Homosexuality

An Open Letter to Beth Moore – Timeline of Events

Nearly three weeks ago, six Christian women (and nearly 500 subsequent signers) addressed An Open Letter to Beth Moore, asking five questions about her views on homosexuality:

1. Do you believe homosexuality is inherently sinful?

2. Do you believe that the practice of the homosexual lifestyle is compatible with holy Christian living?

3. Do you believe a person who dies as a practicing homosexual but professes to be a Christian will inherit eternal life?

4. Do you believe same sex attraction is, in and of itself, an inherently sinful, unnatural, and disordered desire that must be mortified?

5. Why have you been so silent on this subject in light of your desire to “teach the word of God?”

Since the discussion of the events and commentary surrounding the open letter have mostly taken place on Twitter, and many who have an interest in these events and comments are not Twitter users, this article is intended to be a timeline outlining the sequence of events, beginning with the publication of the open letter.

Several Christian news outlets, bloggers, and podcasters have reported on the story since the letter was released. For the sake of brevity, most of these have not been included, but if you’re interested, you should be able to find the majority of them by Googling “Open Letter to Beth Moore”. Notably absent in reporting on the open letter issue has been Baptist Press (the news outlet of the Southern Baptist Convention), even though they have been made aware of the situation and routinely publish articles on issues of far less significance.

Additionally, Southern Baptist Convention President, J.D. GreearLifeWay (which carries Beth’s materials and promotes her and her events, and has removed previous authors for affirming homosexuality), newly installed President/CEO of LifeWay, Ben Mandrell, the ERLC, and ERLC President, Russell Moore have all been made aware of the situation, and none of them have responded. (For those who aren’t aware of the significance of this, read #3 here.)

Here is the timeline of events surrounding the Open Letter to Beth Moore:

Prior to Tuesday, June 18-
Original signers
of the Open Letter to Beth Moore – Susan Heck, DebbieLynn Kespert, Michelle Lesley, Martha Peace, Elizabeth Prata, and Amy Spreeman – are asked to read the letter, offer input, sign, and publicize the letter.

 

Tuesday, June 18-
DebbieLynne Kespert and Elizabeth Prata publish the letter on their respective blogs.

 

Wednesday, June 19-
5:00 a.m.: Michelle Lesley publishes the letter on her blog with the option for other women who agree with the letter to add their signatures (continually updated).

11:01 a.m.: Beth posts this cryptically vague Facebook post. Due to the timing of the post, people begin to speculate on whether or not it is a response to the open letter even though it does not mention the letter, the signers of the letter, or homosexuality, nor does it answer any of the questions posed in the letter.

 

Saturday, June 22-
Amy Spreeman publishes the letter on her blog.

Four days after the publication of the letter, Beth still has not answered the questions in the letter or otherwise made her position on homosexuality clear.

 

Sunday, June 23-
Beth posts this Tweet thread, which seems to be responding somewhat more directly to the letter, but still doesn’t mention the letter, the signers of the letter, or homosexuality, nor does it answer any of the questions posed in the letter. Pertinent excerpts:

To date, Beth still has not answered this question asked by Michelle Lesley. (More commentary on this tweet thread here, #10.)

 

Monday, June 24-
Questions about the Open Letter to Beth Moore is published (to be updated as needed).

 

Wednesday, June 26-
One week after the publication of the letter, Beth still has not answered the questions in the letter or made her position on homosexuality clear in any other way.

 

Friday, June 28-
Beth is tweeted a link to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Article XV of which reads in part:

“In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography.”

To date, Beth has not responded that she affirms the statement of faith of her own denomination (nor have Russell Moore nor LifeWay, also tagged in this tweet, responded).

 

Saturday, June 29-
LifeWay, the ERLC, J.D. Greear, Ben Mandrell, and Russell Moore are again asked for a response to the issue. Again, none have responded to date.

 

Monday, July 1-
Still not responding to the questions in the letter or making her position on homosexuality clear in any other way, Beth blocks original signer of the letter, Michelle Lesley, on Twitter.

Michelle Lesley comments on being blocked by Beth:

(For further explanation of this comment, see #3 here.)

Southern Baptist pastor, Dwight McKissic, who last year suggested that Beth Moore be elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention as a way of righting (real and perceived) wrongs against women in the SBC, retweets Michelle Lesley’s comment and adds his response, unbiblically judging the questions in the letter as “inappropriate” and the motives of the signers of the letter as a “problem,” in the process:

(The “factual bases” for the for the questions were clearly stated in the open letter, namely, that Beth has not articulated an unambiguously biblical position on homosexuality in recent years, and that she maintains public, adulatory friendships with well-known homosexuality-affirming public figures, leading others to wonder if her current position on homosexuality is affirming. These are the reasons we deemed the questions “necessary.”)

Responding to Michelle Lesley‘s retweeted comment, “She doesn’t answer to me, but she does owe a clear public explanation of her views on homosexuality to the SBC and her fans,” Beth replies (actually on July 2) to Dwight:

Beth unbiblically judges the signers of the letter as “hunters, trappers” and not asking the questions in the letter in “good faith.”

Beth also declares that she owes the Southern Baptist Convention zero. She is the best known and most influential member of the SBC as well as its (LifeWay’s) best selling author. The Southern Baptist Convention, through the promotion of her conferences and materials has made her what she is both in fame and financially. Thousands of SBC churches use her materials. But, “I owe these folks 0.” And, apparently, she doesn’t feel she owes her millions of fans clear, biblical teaching on this issue either.

 

Tuesday, July 2-
(Tweet from Beth above, under July 1, is actually posted on July 2.)

Beth blocks original signer of the letter, Elizabeth Prata, on Twitter.

 

Beth also gives as her reason for blocking Michelle Lesley a complete misrepresentation of one of Michelle’s tweets:

(Michelle Lesley did not say Beth had “never even shared the ‘clear gospel’,” only that she (Michelle) had never seen/read said presentation. Beth has repeatedly stated she has been a Bible teacher for forty years. Michelle, having only viewed/read a fraction of that forty years of material, was giving Beth the benefit of the doubt that such a presentation does, in fact, exist, only that Michelle does not happen to have seen it. Notice Beth provides no links to where one might find an example of her clearly presenting the gospel.)

 

Wednesday, July 3-
8:03 a.m.: Beth unbiblically judges the hearts of the signers of the letter as having the wrong reasons, wanting “public attention,” and wanting to “barbecue” a fellow Christian. She also accuses the signers of the letter of not going through the “right channels” to contact her (even though, as explained in #5&6 here, asking a Bible teacher questions about the Bible is not a Matthew 18 issue of confronting someone in sin in the local church, and dozens of people have confirmed that they have tried, over the years, to contact her/her ministry through the “right channels” and have been ignored – here’s just one example):

(Original signer of the open letter, Elizabeth Prata, discusses Beth Moore’s “right channels” here.)

At this point, two weeks after the publication of the letter, Beth still has not answered the questions in the letter or otherwise made her position on homosexuality clear. In two weeks of being asked her position on homosexuality from numerous people, she has not once pointed to anything she has previously written on the subject.

1:22 p.m.: A Twitter user named Carrie alerts Michelle Lesley to the fact that Beth has indeed addressed the topic of homosexuality in chapter 13 of her book, Praying God’s Word. (Unfortunately, Carrie later decides to delete her tweet.) Please note that Beth is not the one who pointed this out even though she had two weeks in which to do so.

Another Twitter user in the same thread posts a screenshot of p. 279 of the 2009 hard copy edition of Praying God’s Word, where Beth clearly calls homosexuality “a deadly sexual assault of the evil one,” a “sin,” something God can “deliver” someone from, and something that people should seek “forgiveness, fullness, and complete restoration in Jesus Christ” from. She says that “transformation” from homosexuality “is possible…because God’s Word says so,” and that she personally knows “plenty of believers who have been set free from homosexuality.”

(Keep in mind that for two weeks Beth knew she had written this biblical statement on homosexuality in her book, and revisit Beth’s comments above (under “July 2”). Why would any Bible teacher of 40 years who has correctly and biblically written about the sin of homosexuality and who says her “doctrine has not changed,” feel “hunted” and “trapped” when asked her views on homosexuality? If her doctrine truly has not changed, why wouldn’t she, herself, not a random Twitter user, have simply pointed to what she had written in her book?)

Other Twitter users begin tweeting this picture to Beth, asking if she still believes what she wrote in this book. No response from Beth.

Twitter user, Logan, subsequently tweets to Michelle Lesley a screenshot of the 2009 Kindle version of chapter 13 of Praying God’s Word in which the entire section on homosexuality has been removed – six pages’ worth of material, amounting to half the chapter.

Other Twitter users begin tweeting this screenshot to Beth asking her to comment.

 

Thursday, July 4-
Beth responds as to why the section on homosexuality was removed from later editions of Praying God’s Word:

Beth says her clear and biblical statements about homosexuality being a sin that requires forgiveness and that God can deliver people from “exceed Scripture” “keeps people from God’s words” and that she “over spoke“.

Well-known theologian, author, and pastor, Dr. James White aptly sums up the situation with Beth Moore in a Facebook post. Notable excerpts:

Beth Moore has taken a pretty central role over recent months as the earthquake in cultural thinking has flowed through evangelicalism. She has shown herself more than willing to back the “woke” movement and is plainly promoting the development of “soft complementarianism” which is another term for “not quite yet fully cooked egalitarianism.” And it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you are woke and pushing the “soft complementarian” perspective, there is another clear and obvious car in that social-justice train. It’s the homosexuality car.

So a few weeks ago a group of women teachers wrote an open letter to Beth Moore asking her for specific answers to specific questions…In any case, the questions were fair and, of course, perfectly understandable. No Christian teacher of any standing should be hesitant to take a stand on these issues.

But Beth Moore has chosen to not only ignore the open letters, but to impugn the character and motivations of those questioning her (a very common tactic, but one being utilized with consistency by those wearing the “progressive” label today). This has led others to look closely at her writings and to discover that a book she wrote many years ago has now been edited in its Kindle edition so as to remove a discussion about homosexuality.

But let’s think about what Mrs. Moore is saying here. To speak of homosexuality as a deadly sin is to “exceed Scripture.” To speak of deliverance and restoration from homosexual sin is to “exceed Scripture.” To claim that there have been many who have been set free from homosexuality is to “exceed Scripture.”

While she may wish to claim this did not involve a “doctrinal shift,” if you teach X is sin, but then conclude that X is not sin, or that to say X is sin is to “exceed Scripture,” that is a doctrinal shift…

I predict that within five years we will get a Rachel Held Evans/Jen Hatmaker/hundreds of others style article explaining how after prayerful consideration and growing in love for God’s people and getting to know so many wonderful LGBTQ+ brothers and sisters in the Lord, Beth Moore has come to understand that we dare not exceed Scripture and we must follow the Spirit’s lead to recognize the need for their full inclusion in the life and fellowship of the body, etc.

 

Friday, July 5-
Commenting to a supporter as to why the section on homosexuality was removed from Praying God’s Word, Beth again declares that her biblical statements on homosexualityovershot Scripture by a mile,” “made people feel demonized,” and “caused damage.”

 

Dr. James White adds further commentary on this tweet in another Facebook post.

 

Saturday, July 6-
Beth publishes a blog post further explaining why she removed the section on homosexuality from her book, Praying God’s Word: Why I removed some of my commentary from a chapter of Praying God’s Word.

 

Finally, after two and a half weeks of avoidance, reluctance, personal attacks and unbiblical judgments toward the signers of the letter, and knowingly declining to point to what she had previously and biblically written about homosexuality, Beth makes the clearest statement to date on her views on sexuality:

I hold firmly to a traditional Christian sexual ethic and continue to believe the Bible sets apart marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman. But I also believe that Scripture clearly teaches that all sex outside of marriage is contrary to God‘s will.

She still does not plainly say, “Homosexuality is a sin that must be repented of,” (indeed, again, she does not use the word “homosexuality” or other synonymous terms in this statement) but it would be difficult for anyone to read this statement and believe there is “wiggle room” for Beth to publicly affirm homosexual activity (although she does not address same sex attraction, as the open letter asked her about in question #4, which does leave the door open for her to validate homosexual orientation, identification, lust, or anything short of sexual acts) . However, it is a good and biblical statement about sexuality in general.

It should be noted that Beth ends this article with yet another subtle swipe at the signers of the letter and all those who have called her to account over the past two and a half weeks (and this portion is worded with enough “wiggle room” for Beth to say anyone’s interpretation of it is not what she meant):

Here is what I no longer have the stomach for after the last several years: the hypocrisy burgeoning from hyper fundamentalist Christianity. I do not lack a Scriptural view of sin. I just believe in a longer list of serious sins than some.

“Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21)

Beth characterizes biblical Christians asking her simple questions about the Bible as “hypocrites” and “hyper-fundamentalist.” Beth does not make clear her definition of “hyper-fundamentalist,” so there is no way for those she is accusing of such to defend themselves. But labeling as “hypocrites” Christians who have simply asked her, a Bible teacher of forty years, whether or not she believes homosexuality is a sin, when her response has been to drag her feet for two and a half weeks until forced by evidence and circumstance to answer is the height of hypocrisy.

She further implies that she takes sin more seriously (“I just believe in a longer list of serious sins than some.”) than the signers of the letter and those calling her to account, which is, again, hypocritical since any Christian who takes sin seriously would not avoid answering a question about whether or not something is a sin for two and a half weeks. That is not taking sin seriously.

And, finally, she implies, with the citation of Galatians 5:19-21:

•that she believes all of the things in these verses are sins and that the signers of the letter do not,

•that the signers of the letter – by politely asking her whether or not she believes homosexuality to be a sin – have committed one or more of these sins (probably enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, if not others) and that she has not,

•and that the signers of the letter, since they are guilty of these sins “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” In other words, that we are not saved.

Dr. James White responds to Beth’s blog post with one of his own: Beth Moore Sort Of Explains…But Not Really, raising several additional important issues and questions.

Bible teacher and theologian, Justin Peters, concurs with Dr. White and adds his own concerns in his blog article: My Thoughts on Beth Moore’s Blog Post. (Actually posted on July 8.)

After publishing this blog post, Beth announces she will be taking a short break from Twitter, thereby disallowing anyone from using one of her “right channels” to ask her any questions about her blog post or other questions about homosexuality:

 

The fruit of Beth’s blog post immediately becomes evident. Here are just a few of the replies to her tweet alerting her followers to the release of the blog post:

These homosexual and homosexual-affirming followers of Beth do not have a fully-orbed biblical view of and/or practice regarding homosexual sin, and Beth isn’t calling them to repent and believe the gospel.

 

Monday, July 8-
(Justin Peters’s blog post – mentioned above under July 6 – actually published.)

 

Monday-Wednesday, July 15-17-
The Write Brilliant Conference, featuring and co-founded by Jonathan Merritt (cited in the open letter) is held. Beth is featured as a “Special Guest” speaker.

 

At the close of the conference, Jonathan Merritt posted this photo with Beth to Instagram and Twitter, calling Beth a “true friend,” “the real deal,” and a “sister“.

It is public, affectionate, and affirming partnerships and interactions like this one which are cited in the open letter as reasons for asking Beth to clarify her position on homosexuality.

 

Tuesday, July 16-
Original signer of the letter, Elizabeth Prata, in her article Beth Moore deleted half her Kindle chapter: Breaking the Social Compact raises awareness that the amount of material on homosexuality removed from Praying God’s Word was far more extensive than many originally thought.

 

Wednesday, July 24-
An episode of Beth’s TBN television show, which is sponsored by LifeWay, entitled Staying Afloat on the Fellow Ship – Part 4, is posted, in which Beth admits she has been looking into the arena of same sex attracted (SSA) Christianity.

 

Though Beth’s words may not sound problematic to some, original signer of the letter, Elizabeth Prata, explains in her article Listen carefully to what she is saying in this video…, exactly why Beth’s remarks signal her trajectory toward acceptance of homosexuality:

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.

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…any other flavor of sexual sin…touting their “tremendous sacrifice” makes it seem as if they are.

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 affirming homosexuals in some way as believers.

 

Monday, August 5-
Beth returns to Twitter (after a one month hiatus) and picks up her slanderous attacks against the signers of the letter right where she left off.

 

Speaking for myself, I am grateful for Beth’s biblical statement on sexuality, but I pray she will be encouraged in the future to take as strong and passionate a stand against the pernicious sin of homosexuality as she has taken on sins like racism and sexual abuse. It has always and only been our desire to see her rightly and unashamedly proclaim the whole counsel of God to her followers. We pray she will do so.

There remain questions and important issues surrounding the sin of homosexuality that must be addressed. This article will be updated with future developments.

Podcast Appearances

The Rapp Report Podcast Guest Appearance: The Open Letter to Beth Moore and Complementarianism

 

A few days ago, I had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting with Andrew Rappaport on the The Rapp Report podcast, a ministry of Striving for Eternity. Listen in as Andrew and I discuss the Open Letter to Beth Moore*, complementarianism and more!

 

 

Be sure to subscribe to the The Rapp Report podcast, and don’t forget to follow Striving for Eternity on Facebook and Twitter!

*Ladies, if you’d like to add your signature to the letter, click on the link above, scroll all the way to the bottom, and add a comment in the comment box. (You will not see your signature immediately since I approve comments manually.)


Got a podcast of your own or have a podcasting friend who needs a guest? Need a speaker for a women’s conference or church event? Click the “Speaking Engagements” tab at the top of this page, drop me an e-mail, and let’s chat!

Mailbag

The Mailbag: Questions about the Open Letter to Beth Moore

 

Since the publication of the Open Letter to Beth Moore, several questions have arisen that I’d like to address in today’s edition of The Mailbag.

(Ladies who would like to add your signature to the letter- click the link above, scroll all the way down, and add a comment in the comment box. Your comment will not appear immediately, since I manually approve comments.)

If you’re not familiar with the context of this article, please read An Open Letter to Beth Moore – Timeline of Events.

 

1. Michelle, why did you write the letter?
I didn’t
(long-time readers can probably tell from the format and phraseology), and it was not my idea. I was asked to give input on the letter, be one of the original signers, and help publicize the letter, and I agreed to do so. Most of the original signers have also posted the letter at their websites.

2. What is the purpose of the letter?
The purpose of the letter should be self-evident if read carefully in its entirety. It is to learn Beth Moore’s position on homosexuality in light of the fact that she has been virtually silent on this issue.

3. Why is Beth Moore’s position on homosexuality any of your business?
Ironically, the people who have asked this question consider it their business to know why it is our business.

First of all, let’s clarify something. This is not a personal question like, “Boxers or briefs?” or “How’s your relationship with your husband?”. Those are questions that can rightly be answered with, “None of your business.” The questions we have asked are more akin to asking a politician, “What is your position on the First Amendment?” If someone asked a politician that question in a public setting, we would find it very odd if he did not answer and his supporters told the questioner it was none of her business.

Beth Moore has said repeatedly that she has been a Bible teacher for forty years. Asking a Bible teacher questions about what she believes about the Bible is perfectly reasonable, especially when that Bible teacher has decades of experience, is an evangelical celebrity, and publicly shares what she believes about the Bible on various topics every day on Twitter. Asking what Beth believes about homosexuality is a legitimate biblical question that cannot be credibly answered with, “None of your business.”

One of the reasons I personally believe it is very much my business is not mentioned in the letter. (Again, I did not write it, though I do not fault the author for omitting this point.) It is my business and that of every single one of the 14.8 million other Southern Baptists out there.

Largely because the world has made homosexuality the litmus test of “Are you for us or against us?” the 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.).

Beth Moore is the best known Southern Baptist in the world, hands down. I have no doubt that she influences more Christians than the president of the SBC, the heads of all SBC entities, and all SBC pastors. If the SBC is going to make homosexuality the iconic issue on which we judge churches and authors, why should Beth, as LifeWay’s best selling author, and the best known and most influential Southern Baptist in the world not have to make it clear where she stands on homosexuality? If any Southern Baptist should have to clearly and publicly declare where she stands on the issue of homosexuality, it’s Beth. I mean, if any Southern Baptist church member walked into her pastor’s office and asked him these questions and he equivocated, refused to answer, or couldn’t biblically answer them, he would be flirting with violating the SBC requirement that churches hold a biblical stance on homosexuality or face being disfellowshipped. But Beth Moore doesn’t have to answer? No, she owes it to every Southern Baptist to clearly state where she stands on this issue – especially to LifeWay and to the women and churches who use her materials.

But, as original signer of the letter, Elizabeth Prata, asks, “Does the SBC and Lifeway apply a double standard to Beth Moore?

But Beth also owes it to her followers to make it clear where she stands on this important biblical issue. I’m surmising – from the comments of several people who have defended her – that some of her followers are practicing homosexuals or are affirming of homosexuality. If she is a Bible teacher, it is her obligation (whether she answers the letter directly to us or not) not to “shrink from declaring to [them] the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), which includes the Bible’s teaching on this currently ubiquitous issue. Certainly, any Christian must broach this issue lovingly and compassionately, but it must be broached, and broached clearly, firmly, and unashamedly. It is not loving to neglect or decline to call sinners to repentance for fear of hurting their feelings when those people could die in their sins and spend an eternity in Hell. Beth has a large platform and could bring biblical clarity to this issue to her many followers. We are prayerfully hoping she chooses to steward her platform to the glory of God by helping those in her sphere of influence to understand the Bible’s clear teaching on homosexuality.

4. Beth is under no obligation to answer this letter.
Of course she’s not, and no one ever said she was. She does not answer to me, personally, or any of the other signers of the letter. We have also not “demanded” as some have put it, that she respond to the letter. We have merely asked a few simple questions. Speaking for myself, it is immaterial to me whether or not she ever directly responds to me and the other signers of this letter. But as I mentioned above in #3, she is under obligation to Southern Baptists and to her followers to make her position on homosexuality known and clear. The venue or method she chooses for doing so (i.e. a direct response to the letter, writing a Bible study on homosexuality, a letter to Southern Baptist leadership explaining her position, etc.) is unimportant.

5. Why didn’t you contact Beth privately as Matthew 18:15-20 says to do?
The Matthew 18 passage on church discipline does not apply in the case of public discourse in the public square or to asking a Bible teacher questions about the Bible. It is about sin in the local congregation where you actually know the offender personally and have access to him/her. It has to do with correcting sin in the local church and removing the offender from the local church if she refuses to repent. Jesus, Paul, and others addressed public teaching and other issues publicly many times without following the (again, inapplicable) steps in Matthew 18. D.A. CarsonJosh Buice, and Randy Alcorn have each written excellent articles further explaining the inapplicability of this passage to public teaching. The only way to apply the Matthew 18 passage on church discipline in this situation would be if Beth’s own church and pastor applied it to her.

Furthermore, even though the Matthew 18 passage does not apply to asking someone questions or teaching in the public square, many people (including me) have tried to contact Beth privately on numerous occasions only to have their e-mails ignored. One of the ladies who added her signature to the letter mentioned that she has known Beth personally since the days when she was in Beth’s aerobics class (before Beth became a Bible teacher) and has tried several times to contact her about concerns over her teachings, and even her e-mails have gone unanswered.

6. I don’t think the “open letter” format is the appropriate venue for addressing issues like this.
I’m not crazy about open letters myself, but consider the following:

1. As I mentioned in #5 above, even though this is not a Matthew 18 issue, many have tried to contact Beth privately numerous times about various issues and have been ignored, including at least one woman who has known Beth personally for decades. There is no reason to expect that she would respond to this issue in private correspondence.

2. Southern Baptist and/or LifeWay leadership has either not held her publicly accountable on this issue or she has refused to be held accountable by them.

3. Beth has not answered public social media questions about this issue.

4. Beth has not spontaneously/voluntarily made her position on this issue clear.

Since none of these venues have been effective, and some feel the open letter format is inappropriate, what is the appropriate venue?

Original signer of the letter, Elizabeth Prata, has more to add here concerning Beth’s availability to be contacted.

I would also remind those objecting to the open letter format that Beth herself wrote an open letter on her own blog about a year ago. It’s still on her LPM blog and is titled “A Letter to My Brothers” if you’d like to read it. It would be inconsistent to object to our use of the open letter format without also objecting to Beth’s use of the open letter format.

7. If Beth makes an unequivocally clear biblical statement on homosexuality, does that mean she is a doctrinally sound Bible teacher?
No. If Beth makes an unequivocally clear biblical statement on homosexuality, we would rejoice that God’s Word has been rightly proclaimed on that issue to all who hear or read it, and we would offer our thanks and encouragement to Beth for doing so. It would be a wonderful, courageous step in a godly direction for Beth’s theology.

We hope that wonderful step would be her first step down the road of submitting to and teaching sound biblical doctrine in three other major problematic areas of Beth’s theology which render her doctrinally unsound: mishandling God’s Word, preaching to men, and partnering with false teachers.

8. So what if Beth is friends with Jonathan Merritt and Jen Hatmaker? People can be friends with people they disagree with.
Of course people can be friends with people they disagree with. That’s not the question. The question is – does Beth actually disagree with them? She hasn’t said so. And if she does disagree with them, why has she not made this clear to her followers? When someone is a public figure and Bible teacher she has to be very careful and circumspect about her associations and the example she sets. Beth’s followers look up to her and consider her their teacher. When public adulatory interactions take place between Beth and those who have clearly affirmed homosexuality (especially when Beth has been virtually silent on this issue), many of her followers will take that as a tacit agreement (or at least not disagreement) with their theology.

9. Who is Martha Pearce?
It’s not Martha PeaRce, who was one of the original signers of the letter, it’s Martha Peace. Like “peace on earth.” Martha Peace is well known in doctrinally sound women’s ministry and biblical counseling circles. I believe a few articles and/or broadcasts may have spelled or pronounced her name incorrectly. It’s my hope that journalists, interviewers, etc., will make sure they have her name correct since the fact that she signed the letter will be impactful to many women.

10. Has Beth responded the letter or the questions yet? Do you anticipate that she will?
As of this time, no, Beth has not responded to the letter or the questions yet in any meaningful way.

She posted a cryptically vague Facebook post warning her followers about “Bible beaters void of the Holy Spirit” roughly coinciding with the release of the letter, but while this may have been a visceral reaction to the letter, I personally (I believe some of the other original signers may have differing opinions), do not consider it a response, or answer, to the letter. It did not mention or even allude to the letter, any of us who signed the letter, anyone or anything mentioned in the letter, or the topic of homosexuality.

Beth also posted this tweet thread, which may seem to sort of answer the letter, but actually does not. A couple of excerpts from the thread:

Let’s review the questions from the letter:

1. Do you believe homosexuality is inherently sinful?

2. Do you believe that the practice of the homosexual lifestyle is compatible with holy Christian living?

3. Do you believe a person who dies as a practicing homosexual but professes to be a Christian will inherit eternal life?

4. Do you believe same sex attraction is, in and of itself, an inherently sinful, unnatural, and disordered desire that must be mortified?

5. Why have you been so silent on this subject in light of your desire to “teach the word of God?”

There is nothing anywhere in the questions or the letter addressing who Jesus “didn’t love,” “did not give His life for,” or “would’ve refused to be seen with.”

There is not even a hint of a suggestion in the questions or the letter that she, or anyone else, should “shun” anyone.

Assuming this tweet is responding to the letter (we have to assume because she doesn’t say one way or the other and, again, she never mentions homosexuality in this thread), this is a passive aggressive ad hominem dig at the signers of the letter.

Why would I ask Beth to clarify her tweet (which she has yet to respond to)? Well, for starters, you’ll notice she intentionally chose a verse that does not use any form of the word “homosexuality,” even though she is undoubtedly familiar with the ones that do. Why? Why not use 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (also written by Paul) which uses the more specific term?

For those of us who are familiar with Galatians 5:19 and the Greek behind it, we already know that “sexual immorality” covers all sexual activity outside the monogamous heterosexual marriage bed, which does include homosexuality. Therefore, many of Beth’s followers from a conservative church background will take her quotation of this passage in Galatians 5 to mean, “Yes, I agree with the Bible that homosexuality is a sin.”

However, as I pointed out earlier, Beth also has homosexual and homosexual affirming followers, many of whom likely subscribe to the “gay Christian” movement’s ideology that the verses in the Bible that condemn homosexuality are only speaking of homosexual temple prostitution and assorted other perversions, not loving, faithful, monogamous homosexual “marriages” or relationships. Additionally, as the letter cited, Beth’s friend Jen Hatmaker has made it abundantly clear that she believes homosexual unions can be “holy” and that unrepentant, practicing homosexuals can be Christians, which Beth has never publicly refuted. Beth’s adulatory friendship with Jen and Jonathan are likely seen by many of her homosexual/homosexual affirming followers as a tacit endorsement of their errant theology. People who believe all of these errant ideas about homosexuality are not going to to see the term “sexual immorality” as applying to faithful homosexual relationships (How could a relationship be “holy” and “immoral” at the same time?), so they will see Beth’s tweet as saying that she considers “sexual immorality” a sin, but not that that term includes “moral” homosexual relationships.

So we’re basically right back where we started. This tweet is not an answer, and it doesn’t clarify her position on homosexuality. It is an obfuscation in an attempt to deflect any further questioning of her position on the issue.

Personally, and I believe most of the other original signers would agree, I do not anticipate that Beth will respond directly to the letter or clearly answer the questions. As I stated earlier, it seems to be her practice to ignore e-mails and social media comments that request biblical accountability from her, and I don’t see why our letter would be treated any differently.

11. You’re just trying to get attention, make a name for yourself, or build up your own ministry by publishing this letter.

DebbieLynne Kespert, one of the original signers of the letter helpfully answers this false accusation in her article Did I Publish The Open Letter To Beth Moore In Order To Get People To Read The Outspoken TULIP?

 

The question we should all be asking ourselves is – whyWhy is Beth afraid to answer these very simple questions that she knows the answers to? Why has she avoided answering them for five days? Why, when she finally “responded,” did she give such an evasive answer instead of clearly stating her position on homosexuality as she has on many other issues? If you took these questions to your pastor or Bible study teacher at church and he responded to them the way Beth Moore responded, what would you think?

Whether Beth chooses to answer our letter directly or not, it is our prayer (and we are praying for her) that she will boldly and unashamedly take a clear biblical stand on the issue of homosexuality in order to help her followers better understand the truth of God’s Word – that sinners may be saved, that saints may be properly discipled, and that God may receive all the glory.


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.

Homosexuality

An Open Letter to Beth Moore

We have answered some of the most commonly asked
questions about the Open Letter to Beth Moore here.

If you are unfamiliar with the events surrounding this letter, please read
An Open Letter to Beth Moore – Timeline of Events.

Dear Mrs. Moore,

Hello – we hope this finds you doing well.

We as female Bible teachers ourselves write this letter to you in hopes of receiving clarification of your views on an important issue: homosexuality.

In the last few years, particularly since 2016, you have been very vocal in your opposition to misogyny and racism. Anytime a story with so much of a whiff of these issues comes to the forefront you are very quick to speak out. The actions of the Covington kids, for example, you said “is so utterly antichrist it reeks of the vomit of hell” in a January 19, 2019 tweet; a tweet you deleted, without apology to the kids, once the full video was shown that portrayed a very different reality than what initial reporting suggested.

It is this Johnny-on-the-spot readiness to engage issues related to misogyny and racism that makes your virtual silence on the issue of homosexuality so puzzling.

To your credit, in your book To Live is Christ: The Life and Ministry of Paul, you wrote, “I met a young man who had experienced freedom from the bondage of homosexuality” (pg. 119). This book was first published in 1997 and then republished in 2008 but it seems since then you have said very little if anything publicly about this issue.

Another factor prompting our open letter to you is the very public mutual affection and admiration between you, Jen Hatmaker and Jonathan Merritt.

Jen Hatmaker and you regularly exchange affirming posts of one another on social media. In just one recent example, Hatmaker on September 17, 2018 wrote “Beth Moore will enjoy my respect and devotion forever. She is worthy of being a mentor to an entire generation. And friends, I wish you knew how deeply and profoundly she has loved me these last two years” (Source). In an interview two years before this post, October of 2016, Jen Hatmaker said she was a “left-leaning moderate,” came out as fully supportive of homosexual marriage (saying it can be “holy”) and said practicing homosexuals can be part of the regenerate body of Christ (Source). It was then that LifeWay decided to pull all of her books from its shelves.

More recently, on April 9, 2019, Jonathan Merritt tweeted, “I no longer believe @BethMooreLPM is a human. I think she is an angelic being having a human experience.” (Source). Jonathan Merritt has admitted to having at least one homosexual encounter about a decade ago (Source). Today, by his own admission he rejects biblical inerrancy, says a “liberal Protestant” would be an accurate description of him, and says his sexual orientation he no longer views as “broken” (Source). In a crass response to Dr. Owen Strachan tweeting, rightly so, that there should never be an occasion in which men “cuddle” with one another, Merritt on May 1, 2019 tweeted in response, “C’mon, Owen. You can be my little spoon” (Source). Merritt also openly affirms that “queer” and LGBTQ people are included in God’s Kingdom and it is a “carrot of false promises” that the Gospel can make such people straight (Source, Source). He supports “Drag Queen Story Time” in which drag queens read stories to young children in public libraries (Source 27:40 mark). He even appears to doubt the exclusivity of Christ (Source).

Both Jen Hatmaker and Jonathan Merritt are known for their belief that practicing homosexuals can be Christians. Given that this is such a deeply held conviction that both share and this conviction (wrong though it is) has cost them both in their standing amongst theologically conservative evangelicals, and that they both praise you so highly, it raises the natural question as to where you stand on this issue.

Given his beliefs, Merritt publicly saying that he believes you to be “an angelic being having a human experience” strongly suggests that his high praise of you is, at least partially, rooted in your views on this issue that you have shared with him privately. It seems most unlikely that he would be praising you so highly if you had told him that as a homosexual man he will perish for all of eternity unless he repents. It likewise seems unlikely that Hatmaker (a married, straight woman) would praise you so highly if you told her that her affirmation of homosexuality and homosexual marriage is sinful and that she must repent.

When all of this is coupled with your total silence on homosexuality (in stark contrast to your very vocal stance on gender/racial/abuse issues) it naturally raises the question as to what your beliefs on it truly are.

With these factors in mind, and knowing that millions of people follow your teachings, we would like to ask you:

1. Do you believe homosexuality is inherently sinful?

2. Do you believe that the practice of the homosexual lifestyle is compatible with holy Christian living?

3. Do you believe a person who dies as a practicing homosexual but professes to be a Christian will inherit eternal life?

4. Do you believe same sex attraction is, in and of itself, an inherently sinful, unnatural, and disordered desire that must be mortified?

5. Why have you been so silent on this subject in light of your desire to “teach the word of God?”

We ask these questions to you out of genuine concern. As Bible teachers, all of us are held to a very high standard and will give an account for how we handle God’s word. As you know, homosexuality is widely discussed and debated amongst evangelicals and society at large.

Many families are affected by this issue. The most loving thing obedient Christians can do for them is to clearly communicate God’s truth. We look forward to your clarification on these pressing issues. Thank you.

Kind regards,

Susan Heck
With the Master

Debbie Lynne Kespert
The Outspoken Tulip

Michelle Lesley
Michelle Lesley- Discipleship for Christian Women
A Word Fitly Spoken Podcast

Martha Peace
Martha Peace

Elizabeth Prata
The End Time

Amy Spreeman
Berean Research
Naomi’s Table
A Word Fitly Spoken Podcast


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