Posted in theology

Does the SBC and Lifeway apply a double standard to Beth Moore? Open Letter follow-up

By Elizabeth Prata

There has been quite a hue and cry over the Open Letter to Beth Moore that I and 5 other ladies published on June 18. That is a direct testament to the influence and fame of Beth Moore. In the Letter we posed 5 simple questions, asking her to make clear her stance on homosexuality.

Huge Following, Huge Influence means Souls are at Stake

Living Proof Ministries (LPM) participated in multiple conferences and simulcasts last year. Moore taught at LPLive events plus other various events with a total of 284k total attendees. Her weekly TV program reached 2.7m households. 24,000 units of her video and written material were shipped. LPM’s online ministry outreach utilizes Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, Moore’s social media which currently have a combined following of 1.6 million people. Once we add in the people who access Moore’s teachings via LPM’s app, various non-official Youtube videos, and the Living Proof Blog, her following reaches well over 2 million people.

We asked, because Moore’s partnerships and affirmation of gay-affirming Jen Hatmaker and Jonathan Merritt are seem to indicate a tacit approval of homosexuality. Hatmaker’s own following is considerable- 1.3 million followers on FB, IG, and Twitter.

That is a lot of souls being reached with the message that the homosexual lifestyle is OK, that homosexual marriage can be holy, and that homosexual marriage can be part of Christianity. Souls, who are actively being taught by Hatmaker and Merritt that their chosen lifestyle is one that needs no repenting, and that Moore, by her plaudits and approvals and partnerships with Hatmaker and Merritt, yet her conspicuous silence on clearly repudiating the behavior as sin, also makes the statement that homosexuality needs no repenting of.

Souls, who, unless that are taught clearly and unequivocally the truth, will find themselves cast into hell forever.

SBC’s Double Standard when applied to Moore

In addition, there is another grave concern. Many people have noticed a wobble in the Southern Baptist Convention, a softening, like butter left on the counter for too long. We know that in the past the SBC has been staunch on its commitment to biblical truth. We know that they claim to stand on biblical truth now, but there is also some confusion about how and when they apply their own biblical litmus tests.

SBC’s Litmus Test

As Michelle Lesley explained in her interview with Andrew Rappaport, the SBC has made homosexuality a litmus test for whether churches can be in friendly cooperation with the SBC. If you are a church that supports homosexuality or are a pastor who says that it’s not a sin, or that it’s OK, your church is in danger of being disfellowshipped from the Convention. That has happened a handful of times over the last several years. Churches have been removed for standing on the unbiblical side of homosexuality. So, the SBC has made homosexuality a litmus test for churches.

Here’s an example of such a disfellowshipping reported by the Baptist Press.

Lifeway’s Litmus Test

Lifeway, the bookselling arm of the SBC, has also made homosexuality a litmus test for its authors. Two years ago Lifeway pulled Jen Hatmaker’s books from its shelves when Hatmaker affirmed her LGBT beliefs, and stated that homosexual marriage can be holy. Lifeway’s response was,

“In a recent interview, [Hatmaker] voiced significant changes in her theology of human sexuality and the meaning and definition of marriage—changes which contradict LifeWay’s doctrinal guidelines,” LifeWay spokesman Marty King said Thursday. “As a result, LifeWay has discontinued selling her resources.” Source

Hatmaker was clear in her statement regarding homosexuality. Lifeway was equally clear in their response. If there is one thing to admire about Jen Hatmaker, as unbiblical as her beliefs are, she is crystal clear about what they are and is unashamed to promote them, even in the face of lost revenue from Lifeway.

Beth Moore has not been clear. Sadly, Moore’s continued support of and partnerships with those who promote the ungodly lifestyle make her position very unclear. Six days after the Letter was published, Moore finally issued a series of tweets that seemed to be a response to the Letter, while avoiding mention of the Letter, omitted mention of homosexuality, and indignantly muddied the waters with a victim attitude. This actually made things worse.

So here are the questions:

Beth Moore is the best selling author that Lifeway has. (Source). Moore brings in to Lifeway more money than any other author, than any other conference speaker. Her net worth as of last tax year was 14 million dollars. She brings in so much money that Lifeway can afford to usher Mrs Moore around to her conferences in a private jet.

So, does the SBC and its arm, Lifeway, only apply its litmus test on the sin of homosexuality to others but not their favored ones?

Why should Beth Moore not have to answer the same questions that Hatmaker did? Or as Eugene Peterson did?

Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16 to watch your doctrine and your life. Living clearly on the right side of biblical, moral lines is important for any leader, then as now, because the world watches. They have to know where the lines are.

Lifeway has a doctrinal standard they place on their authors, and though Moore has not written about homosexuality in her books or studies (except a few sentences in her 1997 book “To Live is Christ”), her approvals and partnerships with people who are on the wrong side of the issue makes for lines that are smeared and blurred. Millions who follow Moore are living in that blurry part of the line. Moore can easily clear that up, and make the lines sharp, so that her followers know on which side she stands.

One thing Mrs Moore can learn from Jen Hatmaker, that even though she is in error, Jen is clear and fearless regarding homosexuality.

Souls.

Since the SBC and Lifeway have made homosexuality a litmus test, why should SBC pastors, churches, Lifeway authors, Hatmaker, and Peterson have to make it clear where they stand on homosexuality, but not Beth Moore?

Most interesting of all, why has someone at Lifeway not asked these questions and had Moore answer them? If they have asked, and Moore has answered them, would the SBC/Lifeway please let the millions of souls who follow Beth Moore know? Eternities are at stake.

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PS: Some ladies have asked why Beth Moore’s stance on homosexuality is my business. I am a member of a Southern Baptist Convention church. Since I am a SBC member and Beth Moore is a SBC member, this issue is my business.

Resources on this issue:

Some Moore defenders have stated that Moore hasn’t answered because she isn’t sure, or is too busy, or it would take too much time. I issued a series of tweets where the answer from pastors and evangelical leaders are so pithy they could be contained in one tweet. Here they are, and the sources from which these statements came. I invite you to listen or read, for further exploration.

John MacArthur:
Homosexuality and the Campaign for Immorality

Unimaginable that American leadership and people would join together in giving hearty approval to the destructive, deadly, damning sin of homosexuality.

RC Sproul:
Homosexuality (series)

In the Old Testament homosexual practices were considered not only sinful, but of a gross and heinous sinfulness.

Ray Comfort, Living Waters:
Coming out of the Closet on Homosexuality

In the same way we can’t say that gays may enter Heaven, because according to the Bible, that’s not true. We have it from the greatest Authority on earth that nothing unclean in God’s sight will enter Heaven—no fornicator, idolater, liar, thief, blasphemer, adulterer, sexually immoral person, or homosexual will enter (see 1 Corinthians 6:9,10). Yet some who profess to be Christians betray homosexuals by lying to them and saying, “All is well. Step through the doors. You will be okay.” We cannot do that, because we love you and want you to make it to Heaven.

John Piper:
Why is Homosexuality Wrong?

I think it’s implied clearly and spoken clearly in Romans 1:24-29 that homosexuality is wrong and to be avoided.

Further links on this subject:

Michelle Lesley: Mailbag: Questions about the Open Letter to Beth Moore

Michelle Lesley: Michelle on Rapp Report Podcast, interview regarding the Open Letter, Complementarianism, and more

DebbieLynne Kespert: Did I Publish The Open Letter To Beth Moore In Order To Get People To Read The Outspoken TULIP? 

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5 thoughts on “Does the SBC and Lifeway apply a double standard to Beth Moore? Open Letter follow-up

  1. Articulated very well and strongly makes the case of Beth Moore mistakenly taking the side of neutrality when biblically there is no such thing. Great job Elizabeth Prata! All glory to God.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. John MacArthur said from the pulpit on June 23rd, that “same sex attraction IS SIN.” He is aware of the Open Letter, and I believe he had this situation, and likely Revoice, in mind when he said it. He even commented on the Bachelorette this week, quoting her saying, “I’ve had sex, but Jesus still loves me” as he described the prevalent presumption that once saved one can go on sinning with immunity. His current sermon series from Col. 3 is very much aimed at addressing the church’s continuing capitulation to cultural norms and ideologies. The sermons are incredibly apropos to this moment in time, and all times. I will list the sermons so that you can look for them when they are published at gty.org I so wish that someone would send these sermons to Beth Moore and that she would listen to them in full.

    6-16-19 Leaving the World to Reach the World, Col. 3:1-4

    6-23-19 Sanctification: Dying to Live, Col. 3:5-9

    6-23-19 Gospel Honesty (Evening service–start of Missionary Conference)
    He talked quite a bit about the elevated levels of judgement that will be experienced in accordance with one’s exposure to the gospel, and that we, as Christians, need to warn people we share the gospel with, of this.

    Elizabeth, all that you said here is on target. There absolutely MUST be pressure on SBC leaders and pastors to make public statements regarding Beth Moore’s non-response responses to the questions you’ve posed. They also need to do the same regarding her dangerous teaching. I wrote a 100+ page review of her ever-popular, Breaking Free (copyright 2000), study that millions of women have been through, which is chock-full of false gospel. It has sold so well that she did some offshoot books associated with it. When Priscilla Shirer asked Beth Moore in an interview which was her favorite study she had written, Beth said, “Breaking Free”.
    I prayed for Beth this morning, that God would bring conviction where needed and that she would repent. This should serve as a warning: https://twitter.com/WWUTTcom/status/1143566299257348096 If you haven’t read this article by pastor Gabe about Rachel Held Evans, regarding the conversation he was having with her right before her sudden death.

    Keep up the good work for the honor of His name, and the safety of the mislead sheep.
    P.S. I’m Susan Baker on Twitter

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