Back in August, I wrote a post called A First Look at Beth Moore. It was the result of my first exploration into the ministry and teachings of Mrs. Moore, an exploration that turned up a number of problems. Please see that post for why I began looking into her ministry and what I discovered. Since that time, I have had the opportunity to become more acquainted with her. I did more reading online and revisited her website. While there I discovered that it was possible to sign up and watch her Living Proof Live simulcast from the comfort of my own home. I was interested in the simulcast because I knew it was scheduled to be aired at our local church in a couple of weeks, and it seemed like a good way to follow-up and examine her ministry more. Since I would not be able to see it at church because of my health situation, being able to stream the simulcast on my laptop was very convenient.
After viewing the simulcast, I decided to write a review because I observed some things that were troubling. The following post is part one in a series that will review some areas of concern. This first post covers general observations. Subsequent posts will cover Mrs. Moore’s problematic handling of the scriptures and the subject of personal revelation.
Before the conference began, I prayed for discernment and for an open mind. I wanted to be fair. Though I had read about some problems and knew what to look for, I had no desire to presume anything. I was truly hoping that I would not see any of the problems that I had discovered. Unfortunately, before the first session was done, I did.
While the purpose of these posts is to highlight concerns, I don’t want to come across as if I view the simulcast as all bad. That is not the case. Good things were taught, and I don’t doubt that many women were blessed because of it. These posts are simply here as a flag waving to draw attention to things that I believe my sisters in Christ should be mindful of when listening to Mrs. Moore. Please consider it shared out of love and concern.
The Living Proof conference started at 9:30 on September 13, 2014. I was ready with my notebook and pen. The conference was streamed live from Fort Wayne, Indiana. We were told that the women participating, including those in attendance and those watching in churches, groups, and individually totaled at least 190,000. I am not sure what that translates into money wise, but I image it is quite a lot. I have read that her ministry’s income exceeded $5 mil in 2011.¹ Some argue that the money that Mrs. Moore charges is inappropriate for a gospel ministry. I’m not sure if that is the case, but it might make for an interesting topic for discussion someday.
During the conference there were three teaching sessions interspersed with worship music. Altogether the teaching sessions were over 3 hours long, plenty of time to get a feel for Mrs. Moore and her teachings. From the beginning to the end of the conference, she put out a lot of energy. She definitely worked hard that day. She is a good speaker and appeared to be very friendly and likable. She also seemed to genuinely care about her audience often making mention of those of us watching alone in our homes. She made an effort to make us feel included. I thought that was very kind.
The main focus of the event, at least the way I perceived it, was womanhood. Mrs. Moore shared seven points which served as our outline for the day. They all mentioned a woman or women. She asked her audience to write them down. As I listened, I wrote them down too. Though they were given periodically over the day, I will list them all together here.
Point One: We are one gathering of many women yearning for God to speak.
Point Two: Jesus changes the story of every woman he meets.
Point Three: Jesus wants a woman to know what she is and what she is not.
Point Four: Sometimes a woman needs a clean sweep to find what she is missing,
Point Five: A woman’s joy is not the same without girl friends to share it with.
Point Six: All of heaven rejoices over a lost woman found.
Point Seven: Every woman is able to share how God is changing her story.
Along with these points, early in the conference we were told that we would be studying “being female well“ and “what it is like to do womanhood very well”. During the section for Point Three she presented an Identify Declaration that spoke of our identity in Jesus. It spoke of us being women of God, redeemed, loved, and chosen amongst other things. In this section, we were encouraged to “woman up” and were told we are “woman enough” no matter what has happened in our life. During the section for Point Five, the subject of friendship and competition with other woman was addressed. Again, the subject of womanhood was present throughout the day.
Mrs. Moore also taught from a few different selections of scripture. I will be addressing that in a later post. Near the end, she invited us to make a decision to accept Christ as our personal savior. Later she and her staff led prayer for many different groups of women.
The following are things I noticed during the simulcast that I feel are worth pointing out. They are not as earth shattering as some problems I have seen with other teachers, but they are still troublesome. They serve to highlight that things are not quite right in several little ways. I will be writing about the bigger problems that I observed in parts two and three of my review. All these things together are why I do not consider Mrs. Moore to be a trustworthy Bible teacher.
1. While it makes sense to me that matters concerning womanhood were topics during the conference because it was a conference for women, I was left with the feeling that the day was more about me/women in general than about God. I was expecting Bible teaching that focused more on Christ. I was surprised and disappointed that I didn’t see that.
2. Doctrinal matters didn’t come up very often. It didn’t seem to be the purpose of the event to dig into the Bible. One thing that did catch my attention was the invitation to make a decision for Christ. I know this is popular language, but the implication behind it does not do justice to the sovereignty of God in salvation.
3. My third observation involves Point One above. Again, Point One is “We are one gathering of many women yearning for God to speak.” I am not 100% sure what Mrs. Moore meant by this. She never really came out and said “This is how God speaks”. I don’t think she meant the Bible because she never said that, but there were repeated references to personal revelation and receiving a word from God. If she did mean we are yearning for God to speak to us through personal revelation and received words, which did seem to be the case, then that would be very disturbing. Such a teaching would minimize the Bible because it implies that it is not enough.
Since we have the Bible, there is no need to yearn. God has spoken to us abundantly in his word. Even if one has read the whole Bible through, there’s still so much to gain by reading it again and again and again. I think it would have been far better to point her audience to the Bible instead of implying that there is a silence from God.
4. As I mentioned above, we were told that we would be studying being female well and doing womanhood well. As I listened, I hoped for clarification about what that meant; but I didn’t hear anything specific. Though she intentionally read verses that happened to have women in them (verses that were used out of context – more about this in a future post) and shared some good advice for our relationships with other women, there was no Biblical model for womanhood taught. I believe that is the way to do womanhood well.
5. My fifth observation relates to Beth Moore’s Point Five: “A woman’s joy is not the same without girl friends to share it with.” Within this part of the conference, we were told that Mrs. Moore had the following revelation over the weekend: “Our joy deficit is equal to our girlfriend deficit.” We were told to say it and write it down. She was quite excited about it. She said the nature of joy is to be shared. She referred to the parable of the woman who lost and then found her coin as part of her support for this.
“When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost!’ “” (Luke 15:9)
She taught that the woman saying to her friends “Rejoice with me” was evidence that women have more joy when they have more friends. The woman shared her joy.
You may wonder why I would have anything to say about this. Surely, there is some truth in what was taught, and I do believe it was an attempt to encourage friendships between women. That is a positive encouragement and having more friends in our life can increase our joy. But something did trouble me about this. It had to do with the source of our joy and the teaching that “Our joy deficit is equal to our girlfriend deficit.”
As a Christian, I know that there is a way we can have fullness of joy and it has nothing to do with girlfriends. Here it is: “You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” (Psalms 16:11) I would rather see THAT being taught as a remedy for a joy deficit instead of more friends. God can be our exceeding joy (Psalms 43:4), and our joy can be made full through the things spoken by Jesus. (John 15:11) I love my friends, and they make me very happy; but nothing compares to being close to God. He provides all fullness of joy and erases any joy deficit regardless of how many girlfriends we have. He takes away our sorrows and restores our soul. I think her teaching elevated girlfriends too high in our lives and reduced the joy that comes from God. It also completely left out any joy that can come from our husbands, our children, and a myriad of other things. And what of the woman that doesn’t have a lot of friends? Does this mean she can expect to have little joy? God help many of us, including me. Being housebound, I have contact with few friends and only once in a while. Surprisingly, my joy is oftentimes quite high. Why? Chiefly because of God. Knowing him and being mindful of him is a great source of joy to me even in the midst of chronic suffering. I found it interesting and disturbing that this teaching about joy said nothing about God.
6. I heard a lot of advice during the conference about being better to the woman in our lives and about having healthy friendships. I think Mrs.Moore did a good job speaking about those things. I would have liked to have seen it based on the Bible more, but it was good.
7. There were a number of times that Mrs. Moore mishandled the meaning and context of certain Bible verses. This will be the focus of my next post. What I saw has been seen by others in her other material so this was not a one-time occurrence. Her problems with Bible interpretation and application are no small concern. I hope you’ll look for the next post and consider how this affects her rating as a trustworthy Bible teacher.
8. As stated above there were repeated references to personal revelation and receiving a word from God. I believe this requires its own separate post, one which I will be sharing last in my series.
If you have made it this far, thank you for reading. Please be on the lookout for my future posts for more details about problems with Bible interpretation and the subject of personal revelation. When I take all the things into consideration that I saw during the simulcast together with what I have learned from other reviews, I maintain the opinion that I arrived at after my first look into Beth Moore’s ministry, namely that she is not a trustworthy Bible teacher. She repeatedly falls into various errors, some more serious than others. Since that is the case, I would not use her for my own purposes nor recommend her to others.
Next post in this series: Beth Moore Simulcast Review Part Two: Bible Interpretation Issues
1. Beth Moore – False Teacher; The King’s Dale