By Elizabeth Prata
The 2021 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention is occurring in a few days (June 15-16). Messengers from member churches from all over the United States have poured in to Nashville in order to attend. Normally the meeting attracts a good number of members interested in the convention’s direction, but this year there are more messengers than ever. Two overflow rooms have been set up due to high registration attendance.
Why so many? To “Take the Ship!,” the mantra and the attitude of these many extra messengers, who have arrived because they are concerned with the direction the convention of churches is heading. Women pastors are being ordained, despite the office being biblically denied to women. Women are more often regularly preaching the Sunday message, again, something the Bible forbids. Critical Race Theory & Intersectionality are infiltrating the churches due to an unfortunate passing of Resolution #9 two years ago. A general liberal drift has been observed. Many of the messengers arriving in Nashville want to stop all this, and will advocate for a return to biblical principles, especially those outlined in the Convention’s own Baptist Faith & Message, many precepts of which are regularly denied, members say.
I have regularly warned against Beth Moore’s negative influence in the Convention since 2011. Her example, her lifestyle, her doctrine, and her teachings – whether live, on DVD, or in her books and curricula – are to be avoided. Beth Moore is a false teacher.
Moore has been active in the SBC since the mid 1978, only departing the Southern Baptist Convention in a loud announcement just 12 weeks ago. What has her legacy been over these past four decades? How is her ministry faring? Is she still reaching the heights of popularity (and influence) she did in her heyday, or is her heyday still ongoing?
Churches and religious organizations are among the charitable organizations that qualify for exemption from paying income taxes. These tax-exempt charitable organizations are listed in the IRS as 501(c)(3) organizations. Beth Moore’s corporation titled Living Proof Ministries has been tax-exempt since its founding 1995. What this means is, in return for being exempt from paying taxes for the public good, the IRS requires exempt organizations to disclose IRS filings to the general public. Any non-profit organization’s tax filings can be viewed. I use ProPublica to view LPM’s filings.
The most recent filing is for the tax year 2019, filed in 2020. For the last three years, Living Proof Ministries has been operating at a loss. Tax Year (TY) 2016 was the last year, according to the filings, that LPM made money, and only $133,439 at that. TY 2017 showed a net income loss of -$540,356. TY 2018 showed a net income loss of -$722,828. This was the first year also that the Ministry’s functional income fell below 2 million dollars.
Beth Moore’s compensation is listed on the IRS return as $222,651 for a 50/hour week. The Ministry also employs her daughter Melissa, whose salary is listed as $114,241 for a 40/hour week. The Ministry reported “Savings and Temporary Cash investments” at just over $4.3million. The IRS defines this category as-
“The combined total of amounts held in interest-bearing checking and savings accounts, deposits in transit, temporary cash investments (such as money market funds, commercial paper, and certificates of deposit), and U.S. Treasury bills or other governmental obligations that mature in less than a year.”
From 2001-2016, Living Proof Ministries built its assets from $1 million to $15 million. (Source)
Beth Moore’s Salary:
Fiscal Year ending 2019: $222,651
Fiscal year ending 2018: $231,205.
Fiscal year ending 2017: $229,862
Fiscal Year ending 2016: $229,862
Moore’s salary is set by a process for determining compensation that includes a review and approval by independent persons, comparability data, and substantiation for the decision should the IRS require details. Whether the independent committee chose to cut Moore’s salary or she volunteered to cut it is unknown, but her salary did decrease a bit this year over last.
The section called Gifts and Grants to the Ministry shows a decline over time as well. The height of giving to LPM seems to have been 2014,
I have noticed that Living Proof’s charitable giving to other organizations and churches has gone down too. The Ministry used to be much more generous. Giving shown on the earliest online return was $225,607 and the ministry’s income at that time was 1.7 million. This past year, LPM donated only $39,000, despite a healthy savings of $4.3 million and net assets of $13,472,277. Same-amount donations of $6,500 were given to just 6 organizations last year, as opposed to generous giving to over 20 places in the earliest IRS Return posted online.
The type of organizations Moore’s Ministry donates to has drifted from churches and religious entities as it was in the earlier years, to social justice and social reform causes in these latter years. LPM’s giving in the early years included donations to various churches (including Joel Osteen’s Lakewood), missions, the International Mission Board, Bible donations, and scholarships & tuition to religious education organizations, etc.
Star of Hope Mission was on LPM’s donation list this year, an organization that cares for Houston’s homeless.
Also on the donations list from Living Proof Ministry this past year was Hines Ugandan Ministries– Its ‘About Us’ says: “Hines Ugandan Ministries strives to meet the spiritual, educational and physical needs of the children and families in Kamonkoli Village through our sponsorship program, orphanage, medical clinic, AWANA program, and primary school.”
But in a marked shift in type of LPM partnerships in giving, for example, Living Proof this past year donated to Millennium Relief & Development, a community service organization. Their website lists projects such as “Aquaponics & sustainable agriculture in Egypt & the Maldives”, “Job training for human trafficking survivors in India”, and a “Women’s Center in Iraq”.
Build a Better Us, whose stated mission is “To assist individuals & families through coaching and health services in order to build better communities.” Its founder Bradley J. Thompson, or “BJ,” lists himself as a life coach specializing in “Personal development – Relational development – Spiritual formation – Diversity maturity.”
Finally, the last organization on the Living Proof donation list of 6 organizations was Be the Bridge, a “racial reconciliation ministry”. There are serious concerns with the infiltration of Critical Race Theory into SBC churches, and the divisions such philosophies spark. Jesse Johnson reviewed Be the Bridge here at The Cripplegate, saying, “Be the Bridge buys into the evolutionary lie that race defines our existence.” Living Proof Ministry has been donating to Be the Bridge for several years.
As a former investigative journalist, adhering to the adage “follow the money” yields quantifiable data, often irrefutable. Observing income, money exchanges between parties, and the data begins to tell a story. I’ll leave to you to weave that story, I just present the facts.
I hope that Beth Moore repents someday, and I do hope that her influence wanes. I hope that her ministry folds and her books go out of print. This isn’t because I dislike Beth Moore. No. She seems like a nice person to her daughters and grandchildren, and she needs salvation like any other (probably) non-saved person. I hope for those things because I mourn the women negatively affected by Moore’s false teaching and because of her unbiblical lifestyle that many women are now following. LPM states they have reached 3.9m households. Her LPM online ministry outreach reaches people on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LPM’s app and her Living Proof Blog. These social media platforms combined reached a total of 2 million people. Her daily radio broadcast reaches 531k people weekly on 397 radio outlets. LPM’s online store disseminates (false) religious teachings through audio, video and written material to the tune of 15k units shipped and 2k downloads. Onsite ministry supported 700 walk-ins.
These numbers add up to a hefty influence. In other activities, Moore is teaching at Wheaton College this July through Christine Caine’s Propel Women Cohort. And, of course, though Moore’s formal relationship with LifeWay ended, “LifeWay will continue to carry Moore’s books and study resources and she is listed as a speaker for “A Cruise with Lifeway” in October.” (Source). Though Living Proof’s net income is in the red, I don’t think her Ministry empire is in danger of immediate collapse, sad to say.
Beth Moore’s departure from the SBC, strategically announced just prior to the SBC annual meeting, in fact gives her more flexibility and latitude than ever. Sadly, her forty-year unbiblical influence leaves SBC messengers to clean up her mess in attempts to retake the ship and steer it from shoal infested rocky waters to deeper, calmer seas. I’m praying for our dear SBC messengers and that the outcome of this meeting will be unity and a return to more biblical standards, especially where it relates to women’s roles, something of which I have great concern.
Propagation of false teaching is like gangrene, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:17, spreading quickly and in the end, is deadly to those who unwarily absorb it. I hope as Beth Moore departs the Southern Baptist Convention and looks to the next phases of her aging life and ministry, that she retires to her 45-acre, 2 million dollar estate in Tomball, and begins to live a quiet life (1 Thessalonians 4:11), becomes sensible, pure, and a worker at home (Titus 2:5), and most of all, that she repents. (Mark 1:15).