By Elizabeth Prata
I’ve done a 7-part series on Beth Moore, and now I have a few blog entries in mind to share as my reaction from the 6-hour teaching we received in Charlotte at her Living Proof tour. If you are sick of Beth Moore stuff, I don’t blame you…I don’t like to write on one subject so long, myself. But I do think it is important to examine what she teaches. Here’s why:
The Living Proof Tour: Charlotte NC was held in the Time Warner Cable arena, seating about 18,000. The first teaching session on Friday night was held from 7-9:30 pm, and Mrs Moore said that there were about 10,000 present, from two nations (Canada) and 34 states. The second session was on Saturday and the arena was considerably more filled. I’d estimate there were around 12,000 present. One woman I spoke with in the hotel lobby as the ladies were gathering to head out to the Saturday session said that she had driven in the night before from Michigan, twelve straight hours and then went directly to the Friday night session.
|Scene is not from my trip, it is from here.|
So we have thousands and thousands of Christians pouring in from over half the United States AND Canada to hear 6 hours of Bible teaching. Either this is a very, very good thing, or it is a very, very bad thing. Are these women that in love with the Bible? Are they that in love with Beth Moore? Or is it both?
For one woman standing in the long, slowly moving vendor’s line, that was clearly answered for me. Let me set the stage for you first before I get to the conversation we had. The area outside the arena was full of energy and bustle. Cars, church buses and ladies from the parking lot moving at a half-trot made the 107-degree pavement outside the entry doors a beehive of activity. Women clutching Bibles were streaming in from all directions, all streets, and made a line at the doors go down and around the block. It was general seating, there were no assigned seats. When the doors opened at 5:30 for the 7:00 start, a loud cheer went up and reverberated under the portico, where the lucky ones who’d arrived even earlier got to stand in some shade. At the doors, security men and women checked our bags, but likely all that they found in them were Bibles, tissues, and notebooks.
Inside, there was a rush for the seating, refined and polite, as women from the south will do. We found 20 seats together and then my friends scattered to check out the vendors for dinner, since we had driven straight there ourselves and hadn’t eaten lunch nor supper. We were sorely disappointed to find that a hot dog cost $7.50 and a bottle of water was $4. Prices were tripled. I understand that vendors have a captive audience and that prices at hotels and at arenas where most captive audiences congregate are usually higher, but this was grossly excessive to me. I know Beth Moore has nothing to do with the vendors or the pricing, but I was still disgusted. I wasn’t the only one. Women up and down the lines were grumbling. Tonight was going to be a place of worship for 10,000 women and the money lenders and den of thieves had set up outside the temple. It was the impression I got anyway.
As I stood in the long line I struck up a chat with the lady behind me. The conversation between myself (EP) and the anonymous woman (AW) went like this:
EP: Have you gone to a Beth Moore Bible teaching before?
AW: I’ve been following her for 11 years. I’ve done all her studies. The Breaking Free study was really good, because it’s all about yourself.
EP: What am I ‘breaking free’ from?
AW: See, there are all these holes in us. And they fill up with bad stuff.
EP: Like what stuff?
AW: Any bad things in the world, tv, addictions. Your past. There’s a hole God puts in us too but the holes Beth Moore talks about are the strongholds. Beth Moore helps us break free.
[I was struck by how she equalized the God-hole that fills with grace when we accept Jesus and the holes Beth Moore tells us we’re pock marked with].
EP: What if I don’t have anything to break free from?
AW: Oh, you’d be surprised! We all do! That’s what Beth Moore teaches! That’s what I learned during the study!
EP: Are you broken free now?
AW: Yes, now I can live the abundant life.
EP You’re looking forward to tonight, then?
AW: Yes. I mean, I’ve gone to so many of her talks I’ve heard her testimony so many times I know her family even better than I know my own! I even know her dogs’ names and all that, but I’m still looking forward to it.
EP: How is the Bible part of it?
AW: Oh, that’s good too.
Oh my. If this one woman is any indication, we have a significant cult of personality going on here. I think it is safe to say that we have a Beth Moore groupie… Where is Jesus is in this? It was a question I was going to be asking myself constantly over the next hours and day. Now I know that one woman does not a cult of personality make, but the scene at the arena, the astounding influence her books, lessons, tv show on Life Today, and her studies are having on Christian women everywhere needs to be examined thoroughly. Is this what worship and Bible study has come to these days?
Britton’s review of the Breaking Free study in part 4 of my series “Troubled by Beth Moore’s Teaching: Legalism“, and I’m going to link to it again. I urge you to please read it in its entirety, because it sets up the threads for the next blog entry and actually for the basis of my objections to anything and everything Beth Moore. I call it “Why women need to break free from Beth Moore” and here is a Paige Britton excerpt from the review of ‘Breaking Free’:
“Beth Moore’s book Breaking Free: Making Liberty in Christ a Reality in Life is a condensation of her video-based Bible study of the same name. Written for Christian women, Breaking Free offers readers and participants the “diagnostic tools” to identify and address “areas of captivity” in their lives (p.21). These areas of captivity are variously identified as spiritual oppression, wounds and disappointments, God’s chastisement, mediocre discipleship, and dissatisfaction with the Christian life. Ten central chapters are devoted to exploring the “ancient ruins” and “old bones” of generational sins and past wounds (pp.81-135). From her reading of Galatians 5:1, Moore assumes that Christians can “return to a yoke of bondage” and require further instruction regarding their deliverance (p.21). She assures readers that, whatever their area of captivity, through her study they will indeed enter “the promised land” of “absolute,” “genuine” freedom and liberation, defined as “the abundant and effective Spirit-filled life God has planned” for each individual (pp. xiiif., 34, 2).”
“Throughout her book Moore prioritizes the subjective, experiential elements of the Christian faith. The most serious error resulting from this emphasis is the implication that Christ’s death actually did not secure for us true freedom or the “abundant life” that he promised his followers. Evidently we need to learn some new information and follow some new laws before we can “ignite” the abundant life, or, to put it another way, before God can “deliver us from the bonds that are withholding abundant life” and “set [us] free to be everything He planned” (pp.41, 177, 53, 51). Early on she hints that a secondary “filling” is necessary for the believer to be truly free: “The filling only He can give does not automatically accompany our salvation…”
In preparation for the trip this weekend, I studied Beth Moore intensively. I watched about ten clips from Life Today. I read three transcripts from several of her teachings. I recalled my notes from the ‘Loving Well’ study I’d forgotten I’d participated in last April at our church’s ladies retreat. I read reviews and blog entries about her of trusted men and women in discernment ministries. I re-read Tim Challies’ “The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment” book. I prayed, and I read the Bible as the Holy Spirit led. I wrote the 7-part series containing my initial conclusions. But I was looking forward to experiencing the phenomenon first hand. There is nothing like being there with no filter to see what’s what. I was hoping, really hoping to have my previous conclusions dispelled. They weren’t. This trip offered me an opportunity to study Beth Moore first hand, and I finalized many conclusions. One of them is that far from leading women into the truths of the Bible, Beth Moore is putting women in bondage.
More in the next blog entry.