By Elizabeth Prata
Wanted: SBC Church desires a substitute Sunday School Teacher for women. Term: 1-year. Prefer untrained young candidate, motivational speaking a plus. Responsibilities: Teach the word of God eisegetically to women older than yourself. It’s OK if you just think up things to speak about on Saturday night and then match some scriptures to your thoughts. Note: We will let you flounder for 9 months of the 1-year term before stepping in to help. And even then, we will only expect you to take 1 doctrine class. Bonus: Afterward, consider yourself equipped for a 35-year Bible teaching career!!
Don’t you love genesis stories? How things began? I watched the original episode that got Paladin started on his “Have Gun – Will Travel” career. That popular TV show from the 1950s and 1960s where the main character goes around fixing wrongs, featured Richard Boone, the good man in a black hat. Or the pilot episode of Gilligan’s Island (that went missing until 1992?) Did you know John MacArthur started as a youth pastor? Or that Phil Johnson started as a proofreader? Or how the universe began? Fortunately, we can read that genesis story in Genesis, starting with “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth …”
How did Beth Moore get started? The Southern Baptist Convention’s darling and biggest moneymaker Beth Moore started as a motivational speaker completely untrained for handling the word of God and in fact floundered in eisegesis for 9 months and even afterward only took 1 class in doctrine. The job description above is accurate, not a spoof or made up. It’s taken directly from Beth Moore’s own mouth as she related her genesis story to Transformation Church in a sermon to that congregation in May 2019.
Beth Moore began in her early 20s as a Christian motivational speaker. Beth herself stated in May 2019 at Transformation Church during her famous Mother’s Day sermon to the congregation that “I was already what you’d call a Christian motivational speaker.” When she was 27 years old, her church asked her to substitute teach a women’s Sunday School class of 28-31 year olds. The regular teacher was pregnant, and they needed a teacher to teach the class for one year. The youngest person in the Sunday School class was older than she was, Beth noted.
She said “It was a treacherous year”. Why? This inexperienced young motivational speaker, charged with teaching people older than herself, was thrown into the deep end with no support and no training. Further, she was a young woman teaching older ones, instead of as Paul advises in Titus, the other way around. The mistakes are multiple and overwhelming. Mistakes like this have conseqences for the entire Church, not just a local church, as we will see.
‘The church’ as Moore identified, had asked her to do something for which she was biblically unqualified on several levels. We don’t know who asked her to teach, she only says ‘the church’ asked her. ‘The church’ should know better. In the first place, a wise elder board or pastoral staff should be raising up men and women for these positions. It’s their literal job to keep an eye out for teachable anointed ones and train them up for the edification of the body so that when opportunities come, they are ready to install a trained, if hopefully experienced, man or women. Throwing a young, inexperienced woman into a class where the total job is to handle the Word rightly, is against so many scriptures. (Titus 2:3-4; Hebrews 5:12; Proverbs 1:5, Acts 8:30-31; 1 Peter 5:5-7…).
If Moore was humble, she would have declined. If she was wise, she would have asked for help early on, instead of allowing her “treacherous year” to continue so long to the NON-edification of herself and the other women.
Sadly, the floundering method Moore employed for herself, “thinking up stuff to say and then matching verses to it the night before” as she stated, never stopped. When I attended a Living Proof Live event in 2011, she related to us this exact scenario as to how she arrived at her two-day lessons she’d be delivering at the conference. She was still doing it, years later. Her early mistake became cemented-in.
Even more sadly, this widespread penchant for installing untrained and unready people into leadership positions continues, despite what the Bible says about qualifications of leaders. Rachel Held Evans, Jen Hatmaker, Beth Moore, Joshua Harris, Mark Driscoll, Jennie Allen, all examples taking advantage of the millennium’s global platforms to launch themselves untrained in positions of authority and teaching. With book deals. As conference speakers. With web pages or Instagram accounts intent on ‘building a brand’ and gaining followers rather than training up in the word.
It is a recipe for apostasy. Indeed, those I just mentioned are either gone or in the process of it. In fact, Moore just this week singled out Same-Sex Attraction (SSA) celibacy as a “tremendous sacrifice“. “Let’s not be scandalized by what I’m about to say” she began, saying that SSA people who have dignity have “chosen to fellowship with Him [Christ]” by “choosing celibacy”. And that she has recently read about “my culture” and “gotten to know my culture” and that “it’s not our parents’ world”, and “we need to have good conversations and dialog.” Anyone with a finger on the evangelical pulse knows those are code words for soon claiming homosexual acceptance.
It’s the very reason we don’t put untrained, unguided, uneducated, youths into positions of care or teaching. Would you seek a doctor answering to the job description I’d posted above? A lawyer with pedigree of Beth Moore? A motivational speaker with one law class? Of course not. So why do so many churches install the young and untrained? Souls are at stake. The spotless name of Jesus is at stake.
Put into position of leadership early, we were all both horrified and grieved at Josh Harris’s departure-from-the-faith announcement, an utter rejection of Christ and all His holiness and righteousness. At age 23 he ran a Christian magazine. Three years later he was tapped to be a pastoral intern. A couple of years after that, he authored a book that sold a million copies. Phil Johnson recently said that he had been worried about Harris from the beginning, because his first book, on dating, no less, (“I Kissed Dating Goodbye”) was first published when Harris was in his early twenties and not yet a pastoral leader. It wasn’t written from a pastor’s view, but from a layman’s.
Anyway, Harris was off and running. Sadly, at age 44, he repudiated the faith and ran away from it. His goodbye to the faith was both nightmarish and crushing.
I’m not saying that someone young can’t ever be a pastor or a leader. Some can, in certain circumstances. Paul was mentoring young pastor Timothy. (1 Timothy 4:12), after all. The Bible does suggest, though, that it’s often best when candidate elders or teachers have had a time of seasoning before they lead. What I am saying is that unmindful appointment of untrained or unready youngsters can and does do damage to the worldwide faith. Joshua Harris and Beth Moore are prime examples. My plea is for sober-mindedness, adherence to scripture, and a carefulness when installing men and women to various positions. May God always be glorified.