Friday, February 21, 2014

An editorial about Beth Moore's teaching, and her followers

This is an opinion editorial.

Pam Terrell runs the blog "The Secret Life of a Pastor's Wife". Mrs Terrell recently published a critique of Beth Moore, here. The same thing happened to her as happens with anyone who says anything negative about Mrs Moore. Her next post was titled "The Day My Blog Blew Up."

Wikipedia CC
Mrs Terrell explained what happened, and how many comments she had received. Some were positive, along the lines of 'thank you for posting this discerning information about a false teacher.' Others were rabidly angry that their idol had been poked.

I sympathized with her. I had previously quoted Mrs Terrell in one of my many, many, MANY essays about Beth Moore but I had not seen the follow up. Every other blogger that I've read who posted something negative about Beth Moore (and they were few & far between for a long while, whistling in the wind) ALL got the same reactions, the same content in the comments, even. One thing I read recently that hit me is "to see if something is an idol, poke it and see how the followers react."

One comment that people who try to defend Moore's teaching say a lot is that "you're jealous." The 'you're jealous' comment perplexes me the most. Commenters reacting to my pieces on Moore also say that I'm inhibiting people from delving into the word, it's just my opinion, and I need to stop being critical. Not one ever comes up with a biblical reason to rebut my biblical reason for taking issue with Moore's teachings. That's because there aren't any.

Saying ANYTHING negative about Beth Moore provokes a rabid-push back. Lately though, and thankfully too, some men have been speaking out against her methods and her false theology. Todd Friel, Mike Abendroth, Justin Peters, Jim Murphy, Tim Challies and Matt Slick at Christian Research and Apologetics Ministry (all pastors) have all recently said negative things about Moore in one aspect or another, based on her handling of the bible and what/how she teaches. I wonder if these female commenters would say that the men are "jealous" too!

Moore makes weak disciples because her teachings promote straying from from sola scriptura, providing a poor model for the new Christians coming up. She makes doubters, offers legalism, and puts in lots of conditions to faith. As a result, people wander from Jesus-the-rock and becoming scared of their doubts (i.e 'am I doing faith right?') they go back to Moore. It's why she has so many groupies.

It's hard, as a discernment person, to see so vividly how the false ones are damaging the faith and striking the sheep. I worry deeply and almost every day for women in my own congregation. So my fears are not just for the women 'out there' but also 'in here'.


Moore, Rick Warren and formerly Billy Graham have been the 20th century's worst wolves, and I am sad to say I have to put Osteen in that category too now. I say 'sad' because it's so OBVIOUS Osteen is false, but increasingly, people don't see it. At least Moore, Graham and Warren hid their apostasy for so long that it took a keen eye and a God-delivered wisdom to detect it. In other words, props for subtle cunning. Osteen is just blatantly blasphemous. However the bible does say that apostasy will increase, and Osteen certainly is evidence of that.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables”
(2 Timothy 4:3-4).
My sadness with Moore is now she is passing into the grandma stage, an elder woman of the faith, meaning she has been around so long she has birthed spiritual daughters...just like Revelation 2:20-23 says of the false prophetess-type Jezebel.

This is a subject near to my heart. I just want to run around to every woman and put my arms around them to protect them. But my arms are too short. The way to do that is prayer. Jesus's arms are long enough.

20 comments:

  1. Hi Elizabeth,

    I praise God for ANY believer who is willing to denounce any false teacher/teaching, such as Moore.

    I weep for the idolaters in the church who follow these false teachers.

    I have nothing but disdain for the pastors who promote these false teachers.

    -Carolyn

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    1. I too commend you Elizabeth for standing against false teachers who are so many these days. The sheep seem to be mostly blind to the wolves among us.

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    2. Hi Kem and Carolyn,

      Thanks so much!! I appreciate that you took the time to read the piece and also to let me know your kind thoughts. If you have time, maybe go over to Pam's blog to encourage her, too? :)

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    3. Hi Elizabeth, as I don't have any online profile, I cannot post on Pam T's website.

      As for what Grace to You said below... While I agree that Terrell's critique of Moore had to do more with Moore's style than the more serious issue of Moore's false teachings, Terrell's comments are still valid and necessary. As you said, Elizabeth, delivery matters too. God's word is timeless, and relevant for any people group, any culture, any part of the world, at any time in history or the future, because He is the unchanging God whose word transcends all things.

      So when a preacher or teacher, including a women's teacher, has a style that is skewed, it detracts from God's word. Human wisdom empties the cross of its power.

      I don't think Terrell was out of line, even for a pastor's wife, to say what she did about Moore. Terrell is right. And she was just commenting on her observations, from having moved from the south to the Midwest. How much moreso would her concerns be valid, taking Moore's teaching to foreign countries?

      And as you said, Elizabeth, no matter "what" people criticize about Moore, her idolatrous followers always raise Cain.

      -Carolyn

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  2. Please believe me when I say I am not trying to stir up dissension with my comment, but I did want to mention something.

    I think it is an important distinction that your criticism of Mrs. Moore is her handling of the Bible, whereas Mrs. Terrell’s criticisms are too much homework; too many long personal stories in the homework; Mrs. Moore’s homey, cheesy, girl banter style not translating well in the Midwest; and the patronizing of women, strict gender stereotyping and religious speak.

    I’m no fan of Beth Moore, and Mrs. Terrell’s points are all valid, but they fall well below the charge of false teaching. They are simply opinions, since there is no Biblical admonition against any of the things she mentioned. We all have opinions, but do they ever really need to be thrown out into the public square? Discretion is a desirable trait. On the other hand, I would have been delighted to read of her concern with Mrs. Moore’s handling of the Bible, as you have written.

    Mrs. Terrell doesn’t seem to want to be held to a higher standard; it is sad that she doesn’t understand leaders will be judged with greater strictness (James 3:1). I don’t know whether pastors’ wives are considered leaders, but I would imagine that for most people their pastor’s wife’s opinion carries more weight than the average sister’s does, hence the need for discretion.

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    1. Grace To You,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I agree with you on everything you said. Plus, it's very wise and well-stated to boot.

      I agree the content of Mrs Terrell's comment is more aligned with opinion. As far as her opinion of Mrs Moore's style and embeddedness in the south, I believe tangentially it has to do with the bible. When I quoted Mrs Terrell in a recent blog essay about false teachers, including Moore, I wrote,

      "If a teacher doesn't translate it is because they are embedded in the world and using the world's language- the wrong language. God's word always translates because He transcends distance and time."

      However as you said it is always best to compare with the bible to see if a teacher's work should be accepted. I found it interesting that even though Terrell's words were only opinions and she wasn't making a biblical charge of being false, Moore's followers *still* blasted her blog with negative comments. No other teacher is as protected as Moore in terms of the followers rabidly defending her work.

      I agree with your comment about whether a pastor's wife is considered a leader, but in any case discretion is the better art of valor. Good thought.

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    2. Thanks for your kind comments.

      "If a teacher doesn't translate it is because they are embedded in the world and using the world's language- the wrong language. God's word always translates because He transcends distance and time."

      I agree with this wholeheartedly, but it's interesting that Mrs. Terrell's complaint that Beth Moore uses too much religious speak is kind of the opposite from this.

      "I found it interesting that even though Terrell's words were only opinions and she wasn't making a biblical charge of being false, Moore's followers *still* blasted her blog with negative comments. No other teacher is as protected as Moore in terms of the followers rabidly defending her work."

      Well, I suppose they're full of opinions just like Mrs. Terrell is. :) I don't agree with their opinions, but it's obvious they love Mrs. Moore, and I daresay anyone would react the same way if someone they love was being ridiculed in the public square. That's why opinions should mostly be kept to oneself, I suppose. It's kind of sad this whole thing started. Even though I agree with Mrs. Terrell's opinions, what do you think she hoped to gain from airing them? I don't see how any expectation of edification would be reasonable, but maybe I'm just not seeing it.

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    3. Hello Grace To You,

      What I took from her essay is that the homework issue wasn't so much a matter of too much homework, but that it was busy work that didn't enrich or extend the lesson. She had written: "there's a difference between spending time in scripture and doing silly homework/busywork like writing a specific verse three time or going on a biblical wild goose chase looking up random verses that really don't pertain."

      I agree with that.

      That Beth Moore doesn't appeal to women outside the south again to me isn't so much a matter of accent or heritage, but of the shallowness of her approach to teaching. I enjoy David Martyn Lloyd Jones despite the accent and living in a different time. I enjoy Ravi Zacharias despite his accent and cultural heritage which informs his testimony. With Beth Moore, she trades on deeply embedded cultural stereotypes, and women outside her small sphere of the deep south are turned off, including me. If the content was there, perhaps I could overlook the girl banter, hair jokes and smarmy use of southern cliches. The fact that we can't means that the content is lacking. It only serves to highlight how shallow she is. Zacharias and Lloyd-Jones's content is deep, hence being able to quickly forget the accent and cultural examples. This is because the word transcends.

      Mrs Terrell wrote "as a church planter's wife, I have realized how much religious-speak peppers Beth Moore's speech. We spend much of our time with people who have no experience in the church and have limited exposure to the Bible. Beth Moore is hard to follow because of all of the religious language she uses and spiritual assumptions she makes."

      I agree with this too. Teachers should just teach the word, plainly. We don't need to sparkle it up with girl banter and cliches and religious assumptions. Just because Moore grew up in church doesn't mean we all did and that we know what she means when she says certain things. Even secular teachers know this. However in my opinion it is more evidence of padding to disguise the lack of depth in her teachings. If you read her 'studies' or her books, fully 1/2 to 3/4 of the content is personal anecdotes.

      As far as what the blogger hoped to get out of writing, I don't know. I'm not her. However as a blogger I know that I work out my thoughts by writing and we learn by sharing, so perhaps she was surprised that her growth now included a distancing away from Moore and she was perhaps startled that a teacher she had so enjoyed in the past, now looked at in a different way or thru the eyes of a different female population, is not as glamorous or as deep as she previously thought. But again, I don't know what she hoped to gain. I know from personal experience when I began researching Moore a few years ago, that anything negative about her teaching was hard to find. There were very few reviews that weren't glowing but very few that were discerning or even negative on a personal level. There are way more negative reviews of Billy Graham than Beth Moore. So when I came across one, it felt good to know I wasn't crazy or the ONLY one who felt this way. I am sure there were women who contacted Mrs Terrell who had had the same experience and while that isn't biblically edifying it is very comforting fellowship-wise.

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    4. “That Beth Moore doesn't appeal to women outside the south again to me isn't so much a matter of accent or heritage, but of the shallowness of her approach to teaching. If the content was there, perhaps I could overlook the girl banter, hair jokes and smarmy use of southern cliches.”

      If the content was there, the girl banter, hair jokes and smarmy clichés probably wouldn’t be.

      “Mrs Terrell wrote ‘as a church planter's wife, I have realized how much religious-speak peppers Beth Moore's speech.’ I agree with this too.”

      Having grown up in a Christian home and been exposed to Bible teaching my whole life, I guess I’m not as aware of “religious-speak” as I ought to be.

      “I am sure there were women who contacted Mrs Terrell who had had the same experience and while that isn't biblically edifying it is very comforting fellowship-wise.”

      I can’t help but wonder if Mrs. Terrell would agree, if one of the members of the church her husband pastors wrote a blog post enumerating the things she didn’t care for personally (not doctrinal issues she disagreed with, just differences of opinion) about the pastor and/or his wife and the way they do things. I can’t imagine she would be able to appreciate it, even (let’s be real – especially) if it was comforting to other church members who had been feeling the same way.

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  3. When I see things like this I think of 2 Timothy 4:3-4: "For the time will come when people 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. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." I expect this kind of rabid dog behavior from atheists, but when it comes from other supposed Christians, it makes me sad. If Jesus really has created a new heart in someone, it surely shouldn't be full of venom.

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  4. Today is my first time visiting this site. I gotta say I'm stunned by all I have read here. I've just recently started seeking a personal relationship with Christ. I don't have much knowledge of the bible, having never read or been able to understand what I tried to read. I came across Beth Moores books for free recently, and downloaded 5 of them. I've read about the apostales and Jesus in her books. I haven't been able to bring myself to read the "self help" books that I downloaded by her (at least they look like self help books). Anyway..what brought me to this site is the small church I've been attending has recently decided to conform to the Remnant Church teachings. It has my parents and I concerned because the research we have done about this church leads us to believe it may be a cult. They are based out of Tennessee. This morning I was doing a search on Remnant and came accross Beth Moores name as being a speaker at some of their functions. Further searches eventually brought me here. I'm truley feeled knocked back by everthing I've read. I guess what I want to ask is if anyone knows anything about the Remnant church. Is it a cult? I'm definately going to study my bible and pray for understanding. I'd also like to ask anyone who reads this to please pray for me. Thank you in advance for any replies.

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    1. I just saw your comment recently…I did a bit of reading on the group you mentioned (had never heard of it before) and it is definitely something to stay away from. Reading your Bible and praying for understanding is an excellent thing to be doing! Ask the LORD to show you which group of believers He would like you to worship with. The Shepherd is always willing to lead His sheep – it’s the sheep that don’t always want to be led. If you do want to be led, then you can trust that He will guide you to the right place. I will be praying for just that!

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Grace To You, no I haven't followed up yet. I've been researching some things for people in my local church and have not had a chance to get to it yet, regrettably. Thank you for asking and also for your offer. Go right ahead with a reply if you like. Thank you so much.

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  6. Hey Elizabeth - I deleted my comment since it had my email address in it.

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    1. Grace To You I'm SO sorry! It slipped by me, I wasn't thinking. I apologize profusely!

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    2. No problem - just wanted you to know why it was missing. :)

      On a side note, I want to tell you how much I appreciate what you've been sharing about autism. I didn't know much about it before, and I am really glad to have a greater understanding of it and of you.

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    3. Thank you VERY much Grace To You. :)

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  7. Did you ever hear back from the anonymous commenter asking about Remnant church teachings?

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