Just Sadness – A repsonse to Beth Moore

April 17, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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NOTE: In an effort to keep this to fewer pages than a small book, I’ve taken out much of the “purple prose” that Miss Moore has decided to add to the story that has no bearing on what I believe her points are. However, in order to make sure that the context of the full text is available, here is a link to the full blog post on her website: http://blog.lproof.org/2013/04/sadness-and-madness.html

…Just as I sprayed the cleaner and grabbed the dishtowel, Melissa walked in staring at the screen of her phone with the oddest expression.

“Mom, I don’t know if it’s true or not but I’m seeing references on Twitter to Rick and Kay Warren losing a son.”

–          Before I get into answering the problems with Miss Moore’s madness, let me make it clear that I agree that Rick and Kay Warren losing a son is a tragedy. It is the result of a number of things. While Beth Moore automatically attributes it to Satan, we really don’t know. It is possible that a demon was involved, but it may not have been that way. What we do know is that sin is involved. Not necessarily Matthew Warren’s sin, but Adam’s. The sins of Adam and Eve have tainted every aspect of humanity with its wickedness and rebellion. Because of the effects of sin, mankind hates God. It has caused the earth to groan (Romans 8:22) and man to become sons of disobedience (Eph. 5:6). Sin is the source of cancer, pride, mental illness, and death. It is known that Matthew Warren struggled with mental illness for many years. Any family losing a dear and close loved one is ultimately struggling with the effects of sin and the Christian grieves for all of them (saved or unsaved)…

…My relationship with the Warrens is the same as most of yours. I have simply been served and led well by them.

–          Here is where I start disagreeing with her. I have not been “served and led well by” Rick Warren. As a matter of fact, even though I haven’t read a single book he’s written or listened to a entire message he shared, Rick Warren has made my life more difficult. Because of his teachings, he has inoculated a large number of people to the true gospel by replacing it with a false one. He has lead people to believe that they’re saved and believing in the real Christ while preaching things that oppose Him and His Word.

Although I had the joy of ministering to women on the Saddleback campus some years ago, my stay was brief and our schedules were wrapped entirely around the event. I have not had the opportunity to get to know the Warrens in the way that personal friends know one another but I always knew in my heart that I’d like them so much. We’re similar ages and in similar seasons with our families.

–          Um…she doesn’t know the Warrens personally but she knows “in her heart” that she would like them so much? Am I the only one that thinks that’s a little odd? She’s taught women at Saddleback. Did she preach them the gospel? Or just tell them what’s “in her heart”?

Meanwhile, I have loved them and esteemed them in Christ as faithful and mighty servants of the living Lord Jesus Christ. And quite possibly, among the mightiest to ever serve this generation.

–          She calls Rick Warren “faithful”. She obviously has a different definition of faithfulness. According to scripture, faithfulness is being obedient and rightly living according to scripture. If you’re a teacher (as both Moore and Warren are) then it also means teaching according to what scripture says and not contradicting or outright opposing scripture. This doesn’t describe Warren at all. He is an ecumenist hiding in the SBC who has no problem with Roman Catholic doctrine and even tweeting “Habemus Papum” (We have our pope).

–         Warren is also known for supporting “Chrislam”, the convoluting and mixing of Christianity and Islam based on the supposed similarities between the two religions. Even though they really have nothing substantial in common (I already wrote on this here). Add to this that Warren is a Druckerite who values community more than the individual and the fact that it is extremely hard to get Warren to give a clear answer on any issue facing the church today. He has said that homosexuals will not go to hell for being homosexual but for “rejecting the grace of God”.

–         To add to this that Warren is “among the mightiest to serve this generation” is almost hysterical. If he’s not faithful to scripture and is unwilling to defend the truth of God against those who hate Him, how can he be considered to be “among the mightiest”? What criteria is Moore using to determine this? The number of copies of “Purpose Driven Life” he’s sold? The number of people he “preaches” to every weekend? “The Bible” miniseries?

…An odd mix of feelings overtook me with increasing force through the afternoon and into the early evening. The sadder I got, the madder I got. Mad at an astonishing satanic force that stoops viciously and swoops in unscrupulously to attack children and to prey on their weaknesses as they grow up, shooting so relentlessly at one spot that they can barely get to their feet between arrows. I’ve been that child and many of you have, too.

–          If you are mad at the fact that Satan seeks to destroy mankind for the sheer pleasure he gets in doing it, join the club. What is a little confusing is why she would think that the devil would have scruples? He HATES God. It doesn’t make it easier for us to deal with, but we understand that and trust in God. I don’t know that it was Satan himself attacking me, but I have no doubt that I’ve been in situations that involved the ruler of this world’s minions. It is the connection that Moore makes next that gets me wondering and a little aggravated…

Madder still that the devil in all likelihood delights in nothing more than targeting the children and dearest loved ones of true servants of God. Nothing tries our faith like the suffering of our children. At the end of the day, our faith is what the devil is after most. Without it, it’s impossible to please God. This is why Paul could say with relief nearly palpable on the page of his final letter, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.

–          It is clear from scripture that the devil not only targets our children, he targets our health, our livelihood, and our marriages too. Job makes all of this clear. Not only that, he stands before God accusing us and trying to condemn us. However, it is NOT our faith that the devil is after most. He is after our very soul. This would seem to reveal Moore’s belief in how man is saved but I’ll leave that for another blog. She’s right in that it’s impossible to please God without faith, but I’m not really sure what that has to do with the death of Rick Warren’s son or the point she seems to be trying to make…

…And then, in that mixture of emotions Saturday afternoon, I got madder and madder at the bullies in the Body of Christ. I thought how much it turns out that the Warrens have been through personally and, if they are like most leaders, all the while putting out fires and putting up with a bunch of trash-talk from people who would call the same Jesus Lord.

–          Hmmm…Moore starts about by talking about how she got “madder and madder” at Satan for attacking Rick Warren’s son and now she’s talking about how she got “madder and madder” at the bullies in the body of Christ. Are they on the same team Beth? If not, then how exactly do you define “Christian bully”? What makes one a Christian bully if I may ask? Is it just disagreeing with someone? Is that what you call “trash-talk”? If so, this would cause me to ask a couple of questions.

–          First, scripture says that we are to compare everything that we hear (inside and outside of church) with what scripture says. Anything that doesn’t line up with scripture rightly divided is wrong and needs to be defended against. Is Beth Moore arguing against this? Second, debate and discussion is supposed to happen in the body of Christ. It has allowed the church to determine the proper scriptural response to heresies throughout the life of the church. How would you recommend we go about responding to those we disagree with if not through debate and discussion? Should we write then a nice, non-threatening letter and send it with a fruit basket? Finally, if the discussion and debate that comes from comparing what Warren says to scripture is considered “trash-talk” then what does that say about your view of scripture, especially when you’re considered a Bible teacher of highest regard by some, and how does this view compare to the things that Paul, Peter, John, and Jesus Himself said to false teachers?

God help us. In the words of James, These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.

–          The irony of this line isn’t lost on me although I would bet that it was unintentional. The beginning of this chapter in James (chapter 3) starts with “Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” Ironic considering we’re talking about Rick Warren huh? If he’s teaching false doctrine, he will incur a stricter judgment from God. Moore said above that she “loves and esteems (him) in Christ”. If that’s true, and she knows that he’ll be judged more strictly as a teacher, wouldn’t she have enough concern for him to check his teaching against scripture and tell him when he’s wrong? Would that mean it’s safe to say that the “bullies” are more loving toward Warren than Moore is?

I don’t believe one of us here in this community thinks that leaders should be immune to questions, constructive criticism, and accountability.  That’s not the kind of thing I’m talking about here. I’m talking about bullying. There are Scriptural means for going to a brother or sister to reason with them about matters we genuinely consider to be off base, misleading, or in error. You and I both know that much of what happens out there in public forums is the furthest thing from biblical.

–          In limiting the options to what you like or agree with (questions, constructive criticism, accountability) you have ignored scripture and what it says. It says that we are to mark those who cause division and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine we’ve been taught (Romans 16:17-18). If Warren is teaching false doctrines, then doesn’t that verse apply to him?  Paul says that anyone who preaches a different gospel is to be anathema (damned to hell – Gal. 1:8). Again, does this apply to Warren? Not only that, but we also have the examples of how false teachers were handled in the history of the church. Jesus had no soft words or constructive criticism for the Pharisees (Matt. 23). Athanasius made it clear that he thought that Arius was the “spawn of Satan”. And it goes on through the Reformers. The harsh language reserved for heretics and false teachers has been mothballed by generations that no longer seem to be concerned with what really matters…

It is slander.

–          This is one of the more interesting statements in this blog. She has set up her position and downplayed those she’s speaking out against, and now she’s going to add more. She calls the “bullying” by some in the body of Christ “slander”. Slander is when someone says something untrue in an effort to damage a person’s reputation. The key word here is untrue. Are those calling Warren a false teacher really slandering him? Is what they are saying really untrue? The best way to determine this is to see what scripture actually says and compare it to what Warren (and anyone else for that matter) is teaching. If they don’t line up, then there are problems. If someone is teaching something false out of ignorance, then it is necessary to go to them and correct them so that they can grow and mature in Christ. If someone is teaching falsely even though they know what scripture actually says, this is a whole different issue. Rick Warren is well aware of the comments and refutations regarding what he teaches and he continues to teach those things. Moore also has a problem with people being so public about their “attacks” on Warren. She either ignores or fails to recognize that due to the fact that Rick Warren preaches and teaches publicly, he is open to public rebuke for his false teaching.

–         I do have another question for Beth though. What about God’s reputation? If Warren is teaching false doctrines to thousands of people, wouldn’t that be slandering God’s reputation? He’s saying something untrue that is damaging God’s reputation. In this case, whose reputation should I be more concerned about, God’s or Warren’s? Seeing as how God is holy, just, righteous, and true; and seeing how pastors like Warren are to be teaching the truth that God has given them rightly and honestly; if Warren is teaching falsely, he’s not obeying scripture and is slandering God. He’s leading sheep astray and making people comfortable on their way to hell. For someone like Moore who is touted as a bible teacher to defend someone who has been shown, time and again, to twist and ignore scripture to suit his own needs doesn’t give me a lot of incentive to accept what Moore teaches any more than what Warren does…

I went on a walk through the woods Saturday late afternoon and did something I don’t often do. I cried angry tears. I got so mad that I could have hit somebody. I kept thinking how believers attack one another and sling stones at each other like the other can’t bruise or break. And all the while that person may be in so much personal pain that it’s nearly unbearable. I’m not transferring this to the Warrens. I do not know them personally. I’m telling you what I know to be true about most people out there. Most of us are in significant pain of some kind. That doesn’t mean defeat necessarily. It just means pain.

–          She cried “angry tears” and “got so mad she could hit somebody”. Really? Like one of the “bullies”? Wouldn’t that make you a bully too? Moore seems to have a lot of difficulty differentiating between unbiblical, wicked, slanderous attacks on the character of sound Bible teachers and true believers versus the honest and open defense of scripture against the false teachings of people like Rick Warren. They are very different. One is condemned in scripture and the other is commanded. She compares presenting scriptural arguments against false teaching with “attacks” and “slinging stones”. While it may be true that the false teacher may be in personal pain, should we just forgo the truth because of personal situations? I have yet to see a Christian cheer over the death of Warren’s son because Warren is a false teacher. I have heard many of them ask others to pray for the Warrens as they deal with the tragedy, so it may be a little unclear where Moore is going with this, but I have an idea.

–          She says that she’s not “transferring this to the Warrens”. She changed the focus of her rant. It’s no longer about Rick Warren and the attacks on him. Who then is this about? Could it be that Beth Moore has gone from trying to defend Rick Warren to defending herself? Moore may be a well-known and loved personality in the SBC, but she has a number of things she’s said that causes concern for someone like me. She claims to hear from God directly (http://lifetoday.org/video/filled-to-the-measure-2/) even fighting with Him and claiming Jesus is “the bossiest thing”. She has heard Him speak to her on numerous occasions things that are not in scripture. This would make her a prophetess wouldn’t it? All of the things that “God” has said to her could be written down in a book and added to the Bible we have today. She has preached at churches (including Louie Giglio’s church in Atlanta: http://www.passioncitychurch.com/watch#PCC-070112-V1) in front of mixed crowds, which is against scripture (something a Bible teacher should understand, no?). She has encouraged thousands of people to engage in the Catholic mysticism known as Lectio Divina (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0zei-gHTyQ) at the Passion 2012 conference (Louie Giglio’s brainchild…).

Life is hard enough without hatefulness rife in the Body of Christ. We are called to carry one another’s burdens, not pile relentlessly on top of them. We can still hold one another accountable. We can still ask questions. We can still disagree. But we can do it with respect.

–          Wait. We went from bullying to “hatefulness”. Moore does realize that hatefulness would be a sin right (Matt. 5:21-26)? She says that we are called to share others burdens, and that’s true, but what does that have to do with calling out false teachers? She seems to imply that those calling for false teachers to repent are piling “relentlessly on top of them”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it the false teachers twisting scripture and slandering God’s reputation that brought the responses from Bible loving Christians upon them? If they didn’t want to be “piled on” why did they teach false doctrines? She says that we can hold others accountable, ask questions, and disagree; just with respect. So, if Moore was angry enough to hit someone like me because I think that Warren is a false teacher, which side of the line does that fall on? Is that respectful? She calls for respect from the people she’s named as haters, slanderers, and bullies. Hmmm…something’s not right here….

–          Not only that, but what about carrying the burdens of the thousands of people who have been damaged and deluded by false teachers. Word of Faith (WoF) teachers like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, and Jesse Duplantis have taken every last penny from people following them in the name of God. What about their burdens? Rick Warren, Joel Osteen, Robert Schuller, Bill Hybels, and others have replaced the truth of the gospel with a seeker-sensitive shadow of the truth that doesn’t convict of sin or give people solid theological ground to stand on. What about them? Should we ignore these people and what they’re dealing with in the name of “love” and “unity”?

I’m sick of the bullying. The mud-slinging and the meanness. I’m sick of careless, idle words thrown out there in the public square and professing believers in Christ standing on the necks of their own brothers and sisters to sound smart and superior. As if it’s not enough that we are surrounded in this culture by Christian haters, we’ve got to have our own hater-Christians. It’s insane.

–          She’s sick of the mudslinging? Like the name calling she’s participated in? She says that the words are careless and idle and just thrown about by “professing believers” who are “standing on the necks of their brothers and sisters to sound smart and superior”. Has Moore actually looked at the critiques against Warren and herself? Surely a Bible teacher who has taken to memorizing scripture and has taught for years like she has could honestly and objectively look at the things said in light of scripture and see what the truth is, right? Surely, if Moore did that and found that she was wrong, she would repent of those things and change her life to conform to scripture, right? Surely she understands that she isn’t the only one who is concerned for the body of Christ and the detrimental effects that false doctrine has on people. She sets up a straw man of those she disagrees with. She is sure that these “professing believers” are doing it for just these specific reasons and doesn’t need to look any further. All she has to do is light the match and watch him burn. Interestingly, Moore uses the term “professing believers”. I use this term myself when talking about people who give Christ lip service but don’t live according to scripture. I wonder if she has the same meaning? Sure seems like it…

When we turn people into caricatures, everything’s game. The moment we depersonalize them, our consciences harden and we can mock and slander at will and have a blast doing it. Snide blogs and tweets and Facebook posts about various leaders can also be effective ways to jump in their spotlight. Bullies aren’t just mean. They’re self-serving. They’re platform-hunting. They have to borrow one to perform.

–          This is funny really. She’s spent much of her writing caricaturing those who disagree with her and defend scripture and depersonalized them to mock and slander them, but doesn’t seem to mind that. It’s only those who are opposing her and Warren and others like her that are the “bad guys”. She’s against snide remarks (like “professing Christians”?) unless of course they are directed at the “bullies”. According to Moore, this is all about “jumping in the spotlight”. It’s all about being “self-serving” and “platform-hunting”. Hmmm. Would she mean self-serving and platform hunting like hijacking a moment of tragedy in order to make her case against “bullies” and “hater-Christians”?

No, I don’t think that saying all of this will change it much but some things still need to be said. Sometimes we need to speak up and call something wrong. There’s a bigger issue in the Body of Christ than immorality. It’s hatefulness. If the greatest priority Christ assigned to us was love, the gravest offender is hate.

–          “Sometimes we need to speak up and call something wrong”. Unless of course we’re calling false teaching by popular megachurch pastors wrong. Then that’s bullying and hating. She says there’s a bigger issue in the body than immorality. Really? And it’s hatefulness? Is it the body that’s being hateful? Or does it just feel that way to false teachers?…Christ did call us to love, saying that others would know that we were Christians by the love we show to the brethren. He didn’t say we were to love in a vacuum though and He didn’t say that we were to love above all else and without condition. Not only that but Christ Himself gives us a great example of how to handle false teachers in Matthew 23. Maybe Beth hasn’t gotten that far yet in her teaching or she would know that Christ publicly rebukes the Pharisees for their false teaching and leading others away from God. But I’m sure that Beth would never call Jesus unloving or a hater, huh?…

…But even now at the hardest moment of their lives the Warrens can teach something vital if we are willing to learn. Their heartbreak demonstrates what has always been true but has never been more profoundly overlooked: these who serve us publicly also suffer privately. They are not caricatures. They are not just personalities. They are people living on a painful planet with the rest of us.

–          Uh…wasn’t the death of their son announced publicly? While I’m sure that they’re suffering privately to some degree, it’s not like Beth makes it out to be. They are public figures and have made themselves that way. The death of their son was all over Twitter and was news for many sources that day. That’s not exactly suffering privately. In spite of the suffering that I’m sure the Warrens are going through, they have not served the body of Christ. They have done damage to the body through their teachings and unless they repent, it will not be good for them when they stand before God. She’s right though. They’re not just caricatures or personalities, they are people; sinful, wretched people just like everyone else…

The Warrens will come forth like gold. The enemy will not win. They will fight the good fight. They will finish the race. They will keep the faith.

–          Seeing as how we don’t really know this, it would seem that Beth is giving a prophecy? I don’t know. It may just be that she hopes that the Warrens have the same thing she hopes to have.

I love the Body of Christ. I don’t want want to get cynical. I don’t want to sit around and hate the haters or I become one. But this morning I just want to say this. We can love each other better. Let’s do. People have enough hurt. Let’s be careful with one another.

–          Moore loves the body of Christ. “Professing Christians”? Not so much. She doesn’t want to be cynical or become a hater…well, unless it’s when she’s speaking out against the bullies who are wrong to hold her and Warren and others to strict biblical truth. We can love each other better. Unless it’s those “hater-Christians” who have nothing better to do than slander false teachers. Loving someone means that sometimes you have to be honest and tell them the truth, even if they’re not going to like it. Overall, it seems that the whole article was a self-serving, spotlight jumping attempt for Moore to protect herself. A little hypocritical if you ask me…

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