Posted in beth moore, discernment, false teacher, proper speech, wisdom

Beth Moore’s strangely disappearing tweet: a discernment lesson

In interesting little incident happened on Beth Moore’s twitter stream yesterday. Mrs Moore wrote:

Even some of her followers were puzzled by Moore’s inadvertent unbiblical admission.

I tweeted the following:

A few other people made mention of Moore’ puzzling admission too. And then the usual happened. Usual for these apostate days:

Beth Moore’s tweet went POOF.

There are a few discernment things to understand here. First, on the literal side of things, Beth Moore’s tweet demonstrates two simple biblical failures. Of course Keith Moore is not “inclined” to study scripture. None of us are. Our flesh always battles Godly disciplines. However the point of the Christian life is that we deny those fleshly indulgences by picking up our cross (Mt 16:24), and we rely on the Holy Spirit to help us overcome the flesh (our ‘inclinations’) to pursue holiness. All of 2 Peter exhorts for growth in godliness and pursuing the holiness our Lord deserves. That Mr Moore gives in to the flesh so as to avoid pursuing holiness is not sanctification.

Secondly it fails the husbandly aspects of a Godly marriage. The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary has a guide for husbands regarding this aspect of marriage. I quote it because the Moores have stated many times they are Southern Baptist, belong to a Southern Baptist church and are proudly Southern Baptist. “Lead Your Wife Spiritually: A Guide for Husbands

it’s especially true of husbands who bear the responsibility to lead in a marriage. Your marriage should be a significant source of your wife’s sanctification. Consider Paul’s words to the Ephesians again: 

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:25-28) 

Clearly, you’re not Christ. There is a sanctifying work that only Jesus can do, but as you model your love on the sanctifying relationship of Christ in the church, you do have a role in your wife’s sanctification. Even if your wife is more spiritually engaged and mature than you are, you still have a responsibility to lead. 

Next, moving away from the literal aspects to the conceptual aspects of Moore’s tweet, teachers of God’s word, as Beth Moore claims to be, should be mature, wise, careful, and self-controlled.

Paul advised young Timothy to “set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.

Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. (Titus 2:7-8).

Titus 2:3 also advises elder women on behavior and comportment in Christian life. As does 1 Timothy 3:11-

In the same way, the women are to be worthy of respect, not malicious talkers but temperate and trustworthy in everything.

I would further state that advice for elder women goes in spades for when they are speaking publicly about their husbands.

On the discernment side, if you’re having red flags about a certain teacher or preacher, one thing to look for is if he or she makes hasty statements. Do they have to retract things often? Do they have to go back the next week and fix a wrong thing they said? I’m not saying teachers don’t ever make a mistake, but if the teacher or preacher you like or follow has a habit of always having to re-explain, correct, or retract, it’s an issue. Real teachers consider their words carefully and speak wisely to minimize such problems, as the 1 Tim 3:11 and Titus 2:7-8 verses says they should do.

I’ve said before that Beth Moore is not qualified to teach partly because of her undignified delivery. She speaks casually, quickly (both in tempo and in heart-haste). Her haste, multitudes of words, and thoughtlessness in her teaching was replicated in posting that tweet for the world to see. It was careless, as evidenced by her almost immediate deletion of it. The Bible says of a person who is hasty in words,

Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 29:20)

Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few. (Ecclesiastes 5:12)

Now someone could say, “Gee, that was one tweet, maybe Beth Moore meant Keith wasn’t inclined to study scriptures with her right then.” That could well be what she meant. So in discernment, we don’t jump to conclusions but we watch fruit grow. LOL, it takes a long time to watch fruit grow. It’s like watching paint dry. It takes time and patience. So, in Keith’s case, is there any? What is the overall, long-term pattern and is there any evidence to support that this is a consistent husbandly failure on his part?

Yes, and yes. The Moores have had a long, public spiritual life. There is much evidence to support that Keith Moore has consistently failed his wife by abandoning the husbandly role, and in so doing, rebelled against his God and allowed a Jezebel-type to be born.

Beth Moore chose to be President of her multi-million dollar corporation, Living Proof Ministries. Her husband chose to be Vice President. In one video interview I watched of Beth, she said her husband Keith has no part in the company (ministry). She was saying that as if it was a good thing, but it is really a bad thing. In looking at Living Proof Ministries’ tax returns, Moore’s reported hours working at the ministry were 50 hours per week and Keith’s were 8 hours per week. She was President and he was Vice-president. He took no compensation. So what she said was true.

However, in ministry, the wife is supposed to be led by the husband. He is supposed to oversee her. If her non-profit was a ministry as she claimed on her IRS forms, the man needed biblically to be very involved so he could rightly make decisions and lead his wife. If it isn’t a ministry but is a corporation, then why was she taking the lead role, in that case she would be be leading a feminist lifestyle? Either way, it was a #fail.

In an interview in Charisma Magazine some years ago, Moore explained how she and her husband worked out their roles as Living Proof Ministries grew and placed increasing demands on Moore.

The only time Keith ever voiced any objection, both women say, was in the early days of the ministry when Beth, at God’s prompting, quit teaching aerobics classes and began to write Bible studies. The aerobics classes had brought in at least “a little part-time money,” Beth says. But at that time, the Bible studies were not for-pay publications; they were simply a tool she prepared gratis for the women who were attending her Thursday morning Bible class at Metropolitan Baptist Church in Houston. Keith didn’t understand Beth’s willingness to invest so much time in a project she wasn’t being paid for.

So her husband objected to Beth STOPPING her work outside the home and OBJECTED to her being at home more. In fact, biblically, it should be the opposite. Keith objected to her ministry work FOR THE LORD as long as she wasn’t being financially compensated. Again, this is not what we do for the Lord.

When Moore’s children were small the growing ministry required her to travel away from home. This was not a problem for Mr Moore. In the interview, Beth said that he simply stepped in to the wifely role as the wife stepped into the husband’s. From the same article linked above, it is reported in the interview and using their own words, that the children endured long and/or frequent absences of their mother away from home, that they strove to maintain normalcy when Beth was gone, that they lost family privacy, that the family endured trials because of Beth’s choice to work outside the home, that they all had to sacrifice for the sake of Beth’s ministry, that each time Beth left home the children saw their father (unbiblically) performing in the wife’s role, and that Keith totally supported Beth’s choices all the while. Moore says of her absences from home as a mother, her children

“invested in the kingdom every time they kissed their mother goodbye.”

This is what happens when the husband follows his fleshly “inclinations”, and fails to rightly lead. It is not surprising then, we end up with a false teacher like Beth Moore who does not know how to handle scripture. In the end, the answer is yes, there is along-term pattern of unfruitfulness so as to be able to credibly say enough evidence exists to support that this is a consistent husbandly failure on his part? We can answer the question Pastor Mike Abendroth asked, Where is Beth Moore’s Husband?

So the take-away discernment lessons here are:

1. Use social media wisely. It’s embarrassing for someone to speak impiously and worse to see the twitter stream littered with “unavailable tweets.” Proverbs 12:4 here, An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones. Sin and error never lead to courage. They usually lead to hiding the sin and deleting the tweet. When you tweet, post, blog, vlog, or otherwise, do you stand behind what you’ve said? Even under fire, does what you’ve said, stand on solid ground?

2. Do not be hasty when speaking, especially publicly. If you are a teacher, be even slower with your words. Proverbs 12:18 says, There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

3. Women, help your men do their duty of protecting and overseeing you. First, because it is a biblical command, and second, because the false teachers are just waiting to “creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,” (Ephesians 5:22-24, 2 Timothy 3:6).

4. Women, you know that we have a tendency to be led astray and usurp the husband (Genesis 3:16). Stay submitted.

5. Sin always finds you out. (Numbers 32:23). Where a false teacher is concerned, both their doctrine and their lives (behavior) will be suspect. Yes, even Billy Graham’s. We detect the false doctrine earlier and more easily because false teachers can’t hide their teaching, that is their moneymaking, stock-in-trade. They can and do hide the sin in their lives more easily, but as the verse says, it will find you out. The natural man can’t keep a lid on his sinful behavior forever. It WILL come out.

In Beth Moore’s case she tries very hard to hide her private life. The Charisma interview I linked to is 13 years old. Not many interviews occurred after that. Or if they did, Moore insists on prepared questions ahead of time, denies tours of her office, and refuses to speak of certain periods or issues in her life (untransparent to the extreme). There are always some glimpses and gleanings of the all-important moral side emerging, though. She can’t keep a lid on all of it.

Usually at some point a critical mass is reached, the cracks in the dam can’t be plugged and the whole thing comes down.  Every false teacher always has some moral issue that emerges. We saw this with Mark Driscoll. Tullian Tchividjian. Creflo Dollar. Jimmy Swaggart. Joyce Meyer. Jack Schaap. The list is seemingly endless. That’s because a false teacher or false pastor has no hope of restraining the sin in him, and even a secret sin always finds its way out.

6. Honor your husband. It is a great example to set for the younger women. A solid, biblical marriage is wondrous to behold and that is because marriage is a picture of Jesus and His Bride.

Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty thunder peals, crying, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to be clothed with fine linen, bright and pure”– for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.” (Revelation 19:6-9)

Posted in gentle speech, jesus, proper speech, scripture

Editorial: Be vigilant about your comment section

Either through AOL chat, online newspapers, bulletin boards, blogs, Facebook, or Twitter I’ve been running online comment sections since 1999. I’ve had a lot of experience seeing how people choose to say things either openly or anonymously. I’ve also seen a steep decline in the quality of online (and real life) discourse.

By 2004 online newspapers and blogs became ubiquitous. That year was dubbed Year of the Blog. Anonymous commenting flourished. Prior to this, the only public discourse available was tightly controlled. Letters to the Editor had to be signed with your real name, and include a telephone number so the editor could call to verify. Journals and other publications demanded the same. The internet either wasn’t invented or it was so new, not everyone was online. Books went through an even tighter process, if you could even reach the front door of a publishing house. Handing out personal leaflets or pamphlets was looked upon with suspicion, especially if someone was handing them out while standing on a street corner. To use a microphone at a public meeting you had to sign your name and be called to the podium. If your discourse was too inflammatory, your mic would be shut off. If someone wanted to say something publicly either in oral or written form, it was very hard, and there was no such thing as anonymous commenting. (Benjamin Franklin’s penchant for pseudonymous commenting notwithstanding).

It’s amazing to me that it’s been 11 years since the Year of the Blog and 16 years since the internet with its comment forums, bulletin boards and comment sections has become part of normal daily life. That short history lesson was needed, because 16 years is a long time and many of the younger brethren don’t know what it was like before we could easily and anonymously say anything, anytime, anywhere.

I’ve enjoyed the loosening of the forums available to the public in order to employ free speech and I am a great advocate of the internet as a freely available place to exchange ideas. However with great freedom comes great responsibility, Eleanor Roosevelt said. Many people fail to take their responsibility for measured speech responsibly, and the devil is having his heyday.

Just as we thrill to the idea that we can support international ministries like Grace to You which reaches a huge audience, and just as we can responsibly use social media and the Internet to get the message of Jesus across to a wider audience ourselves, so satan uses social media too. He captured Hollywood and then the networks and then cable. Now online Christian newspapers, blogs, forums and the like are bastions of false doctrine, angry rhetoric, and tarnished witness.

The bible has a lot to say about how a Christian should speak, and also what to do when speaking to and dealing with non-believers. Over 70 times in the bible we read proverbs, commands, and advice for proper speech.

I’d like to take a moment to discuss online Christian speech and to bring us back to the biblical standards for how to react to hateful speech, scornful speech, sarcastic speech, and mocking speech. The bible says a lot about how WE are supposed to conduct ourselves in discourse, but today I’d like to comment on how to proceed when faced with less than desirable comments online, AKA, moderating.

What do you do when faced with someone’s sarcastic, mocking comment, or seems to want only to argue?

The short answer is: delete them without a second thought. If necessary, block them. More on why in a moment.

Here is the lesson. I’ve noticed a marked upswing in scornful and hateful comments. In some examples it’s obvious that they should be deleted. The other night I received a comment responding to an essay that simply said, in all caps, “I HOPE YOU ALL DIE.” I actually laughed at that one, because we all do die. The sad or happy part is what comes after for each of us.

But satan is a subtle creature and he instills a sly menace in some comments, comments that on the surface seem like they should be engaged with but are only there to cause a hindrance to pursuit of God’s glory. Another commenter said the other night,

It consistently amazes me how you pick and choose bible verses that are applicable to your argument, yet call out “false prophets” for doing the exact same thing.

The clues in this comment are the word ‘consistently’ (he keeps reading this blog enough to think I do something consistently which in his opinion is stupid. My question is, why keep reading?), the scare quotes around the phrase “false prophet” (Scare quotes are often used to express skepticism, disapproval, or derision, says the journalism dictionary, and writers are advised to use them sparingly) and the ad hominem charge with no supporting data. An ad hominem attack is simply an attack on the writer’s character. Lacking data, reason, or logic, they usually just fall back to “you’re a big huge poopyhead.” They rarely if ever use a name.

I responded like this:

Can you show me an example of which verse I’ve used incorrectly, and show me how the verse should be understood? Anonymous, you have scare quotes around the phrase “false prophets”. Does this mean you believe there aren’t any? Or, do you believe the ones I’ve called out are not actually false? Please use scripture to help us understand your meaning.

I’m serious here. The Internet is a cold screen, and facial expressions and tone won’t come through. Maybe I misunderstood the person, and I’d like to give the person a chance to respond with scripture and facts in order to understand their intent and position.

Sometimes they respond positively, and we can go on in unity under the love of Christ, gaining a better understanding. However in this particular example, when I asked Anonymous to provide bible verses he said, “That’s a nice little trick there.” Then he simply made more ad hominem charges. I deleted the comment. Why?

1. If they are a non-believer, why allow them to co-opt the discussion and insert false doctrine or destroy the tone? Also, you can’t disciple a goat into a sheep.
2. If they are a believer, why allow them a forum to further dig themselves into a sin-hole?

Discernment lesson: Don’t let trolls online or people in real life sway you from a focus on Jesus with the bible as the basis. Scripture is the only truth, and the only means when discussing Him to arrive at a reasonable conclusion. (Isaiah 1:18, 2 Timothy 3:16). If they refuse, you know they aren’t genuinely striving to glorify Jesus or trying to help you (or me). In these cases, sadly, the bible says plenty about conversations like the one Anonymous wanted to have.

Since their conversation doesn’t emanate from above, but from within, “Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11)

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.” (Prov 18:2). This goes both ways, for the commenter, but also for the Moderator. Once we stray from scripture, everything else is our own opinion and I would quickly become foolish too. That’s why I’m vigilant, I don’t want to provide a forum for a fool to increase his sin nor to provide a pit for me to fall into. I”m a sinner too.

In these cases when the person persists in their opinion and becomes more heated, we shake the dust off and leave them be. (Mark 6:11). “Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; ” (2 Timothy 2:23)

Otherwise,

Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.” (Proverbs 26:4)

I say all this to let you know that if you run a blog, forum, or comment stream, like on Facebook, to not be hesitant to delete, refuse to engage, or leave people like this alone. In cases like these I delete and don’t think twice. No regrets. Sometimes I think we are so full of love and care for everyone to come to Christ we engage in conversations that are better left alone, which only end up damaging our own character as we sin by falling into sarcasm, anger, or “foolish controversies.” If you run an online forum or facilitate a real life group, don’t damage your own witness by over-extending into the fool’s sphere. To keep a clear head, it’s simple- always stay with scripture as the basis for any conversation. It is scripture that convinces, convicts, and saves. Not my opinion- or theirs.

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (James 1:26)

The other important reason to be strict about not letting the conversation stray too far off scripture and off the point is that we don’t want to be a place where doctrinal confusion reigns. I refuse to allow this blog or any other forum I moderate to become a hindrance to the growth of a weaker brother or sister. I do not want to confuse anybody! Questions are fine, discussion is fine, but allowing people with an agenda to promote their false doctrines won’t happen here.

I can’t tell you how many people comment about the ‘fact’ that Darby invented the rapture, or how John MacArthur is a false teacher, or how Beth Moore must be a good teacher because she “helped” someone feel better about themselves. And don’t even get me started on how many people write to me with their dream or vision. Those comments will never see the light of day. Not. Gonna. Happen. I am responsible to Jesus for everything I say and everything I do. I won’t be part of helping to send a sister off in a wrong direction under the false notion of “fairness” or “love” to a person who may have mal-intent or is just plain wrong. I truly love my brethren too much for that.

So do not let anyone guilt you into publishing their comment, or worse, their essay as a guest writer, just because they have a misunderstanding of what censorship and free speech is. Not publishing a comment isn’t destroying their free speech. It’s called moderating. Free speech means any person can go start their own blog and they can comment all day and all night if they want, and here in America for the time being, people can still do that.

Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.. (Proverbs 21:23)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)