Friday, July 22, 2011

Troubled by Beth Moore's teaching: Part 7, Conclusion

I've spent a good deal of blog time writing the last day or so about the errors in Beth Moore's teachings. I hope that my careful analysis and examples using scripture showed you not only where Beth Moore's teaching is in need of strengthening, but that it also provided enough of a lesson for how to be discerning of any teacher who teaches the bible. We all long for good teachers of the Word. We all need strengthening in these evil days, and the Word is truly the only good strengthening there is. We can trust it. We read and study on our own, but who isn't refreshed by a good teaching among brethren once in a while? Certainly I am. But trusting today's bible teachers is another matter entirely.

I'm wary of women teachers. There are good ones, but there are also bad ones. Women have a tendency to teach the Word from emotion and personal experience. Why not? That is how most women relate to the world. But with the Word, it is not the natural way to teach its truths.

I believe the Lord did a good thing putting the brakes on female teachers of the Word. I'm not saying that there should never be women teachers. The bible shows us that there were women contending alongside Paul. (Phil 4:3). Priscilla was noted along with her husband as a teacher of the Word. (Acts 18:26). Phoebe is noted as an outstanding servant at the church (Romans 16:1) and in Acts 21:8 Philip's four unmarried daughters are mentioned as prophets. All these women are speaking the Lord's Truth in public or to the public in some way.

But there is also mentioned a father, apostle, or husband working closely with the woman. I think this is good and wise. Now, before I get thousands of emails calling me a betrayer of my gender, I'm just reflecting back to you from scripture the way God set it up. I think in the cases where women are teachers it takes a special attention to ensure the Word is handled properly because of the tendency to teach emotionally and relationally. I am reminded of the warning we received in 2 Timothy 3:6, "They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires...". What is spoken of in the verse just prior is to watch out for people who "having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them."

Barnes Notes explains that "For of this sort are they which creep into houses - Who go slyly and insidiously into families. They are not open and manly in endeavoring to propagate their views, but they endeavor by their address to ingratiate themselves first with weak women, and through them to influence men; compare Titus 1:11. ... And lead captive silly women - One of the tricks always played by the advocates of error, and one of the ways by which they seek to promote their purposes. Satan began his work of temptation with Eve rather than with Adam, and the advocates of error usually follow his example. There are always weak-minded women enough in any community to give an opportunity of practicing these arts, and often the aims of the impostor and deceiver can be best secured by appealing to them. Such women are easily flattered; they are charmed by the graceful manners of religious instructors; they lend a willing ear to anything that has the appearance of religion, and their hearts are open to anything that promises to advance the welfare of the world. At the same time, they are just such persons as the propagators of error can rely upon. They have leisure; they have wealth; they are busy; they move about in society, and by their activity they obtain an influence to which they are by no means entitled by their piety or talents. There are, indeed, very many women in the world who cannot be so easily led away as men; but it cannot be denied also that there are those who are just adapted to the purposes of such as seek to spread plausible error."

The verse says that some women are easy prey to seducers, plain and simple, and we see the model of that in Genesis 3:1. So who are the good women teachers? Well, I don't know. But in one of the blog entries I referred to The Watchman's Bagpipes, a discernment and apologetics blog run by Glenn E. Chatfield. He had done a point by point look at the statements Beth Moore has made and did so with gentleness but truth.

Glenn E. Chatfield at The Watchman's Bagpipes said, "While maybe not noticed in her books, Beth Moore's arrogant and obnoxious behavior on her DVDs are something Christians should not emulate or even condone. Additionally, her teachings are rife with error and pop-psychology. Although Beth Moore indeed has some excellent teachings, her error is of the nature that she should be warned against and not given a pass because of her popularity. Women have much better role models in Kay Arthur, Joni Eareckson Tada, Jill Briscoe, Martha Peace and others."

Nancy Leigh DeMoss at Revive Our Hearts Ministries has also been recommended.

I have not personally partaken of any of the teachings of any of these women except for Kay Arthur, and in Kay I found no error. Kay teaches how to study the bible, precept by precept, and so her studies do a double duty. You learn the Word and you learn HOW to study the Word. But if you decide to investigate any of these women teachings yourself, then I feel if you have read all the blog entries on Beth Moore, have studied what the bible has to say about wisdom and discernment, and prayed, then you have a good grounding in how to detect solidity in biblical teaching, if it is there, and how to detect if it is not.

Philip Way wrote a good series on "Learn to Discern". Tim Challies also wrote a good book, "The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment." Because ultimately, sisters, it is not about Beth Moore. It is about us in our own walk and growth. Are we maturing? Do we rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth? Have we been practicing discernment? Can we detect whether we ourselves are a silly woman, held captive by sin, or are a sensible pious woman of Proverbs 31?

Pray much and rely on our Helper. In John 14:26 Jesus told the Apostles, "But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." And we know where reliance on Him and His Helper have led us since that time...to a world where the truth has blanketed it, leading us out of sin and darkness. To the only faith where we can know the truth, and know The Truth, personally. Rely on Him always and let Him lead you into good discernment.

16 comments:

  1. These posts have been hugely instructive and enlightening. I've even seen paces I need to examine in me. Thanks.

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  2. Thank you Emily. I've learned and grown a lot myself, where I needed to.

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  3. I really enjoyed this series. Thanks again for taking the time to blog this for us to read.

    While praying last night and this morning God just kept laying on my heart that we will know a false teacher or prophet by their teaching. If they do not teach Jesus then they are false. The He led me into if their ministry is not centered and focused on Jesus then they are false. It sounds to me that Beth is more centered around herself and her thoughts. This is wrong and I believe she is misled in the fact that being female she follows her feelings and not the Word. From what you have posted here I think she has good intentions but has missed the mark and that being Jesus Christ. He is our center, our focus. We should be revolving around His Word and not stray off into ourselves even if it is to relate to others. For we are full of sin and will end up messing up others who are searching for God.

    I agree with you that God created man and woman to be one and we need each other to balance each other out. My husband becomes too hard and stern and he needs me to soften his opinion up and I become too soft and I need him to keep me sharp.

    There is so much wisdom in the Word of God and when we live by it good things happen.

    Praying and praying for you today. :)

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  4. Thank you for your posts. Very thought provoking. Not only about things outside but in my own learning.
    I started with Precept, Kay Arthur, last year and will continue as I study God's word. She and others with Precept always point you right back to God's word and tell us to READ.

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  5. Hi Elizabeth,

    Firstly, I would like to commend you for your effort in this posting series. You have brought to light something that I have been perplexed about for a number of years now, How Christians are so easily decieved (especially church leaders), by whatever seems popular at the moment. If you have studied scripture, it shouldn't take too long to assess whether or not a teaching lines up with scripture.
    Yes, I can see how someone may have started with good intentions, and perhaps they might even realize that they had a good idea, but somewhere along the line they couldn't support their idea with scripture; and so being seduced by things like fame and wealth, they will try to manipulate scripture to fit the idea instead of correcting their thinking or motives to reflect God's Word (they would rather give the people what they want to hear instead). As to the wide acceptance of teachers, and authors, and others by the majority of mainstream Christianity today, well the first red flag to me is when the world begins to embrace a popular christian. This is in opposition to what Jesus teaches in (John 15:18-19)"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."

    If someone is qualified to teach the word of God, they must be prepared to be ridiculed or ignored by the majority of the world unless they decide to digress from the core teachings of the Word of God, which to the world is silliness. Face it, the 'world' in general either hates, or is indifferent about the Word of God.
    This doesn't mean we are to discount the validity of multitudes who come forth when called to salvation in a large setting as long as the invitation was to accept Jesus Christ. (the Jesus who suffered and died on the cross of calvary because of their sins, not the Jesus who loves them just the way they are- so don't worry about changing anything.)
    I'm glad I read through your blog, and also followed the link about eisegesis. I will be more careful myself now with what I write and say about scripture.
    As the church of Christ we need to remember this:
    Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked...
    Psalm 1:1-6

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  6. Thank you for both of your Beth Moore series. I pray that women will read them and come to realize the danger that Beth Moore's teachings pose to the Church.

    I only have one word of caution, and it is regarding Kay Arthur. While I have not personally done any of her studies, I do know that she has in the past participated in a "Deeper Still" (http://blogs.lifeway.com/blog/deeperstill/) event with both Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer (who I believe was also part of the "Be Still" DVD and who promotes contemplative prayer). Arthur also signed the ecumenical Manhattan Declaration. Like I said, I have not done any of her studies, but it seems that her choices in ministry partners may reveal a lack of discernment!

    Thank you again for your articles. They were well-written and, most importantly, rooted in Scripture. I have already linked to them on my own blog. I haven't taken the time to read all of the comment sections, but I'm sure you've noticed by now that speaking against Beth Moore is like opening a can of really mean worms, as evidenced by your friend's reaction at the Beth Moore event. We know, however, that standing for God's Truth will most often lead to persecution. His Gospel divides, but we are called to contend!

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  7. I note that almost everything said about he problems with Beth Moore's teaching cold be said of the majority of Southern Baptist teachers I have been exposed to since moving south 8 years ago. A lot of eisegesis, legalism, theatrics ("spittin' and hollerin'), but no richness, no depth... There are some who do get it, but by and large the poor preaching/teaching in the SBC, along with a lack of commitment to discipleship, discipline, and discernment, explains the 62% no show among SBC "members" each Sunday AM. Sadly, many of the Beth Moore followers have never had a good model to follow.

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  8. Amen, Jim. I agree with you 100%. Sad, isn't it? What I found was the reformed folks had the depth and richness, the biblical integrity, and the focus was on Jesus Christ. Think John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul. For the Baptist, this means finding a reformed Baptist church preferably.

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  9. Thanks for these posts. They have been so encouraging, showing me that others are taking notice of Beth Moore. I am going to read the other series of yours on her now, the "reactions to Living Proof" ones.

    I also have been concerned about Kay Arthur as most people who tire of Moore move on to her. She's less flashy but there is something about her that is still troubling to me. Lots of 'how to' and less emphasis on what Christ HAS done. Then again it's hard to get much from what is available online and I haven't had the opportunity to go to a seminar. I don't know that I would. I find just listening to people like John Macarthur, R W Glenn, White Horse Inn, Ligonier, Wretched Radio, Issues etc (confessional Lutheran radio) etc. to be far more spiritually nourishing than even the supposed 'highlights' I can find from any of these women teachers online... even the more solid ones you mention leave me bored to tears. Why are women so keen on spending money on a seminar listening to female teachers rather than good solid male teachers that are already out there and need our support?

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    1. I've done Precepts for over 14 years now & I don't think you quite understand Kay Arthur & Precepts Ministries. You would find a local Precepts class led by a Precepts trained leader. You do 5 days of homework, go to a 45 minute or so discussion group led by that trained leader & then listen to a 45 minute lecture by Kay or someone at Precepts. Precept Bible study teaches you HOW to study the Bible inductively. Kay stresses the importance of beginning every homework with prayer asking the Holy Spirit to teach you.

      Inductive Bible study is the method John MacArthur uses & I believe he is one of the most grounded Bible teachers alive today. You have to dig out truth for yourself in Precepts or you can read it for yourself in one of MacArthur's New Testament Commentaries. Unfortunately MacArthur hasn't done any OT studies while Precepts has.

      Personally, I enjoy digging out truth for myself then if it is a New Testament study read what MacArthur says. That is a win-win!!!

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    2. Hi Anonymous,

      Thanks for the good comment. MacArthur began OT studies a bit earlier this year. Not verse by verse, but his topic is 'Jesus in the OT'. Check it out... :) Thanks again!

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  10. I just found your blog and I am glad I did. My wife is just starting a Beth Moore Bible study. I appreciate your comments. It will be very helpful as we discuss what she is learning. Thanks.

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  11. I think that male Bible teachers get jealous of successful female Bible teachers. But seriously, men can be quite boring. I believe that's why women prefer the company of women in general.

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    1. As conversational styles go, Men are problem solvers and women are relational chatters. Men speak to deliver information or solve a problem. Women create meaning by connecting with others through talk. Both kinds of conversations have a different purpose, and for the most part, neither crosses the lines to the other kind of talk.

      As teachers though, the informational, problem solving style of talk is better in the educational setting. It is why I prefer male teachers.

      I do not think that as a general rule men are jealous of successful bible teachers. There may be exceptions, of course.

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  12. I have been through some Beth Moore Bible studies. Some of those I do not have complaints about. I just purchased an outline for her Roman's study, and I could not afford the prices for the complete Romans study books. I was hoping I could fill it out based on the Scriptures, but she refers too heavily to commentaries, people's comments etc. and I cannot get past the first page because of that. I have two degrees in Biblical studies, I'm not stupid.

    I am glad that Beth Moore can stir women toward the Word, but I hope people will want to go deeper in the Word and seek out a study like Precepts. I have been under the teaching of another woman who was better than most men teachers. I don't think you can throw out a study because it is by a woman. All preachers and teachers need to be weighed as to the Biblical teachings and any possible cult or spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is a big deal these days and I have experienced it. It can be very subtle and very damaging.

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    1. I am not saying to throw out a study because it is by a woman. Not at all.

      You throw out a study when its teachings or its teacher veer from the solid word of God. Mrs Moore's does. If the study was by MISTER Moore, I'd recommend the same thing.

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