This may seem like a trivial matter to some of you, but for the last couple of months I have been noticing a targeted campaign against Biblical teachers such as Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer. To be specific, the website Pulpit and Pen, whom I have always found to be passionate about defending our faith, has seemed to put a big old bulls-eye on the forehead of Beth Moore. For the longest time, I just ignored it as not worthy of my time in reading about some Christian inner-circle spat. I just wasn't interested in hearsay or theological differences within the Church. I was much more focused on what the Lord was trying to tell me (or as of late, about pursuing Him because I wasn't hearing from Him). But when the anti-Moore articles began to irritatingly dominate the website, I discerned that maybe this was something I needed to pay attention to. As it turns out, all the venom directed at Moore, Shirer, and other teachers, coincidentally points a finger at me, too!
Since I have encountered several of Moore's studies in various Ladies Bible Study groups that I have been a part of, I was curious about what these people were breaking free from. The interesting thing was that in most of the testimonies, there were no specifics stated; just a repetition of a mantra-like statement like, "I am finally free of Beth Moore and her dangerous teachings". In testimony after testimony, I was left asking, Please, tell me what she is teaching that is so false and dangerous? Is it not spurious to make sure a claim without providing evidence?
So, I continued with my research, reading more testimonies on Pulpit and Pen, and searching the internet for some clues as to what Beth Moore has done that is causing such an uproar. And then I found it; it was buried within one long testimony against Beth, which was interwoven with the cruel abuse one woman received at the hands of her mother. It was verified by a second article on a blog post titled, Two Reasons Why We Do Not Recommend Beth Moore. Are you ready?
Reason No. 1: Beth Moore does not follow the New Testament command for women to be silent in the church. Reason No. 2: Beth Moore claims to have extra-Biblical revelations from God. That is the exact wording of the complaints against this teacher of the Bible. This second reason was also worded as, "Beth Moore was claiming that God was speaking directly to her outside of the Bible". All I can say is, I am flabbergasted! As a woman who takes her service to the Lord very seriously, I am offended that modern-day Christians still think women should be silent in the Church. I agree with The Christian Bible Reference website, which states: Some of the great leaders and prophets of Israel were women, so God could not have intended to exclude women from spiritual and political leadership. Paul's proclamation of equality and Jesus' willingness to defy convention and accept women into his larger circle of disciples should be the guiding principles rather than the customs of the Roman Empire in the first century. Women took as large a role in the early Church leadership as was allowed by the conventions of that society.
And, of course, we have Phoebe, whom Paul trusts to deliver his epistle to the Roman Church, and of whom, he writes in Romans 16:1, "I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a ministrant [servant; deaconess] of the church in Cenchreae". It is obvious that she is no second-class member of the Church. I guess I am more than a little surprised that this argument is being used against Beth Moore by my fellow Christians.
As to the second reason for which Beth Moore is being excoriated, I guess I am guilty of this "heresy", too. I understand that the Body of Christ wants to be careful about someone who says they "hear from God". Instantly, you might be leery of anything they say without checking to see if it lines up with God's Word. But Moore's critics aren't lodging any specific attacks. They just don't think God reveals Himself outside the Bible; that the only revelation a Believer can receive is through reading the Word.
So, then how do they explain the following Scriptures? John 10:27: My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me ... Job 33:14: For God speaks in one way, and in two, though man does not perceive it ... Jeremiah 33:3: Call to Me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known ... John 16:13: But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. Whether Old or New Testament, God's character and nature do not change. He speaks to His creation, and we can hear Him if we have that close, personal relationship with Him.
The Truth is that God speaks to us in many ways .... yes, most assuredly through His Word; but also through prayer, through others, through the Holy Spirit, and through that "still, small voice" that Elijah heard during his darkest hour. To condemn Beth Moore because she says she has heard "God's voice" is like the Pharisees telling Jesus that He was casting out demons by Satan. Show me where Beth Moore has taught an un-Biblical Jesus; where she has denied His Deity or distorted His Message.
Perhaps my fellow Christians who are so ready to condemn her are so scared of being deceived that they don't know how to recognize God's voice. Perhaps they see God as distant and removed, not wanting to interact with us and only visible through His Word. That is not the God I have experienced.
But I think the most tragic aspect of this character assassination of teachers like Beth Moore and Priscilla Shirer is that it seems the perfect ploy by Satan to divide the Body of Christ. When Christians are so willing to attack each other over things that are not central to the Kingdom Message of Jesus Christ (repentance for forgiveness of sins; Jesus's atoning death at the Cross; our Commission to bring Heaven to Earth), then all we're doing is winning the devil's battle plan for him.
In an article he wrote, Christian writer Jack Wellman said, "By doing this in full view of non-believers, we shame the reputation of Christ. We are redeemed, but many times we don’t live like the redeemed and we don’t reflect the Redeemer. Gandhi once said that 'I love your Christ…it is your Christians that I don’t like very much.' ". Sadly, at times like these, I agree with him.
Jesus said that a house divided cannot stand…and Christians are sometimes divided over issues that are not central to the Kingdom and the Cross. The Body of Christ should not be divided against itself, yet many times we are attacking each other over beliefs, or any belief, that differs from ours. Remember, we are a "Body" ... the toes differ from the fingers, and have different assignments; the arms and the legs are given different responsibilities -- different tasks but all working together for the good of the body.
The bottom line is this ... this kind of vitriol and attack is not representative of God's love indwelling the Believer. We were given the Armor of God to fight off the Enemy -- not each other. Righteousness and the Word should not become weapons to be used against our fellow Christians. And the way I see it, this accusation of "false teacher" is so weak that Satan is laughing at how easy it was to get us to start throwing his fiery darts at each other. May the Body of Christ quit listening to the lies of the Enemy, stand in unity, and go forth to battle the real enemy!
Romans 14:10 “You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.”
Romans 15:7 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”