Posted in discernment, theology

Should we care about a Bible teacher’s lifestyle?

By Elizabeth Prata

I tweeted about Beth Moore’s lifestyle today. I knew what would happen. That does not deter me though. Here’s what I tweeted in reaction to a disingenuous photo tweet from Moore about her cutesy lifestyle.

Look! It’s @BethMooreLPM tweeting about how she likes her hubby’s camo jacket and how he calls her a raisin when she wears it!
The financial reality is, she’s in front of what Harris Co. terms a “custom outdoor kitchen”, at her 4500 sf, 2 million dollar home on 45 private acres.

The most pushback on social media I receive is when I write about Beth Moore. It’s a lot. The most pushback I receive about Beth Moore is when I write about her lifestyle. It’s really a lot.

It happened in 2012 when I said that though she calls herself a conservative evangelical, she is really a functional feminist.

By functional I mean though her words deny, she functions as one anyway. I was told I was crazy to even think that. The Atlantic Monthly did a long spread on her in 2018. My stance was confirmed.

It happened in 2018 when I asked “How many Houses is Too Many?” noting that the Moores had added a 4th home to their stable of homes across the state. I wrote about her approaching the prosperity preachers’ lifestyle of excess, and her hypocrisy in pretending otherwise.

It happened in 2020 (today) when I tweeted about her hypocrisy of lifestyle, and the tsunami of negative tweets pushing back came rolling in.

It happens because Beth Moore works very hard to present a certain persona to the public. It only stands to reason that when the curtain is peeled back, her followers will work twice as hard to explain what we are seeing. Remember the scene in the Wizard of Oz? Toto the dog yanks back the curtain as the “Great and Powerful Oz” is speaking? He is caught out as a puny human, not at all what he claimed to be and admits it. Scarecrow points at the Wizard and says angrily,

“You’re a humbug!”

A humbug is deceptive or false talk or behavior, or a hypocrite.

One of the frequent replies I received from Beth Moore defenders was that I should be quiet, give up on saying she is false, just stop already for goodness sakes. But the devil prowls around looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8). He doesn’t stop. Every New Testament book except Philemon warns of false teachers and their evil impact. Stop? Stop?? Of course not! There are naive ones in danger, others who are weak being drawn in (Jude 1:23).

John MacArthur on our task to snatch some from the fire yet hating even the garment polluted by the flesh. Jude 1:23,

False doctrine and the wickedness of those who teach it and believe it stains the soul. Evangelism is necessary. It is to be personal; but it is dangerous. All forms of false religion are seen as a filth and a pollution. That’s why we talk so much about Christian education around here. Why would I want to expose the most precious commodity I have, Christian young people, to pollution? It’s dangerous but it has to be done. And we have to do it with discernment, with prayer, and with caution.

So I will not stop.

One of the other frequent accusations I received, aside from the usual nonsense of me being jealous or covetous, is that writing about a Bible teacher’s lifestyle is none of my business. To the contrary, it is all our business. Ministry money is involved, the teacher’s lifestyle is reflective of what is in their heart, what they heap up and what they care about.

The issue is especially important when it comes to money. We are warned repeatedly about the dangers of false teachers and that their motivation is money. They are greedy. (2 Peter 2:3, 2 Corinthians 2:17, 1 Thessalonians 2:5, 1 Timothy 6:5, 2 Peter 2:14…) So, yes, lifestyle is critical as part of the discerning Christian who examines the teacher’s doctrine AND life and becomes doubly concerned as they see a teacher or leader’s accumulation of worldly items begins to dominate their life.

One good verse is this one, where Paul is writing to Timothy as a leader, and warns him to watch his doctrine and his lifestyle closely. (1 Timothy 4:16). Why? One of the qualifications of a leader is to be above reproach. This includes how they live. Barnes’ Notes on the 1 Timothy 4:16 verse of watching the lifestyle closely explains,

Take heed unto thyself – This may be understood as relating to everything of a personal nature that would qualify him for his work. It may be applied to personal piety; to health; to manners; to habits of living; to temper; to the ruling purposes; to the contact with others. In relation to personal religion, a minister should take heed:

Matthew Henry says of that verse, that Timothy should

confirm his doctrine by a good example: Be thou an example of the believers, etc. Observe, Those who teach by their doctrine must teach by their life, else they pull down with one hand what they build up with the other

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary notes that life and doctrine are

The two requisites of a good pastor: His teaching will be of no avail unless his own life accord with it; and his own purity of life is not enough unless he be diligent in teaching [Calvin]. This verse is a summary of 1Ti 4:12.

Through this whole epistle Paul had been advising Timothy to take heed over his private life and public ministry. Why? One impacts the other, either to the glory of Jesus or to His detriment of His name. So, yes, lifestyle matters.

Paul also warned in 1 Timothy 6:9,

Those who want to be rich, however, fall into temptation and become ensnared by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.

I don’t particularly enjoy the tsunami storm that inevitably comes, but there are some positive things about it that I hold dear.

I was able to contend for the faith, something we are commanded to do.

I was able to reason with people and hope they see some germ of a truth that will hopefully pry open their eyes to let some light shed over this issue.

I was able to say numerous times that Beth Moore is a hypocrite and for people to watch her lifestyle.

I got to write this essay and pass along some good links about this issue.

I was also pleased to contend for the truth because I know many women, especially younger women, watch how I make these forays into the wilds of social media. I hope to be a good example of fervor in grace.

Further reading:

False Teachers Out Themselves by Their Way of Life
But that doctrine matches what is equally important to confess: that we are called to a certain way of life. Paul calls lying, for example, contrary to sound doctrine (1 Tim 1:10). So doctrine not only includes concepts like Jesus rose from the dead but behaviours like telling the truth.

7 False Teachers in the Church Today
Look at The Charlatan, and The Prophet.

3 Ways to recognize a False Teacher
An individual armed with a Twitter account can influence hundreds (if not hundreds of thousands) with strange ideas, subtle lies, and false doctrines.

Clouds Without Water by Justin Peters (series overview here)

money

 

Author:

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

5 thoughts on “Should we care about a Bible teacher’s lifestyle?

  1. Thank You, Amen. I followed her for years as a new believer and always wondered why I wasnt learning anything. Thank the Lord for opening my eyes. In my area, there is even a lady who is raved on by others of her biblical knowledge that does Beth Moore studies. Crazy.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thanks for this article. Keep up the good work. Beth Moore is a wolf who needs to be exposed. Those pastors who refuse to warn about her are nothing more than hirelings. Those people who defend her really need to wake up.

    May the LORD bless you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement! I expected lots of pushback but I notice now the pushback includes social justice comments, gender comments, and racial comments, as in, black v white, women oppressed, and social justice vs injustice. It really didn’t take long for her followers to adopt the issues Beth has suddenly been promoting.

      Liked by 3 people

Comments are closed.