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Readers- Before commenting on this article, please familiarize yourself with my comments/e-mail/social media policies and my responses to objections about warning against false teachers. I will not be publishing any comments or responding to any e-mails that are covered by said policies or article.

 

Did you see Beth Moore’s recent blog post “A Letter to My Brothers“? What do you think about what she said?

The first thing you need to know about Beth Moore, if you don’t already, is that she is a false teacher who is living in current, unrepentant sin. She teaches false doctrine and twists Scripture to scratch the itching ears of her followers. She sinfully and rebelliously preaches to men, and she yokes in “ministry” with false teachers. These are not my personal opinions, these are verifiable facts. (See my article Five Reasons It’s Time to Exercise Moore Discernment for the evidence. You don’t have to take my word for it. Compare the things she says and does with Scripture (rightly handled and in context) and it will quickly become crystal clear.)

For years, I have repeatedly heard people try to brush these things aside as “everybody makes mistakes” or “no big deal.” These are not mistakes. These are sins that she not only has not repented of and stopped, she actually tries to justify. Sin is a big deal. It’s such a big deal to God that He sent His Son to be tortured to death for it.

Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Isaiah 5:20

We would not say, “It’s no big deal,” if we knew a pastor who was proudly open about his serial adultery or joyfully endorsed homosexuality. Beth Moore’s open, proud, and unrepentant sin is just as inherently sinful. Why Christians continue to support her is both grievous and a mystery to me.

The reason it’s important you understand, for the purposes of this article, that Beth is a false teacher, is that you should view any theological statements she makes with a high degree of suspicion and discernment. Whatever theology Beth espouses is a house built on a foundation of sand because she is not hearing and obeying the (written) Word of Christ. Yes, she may, at times, say things that are perfectly biblical. That is by design. But you cannot have a sound structure when your foundation is faulty.

It brings me absolutely no joy to have to say such things. I would much rather joyfully point my readers to Beth as a doctrinally sound resource as I have done on many other occasions with many other doctrinally sound teachers. But in order to be obedient to Scripture, these things must be said in loving warning to Beth herself and to her followers.

Now, on to her article…

First, I’d like to give my overall impressions, and then move on to a few particular statements.

If I had to sum up this article in one word, it would be “vague.” I have more questions than answers after reading it. How, exactly, does Beth Moore define misogyny? Who is this large swath of men committing this misogyny? What, precisely, are they doing that constitutes misogyny? What sector of women are they performing these misogynistic acts against? What does she want these men to do instead of whatever it is they are doing? What, specifically, is the church supposed to do in response to this nebulous accusation of misogyny?

How is anyone supposed to agree with or refute the facts of what Beth is saying unless she gives clear explanations and details? What Beth has done in her blog post is to throw out unsubstantiated, generalized accusations against a wide swath of nameless Christian men and churches and she expects us to take her word for it that there’s some epidemic of misogyny across the board in the church.

There’s no there there. And I think there are several reasons for that.

Certainly, there are individual Christian men, even pastors, of every theological stripe who have had moments, like the ones Beth cites from her personal experience, in which they’ve acted like pigs toward women, or might even have a chauvinistic attitude toward women in general. Let me be clear- that’s sin, and they absolutely need to be rebuked individually for those sins and repent.

But among Bible believing, doctrinally sound churches and genuinely regenerated Christian men, there isn’t this widespread, large scale, general attitude of condescension toward and disdain for Christian women (that’s my guess as to what she means by “misogyny”, since she didn’t define it) who are obedient to the roles God lays out for us in Scripture and who don’t teach false doctrine. There just isn’t. (This general attitude might be more pervasive among men who claim to be Christians and/or subscribe to false doctrine, but Beth Moore herself has helped build that category of “Christians” with her false doctrine and unbiblical behavior. You can’t build a shoddy wall and then complain when it falls on you.)

Get LifeWay on the phone and commission them to survey a thousand genuinely regenerated, doctrinally sound women who aren’t preaching to men or partnering with false teachers, and who attend generally doctrinally sound churches, and ask them if they normally feel oppressed, patronized, or diminished by their churches or Christian men as a whole. I can practically guarantee that the answer will be a resounding “no.”

I believe that’s one of the reasons Beth’s article is so vague. She thinks her personal experience is common to all Christian women. But it’s not, because she and her poor theology and behavior don’t represent all Christian women, or even most of us.

I think another reason her article is so vague is that she can’t clearly state what she really means because she knows it’s unbiblical. Over the last few years, more and more people – high profile pastors, “regular Joe” pastors, average Christian men and women – have begun to realize and to speak out about the fact that Beth is a false teacher, preaches to men, and yokes with other false teachers. And though some small segment of those folks might qualify as “hyper-fundamentalists” (whatever that means – another vague, undefined, and, this time, intentionally pejorative term), all the ones I’m familiar with who have warned against Beth are reasonable, humble, credible, doctrinally sound Christians, not a tiny bunch of wild-eyed crazies with pitchforks at a Beth Moore book burning.

And, interestingly, while the rebukes that have actually reached Beth’s ears have probably come mostly from men (because men are pastors and have larger platforms and a louder voice), at the grassroots, non-celebrity, average person in the pew level, the vast majority of people warning against Beth are women. Generally speaking, most pastors and Christian husbands have no clue about the problems with Beth Moore. They assume that because she claims to be a Christian and a Southern Baptist, and because LifeWay endorses her and has helped build her empire, she must be doctrinally sound. I know because I hear from women all the time asking how to approach their pastors about the fact that their church is using Beth Moore “Bible” studies. Does Beth consider the discerning women who warn against her to be misogynistic?

I would suggest that the majority of any “misogyny” Beth has received or thinks is pervasive in evangelicalism is largely the result of Christians who know their Bibles speaking and acting upon that knowledge. Men ignored her in elevators and at “team meetings”? She’s “the elephant in the room with a skirt on”? The Bible says:

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 2 John 9-11

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. Romans 16:17-18

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned. Titus 3:10-11

I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. 1 Timothy 2:12

And in this day when the “Pence rule” is ridiculed and men’s lives are being destroyed with accusations of sexual harassment right and left for the most minor of real or imagined infractions, is it any wonder that any Christian man might keep his distance from any woman who’s not his wife?

I suspect Beth has been feeling the pressure – both in her “ministry” and financially – as more people become aware of the theological problems with her, and the sentiment behind her veiled accusations of misogyny is along the lines of, “I don’t like discerning Christians speaking out about my false doctrine, preaching to men, and yoking with false teachers. It hurts my feelings and is detrimental to my career. I want them to be quiet and let me continue to do these things in peace.” But she can’t come right out and say those things clearly because she knows what she’s doing is unbiblical, she’d be publicly admitting to it, and she’d lose even more followers and support.

Finally, I think a significant factor at play in the posting of her article is the popularity factor. Beth is riding the ebbing wave of the #MeToo and #ChurchToo movements and using that platform to gain more supporters to replace the ones she’s lost. Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched her do the same thing with the issue of racism on Twitter and by being a last minute addition to the MLK50 Conference. Racism and abuse/misogyny are both hot-topic, trending issues right now. Getting on board that train as a celebrity is a cheap and easy way to get your name in the headlines, your face in the spotlight, boost your social media analytics, gain more followers, and, thus, more customers to buy your materials and attend your conferences.

Want to know how I know this? Because even someone with as small a platform as I have has experienced it. I know what topics to write about that will get me the most clicks and re-tweets (and I usually avoid those topics for that very reason – it’s too tempting). I know the kinds of things you have to do to market yourself and your books successfully to Christian women (which is why I don’t have any books on the market or a larger following – I’m not willing to do some of those things). Beth Moore is a savvy businesswoman with plenty of smart people to advise her. She knows about these things, too. With Christians waking up in droves to the fact that she’s a false teacher, and with the fact that Beth is getting older and a fresh new generation of young female “Bible” teachers is gaining traction and a share of her audience, she’s got to do something to build her following. Everybody with even the smallest parachurch ministry knows how the game is played.

In closing I’d like to interact with a few particular statements Beth made.

I had no personal aspirations to preach nor was it my aim to teach men. If men showed up in my class, I did not throw them out. I taught.

I had no personal aspirations, nor was it my aim to snap at my husband the other day or tell a lie last month. That doesn’t change the fact that I did those things and that they are sins Christ calls me to repent of and stop. Beth acts like teaching men is something that was thrust upon her and that she had no control over so it wasn’t her fault. She also suggests that the only way to handle men showing up in a women’s class is to rudely “throw them out”, implying that if a female teacher restricts her class to women, she must be acting horribly rudely to any man who shows up. Baloney. I’ve explained in this article (#10) how women can kindly and graciously prevent men from coming to their women’s class in the first place and keep them from staying if they do show up. If men rebelliously decide to show up and stay in a women’s class or at a women’s conference, Beth or any other woman can certainly sit down and refuse to teach until they leave. That’s not even resisting sin to the point of shedding blood, it’s just calmly refusing to participate in it. Frankly, doing so would teach both the men and women in the room an extremely important lesson.

The fact of the matter is that Beth is just fine with preaching to men in defiance of Scripture. If she were really trying to obey Scripture she wouldn’t attempt to justify her sin, accept numerous speaking engagements to preach at conferences and churches whose audiences she knows ahead of time will contain men, or preach to pastors.

male leaders/fellow leaders…serve alongside them 

Once again, these are very vague terms. What does Beth mean by “serve alongside” these male “leaders”? Is she talking about preaching alongside them at a conference or that she ought to be able to “serve” in the same capacities men can biblically serve in? Does she consider pastors to be “fellow” leaders because she views herself as equal to pastors?

Anyone out in the public eye gets pelted with criticism.

Anyone who becomes a Christian preacher or teacher gets biblically judged – by God and by people – with a stricter judgment, and Christians are called to reject false doctrine.

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. James 3:1

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

He can put us out there and pull us back as He pleases.

Yes, He can, and the fact that He “puts Beth out there” and has allowed her to have a large following in no way indicates that He approves of her behavior or her doctrine. The size of a person’s platform or the number of followers she has doesn’t mean God is blessing her because she’s biblical. In fact, it can mean exactly the opposite.

Ours is to keep our heads down and seek Him earnestly and serve Him humbly

If Beth Moore were keeping her head down and seeking God earnestly and serving Him humbly, she would almost certainly not be the celebrity she is, just like the myriad of Christian women who are doing those things and aren’t celebrities. Her article is indicative of the fact that she’s not “keeping her head down” – she’s making a big splashy statement and reprimanding good churches and Christian men and women to elevate herself. She’s doing what she can to keep the wheels of her celebrity turning. And if she were “earnestly” and “humbly” seeking and serving God, the very first thing she would do is repent of her sin and stop it.

opposition and difficulties are norms for servants of Christ

Especially when you’re not serving Christ because you’re intentionally disobeying Him. Of course people who stand on the truth of God’s Word will oppose you. You should expect that. And if you’re truly a servant of Christ, you should also expect God to discipline you when you sin. These are basic biblical principles a Bible teacher should know.

An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.
2 Timothy 2:5

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then
you are illegitimate children and not sons. Hebrews 12:7-8

Even criticism, as much as we all hate it, is used by God to bring correction, endurance and humility and to curb our deadly addictions to the approval of man.

This is true! So may I suggest, Beth, that you humble yourself, and be corrected from your addictions to the approval of man? Step down, repent, take a seat under some good biblical instruction from a doctrinally sound pastor, and learn and obey the truth of God’s Word.

Scripture was not the reason for the colossal disregard and disrespect of women among many of these [key Christian leaders]. It was only the excuse. Sin was the reason. Ungodliness.

Do not admit a charge against an elder except on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 1 Timothy 5:19

What leaders? Where are your witnesses? What, specifically, were their sins? How were they being ungodly? This is just one more example of vagueness and unsubstantiated accusations.

The dignity with which Christ treated women in the Gospels is fiercely beautiful and it was not conditional upon their understanding their place.

This is a fallacious argument that, as a Bible teacher, Beth should know is fallacious, because we don’t see Christ interacting in the gospels with any women who “don’t understand their place.” Every woman we see that Christ interacts with in the gospels is either already living in obedience to God’s Word, or is at the point of repentance, or Christ instructs her to “go and sin no more.” We never see Him interacting with a woman who is in-your-face defiantly, continually, and unrepentantly persisting in disobedience to Scripture. If we had seen Him interact with a woman like that, I’m sure He would have treated her with the same “dignity” He treated the “brood of vipers, blind guides, whitewashed tombs” false teaching Pharisees who acted like that.

Furthermore, this sounds uncomfortably close to the popular erroneous argument, “Jesus never said anything about homosexuality, so it must have been OK with Him.” All Scripture is breathed out by God. That means when 1 Timothy 2:12 explains and commands women’s “place” in the church, that’s just as much the words of Jesus as the ones He speaks in the gospels.

I am…deeply committed to the authority of the Word of God and to the imitation of Christ.

Then imitate Him by obeying His written Word. Be under the authority of the Word of God by humbling yourself and submitting to it.

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3

Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. 1 John 2:4-6

 

Beth Moore may have experienced some terrible personal treatment at the hands of individual men. I hope all of them were rebuked for their sin and repented of it. But the truth of the matter is that any generalized opposition or difficulty Beth is experiencing is not because she’s a woman, or because Christian men and complementarian churches are misogynistic, or because she doesn’t have a seminary degree. It’s because she’s in sin.

And I dearly wish she would repent. I spent quite a bit of time in prayer for Beth, weeping over her situation before writing this article. Beth is a beautiful, kind-hearted woman made in God’s image who is in angst because she’s persisting in sin and resisting the discipline of the Lord. My heart breaks to see her or any other professing Christian go through something like that. The answer to all her difficulties is so close, yet she pushes away the hands that lovingly hold it out to her, reaching instead for something that will never satisfy.

Beth, I love you and I long to see you truly flourish in Christ. Consider that the pressure and anxiety you’re calling “misogyny” might actually be the grace of God disciplining you, calling you lovingly to repentance. Today, if you hear His voice, please do not harden your heart. Won’t you repent and be reconciled to Him in obedience today?


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.


Before commenting, please familiarize yourself with my comments/e-mail/social media policies and my responses to objections about warning against false teachers. I will not be publishing any comments or responding to any e-mails that are covered by said policies or article.

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