Tag Archive | beth moore

Spot the self-refutation: Beth Moore

When the Be Still DVD was issued in 2006, Beth Moore’s participation in what was obviously a mystical/pagan promotion of Eastern Religious prayer practices caused an uproar. This was 11 years ago at this writing and Moore was seen as solidly solid then. Moore issued a clarification and retraction and apology for her participation, saying it was “hugely accidental” if she participated in something unsound. She assured her audience-

Beth Moore 1: “I am not involved in any kind of emergent church movement or any kind of mystical prayer movement.”

Then she continued in her apology, clarifying her words that ended up on the DVD-

Beth Moore 2: “Here’s what I intended to say: pray, pray, and pray some more and learn how to listen for God’s response.”

The two comments are from the same piece of writing. Do you see what I see?

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Here is Moore a few years later participating in a mystical prayer experience of Lectio Divina. Photo source: Sola Sisters.

Beth Moore’s labyrinth descent to falsehood

Amy Spreeman at Berean Research posted this on her Facebook Wall about Beth Moore’s new Facebook banner and fortune cookie quote:

Mrs Spreeman said, “I asked a question – we’ll see how long the FB page admin keeps my comment up.”

I agree when Amy says that Michelle Dacus Lesley said it very well:

Are prayer labyrinths biblical? GotQuestions has the answer:

Are prayer labyrinths biblical? No, they are not. Not only are labyrinths never mentioned in the Bible, but they also conflict with several biblical principles of worship and prayer.

Please go to the link to read the explanation as to why prayer labyrinths are not biblical. GotQuestions lays out 5 reasons why.

Is Beth Moore a false teacher? Yes. She is a false teacher.

1. She twists the Bible. (2 Peter 3:16),
2. She preaches from her own visions. (Ezekiel 13:7, Romans 1:21),
3. She associates with heretics and calls them friends. (1 Corinthians 15:33, Proverbs 14:7),
4. She preaches Word-Faith heresy. (source on what this doctrine is and why it is bad and comparing Moore’ sword-faith to scripture),
5. She is a mystic who promotes Lectio Divina, Contemplative Prayer, Labyrinths, and other mystical practices.

As someone commented on Amy Spreeman of Berean Research’s FB page,

Nope! I am appalled at how many church leaders think this woman is biblically sound!!

Me too. Me too…

PS: The Media Team at Beth Moore LPL responded to Mrs Lesley’s and Mrs Spreeman’s negative comments about the labyrinth

“Hi Amy! I’m on Beth’s media team, and we chose this picture not realizing that it was a Prayer Labyrinth. Thank you for teaching us! We appreciate your help.”

The Media Team, which is the face and the name of Beth Moore “did not know” it was a labyrinth. Um, okay…

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FMI:

Beth Moore: False Teacher

Why your pastor should say no more to Beth Moore

Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry

Why is Wonder Woman a better role model than Beth Moore?

Even though one is a supposed Christian and the other is a fictional comic strip character?

In seeking to answer that question, first, please forgive me for making a cultural comparison. I know the swells of film-going euphoria are riding high right now at the genial and solid presentation of female derring-do in the form of re-booted Wonder Woman, and apparently I can’t resist.

Anyway the short answer is that Wonder Woman is capable, teachable, and single-mindedly focused on serving humanity and doing right. Beth Moore isn’t.

yuppie

The long answer is, I grew up on the original 1975 Lynda Carter Wonder Woman. In an era of M*A*S*H, The Jeffersons, and All in the Family, it was refreshing to this teenager and her friends to be able to identify with a capable woman, unattached and unembedded in a family, out there and doing stuff. Mary Tyler Moore was the same. /cue throwing hat/. It was the era of feminism and bra burnings, after all.

That was the message we received back then. You girls can do stuff, you can be strong and feminine (blue skirt suits with bow at the neck notwithstanding), you can be accomplished, strong, and capable.

I’m not agreeing with feminism, I’m just relating the times and the cultural message I was bombarded with during my formative years.

Now it’s 40 years later, I’m a late-middle aged woman, and I’m saved by the grace of God through faith. I follow Jesus and His statutes now, not the world’s philosophies. I look forward to His kingdom. The world isn’t something I identify with any more.

According to the Bible, I’m the daughter of the King. I’m capable of doing anything within His will because I have the Holy Spirit in me. My affections are for Jesus as Groom and His ways in His strength and power, which is infinite. I’m loved, affirmed, chosen, nurtured, protected, and guided. I have an eternal home, an important job on earth, a fulfilling future, and the most solid promise in the universe: He will keep us with Him forever. That is who I am as a woman. It is very positive.

According to Beth Moore and her spiritual daughters who teach like her, their incessant message is that we women don’t need to be the emotional wrecks we are. We don’t have to be the hand-wringing ninnies we are that need a ladder to get out of our pit. We can avoid being sunk by our funk and we don’t have to keep dragging all that baggage. It sounds like a positive message, but in fact it’s very negative.

As an aside, you might notice that after relentlessly reminding us women that we’re emotional wrecks, Moore is here to provide the ladder, give us our affirmation, and help us live fully for our purpose. She has the key, and she provides the answers. In that way, she becomes our supposed savior. Have you noticed?

Anyway. I was reading a movie review Wonder Woman in The National Review,. The author of Run, Wonder Woman! The Feminists Are after You! was commenting on modern feminism. Far from the strident, aggressive, “I’m strong like a lion hear me roar” feminists I grew up hearing about 40 years ago, the philosophy has currently reduced itself to “today’s weird brand of obsessive, woe-is-me ‘feminism’ ” said the author.

This resonated.

Thanks to so many false but prominent female Bible teachers, don’t we now have a brand of obsessive, woe-is-me Christian women? False Christianity mirrors the culture, because both are from satan.

The movie review author said,

Please, for everyone’s sake, avoid buying into the idea that women are fragile creatures who need 1,000 different obsessive gender-based affirmations just to make it through life.

This resonates again.

Today’s feminist needs safe spaces to hide from the gender oppressive partiarchy. They need trigger warnings, AKA advance notice that something in a syllabus or lecture might trigger unhappy memories and hurt their feelings. They make strident demands so they can cower wimpily. They want no negative repercussions for their emotional hand-wringing. The 1960s-1970s feminist strode out to take over the world. Today’s feminist retreats from the world because some words in a lecture hurt their feelings.

As the movie review author said, today’s feminism is just “a giant, manufactured angst magnet!”

Isn’t Beth Moore a giant, manufactured angst magnet? Aren’t her studies aimed at making more giant, manufactured angst magnets? The comparison is immediately apparent. The National Review author continues:

About that, though: Even though I grew up before seeing the supposedly life-changing new Wonder Woman movie, I always believed I could pursue whatever career I wanted, as long as it wasn’t professional bowling. (Trust me. You do not want me on your bowling team.) I had both male and female role models as a child, and no one told me I had to see my exact facsimile in a job before I could pursue it. When I heard about the new Wonder Woman movie, I thought, “Hooray! It looks like a fun and well-executed summer blockbuster, rather than a giant, manufactured angst magnet!” This is because I’m a fairly normal and well-adjusted person who hasn’t yet let modern feminism melt my brain.

As a Christian women who hasn’t let feminism or its Christian-y counterpart, women’s Bible studies melt my brain, let’s take another look at Edith Bunker, Louise Jefferson, Margaret Houlihan…these 1970s TV show characters I was told not to model myself after. Is there anyone stronger than Ma Walton or Caroline Ingalls? Women who held their families together through extreme financial hardship, often during lengthy periods when the husband was off at a long-distance job?

Or Edith Bunker showing how to stay married to a difficult man? Or Margaret Houlihan, regular-army head nurse of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital who was a leader of a large number of personnel, in war?

Or Louise Jefferson, a woman who raised her son and worked alongside her husband so hard that the two of them “made it”, as black people penetrating the racial layer of the upper crust of NY City’s East Side and settling into financial security and professional recognition?

None of those women needed a safe space. None of them were “in a pit” loaded down with “insecurity”. They were too busy getting on with things.

I know these women on TV and movies are just fictional representations. But they’re messages too, and our girls absorb them whether we want them to or not.

I’ll repeat to us Christian women what the author of the Wonder Woman review had said in her essay, just to a different audience. “Please, Sisters, for everyone’s sake, avoid buying into the idea that women are fragile creatures who need 1,000 different obsessive gender-based affirmations just to make it through life.”

Any woman who has been married for any length of time knows how hard it is. Any woman who has become a mother knows how hard it is. Anyone who has to keep a home and work outside the home knows how hard it is. Anyone who’s single and struggling to make ends meet alone knows how hard it is. We don’t need any version of Feminism to buck us up nor any wimpy women’s Bible study to buck us up either.

Jesus is our All in All. He gives us the wisdom, strength, provision, and the everlasting Word to rely upon. We don’t need the world’s messages to lead us like wounded deer from safe spaces to peer at the big bad world through our insecurities and baggage. I’m not in a pit, Jesus already went to the abyss. I’m not weighed down by baggage, He already carried our sins to the cross and threw them as far as the east is from the west.

I’m tired of the feminist message, be it the 1970s version or today’s. I’m also tired of these ‘Bible’ teachers perpetuating the lies that mirror the feminists’. Sisters, all we need to do is focus on Jesus of the Word, and the rest falls into place. Whether you’re taking a Bible study or whether you’re simply reading the Bible, the simple truth is that we are who we are: sinners, saved by grace and forever cherished with the power to slay sin, resist the devil, and serve the Most high with honor and dignity. That’s a Wonder Woman

The takeaways:

1. The false teachers will always mirror the world, because they are of the world. It takes discernment to parse where and how.

2. Worldly philosophies change. The racism of today is not the racism of the 1960s which is not the racism of the 1920s. Feminism has already undergone three waves, and some would argue we are in or about to start the fourth. The false teachers’ messages morph also.

3. Feminism is counter to Biblical Womanhood.

4. Beth Moore is a false teacher.

Back when I was first began researching Moore and her teaching methods five years ago, it was extremely hard to find anything comparing Moore to scripture and less so to find a piece pronouncing Moore as anything but wonderful. In 2013 an excellent analysis of Moore appeared on a blog called The King’s Dale. It was the first discerning piece I’d read about Moore. I was so relieved. Here it is.

Beth Moore – False Teacher

What does it mean to teach by allegorizing the scriptures?

Twisted scriptures

In 2 Peter 3:16, Peter wrote,

as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.

First, please note that he said that those who twist the scriptures do so to their own destruction. So often when I write about false teachers, false doctrine, and actually name the false teachers of doctrine, the ignorant and unstable become upset with it. They fire angry emails and comments asking what have I done lately for the Lord. They charge me with failing to pray for these misguided souls. They claim the false teachers are just making a temporary mistake and all will come out right in the end if we but have patience and love.

Not so.

Scripture twisters to be destroyed

They twist the scriptures to their own destruction. Here is MacArthur commentary on that part of the verse:

By distorting the scriptures, the false teachers were simultaneously securing their own destruction, (cf. 2:2, 3-12, 3:7; Jude 10, 13; Rev 22:18-19) as well as the spiritual demise of their followers. That’s why Peter warns his beloved readers beforehand,  so that they might be on their guard against the error of such unprincipled men (Phil 3:2; 1 Tim 4:1-7, 6:20-21; 2 Tim 2:15-19; Titus 1:16, 3:10).

Distorting the scriptures is a serious business. The many warnings not to do so should be taken seriously, not the least reason is that there are so many ways to distort the scriptures. This essay discusses two of them, spiritualization and allegorization, which are very similar.

Allegorization: A Twisted Practice

Here is John MacArthur defining spiritualization/allegorization:

What do you mean spiritualize or allegorize? Well, you use Scripture like some kind of story and make it mean whatever you want.

Here is Rev. Matt Slick defining allegorization:

To allegorize means to use a symbol as representing a more complex idea.

An example of this erroneous method of interpreting the Bible is recounted by John MacArthur, when he did just that in his very first sermon:

John MacArthur on “Don’t Spiritualize

Third, don’t spiritualize the straightforward meaning of a Bible verse. The first sermon I ever preached was a horrible sermon. My text was “An angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled away the stone” (Matthew 28:2). My sermon was “Rolling Away Stones in Your Life.” I talked about the stone of doubt, the stone of fear, and the stone of anger. That is not what that verse is talking about; it’s talking about a real stone. I made it into a terrific allegory at the expense of its plain meaning.

On another occasion I heard a sermon on “they cast four anchors…and wished for the day” (Acts 27:29 KJV); the anchor of hope, the anchor of faith, and so on. Those Acts 27 anchors were not anchors of anything but metal. … Don’t spiritualize the Bible; study it to gain the right meaning.

It’s not just men who allegorize. This wrong method of interpretation appeals to many false women teachers, too. It seems like a good method for the women who are emotionally driven and spiritually lazy. Like Beth Moore.

Exegetical Errors – If Mrs. Moore is exercising the position of a Bible teacher, then she should be able to properly exegete Scripture. Unfortunately, she is guilty of frequent allegorization where she misapplies Scripture. To allegorize means to use a symbol as representing a more complex idea. The problem is that with allegorizing, Scripture can be made to say almost anything. Let’s take a look at a few of the many examples of Beth Moore’s improper biblical interpretive practices.

Quote: Speaking of the demoniac of Matt. 8:28-34, she says, “before we proceed to the next point, consider a fact revealed in verse 27. The demonic didn’t live in a house. He resided in the tombs. I wonder how many people today are living “in the tombs”? I know a woman who is still so oppressed by despair that decades after the loss of a loved one, she still lives “in the tombs.” (Jesus, the One and Only, by Beth Moore, B & H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tenn., 2002, p. 143-144).

Response: The biblical text is about Jesus’ authority over the demonic realm, not about people living “in the tombs.” The two demoniac’s that were living in these dark places were exceedingly violent (v. 28). They said to Jesus, “What do we have to do with you, Son of God?  Have you come here to torment us before the time?” Jesus then commanded the demons in these two men to leave, and they went and entered into swine (vv. 31-32). The point of the text has nothing to do with people who are held in bondage by emotional traumas. Beth’s allegorizing the text to make it fit her need is a wrong use of the text.

As both John MacArthur and Matt Slick stated, the danger of spiritualizing and allegorizing is that the person who is spiritualizing can just pick out of the air any symbol they want to make mean something and use it to interpret the Bible that way. Once you unhitch from the text you can then insert any symbol for any meaning or interpretation you like. “In the tombs” are not actual tombs, but symbolizes woman in despair. The “anchors” are not anchors but stand for faith, hope, etc. The “stone” was not a stone but symbolized fear. If I decided to allegorize those same texts I could decide that tombs means marginalized people in social injustice, anchors means lack of sanctification progress, and stone means hindrance to prosperity. Voila.

The only acceptable allegorizations

The Bible does have some allegories within it that can be explained as they are. There’s –

  • Nathan’s parable of the rich man who killed a poor man’s beloved pet lamb, 2 Samuel 12:1-4
  • Jesus’ parables have a wide range of degrees of allegorical symbols, many of them explained in the text just after the recording of the parable itself.
  • In Galatians 4:21-31 Paul uses the story of the children of Sarah (Isaac) and Hagar (Ishmael) and the images of Jerusalem above and Mount Sinai as a double allegory, which Paul then goes on to explicitly explain. “Now this may be interpreted allegorically: these women are two covenants…(v. 24)

No need to make up our own symbols when the few times allegories are used in the Bible they are already explained for us. Nor does the presence of allegories in the Bible give us license to continue our own allegorizations. Scripture interprets scripture.

Good interpretive practices

This article from 9Marks discusses the 9 marks of a prosperity gospel church by comparing good church practices with prosperity church practices. One could just as easily substitute any false practice by comparing to these 9 good marks. Topping the list is that a good church will practice expositional preaching on a regular basis.

Expositional preaching is

…at its simplest is preaching that is focused on explaining the meaning of Scripture in its historical and grammatical context. Expositional preaching involves explaining what the Bible says to a contemporary audience that is likely unfamiliar with the cultural and historical settings that the passage was written in.

The word exposition simply means “a setting forth or explanation.” So expositional preaching is the explanation of Scripture that is based upon diligent study and careful exegesis of a passage. It is the primary call of the pastor or preacher as we see in 2 Timothy 4:2: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.”

No need for application

Where many preachers get into trouble is that they believe their sermon needs some sort of ‘application’ at the end. It could be that they have interpreted rightly, have explained the text in a solid expositional sermon, but when they get to the end they feel that it needs explicit teaching on how to apply the text to their congregants’ lives.

Here is an answer to the oft-asked question “Why Doesn’t John MacArthur Add much Application to His Sermons?” He is asked this because he is one of America’s best known-preachers for teaching exposionally, having taught verse-by-verse through the entire New Testament over the course of 42 years. Yet there is very little application in any of his sermons. Here’s why:

Now let me tell you what happens when you preach effectively. You do explanation. In other words, you explain the meaning of Scripture, okay? The explanation carries with it implication. In other words, there are implications built into this truth that impact us. You add to that exhortation. And I’ve said things tonight to exhort you to follow what is implied by the text. Now when you deal with the text and the armor of God, like tonight, all I can do is explain it. That’s all it does. There aren’t any applications in that text. It doesn’t say, “And here’s how to do this if you’re 32 years old, and you live in North Hollywood.” “Here’s how to do this the next time you go to a Mall.” “Here’s how to do this when you go in your car and you’re driving in a traffic jam.” It doesn’t tell you that. And if I made my message mostly a whole lot of those little illustrations, I would be missing 90 percent of you who don’t live in that experience.

It’s not for me to do that. Application belongs to the Spirit of God. All I’m interested in is explanation and its implications. And the power comes in the implication and the Spirit of God takes the implications of what I’ve said tonight, all these things I’ve said, I don’t need to say all kinds of little scenarios to you and paint all kinds of little individual circumstances. All I need you to know is this is what the Word of God says and the implications are powerfully brought to bear with authority on your life and I exhort you to respond to those implications, it is the Spirit’s work to drive those implications into direct and personal application.

Ladies, I Warn About Beth Moore Again

I’d like to refer you again to the picture at the top. I’ve listened to a lot of Beth Moore as well having listened to as other ladies who claim to be good Bible teachers. Beth Moore is not a good Bible teacher. If you have gone through her “Bible studies” please think about how many of the examples Moore has used like the ones in the picture at the top. The example from Matt Slick is only one of the several of Moore’s faulty interpretations he reported. Chris Rosebrough has also explained why Moore’s allegorizations are faulty. So has Justin Peters. Mike Abendroth. And so on.

I consider Moore “patient zero” in the infection into conservative, evangelical circles of her faulty way of teaching through made-up allegory. She has done it that way for so long that generations coming up are now also teaching it that way.

I warn you to avoid any teacher who consistently uses allegorization as their main way of interpreting scripture. Remember, they twist to their own – and their followers’ destruction.

How does the Holy Spirit lead us?

On Facebook last night I’d posted a mini-discernment lesson regarding a tweet Beth Moore had written advocating a process for distilling whether a prompt from the Holy Spirit is legitimate or if it’s your own imagination. I wrote the following in response to her tweet:

moore tweet

Beth Moore is an alleged ‘Bible teacher’. She has 753,000 followers on Twitter alone. The following comment is something she taught a few hours ago on Twitter. Nothing in the Bible says what she taught and teaches. What solid and credible Bible teachers do is teach their pupils to go externally and seek the source of all truth, the Word of God. Moore teachers women to go internally and rely on mystical warnings, feelings, and prompts. What Moore is actually teaching is the insufficiency of scripture and the sufficiency of ourselves in obeying personal feelings.

If Moore was a true Bible teacher she should have written that we seek wisdom from the Bible and follow its commands. We do not rely on the timing of mystical feelings in order to make decisions. We don’t even have to wonder if it is our imagination if we read it in the Word of God. Here is what she should have written-

“Take caution not to override a command of the Lord in His word. Pray persistently in seeking the strength from the Lord you need to obey what is written. Mind the Lord and His statutes.”

I thought that it would be obvious that Moore is teaching something extra-biblical. Obvious.

I was wrong.

I received several comments, one of which asserted that I’d misunderstood the tweet. While it’s always possible I misinterpret an author’s intent within the confines of a 140 character tweet, in this case I’ve studied Moore’s work widely enough to know that I had not done that in this case. I also thought the tweet was plain enough in its assertion.

Another commenter tried to to convince me that there was room for direct revelation. She knows there’s room, she said, because though 99% of the time scripture is enough, sometimes God speaks “very clearly” to her and she knows it’s Him because what He says comes true according to her wishes and wants at the time.

If scripture isn’t sufficient 100% of the time, it is not sufficient at all. God is not speaking clearly or audibly to anyone in any form, not in…

whispers
prompts
leadings
warnings
impressions on our heart
‘told me’
spoke audibly

…because the Bible says that God has spoken though His Son, who IS the Word. (Hebrews 1:2)

Peter said personal experience is never a proper validation of God’s authority, because the word is more sure. (2 Peter 1:19). I notice in these kind of discussions that people assert that it must be God is telling them stuff because what they wanted is coming true. However I notice it never seems to be the case that ‘the Lord told us very clearly one of us will die from cancer’, or ‘the Lord told us very clearly that we will never have children,’ or ‘the Lord told us very clearly that I should stop sinning via pornography.’ No, the direct leading of the Spirit people claim they receive are never that kind, the type that brings bad news against their wish list or commands the person to slay their besetting sin.

Worse, women who claim “He told me very clearly that…” means the woman is claiming prophet status – which elevates her to a position she does not have. Moreover, it discourages other women who have not had the privilege of “hearing directly from God”. They begin to doubt their situations when they aren’t given such personal, clear commands.

One commenter did ask a good question, which formed the basis for this post. She asked, “Where does the Holy Spirit come into it?” Her question is a good one, but a sad one. An entire generation of women have been taught by the Beth Moores etc. that we should expect to be directly (or audibly) led by God, that they do not know what to be led by the Spirit actually means. So here is a post on what it means to be led by the Spirit.

We know the Spirit does lead us. One verse in particular comes to mind, Romans 8:14, where it says so.

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Now, the Holy Spirit does guide us and convict us and teach us and help us but not in a way we know at the time. You might look afterwards and say, gee, that sure was from the Lord. But at the time, we cannot, must not, rely on feelings, prompts, whispers, inclinations, or imaginations, and attribute them to God. That is dangerous because the flesh is at war with the Spirit. One can never really know if it’s the flesh or not. We are commanded not to obey the flesh, but to slay it. (Mt 16:24). Just because Beth Moore teaches that if the feeling hangs around long enough it must be God is ridiculous on the face of it. The flesh is persistent. Very persistent.

It’s also mysticism and divination to follow promptings and claim they were from God. How can we interpret? We can’t, we’re sinful. So while the Spirit leads, His main ministry is to point to Jesus, who is the Word. John 16:14. That’s why a good teacher also points to the Word, which is more sure.

Here is John MacArthur on the Romans verse 8:14, with a very simple explanation of the Spirit’s leading:

How does He lead us? Two ways. Externally, by the Scripture – externally, by the Scripture, Psalm 119:18: “Open my eyes that I may behold wonderful things from Your law.” Show me the truth of Scripture. Externally by Scripture, internally by sanctification. Those two ways. Externally, Scripture; internally, sanctification.

Therefore, there’s no need for a teacher such as Moore to teach an extra-biblical process for figuring out if the prompting is imagination or not.

Sinclair Ferguson at Ligonier Ministries has a good take on leading by the Spirit, which concurs with MacArthur’s in terms of the main leading of the Spirit being illumination of the scriptures. Remember, the point of the Spirit’s ministry is to point to Christ – who is the Word. (John 16:14, 1 John 4:2).

Spirit of Light, by Sinclair Ferguson
Why, then, are Christians today—in contrast to their fathers—so thirsty to experience immediate revelation from God, when His desire for us is the ongoing work of the Spirit opening up our understanding through the mediated revelation of the New Testament? There seem to be three reasons:

1. It is more exciting to have direct revelation rather than Bible revelation. It seems more “spiritual,” more “divine.”

2. For many people, it feels much more authoritative to be able to say, “God has revealed this to me” than to say, “The Bible tells me so.”

3. Direct revelation relieves us of the need for painstaking Bible study and careful consideration of Christian doctrine in order to know the will of God. In comparison to immediate revelation, Bible study seems—to be frank—boring.

Lest we be brow-beaten and develop a kind of siege mentality as Reformed Christians, here are some things we should bear in mind about the work of illumination:

This is the divine method that produces authentic Christian growth, because it involves the renewal (not the abeyance) of the mind (Rom. 12:2) and it is progressive (it takes time and demands the obedience of our wills). Sometimes God does things quickly. But His ordinary way is to work slowly and surely to make us progressively more like our Lord Jesus.

The result of the Spirit working with the Word of God to illumine and transform our thinking is the development of a godly instinct that operates in sometimes surprising ways. The revelation of Scripture becomes, in a well-taught, Spirit-illumined believer, so much a part of his or her mindset that the will of God frequently seems to become instinctively and even immediately clear—just as whether a piece of music is well or badly played is immediately obvious to a well-disciplined musician. It is this kind of spiritual exercise that creates discernment (see Heb. 5:11–14).

In other words, the Spirit leads us by slowly conforming us to Christ-likeness through the application and illumination of the word in us. Our affections change. As MacArthur above said, by the word externally and by inner sanctification as the word works through us.

Now, is there such thing as impressions or promptings? Ferguson below then Phil Johnson below that, explain…yes…and no.

Ferguson from the Ligonier article above:

Well-meaning Christians sometimes mistake the Spirit’s work of illumination for revelation, which, unhappily, can lead to serious theological confusion and potentially unhappy practical consequences. But the doctrine of illumination also helps us explain some of the more mysterious elements in our experience without having to resort to the claim that we have the gift of revelation and prophecy.

Here the late John Murray spoke with great wisdom: “As we are the subjects of this illumination and are responsive to it, and as the Holy Spirit is operative in us to the doing of God’s will, we shall have feelings, impressions, convictions, urges, inhibitions, impulses, burdens, resolutions. Illumination and direction by the Spirit through the Word of God will focus themselves in our consciousness in these ways. (Collected Writings, I, p. 188).

Again, it’s through the Word.

Phil Johnson, Shepherds Conference 2002, “Super Seminar: Private Revelations”

Now, does the Spirit of God ever move our hearts and impress us with specific duties or callings? Certainly. But, even in doing that, He works through the Word of God. Experiences like this, impressions and all, are not in any sense prophetic or authoritative except as they echo what the Word already says. They are not revelation. Those sensations, those impressions, those feelings you get are not revelation, but they are the effect of illumination. When the Holy Spirit applies the Word to our hearts, and opens our spiritual eyes to His truth. And, we need to guard carefully against allowing our experiences and our own subjective thoughts and imaginations to eclipse the authority and the certainty of the more sure Word of God. This is a very practical application of the principle of Sola Scriptura.

Think about this…to what ever degree you seek private messages from God outside His Word, you have abandoned the principle of Sola Scriptura.

It is simpler and more direct to say something like “My husband and I decided to adopt 3 children” rather than “The Spirit led us to the adoption agency.” It’s more honest to say, “We decided to purchase the organ for the church because we adhere to the biblical principle of cheerfully giving” than to say “We felt led by the Spirit to drive down Main Street where we saw the organ store and God clearly told us to buy it.”

The Spirit leads us into sanctification, where we gradually and inexorably conform to Jesus’ likeness, not by having Him specifically give us explicit directions for certain actions at any given time. But what a joy to know He does lead us!

What is ‘Bridal Mysticism’? And why is it so prevalent?

In 2005, Beth Moore was interviewed by Today’s Christian Woman magazine. They asked Moore:

Q. What led you to Jesus?

A. Beth Moore’s [2005] answer:

My Sunday-school teacher would hold up pictures of Jesus, and he looked so nice. I needed a hero, and Jesus seemed like one. I’d lie on the grass, stare up at the sky, and wonder what Jesus was like. Even as a child, I fell in love with him. After my freshman year in college, I was a camp counselor for sixth-grade girls. Early one morning, as the girls were sleeping, I sensed God’s presence enfold me. There were no audible words, no bright lights. But suddenly I knew, without a doubt, my future was entirely his. You are now mine, he told me. (source)

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it is very much like many other false teachers’ conversion stories.

It’s a testimony devoid of essential Gospel elements such as sin or repentance, but rife with romantic eroticism. Sarah Young describes her experience this way:

Suddenly I felt as if a warm mist enveloped me. I became aware of a lovely Presence, and my involuntary response was to whisper, ‘Sweet Jesus.’ This utterance was totally uncharacteristic of me, and I was shocked to hear myself speaking so tenderly to Jesus. As I pondered this brief communication, I realized it was the response of a converted heart; at that moment I knew I belonged to Him. (source)

Bob Dewaay explains the problems with such erotic romanticism.

The Bible speaks of the church as the Bride of Christ but does not describe the universal call of the gospel in sensual terms of a lover pursuing His love interest (who may have no interest in return). God is commanding sinners to repent. The gospel calls for repentance and faith, not romantic feelings looking for satisfaction. Voskamp’s romanticism is enhanced by her skill at describing things in a most sensual manner. The sensual terminology is designed to create a mood, a feeling, a sense of romantic mystery that longs for discovery and fulfillment. Those like me who relish clear description of theological concepts meant to be understood and discerned, will be horribly frustrated by the book. Her book is not meant to be a theological text filled with ideas to be judged true or false, but is instead a literary piece filled with feelings to be relished.

Conversion and life in Christ is not the fulfillment from a young girl’s romantic heart, yearning for a boyfriend. It’s the majestic gift of grace from a powerful but merciful God who draws people to Himself and forgives of sin, making them a new creation. Moore’s yearning for a heroic boyfriend is not the same as Godly reconciliation and peace from the spiritual battle in which all are engaged. Sadly, Moore has built a career on the false premise, and many millions have followed her down that path.

Such romanticism is not new nor did it originate with Protestants. Some Catholic mystics were adept at seeking and enjoying such unions. These women were popular in the Middle Ages. Here is an explanation of this kind of conversion story related to a famous Catholic mystic, Teresa of Avila:

Teresa described the soul’s intense desire for God in the language of erotic passion. In this, she belongs to a long tradition of mystical experience that is known as bridal mysticism. … 

The symbolism of bridal mysticism is found already in early gnostic forms of Christianity, where the central sacrament is called the Bridal Chamber. There the feminine soul of the gnostic unites with the masculine spirit and is in this way spiritualized, that is, liberated from the limitations of mundane existence.

The Catholic Encyclopedia explains mystical marriage:

In a more restricted sense, the term mystical marriage is employed by St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross to designate that mystical union with God which is the most exalted condition attainable by the soul in this life. … This state consists of three elements:
1. The first is an almost continual sense of the presence of God, even in the midst of external occupations.
2. The second element is a transformation of the higher faculties in respect to their mode of operation: hence the name “transforming union”;
3. The third element consists in an habitual vision of the Blessed Trinity or of some Divine attribute.

You notice in the writings of these women, especially Voskamp and Young, they mention “Presence”. That’s mystical bridal union state #1.  For example, Voskamp wrote,

The practice of giving thanks . . . eucharisteo . . . this is the way we practice the presence of God, stay present to His presence, and it is always a practice of the eyes.

This notion of continual presence and feeling it tangibly comes from a book written by Brother Lawrence, called Practicing the Presence, who was, you guessed it, a 17th century Catholic mystic.

These “mysti-chicks” such as Voskamp, Moore, Kim Walker Smith and Young, also mention that they have experienced bridal mysticism’s heightened senses and a clarity of thought, and third, they say they continually hear God or see angels or have habitual visions. Just as the Catholic encyclopedia says occurs in their descriptions of what they claim is the state of bridal mysticism.

Compare those flimsy, feelings & emotion saturated female ecstasy conversion stories with a real conversion story. This one is drenched in the scriptures.

Beth Moore’s conversion answer to the Christian reporter was terribly sad in its absence of anything remotely Gospel. A mysti-chick seeking a handsome hero to enfold her and keep her forever is a conversion story more attuned to bridal mysticism than the gritty realty of a repentant sinner saved by grace through faith.

And that’s bridal mysticism. As for the second part of my original question, why is it so prevalent? It is because apostasy is always present. As long as Christianity exists in this age, there will be those who claim to possess a transformed heart but do not possess one.

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, (1 Timothy 4:1)

Some of these people making the claim will be teachers, pastors, leaders. If you believe that false converts should be easy to spot, you’re wrong. Judas lived intimately with the disciples and Jesus for three and a half years and none of the disciples even suggested Judas as the false one when Jesus said there is one among them. Philip baptized Simon the Sorcerer, who later was cursed because he thought he could obtain the Spirit by money. Demas walked with Paul, the greatest evangelist on earth, but he showed his true colors when he left Paul because he loved the world more.

If the Disciples, Philip, and Paul could not initially spot a false convert under their nose, neither can we. However, false converts always do or say something eventually to reveal who they really are.

So, mysti-chicks did not originate with post-modern Christianity, nor did they originate in the Middle Ages’ Catholic bridal mysticism. They’ve been around as long as metaphorical Jezebel, whom Jesus threatened to strike dead. (Revelation 2:20-23). Be wary of teachers who have a conversion story absent of the necessary elements, who have added elements, or who have relied on some sort of temporal experience as the basis for their conversion. They must have a clear view of who Jesus is, (Savior) and who they are, (sinner) from the start. Not a mature perspective, because converts are babes in Christ, but a correct one. A house built on sand will not last.

For the ladies who wonder if it is OK to read or study under these false female teachers’ earlier works, ‘when they still seemed solid,’ just remember their conversion was based on sand. They were never solid.

Build Your House on the Rock
Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 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. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matthew 7:24-27).

See below the conversion story of a 16 year old Charles Spurgeon, compared to the 18 year old Beth Moore conversion story. House of sand indeed.

Two divorce cases: Summer White and Melissa Moore

Many Christians have a sin or an issue which they have a particular affinity against or former involvement with. Children of alcoholics tend to have an interest in the Christian discussion of teetotaling. People who had been deceived by charismatic doctrine tend to be focused on deception/purity in the church. And so on.

Mine is divorce. Continue reading