By Elizabeth Prata
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.
“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. This parroting practice 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, except maybe His expectation that we offer Him worship and praise. 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”
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” as she put it. Yet every single person in the Bible was a depraved flawed sinner that God used.
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. Trials build faith. 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 and obedience. At that, even the disobedient prophet Jonah was used for the kingdom…
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.
“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.