A Prophet for an Un-discerning Church
January 12, 2015
If you want to get people mad at you (I mean really mad) just criticize Beth Moore’s teaching. Trust me on this. Many a young pastor has found himself being roasted over the rhetorical bonfire of women’s ministry meetings for daring to raise concerns about Beth Moore’s rather exotic approach to biblical interpretation.
But those who don’t much care about popularity or physical safety have in recent years been willing to challenge some of the outrageous claims and troubling teachings coming from Beth Moore. It would be one thing if Beth’s claims of direct revelation, sloppy exegesis, and squishy ecumenism were confined to a small corner of the church. The trouble is that Beth Moore is hugely popular which means she has a lot of influence.
If you are wondering why I am writing something critical of a popular Bible teacher then you must be new here. Remember the name of the website – “Mortification of Spin.” Keep in mind also that Beth Moore is a public and highly influential teacher. That means that her errors must be confronted publicly. If you study the Bible you will see the prophets, Jesus and apostles doing the very same thing in their own day.
Beth Moore has been pushing for a kind of ecumenism between Baptists and Charismatics and Roman Catholics and Prosperity heretics that ignores essential Christian doctrines. In Beth’s ecumenism, the doctrines of God, Scripture, salvation, and the church do not seem to matter nearly as much as her vision of “unity”. Hers is an unbearably light unity for it cannot bear the weight of biblical distinctions. And to make matters worse, if you disagree with her ecumenism you are standing in the way of Jesus’ vision for the church. How do we know that Beth’s vision is Jesus’ vision for the church? Because she told us so HERE.
It is, I suppose this shallow ecumenism which explains Beth’s willingness to praise and partner with false teachers such as Joyce Meyer. If you are wondering why this is a problem then I assume it is because you do not know what Joyce Meyer preaches.
Beth also claims direct revelation from God. Her claims that God speaks to her are ubiquitous throughout her books and preaching. It is these divine revelations that supply the gravitas for Beth’s extravagant claims. If you watched the video clip above you have already seen her claim to have received a prophetic vision directly from Jesus concerning the future of the church.
The following is an excerpt from Beth’s book The Beloved Disciple which captures once again her ease in receiving revelation from God. In this case Beth and God come up with a whole new term to add to the church’s lexicon (You may want to contrast Beth’s casual reception of revelation with that of the apostles and prophets).
Beloved, I am convinced one of our severest needs is pure rest. Not only sleep, but refreshment and recreation. Recently God spoke to me about capturing what He and I are calling "Sabbath moments." Like many of yours, my schedule right now is particularly tough, and I see no time in the near future for a number of days off. God spoke to my heart one Saturday morning while I was preparing for Sunday school: "My child, in between more intense rests, I want to teach you to take Sabbath moments." I wasn't certain what He meant. Just that morning God confirmed His desire for me to drive all the way to the other side of Houston to the medical center to visit a patient with brain cancer. I was very thankful for the privilege of visiting this patient, but I knew in advance it would be tough emotionally and far from restful.
I fought the traffic across Houston, then visited with my new friend and her husband while choking back the tears. They have two young sons, and unless God performs a miracle, their mother will go home to be with the Lord before they are grown. I got in my car and prayed. I pulled out of the parking garage, fighting the tears. A few blocks later as if on autopilot, I turned my steering wheel straight into the parking lot of the Houston Zoo!
Christ seemed to say, "Let's go play." And that we did. I hadn't been to the zoo in years. I heard about all the improvements, but I never expected the ultimate: Starbucks coffee! (OK, so I don't have all my health issues down pat.) Can you imagine watching a baby koala take a nap in a tree on a rare cold day in Houston with a Starbucks grande cappuccino in your hand? Now that's a Sabbath moment! God and I had a blast.
- Beth Moore, The Beloved Disciple, (B&H Publishing: 2003), 220.
Just as Sarah Young’s Jesus in Jesus Calling sounds much like an American woman steeped in contemporary therapeutic language, so the Jesus of Beth Moore’s vision seems to suit an affluent American demographic. As you consider the condition of the church in the prosperous west alongside the persecution and suffering of so many Christians in the majority world do you think that “one of our severest needs is pure rest” along the lines of playdates with God to Starbucks and the zoo?
I’m in favor of rest. More importantly God is in favor of rest. He created a cycle of days with the wonderful gift of rest in mind. God gave man the Sabbath day as a gift precisely for the purposes of ministering rest to our bodies and minds. I’m not sure when God decided to add “Sabbath Moments” to the mix. Is it God’s way of recognizing that most American Christians do not take their rest on the day God has set apart and made holy for that very purpose? Beth does not tell us. She simply claims that God chose to speak to her directly and together they coined a new term.
I’m not saying that we cannot enjoy good gifts from God. I am as grateful for good coffee and cute koalas as the next guy. But the words quoted above illustrate well the utter weightlessness of contemporary evangelicalism, particularly that which is peddled to Christian women. If I were a woman I believe I would be insulted by such nauseating triviality.
What Beth Moore is describing in her experiences is what we call “direct revelation.” Revelation means to unveil or make known. The doctrine of direct revelation means that God speaks directly to someone apart from any mediation. We understand that direct revelation was given by God to the prophets and apostles and was ultimately inscripturated as God's written word. Protestants have historically denied continuing revelation. We believe that God's Word is His chosen and sufficient means to speak to his people. Indeed the Southern Baptist Convention has clearly denied continuing revelation and affirmed the sufficiency of Scripture.
And yet Beth Moore’s books and studies are published by Broadman & Hollman (B&H) and sold in Lifeway stores. Both Lifeway and B&H are Southern Baptist entities and Beth Moore a member of a Southern Baptist Church. So why does the Southern Baptist Convention publish, promote, and sell teaching that clearly departs from historic Protestantism and is against its own doctrinal positions? Follow the money my friends. Follow the money.