A recent article in Christianity Today describes the departure of Beth Moore from the Southern Baptist Convention. It begins, “For nearly three decades, Beth Moore has been the very model of a modern Southern Baptist.”
I nearly fell out of my chair when I read these words. It has long been something of an unsavory secret that Beth Moore was most definitely not a model Southern Baptist. Her books sold like hotcakes, and she spoke to packed-out stadiums. Moore was a cash cow for her publisher, Lifeway Christian Resources. But she has long been identified as a false teacher by many people from various denominations, including the Southern Baptists.
Some detractors simply disagreed with her presentation style. She is often guilty of suspect hermeneutics, allegorizes Scripture, and molds the biblical text to fit the message she wants to communicate. Her material is embarrassingly insubstantial and often relies on humor and emotional appeal without offering much insight into the text. Others—including many female speakers and bloggers—have more profound complaints, such as her claiming to receive revelation directly from God audibly and through visions, violating Scripture by teaching to mixed audiences (1 Timothy 2:12), using theologically imprecise language, promoting a defective view of salvation, and encouraging false teachers such as Joyce Meyer and the Osteens (among others).
The article describes Moore as an in-depth Bible teacher with unwavering loyalty to her denomination. The author cites Kate Bowler, a historian at Duke Divinity School, who lionizes Moore and identifies her as “a deeply trusted voice across the liberal-conservative divide” whose departure has cost Southern Baptists “a powerful champion.” Beth Allison Barr, a history professor at Baylor, said that Moore’s decision to leave the SBC could prompt many women to go with her.
The CT article did an impressive job of spinning the story so that Moore appeared to be a pariah in her denomination for opposing Donald Trump’s very public history of reprobate living. Following a tried-and-true formula, the author paints Moore as not only a moral champion but also a sexual abuse survivor whose voice was silenced because of her opposition to the President. Thus, it wasn’t so much that Moore failed her denomination; instead, her denomination failed her.
What the article doesn’t say is more telling than what it includes. Moore has offered fellowship to and enthusiastic support for Joyce Meyer, whose doctrinal errors are legion. Apart from her membership in the Word of Faith movement (a “name it and claim it” heretical group that believes every faithful Christian will enjoy good health and abundant financial prosperity), Meyer has given the world spectacular examples of biblical heresy. They include statements that:
- Jesus ceased being the Son of God when he died.
- Jesus became the first born-again human being when he was suffering in hell. It was there that demons punished him before the resurrection.
- Christians are like “little gods” because we’re made in God’s image.
- Christians should be happy, healthy, and wealthy. If not, it’s because they have a lack of faith.
- God speaks to her by direct revelation.
Moore has also endorsed Victoria Osteen, who made waves when she claimed this:
So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy. When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?
Faithful Christians shun narcissistic, blasphemous teachers like Meyer and Osteen. They test their teachings against the Bible (1 John 4:1-6; cf. Matthew 7:15-20). They publicly reject and admonish them for teaching error (Ephesians 5:11; 1 Timothy 1:3-4, 18-20; 2 Timothy 4:2; cf. Titus 3:10-11; 2 John 1:10-11). Moore has offered them unqualified support and speaks at conferences where such teachers are put on pedestals.
Moore claims to receive direct revelation, which she highlights in stories such as when God once told her to go to a specific bus stop to give money to someone or brush a stranger’s hair in the airport. She employs poor hermeneutics and twists verses out of context (cf. 2 Peter 3:16-17). She values emotion over truth (cf. 2 Timothy 4:3-4). In other words, she uses the typical false teacher’s playbook.
No amount of spin can conceal the fact that Moore left the Southern Baptists many years ago. She only recently made it official.
She isn’t a hero. She’s a heretic.