Posted in discernment, theology

The train is still coming down the tracks

By Elizabeth Prata

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Growing up in my town in the 1960s, there was a train track running along the shoreline. Behind the tracks there was a busy wharf with fishermen, moorings for recreational boaters, and shoreside homes and their children running about. There were a lot of train crossings, and many of them weren’t guarded by automatic gates and warning signals.

Sadly, we frequently read in our local paper of crossing fatalities, both vehicular and pedestrian. To my impressionable ears it seems like almost a weekly occurrence. It wasn’t that frequent but I do remember my father, who was on the town Zoning Committee for a time, talking about the Town Council’s plans to automate and/or close some of the crossings to reduce potential for fatalities.

It’s still happening. In my growing up town in 2016 a teenage girl was killed by a passing Amtrak train. For 50 years, people have been struck by the train passing through.

It’s hard to believe that someone couldn’t or wouldn’t hear or see something as big and obvious as a train, but sadly, that is not the case. Folk Singer John Prine was affected by the incident of a young altar boy who belonged to an Episcopal church that Prine was working in. The altar boy was struck from behind and killed by a slow moving commuter train. The boy was apparently day-dreaming as he ambled down the tracks. Prine wrote the song Bruised Orange about the incident.

We tend to be oblivious to these dangers, and that’s why cities and town erect crossing gates, lights, and signals, to warn us.

Is there a sane town or city mayor who would say “We’ve had those crossing lights and signals there long enough, everybody is sick of hearing the bells and seeing the blinking lights. Let’s take the warning paraphernalia down. We’re tired of them.”

Even from your own number, men will rise up and distort the truth to draw away disciples after them. 31Therefore be alert and remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. (Acts 20:30-31).

There was yet another controversy surrounding the teaching career of Texas executive Beth Moore. During the Truth Matters conference Q & A moderator Todd Friel presented a word association game to the panelists, John MacArthur, Phil Johnson, Mike Riccardi, and Justin Peters. Friel asked the panel to give a one or two word pithy answer to the names he’d say. When he said “Beth Moore,” after a hesitation, MacArthur said “Go home”. He followed that up with a 7-minute explanation.

In culture today when you tell a woman to go home or stay home, it’s fighting words. Feminism has made the God-ordained career of the woman at home in the form of homemaker a dirty word.

Through the succeeding week, many people weighed in on the response MacArthur gave. Much of it was heat without light, and many people, including me, attempted to give that light in the form of reasonable discourse and biblical answers.

As the clamor began to subside, other people began complaining about the seemingly never-ending controversies, especially around Moore. They are tired of hearing about it. There are other, better things to focus on. Why does social media have to be such a hotbed. Stop being so obsessed. And so on and so forth.

I am reminded of Paul. He warned of false teachers. Warned. Night and day. With tears. Why? Satan is a restless evil. He lurks, crouches, prowls, and roams up and down upon the earth. He doesn’t stop.

When do we stop warning that a destructive false teacher is luring the unwary, poisoning the church with false doctrines, prying open the canon with dreams and visions and fanciful vain talk? Never. They used to kill false prophets who spewed empty visions and who put words into God’s mouth, (Deuteronomy 18:20), and they will do so again (Zechariah 13:3). Meanwhile, in this period of grace while Jesus is building His church, we warn. Night and day. With tears. Earnestly.

Can we say that enough people have heard the news that this or that teacher (especially Beth Moore) is false? That everyone is all set, perfectly topped up with enough discernment to make their own way? What about the lambs coming up? What about those who haven’t heard, or who don’t understand?

I personally believe Beth Moore has been one of the most successful satanic counterfeits operating in this and the last century. I have gathered a mountain of evidence to support this contention, I do not make it unwisely or rashly. I also believe that since the moment I first heard her twist a monumental passage in Deuteronomy about God and make it be about us that I will use the graciously given gift of spiritual discernment to call her out. I will do so until either the Lord suspends my burden or I die.

The train has long since ceased coming. It is here. Warn those who wander onto the tracks, day and night, with tears.

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Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

8 thoughts on “The train is still coming down the tracks

  1. Elizabeth, this is very well written and more importantly, wise and biblical. I agree with you.
    I do wish that things were handled differently at the conference. There is, to me anyway, an element of sophomoric silliness that goes on When Christians gather. There are some who want to make everything fun, even funny. Well, this topic for one, is not funny. To try and entertain while you are teaching scripture puts one into the very realm that makes someone like Moore so popular. This is just what she does. IMHO, joking around should not be a part of the official conference speeches/sermons or the Q&As, especially when addressing serious error,. MacArthur’s first comment was that he felt like he was being set up and I think his gut feeling was right. I also wish that he had answered with scripture. His comments may well have been biblically wise at times, but now it’s about him rather than the offender(s) versus scripture, which is the real problem.

    I wish serious Christians at the conference, who obviously cared about this issue, had not laughed at MacArthur’s comment. As you wrote, we should instead be grieved. Maybe people were grieved; people laugh for all kinds of reasons. They may even have felt uncomfortable because such a famous name was mentioned, and laughed in discomfort. But the thing is that the laughter and humor take the edge off the truth and again, make it an “us versus them” situation rather than them versus the scripture.

    Also, the so-called “celebrity” pastor thing is troubling. This is the very thing that Moore and her fans are guilty of. They flock to hear her and we flock to hear our favorite teachers. Some hang on their every word, and defend them even if what they said was not quite scriptural. This, again takes the spotlight off the real issues. Too many conservative Christians, even though they say sola scriptura, or scripture is sufficient, do not use that scripture when they confront these public sins. Long-winded explanations are not necessary; defensiveness is not necessary. Like you say, warn them. Use the Word.

    Also, this isn’t just about Moore, Granted, she is perhaps the most visible and grievous since she comes from an historically sound denomination and has a large following. But as you well know, and have written about, there are a whole host of women speakers/preachers. Many if not most of them are young – 30ish? I am an older woman and often find that the young women in the church do not want to listen to older women – they listen to their peers, or their own hearts. Again, do we say “scripture is sufficient” but then balk when it says for the older women to teach the younger women to be keepers at home? see Titus 2

    Alarmingly many young women in the church want to teach other women (and men). They don’t want older women giving them what they call unsolicited advice. They think they already know what to do and in fact they know so much they want to write books and tour the country speaking to mixed audiences (or congregations). This is something else that needs addressing. The Beth Moores of the world did not come about in a vacuum. Somewhere along the way she was encouraged to get out there rather than helped to see her God-given role at home as wife and mother. Or maybe some tried to tell her and she didn’t listen? This is a cautionary tale for all of us. I for one am very thankful for your blog and your wise words. keep up the good work!


  2. It was by God’s graciousness that I “stumbled” upon Debbie’s blog and subsequently this one! Of which I am grateful and humbled. This has (and Debbie’s blog) encouraged me to dig dig dig into the Scriptures for myself with a thankfulness that He has given me ears to hear.

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