By Elizabeth Prata
I heard about Beth Moore’s proposal to offer a video tutorial on prayer. What a coincidence, I thought, I’m taking a class on prayer right now. I wonder what she will be teaching, I asked myself. Would it be worth it to compare the two approaches, The Master’s Seminary’s class I’m in, and Beth Moore’s? Yes, I decided. So that is what this is.
There will be two parts. This first one will explain why I’m doing this, and I’ll look at the pros and cons of Moore’s tutorial.
Part 2 will be summaries of what I have been learning at TMS/ICL from Dr. Brad Klassen, who is leading it. Part 2 is here.
Beth Moore is an Anglican Lay Eucharistic Minister who left the Southern Baptist Convention earlier this year and forsook being a lifetime Baptist. She has been speaking and teaching for about 40 years, and has been publishing books and studies for 30. Her ministry is called Living Proof. She has a wide reach and is incredibly influential.
She is also a false teacher. This has been substantiated numerous times by me, other women, and pastors/theologians, so I won’t go into lengths here. The highlights, or lowlights, of her ministry includes mysticism, rebellion against scripture, denial of the sufficiency of scripture, poor hermeneutic, eisegesis, and pop psychology.
My ministry is to women and it grieves me to see so many women led astray by the Living Proof ministry and Beth Moore’s faulty approach to the Christian life.
Why I do this
2. There were 3,150 women listening within the first 5 minutes. Three hours later, the number jumped to 21,800. By early morning, 54,300 people had tuned in to either the live video or the posted video afterwards. Just during the time I’m writing this, 20,000 more watched. It’s up to 75,000 views now.
Women were tuning in from Japan, Europe, the UK. Moms were listening with their daughters, wives with their husbands. One said she planned to start a mom’s prayer group. Beth Moore’s reach of false doctrine into the lives of the undiscerning and the unwary is large, global, and permeating. I do what I can within my sphere and use my gifts to combat Moore’s false doctrine and poor biblical example to those with ears to hear.
[I]n Romans 16:17, he warned, “Watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them.” Avoid, Rebuke, Call Out: To avoid them, you have to know who they are. You can’t avoid somebody if you don’t know who they are. This idea of identifying and avoiding shows up in 1 Corinthians 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14; 2 Timothy 3:5; 2 John 10.” ~John PiperShould we call out false teachers or ignore them?
Prayer Tutorial: Pros
“It is a well-known fact that all heresy begins with a partial truth.”Geerhardus Vos, 1902, “The Scriptural Doctrine of the Love of God,” The Presbyterian and Reformed Review 13 (1902): 1-37.
When I write critiques of Beth Moore I invariably receive comments that say she preaches truth. Yes, there is some truth to what she teaches. There were some truths she taught in this lesson. Yet false doctrine doesn’t knock on your door with a tee shirt that says “Heresy here.” It’s subtle, destructive, and spreads like gangrene. It must be addressed.
Moore had some positives in her 45-minute lesson. These are things I agree with and are biblical.
–She emphasized the importance of prayer.
–She noted the need to have an intercessory life.
–She said she starts her prayer with confession of sin so she can be cleansed, and with praise/thanksgiving.
–She said she speaks scriptures back to God and we should combine prayer with scripture.
In practical manner, she said we should–
–Set a time to pray and that sticking to it helps develop the habit.
–Pray in the same place each day, for the same reason, hardening a discipline we want to encourage in our Christian life.
–Exclude any possible distractions that would hinder the development of this discipline.
–Pray in expanding spheres. For example, first for your family, then extended family, friends, unknown people, government, missionaries or countries. This pointer reflected the expanding spheres of Acts 1:8 when Jesus said to His disciples to witness to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
–Pray for others to help us remember the global church and guard against self-absorption.
These are the usually taught points for developing a habit of prayer. All good.
Prayer Tutorial Cons: Objectionable Content Ahead
It was great to see the massive interest in the topic. It’s heartening to see so many women clamor to be present at a tutorial on prayer. I don’t think anyone, if asked, would answer a query about their prayer life with “It’s perfect! No need to improve!” We all can do better in praying. But to Whom do we pray? Why do we pray? How do we pray? What does the Bible say about prayer?
These questions were not addressed, or if so, only briefly and offhand. This tutorial was absent of a grounding in scripture. Yes, scripture was mentioned- in general. Only three actual verses with addresses were given as far as I caught. One of those was totally twisted. One other verse was referred to but address not given. This is a poor showing for someone who says she has been a Bible teacher for 40 years and whose entire ministry is founded on promoting biblical literacy.
Who, What, Why, When, Where?
WHO do we pray to? The object of our adoration was not explored. Yet this is where we should begin. Moore could have started, should have begun, with extolling God’s sovereignty, kingliness, sovereign ordination of all things. Positionally showing us as the creature, and He as Creator, signals the foundational point: our dependence on Him. A few verses here – in full, with addresses – would have gone a long way to setting the tone.
WHAT do we pray? She should have continued by teaching about Jesus’ own emphasis on prayer, as seen in Mark 1:35, Luke 5:16, Matthew 14:23. Jesus is the model for us in all things, since we are to pursue being Christ-like. What did Jesus pray about? How did He answer the disciples’ request in Luke 11:1, ‘Lord teach us to pray’. Moore missed an opportunity to use Jesus as the model, which also would have emphasized why prayer is important, (because it was important to Him). See this quote from from a Dallas Theological Seminary article:
Prayer reveals our priorities in life. “If I examine my prayers from this past week in light of the Great Commandment (Matt 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20), how much did my prayers center upon God’s wisdom and power to obey these commands? If I’m honest, my prayers often focus on the physical realities of life with food, clothing, housing, and health. Jesus does not prevent us from praying for these things but reminds us the Father “knows” and “sees” all of our needs (Matt 6:25-32). Jesus challenges us to move beyond seeking and growing anxious over physical realities to focusing our primary efforts and affections on God’s kingdom (Matt 6:33)“.
WHY do we pray? Moore could have talked about the benefits of prayer. There are many, which I’ll address in part 2. But Moore’s sole emphasis seemed to be either that her “method” will help keep the word of God alive/fresh/vivacious in us; or that it satisfies a need God has to delight in us. She said, “He wants His joy to be complete by seeing our joy in Him.” There was no verse given for this statement. God IS complete, whether or not we pray to Him. It’s dangerous to casually state what God wants with no verse attached. We have the mind of Christ but we can’t read the mind of Christ.
The word of God IS alive and always will be. “For the word of God is living and active, and sharper than any two-edged sword, even penetrating as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).
[The views for her tutorial are up to 80,000 now.]
She so often stated axioms focusing on how much God loves us to pray to Him, it became clear that what she believes keeps the word of God alive in us, is God thinking of His joy in our prayers. The focal point for a relentless 47 minutes was us.
“I love to think of Him looking forward to me getting up [in the morning], I love knowing I’m loved and He wants to spend time with me.”
” ~Beth Moore on why we pray, Instagram Prayer tutorial 12/30/2021
Prayer reveals our view of self in relationship to God and others.Three ways the content of our prayers exposes our theology
MYSTICISM: The Bible is not enough for Moore
An ongoing issue that I and many others have with Moore’s teaching is that it relies on the mystical. She claims to hear directly from God in various ways, ways that aren’t the written word. Which, if you think about it, is ironic for a ministry founded on the goal of advancing biblical literacy among women. By this point in her career, Moore too often tells you what she claims to have directly received and teaches that. The ways that Moore claims to hear from God outside the Bible are in visions, dreams, pictures in her head, a compelling force, impressions, voices, God telling her, God teaching her, and just plain speaking over her. (Source).
Moore said that she bases the upcoming year her life in Christ, on a verse that the Lord will directly give her.
“I love to see if the Lord will press a verse on my heart, that something will jump out at me a couple of weeks before the New Year. I love watching for Him to tell me what would be a key verse for this next year that will be a theme for the year.” ~Beth Moore, Instagram Prayer tutorial 12/30/2021
Once she receives this verse by direct revelation she adds it to the cover of her spiral prayer book and goes forward with that verse as her keystone. There were several other examples in the short tutorial where Moore said she relies on impressions or ‘leading’ or ‘laying on her heart’. She did not refer to the Bible verses for prayer except in 3 cases. Acts 12, incomplete verse address where the church was praying for Peter in Jail; Psalm 60:11-12, her key verse for last year the Lord mystically gave her; and Psalm 57:7-8. More on that last one at the end.
Moore’s Christian walk includes in large part waiting for God to drop teachings, advice, and verses into her head as she looks out for signs. This is mysticism, and it colludes God into a walk that diminishes His sovereignty. What happens when the key verse God allegedly gave her doesn’t match up with how her year turned out? She either has to stretch the verse into meanings it doesn’t intrinsically have, or she has to blame God for failing to hold up His part.
Me-me-me; I, I, I
Moore is self-centered. Her teaching method is eisegetically twisting verses to be about us. I wrote in 2011 after seeing her at a Living Proof live for two days, “Beth Moore has a way of explaining the Bible while not really explaining it, exalting God with her words yet diminishing His character at the same time.” I was horrified after she took a section of Deuteronomy exalting the LORD and making it about us. She is still at it. There was just so much talk about self in her tutorial, pointing God to us instead of us looking up to God.
An example of eisegesis from the lesson would be:
Awake, my glory!
Awake, harp and lyre!
I will awaken the dawn.
Moore was telling her audience here that she prays upon arising, first thing in the morning. She slides out of bed and onto her knees. She likes the morning time because of the freshness of the day and the potential for a clean slate after she confesses sin. Fine. Then she said, said of that verse, “I love that my praise helps wake up the dawn. It’s figurative language but I just love it.”
Our praise of the Ancient of Days has nothing to do with the dawn’s existence or its rising, or not rising. A commentator explains that verse:
David’s tongue will lead, and his psaltery and harp will follow, in these hymns of praise. I myself will awake, not only, “I will not be dead, and drowsy, and careless, in this work,” but, “I will be in the most lively frame, as one newly awakened out of a refreshing sleep.” He will awake early to this work, early in the morning, to begin the day with God, early in the beginnings of a mercy. When God is coming towards us with his favours we must go forth to meet him with our praises.
~Matthew Henry’s commentary on the whole Bible
Women are taught badly if they listen to Beth Moore. Example: One woman said, “I love how you addressed how to discern who to pray for by the leading of the Spirit.” The Bible tells us who to pray for. Here is where Moore could have taught using the actual Bible and not a mystical process. The Bible tells us to pray for one another (James 5:16, Romans 1:9). To pray for pastors and spiritual leaders: (Ephesians 6:19-20), Colossians 4:3). The sick (James 5:14-15). Government leaders, Kings etc (1 Timothy 2:1-3). Our enemies (Matthew 5:44, Acts 7:59, 60). Israel, everyone, ourselves…and so on. We don’t need to look for signs to decide which Bible verse to adopt or wait for a mystical impression to decide who to pray for.
The Instagram Beth Moore Prayer Tutorial had some good points but was laced with enough poison to damage you. Its relentless focus on self, her mystical approach threaded throughout, and the absence of any real Bible teaching makes this Prayer Tutorial from Beth Moore one to skip. Yet 88,000 people have already viewed it, and it’s only 16 hours since she concluded. I pray you remain outside one of those 88,000 souls looking for teaching from Beth Moore.
Tomorrow I’ll write up some of the great things about prayer from the Bible. It’s full of advice, expectation, and model prayers from the hearts and minds of Moses, David, Job, Solomon, Daniel and other Bible men and women.
It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, when He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John also taught his disciples.” And He said to them, “When you pray, say:
‘Father, hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
‘Give us each day our daily bread.
‘And forgive us our sins,
For we ourselves also forgive everyone who is indebted to us.
And do not lead us into temptation.'” (Luke 11:1-4)