck it. And go away from it. I used scriptures to support these statements, and I now also use the following biblical truth from 2 Timothy 4:3-

    "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear."

    Is that where you are coming from, beloved? I hope not. Examine Mrs Moore's teaching thru a biblical lens rather than a personal one, to see if it is your ears that enjoy being tickled or if it is your heart which desires truth.

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  9. When Beth talks about the pit she is talking about our strongholds even thou we are Christians we can still have strongholds
    It seems to me you have listened with condemnation in your heart or you would see she has a heart for the Lord ! Shame on you

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  10. "Strongholds" meh. "You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) OVERCOME being the key word.

    Wallowing does not become us, and Mrs Moore preaches female wallowing. Her "pits" are simply egotistical pity parties for support of her overall preaching of feel-goodism and self esteem. It is narcissistic evangelism.

    In the last days counterfeits will come, and counterfeit means they won't go around saying "I hate Jesus." They will carefully look like the real thing. But when you examine their doctrines and their fruits, you can discern whether they are true or not. Test everything, hold onto the good 1 Thess 5:21.

    You ignored the scriptures I used to make my case, and in your response you failed to mention any, but instead just went ahead and attacked based on emotional opinion. I'd suggest making a reasoned rebuttal using bible verses to support your stance, next time, please.

    You do a lot of looking into people's hearts, Mrs Moore's... mine...therefore I say --

    Shame on YOU! Only Jesus searches the heart. "Shall not God search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart." Psalms 44:21. And last time I checked the bible, you weren't Jesus.

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    1. I don't know about anyone else here, but if I were speaking to 10,000 people I would make sure to tell them that Jesus Christ the Son of God, died on the cross, was buried and rose again 3 days later for them if they would by faith receive Him into their lives. This feel good preaching is of Satan. People are dying and going to hell because they have never heard the true gospel. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes unto the Father except by me."

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  11. Elizabeth, thank you so much for all you have written. Beth Moore's teaching has felt too much like pop psychology to me, which led me to your site.

    I was curious what she may have meant above by the word "pit" (especially since it didn't fit Isaiah 38:17), and I was surprised to find the following quote from Discerning Reader's Editorial Review of her book, "Get Out of that Pit." Mrs. Moore writes:

    "In our Christian subculture, we think a pit of sin is the only kind there is. But as we perform a biblical analysis of a pit, we're going to have to think much broader than that. We need a way to identify pits and know when we're in them. So here goes: you can know you're in a pit when...You feel stuck...You can't stand up...[And] you've lost vision...There you have it. We don't have to be in a stronghold of sin to be in a pit. We just have to feel stuck, feel we can't stand up to our enemy, and feel like we've lost our vision. That's all it takes to constitute a pit."

    I was really hoping to give her the benefit of the doubt, but, yikes! I won't be attending any more of her "Bible studies" in the future. Again, thank you for your work!

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  12. Hi Anonymous,

    Thank you so much for researching for yourself about Mrs Moore. I'm glad you came to the conclusion you did. I liked the quite, good find!

    With Mrs Moore, it is all about our feelings, and Jesus is the friendly guy there to help us feel better emotionally. In her world it is all about us. And not nearly enough about sin.

    I think the quote you found illustrates that admirably. Thank you so much for sharing it

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  13. I think some of the reasons why you are finding some strong objections to these posts have to do with the tone in which they are written. Yes, you do an excellent job of supporting your opinions with Scripture. But that doesn't make your opinions fact. Sinners the world over misuse Scripture all the time (you even point to Beth Moore as doing just that). I think the issue is, assuming Beth Moore is a Sister in Christ (which I do) - your tone lacks love. Your passion to reveal a "wolf in sheep's clothing" comes through loud and clear. The unfortunate thing is I think you may actually have some valid arguments - but I think you take it WAY too far and turn away people who may really want to hear what you have to say (like me).

    I have done every single one of Beth Moore's Bible studies. And you know the outcome? I READ SCRIPTURE. I don't read her books, so I can't comment on those. But I can say she is the FIRST (and dear God may she not be the last) to inspire me to actually develop a passion for the Bible. Not because of what it (or God) will do for me, but because she teaches in a way that makes me hungry for more of GOD and more of HIS WORDS (not hers). I can confidently say the only reason I am compelled to go to Scripture after reading this series of yours is so I can rebuke some of your statements.

    Now you tell me, in this example, who has done the Lord a greater service? The woman who as drawn me to God's Word by developing in me a hunger to know more of Him, or the woman who has drawn me to God's Word so I can find debate material?

    "And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part." -Mark 9:38-41

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    1. Hi Erin,

      If you've done every Beth Moore study and learned how to read scriptures through her lens, then the alleged "good" result you claim of reading scripture will do you no good. This is because you've learned it from a poor teacher, teaching false things, on the back of a wasteful hermeneutic and using a filter of bad fruit. Reading scripture through Beth Moore's lens will give you a skewed vision of what the scriptures are saying and your understanding of it is no better than if you were reading a Popeye comic. A bad tree cannot produce good fruit.

      Naming a false teacher and showing from scripture how or why that tree is no good and the fruit she produces is bad, is biblical. Ultimately it's the most loving thing I could do for you. I'm warning you of a false teacher. Please heed the warning and go away from Beth Moore.

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    2. One other things Erin...please consider this... you said, "you do an excellent job of supporting your opinions with Scripture. But that doesn't make your opinions fact."

      Yes it does. If what I am saying lines up with the bible, that makes it fact. That is HOW we determine what truth is.

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