The Pen

Sarah Breaks Free of Beth Moore

Pulpit & Pen received the following testimony from Sarah. She is a Southern Baptist from Texas. She was baptized at age 24 and has been a Christian for 27 years. She has broken free of Beth Moore.

My introduction to Beth Moore occurred about 20 years ago through her study, To Live is Christ: The Life and Ministry of Paul. At that time, my husband and I were newer in our faith and in our knowledge of the word of God. We were attending a very traditional small-town Baptist church. As is typical of such churches, what they’ve always done is what they always did. It was quite the scandal when one of the ladies’ Sunday school teachers decided she wanted to do a Beth Moore study during the Sunday school hour. Given Beth Moore’s near ubiquitous presence in women’s Sunday School classes, that might seem a little unbelievable, but this was twenty years ago. It was almost unheard of to teach from anything except the quarterly lessons that came from the Baptist Sunday School Board. Beth Moore was a Baptist, though, so her study book was able just barely make it through. We felt an undercurrent of disapproval for doing the study. Unfortunately, it had nothing to do with the content of the study but everything to do with doing something different. Looking back, it might have been wiser to stick with the tried and true Sunday School quarterly.

I remember really liking the study at the time because it actually got me into the Bible and provided some coherency for me with regard to Paul’s missionary journeys. I was hungry for God’s word and good exegetical study, but I didn’t really know what that was back then. In the subsequent Beth Moore studies I did over the years, I was really attracted to the few Bible nuggets that I was able to find buried among Beth’s fluff. I never really got into or could even answer some of the other types of questions she had in her studies about my own life events and feelings. I tried to get something out of it but I never really felt the “magic” that others did or that Beth tried to communicate. Nonetheless, I found her to be engaging and I liked her videos. I had not heard others talk about God the way she did, with such passion. My husband and I attended two other churches for a number of years since that first study, and Beth Moore was always a part of what the women did. I never attended any of her Living Proof live events, although other women at our churches would go. They always thought we had to have women’s Bible study and that always took the form of a packaged study with videos and a workbook by a popular female teacher. For the most part, it was Beth Moore. Even though I didn’t care for the fluff. I participated with optimism thinking, “Maybe she’s discovered something we don’t know about. Maybe she’s come up with some key insight or way of doing things that we might be missing out on, something that could change our lives!” Ever hungry for meat and not milk, at some point in my journey, thankfully, I found John MacArthur on the radio and began listening to his sermons.

MacArthur’s teachings played an important role in my spiritual growth and in learning how to study the Bible in context. Around 2013 or so, I found Chris Rosebrough’s program. It felt like I was finally waking up from a stupor once and for all. Someone had given me permission to question all these crazy teachings out there and ask, is this what the Bible really teaches? Looking at others around me and sitting under bad teaching Sunday after Sunday at our last church made me think it was normal for God to speak directly to someone, although this was not a regular occurrence for me or my husband. Many, many errors come out of this belief, but most don’t even question it. In my opinion, thinking that God is speaking directly to us, our leaders, and our teachers is one of the biggest problems in the church today and is a huge hurdle in getting women to identify false teaching. Why should I believe Beth Moore when she giddily says she loves it when she and God are in on something that her husband doesn’t know about yet? Why should I believe what Beth Moore said God said to her or showed her in a vision? By God’s grace, my husband was growing along with me during this time, and we knew we had to leave the church we were in. The pastor was always “hearing” from God outside of scripture. There were many other problems, but we did finally leave and are now in a Reformed Baptist church with sound teaching.

I can only imagine the pressure that Beth Moore has been under all these years, becoming immensely popular and having to come up with the next big thing, the next study that’s going to top the last one. I think it’s time we question this particular method of “study.” Is this how we’re supposed to be fed? By someone’s current musings cleverly portrayed in a fill-in-the-blank, question-and-answer workbook accompanied by entertaining videos, packaged and priced and put up for sale for mass consumption? This in contrast to having a pastor in the local church who simply teaches from the Word every week, who faithfully leads his flock in truth? Women’s Bible studies and conferences allow women to slip out from underneath the authority and teaching of their pastors. But hey, it’s a free country, and you can go where you want, but if we are not grounded and discerning, we can be all too easily led astray! It has been asked, where are the men? I’m afraid that in evangelicalism today, they are deceived as much as anyone and are not being taught sound doctrine. In fact, a church right here in my little town did a Beth Moore study on Wednesday nights that was for both men and women and was facilitated by the pastor! No joke.

As I matured in my faith, it became more and more obvious to me what Beth Moore was all about. In January 2014 on her LPM blog, Beth wrote about a dream she had that I find to be incredulous and disturbing. Being somewhat vague, she concluded from the dream that God would take her voice if she didn’t “stop sowing over and over in the exact same field,” a word that God had “dropped” in her heart through another teacher’s message about a year earlier. She said she wasn’t looking for this message from God or asking for it; that must mean it’s from God, right? But take her voice? Seriously? So Beth is so important to the kingdom that God would take her voice away if she didn’t get out there? Somewhere. In another field. I don’t think so. We must ask, now that some time has passed since this dream, where are the new fields in which she is sowing? The answer – alongside Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, and the Osteens. She has also been given quite the platform on James and Betty Robison’s TV program LIFE Today in a segment called “Wednesdays with Beth”. Chris Rosebrough on Fighting for the Faith has analyzed some of her teachings from “Wednesdays with Beth” in which she badly mishandles scripture and eisegetes like a pro (not a professional theologian). Her teachings stand on their own as problematic, but because of her questionable associations, she lends credibility to false teachers and is leading her own followers further away from truth.

Beth Moore and many other popular female teachers (Priscilla Shirer, Lisa Bevere, Ann Voskamp, et al.) are mystics, pure and simple. Untold numbers of Christian women don’t seem to mind, however. Sadly, it’s what they want. They want to be as “spiritual” as Beth Moore and hear from God and have the same kind of experiences she does. Most, I’m afraid, will be disappointed. I would say to them, the Lord is not your buddy, your pal whom you go on “playdates” with. Jesus is not trying to romance you and woo you so you will be more intimate with him, whatever that means. Jesus is not sitting at the right hand of God pining away for you! Ladies, the only reason we are not a putrid stench in the nostrils of God is that we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness. There is nothing inherently desirable in you that God is longing for if only you would do something. Stop feeding your flesh and feasting on the pep talk of “you’re beautiful, you’re strong, you’re enough, you’re without rival, you’re God’s masterpiece”. Simply rejoice in Christ and what he has done for you! Be sober minded and set your mind on things above. James 4:14 says, “What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Put away the nonsense. Sit under good teaching and focus on Christ, the only one who is truly worthy.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church of which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant