By Elizabeth Prata
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.