Beth Moore doesn’t speak for the church
By Elizabeth Prata
Just out is Beth Moore’s third memoir, “All My Knotted Up Life.” (The first two were Feathers from My Nest: A Mother’s Reflections and Things Pondered: From the Heart of a Lesser Woman.)
Moore is a great oral storyteller and she is also good writer. She has written over 25 Bible studies beginning in 1999 with A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place, three memoirs, a novel, and numerous other books. For most of her publishing life, Moore has been with Lifeway, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. In 2021, when Moore left the publisher, it was stated,
Moore was Lifeway’s best-selling author, with a reach far beyond the SBC to conservative believers of many denominations. Her books and related materials “kept the Nashville-based publisher afloat,” according to Baptist News. At her peak, she generated more than $30 million a year in revenue.
Her current memoir, published by Tyndale, is accompanied by the ubiquitous book tour. Moore is sweeping the south with her book signings. Interest is high in her book’s contents and with that, interest is high on her in general. Her opinion on various topics is being sought. And Beth is happy to give it.
Moore is capitalizing on this widespread interest by speaking up about “white privilege”, “white supremacy”, and “racism” “in the church”. Earlier she jumped on the “misogyny” bandwagon when the #MeToo movement surfaced, and previously jumped on other Christian trends and fads, speaking out on them when they were popular.
From the beginning it must be stated: Beth Moore is a false teacher. Her skill in storytelling, her rough life, and her emotional appeals notwithstanding, when she teaches the Bible, her teaching fails the Berean test. When comparing it to scripture, these things are not so. (Acts 17:11).
When I attended a Living Proof Live event in 2011 at an 18,000 seat filled arena, I spoke with women in the lobby as we waited to get in. Many of them traveled long distances to hear Beth. Some, I discovered, follow her from venue to venue. One boasted she’d seen Beth at more than 20 LPL events. I’d used the word groupie to describe them in a previous essay, and it’s how some describe themselves, but my concern is her groupies that have heaped Beth up are now a cult – and she is their idol.
Think I’m kidding? Nope. See some of the recent comments about Beth Moore. These aren’t cherry picked. There are frequent comments like this.
Beth Moore’s recent elevation by her ticked-ears followers is a concern. Moore has millions of people whom she influences between social media, interviews, LPL events, and book signings.
Therefore the following issues are important to state:
Beth Moore does not speak for the church.
No one elected Beth Moore spokesman for “the church”. Moore is making numerous allegations, sweeping assertions, and accusations about “the church”. She has not defined the church of which she speaks. Her own church? The Baptist denomination church? The church in America? The global church? The only church of which she should speak is her own. And even then, nasty public accusations are not God-honoring. (Exodus 20:16, 1 Peter 2:1, Proverbs 11:9).
Beth Moore does not speak for the church. Beth Moore does not speak for you. Or me.
1. Making categorical, unqualified and vague accusations that are sweeping in scope causes division.
For example, Moore stated at a recent conference at which she was an invited speaker:
“How do people who claim to love God and place such a high value on Scripture place such a low value on justice?” (Source)
Which people? Where? How can she make such a sweeping claim?
Also: “At that time, such things as the titanic need for criminal justice reform had not even registered with me” (Source).
“What became increasingly and startlingly clear was that our politics informed our faith, rather than our faith informing our politics,” Moore said. (ibid)
“Our”? Whose faith was being informed by politics? Hers? Yours? Her church’s? What are some examples? None are ever given, just constant nebulous assertions.
She did the same in 2018 in a “Letter to My Brothers” which talked of “skewed attitudes.” She asked that her brothers (not named, not defined) “would simply have no tolerance for misogyny and dismissiveness toward women in your spheres of influence.” She talked of being a female leader and having to “work within ‘the system’” (instead of saying ‘I joyously submitted to God’s hierarchical roles for men, women, youths and children? Her church was ‘a system’?).
Her insinuations in the Letter to My Brothers again were vague and unclear. Did she meant the men in her own church, men in the global church, or men everywhere?. Michelle Lesley wrote of the Letter to My Brothers’ unsubstantiated accusations,
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.
The Bible says about people like Moore who make unsubstantiated assertions:
Reject a factious man after a first and second warning, (Titus 3:10).
The word factious here (or divisive in other translations) means, according to Strongs-
hairetikós – a factious person, specializing in half-truths and misimpressions “to win others over” to their personal opinion (misguided zeal) – while creating harmful divisions (used only in Tit 3:10).
How aptly this verse applies to Beth Moore! One person tweeted an even more pointed comment after watching her recent woke/racism interview,
“all I saw was emotion with buzz words attached.”
Friends, avoid Beth Moore, because the Bible says-
“You shall not bear a false report; do not join your hand with a wicked man to be a malicious witness. (Exodus 23:1).
2. Beth Moore hops onto fads. She copied Joel Osteen’s mantra for a while, copied hearing from God from Henry Blackaby, contemplative prayer, blue bracelets, home altars, lectio divina, #metoo, misogyny, woke, diversity…
Moore is just like the “the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something newer.” (Acts 17:21). Chasing after the latest trend is as old as the hills. And it’s not new to Beth Moore. Whatever’s popular, she goes after with misguided zeal.
3. She variously minimizes or exaggerates herself or her living situation to fit the current atmosphere.
Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each one of you with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. (Ephesians 4:25)
In the quote below, Moore used the language of woke, saying that she lived in white privilege,
“I was in a very privileged part of the world and a very privileged part of the church,” she conceded. Awareness of her privilege began to dawn on her just over a decade ago…” (Source).
She was born in 1957. In fact checking her statement about growing up privileged, a word she did not define, according to the 1960 census the median income for her county was $3,100 and her specific city’s was $3,800. That is $38,000 today. Wealthy salary it ain’t. Unemployment was 8.6%, one of the higher unemployment numbers of all the counties in Arkansas. Only 4.3% of female white women completed four years of college at that time. That’s not privilege. It’s poverty, poorness, and/or underprivilege.
She constantly uses language to shape a narrative she wishes a particular audience to resonate with. Moore either exaggerates (the privilege example above) or minimizes it. Here are examples of how she minimizes her situation when it suits her-
We have a tiny little sliver of water not far from us that you could call a creek if you were in a particularly generous mood. It’s got some sand by it that the kids really like. Be blessed that this is not a scratch and sniff picture because the creek doesn’t always smell all that good, especially if it hasn’t rained in a while. But if your nose is slightly stuffy, it can be pretty fun.
Moore was describing the creek that runs through her estate. It’s Spring Creek, and it begins near Waller Tx and runs about 45 miles to drain into the San Jacinto River. It divides Harris and Montgomery County. Spring Creek is the only natural creek in both Harris and Montgomery County. It is known for “its sandy banks, undisturbed natural surroundings, and clean water, and it serves as home to many animals, including deer, otters, raccoons, opossums, and alligators. Many species of fish, including white bass, catfish, crappie, largemouth bass, and bluegill inhabit its waters. It is also known for its occasional Swainson’s warbler sightings and for being the easternmost sighting of the green kingfisher, as well as bald eagles, herons, egrets, and other birds.” (Wikipedia)
Along the way there are many parks and greenways which attract locals and tourists. Spring TX, home to Moore’s church, was named after the river. Hardly the dirty smelly creek she described. At all.
Here’s her description of her home she moved into several years ago:
So, three years to the day later, we’re making it out in these modest woods. These acres would not be beautiful to everybody but they’re beautiful to us. Life has been brand new out here. I won’t kid you. It’s been an adjustment. A lot less eating out. A lot more cooking. A lot more driving to work. The cars stay filthy. The raccoons won’t stay out of the trash. Fed Ex never can find us. But we don’t mind. Because it was time to make a move. For us, it was out where the dawn breaks to the crow of a rooster.
Evokes an image of the Ingalls dirt hut out on the prairie, doesn’t it? What Moore doesn’t tell you is that the Moore Trust property in Tomball TX, are not “modest woods” that “would not be beautiful to everybody.” Her property is a 46 acre forested enclave with its own road, two houses with total of 7 bedrooms and 7 1/2 baths, custom outdoor kitchens and fireplaces, a combined square footage of 6600 sf, and assessed by Harris County TX at over $2 million dollars.
She plays white privilege when it suits her. She plays regular sista when she wants to hide her then-4 houses, large home estate, and flying to her venues on a private jet, even to Australia.
4. Beth Moore is an expert at using political rhetoric to her advantage.
Political rhetoric is deliberately vague. You know the kind, the candidate speeches that roll around every election cycle that fling around words like liberty and freedom and prosperity, that each different person listening has a different idea of its meaning.
“Political language is vague because politicians are shrewd and desire to build a winning coalition of people who hold different views“, said Larry Etheredge of Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
That’s Beth Moore. Not desiring to speak unadulterated biblical truth, but to build a coalition of people who hold different views- so as to make merchandise of them (2 Peter 2:3).
Vagueness is why Moore refused to answer when I and other ladies asked her point blank if homosexuality was a sin. It’s why she has never come out in support of the Roe v. Wade overturning, or said clearly that abortion is bad. It’s why she never has to my knowledge taught a Bible lesson on 1 Timothy (you know, the book that says a woman may not preach to men or have authority over them?) It’s exactly why Moore makes vague claims and will never stop making them-
There are also certain advantages in the use of fuzzy concepts and vague boundaries, because they extend the range of options open to a speaker, offering a chance to express many grades of truth and many different attitudes towards propositions without the speaker having to be pinned down to just one position. (Lakoff, “Hedges: A study in meaning and the logic of fuzzy concepts. Eighth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society, 183-228, 1972).
That’s Beth Moore, expressing many grades of truth.
I deliberately chose the above examples of how Beth hops onto fads, chooses vague language, and changes her own narrative to suit the situation, because the facts add up to this conclusion: she cannot be trusted in what she says.
I’ll repeat: Beth Moore cannot be trusted when she speaks. You can’t trust her words.
She is riding a high wave of widespread approval due to the sad and tragic revelations of her autobiography. I empathize with her various tragedies. But remember, many Christian people have had those tragedies and worse, but they do not slander, make sweeping accusations, become hardened and unteachable, and tacitly accept their cult status.
Beth Moore is a false teacher deceiving and being deceived. While she has her reward now, judgment awaits for her many sins. I plead with women reading this, do not give an inch to the false teachers or you will become part of the evil they do:
But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned. (2 Peter 2:1-2).