In 2012, thanks to Sola Sisters, some of us became aware that a pastor named Jim Murphy of First Baptist Church in Johnson City NY spoke to his congregation sternly about their lack of effort in applying biblical discernment. He said this after he repented in front of them himself, for not guarding them from false doctrines as he should. He led the people through a history of post-modernism and biblically showed how and why false teachers from ‘out there’ can and do get ‘in here’ to their church. If not through the pulpit, false doctrines can come in through Ladies Ministry studies, Sunday School Curricula, and/or the church library.
For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:4)
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3)
Even if the pastor himself is solid and would never think to quote a Beth Moore or a Sarah Young, these false teachers enter the church by other means. Pastor Murphy said he was sorry for not having provided enough oversight in the aforementioned areas, and said the tentacles of satan had so far reached far and deep. He went on a mission to overhaul all the aforementioned areas. In addition, he promised to name names in warning his flock away from certain teachers who have shown by their fruit they are dangerous.
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. (Matthew 7:15-16a)
Many of us who listened to Pastor Murphy’s online sermon applauded it and were thrilled to see one faithful shepherd executing the biblical command to guard the sheep. (Acts 20:28-31)
Additionally, we know that there are other pastors out there doing the same, even when we can’t see or hear them. We trust the Lord who has raised up faithful shepherds to empower them with discernment, courage, and fortitude to withstand the tsunami of falsity attempting to sweep into the church and to speak against it. We can’t see them, but we know they’re there and doing it. We live by faith, not by sight, knowing that doctrinal protection by good under-shepherds is occurring. (2 Corinthians 5:7)
But it is still thrilling to see when it happens, it’s a visible demonstration of the Goodness of the Holy Spirit.
Well, here is another example. Also in 2012, a Lutheran named Chris Hull, who is Senior Pastor of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Normal, Illinois, was interviewed on a Lutheran radio show called Issues Etc. He noticed several of the ladies of his flock were doing Beth Moore studies, so he set about researching what they were consuming. He was aghast at his findings.
linked here, and below is posted a lengthy excerpted transcript of his interview. There are a few things he speaks of through the lens of being Lutheran that I do not agree with, for example, the sacraments being more than representational, and of being their ‘father’, but despite these few things, his opposition to Moore is worth a read. He takes it from a theological point of view, speaking of the false things Moore teaches that I haven’t heard before, or at least, in my opinion speaks of them in such a way as to bring new light on why Moore is false. It’s a new perspective, even though this interview is surfacing now (thanks to an eagle eyed and thoughtful reader who sent it to me).His talk is
In this essay, I’m showing you three things. First, the different perspective that the pastor brings to the table regarding Moore’s theology. Second, if you read the excerpts below or better yet, listen to the half-hour interview linked above, you will see HOW the pastor went about assessing Moore’s theology and how he considered whether she was good for his flock. Third, once he came to his conclusions, note the kind of language he uses to definitively state them. He didn’t apologize, back-pedal, or waver when explaining exactly what the problem was. Too many teachers, pastors etc seem almost apologetic when saying that so-and-so is a false teacher. Many hesitate to say even that, claiming that gentleness, caution, and tolerance are called for.
I say no.
|“Guilty Spirit” EPrata collage
If a person, by their fruit and/or lifestyle has demonstrated that they are false, we are beyond caution and tolerance. We are at war with the false teaching they bring! If they have proven themselves false (and Moore certainly has) it means they are against Jesus and operating for satan. It means they are out for your destruction. It means they are a liar, seeking filthy lucre. We don’t have to be mean, but we need to be clear! We do NOT need to say, “Well, gee, in some ways this teacher has helped me, and I don’t agree with everything they say, but…” No, sir. Paul was clear:
So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Cor 11:15)
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8)
Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. (2 John 1:11)
See the Apostle of Love calling false teachers wicked, as not having God in them, and for believers to refuse them hospitality! Therefore note the clarity and conciseness with which Pastor Hull expresses his findings. You definitely know where he stands. He stands with Jesus. He guards His flock.
Here are excerpts from Pastor Chris Hull’s interview on Issues, Etc. regarding Beth Moore.
Q. What role does Jesus play in Beth Moore’s Theology?
Pr. Hull: I’d say it’s mainly example. Christ is our example. Lutherans have fought that mindset for many years, this ‘what would Jesus DO mentality.’ Worse, and I hate to say this because it sounds silly, but to her, Jesus is more of a lover, even. He’s the man who understands me. He’s the man who gets me. No other man in my life gets me, but Jesus does. That’s a big problem. Yes, He does get us all, because He died for us. So I would agree with her there, yes He gets you. But He gets you because He takes your sin upon Himself and dies your death. But she never gets to that point. It’s more of a ‘He’s there for me in my need.’ It’s a very abstract ‘there’. He’s never there in concreteness in the means of grace, but rather, just there. Like a spiritual life coach giving me a pat on the back when I need it. And that’s Jesus in her book. Jesus is more sympathizer than savior. … It’s very, very shallow spirituality.
What you get with Beth Moore’s bible studies is emotionalism. You know, getting into how I feel and things of that nature. Her main appeal to women in her studies is getting into the mind-set of people in the bible. For example, in her study, “Jesus the one and only”, she gets into: How did Mary feel? or what was Joseph thinking? There is no actual theology here, it is all, what do I think they were feeling and does that relate to my feelings today. The best part is, she will quote like 20 bible verses, that have nothing to do with that actual passage in scripture in order to support your emotion, she is using the bible to tell you the feelings you have are natural and good and you should feel comforted in that, and therefore powerful. It’s all about God respects you, that is one of the main appeals to women is that God respects them in their feelings, in their stage in life.
Q. How would you summarize her message?
Pr. Hull: A typical evangelical one of free will. She is a lazy Arminian, who says that our greatest gift God gives us is our free will to choose Him. How can that comfort people? If that’s the gift God gives us is free will, saying and you have to get into the bible to read more of the bible, and the more you read the bible the more you will know about God and the more you know about God, the more God will love you. And then, once God loves you He will respect you as a human being.
Her bible studies are mostly prose, not much doctrine, a lot of fill-in-the blanks type of questions. Here’s a question, read this one bible verse, and fill in the blank. It’s like reading a Dan Brown novel the Da Vinci Code, you feel smart after because it’s short chapters.
Q. What view of man in his fallen state does Beth Moore promote in her popular books and bible studies?
Pr. Hull: Her view of man is that man has problems, man is sinful but only because of what he does. You’re born in a state of neutrality, like Adam (she doesn’t knock Eve as much) and will I take the forbidden fruit or will I do good? This is the Christian life a neutral state and which one will I choose. It’s Arminian theology. If I choose good, God will be pleased. You see this especially in her books. There is this one book about getting out of the ditches, how do I get out of despair, and you don’t see things like “From depths of woe I cried to Thee“, you see ‘What can I do to get out of this problem in life.’
|Expulsion of Adam and Eve
from the Garden, Masaccio, 1426-7
My wife went to one of the bible studies and she walked out saying ‘I had no comfort in the Gospel. It was all about what I need to do.’ She made the comment that if someone with clinical depression came in they’d probably want to go home and do something to themselves. Because it is just depressing to read, it gives no hope in Christ Jesus. Whatsoever.
[A clip is played with Moore emphasizing self-improvement, using the phrase “we are God’s masterpiece” and emphasizing change in terms of self-improvement].
Pr. Hull: Self-improvement is contrary to scripture. Romans 6 talks about that. We died with Christ so we shall also rise with Christ. You must die in this world. How can you progress in self-improvement if the point of the faith is to actually die to self? Beth Moore takes scripture out of the equation and replaces it with emotion and human reason.
Q.: Beth Moore had a little foothold on the congregation you currently serve when you arrived as its new pastor, how deep did it drive you into researching what Beth Moore believes and teaches?
|Don’t believe the propaganda!|
Pr. Hull: They did 2 Beth Moore studies the first year I was here, so I read both of those. I read 4 of her books, I watched a bunch of her Youtube videos…I spent way too much time with Beth Moore. But the problem is, and I guess I can say this on the radio: she is a wolf in sheep’s clothing trying to destroy my flock. The only way I could get her out was knowing her. Knowing her abilities, knowing how she gets in and twists. And I learned it.
But getting rid of it was the problem. Because Beth Moore becomes a friend with the church, she becomes good friends with people. How do you get rid of a friend? You have to say this ‘friend’ is no good for you. This friend wants to hurt you. This friend desires your death. She wants to give you this poisonous loaf of bread covered in sugar and tell you it’s good for you. And all it’s going to do is kill you over time and you won’t even recognize it…the problem is to compassionately say to your blessed flock that not only will this harm you, but it will be your end if you continue to place trust in this propaganda.