The Beleaguered Disciple: One Woman’s story of finding discernment and losing Beth Moore.
In this guest post, JoAnne Elizabeth of Vancouver, WA recounts her experience of going from Beth Moore Groupie to warning every woman she knows to stay far, far away from Beth Moore.
I once was a Beth Moore groupie. I am no longer. I have gone from completely undiscerning and unquestioning to something so much better, yet so much harder for me. Like many other lifelong Christian women, I grew up extremely trusting and non-questioning. By nature, I hate confrontation and seek to avoid it at all costs. In times past, my husband lovingly and correctly labeled me a “spineless jellyfish.” Thankfully, I grew up in solid churches and cannot think of any false teaching or heresy to which I was exposed.
I am truly blessed to have been raised by godly parents and grandparents. I often joke that I have been attending church since I was a twinkle in my father’s eye. I was granted faith in Christ at an early age and baptized as a middle-schooler. My father was a Minister of Music for basically all of my formative years. I attended a Baptist church at a minimum of three times a week and I really loved that lifestyle. I can say that, growing up, I never questioned anyone who said they were a Christian. I never knew there was anything like false conversions or that Roman Catholic doctrine was not true Christian doctrine. Basically, if someone said she believed in Jesus, I believed her and trusted her.
When I left my parent’s household and began a family of my own (in addition to a loving husband, I have two daughters), I became involved with the women’s bible study at my local Baptist church. It was there that I was introduced to Beth Moore. At that point, everything faith-wise was still “Kumbaya” in my mind. “Who is this Beth Moore person?” I wondered. Some of my friends loved her; yet, my best friend told me that she preferred Precept Ministries-style inductive Bible Study. My friend who enjoyed Precept Study found Beth Moore annoying. I didn’t. For a fun-loving person like me, Precept studies sounded boring. Beth Moore, on the other hand, seemed a lot more fun. Her Bible studies had videos and other such resources. So, I eschewed inductive Bible study in favor of the Beth Moore route. The first Beth Moore study I ever participated in was The Beloved Disciple. Honestly, to this day, I cannot remember much about its scriptural content or the scriptural content of any other Beth Moore study in which I participated. I do remember, though, that I never questioned a word Beth Moore said. I also remember, very clearly, that Moore often talked about the direct revelation she received from God. I didn’t question it, but it stood out to me. “Wow,” I thought, “God talks to her like that? He calls her ‘girlfriend’? I’ve never heard of such a thing. But that’s awesome!!”
Both Moore broke conventions. For example, she would pray while walking around with her eyes open. “Well, that’s different,” I thought, “but cool!” In one study she talked about how Jesus was our Prince and we were his princesses. Beth said Jesus would look at us and tell us we were beautiful. Being the wife of a wonderful, yet undemonstrative husband, that made me cry; I just loved Beth for “teaching” us that. On my own, I completed the Believing God online study. I wore the blue bracelet she told the participants to wear. I said the mantra. (I believe this is the study where she talked about her vision from God; the one where she lumped in Roman Catholics with Protestant denominations.) Where was my brain? Why did no one in my women’s bible study groups ever ask the question, “Did God really speak to her like that?” After doing her online study, I went on to facilitate her Fruit of the Spirit study. I can’t say there was any false teaching in the study, but, the videos time and time again just left me walking away wishing I was more spiritual and as close to God as Beth.
Two pivotal events caused me to snap out of my funk as a Beth Moore groupie. The first was my attendance at a Beth Moore Living Proof Conference. Everything at the conference was hunky dory until the last day. At the end of it, she each attendee stand up and join hands with the women next to her…and I mean join both hands and face her. Beth said something to the effect that she was not trying to be “mystical” but hoped this exercise would be a blessing to the attendees. She instructed us to repeat this long monologue telling the person with whom we were holding hands how wonderful and lovely and special and awesome she was. Oh, and, of course, that we were to tell her that we had amazing things to do for God. Finally, something Beth Moore did really bothered me. Still, I needed one more experience to get off the Beth Bus.
This second “kick-in-the-pants” experience was the accidental yet Providential discovery of Mr. Brannon Howse online. I was looking for things to listen to on my computer as I worked. I believe the Holy Spirit directed me to Brannon’s Worldview Weekend site. I soaked up everything on that site: from Jimmy DeYoung to Chris Pinto to Jesse Johnson to Mike Abendroth to the amazingly wonderful Dr. John Whitcomb. From there I found Chris Roseborough, JD Hall, and so much more. I have learned a great deal in the last 6 years. During that time, Beth Moore has gotten so much worse, so much more deceived.
After six years, I finally met with the Women’s Leader in the church I was attending. She is such a lovely godly woman. I love her. Please see above, though – spineless jellyfish, avoids confrontation at all costs. When we spoke, I felt like I did not give the best arguments against participating in Beth Moore studies. My arguments now would be much stronger and with backed up with scripture. The women’s leader, despite my poor arguments, did take my concerns to the elders, but they apparently they did not see a problem with Beth Moore studies taking place at the church. The women’s leader did say two things to me. One, she mentioned that at the beginning of each bible study series Beth tells her hearers to be Bereans and check out what she says. I’m pretty sure no one actually did that. Two, she asked me what I thought of Joyce Meyer. I just wanted to cry. I think I told her that Joyce Meyer was so much worse than Beth Moore and to avoid her at all costs.
I am now attending a different church. My former church and the one I currently attend both continue to do Beth Moore studies. My current church (of about one year) is a large church (1,200 members or so), with fantastic expository preaching. It is a very biblically solid church. I would have hoped, though, in a 1200-member church, that someone would have stood up and asked if Beth Moore studies are appropriate? I’m not sure that has happened.
The bottom line is this. I don’t care if Beth Moore studies are actually “good” and do not contain false teaching – one cannot separate the studies from what Moore says and does elsewhere, with whom she associates. She associates with Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, Joel Osteen, James Robison, and Hillsong. This is associating with false teaching at best, heresy at worst.
The coffin on this issue has been nailed shut for me for quite a while. I heard a talk from her, though, (I think Chris Roseborough aired it and critiqued it), where she did a Bible word study on the word “speedily.” Yes, you read me correctly, “speedily.” That not only put another nail in the coffin, but buried so deep it touched the water table line. Through everything, I’m trying to remember to pray for Beth Moore and to guard my heart from a bad attitude and a sinful “what juicy badness is Beth Moore up to now” curiosity; that is easily my sin default. I guard against that all the time. Still, I will carefully share with other women what I know and warn them.
You can do the same.
[Contributed by JoAnne Elizabeth]
[Edited by Seth Dunn]