Somehow I stumbled onto all this vitriol about Beth Moore, someone I’d never even heard of before last week. I watched a video interview of Susan Heck—also a newcomer to me—and frankly her self-righteousness made me sick to my stomach. Same with all these other articles slamming Ms. Moore. She is clearly doing what she thinks God wants her to do. Where, I ask, did you all miss the Biblical exhortation that “the greatest of these is love”? There is no love in your critiques—none—despite your protestations to the contrary.
Thank you for taking the time to read my article on Beth Moore and for sending your e-mail. I agree with you: Beth “is clearly doing what she thinks God wants her to do.” And what she thinks is wrong. Friend, the Bible says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).
A pastor’s responsibility is to “hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine, and to rebuke those who contradict it” (Titus 1:9). As a pastor, I am to teach the truth of the gospel and protect the flock of God from error, and this I do in love. You called this “vitriol.” But where? What did I say that was cruel and bitter? Did you not read in my article where Beth said of Dr. Owen Strachan that he made her want to vomit, just for saying what the Bible says? How was that not vitriolic?
Susan Heck, a humble teacher who has memorized the entire New Testament, desires to educate women about God’s word, proclaiming the truth and defending against error (I’m guessing the interview you saw was this one she did with Justin Peters). Why does this make you sick? Does it not sicken you that there are false teachers perverting the truth, with “mere speculation rather than furthering the stewardship from God that is by faith” (1 Timothy 1:4)? How do you accuse the ones speaking truth of being without love?
In the pantheon of false teachers in American evangelicalism, few are as deceptively influential among women as Beth Moore. As I’ve demonstrated in the past, you could grab any message of Beth’s at random and find the same troubling elements, including eisegesis, mysticism, pop psychology, and positivity. Consider the following example.
Studying a Beth Moore Study
On the day that I read your message, I pulled up the latest episode of her podcast entitled The Net, a message she gave at a Living Proof women’s conference. It is a master-class in eisegesis. In case you’re not familiar with this term, eisegesis means to take a passage of the Bible out of context and “impose upon” the text your own ideas. This is opposed to exegesis, which means to “draw out” from the text its originally intended meaning. Exegesis is the way we are meant to study, teach, and understand the Bible. This is not what Beth does.
In this particular message, Beth began by saying that she asked God to give her a word, and the word He gave her was “net.” This is mysticism, and it’s exactly how the word-faith false teachers and prophets bloviate. A false prophetess like Cindy Jacobs will say, “The word of the Lord for this year is Breakthrough!” It’s as if we’re in Pee Wee’s Playhouse and God is playing the secret word game.
Where does this word come from? It comes from no where but their own mind. But Beth believes her thoughts are God’s thoughts. The reason she did a message about being caught in a “net” is because, in her mind, God told her to. Therefore, everything is subject to the “word” she claims God gave her, including the Bible. In a Beth Moore study, the Bible is not the authority—Beth is.
Next, she took her audience to Psalm 25 which is a lament asking God to forgive and to rescue: “For your name’s sake, O Lord, pardon my guilt, for it is great” (v.11). But that’s not the thing Beth taught about. Instead, she focused only on the word “net” in verse 15: “My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net.”
Initially, she read the Psalm from the New International Version (NIV), but then she switched to the English Standard Version (ESV). The NIV says, “He will release my feet from the snare.” But snare is not the word that God gave her. He gave her “net.” So she switched to the ESV, because that’s the translation that uses the word “net.” Again, all of this is subject to the word she claims she received from God.
She talked about the word study she did and all the different ways “net” is used in the Bible. Word studies are fine—I do them all the time. However, the way Beth teaches, the context of the word is secondary to the word itself. Your own presuppositions about a word rule over however the text defines the word.
Beth fashioned in her hearers minds what she wanted them to think about a “net” before she showed them what the Bible says. She did this by drawing her audience’s emotions into the study before it really became a study. Within the first 10 minutes of her talk, she presented a question to her audience in this way: “Let me just ask you this in the past tense so we all feel safe: Anybody but me ever been in a net? I mean, before we already study the Scripture together, you’re going, ‘I already know I have been in a net.'”
She then drew upon other examples of a “net” in the Bible, once again reading verses out of different translations. She totally missed the point of verses she read, and the reason she missed the point is because the point doesn’t matter to her. The main point of the passage is secondary to the point she wants to make with her word, “net.” The text says what she wants it to say.
In her cross-referencing, she settled on Ecclesiastes 7:26, which says this: “I find something more bitter than death: the woman whose heart is snares and nets, and whose hands are fetters. He who pleases God escapes her, but the sinner is taken by her.”
She told her audience of women, “A woman’s heart can twist into a net.” She went on to say, “It seems reasonable to me that a heart would only morph into a net from a life lived in a net.” This is pop psychology—the reason you are this way is because others are this way. In other words, your condition is someone else’s fault, whereas the Bible says that sin comes from within (Psalm 51:5, Matthew 15:19).
But that aside, Beth completely warped what Ecclesiastes 7:26 is really saying. Ecclesiastes 7:26 is not talking about a woman’s heart becoming a net full of drama. The reference is about a woman who is a slut! A sexually promiscuous woman. An adulteress. A whore. Her heart is wicked, like nets she ensnares, and her hands are like chains that imprison. “He who pleases God escapes her”—a godly man will not be seduced by her.
Not only does Beth avoid the real meaning of this text, she even softened the blow of the passage before she read it. She prefaced the verse by telling her women, “Don’t find a whole lot of offense to it.”
Why not? What if there were women sitting in her audience who were sexually promiscuous? Who need to hear that they are wicked? Who need to be told they ensnare men and cause them to fall into sin? Who need to know they are guilty of evil that will keep them from the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21)? Who need to repent and turn to Christ before the day of judgment? Who need to hear the gospel of grace and love and forgiveness and healing and restoration?
You will never hear anything like that in any Beth Moore talk. She is about the most influential women’s Bible teacher out there, and she won’t warn women about feminism, abortion, or sexual immorality—among the biggest lies being forced upon women in the culture today. She won’t tell wives, “Submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord” (Colossians 3:18).
You do not hear about sin and repentance. You do not hear about the gospel of Jesus Christ, who died on the cross and rose from the grave so that all who believe in Him will be saved from the wrath of God (Jesus was never even mentioned in this episode of her podcast, so of course the gospel wasn’t either). It is not loving to refuse to confront sin with the truth—it is, in fact, quite unloving.
What you will get from Beth Moore is a lot of positivity. She’s like the Christian radio network K-Love, whose slogan is Positive and Encouraging. That is the cookie-cutter ideal in American evangelical teaching. Many unqualified pastors and teachers do the same soft, topical preaching Beth does—picking something they want to talk about, finding verses to fit the topic, and avoiding anything offensive. It becomes less about God’s word and more about the preacher’s word. It’s less about giving people what they need and more about selling a product—in Beth’s case, Beth Moore studies.
And again, this is your average Beth Moore study. All I did when I received your e-mail was I went to the latest episode of her podcast. This is the way all her teaching has been. I’ve been hearing it for years—going back to when I worked in Christian radio and I was subject to having to listen to it all the time. You say you just found out about her a week ago.
Study the Bible Instead
The Apostle Paul wrote to his protege Timothy, a pastor in Ephesus, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene” (2 Timothy 2:15-17).
At her most basic, Beth Moore’s teaching is irreverent babble. It is soft-peddled, pragmatic nonsense that she in her pride claims was given to her by God. She so twists the Scripture that it cannot lead people in godliness because she makes it mean something other than what God said it means. If it doesn’t lead to godliness, what would it lead to instead?
Paul goes on to call out two false teachers by name: “Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some.”
Friend, there are times when false teachers need to be called out by name, just like Jesus did, and just like His apostles did. This is the loving thing to do. This is warning the flock of God to avoid those who teach falsely, who do not build up the church with the truth but rather tear her down with lies. There are a plethora of other ways Beth Moore does this, and I’ve covered them before—some of which you’ve apparently read.
I’ve written this response to you for two reasons. Number one, that you may know that calling out false teachers is not unloving. In fact, it is one of the responsibilities of pastors out of love for Jesus and for His flock. Number two, in order to demonstrate that Beth Moore’s most basic, average teaching is not Bible teaching. It’s Beth Moore teaching. Again, I agree with you that she “is clearly doing what she thinks God wants her to do.” But what she thinks isn’t good enough. What does God say in His word, the Bible?
I would invite you to listen to my podcast, which is twenty minutes of Bible teaching every day. I hope for you that your eyes and ears may be open to the truth of the “gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ… to bring about the obedience of faith—to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen” (Romans 16:25-27).
Juli Vrotney says
Thanks pastor Gabe . You hit it right on the nail. I used to do her Bible studies when they actually were about the Bible. But that was years ago. Thank you for exposing the lies.
Mark Cox says
My problem with these teachers is that they believe that the experiential is superior to the logos. We have a more sure word of prophecy. Bill Johnson and the post modern teachers use the same tactics: They strut around with exaggerated hand movements and overuse trite biblical sounding words like annointing, or the buzz word of the day. The bloviation around the buzzword is supposedly to amplify the description and definitions. It’s gobbeldy-gook of the deceptive kind. I used to believe that these teachers believe their own delusion…now I no longer believe that. I think somewhere inside they know exactly what they are doing. They seem to be acutely aware that their bank accounts are fat, and acutely aware that their boards ensure their salary is perpetually fat, and acutely aware of subject matter ambiguity and politically correct posturing. They are false teachers, pure and simple.
Jana Walczuk says
Not only false but deadly people to follow….deceived by the father of lies
So many people follow these false teachers. It’s so sad.
Harmony Joy says
Marshall Clayton says
What happens when truth actually becomes the villain? People have a real problem with falling in love with personalities or places rather than even setting understand how God’s Spirit works.
Lynn S. says
My Sunday school class used to love her studies, but then they got to be philosophical and progressive/political. Her path has veered left. She’s left the SBC and is blaming it for her racial sins. She has more women following her denouncing their church (universal or physical), bashing their head on a wall because surely their church taught them to be racist. CRT teachers unite with her, people blindly follow her. Imagine how her pastors and fellow church members from days of old, feel when she throws them under the proverbial bus. They think they are supremacists now, and they they feel un Biblical guilt for it. This to me is an even greater issue than her Bible studies. Because woke culture is invading the church. Head to the Twitter world and you will find she isn’t alone. You may be surprised by the pastors and authors who are following her. How sad she has cast such condemnation on the SBC and her past involvement. How many believers are leaving their church because of her? I’ve seen too many women stating they are. What does this do to young or new believers? When you condemn the people who may have taught you about Jesus, or led you to Him and now you see them as evil racists. Young believers may very well be condemning themselves for the wrong thing. Confessing sin indvidually, individual accountability is needed. Of course racism is a problem, but woke is not the way to go. Cancel culture is not the path to take. And reparations as a collective whole, is not Biblical.
Jana Walczuk says
I don’t think I’ve noticed anything unique but I’ve long wondered why there is currency for teaching like this more among women than men. I’m tempted to think it just simply goes back to the Garden, no pun intended, in that did God really say? and women are more easily deceived.
Jana Walczuk says
Yes, me too
You’re right. Beth just makes it up.
Kris Piskorski says
I think you need to look into the person you are tearing apart more clearly! Beth Moore has never said she is the Master Teacher of the Bible! In fact, I have done several studies and been to several conferences and heard her say over and over again to study the bible for yourself! She has never said to follow her, or her study! Teachers are to be judged more carefully by God, according to scripture, and she has referred to this often!! This is disturbing that you are calling out another teacher of the Word and have not done enough research to know that she does not want the attention of the study she has done, but that all look to the author of the Book.