The Apotheosis of Beth Moore

Many of my “thread” and Wisconsin friends won’t get this post. That’s ok. Just skip it. I love that part in C.S. Lewis’s “Mere Christianity” where he says “All sensible people skip freely when they come to a chapter which they find is going to be no use to them.” If this post doesn’t work for you, then skip it.

A while back Pam wrote on one of her blogs a post titled “Breaking Up with Beth Moore” concerning her thoughts and feelings about Beth Moore studies since we have moved up to Wisconsin. I think Pam is a great writer, and therefore I believe you should go over to her blog and read the post for yourself. I will, however, briefly summarize what Pam said. So here goes:

Pam used to be a huge Beth Moore fan and she learned a great deal from Beth Moore’s writing and conferences. Since moving up to Wisconsin Pam has been seeing Beth Moore studies through Northern/Midwestern eyes and she doesn’t believe what she has seen has translated very well to our ministry context. So she decided to stop using and taking part in Beth Moore studies.

Pam didn’t say anything terrible about the Beth (for the rest of the post I am simply going to refer to Beth Moore as “the Beth” because her fascination with her own hair reminds me of Donald Trump and his hair). She just said that she doesn’t connect with the Beth anymore, and she doesn’t feel like the Beth translates as well outside of the South. When she wrote it I thought it was a very good post, but I didn’t really think that it would garner very many non-friend comments.

I was wrong about the non-friend comments. It is the most read post on her blog by far.

There are 16 comments on the post thus far and I believe there are two more comments waiting Pam’s moderation. The surprising thing is the number of them that jump all over Pam. Her apparent sin? Seems to be that she dared to say she didn’t connect with the Beth’s teaching style anymore. One of the commenters said Pam should look for sin in her life. I guess the commenter believes that hidden sin is the only thing that would lead someone to question the Beth’s effectiveness. I have to say here that I got a little snarky with this commenter, but I figure it is a spouse’s duty and privilege to jump to the other’s defense. Another commenter said being funny while discussing someone else’s ministry is unscriptural based on Psalm 19:14. I found this post confusing because the scripture talks about our words being pleasing to God not about not saying anything against someone else’s teaching stlye. I think God very well might find such humor pleasing. My personal favorite is the commenter whose post hasn’t been approved yet. It is a grandmother who is worried that her grandchildren might find Pam’s post – apparently she doesn’t know what the real dangers on the internet are for her grandchildren.

The Apotheosis (deification) of George Washington – I think President Washington was a great man but deification? Something is wrong with that.

My big problem with these comments is what I believe they come out of. I think they represent the almost deification of Christian leaders by some of those who idolize these leaders. I think the church cultural often celebritize some Christian leaders to the point that some begin to think that the leader’s holiness is such that they shouldn’t be questioned, that the celebrity is somehow more holy and closer to God than others. When did it become an affront to God to question the effectiveness of the Beth or any of the other Christian celebrity speakers? I don’t think it is.

I think we need to ask what our goal is when we do ministry. Is our goal for more people to know Jesus Christ? If so we’ll use whatever approach works best for the people who we are around. If our goal is for more people to discover the joys of Beth Moore studies, then we really need to make sure that no one criticizes the Beth.

I’ll be honest here. I have never connected with the way the Beth speaks, and I have never understood the rabidness of her groupies. Back when Pam did Beth Moore studies I used to jokingly say it was a cult because it all seemed focused on the Beth’s personality. I’m sure she is a wonderful godly person but I just don’t get it and I definitely don’t connect with God through the Beth’s sermons and such. She seems gimmicky to me and, worse still, I find the whole gimmick irritating. Like nails on a chalkboard.

Still do you know what I would do if people in Tapestry really connected with the Beth? I would have the church doing more Beth Moore studies than you can possibly imagine. Why? Because the goal is to connect people with Christ. I don’t care how I get them to do the connecting. For example, the weekly small group that I am a part of was reading Mark Buchanan’s book “Things Unseen,” a book that I love. After a couple of weeks everybody but me said it simply wasn’t working for them. I, however, love the book and really love the way Buchanan explains things. So what did we do? We ditched “Things Unseen” without a second’s hesitation and went with Deitrich Bonhoeffer’s “The Cost of Discipleship.” Why? Because the the only thing that matters is the group connecting with God not which author helps the group to do the connecting. The Beth is a tool and nothing more. The only thing that matters about a tool is that it gets the job done. If it doesn’t get the job done then you throw it off to the side, and maybe even laugh about thinking it would work in the first place.

That’s why it surprises me when people respond like one commenter did on Pam’s post. This commenter said that Pam was pushing the commenter’s mother-in-law further away from God. Why? Well because the commenter’s mother-in-law read Pam’s post and decided not to go to a Beth Moore bible study with her. If this was a math problem it would be:

“Not going to a Beth Moore study = falling away from God.”

I find that kind of logic kind of scary. In fact, I find it pretty close to idolatrous. That thinking makes the tool (i.e. the Beth) far too important. It is apotheosizing the Beth. That’s not cool and something I am sure the Beth doesn’t want her groupies to do, because we were created to worship only one God and He will have “no other gods before Him.” Exodus 20:3.

Now don’t apotheosis anyone.

18 Replies to “The Apotheosis of Beth Moore”

  1. A. I’ve yet to run across a pastor who doesn’t make fun of Beth Moore at least a little. 😉
    B. The really ridiculous thing about all of those negative comments supposedly in Beth’s defense is the fact that I’m convinced Beth would be appalled if she about them. I don’t know how many times she has asked people to pray that she and her staff not be “deified” or become egotistical. She’s seen it happen to too many Christian leaders who let what their followers say go to their heads.
    C. It looks like I need to head back over to Pam’s blog and post a comment.

    1. A. Probably jealousy on most of us pastors’ part. She is an excellent speaker even if she drives me personally crazy.
      B. I agree. I think the comments would probably sadden her.
      C. Yes you should but hurry. She is getting tired of them and going to close them soon.

  2. Robert,
    This is a very good piece. I haven’t read Pam’s blog, but I will shortly. I think you are exactly right on your theory here. We are all human, different things make us ‘tick’. I don’t believe any one teacher, pastor, apologist has all the answers. But, I also believe God has called certain people and they are sensitive to His Word and I should be excited to learn from these students of the Word. Personally, I have learned, grown and gone deeper into Scripture with Beth Moore studies than with 2-3 other teachers I have tried. Her personality grates on me sometimes as well, but I think as with evertyhting and everyone I have to filter out some things to get the bigger message…and I have been able to do that. She encourages her students to dig deeper than just video sessions and ask questions. She is very honest about her own shortcomings and regrets of her past…I think a lot of peple do connect with her based on her transparency.

    After my most recent Beth Moore study on Revelation…I was doing some extra research. I came across the Christian Apologetic and Research Ministry’s “bio” of Beth Moore. (By the way, I loved, loved, loved Pam’s blog re: apologetics) I hesitate to even quote this guy, because he pushes my mysogonistic hot button. He brings up the old, ‘should a woman even be a Bible teacher anyway?’ bit referencing 1 Timothy 2:12-13. Apparently, his main issues with Beth Moore are not her expression of faith, he is good with that (doctrine)…it’s the emphasis she puts on contemplative prayer and her affinity to include the Catholic church in her studies/ministries…to consider them a Christian church. I will have to think and research about this…but if this is all he has…it won’t keep me from participating in a Beth Moore study 1-2x/year at my church. He was much kinder, by the way, to Beth Moore than he was to Joyce Meyer, wow….even though he skirts around the ‘heresy’ claim for both of them. ouch.

    1. Also, I misused ‘misogyny’…not only did I spell it incorrectly, it was too harsh of a word for this context. My apologies. I always thought it was a synonym of chauvinism…but it isn’t…it actually means ‘hatred of women’..definitely not what I wanted to convey….

      That is all, I promise! haha

  3. I felt the blog was a little too critical and not with love. I don’t always like some of the cheesy things Beth says and does but she’s so used by God. It’s okay not to like a certain style but in the end it’s really about the context. Her bibles studies have made so many women closer to Jesus. When I read the blog it made me a little sad…..why are we so hard on each other? I felt like she was attacking her personally and that’s hurtful.

    1. First Deidra Thanks for your comment. I enjoy the conversation even with people that I would probably disagree with.

      Second, I’m sure that Pam would say she is sorry that you felt it was unloving. Those are you feelings and only you know them. Please don’t hear me say that Pam would say she was sorry for writing the post. She’s not. But I’m sure that she is saddened that you viewed it as unloving. To be honest I have viewed some of the comments people have made about her blog in the same manner. Most have been positive and good even when disagreeing but some have been down right mean.

      Third, I would agree with your statement “in the end it’s really about the context.” In fact, I believe that was the entire point of Pam’s blog post. The Beth’s studies do not seem to work in the context we are in and it would be unwise to continue using her studies in our context since they don’t connect with the people and area we are reaching. That’s just a basic understanding of communication – some things work in one context and don’t work in another. Some of the commenters on Pam’s post seem personally offended at the thought that anyone would point out that the Beth might not connect with everyone. Others have responded that they are glad someone has said this and it is very freeing for them. A tool is just a tool. It is to be used when it works and laid aside when it doesn’t. As I said in my post above I believe some of the responses to Pam’s post reflect some people worshiping the tool and making that tool above criticism. That’s scary to me.

  4. Hi,
    I am not usually one to make comments on many blogs but I was saddened by the uproar over the blog your wife posted as well as your rebuttal post to her comments. I am by no means coming against you guys in this situation but I say this out of love and compassion for other believers. The post about breaking up with beth moore- was just probably a funny way to title a post and your wife thought of it as just that. I believe her greatest opposition has been found in the lack or seemingly lack of support for Beth Moore. Bottom line she is a believer who teaches and challenges many women daily to draw closer to the Lord. We are here to lift one another, carry each others burdens, and love. I think a lot is to be said here about what is truly beneficial to the Kingdom and what is not. If this post of the blog isn’t beneficial and causes opposition in the body of believers- just remove it simple as that and keep fighting the good fight for the Lord. We are all here for one goal and that is to glorify him who is most high. Again, I say all of this out of love and compassion to not see anyone hurt and to point our lives to his. May you and your family have a blessed day!

    1. First Blair, thanks for joining the discussion and don’t worry I trust you when you say that your comment comes out of love and compassion. I hope that you extend me the same trust and understand that my comment and post come out of love also.

      So second I think the biggest problem is that many fans of the Beth have a gut reaction to anything they perceive as criticism of their hero/false god (i.e the Beth). Neither my post nor Pam’s post was actually about the Beth. Instead I wrote about some of her fans basically deifying her and Pam wrote about the fact that the Beth’s teaching style wasn’t effective in our ministry context. Neither post is critical of the Beth, whom we both respect. They were just pointing out problems which I do believe is VERY beneficial to the Kingdom of Christ. When people lift up a false god the most loving thing you can do is point it out.

      I completely agree that we are here for the goal of glorifying God. That’s why I don’t plan on removing the post because what I am trying to say in it is that it is all about Him not the Beth.

      Hey I hope you have a happy day too.

    2. Very well said. I would add, why do we feel it is okay to criticize a brother or sister in Christ just because their material doesn’t work in our church context? What or who does it profit? Too many of ys are using social media just like the world and wasting our 15 minutes of fame and using it to ridicule one another. What does it say to the world about our witness? How does it make us different than them? James 4:11; James 5:9

      1. Hey Mika, First, thanks for your comment.

        Second, if I understand your reference to James 4:11 properly you believe I have slandered the Beth by saying that I believe that some of those who are her groupies seem to deify her? Is this what you are saying?

        Finally, I am curious how your criticism of me fits in with James 5:9?

  5. Shame of it all. Are either of you obedient to God’s word? Start talking like it! Build a sister up. Or hold your tongue. Beth, joyce, pricilla are all road maps to get us to read an study the bible for ourselves.

    1. I’ll use your words as a response to you now criticizing me. Shame of it all. Are you obedient to God’s word? Start talking like it! Build a brother and sister up. Or hold your tongue.


      BTW I didn’t say anything about Joyce (I assume Meyer) or Priscilla (I assume Shirer) so I’m not real sure what I am getting blamed about with them.

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