Monday, October 5, 2009

Beth Moore????

There is a person who is in my congregation that is a "groupie" of Beth Moore and would like to do a Bible Study with the ladies of the church. I don't anything about her but was wondering if anyone could fill me in.

Does her theology and teachings match up with the United Methodist Church?
My fear is she is a prosperity type teacher/preacher, is she?

I have looked over the stuff but usually on the surface everything always looks good. Would love some guidance from anyone who has done one of her studies. THANKS.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Beth Moore has some good teachings, but they are laced with the cyanide of much error. I recommend against using any of her studies.

If you visit my blog at and search Beth Moore, you will find a few articles I have done about her. Additionally, go to and you can order their journal issues in which they have addressed Beth's poor teachings.

Essentially, she abuses scripture by taking it out of context, introduces lots of pop-psychology, claims direct revelation from God and adds to Scripture what isn't there.

Rev. Jeremy Smith said...

She's more "Word of Faith" than anything, talking about speaking towards salvation and that the devil wants to silence our tongues so our salvation is unobtainable.

I've also been interested in more meat to present to people who want to do Moore or David C. Cook bible studies, but haven't found anything with a "Methodist" viewpoint.

Glenn's weblog above has some excellent points, but his belief system is not Methodist and thus most of his writings are not helpful in your context. Not saying they aren't well-researched, just not helpful for your already-heretical Methodist church! Ha!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Rev. Smith,

Could you explain what you mean by my belief system? My belief system is straight out of the Bible and shouldn't conflict with any protestant Christian denomination. Of course if a church is teaching contrary to Scripture (promoting homosexual rights, e.g.), then my "system" would be at odds with that church.

Rev. Jeremy Smith said...

Glenn, thanks for asking. Either you or the PSO article talks about Beth Moore being apostate because she teaches men, which obviously isn't a problem in the UMC. As well, continuing revelation isn't a problem in the UMC as we don't hold revelation to have ended after the compilation of the New Testament.

But even given those two points of contention, there's more than enough material that you've compiled about her biblical interpretation and determinism ascribed to God that merit reading, and I thank you for them (read your blog a few months back in fact!).

If those two are not part of your belief system, I apologize.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well, I think scripture is plain that women are not to be in leadership roles in the church. I think history bears out the reason for this, in that in every denomination which puts women in the pulpit liberal teaching follows shortly thereafter. Look at the churches who support homosexuality and abortion, including UMC, and you will see they all permit women to be pastors. Since I believe the Scripture is plain in this area, and allowing women in leadership roles is falling away from Biblical teachings, then it would be apostasy to have a woman in church leadership over men. As for just teaching men, as Beth Moore doe, that would depend on the setting. But that's a whole other debate.

As for continued revelation, I never limit God, but if there is more revelation it must not contradict what we've already been told.

Doctrinally I have no problem with UMC, but their condoning of homosexual behavior, as well as supporting abortion, gives me some real problems. In these two areas I would have to say the UMC is apostate; fallen away from plain biblical teachings about homosexuality and murder by supporting both.

Unknown said...

Thank you both for your insights into Beth Moore.

Glenn, I think you might have a wrong understanding of the UMC. Our written stance on homosexuality is anything but supportive. Same with our stance on abortion.

As far as women in the pulpit, I would have to completely disagree with you. You don't have to look too deep into the Old or New Testament to find the role of women very important. Just to name a few, Ruth, Ester, Mary (pick one), Dorcas, Pricilla, and this only names very few. The role of women is extremely important to the church and to God.

You say "I never limit God", but without including women you have eliminated half of the world's population. God cannot be limited but once we place restrictions on who is allowed to convey the Word of God to the masses, we place God in a box. The Church exists and is able to do ministry to the world today only because of dedicated, called, and divinely inspired women throughout the world and ages.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Jim,

Doctrinal statements and actual practice are often two different things. There is a long history in the UMC where they have been very supportive of homosexuals without condemning their behavior. Perhaps I can do my next blog entry on that. But, if you look at my latest blog entry, you will see that the UMC signed onto the latest letter to Congress seeking federal money for abortions, and calling abortion a "morally justifiable position."

1 Timothy is pretty plain when it says women are not to be in the leadership position; not elders or deacons (and pastors are elders). This has been debated in the past century because of the women's movement.

Yes women have fulfilled important roles in scripture, but that doesn't make them eligible for church leadership. It's a matter of roles, not value. Women can and do have many ministry opportunities outside of church leadership. I don't necessarily agree that Beth Moore falls into the realm of church leadership, so I don't think she violates that scripture. Women can teach in all sorts of informal settings being unlimited in that respect. But not in the gathered assembly of the saints in a leadership position over men.

Your last statement - "The Church exists and is able to do ministry to the world today only because of dedicated, called, and divinely inspired women throughout the world and ages" - is a bit silly; are you saying that the church would not exist today and be able to do ministry if women hadn't been teaching? You say it ONLY exists because of the women. Better rethink the wording on that.

Unknown said...

I think the church still exists ONLY because of the work and ministry of women through history. If you take out their ministry of hospitality, dedication to the church, knowledge of Christ, ability to teach, reach, and preach, you don't have a church.

In my personal case, I was commissioned by a female bishop, now have a female district superintendent, and was the associate of a female senior pastor. To negate their ministry and their ordination, negates mine.

Women have dragged their children to church over the years until they finally understood why. They are the ones who welcomed in the apostles as they traveled and spread the Gospel. They are the ones who left, healed by the hands of Christ himself, and spread the good news to everyone they saw.

I am sorry but I will always whole hearty disagree with you on this issue. You can point to 1 Timothy but then I can point to Christ tell us to gouge out our eyes if we lust and if we followed that literally there would be no man who is able to see.

Two more quick things. in the UMC, as an ordained elder, I have to follow what our Doctrinal statements say. If not I lose my rights to be a pastor. I am not sure what UMC you are looking at where a minister can do otherwise.

Also, as far as the UMC encouraging the government to pay for abortions, you are mixing incorrect political pandering with the true desire to live out what Christ tells us, "when you do this to the least of these my sisters and brothers you do it unto me." The UMC is simply living into their stand that, as our Discipline states, "We believe it is a governmental responsibility to provide all citizens with health care."

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

So the church would not have existed without the work of women? I think God is more powerful than that. Nevertheless, pragmatism isn't the standard - just because things work sometimes doesn't mean it's the standard. There is a vast difference between the qualifications for elders/deacons listed in 1 Timothy and the hyperbole Jesus used to make a point about lust. You are comparing apples to oranges.

The letter to Congress which the UMC joined in signing, is not about health care for everyone, but is about ensuring the Federal government funds abortion. Abortion is not health care, and anyone who says it is has no concept of the reality of such murder of children. If the UMC believes abortion is "morally justifiable" then what they are doing "to the least of these" is murder. Can you defend that?

Unknown said...

Glenn, Just out of curiosity where do you stand on the death penalty.

Unknown said...

BTW, you have a misquote on your blog. You state "A coalition of mainline Protestant churches have authored a letter to members of Congress asking them to make certain health care bills they are considering contain taxpayer funding for abortions." If you read the article it states "A coalition of mainline Protestant church CLERGY {I add the emphasis} have authored a letter promoting abortion."

Here is the article...

It is the standard of the UMC that no clergy or church for that matter can speak on behalf of the denomination as a whole. Only the General Conference can speak out on behalf of our denomination. This was not a UMC decision, and probably not a denominational stance by all the quoted denominations. This is a case of individual clergy making their personal views known.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


As for the death penalty, God ordained it for murder at the time Noah came off the ark (Gen.9:6). Therefore, I agree with God. A murderer should be executed. But I think I know where you're going. Abortion is not punishing a criminal - it is taking the life of an innocent child.

As for the misqoute, very interesting. I printed an article off the net which doesn't have the web page at the bottom, and darned if I can remember which site it came from, but I just cut and pasted what the article said. Apparently they got it wrong - I didn't look at the original source - I tend to trust people to send me accrurate quotes. I will correct that on my blog; thanks for that correction.

Unknown said...

Well I knew I wasn't hiding my motives behind my question but here again I would disagree. Human life is sacred and something we are not in charge with to take. How are we loving our neighbor and our enemy if we kill them? How do we do that when we say some are unworthy of leadership roles in the church or a divine calling into ministry?

I agree that abortion is wrong and so is capital punishment. The love and ministry of Jesus Christ moves us past that. The incarnation of God brings us into a closer relationship with God and with each other, and we are called to perfect our love for both.

If we are all the children of God, we are all made in their image, and we are all good, Gen. 1, then we all have value and a divine purpose. Male, female, slave, free, black, white, brown, old and young, no matter our sin.

It really irritates me when people proof text the scripture, take out the historical context, and think it is that way of the highway. To do that is to limit God, place God in a comfortable box we built to suit our needs, and to manipulate our maker.

I did this when I thought your quote was about health care and I'm sorry for that. But going back to the source and reading it directly gave new light and understanding, which is what we need to do with scripture as well.

I appreciate this conversation and allowing me to put into words by theology on some topics. I mean them with no disrespect or harm, but with passion. Peace be with you.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

God ordained capital punishment when Noah started civilization all over again. This was obviously a moral and loving position for God to take because God does not make immoral or unloving decisions. It was also intended for all time and for all peoples - it was a blanket statement. I think Romans 13:1-5 is evidence that this right of capital punishment was given to the governing authorities. Human life is indeed sacred, which is why God gave the ultimate punishment for those who murder. Jesus never anywhere even hinted that capital punishment was no longer in force. How are we loving the victim of murder, and the family of the victim, when the murderer goes unpunished or with minimal punishment? Aren’t they entitled to see justice?

How is it loving an unborn child to murder it? In your first comment to me you said that the UMC written stance on abortion does not support it, but that is wrong, as I point out in my blog entry tonight. You said you “agree that abortion is wrong.” I could not be a member of a church that claims there are justifiable reasons for abortion.

We don’t say women aren’t worthy of leadership roles over men (they can be in leadership roles over women!) any more than God was saying a Levite with a scar was unworthy to be a priest. There are standards that God has set for roles he has established. These roles do not make people more or less worthy; it’s just that they have different roles to play in the family as well as the church. There is no denial that God calls women into divine ministry, but that doesn’t include leadership in the church. When you usurp the role God has given, you bring about consequences, such as the example of virtually every denomination putting women in the pulpit going soft on, and even sanctioning homosexuality.

We are not all children of God. Only those who are Christians are children of God. That is what the Bible says. People who are not Christians have not been adopted as children of God, and in fact are children of the devil (John 8:41-47).

I took your irritation at people who “proof text” to imply me; is that correct? If so, in what way did I take text out of context?

Because of this communication, I decided to do that post on the UMC. I know the “written stance” of the UMC on homosexuality is not supportive, but by the actions of the church nationwide, their tacit approval is growing by leaps and bounds. I think I do a good job of proving that.

I did not feel any disrespect or harm from you, and I hope you understand I also mean no disrespect or harm. I just think the UMC is heading down the wrong road with the issues of abortion and homosexuality, especially.

Rev. Jeremy Smith said...

Can we talk about Beth Moore again? Thanks.

Given Jim's initial question, I would posit that the problems for the UMC with Beth Moore for the following:

- Moore seems to lean closer to Word-Faith than her professed mainstream theology by claiming higher efficacy of spoken prayers than silent prayers. She further claims that verbal confession is necessary for salvation (a tenet of Word-Faith) whereas Methodists place salvation on faith alone.

- Moore claims direct revelation not as experience (which would be fine) but as a hermeneutic that places authority on the interpreter-teachers not the individual. Methodists value experience and do not limit God's interaction with humanity, but we do not place the locus of interpretation on experiencers of revelation alone. This creates tension and anxiety for folks who do not feel God's voice in their lives.

- Finally, Moore's biblical hermeneutic (when it's not focused on what God told her or what she ascribes to be God's message) is more speculative than interpretive. She imagines between the gaps of the text what might have taken place. As a preacher, I do the same thing on occasion but I'm very clear it is my own speculation. But in a professed bible study, it seems to offer fluffy speculation rather than biblical foundations. If Bible Study is Christian Formation, then how does fluff fit into it?

Given these three concerns of (1) disempowering the non-mystical in your congregations (2) emphasizing verbal response rather than lived-out response, and (3) not offering solid biblical study but categorizing it as such...these are pretty heavy pastoral concerns for a congregation seeking to study it.

Clarifications, additions or subtractions for the United Methodists (since that was the scope of the question)?

Unknown said...

Jeremy, thanks, your insights help a lot. I hope you new ministry is going well.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...


Those problems with Beth Moore aren't just problems for the UMC - they are problems for Christians, period. Which is why I did so much to expose her, and why Personal Freedom Outreach has done so much to warn the Church.

Thank you for your desire to protect your flock!