Tag Archive | beth moore

Beth Moore calling down fire

fire fall down

This article from Charisma Magazine, published August 2, 2017, was something of an amazement to me. I should not be amazed, but I am. And not in a good way.

Here is an excerpt from J. Lee Grady’s article titled How Beth Moore is Calling Down Pentecostal Fire:

I’ve been in countless Christian meetings over the years, but last week, I witnessed one of the most remarkable spiritual moments of my lifetime.

I was attending a gathering of Pentecostals held at a convention center in Orlando, Florida. When the speaker concluded the sermon, people began to stream to the altar. Many of them—including pastors—lay prostrate on the floor. Many were sobbing uncontrollably. Some people wept and prayed for an hour after the meeting was dismissed.

You may ask, “What’s so remarkable about that?” This meeting, held on July 26, was unique because the speaker was a Southern Baptist—and a woman. Yet her message was so convicting and so saturated in the Holy Spirit that people ran to the stage even though she didn’t even invite people to the altar.

The woman was author and popular women’s speaker Beth Moore, and the occasion was the 28th General Conference of the International Pentecostal Holiness Church. Leaders from the Assemblies of God, the Church of God and Nigeria’s Redeemed Christian Church of God were in attendance, along with thousands of Pentecostals from all over the world.

Moore based her message on Jeremiah 12:5: “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses?” Without a tinge of self-righteousness or condemnation, Moore lamented the powerless state of the modern church and called us back to the raw authenticity of New Testament faith.

“We are settling for woefully less than what Jesus promised us,” said Moore. “I read my New Testament over and over. I’m not seeing what He promised. I’m unsettled and unsatisfied.”

She added: “I want holy fire!”

I don’t know what is more fascinating—that a Baptist challenged Pentecostals to embrace Pentecostal fire or that a woman who is not supposed to preach to men in her own denomination brought male pastors to their knees in repentance.

I don’t know what is more fascinating, the complete rebelliousness of Moore’s preaching, the dangerous and ignorant plea for God to send down fire, or the flat declaration by Moore that she is unsatisfied and unsettled with a lack of fulfillment in God’s promises.

Let’s look at the Charismatic penchant for wanting fire. We hear about that a lot- teachers, preachers, and lay-people, begging for fire.

In this GotQuestions article we readof the reality of fire from heaven. How many times has God sent fire from heaven? The Bible records six times when He sent fire from heaven.

1. God allowed satan to send fire from heaven to destroy Job’s flocks.
2. God sent fire in the form of burning sulfur to Sodom & Gomorrah
3.  God also used fire from heaven to judge the soldiers sent by the wicked king Ahaziah to arrest Elijah
4. & 5. Twice, fire descended from heaven to consume a group of fifty soldiers sent on the king’s business (2 Kings 1:10, 12).
6.  God sent fire from above in order to consume a sacrifice

Fire from heaven is predicted for the future as well. In the end-time Tribulation, the false prophet will cause fire to come down from heaven as a counterfeit miracle designed to deceive people into worshiping the Antichrist (Revelation 13:13).

And, at the end of the millennium, God will instantly destroy the armies of Gog and Magog with fire from heaven (Revelation 20:9).

So, do we really want fire to fall down from heaven? Really? Why do these false teachers constantly ask for fire from heaven? Do they think it makes them look pious? It only reveals their biblical ignorance.

They know not what they ask. Their ends will be as they deserve. They twist the Bible they deceive the people, they scratch itching ears, and they heap up followers. Sadly, instead of glory and peace, they will receive fire. They will get the fire they asked for.

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. … Then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority.
(2 Peter 2:1-3; 9-10).

say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ 3 Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing! (Ezekiel 13:2b-3).

And you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own hearts. (Ezekiel 13:17).

Lord, haste the day when lying diviners and deceitful prophetesses will be no more.

 

Picture Mixture Thursday: Polaroid’s back, new feature called Crypti-tweet, Prototype movie, more

Photos for you today.

Great news! Polaroid is back. Instant, analog photos. Good. Digital photos are fun but do not have the same sense of generational care and personal story that well-worn photo album with analog photos does. And the Polaroid instant aspect is just a super bonus. No more waiting for film to be developed and returned from the store! The original Polaroid was launched 80 years ago. Wow. You can also buy vintage original Polaroid cameras at the new site for as little as $19. Hmmm.

polaroidonestep2feat-800x420

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As Hurricane Harvey and Irma leave devastation in their wake, we remember the costliest and deadliest hurricane in the US ever, the 1900 Galveston Hurricane. Isaac’s Storm was a fantastic non-fiction book recounting the storm, its people, and the result- birth of the modern National Weather Service. Meanwhile, here is an interesting project that released today at the Toronto Film Festival. It’s called Prototype,

Revisiting a Devastating 1900 Hurricane in an Experimental 3D Filma non-narrative journey through the aftermath of the Great Galveston Hurricane shot in crisp 3D.

I like stereoscopic photographs, and occasionally post one here from an old book called Earthly Footsteps of the Man From Galilee, pictures taken in the stereoscopic format in the late 1800s and compiled into a book. My grandparents had a stereoscope and a library of photos I used to look through. It transported me to foreign lands and sparked my imagination.

The Prototype movie opens by using vintage stereoscope cards, a primitive 3D viewing method popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The stereoscopic cards in question are souvenirs made from photographs of the devastation wrought by the Great Storm of 1900, a hurricane that struck Galveston, Texas, says the movie’s synopsis. Here is a review of the movie a critic saw as a sneak peek. Here is a review of the movie a critic saw as a sneak peek.

prototype

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Unsplash- a repository for high-resolution, creative commons, available-to-use photos. The photography is so outstandingly beautiful and mine just do not belong there! These photos will take your breath away. Just go look, if you want something gorgeous to feast on. Here are just 2. Use Unsplash for your blogs, you can search by photographer or theme.

igor-ovsyannykov-223090

unsplash1

 

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Here’s a very funny photo publicizing the new study group based on work done by Jess Pickowicz in writing a study guide to go along with the MacArthur & Mayhue tome Biblical Doctrine:

biblical doctrine chickens

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Here’s a new feature I made up called Crypti-tweet. These are tweets from self-professed Bible teachers or Christian leaders which make no sense. I know it’s hard to say what you want to say within the confines of 140 characters, and we all flub up sometimes. I’m not talking about those tweets.

I’m also not talking about the poetry we sometimes get carried away with tweeting, tweets that attempt to capture an ephemeral but powerfully real spiritual emotion we might have been feeling at the moment. I’m not talking about those intensely personal and understandable but generally cryptic-to-outsider tweets either.

No, I’m talking about teachers or leaders who are charged with making sense, as in, that is their sole task, (able to teach, 2 Timothy 2:24) but consistently issue tweets that are just insane sounding, ergo, directly contradicting the one and only skill-level command that the Bible insists that teachers possess, which is “making sense”. Here is Beth Moore, inaugurating the Crypti-tweet:

cryptic 4 moore

Till next time!

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!