08 November 2014

Beth Moore Wants Scripture + Experience

Nearly three years ago, popular SBC Bible teacher Beth Moore said that she "had no idea that if you felt God had spoken something specific to you, you'd be labeled a mystic."

Source
Now once again Moore shares her bewilderment over those who raise a skeptical eyebrow when a professing Christian celebrates his or her experience as if not greater than, at least equal to, the objective Word of God.

Writing at her Living Proof Ministries Blog in an article titled, "Scriptural or Experiential: Can the Categories Never Coexist?" Moore writes,
But I’ll share with you the teaching in that first Bible doctrine class that I couldn’t accept for long. I couldn’t accept that a believer must fall cleanly into one category or the other: the Scriptural or the experiential. Of course, that’s why I had critics counting me among the experiential crowd 15 years ago but I’ll be forthright with you. The criticism, no matter how mean-spirited it got, was worth enduring because I was not about to let somebody convince me that Scripture and experience were always mutually exclusive. I wanted them both. I wanted to thrill to the Word of God with everything in me AND I wanted to experience the presence of Christ as palpably as He’d permit me.

(Source)
Curiously, this sounds keenly similar to what Sarah Young wrote in the forward to the first edition of her book, Jesus Calling:
I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more. (Source)
So many people want more than what God has graciously given in His Word. Such a thought ought instead ring as nearly unthinkable in our minds.

Nevertheless, Moore continues,
I would not deny for a moment that there are people in the wide stretch of Christendom who rely strictly on experience and rarely if ever open their Bibles. I also have no doubt that many study their Bibles but never have what they’d qualify as an “experiential” encounter with the Holy Spirit. But there is another category and it is chock full of people who have devoted their entire lives to the study of Scripture and could also testify to rich experiential encounters with Christ. They are not the either-or’s. They have known both.

They are people who would not dream of giving their experience the same weight as the Scriptures. They know full well that it doesn’t mean everything. But must it mean nothing??

Does the Word of God itself not validate experiencing the presence of God?

(Source)
Moore's question, then, is worth considering: "Does the Word of God itself not validate experiencing the presence of God?"

Let us ask it this way in order for Moore to better understand the concerns of the skeptical critics: "Can the Word of God be invalidated by one's experience, or lack thereof?"

In other words, if one's experience, or lack of one, does not seem to bolster the truths that are claimed in the Bible, which is to be trusted, one's experience or the Word?

Jesus said as He prayed to His Father, "Sanctify them in the truth. Thy Word is truth" (John 17:17). He also said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

Jesus did not say, "Sanctify them by their experience. Subjective feelings and anecdotes are truth."

In her post, Moore goes on to ask a series of questions that she fails to support with scripture. Questions such as:
In those moments when we’re brokenhearted and bewildered and we suddenly feel embraced by His love and assured of our chosenness, are we not experiencing God? 
In our worship when we feel moved inside with the sense that His thick presence around us in that place is a greater reality than anything we can see or touch, are we not experiencing God?

(Source)
Again, then, let us ask this of Moore: In those moments when one is brokenhearted and does not "feel embraced by His love" (indeed, what does that even mean?) does that mean that the omnipresent God is not near? Does it mean that His promises to His children for provision and protection and care are not true?

If, as one worships the Lord corporately or individually and does not "sense His thick presence around" (again, what does that mean?) does it mean that He is absent?
Beth Moore offers a prophecy of coming 'outpouring'
at James Robison's Awaken conference.

Moore describes these feelings and senses and the "thick presence" without offering scripture to support such notions. Yet a Christian may worship the Lord, and worship Him rightly in spirit and in truth, without feeling a stifling, enveloping "presence." The lack of such a thing does not prove God's absence, nor does it invalidate the Christian's worship.

Beth Moore continues her lament by briefly describing what is known across the Internet as "the hairbrush story." She writes,
No story I’ve ever told publicly has gotten me in more trouble than the one that occurred in an airport many years ago when I felt a profuse stirring of the Holy Spirit to go over to an old man in a wheelchair and brush his tangled, matted hair. Nothing has thrown me into the “experiential” category with my critics more than that story. But here’s the ironic part: I had my Bible wide open in my lap actively memorizing John 1 at the exact moment the Holy Spirit moved on me to stand up and walk over to that man. In fact, I was nearly annoyed by the inconvenience of having to get up and go serve somebody while I was busy with my memory work. They weren’t two separate things. They were happening simultaneously.
(Source)
To be clear, the fact that Moore's Bible was open on her lap does not validate anything. Joel Osteen waves a Bible in the air every week, but it is more than evident that he is utterly ignorant of its teaching. Beth Moore is of course more biblically literate than Osteen, but it has been demonstrated that she is quite adept at twisting the truths and teachings of scripture rather than presenting them clearly and rightly, and thus her deception may perhaps have the potential to be more dangerous than the ignorance of Osteen.

Yet for a moment one might concede that Moore simply, for whatever reason, inexplicably felt the need to brush an odd man's hair. But is that really the way she tells the story? Is it simply that "the Holy Spirit moved on" her to perform this act? Actually, no. Beth Moore claims that "as clear as I'm talking to you now, the Lord spoke to my heart…and I'm telling you word for word these words came into my heart: 'I'm not asking you to witness to him, I'm asking you to brush his hair…'"


In spite of Beth Moore's attempt to downplay in this blog post her so-called "experiences" with God, it remains that she fails to adequately address her many claims of direct communication with the Lord. What about her playdate with God at the zoo? Or the erroneous "twelfth month redemption" teaching? Or her prophecies of unity? Or her dreams? Or her visions?

Moore concludes her post with these words:
I write these words to you today who have devoted your lives to the study of God’s inspired Word and make it your daily bread. You don’t have to choose between the Scriptural and the “experiential.” You can have a devout study life and esteem the Bible more than any other tangible possession on this earth and you can also validly experience the presence and palpable activity of the Holy Spirit. You don’t need human permission to do so. You have the Bible’s permission. 
Don’t let anybody take that right from you.
(Source)
"You have the Bible's permission," she writes. Permission to add to God's Word? Permission to claim and teach that the Lord has said things personally to us that actually contradict His Word? Where is that in the Bible, Ms. Moore? Or is that one of those instances where one simply must rely on "experience"?

Rather than relying upon Beth Moore's desire for experience, the Christian would do well to remember the words of the Apostle Peter, whose experience witnessing the transfiguration no doubt far exceeded any hair-detangling murmur in Beth Moore's heart:
For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, 'This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased'—and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.
So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.
(2 Peter 1:17–21
The Christian who seeks to have subjective experience trump, or even complement, the clear, revealed, objective truth of scripture is one who necessarily must spend more time in that scripture. There one will find words that will never pass away (Matt 24:35; Luke 21:33), and a God who does not change or waver (Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8). There, and there alone, will one find the abiding and living truth of God.

Further Reading
God Speaks, but How?
Why Beth Moore and Not Me? The Danger of Claiming to Receive Direct Revelation
Where Is Beth Moore's Husband?

23 comments:

  1. Charles Spurgeon, John Calvin, George Whitfield, and many of our loved ones who died did not have the benefit of these extra biblical teachings and experiences so does that mean that God failed and was stingy to allow these people to die without ALL He has to offer? Did these faithful servants die with ONLY the Bible and with ONLY the grace and truth in Jesus Christ who shed His blood for us and died to reconcile us to God? Did they really die without everything false teachers claim God is still offering? If so, does this mean their souls are in danger because of this oversight? The answer is clearly ‘NO’. The Roman Catholic Church still collects money for prayers and special Mass for those who have died and whom the RCC believes are in purgatory. This dangerous teaching is in direct denial of what Jesus said in John 19:30, “It is finished”. Let’s give thanks to God every day that He gave us His Word, truth we can read with our eyes or hear with our ears especially when we are brokenhearted and bewildered.

    The dangerous teaching of Purgatory which is NOT in the Bible: “The Catholic Church believes that the living can help those whose purification from their sins is not yet completed not only by praying for them but also by gaining indulgences for them.”

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    1. Colette, you are exactly correct ! the dangerous teaching of Purgatory is NOT in the Bible. It is in direct denial of what Jesus said in John 19:30. Jesus paid the sin debt and He bore the wrath of God by dying on the cross for our sins. When Jesus said "it is finished " that's exactly what He meant and when we die as Christians, His Word says to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, Praise God ! No such thing as "purgatory"

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  2. "God" calls her "honey," and she wants others to believe a single word she says? I think not.

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  3. Yet, when I warn people of her they are dumbfounded. "Beth Moore??? I've done so many of her studies. She's great!"

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    1. For me it is hard to respond to that comment when you get it because it is hard to know where to start.. Seems like the SBC promotes a bunch of false teachers. When I hear people lifting up Rick Warren as a "great man of God" that makes me feel sick.

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    2. Micheal
      I totally agree with you ! Do Christians EVER read the Bible ? ? It is hard to know where to start because there is Soooo many false teachers out there that are preaching and teaching "another gospel another Jesus " God have mercy on them and open their eyes because they are spiritually blind. If we want God to speak to us, we read His Word and He doesn't speak to us in an audible voice either. This extra biblical stuff is unbiblical and it sickens me too !

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  4. When I warn my sisters in Christ, they are angry and bewildered that I could say such things against Beth Moore. I have led her studies but I am ever so greatful for having my eyes opened.

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    1. Sorry but you have been deceived. Satan's very clever at deceiving people in the last days.

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  5. "...AND I wanted to experience the presence of Christ as palpably as He’d permit me."

    For all the talk of desiring to be closer to God, it seems, ironically, that this fixation on experience is driving a wedge between Beth and God--so to speak. That's a strange wording to me: "as palpably as He'd permit me." Maybe if she based her relationship to God (?) on the promises of Scripture, she might not be worried that Christ would somehow want to place restrictions on the closeness (as a matter of fact rather than felt) of that relationship (unconfessed sin notwithstanding).

    Great blog, by the way. I learn a lot here.

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  6. Compare this:

    "...I wanted them both. I wanted to thrill to the Word of God with everything in me AND I wanted to experience the presence of Christ as palpably as He’d permit me..."

    with this:

    " But to live by impressions is oftentimes to live the life of a fool and even to fall into downright rebellion against the revealed Word of God. Not your impressions, but that which is in this Bible must always guide you. "To the Law and to the Testimony." If it is not according to this Word, the impression comes not from God—it may proceed from Satan, or from your own distempered brain! Our prayer must be, "Order my steps in Your Word.

    Charles Spurgeon

    Significant difference. Is it not? The shift happened along with embracing a belief of hypothetical, universal atonement according to which Christ died to make all men savable but not saved...

    Despeville

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  7. The church foundation WAS laid on the apostles and prophets... and the foundation can't be laid again. I'm concerned that MY church hosts Beth's studies and ladies just flock to them. I have spoken up to the leadership so we will see. While many pay for her books and teaching, she is off having a great time in the holy land. I will not support her or anyone who 'has a word' for others from God. These are the end time. The Devil doesn't care what we believe, as long as it is not the gospel truth. Unity placed above doctrine is not true unity.
    Brenna in Nebraska

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  8. I have found that many of the pastor's wives (especially Baptists) are the ones who are the biggest fans of Beth Moore and so make sure her teaching is provided for their women's ministry in the church. That is why we are wasting our time addressing our concerns to the pastor...his wife's opinion will trump anyone elses. And then when she finds out who you are that bad mouthed Beth Moore (and her for her lack of discernment), you have just set yourself up to be ostracized by her and others within the women's ministry. Beth Moore, Phyllis Shirer, Kay Arthur, etc. who are all part of the SBC's publishing arm, Lifeway, have successfully hijacked many, many women's ministries. How clever of the enemy to deceive the woman (pastor's wife, deacon's wife, etc.) just like he deceived Eve. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

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    1. yes Amen ! God has a remnant of His people that have discernment about wolves in sheep's clothing.

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  9. Issues Etc has an excellent interview with Dr. Steven Hein of the Concordia Institute for Christian Studies covering the grave errors of mysticism and its roots; check it out to find out how Beth Moore and others like her got to be that way:

    “Man’s Failed Attempts to Reach God: Mysticism” http://issuesetc.org/tag/mysticism/

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    1. Excellent !!! Mysticism has invaded in practically ALL demoninations. And people want "experience" above reading God's Word, how tragic the church has become. The church has apostasized.

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    2. YES mysticism and experience has invaded practically ALL the churches. More signs that we are living in the last days. deception, deception, and more deception.

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  10. After reading your commentary, and then after reading Beth Moore's, it seems that you make a drastic jump that she doesn't seem to intend. While I'm no disciple of Beth, I'm willing to look at this issue subjectively. I don't recall her suggesting to seek experiences only, and apart from the Bible. Instead, I think she suggests hearing from God through His written word AND experiencing His wonder.

    Here's an example -- it's not perfect, but it's an example, nevertheless: Two people sitting on a dock at the lake are both looking at the same sunset. Yet the two of them get something different out of it. One looks at it and see only the "truth" in the sunset that, and says, "The sky is red over there, the sky is orange over there, and the sky fades from light blue to purple right there, the sun is large and yellow, etc." Those are certainly all true observations, and valid ones. In fact, it causes the man to reflect on the who God is as the Creator of it all.

    The other guy looks at all the same colors, but instead experiences the "Wow" factor of it all because he sees the artistic beauty of God's marvelous handiwork. He sees the glorious radiance of the sunset and takes it all in as an altogether wonderful experience...not just a mental recording of truthful statements. He too is led to appreciate the majesty of God as Creator.

    Neither of the men in this case are wrong in what they observe.

    I THINK what Beth Moore is suggesting is that just as we want not only to talk to our spouses, or hear from them, or see nice sunsets, it's probably true that we all would much rather EXPERIENCE our spouses and gorgeous sunsets in vivid ways IN LIGHT OF the truth of the greatness of God's handiwork. Why should our life in Christ Jesus be any different? Why ONLY hear from him like a distant child when we can experience the fullness of life that Jesus gives us TODAY? After all, didn't the Psalmists write about the SPLENDOR of God's creation, about His glorious majesty, etc? Or did they simply record facts?

    Your thoughts??

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  11. When God, through His Living and Active Word, convicts me of sin or shortcoming, or brings something to mind, He hardly seems distant. (: Thank You, God, for loving me enough to correct and transform me!
    The problem with seeking experiences is that most (if not all) of the women who seek experiences do NOT open the Word much. (At least the ones I know.) So they typically are seeking "experience" instead of "Bible and experience". Even though most would deny their lack of being in the Word.
    We are instructed to abide in God's Word for a reason ~~ I believe the reason is to keep us from deception. Dear God, thank You for Your Mercies, which are new every morning (Lam 3:24-26) ~Brenda

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  12. Mike, the problem with these "experiences" is that they easily become man-centered rather than Christ-centered. These "experiences" now become about us - what we feel, what we do, what we see, what we need, etc. Beth Moore promotes this idea and she is quickly heading into ecumenicalism, if not already. Ecumenicalism is about "experiencing" God and that is a very slippery slope because for many women, that experience is going to be based on emotion. And what becomes celebrated is the "experience."

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  13. Mike, need to make one more point - there is only one truth and that, I can assure you, is not based on individual 'experiences," that are completely subjective. If that "experience" lines up with the Word of God, great - but unfortunately, that is often not the case. We just want to feel good about ourselves based on our "experience." And again that gets back to being man-centered rather than Christ-centered. We must be led by the Holy Spirit in all matters, and not led by our hearts which are deceiving and filthy as rags. Praise God for His Truth!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  14. Erin, can you combine my messages to Mike, so sorry about this. I would like to make one more point. I said there is only one truth and that truth is Jesus Christ. I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father except through me. Our truth cannot be based on "experiences." Until we are called home, we remain in our fallen nature though saved by God's grace through faith. So, having said that we do know that Satan comes as an angel of light. This is why Beth Moore and her ilk are so dangerous.

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  15. Ok so I have read all the comments and I agree. But my only question is how does a woman, start a Bible study? I love God, I love my Lord and Saviour, I love his word. Im tired of fluff and non-truths. I want a study for Gods chosen and obedient children. I study all the time with teachers
    like MacArhur and Sproul, and lots of time on sermonaudio. God has blessed me in finding such resources. Now I want to share them to ladies at my church that are only getting Beth Moore and the like. But there are several ladies starving for real meat... Can anyone advice me , please. ? Any suggestions on a study or even where to start.

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