Posted in theology

Is it time to leave the Southern Baptist Convention? And, what’s a secondary issue?

By Elizabeth Prata

Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather. Does the bell toll for thee, SBC?

Introduction & Disclaimer

I am not a fan of the SBC. I’ve been member of churches who were part of the Convention. I’ve watched the denomination for some time now. I don’t like the direction they are going and I haven’t for a while. But I haven’t said much about it because ultimately it’s 1) for my pastors or elders to decide, and 2) it doesn’t affect me much in spiritual life, my ministry, or my daily routine.

This will be my only blog on the SBC Annual Meeting.

Continue reading “Is it time to leave the Southern Baptist Convention? And, what’s a secondary issue?”
Posted in theology

Why the Jennifer Buck issue is a watershed moment for the SBC

By Elizabeth Prata

We are looking at a watershed moment. We are seeing it happen in real time. We see who, and we know why. It’s not often we understand that THE turning point is happening when it is happening, but we do today.

A watershed moment is defined:

an event marking a unique or important historical change of course or one on which important developments depend plansponsor.com

a turning point, the exact moment that changes the direction of an activity or situation grammarist.com

A scandal erupted recently involving some executive higher ups in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and Tom Buck and his wife Jennifer Buck. I won’t go into all the details because others have and they have explained more fully what happened. My indignation is deeply grieved over the details, but is also more universal than that.

Brief recap

In 2018 Pastor Tom Buck’s wife Jennifer wrote up a testimony of what Jesus had done in their marriage 25 years ago when they were newly married. This testimony had been verbally delivered many times to members of their church in counseling sessions and other places. Locals knew of the great work Jesus had done in uniting a drifting couple from years ago, dampening building resentments, and handling anger issues between them. Mighty is He to save…marriages!

The Bucks often lauded Jesus all these years for His intervention and in creating a beautiful picture over time of the Gospel and its power. So in 2018 Jennifer and Tom thought others might be encouraged by their testimony, and Jennifer wrote it up.

Not being a writer per se, Jennifer contacted someone in the literary world known for her writing and editing skills, and that person was asked to review the testimony and share constructive criticism with Jennifer so she could make a final draft. This person was the sole possessor of the draft and the person was told it should remain that way until it was finalized.

The chosen editor was in a bad car accident and dropped out of public life for a while to recover. Jennifer’s writing project stalled and stayed on the back burner, almost forgotten … until this month.

“Somehow” the draft resurfaced, was passed around to executives and higher ups in the SBC, gossiped about, and maliciously used as a weapon to try and discredit Tom (an outspoken critic of the leftward drift of the SBC). It had been published without her permission, the early draft that contained information that in the end, Jennifer did not want made public…but “somehow”, it was.

Questions to ponder

Whether the draft was consciously and knowingly held for 4 years because opponents recognized its value as a weapon, (?) or whether it was rediscovered recently and consciously and knowingly used as a weapon, (?) the fact remains, it was used as a weapon. It was circulated without permission, it was used to discredit a brother and a pastor in the faith, and it was used to embarrass a married couple in the faith.

Here is the watershed moment that upsets me so greatly:

EPrata photo

THE CHOICE

Someone or Someones held that draft in their hand. They looked at it, with the author’s emotions laid on the page, her raw feelings poured out and her heart opened bare. All for the cause of Christ and to extol Him who saves souls and restores marriages. The Someone or Someones had a CHOICE.

They could choose to use the draft for the glory of Jesus’ name, its original intent, or they could use it in a gross political game to push forward a fleshly agenda and in the process deliberately hurt or even destroy a brother and sister. They could have called up Jennifer and helped her finalize the draft and happily publish it to the edification of many in their own denomination, or they could darkly connive to use it in a way that did the most damage to someone they disliked. They could glorify God, or they could exalt themselves.

You know what they chose.

Now, these are people who lead a denomination. They are people who help others lead the denomination. The denomination was founded for the name of Christ and all its doings are supposed to be for the glory of Christ. Yet, they chose sin, not Christ.

They chose sin. Publicly, unquestionably, shamelessly. Are these the sort of people you want leading you, representing you?

NO.

That brings us to the fifth way God is glorified, which is not in parts, but in the whole of our lives. Just as God’s own glory is the fullness of His being, so must our response of glorifying Him be found not in limited actions but in the whole fabric of our lives. “We may think that God wants actions of a certain kind, but God wants people of a certain sort,” C.S. Lewis wrote. In other words, we glorify God by consecrating the whole of our lives—every hour, every relationship, every conversation, every possession, every endeavor, with faith and repentance, starting and stumbling and beginning ever anew—to Him. “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31, emphasis added). ~Source TableTalk Magazine

DEAD

What ‘sort of people’ are these, anyway? Dead. Too harsh? We’ll see.

He who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars, says this: ‘I know your deeds, that you have a name that you are alive, and yet you are dead. (Revelation 3:1)

The SBC had a reputation for a long time of being ‘people of the Book.’ Of being stalwart in their pursuit of God, of being conservative, of aligning with the Bible in all its precepts. At times there was even a whiff of smug satisfaction that those other denominations were drifting, becoming liberal, but the SBC remains the lone city on a hill shining its beacon abroad. Hm.

Yet at some point, the loose conglomeration of people in this organization, and I won’t even call it a denomination anymore (for I fear it has nothing to do with Christ, at its highest, decision-making levels), became infected with rot. Trees suffer from something arborists call heart-rot, and it’s apt. The reputation went on in front of the SBC, its deeds became known so they seemed to be alive, BUT ARE DEAD.

Too harsh? Well the church at Sardis was told otherwise in Revelation 3. It IS possible for a church to seem to be thriving, active, and performing many deeds, but inside the heart-rot was killing it all along. It happened to Sardis. In my opinion it happened to the SBC.

McLaren’s Expositions of Revelation 3:1

One characteristic of their death is that they have forgotten what they were in better and happier times, and therefore need the exhortation, ‘Remember how thou hast received and didst hear.’ They have fallen so far that the height on which they once stood is out of their sight, and they are content to lie on the muddy flat at its base. No stings from conscious decline disturb them. They are too far gone for that. The same round of formal Christian service which marked their decline from their brethren hid it from themselves. ~Source McLaren’s Expositions of Revelation 3:1

Someone or Someones held a document in their hand. It could exalt the name of Christ, or it could be used to try and destroy brethren. You know what they chose. Now they are lying in a muddy pigpen at the base of a mountain whose apex they can no longer see. And worst of all, they seem happy there.

For nothing is concealed that will not become evident, nor anything hidden that will not be known and come to light. Luke 8:17

Posted in theology

Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministry is in the red

By Elizabeth Prata

The 2021 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention is occurring in a few days (June 15-16). Messengers from member churches from all over the United States have poured in to Nashville in order to attend. Normally the meeting attracts a good number of members interested in the convention’s direction, but this year there are more messengers than ever. Two overflow rooms have been set up due to high registration attendance.

Why so many? To “Take the Ship!,” the mantra and the attitude of these many extra messengers, who have arrived because they are concerned with the direction the convention of churches is heading. Women pastors are being ordained, despite the office being biblically denied to women. Women are more often regularly preaching the Sunday message, again, something the Bible forbids. Critical Race Theory & Intersectionality are infiltrating the churches due to an unfortunate passing of Resolution #9 two years ago. A general liberal drift has been observed. Many of the messengers arriving in Nashville want to stop all this, and will advocate for a return to biblical principles, especially those outlined in the Convention’s own Baptist Faith & Message, many precepts of which are regularly denied, members say.

I have regularly warned against Beth Moore’s negative influence in the Convention since 2011. Her example, her lifestyle, her doctrine, and her teachings – whether live, on DVD, or in her books and curricula – are to be avoided. Beth Moore is a false teacher.

Moore has been active in the SBC since the mid 1978, only departing the Southern Baptist Convention in a loud announcement just 12 weeks ago. What has her legacy been over these past four decades? How is her ministry faring? Is she still reaching the heights of popularity (and influence) she did in her heyday, or is her heyday still ongoing?

Churches and religious organizations are among the charitable organizations that qualify for exemption from paying income taxes. These tax-exempt charitable organizations are listed in the IRS as 501(c)(3) organizations. Beth Moore’s corporation titled Living Proof Ministries has been tax-exempt since its founding 1995. What this means is, in return for being exempt from paying taxes for the public good, the IRS requires exempt organizations to disclose IRS filings to the general public. Any non-profit organization’s tax filings can be viewed. I use ProPublica to view LPM’s filings.

The most recent filing is for the tax year 2019, filed in 2020. For the last three years, Living Proof Ministries has been operating at a loss. Tax Year (TY) 2016 was the last year, according to the filings, that LPM made money, and only $133,439 at that. TY 2017 showed a net income loss of -$540,356. TY 2018 showed a net income loss of -$722,828. This was the first year also that the Ministry’s functional income fell below 2 million dollars.

Beth Moore’s compensation is listed on the IRS return as $222,651 for a 50/hour week. The Ministry also employs her daughter Melissa, whose salary is listed as $114,241 for a 40/hour week. The Ministry reported “Savings and Temporary Cash investments” at just over $4.3million. The IRS defines this category as-

“The combined total of amounts held in interest-bearing checking and savings accounts, deposits in transit, temporary cash investments (such as money market funds, commercial paper, and certificates of deposit), and U.S. Treasury bills or other governmental obligations that mature in less than a year.”

From 2001-2016, Living Proof Ministries built its assets from $1 million to $15 million. (Source)

Beth Moore’s Salary:
Fiscal Year ending 2019: $222,651
Fiscal year ending 2018: $231,205.
Fiscal year ending 2017: $229,862
Fiscal Year ending 2016: $229,862

Moore’s salary is set by a process for determining compensation that includes a review and approval by independent persons, comparability data, and substantiation for the decision should the IRS require details. Whether the independent committee chose to cut Moore’s salary or she volunteered to cut it is unknown, but her salary did decrease a bit this year over last.

The section called Gifts and Grants to the Ministry shows a decline over time as well. The height of giving to LPM seems to have been 2014,

I have noticed that Living Proof’s charitable giving to other organizations and churches has gone down too. The Ministry used to be much more generous. Giving shown on the earliest online return was $225,607 and the ministry’s income at that time was 1.7 million. This past year, LPM donated only $39,000, despite a healthy savings of $4.3 million and net assets of $13,472,277. Same-amount donations of $6,500 were given to just 6 organizations last year, as opposed to generous giving to over 20 places in the earliest IRS Return posted online.

The type of organizations Moore’s Ministry donates to has drifted from churches and religious entities as it was in the earlier years, to social justice and social reform causes in these latter years. LPM’s giving in the early years included donations to various churches (including Joel Osteen’s Lakewood), missions, the International Mission Board, Bible donations, and scholarships & tuition to religious education organizations, etc.

Star of Hope Mission was on LPM’s donation list this year, an organization that cares for Houston’s homeless.

Also on the donations list from Living Proof Ministry this past year was Hines Ugandan Ministries– Its ‘About Us’ says: “Hines Ugandan Ministries strives to meet the spiritual, educational and physical needs of the children and families in Kamonkoli Village through our sponsorship program, orphanage, medical clinic, AWANA program, and primary school.”

But in a marked shift in type of LPM partnerships in giving, for example, Living Proof this past year donated to Millennium Relief & Development, a community service organization. Their website lists projects such as “Aquaponics & sustainable agriculture in Egypt & the Maldives”, “Job training for human trafficking survivors in India”, and a “Women’s Center in Iraq”.

Living Proof also donated to an organization called Polished Women, defined as “A network that gathers working women to navigate the workplace and explore faith together in authentic community.”

Build a Better Us, whose stated mission is “To assist individuals & families through coaching and health services in order to build better communities.” Its founder Bradley J. Thompson, or “BJ,” lists himself as a life coach specializing in “Personal development – Relational development – Spiritual formation – Diversity maturity.”

Finally, the last organization on the Living Proof donation list of 6 organizations was Be the Bridge, a “racial reconciliation ministry”. There are serious concerns with the infiltration of Critical Race Theory into SBC churches, and the divisions such philosophies spark. Jesse Johnson reviewed Be the Bridge here at The Cripplegate, saying, “Be the Bridge buys into the evolutionary lie that race defines our existence.” Living Proof Ministry has been donating to Be the Bridge for several years.

As a former investigative journalist, adhering to the adage “follow the money” yields quantifiable data, often irrefutable. Observing income, money exchanges between parties, and the data begins to tell a story. I’ll leave to you to weave that story, I just present the facts.

I hope that Beth Moore repents someday, and I do hope that her influence wanes. I hope that her ministry folds and her books go out of print. This isn’t because I dislike Beth Moore. No. She seems like a nice person to her daughters and grandchildren, and she needs salvation like any other (probably) non-saved person. I hope for those things because I mourn the women negatively affected by Moore’s false teaching and because of her unbiblical lifestyle that many women are now following. LPM states they have reached 3.9m households. Her LPM online ministry outreach reaches people on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LPM’s app and her Living Proof Blog. These social media platforms combined reached a total of 2 million people. Her daily radio broadcast reaches 531k people weekly on 397 radio outlets. LPM’s online store disseminates (false) religious teachings through audio, video and written material to the tune of 15k units shipped and 2k downloads. Onsite ministry supported 700 walk-ins.

These numbers add up to a hefty influence. In other activities, Moore is teaching at Wheaton College this July through Christine Caine’s Propel Women Cohort. And, of course, though Moore’s formal relationship with LifeWay ended, “LifeWay will continue to carry Moore’s books and study resources and she is listed as a speaker for “A Cruise with Lifeway” in October.” (Source). Though Living Proof’s net income is in the red, I don’t think her Ministry empire is in danger of immediate collapse, sad to say.

Beth Moore’s departure from the SBC, strategically announced just prior to the SBC annual meeting, in fact gives her more flexibility and latitude than ever. Sadly, her forty-year unbiblical influence leaves SBC messengers to clean up her mess in attempts to retake the ship and steer it from shoal infested rocky waters to deeper, calmer seas. I’m praying for our dear SBC messengers and that the outcome of this meeting will be unity and a return to more biblical standards, especially where it relates to women’s roles, something of which I have great concern.

Propagation of false teaching is like gangrene, Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:17, spreading quickly and in the end, is deadly to those who unwarily absorb it. I hope as Beth Moore departs the Southern Baptist Convention and looks to the next phases of her aging life and ministry, that she retires to her 45-acre, 2 million dollar estate in Tomball, and begins to live a quiet life (1 Thessalonians 4:11), becomes sensible, pure, and a worker at home (Titus 2:5), and most of all, that she repents. (Mark 1:15).

Posted in discernment, theology

Listen carefully to what she is saying in this video…

By Elizabeth Prata*

Please excuse that this is a bit long. It’s important. So, please prepare to read. I broke it up into sections.

Introduction

It was a 23,000 pound sailboat. You practically had to take a reservation to come about. When you steered it, the rudder attached to the 7,300 pound iron keel moved the boat in the direction you wanted it to go, but sloooowly. The bigger the boat, the longer it takes to change a course. You can imagine how long it takes a Destroyer to change course.

Think of America as a boat. Changing the course of a nation is hard work. The nation lumbers along as a ship of state over the societal waters. It takes a long time for a new president’s policies to cause the effect he had wanted. It takes a long time for mass attitudes to change. It takes a long time to change course of a nation.

Unless it’s sin. Then the lumbering ship that is America becomes a fleet sailfish, darting over the water as a dragonfly, skipping along instantly toward whatever course sin had wanted. I’ll give three examples of how quickly sin grips a nation (or a denomination) and changes its course, then focus on the third.

Sin embeds fast and changes the course of a nation quickly

Exhibit A: Divorce

It didn’t take long for divorces to take over once no-fault divorce became legal nation wide.

No-fault divorce came about in the 1970s and afterward, divorce rapidly began losing its stigma. Divorce as a “completely off the table” concept to “divorce is everywhere” occurred at a bewildering rate.

In this article by Meghan Kruger from the Roger Williams Law Review, we learn just how fast,

Between 1970 and 1985, the United States experienced an overhaul in divorce legislation. During that time, nearly every state either replaced or supplemented its fault-based system with some form of no-fault divorce

Divorce laws that had been instituted in the US for hundreds of years were were overhauled from coast to coast within just 15. That’s whiplash speed.

Exhibit B: Abortion.

Criminalization of abortion accelerated as a push-back from the late 1860’s when first wave feminism rose up. It was mainly doctors opposing the barbaric practice of tearing apart a baby in the womb for the convenience of the mother. By 1900 most states had criminalized it.

Only a few years later the groundswell of pushback against the no abortion pushback accelerated to Roe v. Wade. The year after abortion was de-criminalized, 1973, over 744,000 abortions were performed in the US. At its peak, 1990, 1.6 million abortions were performed. Within 20 years, an entire nation’s change of mind allowed not only so many sinful abortions, but also that doctors, once the biggest opposers of the practice, were now some of the biggest supporters.

Exhibit C: Homosexuality.

The number of men who identify as homosexual in the US is 2.2%. That’s it. Yet when the homosexual revolution that came after the 1969 Stonewall riots, a significant moment in the gay agenda in which homosexual people of all stripes demanded acceptance, today the homosexual lobby makes it seem as if every other man is gay. FYI the first “pride parade” was held one year after Stonewall. That same year, 1970, the first application for a marriage license between two men was applied for (and denied). The lobby went from skulking in seedy bars out of the public eye to parading down the street in one year. Within 14 years US cities would begin passing or allowing “domestic partnership” policies opening the door to homosexual marriage.

A revolution with widespread consequences and import

What was the worst revolution in America?

What’s the most significant revolution we’ve ever experienced in the United States? I imagine most Americans would say it was the American Revolution, which marked the beginning of our existence as a country. Some might make the case that it was the Industrial Revolution, which transformed our nation into a world power. Yet both answers, I think, are wrong.

The most far-reaching, epochal revolution in American history began about fifty years ago and is now reaching its zenith. … I’m talking about the sexual revolution, which has wrought far more changes to the cultural behavior of America than the War of Independence fought against England in the eighteenth century. RC Sproul

The church is in the world. Some churches and even denominations who do not vigorously resist the homosexual influence become the world.

moore

Those inroads of homosexual acceptance (and all that comes with it; drag queens, trans-gender, bi-sexual, etc.) is widespread in secular America, but it’s seeping into even the most conservative quarters of the formerly most conservative denomination. The Southern Baptist Convention is tolerating this sin. Though homosexuality is a litmus test for determining which churches or pastors can participate in the denomination, it is creeping into the acceptance side of the equation. As of now in 2019, that litmus test means nothing. The scales are about to get tipped.

[T]he Southern Baptist Convention has, not unwisely, also made it a litmus test for whether or not churches can be in cooperation with the SBC and whether or not LifeWay will carry an author’s materials (we’ve seen this with Jen Hatmaker, Eugene Peterson, etc.). (Source)

How does this happen?

Satan uses a person or organization to push his agenda, which is sin. It’s exactly the same but opposite of Jesus using godly people to push forward His agenda, the gospel.

In each case of the change in America to accept a particular sin, it seems that there has always been a front person or a front organization. In the case of divorce, it was the National Association of Women Lawyers that paved the way. In the case of abortion, of course it was Jane Roe and the US Supreme court, 10 individuals. In the case of homosexuality making its way into the conservative realms of the SBC, what many consider the last bastion of denominational adherence to strong biblical precepts, it’s Beth Moore.

Beth Moore’s part in this

Moore is arguably the biggest influence for the SBC and we know she is their biggest moneymaker. Yet she is obviously softening toward the stance that homosexuality is a sin. With her platforms, associations, and behavior of late, her influence is massively tipping the scales- to the detriment of souls and minds.

Here’s the evidence:

  • Public associations in person, at conferences, and on social media lauding people in the SSA and gay arenas, without accompanying warnings about the sin itself. This was discussed more explicitly in the Open Letter to Beth Moore that I and 5 other ladies signed and published, and was actually one of the reasons the question was originally put to Moore;
  • Her refusal to answer a direct question as to whether homosexuality is a sin;
  • Her writhing under the microscope, exhibiting behavior that slandered, taunted, and deflected while still not answering the simple question;
  • The discovery that Moore had secretly deleted the entire discussion about overcoming homosexuality as a sin from her Kindle version of the book Praying God’s Word, re-published in 2009, and not explaining that deletion to her readers;
  • Moore’s weak and emotional answer as to why she omitted the biblical discussion on how to overcome homosexuality;
  • Moore’s video.

The Video: listen carefully to what Beth Moore is saying

In addition to the above, which definitely demonstrates a change of stance about homosexuality, consider these next items. In her latest lesson video on unity and fellowship, Moore used many phrases and code words that indicate her stance toward same sex attraction, homosexuality, and their attendant issues, is aligned with the aforementioned folks she was supposed to be ministering to in love by warning against these very things. Here is a transcript of the pertinent part from her video for evidence.

I’ve deliberately started following and reading works of far more Christians of color. And my world and my heart has just exploded. I’m so thankful.

This is the world we live in. Let’s not be scandalized by what I’m about to say. I’ve also started following and reading articles and books by our fellow believers who are singles that have much dignity and humility testified to having lifelong same sex attraction, but they have chosen in their fellowship with Christ to fellowship with Him in the tremendous sacrifice of celibacy. This how they believe [?] want to follow Him and this is what I believe the scriptures say how I want to follow Him. [I know it doesn’t make sense…it’s transcribed exactly].

I’ve been so blessed by reading, getting to know my culture. Getting to understand it through the lens of the Gospel. We were entrusted to this world, not our parents’ world. This world. Are we going to act like we don’t know what’s happening? Or are we going to deal? Are we going to try and find good conversation to have? Good dialogue that has some salt on it? If we don’t, what in the world are we in this world for? [Then turns to Philippians 1:27].

1. Choosing to read books on the criteria of the color of the author is a Critical Race Theory act, not a theological act.

2. Reading books and articles about SSA people … perhaps Moore is attempting to learn more about the homosexual folks that have overcome their sinful thoughts and intents so she can rejoice in Jesus with them. Oops, nope. Moore wrote all about that in her 2001 book Praying God’s Word, which was re-released in 2009. It was in that re-publication she deleted the information about homosexuals overcoming their sin. Given that Moore is a trend follower, she is more likely mentioning this newly discovered interest in the “tremendous sacrifice” of the homosexually inclined, because it is a popular trend in evangelicalism.

3. Moore makes it sound as if homosexuals are doing Jesus a favor by choosing celibacy. Homosexually attracted people are no different in their sin than adulterers who lust after opposite sex people, singles who look at pornography, or any other flavor of sexual sin. If you’re not married to an opposite sex person, you’re not to have sex or think about having sex (lustful thoughts of the heart). Period. SSA folks aren’t any different, but Moore’s as-usual overblown emotional speech touting their “tremendous sacrifice” makes it seem as if they are.

Up top I’d noted the statistic for how many men in the US identify as homosexual- 2.2%. How many of those, do you think would identify as Christian homosexual? We’re talking a negligible number.

Obeying Jesus in celibacy is extraordinary in that the Spirit enables it, but mundane in that it’s expected of everybody.

I believe this video and Moore’s recent handling of the homosexuality issue means Moore seems to be readying herself to ‘come out’ as it were, of affiriming homosexuals in some way as believers.

Rosaria Butterfield gives a good definition of the two sides of the issue.

Side B believes that homosexuality is not a morally culpable issue, although it is a consequence of the brokenness from the Fall; Side B teaches against homosexual sexual practice, but only for the sake of Christian tradition.

That seems to be where Beth Moore is now, against it, weakly, and only for the sake of tradition, not for the sake of obedience.

Traditional Christian perspectives of course, decry all sexual sin, and oppose it. Traditional practice urges slaying that sin in us with the aid of the Holy Spirit. Traditional Christian belief says homosexuality in any and all form (thought, deed, etc) is a sin. Butterfield continues,

While Side B seeks to uphold biblical sexual standards, because it sees sexual orientation as an accurate category of personhood (i.e., there is such a thing as a gay person—that gayness describes who someone essentially is), their theology in no way allows for an understanding of why homosexuality, even at the level of desire, is sinful and needing the grace of repentance. To the Side B Christian, homosexuality is a sexuality—one of many.

So you see the trend Moore is on. She is paving the way for conservative acceptance of homosexuality as an integral and distinct part of the faith. She is being used of satan as one of the fronts-persons to promote his agenda. If you doubt me, listen to that part of the video again.

 

Moore is arguably THE most influential Southen Baptist. Look what happened when she wrote her Open Letter to My Brothers calling out some unnamed men for sexual harassment and misogyny. The SBC had a convulsion. Look what happened when she put her toe into politics. The Atlantic came calling.

Since her church, nor Lifeway, nor any SBC colleagues that we know of have rebuked her for any of her other errant stances, it is likely that she will be projecting this errant theology into the faith, too. Remember at the beginning I’d shown you how fast sin travels? Fast.

Adjectives in terms of grammar are modifiers, their job is to tell me what kind of Christian you are. The problem with a term like ‘gay Christian’ is that it modifies Christian according to a category of the flesh.
~Rosaria Butterfield

The scales are about to get tipped on the homosexuality issue for this denomination, and Beth Moore has her hand on the balance.

NOTE:
*I know I’ve written about Beth Moore a lot lately. This summer has been extraordinary in the conservative realms, and Moore has been a crucial part of the observable decline. I have other, encouraging and theological topics I plan to write about, but I do feel a duty to chronicle, warn, and provide food for thought on these sad circumstances. Please bear with me. 🙂
———————————-

Further Resources

Living Out part 1: The Shift by Tom Buck

The Deafening Silence of the Church on Homosexual Marriage, by DB Harrison

We Will Not Bow by John MacArthur

 

Posted in theology

Does the SBC and Lifeway apply a double standard to Beth Moore? Open Letter follow-up

By Elizabeth Prata

There has been quite a hue and cry over the Open Letter to Beth Moore that I and 5 other ladies published on June 18. That is a direct testament to the influence and fame of Beth Moore. In the Letter we posed 5 simple questions, asking her to make clear her stance on homosexuality.

Huge Following, Huge Influence means Souls are at Stake

Living Proof Ministries (LPM) participated in multiple conferences and simulcasts last year. Moore taught at LPLive events plus other various events with a total of 284k total attendees. Her weekly TV program reached 2.7m households. 24,000 units of her video and written material were shipped. LPM’s online ministry outreach utilizes Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, Moore’s social media which currently have a combined following of 1.6 million people. Once we add in the people who access Moore’s teachings via LPM’s app, various non-official Youtube videos, and the Living Proof Blog, her following reaches well over 2 million people.

We asked, because Moore’s partnerships and affirmation of gay-affirming Jen Hatmaker and Jonathan Merritt are seem to indicate a tacit approval of homosexuality. Hatmaker’s own following is considerable- 1.3 million followers on FB, IG, and Twitter.

That is a lot of souls being reached with the message that the homosexual lifestyle is OK, that homosexual marriage can be holy, and that homosexual marriage can be part of Christianity. Souls, who are actively being taught by Hatmaker and Merritt that their chosen lifestyle is one that needs no repenting, and that Moore, by her plaudits and approvals and partnerships with Hatmaker and Merritt, yet her conspicuous silence on clearly repudiating the behavior as sin, also makes the statement that homosexuality needs no repenting of.

Souls, who, unless that are taught clearly and unequivocally the truth, will find themselves cast into hell forever.

SBC’s Double Standard when applied to Moore

In addition, there is another grave concern. Many people have noticed a wobble in the Southern Baptist Convention, a softening, like butter left on the counter for too long. We know that in the past the SBC has been staunch on its commitment to biblical truth. We know that they claim to stand on biblical truth now, but there is also some confusion about how and when they apply their own biblical litmus tests.

SBC’s Litmus Test

As Michelle Lesley explained in her interview with Andrew Rappaport, the SBC has made homosexuality a litmus test for whether churches can be in friendly cooperation with the SBC. If you are a church that supports homosexuality or are a pastor who says that it’s not a sin, or that it’s OK, your church is in danger of being disfellowshipped from the Convention. That has happened a handful of times over the last several years. Churches have been removed for standing on the unbiblical side of homosexuality. So, the SBC has made homosexuality a litmus test for churches.

Here’s an example of such a disfellowshipping reported by the Baptist Press.

Lifeway’s Litmus Test

Lifeway, the bookselling arm of the SBC, has also made homosexuality a litmus test for its authors. Two years ago Lifeway pulled Jen Hatmaker’s books from its shelves when Hatmaker affirmed her LGBT beliefs, and stated that homosexual marriage can be holy. Lifeway’s response was,

“In a recent interview, [Hatmaker] voiced significant changes in her theology of human sexuality and the meaning and definition of marriage—changes which contradict LifeWay’s doctrinal guidelines,” LifeWay spokesman Marty King said Thursday. “As a result, LifeWay has discontinued selling her resources.” Source

Hatmaker was clear in her statement regarding homosexuality. Lifeway was equally clear in their response. If there is one thing to admire about Jen Hatmaker, as unbiblical as her beliefs are, she is crystal clear about what they are and is unashamed to promote them, even in the face of lost revenue from Lifeway.

Beth Moore has not been clear. Sadly, Moore’s continued support of and partnerships with those who promote the ungodly lifestyle make her position very unclear. Six days after the Letter was published, Moore finally issued a series of tweets that seemed to be a response to the Letter, while avoiding mention of the Letter, omitted mention of homosexuality, and indignantly muddied the waters with a victim attitude. This actually made things worse.

So here are the questions:

Beth Moore is the best selling author that Lifeway has. (Source). Moore brings in to Lifeway more money than any other author, than any other conference speaker. Her net worth as of last tax year was 14 million dollars. She brings in so much money that Lifeway can afford to usher Mrs Moore around to her conferences in a private jet.

So, does the SBC and its arm, Lifeway, only apply its litmus test on the sin of homosexuality to others but not their favored ones?

Why should Beth Moore not have to answer the same questions that Hatmaker did? Or as Eugene Peterson did?

Paul wrote to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16 to watch your doctrine and your life. Living clearly on the right side of biblical, moral lines is important for any leader, then as now, because the world watches. They have to know where the lines are.

Lifeway has a doctrinal standard they place on their authors, and though Moore has not written about homosexuality in her books or studies (except a few sentences in her 1997 book “To Live is Christ”), her approvals and partnerships with people who are on the wrong side of the issue makes for lines that are smeared and blurred. Millions who follow Moore are living in that blurry part of the line. Moore can easily clear that up, and make the lines sharp, so that her followers know on which side she stands.

One thing Mrs Moore can learn from Jen Hatmaker, that even though she is in error, Jen is clear and fearless regarding homosexuality.

Souls.

Since the SBC and Lifeway have made homosexuality a litmus test, why should SBC pastors, churches, Lifeway authors, Hatmaker, and Peterson have to make it clear where they stand on homosexuality, but not Beth Moore?

Most interesting of all, why has someone at Lifeway not asked these questions and had Moore answer them? If they have asked, and Moore has answered them, would the SBC/Lifeway please let the millions of souls who follow Beth Moore know? Eternities are at stake.

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PS: Some ladies have asked why Beth Moore’s stance on homosexuality is my business. I am a member of a Southern Baptist Convention church. Since I am a SBC member and Beth Moore is a SBC member, this issue is my business.

Resources on this issue:

Some Moore defenders have stated that Moore hasn’t answered because she isn’t sure, or is too busy, or it would take too much time. I issued a series of tweets where the answer from pastors and evangelical leaders are so pithy they could be contained in one tweet. Here they are, and the sources from which these statements came. I invite you to listen or read, for further exploration.

John MacArthur:
Homosexuality and the Campaign for Immorality

Unimaginable that American leadership and people would join together in giving hearty approval to the destructive, deadly, damning sin of homosexuality.

RC Sproul:
Homosexuality (series)

In the Old Testament homosexual practices were considered not only sinful, but of a gross and heinous sinfulness.

Ray Comfort, Living Waters:
Coming out of the Closet on Homosexuality

In the same way we can’t say that gays may enter Heaven, because according to the Bible, that’s not true. We have it from the greatest Authority on earth that nothing unclean in God’s sight will enter Heaven—no fornicator, idolater, liar, thief, blasphemer, adulterer, sexually immoral person, or homosexual will enter (see 1 Corinthians 6:9,10). Yet some who profess to be Christians betray homosexuals by lying to them and saying, “All is well. Step through the doors. You will be okay.” We cannot do that, because we love you and want you to make it to Heaven.

John Piper:
Why is Homosexuality Wrong?

I think it’s implied clearly and spoken clearly in Romans 1:24-29 that homosexuality is wrong and to be avoided.

Further links on this subject:

Michelle Lesley: Mailbag: Questions about the Open Letter to Beth Moore

Michelle Lesley: Michelle on Rapp Report Podcast, interview regarding the Open Letter, Complementarianism, and more

DebbieLynne Kespert: Did I Publish The Open Letter To Beth Moore In Order To Get People To Read The Outspoken TULIP? 

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