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Looking at HGTV’s Fixer Upper Joanna Gaines’ testimony: Christianity, or Prosperity Gospel?

Part 2 here: The hypocrisy of Chip and Joanna Gaines

Several years ago a Waco business developer/realty/design/construction company generally named Magnolia run by Chip and Joanna Gaines were contacted to star in a HGTV fixer upper show. The first episode aired in April 2014 and has become an instant hit for the network. Ratings in the first season were through the roof. This phenomenon was largely attributed to the couple’s likability and charisma, good looks, and business savvy.

Source

It is also attributed to the couples’ Christian faith. This World Magazine article lays it out, even stating that the reception to the couple in the form of ratings has “launched a Christian revolution at HGTV”:

The difference, at least in all the conversations I’ve had, is that while doing stunning work, the Gaineses consistently reflect an unassuming, recognizable Christianity. … But even these obvious clues don’t quite capture the subtle loving-kindness the Gaineses exemplify in their interactions with each other and their children. When the first episode of Fixer Upper debuted in April 2014, after watching for only a few minutes, with no clear evidence, I had a strong presentiment I was seeing fellow members of the body. A little web searching confirmed it.

The couple seemed genuinely in love. The pair seemed like dependable, loving parents. In its first season the show was just nice.

So why am I writing about them?

One reason is because the show has taken on massive proportions, huge ratings, and as World Mag says, the husband and wife team are the catalyst for more ‘Christian’ programming at HGTV. Since the Gaines’s have a national platform in which to showcase their Christianity, we look at their testimony.

Also, because of hypocrisy. No matter the celebrity, or perhaps because of celebrity status, we want to make sure of who we are touting and promoting. What brand of Christianity do they adhere to? Do they live what they say they live? The Bereans said they would listen to Paul but then go back and examine what Paul taught (Acts 17:11). Paul welcomed transparency to examine his doctrine, and he was the biggest Christian celebrity of his time. Later when Paul’s integrity was attacked, he defended his lifestyle, because integrity in life mattered as much as the doctrine he taught. (2 Corinthians 5:11–15).

Therefore, my examination of the Gaines phenomenon will be two parts. This part 1 will examine Mrs Gaines’ testimony, the doctrine portion. The next part will look at their lifestyle.

I mean them no harm and I’m truly happy the couple who has worked very hard for a long time on their business goals and ambitions, are seeing them come to fruition today. I am glad that they have opportunity in interviews to share about their faith and their church. Their long-term and more recent financial bounty has afforded them opportunities to give and support others in a blessed way, as Chip hinted in one interview. I am grateful that they love each other and are raising their children with good values, from at least what we can see through the lens of what is shown to us on camera. They are attributed with almost single-handedly revitalizing the Waco downtown with business, art, and tourism, something that every small town or city hopes for. Because of the Gaines’ an entire cable channel is looking for more Christians to produce a show around. These are all good things.

That’s what makes raising these issues even harder.

Recently Mrs Gaines’ alma mater, Baylor University in Waco, produced a video which has since gone viral with over 4.5 million views on Youtube alone, in which Mrs Gaines is given over four minutes to testify to the glory of Jesus Christ and her gracious salvation. And here is where it gets troubling. Mrs Gaines used the time to speak not of sin, grace, redemption, and Jesus, though she mentioned Him once at the end. But instead the video is a testimonial to Mrs Gaines’ ambitions, Mrs Gaines’ dreams, Mrs Gaines’ plans, and how God was going to fulfill them by giving her what she wants.

Source

And she knows this because He personally told her so.

We learn in the video that Mrs Gaines always knew God was going to fulfill her business dreams because He directly told her, specifically and clearly. She mentions 4 times in the 4 minute video that God spoke to her. Her story, which remains consistent in interviews as well as the testimony video, is that when her two children were young God spoke to her and said she had to close her store which had been open for two years. In the first two quotes below, in order to salve her disappointment at having her dreams of running a business shattered just so she could perform her biblical function as a mother, God comforted her thus-

“I heard Him specifically say, ‘Joanna, I have a calling for you. You’re going to have a platform one day.'”

I remember hearing God say, ‘Joanna, there’s going to come a time when I’m going to say for you to go, and I’m going to need for you to step out and go.'”

I really felt like God was saying, ‘Hey, I want you home, I want you raising these babies at home at this age.'”

I heard God say very clearly, ‘If you trust me with your dreams, I’m going to take Magnolia further than you even dreamed. Just trust me.’ And I remember hearing that and feeling completely peaceful about it, and I walked away.”

First, God does not personally and audibly speak to us today in the way Mrs Gaines relates. Whatever Mrs Gaines thought she heard is not God. Here is a post by Michael Horton to answer the question “Does God Talk to Us?

Second, God is not a dream-fulfilling machine. God is not speaking to Joanna Gaines. There is no need to hear the voice of God personally direct a mother to stay home and raise her children when the Bible indicates that her entire orientation should already mainly be to stay home and raise the children anyway. (Titus 2:3-5, 1 Timothy 5:14). God places a priority on the woman’s direct involvement at home.

In addition, though economic necessity sometimes force a couple to make a tough decision for the mom to work outside the home, and the Bible does leave some room for couples to make their decisions, in the Gaines’ case working such long hours outside the home was not necessary. Chip has always been good at making money. He made $30,000 the first year he was out of college, after having started and sold two businesses already while in college. Joanna’s store was also doing well at the time. But more on their lifestyle in the next part.

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But please note that Joanna’s dream in the video that God was going to fulfill was the business, not the children. I’m not saying she isn’t a good mother, I don’t know that she is or isn’t. I do know that on the show there is frequent mention of passing the children for child care to an extended family member or a babysitter. I do know that they incessantly showcase the children on the show. I am saying that when you’ve been given 4 minutes to testify to the important things about your salvation, the items one would expect to hear are absent. She chose to focus entirely on God fulfilling her business dream.

After the store closure in 2005, Chip and Joanna Gaines had two more children. They now have four kids, Drake (age 11), Ella (9), Duke (7) and Emmie (6) all as of this coming May. Mrs Gaines continues from the testimony video saying that after a few years at home with the children, working her design business from home too, she says ‘God said’ in 2014 it was OK to re-open her store.

And I felt like God said, ‘Jo, it’s time.’ And I was like, ‘Time for what?’ he said, ‘It’s time to reopen your store.’ I said, I don’t think I can do that.’ And just cool and calm, ‘No, it’s time.’

I find it curious that God told her to stay home with her first two babies when they were young but that it was OK to become a business woman while the second two were young.

From various interviews within the last year or so, Joanna is quoted as saying,

I really felt like God said, ‘You’re gonna have a platform one day with women.’ (source)

I kind of felt like God just kept saying, ‘This is gonna be something that I’m going to take to another level,’ (source)

But I felt like God said, ‘Hey, this is the season to be home, and you need to trust me.’ (source)

But I felt like God said, ‘If you trust me with your dreams, I’m gonna make Magnolia bigger and better than you could have ever dreamed.’ (source)

So God is great because He gave her a big store. That’s her testimony. Not so much about raising her babies, nor about the blessing of marriage and a husband. Her dream, her store, her things.

The ‘key‘ as Joanna said in the video’s conclusion, is to let God speak to you and “let his father heart say this is what I have for you.” Again, an emphasis on self and the things God will give her, not the blessing of knowing Jesus, of being redeemed from sin’s curse, for escaping wrath, of being made holy in sanctification, for the promise of heaven, for the pleasure of enjoying God forever. Nothing of the sort. Just gratitude that He will “take the store further than she ever imagined.”

Source

On a lengthy thread discussing the show Fixer Upper and the Gaines’, two comments caught my attention. Here they are, speaking about the close, intimate, audible relationship Mrs Gaines says she has with God.

But apparently Mrs. Gaines has been giving interviews, especially this past fall, attributing their success to Christian faith. She says specifically that God spoke to her directly and promised earthly riches if she was faithful. Which is interesting because that makes her just one more proponent of the self-serving “prosperity gospel” movement.
(I’m episcopalian and many of us regard God speaking directly to an individual as both unlikely and a sign of possible mental health issues or blind ambition.)

Another commenter:

I googled Joanna’s testimony on youtube today. I’ve never had God talk so fluently and directly to me like He does with her. I wish He’d provide me with such specific instructions and reassurances. That’s really something.

They nailed it.

When Jesus spoke to Saul He knocked him flat on the road to Damascus, rebuked him for persecuting Jesus, struck Saul blind and told him he must suffer. When God spoke to John on Patmos it was to have John pen letters of rebuke, condemnation, and warning to several churches in Asia. When God spoke to Jeremiah it was to tell him do not marry or have children because the times are going to get rough, then spent 40 years prophesying so through the weeping prophet. Not that He isn’t tender, he is. (Genesis 16:7-13).  But not once did God say to anyone He talked with in the Bible “I am going to fulfill your dreams.” Even to Moses who God said was a friend, in the end God banned Moses from entering the Promised Land because Moses had disobeyed God.

After the Apostolic era, nothing is ever said that indicates God interposes Himself audibly to specifically instruct or reassure people in life. This is because the completed Bible does that. (2 Timothy 3:16-17, Revelation 22:18, Hebrews 1:2).

God wants His people to be people of obedience, honor, integrity, repentance, bearing fruit of the Spirit, making disciples, witnessing to the Gospel, and persevering. Nothing is said about someone’s dreams, platforms, or levels. Self-serving prosperity gospel on display, for sure.

The other problem with Ms Gaines’ testimony is that it normalizes audible conversations when they are not normal at all, nor are they even from God.

Beth Moore, Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture, Christine Caine, Sarah Young of Jesus Calling, and many other women “with a platform” claim to have nearly daily conversations with God, visions, strong impressions of the heart, and other messages that speak of fulfilling their dreams and hopes or otherwise give specific instruction. These are not from God. The kind of Christianity Mrs Gaines puts forth in her testimony video and in interviews is the kind that diminishes God in holiness and stature and exalts the recipient of these messages to an undeserved status. As in, “Wow, she must be special because God talks directly to her just like He did with Moses and Abraham!”

Millions of women who see Mrs Gaines’ seemingly vibrant and healthy relationship with God as expressed frequently and audibly presents itself as the norm – when it is not. And this is a problem when the network goes searching for another person or couple that displays this “recognizable Christianity.” It might be recognizable to the world, but it is not recognizable to God.

Part 2 here: The hypocrisy of Chip and Joanna Gaines

Discernment Lesson: Jack Kelley

EPrata photo

It’s not easy to determine if someone is a false teacher or is fairly solid but teaching false things temporarily. At what point does one decide not to follow a certain teacher anymore? I’ve written about this in the past. For each person the tipping point might be different.

One reason people have different tipping points could be because people have certain non-negotiables which are deal-breakers for them. For example, some who have been false converts for many years and were graciously awakened to their lost state have a low tolerance for easy believism. Some who were in a Charismatic church and have been graciously delivered have a low tolerance for healing crusades and charlatans. Others simply recognize they do not yet possess as much discernment as they need in order to continue following a certain teacher, so they go away from him or her to be on the safe side.

Nor should it be easy to cast someone’s name into the fire of falsity. Making such a determination requires humility, discernment, patience, and wisdom. Making a hasty judgment would mean we’ve impugned a brother or sister, and God takes a dim view of that. (Romans 14:19).

However the alternate should also stand. If we should manifest discerning patience in watching a bible teacher or preacher’s trajectory, when that tipping point is reached and enough biblical evidence is accumulated, we should not be hesitant to declare for Jesus and point this person out as a destroying enemy. (Romans 16:17).

For me, Rick Warren praying to the false god Isa, promoting corporate growth strategies for church, man-centered theology, consistently failing to give the Gospel to audiences he was invited to speak to, not to mention ecumenism with Islam and Catholicism, is enough for me to say “false.”

Beth Moore’s bible twisting, her shallow and emotional storytelling narcissistic approach, pop psychology, automatic/occult writing, and puffed up visions showed me that I can say “false” with confidence and biblical integrity.

Billy Graham’s lifelong compromises with Catholicism and his universalism make it clear to me that he, sadly, is also false.

And Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, and Mark Driscoll’s many sins against Jesus are the equivalent of training wheels on the discernment bike for baby Christians to spot as false. Or should be.

At some point in time, all of the above began to show their aberrant doctrines. And at some point one discerning person saw them while others less discerning didn’t see them yet. Especially when it’s early, we should not jump to conclusions, but watch.

Be serious students of the word, as the Bereans were

I’d like to raise a huge red flag regarding Jack Kelley of GraceThruFaith.com. There are enough things taught at his website that cause me to fear for the less discerning. He promotes:

Easy Believism

Gap Theory

Old Earth is OK

And a while back, he heartily refuted anything and everything about Calvinism (AKA Doctrines of Grace). I have not been able to re-discover those essays on the newly designed website in order to link to them.

I caught the opening to a Bible Study recently published on the site recently and I’d like to use it as a discernment lesson. Though Mr Kelley does use the Bible and seems to treat it with proper respect, the above and this below is a flag. Personal revelation is one of my deal-breakers. Let’s unpack this opening statement to a recent Bible study and think it through.

Please note the black underline. The title is “Bible” study. Good enough. I like those.

The first sentence declares that the message he is about to teach was given to the author directly by the Lord. Ergo, it was not derived by the “Bible” through study. There’s an immediate contradiction and an immediate problem.

This is a red flag. No messages are ever given personally by the Lord. Understanding of His word, His will, His plan for us are given in the Bible. This is the Doctrine of Illumination and it’s one of the Spirit’s ministries. (Ephesians 1:17-18).

We turn to the red underline. Excited, the half-asleep author hastily scribbled down the thoughts and went back to sleep. I’ve done this. Every writer of secular material does. However, note the method by which he claimed to have tested whether the Spirit had just knit together an understanding of scripture. It made sense to him, so he decided. Yet Acts 17:11 called the Bereans noble because they tested what they were being taught against scripture (note, being taught in real life, not personally receiving a message while half-asleep).

Let’s look at the Acts 17:11 verse closely. We want to be called noble.

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

–they received the word with eagerness. Their eagerness bespeaks a diligence. They sought it out. (Strong’s on the word eagerness, prothumias, “who is already being willing, i.e. an eager disposition which is pre-inclined, already “ready and willing”). In other words, they were not lying in bed half asleep startled that the Lord personally plopped wisdom and understanding of the verses to their mind.

–they examined the scriptures. What they heard, they tested against what was written. They allowed scripture to be the benchmark of whether it passed the test. They did not say  ‘Oh! It makes sense to me, it must be true.’

–they did so daily. This bespeaks a constancy in their attempts to both study and grow. It also bespeaks a maturity in that they didn’t relax their guard on a favored teacher nor did they relax their diligence on their own selves in the fleshly mind. Pride wants to say “Oh, yah, I’ve been doing this for years, I can tell when something makes sense”, laziness wants to say “Aw, you know it is probably true, no need to test.” Yet Humility and Obedience says “I will always use the Bible to test what I hear because the Lord is worth it and the devil is prowling.”

After receiving the word, the Bereans checked.

Now sometimes we say things in shorthand. I hear people say “The Lord told me” when I know they actually mean “I’ve studied this for a week and the Spirit illuminated its eternal wisdom to my mind.” ‘Lord told me’ is shorter. So maybe in this example case that is what happened. However…

In writing though we want to be clear. There is room on a web page for a few more words stating the method by which we arrived at an interpretation. Failing to do so and instead putting out a notion that it was gained half-asleep by revelatory means is misleading and dangerous. At the least, it perpetuates slang we should strive heartily to rid ourselves of. If a person is mature enough in the faith to have derived an interpretation studiously by the Spirit, they are mature enough to say the lesson is founded on normal means of interpretation.

And really, does it inspire confidence in your teacher when he reveals the lesson is founded on scribbled notes gained while half-asleep? Does such a statement do justice to the stricken and risen Lord?

No matter how solid the ensuing Bible study seems to a person, its opening is immediately corrupted by stories of half-asleep revelatory interpretations and testings that make sense apart from having tested against the only standard there is: the Bible. After all, this IS a Bible study. If there is a problem at the outset with the method arrived at or the foundation on which it rests, no matter how good the rest of the lesson seems to be, it’s an interpretation standing on sifting sand. And we all know what happens when the tide comes in.

And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be
like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. Mt 7:26. (EPrata photo)

The upshot of this discernment lesson is two fold:

Let’s dispense with Christianese shorthand like “The Lord told me”. This confuses the less discerning into thinking that unique interpretations delivered by revelatory means are standard, when they aren’t.

Let’s watch the language and methods of the teachers under whom we choose to sit, in real life or online. What they say is often a first indicator of a growing problem. There are buzz words satan likes to use and be alert for those.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. (Matthew 15:19)

Evil thoughts here is the Greek word dialogismos, and it means

“reasoning that is self-based and therefore confused – especially as it contributes to reinforcing others in discussion to remain in their initial prejudice”.

So watch out for those buzz words and any teaching that includes even a bit of “The Lord gave me a message and I’m going to teach it to you now.” Once you attune your mind to be alert for it, you’ll be surprised at how dismayingly often you hear it. Instead, stick to the pure word and people who interpret it purely (as possible)

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. (Proverbs 30:5)

"Learn How To Recognize God’s Voice with Rick Warren"

The video below is one hour nine minutes long, but you only need to listen to the first 30 seconds to see that it is a farce.

HT No Compromise Radio

Here is a transcript of the first 30 seconds. Below the video I’ll show how and why this just isn’t biblical, and worse, instills fear. The wrong kind of fear.

Last week we began an new mini-series in understanding how to hear the voice of God. Very few things are more important than this, because you can’t have a relationship with God if you can’t hear God. If all you do is ever talk to Him in prayer, and you never hear God speak to you, that’s a one-way relationship. That isn’t much of a relationship. God wants to speak to you.

We go to the most obvious bible verse, Hebrews 1:1-2, which says,

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

W.P. Zubar w/eartrumpet Library of Congress

God spoke to us through His Son, who is the Word. He Spirit-energized writers to put to paper the things His Son said. That word was finalized with the completion of Revelation, and to seal the final word, the final speaking of God at this point in time, Revelation 22:18-19 states,

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

God spoke through His Son.

Now, the Spirit does illuminate the Word to us, making it clear and understandable. But the Spirit is not saying new things. He is simply testifying of Christ, when He points us to His word and illuminates it for us. Here is an essay on illumination. For example, the essay states,

Psalm 119, which is the longest chapter in the Bible, is a song about God’s Word. In verse 130, it says “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” This verse establishes the basic method of God’s illumination. When God’s Word enters the heart of a person, it gives light and understanding to them. For this reason, we are repeatedly told to study the Word of God.

God spoke final words, they are through His Son, and those speakings are contained in the closed canon of the bible.

What Warren is saying is that the canon is not closed and we can hear special and personal things in addition to the bible. This violates Revelation 22:18.

Secondly, in the Hebrews verse it states, ‘in these last days’. The last days are the days of grace, between which Jesus incarnated and when He will come back. We are in the last days. We have been since He first came and we will be until He returns again.

However what was most troubling is that Warren made an absolute statement and it is completely unbiblical. He said,

“you can’t have a relationship with God if you can’t hear God”

Woe to the false shepherds who strike the sheep!

When Rick Warren makes an absolute statement like “you CAN’T have a relationship with God UNLESS you hear His voice, he is adding qualifiers to the standards for a relationship that God has already set. Nowhere in the bible is there a condition for faith that includes hearing from God. We know we are saved by grace alone through faith alone.

How to have a closer relationship with God

How to have a relationship with Jesus

We can do a quick keyword search in the NT for the word unless in the context of salvation conditions. One cannot have a relationship with God unless one is saved. So let’s see what it takes to be saved and have this relationship Warren is talking about. Remember, we’re looking in the Bible for a condition placed on our faith as Warren said, ‘unless you hear God speaking to you, you cannot have a relationship with Him.’

Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven“. (Matthew 18:3).

OK, so that is a biblical condition attached to our faith. Pulpit Commentary explains:

Christ points to little children as the model to which the members of his kingdom must assimilate themselves. The special attributes of children which he would recommend are humility, unworldliness, simplicity, teachableness, – the direct contraries of self-seeking, worldliness, distrust, conceit.

No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)

Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

Another faith condition. Still not finding “unless you hear God you can’t have a relationship with Him.” Let’s keep looking.

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:44).

OK, so unless God draws a person, they will not be in a relationship with Him.

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. (John 6:53).

Gill’s Exposition explains the John 6 verse:

But the words design a spiritual eating of Christ by faith. To eat the flesh, and drink the blood of Christ, is to believe that Christ is come in the flesh, and is truly and really man; that his flesh is given for the life of his people, and his blood is shed for their sins

I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24).

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” (John 15:4)

We need to repent in order to have a relationship with God. We must abide in Him. Still not finding having to hear Him to have a relationship with Him.

We could go on, but Christians know what it takes to enter into a relationship with God.

As for maintaining a relationship with Him, nothing in the bible says either that if one doesn’t hear Him one CANNOT have a relationship. We already discussed what it takes to have a relationship, and once the Lord delivers grace unto a repentant person, they are now and forever a believer in a relationship with the Father. There is nothing that says hearing Him is a requirement for a relationship, neither entering into one nor maintaining one.

Warren’s attitude toward prayer was sadly dismissive. He said “If all you’re doing is praying to God…” What a scornful attitude toward communication with the Creator of the Universe! The Ancient of Days! The Holy One of Israel! That He entertains prayer, encourages prayer, listens to prayer, answers prayer, is an astounding feature of our relationship with Him!

If “all” we’re doing is praying to God?!?! It’s everything! I am so sorry that it isn’t enough for Warren. He wants more. He wants to HEAR back. It’s not enough to have faith that God listens and answers, He has promised to do so. (Mark 11:24).

It is not a one-way relationship. Here are just a few f the things God does for us: God created the world for us to inhabit. (Isaiah 45:18). Jesus died for us. (Romans 5:8). We have the gift of the Spirit is in us. (2 Corinthians 1:22). He illuminates the scriptures for us. (John 16:13-16). Jesus intercedes for us in heaven. (Hebrews 7:25). He provides for us. (2 Corinthians 9:8 ). He gives us grace and help. (Hebrews 4:16). He sends angels to minister to us. (Hebrews 1:14). And so much more. One-way? Hardly. It is a lopsided relationship, one where He gives so much more to us than we give to Him

The fallacy that in order for our faith to be real, that we must hear God, is very detrimental to the believer. We’re not supposed to hear God, but when people listen to Warren making an absolute statement like he did, they worry they’re not in the faith because they are not hearing from Him. They begin to contrive all sorts of things as Godly utterances, some of which may be satan, others will hear their own inner voice but attribute it to God. Others will simply fear they’re not saved, and begin a fruitless search for ways to ‘hear’ Him. Discouraged, some will lose heart, or be burdened with needless doubt.

Seeking to hear a voice sets aside the sufficiency of the bible as guide for all things. This is the most important point of all. Warren adds to the conditions for faith, dismisses prayer as insufficiently communicative, encourages congregants to pursue a fruitless path of voices and promptings, and worst of all, sets aside the bible for our guide for all things. Whisperings, promptings, voices,all bunk. Read the bible, pray, and watch as God works out Providential things in your life.

Oh, and watch out for wolves like Rick Warren.

All Beth Moore critiques here in one place (UPDATED)

This blog essay is a repository for links to all Beth Moore critiques I have written over the years; and it is a listing of all external Beth Moore critiques I could find that are grace-filled and credible. I think it’s helpful to have them all in one place. Scroll to below for the links about Beth Moore. First, an introduction about discernment.

 

Introduction

 

Which one? Ala Bashir “Apple And Shadow”

This blog is about encouragement, discernment, and prophecy. Each essay focuses on one of these with the prayer that through them, God is exalted. No matter how dark the days or how weary the heart, He is the Light and our hope. (1 John 1:5). This hope can be found in each, because,

–it is through scripture we’re encouraged,
–it is through His warnings and tactics we avoid being drawn into a snare and become discerning,
–when His future history given through prophecy is fulfilled, He is glorified and we stand in amazement.

As regards the Discernment Department, regular readers know that I have written many essays about false teachers or false doctrines. I name the false teacher. This is biblical.

Matthew 7:1 says “judge not lest ye be judged, “and this is explained here, here, here. It does not mean never to call out a warning about a false teacher of his teaching. After all, we will know them by their fruit. (Matthew 7:16).

To paraphrase John MacArthur’s devotional on Matthew 7:1, emphasis mine:

We are never to judge a person’s ministry, teaching, or life—and certainly not his motives—by some self-styled standard… Except as they may be continually teaching false doctrine or following standards that are clearly unscriptural

The word ‘continually’ is important here. One is not a false teacher and certainly is not a heretic by teaching something erroneously once. The key is patience. If the person seems to be in a habit of teaching wrongly, or is obviously sinking into a pattern of incorrectly dividing the word, or living carnally and without repentance, then it may be said they are false. It takes time for fruit to grow, bad or good.

In each essay focusing on a false teacher or doctrine, I don’t just point it out, warn and/or exhort, but I also try to include a lesson on HOW to spot something that is false. It is false if it varies with the truth. This sounds simple, but satan is the most subtle creature in the garden, (Genesis 3:1) and he tricks us six ways to Sunday. He melds truth with lies, and often it takes a sensitive mind trained in discernment (by the Holy Spirit) to untangle where satan’s lie begins after God’s truth leaves off. Far from God’s truth remaining a solitary island in a world full of lies, in describing how the preachers of Reformed theology are succumbing to the pull of the worldly influences, John MacArthur said in an interview by way of example,

“You have some of the most well known preachers of Reformed theology partner up in conferences with some of the people who are the most extreme pragmatists. I mean, this is happening. Who would have thought that John Piper would have Rick Warren at a Desiring God conference? Those two seem like extremely polar opposites.”

It is only a matter of time before the tractor-beam of falsity will inexorably pull a teacher into darkness and hearers with him or her. We have to stay strong in doctrine and so save our hearers (1 Timothy 4:16).

False teachers
This is not fruit. It’s marzipan. Fooled ya! CC, © Nevit Dilmen

One of the false teachers I’ve written about the most on this blog is Beth Moore. It is my opinion based on scriptures, research, and prayer that the three most devastating false teachers of the 20th century have been Billy Graham, Rick Warren, and Beth Moore. Certainly there have been other false teachers who have done much damage to the faith (Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer…). There are certainly others who are true men of faith but have taught a devastating doctrine. For example, Henry Blackaby’s mysticism opened the door to beliefs in the insufficiency of scripture, and Wayne Grudem’s acceptance of modern prophecy did the same.

But for my own faith walk and in my own heart, it’s Moore, Warren and Graham whose teachings seem to torment my soul the most.

As mentioned above, I’ve watched these three over a period of a decade. One must see a continual patterns before any level of discernment warns us they may not be as solid as one hopes. Discernment divas and discernment popes do damage to the body of believers when they pounce on one thing said once, or harshly shrill the alarm when no wolves are actually near.

One must see a long-term continual pattern before we can be sure
any fruit is good or bad. Photo by Edmont, Creative Commons

I’ve looked into Mr Graham’s life arc based on biographies, writings, interviews, historically recorded video, and newspaper quotes. I’ve watched almost all of his crusades from the first recorded in 1949 through the late 1980s. Though the seeds of Mr Graham’s apostasy were evident to those close to him as far back as the 1930s, it took quite a while for Mr Graham’s apostasy to show to the wider Body. It took less time for Moore’s to show, but it was still between ten and fifteen years before a pattern emerged in her. The seeds of apostasy always grow, they never die.

In Acts 20:30 we read Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

1 Timothy 4:1 it states Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,

The above verses can apply to anyone, no matter how popular or no matter how seemingly solid. They can apply to the obviously false and the not-so-obvious. They can apply to the popular person with a large following or to the little known person allowing false doctrines to creep into a rural church. They can apply in Paul’s day or they can apply today. No teacher is above being scrutinized and no one who is teaching in His name should expect to escape scrutiny, they should welcome it. Paul’s teaching was scrutinized and he called that activity noble. (Acts 17:11). If an Apostle who had met and been taught by the risen Christ was not above being tested in his teaching, no one else is, either. Conversely, how much more important is it that we test teachers today, in these latter times when ungodliness abounds.

Beth Moore

 

As a woman, I’ve especially offended by Moore. It grieves me deeply that women all around fall under her sway. I attend a Southern Baptist Church in the bible belt and Moore’s presence in the form of studies, books, DVDs, retreats, and mentions is nearly inescapable. It’s very painful because I know that these women are ingesting poison. I hurt for these women who don’t know they are being stalked by a wolf and are being drawn away into unhealthy doctrines. Most importantly, false teaching maligns the spotless Lamb, our Savior, because it presents a false view of Him. It is evil.

Of course, when I mention that Moore teaches things detrimental to our Christian growth, I am looked at as either an alien from another planet of just plain crazy. To many, it is unthinkable that Moore would be preaching aberrant doctrines. She is much too popular, much to embedded, mentions Jesus much too often, to possibly be false. Right?

Wrong!

Popularity is touted by many as the benchmark of truth. The notion is, “All those people who follow her/him can’t be wrong.” We saw that concept arise so often during John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference, among people seeking to defend the aberrations Strange Fire sought to expose, they said so many million Charismatics can’t be wrong. O but they can.

It is the same when some seek to defend Moore. So many woman can’t be wrong, can they? Even Christianity Today dubbed her the most popular bible teacher in America. But oh yes, so many followers can be wrong. As a matter of fact, widespread popularity can be an indicator of falseness. The bible says,

Woe to you, when all people speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26)

Popularity is no indicator of effectiveness.
Women cheering Obama in Dublin Ireland. CC, Pete Souza

When I first began investigating Moore (2009) it was because I’d been through a few of her studies and I was unsettled. I compared what she said to scripture and it seemed to come up short. It was hard to pinpoint, though, because she taught some good things and some things that seemed to be more speculative. But the plank hanging off the ship wasn’t that long and I could see when she taught where she had been and where she was going in the lesson, and it seemed that one foot was still in the bible. Kind of.

Her home life didn’t quite add up either. She is incessantly open about her sexual abuse, her mother’s cancer, or her daughter’s eating disorder, but zealously closed on other subjects, such as the son she adopted, raised for 7 years, and gave back; or giving tours of her office, or even answering questions from a reporter without first vetting them- in writing. Selective transparency isn’t transparency at all.

When she was younger, she claimed to be a stay at home mom, but this statement is disingenuous. In just one example of her contradictory statements about her stay-at-home mommy-hood, Moore founded and is President of Living Proof Ministries (LPM). She grew the corporation from its inception in 1994 when Moore’s daughters were 7 and 4 to a thirteen million dollar organization today. She has said in interviews that the company ministry grew as her daughters did. That much is obvious, and it didn’t happen with Moore being a stay-at-home mom and only traveling on Friday nights as she stated. In another example, in 2003 when her children were 16 and 13 years of age, Moore wrote “When Godly People do Ungodly Things”. Moore said in her preface on p xiii that she wrote the book “many miles from home” and “entirely alone” “for several weeks”.

As reported here in Charisma Magazine quoting Moore, “When she did have to go out of town, the girls’ lives went on “completely normally,” yet in looking at her Living Proof schedule and her book tours, in fact her time away from the kids was frequent and lengthy. And if you read the rest of the quote, “because Keith stepped in and took over in her absence“, I refer to Ephesians 5:22.

And speaking of that, Moore’s husband is the Vice-President, (as seen here, more here) so her claims of being a stay-at-home mom just teachin’ a little and writin’ bible studies a little is contradictory to Ephesians 5:22. If you’re going to choose career like a feminist, then be out there like a feminist. If you’re going to choose stay-at-home-mom, then be that. But don’t live like a feminist and pretend to be Proverbs 31 woman.

I bring this up because a false teacher’s home life, personal behavior, and quoted statements count just as much as the doctrine she teaches. What teachers say and what they do must match biblical standards.

It wasn’t long after, perhaps 2010-11 that a few more voices joined the chorus as the plank hanging off the doctrinal ship grew longer and longer as Moore strayed further from solid doctrine.

In 2012 and 2013 she became more bold in her assertions that God spoke directly to her, and more involved with false teachers and events. (Joel Osteen, Louie Giglio). In 2003-04 Moore’s LPM donated about $40,000 to Osteen’s church for “ministry support”. She participated in the Contemplative Spirituality DVD and promoted contemplative Spirituality from the Passion Conference pulpit, even leading ordained men.

In 2 Timothy 3:9 it states that some of the false teachers will be, “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.”

Beth Moore often says God directly gives her new things to say,
that she has visions, and that a force unparalleled took over
and wrote her book for her while she “sat bug eyed”.
These things are not from God.

Worse was to come. Moore now says she has visions and direct encounters with Jesus. She has said that she was lifted into the realm of Jesus in another dimension. She said that she was shown the world through His eyes, and heard God’s voice personally. She’s claimed to have received personal revelations not in the bible that “Jesus” then told her to teach from. This is Gnosticism, claiming to have obtained secret knowledge directly from deity apart from the open revelation given to all Christians in the bible. In one of the links below Moore even states plainly that what she was receiving from God was a secret, but ‘He knows I’m going to tell it.’ In effect, she is claiming to be a prophetess and claiming apostolic privileges. But in fact she is a Jezebel-type whom God will deal with. (Rev 2:20)

Moore recently aligned with Catholic mystic Roma Downey of ‘The Bible’ miniseries to present one of the ‘biggest’ bible events in America, using scenes from ‘The Bible’, despite the obvious doctrinal errors in the movie presentation and despite the fact that Downey is yoked to darkness.

Moore’s apostasy showed as early as 2003 and perhaps even earlier as she pursued career over biblical motherhood, but in any case by 2014 she has jumped the shark infested waters, fully submerging in falsity. She has swiftly drifted away. In my opinion, in the last year, Moore has definitively and with finality shown that she has gone out from us.

Drifting. EPrata photo

The lesson for us is that we must pay attention lest we drift away. In this essay on the Hebrews 2:1-4 verses, the author writes,

In this passage is found a warning of the danger of “drifting.” The figure suggested is that of a boat drifting along at an almost imperceptible speed, but none the less being carried along in the wrong direction by a subtle current.

Drift Away

The reason for exhortations to stay away from Moore, and to be discerning about all false teaching, is as the author above states in explaining the Hebrews passage, “The second reason for this exhortation is the dignity of the One through whom God has spoken”. He is our Savior, our Teacher, our Protector. Therefore, we-

Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:14 NAS)

Everything I said above about Beth Moore is supported with scripture and/or with documents and facts. These are contained in the links I gathered for you.

Here is a list of everything I have written about Moore, and below that, a list of links leading to critiques from women about Moore, and below that, a list of men who have critiqued Moore. Moore is bad for your heart, bad for your mind, and bad for your faith.The bible advises us to “avoid such people”.

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Beth Moore Critiques

 

Licensed for reuse

Critiques by Elizabeth Prata, writer of this blog:

Joyce Meyer’s “I am not a sinner” aside, the more subtle a false teacher, the less likely it will be that one can find just one ‘smoking gun’ to point to in proving falsity. Therefore, this link is as close as it gets to just one smoking gun.

Examining Beth Moore’s statement: the ‘Bride is paralyzed by unbelief 

2015: Beth Moore’s Strangely Disappearing Tweet: A Discernment Lesson

I wrote this series in 2011 after having attended a two day Living Proof Conference.
Beth Moore: Reactions to Living Proof teaching
Reactions Part 1
Reactions Part 2
Reactions Part3a
Reaction Part3b
Reactions Part 4

Investigating Moore’s teachings led me to research further. This series was the result:
Troubled by Beth Moore’s teaching:
Beth Moore Part 1: Introduction, and Casualness
Beth Moore Part 2: Undignified Teaching
Beth Moore Part 3: Contemplative Prayer
Beth Moore Part 4: Legalism
Beth Moore Part 5: Personal Revelation
Beth Moore Part 6: Eisegesis, Pop Psychology, and Bad Bible Interpretations
Beth Moore Part 7: Conclusion

When I read that Beth Moore said she had received the book directly from God as if a force had taken control of her, it reminded me of previous research I’d done years ago into automatic writing. This series was the result.

Examples of Channeling Christians, like Beth Moore
Part 1: Introduction
Part 2: How Walsch, Young, and Moore channeled their books
Part 3: How Walsch, Young, & Moore channeled their books
Conclusion: Why Walsch, Young and Moore channeled their books

Beth Moore’s role as a feminist and redefining biblical womanhood for the next generations (Rev 2:20 again)

Secret Christian feminists
How the Christian secret feminists are reforming the definition of biblical womanhood. Part 1 
How the Christian secret feminists are reforming the definition of biblical womanhood. Part 2
How the Christian secret feminists are reforming the definition of biblical womanhood. Part 3

This next one was picked up by Do Not Be Surprised and then World View Weekend with Brannon Howse.
Beth Moore led a “commissioning” for 11,000 women (and men) at Unwrap the Bible conference

Beth Moore defenders said I was being too picky in making charges against the way Moore teaches, casual speaking of God being one of them. But here is an essay showing that such casual speech is actually a breaking of the Third Commandment not to take His name in vain.
The Third Commandment: ways to take God’s name in vain you might not have thought of

Taking Beth Moore to task for claiming to have been with Jesus in another dimension and taught new things
Beth Moore says God lifted her into another dimension & showed her the church through Jesus’ eyes

A discernment lesson on how Mrs Moore twists scripture and comparing her exposition to credible teachers’ work
Discernment lesson: The Shack and Beth Moore’s treatment of Paul. Part 2

Really, if Revelation 2:20 doesn’t speak of Beth Moore’s type of prophesying, then I dunno what does.
Beth Moore: a type of false prophetess of the church at Thyatira? 

Examining how Luke 6 and the curse of popularity is one huge indicator of a false teacher
Discernment lesson: the curse of popularity, Beth Moore, and Billy Graham

Book Review: “Things Pondered,” Beth Moore’s story of adopting a boy and giving him back

Beth Moore’s Heretic Hunting Article and its Fallout

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Further Reading, Critiques by Various Women:

Erin Benziger (Do Not Be Surprised) March 2014, Beth Moore Prophesies a Coming ‘Outpouring,’ Warns of ‘Scoffers’

Erin Benziger (Do Not Be Surprised) Jan. 2014 “Why Beth Moore and Not Me? The Danger of Claiming to Receive Direct Revelation

1. Sharon Lareau of Chapter 3 Ministries, Beth Moore Simulcast Review Part One: General Observations, 2014

2. Sharon Lareau of Chapter 3 Ministries, Beth Moore Simulcast Review Part Two: Bible Interpretation Issues, 2014

3. Sharon Lareau of Chapter 3 Ministries, Beth Moore Simulcast Review Part Three: Personal Revelation 2014

1. Sharon Lareau of Chapter 3 Ministries, Evaluating Beth Moore’s Upcoming Live Simulcast, 2015 (How to pay attention to the red flags the Spirit raises in us, a good discernment lesson in prep for evaluating Moore’s simulcast)

2. Sharon Lareau of Chapter 3 Ministries, Class on Discernment: Living Proof Live Simulcast, 2015

3. Sharon Lareau of Chapter 3 Ministries, 2015 Living Proof Live Simulcast Review Part One

Pam Terrell: Breaking Up With Beth Moore

Book Review by Discerning Reader: Get out of That Pit (the reviewer does not recommend the book)

Sunny Shell: What Do Ann Voskamp, Beth Moore and Sarah Young Have In Common?

Adriane Heins, she is a Lutheran I believe. In this essay she also mentions Joyce Meyer. I appreciated this a lot: “Beth and Joyce want you to feel your theology; Christ assures you of it.” (Cached version)
Friends Don’t let Friends Read Beth Moore

The Upward Call’s Critique of Beth Moore’s “The Patriarchs”

Beth Moore: “Biblicism, Spiritual Warfare, Mysticism and Pop Psychology”

Chapter by Chapter critique of Moore’s book “So long, Insecurity”

 

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Further reading, Critiques By Men:

How do I respond to people who refuse to admit that those who supposedly receive divine revelation are dangerous even though they don’t teach outright heresy?

Can you talk about the dangers of popular teachers who are not heretical but say that God talks to them? I am thinking specifically of Beth Moore. What are we to do with people who refuse to see the danger and insist such teachers are OK?

Believers must always listen carefully when any teacher or preacher speaks about the Bible and theology. They must share the nobility of the Berean saints whom Luke commended for double checking Paul’s teaching according to Scripture (cf. Acts 17:1–11). While Beth Moore teaches with accuracy on some points, she also holds positions and teaches doctrines that are both incorrect and dangerous.

Beth Moore promotes contemplative prayer, a mystical practice not found in Scripture which includes elements of eastern mysticism. She chooses not to draw firm doctrinal lines on her website while implying the Roman Catholic Church is a Christian denomination alongside the Methodist, Baptist, and other denominations. Beth also claims that she has received visions from God and sometimes receives revelation from Him in her heart. From these examples we must conclude that the lack of biblical and theological depth in Beth Moore’s teaching renders her a dubious and dangerous source of Bible teaching.

From Rev. Matt Slick, Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry: A critique of Beth Moore’s teaching here.

Rev. Chris Hull: Lutheran pastor on Beth Moore: “She’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing trying to destroy my flock”

Beth Moore Confronts Young Pastor’s Wife for Criticizing Her Direct, Divine Revelation

Beth Moore’s followers don’t understand the Gospel, by Jeff Maples

From a man named Dale Wilson at the blog The King’s Dale: Beth Moore – False Teacher

Pastor Mike Abendroth, 90-second video: Where is Beth Moore’s Husband?
Pastor Mike Abendroth, sermon clip: Beth Moore-a or Sola Scriptura?
Pastor Mike Abendroth 22 minute radio show, answering emails about Beth Moore

Justin Peters: Spiritual Shipwreck of the Word Faith Movement (not solely devoted to critiquing Moore but she is part of the overall sermon lesson)

Chris Rosebrough: 90-min., Line-by-line audio critique of Moore’s handling of a lesson on Hebrews 10:35-36, Beth Moore’s Dangerous Bible Twisting

I do not agree with a lot of what Mr Wade Burleson has to say. But I include this link because by his own admission he is a fan of Moore and considers her an asset to the Body of Christ, and even he is scratching his head at how Moore treated James 4:10-11 in the study Mercy Triumphs. I especially appreciated his critique of Moore’s penchant for making promises about God’s intentions, as if she knows at any given moment what God will do in this or that situation, something I mentioned in the Commissioning essay above.
“God Will Kick Your Tail” – A Critique of Beth Moore’s Teaching on James 4:10-11 from Mercy Triumphs

Beth Moore Confronts Pastors Wife for Criticizing her Direct Revelation

 

From Sharper Iron, it is a very good critique. Highly recommended. Beth Moore: Her John Piper Connection and Her Very Bad Doctrine

Strange Fire Q&A: Beth Moore
This short Q&A addresses Moore’s claim of extra-biblical revelation

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Of Interest:
Grace To You sermon series:
How to Talk to a Heretic

Biblical stance on why Beth Moore has always been false (or any false teacher) and it didn’t just come on suddenly

Walsch, Young, and Beth Moore: ungodly channelers all (Part 2)

Part 1: Making no distinction between Victorian channeling writers of yore and today’s Christian authors
Part 3: Walsch, Young, and Beth Moore: ungodly channelers all (Part 3)
Conclusion: How do Christian authors end up channeling spirits and producing books from them? Pride

In part 1 of the comparison between the Victorian spiritist’s automatic writing and today’s certain Christian authors receiving ‘Divine’ revelation by invisible force, I had asked “How is receiving a poem through automatic writing after a seance through a spirit guide any different from holing up in a cabin, having a long conversation with God and writing down by invisible force the ‘Christian’ doctrines that are then published to today’s fervent acclaim?”

I laid the historical groundwork to answer this question, with quotes from famous authors who have received written works from the spirit world through automatic writing. Automatic writing is really modern ghostwriting at its most literal form.

I had said that it is easy to look at WB Yeats and note that having received an entire poem (The Second Coming) in a trance while his hand was being used by an invisible force he ascribes to a spirit guide and say “that’s demonic.” I had wondered why people do not look more closely at some of today’s authors who use the exact same methods and come to the same conclusion, “that’s demonic.” Here are three popular Christian-ish authors who have revealed in interviews that they use the same method, although it goes by a different name now. We no longer hold a seance, call up a spirit guide, and allow our hand to be used as an automatic pen. These authors are today’s Christian mystics engaged in receiving divinely inspired writings in toto after a lengthy bouts of contemplative prayer, usually in seclusion, and are yet said to have a special and close relationship with God because they have done this.

Here are the three authors. I use their examples in order from least Christian to most Christian. Neale Donald Walsch, William P. Young, and Beth Moore.

In 1996 Neale Donald Walsch realized his life was a mess. His relationships weren’t working. His health wasn’t good. He got fired from his job. He  woke up one night just angry, really frustrated, and wrote down what was on his mind. God answered. He then had successive conversations with God. These chats became nine bestsellers. Walsch denies his books have been channeled into him, but this is how he explained to the NY Times how his books came about:

“In the spring of 1992…an extraordinary phenomenon occurred in my life. God began talking with you. Through me. Let me explain. I was very unhappy during that period, personally, professionally, and emotionally, and my life was feeling like a failure on all levels. As I’d been in the habit for years of writing my thoughts down in letters…I picked up my trusty yellow legal pad and began pouring out my feelings. This time…I decided to write a letter to God. It was a spiteful, passionate letter, full of confusions, contortions, and condemnation. And a pile of angry questions….To my surprise, as I scribbled out the last of my bitter, unanswerable questions and prepared to toss my pen aside, my hand remained poised over the paper, as if held there by some invisible force. Abruptly, the pen began moving on its own. I had no idea what I was about to write….Out came….Do you really want an answer to all these questions, or are you just venting? … Before I knew it, I had begun a conversation. … and I was not writing so much as taking dictation. … Often the answers came faster than I could write, and I found myself scribbling to keep up. When I became confused, or lost the feeling that the words were coming from somewhere else, I put the pen down and walked away from the dialogue until I again felt inspired–sorry, that’s the only word which truly fits–to return to the yellow legal pad and start transcribing again.”

He was taking dictation, physically being used by an entity from the other side to write about God. Sorry Mr Walsch, that’s channeling. It is also called automatic writing. And therefore anything that comes from the session should be looked upon with extreme suspicion and likely should be disregarded out of hand. And yet the series of books, “Conversations With God” was a huge bestseller. Our church folks have no discernment today. Sadly.

In 2008, William P. Young wrote a story for his kids about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit that his wife encouraged him to publish. It became the runaway bestseller The Shack.

Though Young is not as specific as Walsch, Moore, Yeats, Kipling or other automatic writers as to the exact mechanism of the automatic writing, he does state that the book was generated by whispers from God, dreams, and written pads of conversations he had with Him. “His book, The Shack was birthed from “conversations” and notes he would occasionally write during his 45 minute commutes to work on a commuter train, or from deep thought. “I had a number of those rather ugly yellow pads full of bits of conversations. Sometimes, I would wake up in the middle of the night in the middle of a conversation and grab a notepad to try and remember,” he says.”

Christian apologist Norman Geisler wrote of The Shack‘s origins by quoting from The Shack‘s afterword, “In the final section of the book titled “The Story behind THE SHACK,” he reveals that the motivation for this story comes from his own struggle to answer many of the difficult questions of life. He claims that his seminary training just did not provide answers to many of his pressing questions. Then one day in 2005, he felt God whisper in his ear that this year was going to be his year of Jubilee and restoration. Out of that experience he felt lead to write The Shack. According to Young, much of the book was formed around personal conversations he had with God, family, and friends (258-259).” Toward the end of writing the book, Mr Young had said that he spent one weekend writing four chapters, and one chapter, came out whole and he never edited it.

Beth Moore is a Christian teacher and writer who is currently very popular. The most visible of the trio (the trio being Walsch of Conversations with God, Young of The Shack, and Moore) her method of producing her written works are remarkably similar to them both, and also to the writers mentioned in the part 1 of this series, such as Kipling and Yeats who were admitted Spiritists engaging in automatic writing.

Beth Moore, from ‘Believing God’ said: “What God began to say to me about five years ago, and I’m telling you it sent me on such a trek with Him, that my head is still whirling over it. He began to say to me, ‘I’m gonna tell you something right now, Beth, and boy you write this one down, and you say it as often as I give you utterance to say it: My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief. My Bride is paralyzed by unbelief.’ And He said, ‘Startin’ with you.’” God says, “and boy you write this one down”????? “

She states in the Believing God DVD: “You know what He told me not too long ago? I told you when I first began this whole concept, He first started teaching it to me about five years ago, and He said these words to me: ‘Baby, you have not even begun to believe Me. You haven’t even begun!’ You know what He said just a few days ago? ‘Honey, I just want you to know we’re just beginning.’ Oh, glory! That meant I had begun. Hallelujah! But He was telling me, ‘When this ends, we ain’t done with this. Honey, this is what we do for the rest of your life.’ And He said those words to me over and over again: ‘Believe Me. Believe Me. And I hope it’s starting to ring in your ears, over and over again, Believe Me.’”

In her book “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, in the preface she states,

Now here is the question. Beth Moore says that she holed up in a cabin by herself, and a written work poured out, emerging complete and not by her own hand, so why DON’T say it is not of Godly origin? How is it different when Kipling says “My Daemon was with me in the Jungle Books, Kim, and both Puck books and good care I took to walk delicately, lest he should withdraw. I know that he did not because when those books were finished they said so themselves…” from what Moore says: “When the message of the book was complete, in His estimation, not my own”?? In both cases, disembodied spirits were telling the authors what to write and when to stop!

How is it any different when Yeats says the writing emerged from an invisible force channeled automatically through his hand, and Moore says that she was ‘compelled by God to put ink to paper with a force unparalleled’?? In both cases their physical bodies were used by a disembodied spirit to write things down and in both cases they felt like they could not resist the force!

How is it any different when Catholic Mystic Hildegard of Bingen says “And I spoke and wrote these things not by the invention of my heart or that of any other person, but as by the secret mysteries of God I heard and received them in the heavenly places” and Moore saying “Before God tells me a secret, He knows “up front I’m going to tell it! By and large, that’s our “deal.” (Beth Moore, Praying God’s Word, pgs 1-2). Or when Hildegard said she heard a voice say “write what you see and hear” and Moore saying “He began to say to me, ‘I’m gonna tell you something right now, Beth, and boy you write this one down, and you say it as often as I give you utterance to say it…” In both cases, the women were being directed to write what the spirit said, and both were told by a disembodied spirit that they were recipients of secrets extant of the bible but were doctrinally important just the same!

Yet in all the former cases we dismiss the experience from Yeats, Kipling, and Hildegard, easily detecting that they were of demonic origins. Yet we accept Moore’s writings from that same source and by the same method without question. Why? Why is it like this?

“He silences the lips of trusted advisers, and takes away the discernment of elders.” (Job 12:20)

“The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land–not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.” (Amos 8:11).

“Calamity upon calamity will come, and rumor upon rumor. They will try to get a vision from the prophet; the teaching of the law by the priest will be lost, as will the counsel of the elders.” (Ezekiel 7:26)

Clarke’s Commentary explains– “Then shall they seek a vision – Vision shall perish from the prophet, the law from the priest, and counsel from the ancients. Previously to great national judgments, God restrains the influences of his Spirit. His word is not accompanied with the usual unction; and the wise men of the land, the senators and celebrated statesmen, devise foolish schemes; and thus, in endeavoring to avert it, they hasten on the national ruin. How true is the saying, Quem Deus vult perdere, prius dementat. “Those whom God designs to destroy, he first infatuates.”

If you are infatuated with The Shack, stop. If you are infatuated with Beth Moore, quit. I cannot say more strongly that we all need to pray for discernment in these days just prior to national judgment, we need to seek the truth, not automatically generated spirit writings that offer special secrets or additional insight apart from the bible.

“And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment,” (Philippians 1:9)

John MacArthur has written over 150 books. He has preached expositionally from the pulpit at Grace Community Church for 43 years. I would say he is an elder of the faith. In a Q&A session at the conclusion of the Truth Matters Conference he was asked: “What is your perspective that the Holy Spirit leads us by nudging us, or whispering to us or leading through dreams, things like that?”

MacArthur: “Well, I think the Holy Spirit does lead us, but there is no way to perceive that that’s happening. I don’t have a red light that goes on in my head that goes around and around when the Holy Spirit is leading. I don’t know when the Holy Spirit is leading or when I’m following my own impulses or my own desires, or whatever. I have no mechanism to know that. But in retrospect I see it, and I categorize that as the Providences of God. … For example the Friday they brought me a big list of places they want me to speak, and what did I do? Did I go into a trance and say OMMMM or some see if I can induce the Holy Spirit to know what to do? No. I simply looked at the list and thought, I can’t do that one, and I couldn’t do that one, and oh, that one looks doable. You know what would happen, if I am open and want to do God’s will it is amazing how in retrospect that I can look back and say that it was absolutely critical I be there…

“There is no mechanism that we possess that tells us at the moment when the Holy Spirit is leading us in some supernatural way but that in retrospect we can look back and discern by the Providences of God as it unfolded. … I’m not interested in the mystical stuff. I don’t expect the Holy Spirit to give me special impulses or special revelations.”

Interviewer Phil Johnson added, “The mistake a lot of Charismatics make is looking for special revelation when God doesn’t lead us by giving us new special revelation. He leads us by Providence but He is just as active in leading us.”

The mistake that people like Beth Moore and her followers make is that when special revelation is absent, they believe that God is NOT working, that He is NOT leading. So on the one hand we have a preacher of 50 years who says he has no special direct, auditory, or experiential connection to God nor the Holy Spirit that delivers personal direction to him, nor any mechanism that alerts him to when they are working. And when he writes a book he studies, reads, writes, edits, passes it to his circle of editors for revision and goes around again. And on the opposite end of the scale we have Beth Moore breathlessly saying that God “whisked her to Wyoming” where wholly perfect books are delivered through her hand whilst she is having lively conversations in complete sentences with the Spirit.

You choose which is the more likely the truthful Godly experience…and which is not.
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