Sunday, July 24, 2011

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

I went to a Beth Moore convention, and below is a series outlining 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

"Repeat after me"

I had written previously in the 7-part series on Beth Moore about her drift toward Eastern Mysticism, most notably in her participation in the Be Still video touting contemplative prayer and eastern mystical practice. In contemplative meditation, one repeats certain mantras repeatedly. In Buddhism and Hinduism, adherents used chanting as a means of practice. They also use recitation of verses as a way of developing an awareness of the qualities of the Buddha or of the false god they were praying to. Beth Moore had us do a lot of repeating. Sometimes it was a mantra spoken to the person next to us, as when she said "God has a destiny for you" and urged us to turn to the women in the next seat and repeat, "God has a destiny for you." I am uncomfortable doing that, not the least of which is that I feel silly. I also feel that if the women next to me learns that God has a destiny for her, it was because she learned that from the bible and not from some schmoe at a conference parroting it back to her.

Frequently she would have us repeat one of the eight points she was building the lesson around, and repeat it as many as 8 times. She addressed that it might seem silly or overdoing it to repeat these things, but she said, she's a teacher and she knows the value in rote memorization. She's right, but I'd prefer to spend my rote memorization time memorizing actual bible verses and not Beth Moore mantras. Just a little thing that bothered me.

"Fear the Lord Your Husband"

In the Deuteronomy verse she built her lesson from (Deut 10:11-21) the first part mentioned the fear of the LORD: "And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul," I'm an admirer of the fear of the LORD. I told you many times that I am ultra conservative, strict, and dogmatic in my adherence to His ways and precepts. I am a big lover of the fear of the LORD. Here is what Matthew Henry commentary describes as the holy fear:

"We must fear the Lord our God. We must adore his majesty, acknowledge his authority, stand in awe of his power, and dread his wrath. Fear him as a great God, and our Lord, love him as a good God, and our Father and benefactor. We must walk in his ways, that is, the ways which he has appointed us to walk in. The whole course of our conversation must be conformable to his holy will. We must serve him, serve him with all our heart and soul. No single English word conveys every aspect of the word 'fear' in the phrase. The meaning includes worshipful submission, reverential awe, and obedient respect to the covenant-keeping God of Israel."

Here is how Beth Moore treated the subject: "Fear. Oh, the fear. Ladies, I fear my husband sometimes. You know there is a line ya just don't cross. I know some ladies who won't cheat on their husband for fear of what he'll do." That isn't a verbatim quote but it is extremely close. Beth Moore has a way of explaining the bible while not really explaining it, exalting God with her words yet diminishing His character at the same time. She said a bunch of times that she refers to commentaries, but I guess she skipped over what the Matthew Henry Commentary had to say...

The "Reciprocal relationship".

If you google 'reciprocal relationship' you'll not get many Beth Moore results except from her study of David. But her emphasis on this phrase, and she repeated it many times, was that we want what God has and He wants what we have. It was ill-defined but a permeating leaven throughout the teaching. Now, I looked up the definition of reciprocal relationship, and it is "a mutual agreement to exchange privileges, dependence, or relationship, as in an agreement between two governing bodies to accept the credentials of a physician, dentist, licensed dental professional, or other health professional licensed in either jurisdiction."

I was horrified at the fear of the Lord teaching because it diminished His august-ness. And here again we have a diminishing of who He is. There is nothing mutual about our relationship with Jesus. We have nothing He wants. He has everything we want. She is making the divine relationship of Master-slave into a partnership and that is the oldest satanic lie there is.

"It's all about me"

source
I was plenty sick of the words Beth Moore uses in her teaching. There was a lot of talk about toxic relationships, depraved, defeated, poison, deprived, sexual abuse. Frankly, I know why. Because every Beth Moore teaching is about us. It is about how we have all this negativity inside us and once we get clear of that, our relationship with Jesus can really begin. THEN He can use us! We have to 'break free' of all that stuff first, and then we will be "impactful for the kingdom."

But we are all sinners. We all have a past, we all do wrong things, and we're all totally depraved. Once we are born again, all those sins are forgiven AND they are forgotten by Jesus. But that is not good enough for Moore, because she brings up those sins at every opportunity. Jesus may have forgotten our sins, but Beth Moore never will. And that is good, because once you go through the legalistic teachings of how to break free, how to get out of that pit, and say "So Long, Insecurity", what happens the next time you feel insecure? You have to do another Beth Moore study.

I'm being deliberately impatient in this section. I do know there is a world of hurt out there. I do know that there are women living in domestic violence, abuse, or 'toxic relationships' as Moore says, who don't feel they are effective for the Lord, or who Moore says CAN'T be effective unless they bust those negative strongholds first. I read recently of a missionary family in India witnessing in a Hindu section extremely hostile to Christians. The missionary dad and his two sons were surrounded in their car, and the mob poured gasoline in the vehicle and burned the man and his two sons alive. His wife, who escaped, said she was "hurt by what they did, but not angry because Jesus said to love our enemies." Then she went to the hospital. Now there's a toxic relationship for you. I want us to get some perspective. I read of Phil Masters and his wife Phyllis in Papua Indonesia, and Phil was killed and eaten by cannibals. Phyllis elected to remain in the jungle with her children and continue the mission. I don't know how she managed it without a Beth Moore study to learn how to break free from insecurity.

Christian faith is NOT about obsessing over wounds and past hurts. You can't destroy faith with a trial. Jesus will use you, emotional wounds and all. You don't need a Beth Moore study to be impactful for the kingdom. You need faith.

It's all about me...even the title of her ministry belies the believer-centeredness of it all: "Because you are living proof of God's love." I rather think that the resurrected Jesus is living proof of His love.

Miles McKee at Wednesday Word wrote a marvelous two-part essay on the current state of self-centered Christianity.

McKee said,
"Now here’s something we must grasp: since the gospel is about Jesus, the gospel is, therefore, not focused on the believer. In the genuine gospel, the believer is not on center stage, rather, in the authentic gospel, the limelight falls on Christ alone. There are pastors who dispute this, but let me point out that ever since the fall of man, when sin entered into the human race, the focus of man’s attention has been on himself. "...

"And that, it seems, is exactly how so many churches want it to remain to this day. Life is all about us, the believer! We, not the Lord Jesus, are our chief concern. The preachers preach about us and how our lives can be improved: we sing about us and how much better off we are and how great it is to be Christians. It’s all about us!" ... "Eastern religions teach their devotees to look to the inner being and to focus on their experience and condition. There once was a time when there was a great distinction between Christianity and Eastern Mysticism. No longer so!"

"One of the great tragedies in our Churches today is that we take self- centered sinners and teach them how to be self-centered believers. Christ has been dethroned in what should be His own Church and the believer now reigns supreme. We are witnessing the day and age of the decapitated church. Christ the head of the Church (Colossians 1:18, Ephesians 1:22-23) has been all but expelled. The head has been chopped off. In all things, according to the Bible, Christ Jesus is to have the pre-eminence, but now that honor goes to the believer."

We should know, we're living proof! My conclusion to the Beth Moore ministry is that it is led by a troubled woman having extended therapy sessions about herself. I learned nothing at the 'Hold Fast' teaching from Deuteronomy, except that she took the most God-centered, exalted words in the whole chapter and made them about us.

I will hold fast, though, I am "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict." (Titus 1:9) Beth Moore does not teach sound doctrine and I refute her.

I'll "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good..." (1 Thess 5:21) And after examination, I will not hold fast to Beth Moore for she is is not good. Rather than leading women to victory in Jesus, she is leading women into emotional bondage.

As Miles McKee wrote, "To grow in our Christian life we must practice looking unto Jesus, the one who lived and died for us and is now exalted in glory! There is no other way to run this race (Hebrews 12:1-2)! But how do we do this? How do we look unto Jesus? The first thing that looking to Jesus means is that we must stop continually looking at ourselves and our condition." But Beth Moore only talks about ourselves and our condition. That's why, if you want to grow, you have to let her go.

Next a final word, on the difficulties of refuting and exhorting.

18 comments :

  1. Beth’s who thing about obsession over past “wounds” and hurts is nothing less than bringing in secular psychological methods, methods which are in direct opposition to the Bible. And yet I have been chastised for saying Beth teaches pop-psychology. You demonstrated here that this is exactly what she does. And the main focus is the psychobabble of “self esteem.”

    I loved this line, and I think it sums up Beth Moore’s entire “ministry”: “My conclusion to the Beth Moore ministry is that it is led by a troubled woman having extended therapy sessions about herself.”

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  2. Thank you sincerely for your comments on the various segments of my analysis. I appreciate very much hearing from a veteran discern-er. Please feel free to use, paste, refer to any or all of these wherever or whenever. I don't need credit, my plea is that people begin to hear and read about these issues as widely as possible from as many people as possible. Thank YOU for your good work on The Watchman's Bagpipes, it helped me.

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  3. Well, the next time I have a Beth Moore issue, your articles will definitely be referred to - and always with credit for your hard work!

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  4. You really did do an amazing job with this Elizabeth.

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  5. Thank you Emily and thank you all. I am a willing vessel and tool of the Holy Spirit and I am happy to have been used for His glory.

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  6. I can't help seeing a lot of commonalities between Beth Moore and Joyce Meyer. But churches who would not encourage their ladies to study Joyce meyer would have Beth Moore studies. Yet the things that they teach sound very much the same - alot about us and our problems and how to "get free" according to the bible. Personal anecdotes about what they did to break free themselves, etc. Both of these women are well dressed, reasonably attractive and well spoken. Both are apparently very charismatic (i.e. charming).

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  7. The one thing different between Moore and Meyer is that while Moore has aberrational and false teachings, Meyer is an out and out heretic.

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  8. You people so remind me of the Pharisees. God help you. I know you feel like you are watchman on the wall, but it is so much different than that. You have a passion for what is right, sound and holy. You hate the compromise in the church. Problem is...you have become self appointed judges. I was once there, but thank God I have been set free from monitoring the church. I pity you. It is a horrid bondage and it only grows, until it permeates every part of your Christian walk. It honestly consumes you. You become angry for all of the innocent victims that fall prey to these ministries, and you can't help but see it. It is so obvious!! Right?? Like I said before, I was there. So glad to now be free. It's not my job to set straight or warn everyone of the "dangers" of certain ministries. Being such a warning watchman against fellow saints is the true danger zone. There are different gifts, but one spirit. Some people will never make it without a Beth Moore. Not everyone is strong enough to watch their family burned alive and just go on. I tend to think you'd fail at that one. You have trouble overlooking ministry that doesn't measure up to your view of what is right. Who are we to make everyone like us? WE are not the judge. Who are we to judge the one God has created? Please take heed and ask God if perhaps any of what I have said is true. Please, please, please...just ask!

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  9. Anonymous, I'm sorry you're "not there anymore." You should be. If you disagree that we should watch for false teachers and false teaching, expose them, and oppose them, then you disagree with Paul, who urged Timothy and others to oppose false teachers in 1 Timothy 1:3-6

    You need to make a distinction in your mind between people judging the sins of others and people judging true from false teaching. We're not to do the former. We ARE to do the latter.

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  10. Great article - Beth Moore is definitely wrong, thanks for your analysis. Poor women who love her more than Christ, it's a shame.

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  11. About 10 years ago I was introduced to a few Beth Moore studies. The only one I really appreciated was the study of the temple. Other than that I quit using her studies. I felt it was becoming quite a groupie type study.Women almost falling over themselves waiting to get to the next study. Lighthouse Trails pointed out her contemplative style years ago. Now there's a group from our congregation going to Boise, ID. to see her. A young lady was quite upset to hear such negative things about Beth but I mentioned I'd go just to compare notes. Don't get upset but don't go so blindly either. Be a Berean Christian. Also, it is wise to pray for Beth's repentance. She will be highly accountable to God for what she teaches. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of a wrathful, just God. Thank you for being bold in pointing out the false teaching. It's not a popular message but a necessary one!

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    1. Hi Shawn,

      Your admonitions are wise and I thank you for them. I hope that many people's eyes will be opened and they will seek better teachings. Thank you for being a Berean and patiently instructing those who are falling under her sway.

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  12. Whew. Ok. This is my second post. I am a little sickened by my last reading. But, I am not one to jump on the wagon with my eyes closed. I will have to delve deeper to discover a firm stance on Beth Moore. But, if God is using her, are we maybe arguing the Peter/Paul issue ourselves? Isn't the point to direct attention away from her and towards God? Maybe we should focus away from her? Perhaps constant negative focus...wait a minute now...is besides the point just as is all the fawning going on about her?

    Perhaps the point is just take the meat and leave the bones? Are we deriding her teaching style and causing divisions? Is the detriment perceived sufficient to excise the entirety of her ministry? Are we humble enough to tackle those most difficult questions?

    To search and discern truth is admirable but sometimes it is fleshed out ad nauseum by well-meaning Christians who have have a gift of discernment working in overdrive.

    And, aren't there our own ministries that we're to expend our energies on with work sufficient for today that will enable us to look away from the B.M. phenomenon and do the real work God intends for each of us individually? Honestly, if it isn't real, it won't last and then we'll know....or we'll be too busy tending and stewarding what God has given us to notice.

    I am not supporting Beth Moore; and while I don't want to spend too much time trying to cull through her work for errancy, I am willing to give it a small whirl.

    Going back to the whole B.M. commercial church shtick, back during American revivals, convicted folk thought God was a holy, mighty God and that they were wretched sinners. Now it seems that we are trying our hardest to summon the Holy Spirit at our meetings with cultural Christianity and its worship music. AND God is our friend and we, um, feel pretty darned good.

    Yours is probably a good catch, but I am wondering if we throw away the whole B.M. thing that maybe we are throwing away the baby with the bath water. I mean, there are always going to be "groupies" hanging out on the edges of the spotlight. Are those the voices that we're going to shake our head at and say, "I told you so"?

    I have a small confession. I started researching (expending valuable time!) B.M. because one 30-second clip I saw of her on Youtube annoyed me, along with all the B.M. worshippers that I am bumping into in my ladies group at church. I wanted to dislike her. I still do, but it may be a thing borne out more of personality and schmaltz than any wayward teaching she expounds.

    I will spend another 2 minutes and get the "Be Still" DVD online. Then I will take the requisite time to watch it and then I will be done.

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    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I’m so thrilled you’re taking the time to read through the series on Beth Moore. I’m also grateful that you’re making thoughtful comments.

      I apologize, though, because honestly I got a little lost with all your questions. I did not follow the point of them all.

      One sense I picked up is that you were wondering if charging false teachers is being too negative and/or a good use of a Christian’s time. If that is ALL a Christian ever does, then yes, I’d say a person has lost perspective. However, I say that for a balanced Christian, while it is something that is not a favorite activity, it is one that is completely necessary, and as a matter of fact is quite God-honoring.

      You asked, “And, aren't there our own ministries that we're to expend our energies on with work sufficient for today that will enable us to look away from the B.M. phenomenon and do the real work God intends for each of us individually?” Ask that question of Paul. Paul spent a LOT of time in the epistles educating Timothy, Titus etc on how to deal with spiritual counterfeiters, that WAS one of his ministries. What else should we be doing whilst the brethren faint from lack of Living Water? Organize a potluck?

      Spiritual counterfeiters are enemies of God and killers of Christians. If you were about to drink cyanide, I’d certainly not spend a lot of time wringing my hands and asking rhetorical questions as to whether it was a wise use of my time to shout STOP! Paul spent time charging false teachers and educating the brethren on the importance of being on guard, and what to look for. In 1 Timothy 1:20 he mentions Hymenaeus and Alexander, perhaps two of the leading false teachers in Ephesus, whom he "delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme." But Paul had since left for Macedonia (v. 3) to visit the Philippians, and Timothy was faced with the difficult assignment of rebuking false spiritual leaders in the church at Ephesus, and perhaps the sister churches in the surrounding area.

      Paul directly commanded Timothy "Charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies". He was straightforward about how dangerous false doctrine is and how necessary it was to be alert. In Titus Paul said that the false teacher’s mouths must be stopped!! More here on how to treat spiritual counterfeiters http://www.gty.org/resources/study-guides/40-5174/avoiding-spiritual-counterfeiters

      People today have a high view of humans and a low view of God. They are so fearful of being politically correct and stepping on toes, or afraid to roll up their sleeves and rebuke, that they let their fellow brethren drink poison. Remember, if it not of God, it is of satan, and therefore poison, because satan’s bill of goods is to steal, kill, and destroy!

      Your question here, “Is the detriment perceived sufficient to excise the entirety of her ministry?” tells me you forgot the command warning, “a little leaven spoils the whole loaf.” (Gal 5:9; 1 Cor 5:6).If you put manure into a portion of the brownie batter and baked the brownies, and I told you not to throw out the baby with the bathwater as you said, would you still eat the brownies? No. The *whole thing* is spoiled. Again, it is a high view of humans and a low view of God. God is pure truth, If someone is shown to be abusing His truth, then GO AWAY from that teacher. John said 2 John 1:10-11 ESV.

      There are biblical commands regarding false teaching and false teachers, biblical commands on what we are to do and not to do when encountering them, and warnings about being judged on our response to them. Too often people respond to these kind of discernment essays with personal preferences and not the biblical stances.

      You can keep the baby and not the bath water if you want, and prefer eschewing negativity, but you will be judged for your part in participating in a false teaching. (2 John 1:10-11) Why take the chance? If we really love God, I mean!?

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  13. Hi Elizabeth. I know I"m late on these essays-but I found you via a friend when I began to question why women flocked to see Beth Moore. I have never been to one of her conferences,never purchased a book nor have I ever tuned into the TV to see her on Life Today. (I've since looked at her videos and some of her writings)

    When I became a Christian in 2006, anything that had to do with self-help, pop psychology and actually "women's studies" I suddenly became loathe to have anything to do with them. I know I've been kicked around a lot in life (I am a homicide survivor) but my being saved trumped every bit of that. I wasn't looking to fill a "God-sized hole" nor was I looking to find my "fix" in Jesus.

    In Jesus, I found my salvation, my King and my Savior. The one I want to emulate is Christ, not some woman who seems to believe that all women are insecure (if we are, big whoop), damaged (sigh) and in desperate need of some oh her homespun tales. And I do mean tales.

    Thank you so very, very much for putting to rest the nagging feeling I've had for a couple of years now. I grew up Methodist, left that when I became a Christian and found that the SBC believed as close to what I believe as I can find. However, I'm in my second SBC church and my second church that loads up women in cattle cars and ships 'em off to Beth Moore conferences. I just wish more women were deeper than an inch in their theology so that they would see Moore for what she really is.

    I am trying to read and pray as much as I can before I speak with the pastor of the church I am attending. I just don't know if I can join a church that embraces her theology -it's like they haven't listened to her at all.

    Bottom line is this, your blog has made the most sense out of anything I've read about her and I hope you don't mind if I refer my pastor to it. You've put into words what I've struggled to say. It gives me courage.

    Btw, I too am a photographer and I lived in rural Georgia as well: just above Macon on the outskirts of Gray. I live in Arizona now, but not a day goes by that I don't miss it. Mostly because it has water, and trees and grass...we have dirt and thorny things and it's kinda hot here. :)

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    1. Hi Anonymous!

      Thanks so much for yoru comment! It is encouraging to hear this. I loved how you said that Jesus trumps everything and you don't have a God-sized hole or pits any more. So true! Your description of loading the women up to haul off to BM Conferences was so apt. No, I don't mind you referring anyone to the blog series on Moore. I've written about her numerous times! Just search Beth Moore on the blog's search box and they will all come up.

      One essay I did recently I feel has the best & clearest and simplest reason not to follow her teachings. It is below. In that essay I discuss her "vision" and how her statement of what "Jesus" said to her in that vision could not possibly be from Jesus- but can only be from satan. In that essay also, I linked to some male pastors who also have trouble with her teaching.

      http://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2013/06/examining-beth-moores-statement-bride.html

      I've visited AZ and enjoyed it, but I'm not sure I'd want to live there- the thorny things such as cactus and scorpions and rattlesnakes oh my! Never mind the dust storms...I am a transplant from Maine to GA and I love it here.

      Think of this, when you get to the Millennial Kingdom there will be lush trees lining the river of life, the trees bloom every month and the water never dries up!!!

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  14. Another excellent article filled with Scripture based encouragement to look deeply at these types of teachings by popular 'speakers'. I wish I had seen this when I first came across the "Breaking Free" 'bible' study. Colossal waste of time digging into the 'old nature'. I would have been warned and brought to clear Biblical understanding of her teachings and not participated in the 'James study'.
    *Have you ever thought of researching into the Christianized '12-Step' programs [another gospel] which are permeating the churches? Not just the Rick Warren false gospel but teachings like 'Overcomers Outreach' which claims to be a bridge between the apostate '12-Step' teachings and the church. These type of teachings are exceedingly similar to the false teachings by Beth Moore but I don't see too many people discussing them. People seeking help from some of these churches find themselves corralled ['encouraged'] to 'work the steps' in order to be set free and then be led to Christ. This is happening more and more in this day and many a sober person is on their broad way to destruction thinking they are saved; worse many a Christian is in confusion not realizing that God is not the author of confusion. The Bobgans wrote 'The 12 Steps to Destruction' which is a very good book but I wonder if a blog would open the door to many a confused person seeking to know the Lord only to be sent in another direction because they are desperate to be set free. Beth Moore often quotes Brennan Manning and gives voice to the un-biblical A.A. theology [being facetious here with the word theology]. Just a thought.
    Colette

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