A Recent Article

On Monday afternoon I went down to fetch my mail and I was delighted to see the August edition of Christianity Today at the bottom of the pile.  Brushing off the junk mail, I saw that my Mom was on the cover.  I already knew she was going to be featured in one of the coming editions but I’ve found there is very little by way of preparation for a moment like this one.  It is difficult to describe to you the feeling of seeing the face of the one who bore you on the cover of a magazine.  I do not mean this in a pompous way because it is not a feeling of pride.  It is a feeling of great sobriety.

During that moment the butterflies in my stomach were akin to the ones fluttering around on the day my Mom spoke during chapel hour when I was a sophomore at Baylor University.  Or the evening Mom spoke at Founder’s Week during my first year as a transfer student at Moody Bible Institute.  I have, on numerous occasions, watched Mom speak in venues with 20,000+ people and it not even fazed me but these two gatherings were different. The events at Baylor and Moody were composed of a whole bunch of people I knew, people I loved and respected.   Mom’s been in a bunch of magazines over the years.  But Christianity Today is the one and only Christian magazine I actually read.  Although “they” don’t know me from Eve, I feel like I know them.  I laugh with them, cry with them, “amen” with them, and I even argue back and forth with them.  These folks are supposed to be my friends, right? So this time when I picked up the magazine it was a little bit different.  It hit closer to home.

It was a little bit more vulnerable.

You may think that it is the fear of criticism that is so sobering about a moment like this one, yet that is not exactly true. Sure, criticism is tough but far worse is the momentary thought that, for better or worse, I sit as a passive observer while my Mom’s value is being weighed under the critical scrutiny of a bunch of my peers and professors.  Please understand what I am saying, even if the responses are exuberant and laudatory in nature, it is the careful scrutiny of a parent that is the rub.  It is, of course, also a significant part of the life God has graciously and providentially given to me. And His tenderness never fails me in moments like these.

As I held the magazine in my hand, the daughter in me said, “Proceed with caution. You might get hurt.” But the student in me said, “Come on, Melissa. There are no questions that are off limits. No one is above question, observation, or criticism.”  Eventually I mustered the courage, put on my cloak of “objectivity,” and took the plunge.

As I made my way through the first article, I found I could understand or identify with the bulk of it.  I saw my Mom represented on the pages in more than just photographs, and whether the words were kind or critical, I found them to be fair. Again, no one is above careful observation because we all err in many ways.  We all need each other to get this thing right.  Even I, the biased observer, can recognize that much.  Christianity Today’s ability to represent a diverse set of viewpoints is the primary reason I read their work in the first place. There are very few voices left out of their articles and conversations and that spirit of diversity contributes, I think, to an overall appreciation of the richness and variety in the church, even if it is mostly the evangelical church that is represented.

So as I finished the last sentence of the first article I took a deep breath.  “It’s over and I’m still alive,” I thought.

Just kidding. It really wasn’t all that rough.

But I had yet to read the second article.

As I began to read the second article entitled “First Came the Bible,” some things started to become a bit opaque for me.  I do not want to get too pedantic and I certainly do not want to bore you all to tears, so I’ll get to my point.  And at this point you’re hoping I have one, right?  Wink. What troubled me most about the second article was a paragraph that purports the following (again, this can be found in the August edition of Christianity Today on page 27):

Moore is truly a Bible teacher.  Her teaching is rooted in her strong affinity for Scripture.  She does not show much interest in theology or tradition, distrusting the way the academy has, at times, handled the Bible. “Godless philosophies have not been my temptation,” Moore comments.  “In my life experience, the most dangerously influential opinions have been those held by intellectuals and scholars who profess Christianity but deny the veracity and present power of Scripture.”  Although Moore believes that seminaries are necessary despite the “stunning arrogance” and “theological snobbery” that reside in them, she argues, “Psalm 131 reminds us that [the Scriptures] are not primarily for seminaries, dissertations, and theological treatments.  They are primarily for everyday living on the third rock from the sun (27).

As I began to read through this paragraph, something just did not sit right with me.  The first half sounded sort of like Mom but the language was peculiar and the harsh indictment against seminaries took me by surprise. I assumed that if Mom said such a thing about the pride and arrogance of the theological and/or seminary world, she was most likely speaking about me.  And frankly, it would have been warranted.  I was one single theology class into my education when I began anathematizing every Christian I knew, including my Mom, Dad, Pastor . . . And I could go on.  So, in light of my own interests and experience, I began to wonder where these quotes were pulled from and the context in which Mom stated them.

Even though I am intimately acquainted with Mom’s writing and speaking, I still didn’t know where exactly these quotes originated.  I came to find that, to the best of my knowledge, the various pieces were pulled from Believing God (the trade book) and Stepping Up (the bible study).  The first quote, “Godless philosophies have not been my temptation. In my life experience, the most dangerously influential opinions have been those held by intellectuals and scholars who profess Christianity but deny the veracity and present power of Scripture,” was pulled from Believing God. Although the quote is fairly clear in isolation, when you read the immediate context carefully, you find that Mom has tempered her claim by statements such as “Thankfully, many churches and Christian institutes of higher learning teach the God of Scripture, but why do so many others default to a lesser-God theology?” and even stronger, “Flawless churches and Christian universities don’t exist because they are full of flawed people just like me.” Should you be interested in reading further please look in and around pages 47-50 of the Believing God book, not the bible study workbook.

I think you will find that Mom is not writing about her hostility toward “the academy” (a term that needs to be clarified in the article itself) but the tendency in all of us to minimize God in our pursuit of the knowledge of Him.  Mom presents academic institutions as the most influential place where this minimizing can be found, but very clearly acknowledges that the tendency is not to be limited to the academic world, or even descriptive of the academic world.

The second quote is far more bothersome because it implies that Mom only reluctantly admits that seminaries have any value. After a bit of searching I made my way from Believing God to Stepping Up because of the author’s mention of Psalm 131, a Psalm of Ascent.  None of these sources are referenced in this particular paragraph in the article, by the way, which made these “quotes” really *fun* and convenient to track down.  Please raise your hand if you think magazines should abide by Turabian! Thank you, nerds of the blogworld.  I’m going to quote the second part of the paragraph from the article “First Came the Bible” again:

Although Moore believes that seminaries are necessary despite the “stunning arrogance” and “theological snobbery” that reside in them, she argues, “Psalm 131 reminds us that [the Scriptures] are not primarily for seminaries, dissertations, and theological treatments.  They are primarily for everyday living on the third rock from the sun (27).

First, the way the author has set up the quote is nothing short of misleading.  Mom has never said that she believes seminaries are necessary despite the “stunning arrogance” and “theological snobbery” that reside in them.  Instead, the author has combined snippets of three different portions of text from Stepping Up. When the order has been changed and all three snippets are worded together, they, at the very least, produce an exaggerated claim. At the very worst, they produce a disfigured one.

If you would like to see this clearly for yourself, you can consult Week 5 Day 3 of Stepping Up and make your own conclusions about the way the quotes were construed.  For those of you who do not have the workbook, I have also typed a large part of the text myself and included it here so that you can get an idea of what is going on.   There are various breaks in the text because I don’t have time to type all of Day 3. I have, however, typed quite a bit of it. I figure the more context I can give you, the better. You can tell where the author of the magazine article is drawing the quote by the text I have in both bold and italics.  Week 5 Day 3 is entitled “Things Too Great” and it is a study of Psalm 131, one of the shortest of the Psalms of Ascent:  A Song of Ascents, of David. O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me.  2 Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me.  3 O Israel, hope in the LORD From this time forth and forever.

I am now going to begin quoting Mom starting from the top of page 131 in Stepping Up:

“Like so many in the Gospels, the metaphors of the psalms came from common scenes and experiences in the daily lives of God’s people.

  • Psalm 126 pictured seeds watered by tears turning to sheaves of joy.
  • Psalm 127 sketched sons, like arrows in a quiver, defending their father.
  • Psalm 128 centered on the family table with moms like fruitful vines and children like olive shoots.
  • Psalm 129 drew us the unforgettable picture of plowmen leaving furrows on the backs of the oppressed.
  • Psalm 130 painted the image of a night watchman on a city wall.

God drew each metaphor from a common sight seen by a common people. Perhaps no sight was more ordinary than the one etched in Psalm 131, particularly as throngs of Israelites made their pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year. It’s the same common sight I see every time I go shopping: a child in a mother’s arms.

Psalm 131 reminds us the words of God are not primarily for seminaries, dissertations, and theological treatments. They are primarily for everyday living on the third rock from the sun. The words of God are for people who run late to work, hop out of the car, and spill coffee on their crisp, white shirt. It’s for people who run to get their trash to the curb before the garbage truck comes and end up strewing it all over the driveway. It’s for people who need to change the litter box and who realize something green and furry is growing in their fridge. The words of God are for people whose neighbors drive them nuts. And mainly, I suppose, for people who drive themselves nuts. Like me. Maybe like you.

If you’ve concluded that Scripture is for how you do church, teachers like me have failed you. Scripture is for how you do life, whether at home, at work or on a date, at a baby shower, at a funeral, or at church. Scripture is for servicemen defending their nation and for mothers nursing their babies…if they can keep their eyes open. Today we will be wholly preoccupied with the first verse of Psalm 131, and actually, we’ll have to work diligently to limit ourselves to this space.”

[Break in text & some interactive questions]

“The term ‘haughty comes from the word high’ and in the context of eyes it describes people who look down on others. Of course, none of us is going to immediately admit, ‘That’s me!’

We recognize snobbery and pride pretty easily in others and despise nothing more. Somehow when we are the snob, however, the thin air at the altitude where we keep our noses impairs our judgment. The Bible tells us that God abhors pride and probably for no few reasons. Both you and I have had tug-of-wars with God – however ridiculous and futile – that revolved around our pride.”

[Break in text for an interactive question]

“Since I made you answer such an exposing question, I’ll offer a few reasons of my own. I am convinced that my pride over a specific matter was a tremendous contribution to the horrifying sifting season God put me through a few years ago.

I also think God cannot bring the kingdom increase to our harvests that He desires (John 15:7) until our egos decrease.

Finally, I think our pride is a strobe light flashing how ignorant we are about God, despite our lengthy quiet times and in-depth studies. Above all things besides love, humility is the truest sign of intimacy with God. Like little else, a humble spirit says we really do ‘get it.’

Though Psalm 131:1 certainly applies to haughtiness and pride in general, when we consider the congregational aspect of the Psalms of Ascent, I think a tighter interpretation may be what we could call theological pride: arrogance regarding God, His words, or ways.

Stunning arrogance slithers down the halls of many academic institutions of theology. Thankfully, some professors are wise enough to slam their office doors and refuse to let the snake bite them, but they must be overtly intentional to resist a lure as old as the garden.

I wish the problem of theological snobbery only resided at institutions of higher learning, but it doesn’t. Every one of us, until life pummels us into knowing better, is drawn to things that feed our flesh and make us feel smart.

Reflect on the words of Psalm 131 again: I do not get involved with things to great or too difficult for me.”  I think this verse could very well refer to times when we get our big heads into matters we know nothing about- times we have the gall to speak for God or explain His actions when a wiser person would have kept their mouth shut. God has a fitting expression for it.”

[Break in text for interactives, etc]

“Obviously God is not saying that we are never to offer possible explanations for the deeper things of Scripture and its divine Author.  Furthermore we most assuredly need higher institutions of theology and well-trained professors.  And a good debate between them can be tremendously insightful.

So, where’s the line?  How do we know when a matter is too great for us? Deuteronomy 29:29 may offer the best example.”

[Break in text for Interactive and several paragraphs]

“Over and over Scripture attests that God can do no wrong.  It also blatantly assures us He is sovereign and could stop any  ill.  How can I make those ends meet?  I can’t . . . but God can and one day will.  Between His arms that seem at times outstretched in opposite directions, you will find His heart.  Out of the ashes of the unfathomable, sooner than later Lazarus-faith must rise from the dead- questions still unanswered- or the Devil has won.  Perhaps Anselm, an eleventh-century English monk, voiced an approach that draws today’s lesson to the best conclusion:

I do not seek, O Lord, to penetrate thy depths.  I by no means think my intellect equal to them: but I long to understand in some degree thy truth, which my heart believes and loves.  For I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe that I may understand.”

End of quote.

Please note that the chunks of text the author pieces together are not in consecutive order and her summary does not include the necessary qualifications to do honest justice to Mom’s writing.   One primary example is that she pulls the phrase, “theological snobbery” from its immediate context where Mom has clearly qualified her statement to encompass not just institutions of higher learning BUT “every one of us.” This is a very real misuse of Mom’s work.  Again snippets of quotations from Stepping Up have been combined to create a new meaning, one that Mom herself does not support.  Various qualifications that Mom made in the text have been ignored or left out of the article.  Another example is the author’s use of the word “despite” to head the sentence.  Although the word “despite” is not in quotations (signaling that Mom herself did not say or write it), it is misleading as a header for the entire quote.  On the contrary, when Mom wrote, “Furthermore, we most assuredly need higher institutions of theology and well-trained professors.  And a good debate between them can be tremendously insightful,” her words are accompanied by an enthusiastic tone, not a reluctant one like the author inserts.

While Mom’s use of biblical and theological scholarship may fail to meet this author’s standard, it does not necessarily follow that Mom’s voice echoes Tertullian’s famous cry: What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?  What communion is there between the academy and the church?” The chasm between Mom’s faith and intellectual inquiry is surely not as wide as this author asserts.  If you read the text from Week 5 Day 3 that I recorded above, you might have noticed Mom’s quotation of Anselm at the end: I believe, that I may understand.”  Anselm’s maxim is a basic motto in many Christian academic institutions, for it has often been identified as the appropriate bridge between the church and academic inquiry.

I would hardly find it significant enough to mention this misuse of Mom’s work, if I did not also think that it misrepresented Mom’s heart on the matter. Unlike Amanda, I was never interviewed by the folks who wrote these articles. So in brief, I want to say what I would have told them if I had been:  Mom has, more than anyone, stimulated my passion for academic study of the Bible. I will never forget the day she called me from Oxford University in England.  I could hear her voice breaking over the sea that stood between us as she described to me how inspiring it was to walk on a campus that had been a home to so many great minds.  She has been a constant support during my entire theological education- spiritually, emotionally, and financially.

From the semester I first learned about the JEDP theory in my Old Testament class at Baylor, to my transfer to Moody Bible Institute’s Bible department and even on through my days as a little metaphorical P.O.W. in the Biblical Exegesis Program at Wheaton Graduate School.  When I hadn’t slept forty eight hours straight because I was up late writing yet another exegesis paper or reading Calvin’s Institutes, she reminded me why I was going to school in the first place- in her words, “ to get your feet planted firmly on the ground (biblically & theologically), with your hands raised straight up in the air.”  She was also the one who taught me my first great piece of hermeneutical advice, “If you’re completely alone in your interpretation of a certain verse, then you’re most likely wrong.”  Apparently her mentor, Buddy Walters, had passed that one down.  I’ve never forgotten it all these years. Even more stunning and meaningful to me has been Mom’s love and support for me over this past year when I completed a Th.M. in New Testament at a PCUSA seminary that assumes a completely different doctrine of Scripture than she does.  She has been my primary dialogue partner in this quest and brave enough to support me in my theological journey even when it has gone beyond her own theological comfort zone.  Now, Mom is certainly not an academic in the technical sense, but equally true is that she is no mocker or skeptic of the academic world. Mom not only rests on the work of many academics in her research, but she goes to great lengths to express her great indebtedness to them along the way.  Academics who spend each day in the pedantic little details of exegetical methodology and at the same time love God with all their hearts are Mom’s heroes.

Well, as you can imagine I called Mom to speak with her about the article as soon as I closed the final page.  I said, “So what did you think?”  She replied, “They were kinder than they had to be.  And I learned a lot.” I said, “You learned a lot? Seriously?”  Apparently she learned a lot.  Now that is just vintage Mom.  I told her that although I was moved by her humility, I was also troubled by this little paragraph in the second article. While, I too, think being teachable is a virtue, I also wonder if there is not an appropriate time to express some concern about what may appear to be a misunderstanding of Mom’s work.  Only once someone is properly understood should he or she be criticized.

It seems to me that for the most part using criticism constructively would imply that the criticism is legitimate and in this particular case, I do not think it is.  Even if I got this all wrong and Mom very coincidentally said these exact words in another work or speaking engagement, I would not find them to be warranted in a discussion of the four fundamental themes that are threaded throughout all of Mom’s writing.  The reason I felt burdened to write this blog for you is that I think you deserve to know that Mom, and so also Living Proof Ministries, tremendously respects and makes regular use of trustworthy biblical scholarship. Now, I, would argue until my dying breath precisely what Mom said about Scripture being for everyday living and not primarily for the academic world.  But does that undermine my passion for biblical and theological scholarship?  I don’t think it does.

We love you and esteem you enough to carefully walk through something that could be confusing.


449 Responses to “A Recent Article”

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  1. 1
    Marty says:

    Well done, Melissa. I shake my head at the sensationalized media almost every day. Thank heavens for women like you who will take the time to clearly outline what the truth is. And thank God for you beautiful and anointed mom.

  2. 2
    Amanda M. says:

    Excellent post – it was full of lessons as you walked us through the clarification. As always, I am amazed by you all!

  3. 3
    Leigh Ann says:

    Thanks for explaining all that so clearly….I hate when people are SO misquoted/misrepresented, but really….anyone who has been in your mom’s presence or done one of her Bible studies KNOWS her heart about such matters. Most of us in Siestaville would defend her as adamantly as you and Amanda. Only I don’t think we’ll ever have to. Her Heavenly Father is on the job! You touch her, you’ll touch the apple of His eye! (Isn’t that what she (and more importantly the Scripture) has taught us??
    Love you all!

  4. 4
    Amanda says:

    Wow! Well done Melissa! Your momma’s legacy will be one of leading women to the feet of Jesus and no magazine article can come close to confusing us who know her heart!

  5. 5
    Sandy says:

    Thank you, Melissa for sharing this with us, for taking all the time you took to “investigate” and remind us that we need to look deeper when we read articles like this ourselves. I agree that the article is very misleading. I know that your Mom has a very high respect for you.

  6. 6
    Carrie says:

    I recognized that quote from Believing God but haven’t had the pleasure of doing Psalms of the Ascent yet. What a well worded article. It really makes you question every single article you have ever read about any person EVER!

  7. 7
    Carrie says:

    oops, I meant well worded post. I certainly wasn’t referring to the article in question.

  8. 8
    Diane Muir says:

    I would have read this article and become incensed. I’m proud of you for digging in and trying to understand.

    Your mom has been a great motivator to me. My life has been spent in Scripture and it wasn’t until I began taking her studies that I was able to discern the focus around which my life’s work might progress.

    Twenty-six years ago I felt God drawing me to seminary, I applied and was accepted to Asbury in Wilmore, KY. However, mom wanted to open a business and needed to me to stay and help her with that. It was only to be a few years, but three years later, she died and my sister and I owned a business that needed to be built and supported.

    My structured intellectual pursuits were set aside while I handled the business and then a whole lot of life.

    On September 7, I will finally begin my seminary degree – an MDiv with an academic path, hopefully leading to a Doctorate in Classical/Ancient languages and Church History. My passion is Scripture and the desire to fully understand the words that God gave us.

    While there have been many people that impacted me and drew me down this path, not the least of whom were my parents, your mother’s unyielding desire to share her insight, her brilliance, her scholarship and HER passion for God’s Word has inspired me more than I can say. Some days I can hear her voice encouraging me to keep digging.

    There will be a day when, in my writings and teaching, I refer to Beth Moore’s writing along with others as I cite my sources! 🙂

  9. 9
    Aurelia says:

    Melissa, I know when I see a post from you that I am going to have to put my thinking hat on. This one was no exception. I love how you put yours on too to write this article and it would be well served to submit it as an editorial piece to the magazine. For those who love your mother as I do know that the quotes had to be taken out of context but I would never have been able to “find” them. Thank you for pointing them out to us and I do believe that they should be pointed out to the magazine. This type of twisting of words is tantamount to tabloid writing and I would hope that they would want to avoid it. They should check their quotes to make sure they aren’t taken out of context or at least presented as the writer’s opinion.

  10. 10
    Nicole says:

    You did an amazing job on this post. You certainly have a gift. Thank you for so carefully explaining your Mom’s heart both with your passion and intelligence. What a blessing you are to us and I know to your sweet Mom.

    For the record, I have never done Stepping Up but after reading those excerpts I am so going to get it!

    Thanks again for loving us enough to take the time to write this.

  11. 11
    Dawn says:

    I am so impressed with the graceful way you responded to this article about your mother. She must be so very proud of you! I haven’t seen this article yet, but all I know is that your mother is my theological teacher and I have grown leaps and bounds by getting in the word through the Bible Studies that she has been led to write and teach! I feel loved by her more than any other Christian sister I know! And I am learning how to be a better mother from her as well! You go girls!

  12. 12
    Michele says:

    Thanks for the play-by-play, Melissa.

    I’ve heard Beth is on two covers right now, I hope this issue is not in Bible Study Magazine, I’ve been waiting for the Beth issue to arrive.

    Uga, Turabian. Yes, my hand is up, I admit I am a proponent of citations, after having it hammered home in seminary.

    So, Melissa, what do you do with all that? Where does the dust settle for you? Do you contact the author and discuss the issue, or do y’all just eat this and move on?

    With as famous as Beth is, I’m sure she gets mis-quoted and criticized. Hopefully not too often, but in this world it has to happen. How do you react to that?

    • 12.1
      Teresa Stout says:


      Thanks for asking those exact questions that I had on my mind.

      Would love to see a correction but does that ever happen?

  13. 13

    Thank you, Melissa. You have to wonder what was going on in the article-writer’s mind and heart to want to piece quotes and distort the truth like that. What’s the agenda? And why?

  14. 14
    Becca says:

    What is the name of the magazine? The last Christian magazine I subscribed to went out of publication and I have been looking for another and I haven’t be able to find one that is good.

  15. 15
    toknowhim says:

    That was really interesting. It is strange to see how a Christian magazine can twist things to sound differently than what was actually said.

    Even if you had not explained everything so well, I would have known your mom’s heart to be as you presented…Over the past ten year’s she has poured her heart out through her Bible studies that I feel like I have really got to know her heart…well as much as someone not personally involved in her life.

    Your mom’s response when you called her was precious…I loved too how you took the time to write this post on behalf of your mom. That’s precious too..

    Thanks and love…

  16. 16
    Margie by the Sea says:

    Dear Melissa
    Thank you for walking us through this. All of us would want to answer back, but our answers wouldn’t hold a candle to your passionate and knowledgeable reply to the article. Your Mom has led so many of us into a deeper study of the Word and into a true love for Scripture.
    We’d like to think that everyone would read these articles with a discerning eye and heart, but since that is not always the case I hope that you share some of your thoughts with the writers.

    Beth, don’t fret over this as we know you might. Your true defense is that you stand on the Word.
    Praying for you

  17. 17
    Sarah Rader says:

    Thank you for your post. I stand in awe of what your family goes through in following God’s plan and will for you life….to His glory! It can’t be easy to hear/read unflattering things about someone you love. I have a hard enough time in my own little world and so I can’t imagine how difficult it is in the public arena.

    This post encourages me with the fact that no matter who we are, we will be criticized. I know your mom is not perfect (she makes sure we all know that when she speaks and when she writes) but I also know that she loves Jesus with every ounce of her being and that is why she is so dearly loved by girls just like me! I also know from listening to her, that she highly esteems academics and would not “throw them under the bus”, and so I appreciate you bringing to light the context of these quotes. You heart (and mind) are such a blessing.

    Sarah Rader

  18. 18
    Briget says:

    I thank God for your Mom, and this ministry. Beth Moore’s bible teaching has changed my life over the years. She is blessed of God. For the first time in the 7 years that I’ve been studying your mom’s material I’ve decided that I would open my home to women and invite them to listen to Beth teach. Beth is biblcally sound and she loves the people of God. It is my prayer that the Lord Jesus will just continue to rain down showers of blessing on this ministry, your mom, and your family. To God be the GLORY for GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE!

  19. 19
    AJ says:

    I, only recently, have become familiar with Living Proof Ministries and the writings of Beth. And my exposure has been quite limited; I lead the “Esther” study at my church this past spring. I was a bit skeptical. Being a Bible college graduate I do enjoy meaty theological discussions and have probably contributed to the world of “academic snobbery” at times. To be honest,I didn’t expect much out of the “Esther” Bible study; mostly because the impression I got from some people was Beth’s writings were typical “Women’s Bible study fluff”.

    I was absolutely floored by the study.

    I was impressed by the quality of exegesis of the scripture, the timely application, and the tears that would well up into my eyes when Beth really got to the heart of the matter. I’ve often loathed women’s bible studies, but this ministry has made me see that when done right, women’s ministry can be amazing.

    I appreciate so much the mother/daughter(s) team effort behind LPM. This blog post was impressive because not only did you defend your mother, Melissa, you did so in a thoughtful and rational way. No wonder God has blessed your family with such an incredible ministry…you make a great team.

    • 19.1
      Kathy B says:

      “Fluff” I love it! Beth is the only teacher I know who can take one shoelace of fashion fluff, another of thinking-cap-needed theology and combine them to tie on the most practical walking shoes fit for the hot pavement of this earth.

      • AJ says:

        Love your comment! What a great way to describe it!

        • Kathy B says:

          Thanks, AJ. I appreciate your honesty about how you used to feel. I think many people make these assumptions but fall short of showing the same integrity you did by letting Beth’s work speak for itself.

  20. 20


    How can I put this? I believe God put it into your heart to pursue the path of Biblical Academia (sp?) for this very reason. Your mom has been called by the LORD to do exactly what she does… as a Lay person. YOU have been called to work by her side for the very reason she has been criticized. To defend and deflect wrongful criticism. It certainly is healthy to be critiqued by your peers. But out and out mis-representation and Malicious mis-representation needs to be addressed. ..especially in the body of Christ.

    You have been given the brains and the ability to do the addressing. Line by line. Let them know how wrong they got it. Courteously and intelligently. Well done child!

    Fayetteville, GA

  21. 21
    Tara G. says:

    Wow. I hope you send the entire blog post to the magazine. And I hope the writer gets sent back to class.

  22. 22
    Donna Benjamin says:

    Way to go Melissa! As I was reading your blog, I recalled the story your mom told about you during the SLI simulcast last April. The one of you standing at the top of your stairs asking her if she was gonna “boss” you today–and I thought, what a great job she did at “bossing” you during your most formative years!
    As the mom of 3 girls, I’m encouraged and hopeful that they too, will realize their God-given potentials, and in the very unlikely event that I’m on ANY magazine cover, or even in an article–that they too would defend my heart, just as you have done here!

  23. 23
    Shawna says:

    Giving you a shout out on the call for Turabian. (Although as a former seminary student – Jesus knows, that I gave a few shout outs of frustration during late night research projects as I balanced content and formatting.) Loved this post – and even as one who has attended seminary, have never felt that your Mom was blindly critical of the academic pursuit. Truly, I have felt my spirit stirred by Jesus, as I sat under the teaching of some fabulous professors – but one only need to look at the suicide rate among seminaries nationally, to know that there are some temptations and dangerous dead ends intellectually that are found in academia. Just like there are temptations and dead ends in any other facet of life and ministry by virtue of the fact that we are this side of heaven, and imperfect human beings.

    Melissa, Amanda, Beth – thanks so much for living life with us. We are not perfect on this journey – and as Christians needing community – it is priceless to the body to have the experience to learn, be humbled, love, appropriately defend, laugh, cry – live life within the saving context of Jesus – together. Thank you for modeling that in Siestaville. Love you


  24. 24
    Becca says:

    Way to advocate, not just for your mom, but for truth. Good job, Melissa. Though definitely not on as grand of a scale as your family, being in a family in ministry myself there is little that pushes my buttons more than deceptive phraseology. It doesn’t take much for one misplaced word to negatively jade someone’s views of a person, of the church, or of God himself.
    And good job Ms. Beth of being an example of how to let God’s grace flow through you.

    P.S.- Thank you for this quote. It reminds me that, although there are times where I should speak up about things, I always need to prepare myself and seek God, and make sure that what is being said is said out of humility and respect for God, and not out of trying to “fix” other people. (Recent frustrations have made this incredibly relevant for me today):

    “Finally, I think our pride is a strobe light flashing how ignorant we are about God, despite our lengthy quiet times and in-depth studies. Above all things besides love, humility is the truest sign of intimacy with God. Like little else, a humble spirit says we really do ‘get it.’”

  25. 25

    Interestingly enough, interpreting something in it’s ‘context’ has always been the issue….with Scripture as well as with people.

    Being from a pastor’s family, I feel your need to qualify. My godly father-in-law would rarely, in fact I can’t recall even once, defend himself. If would make me so MAD…but after over 30 years preaching the TRUTH in season and out of season, he is right…Your LIFE speaks for itself….Just as your dear Mother’s does…

  26. 26
    Tessa says:

    I commend the time you put into researching all this, Melissa. Quite the labor of love:) Is there a way for you to note the magazine you read in the blog; not for this article only, but because it sounds like a reputable one.
    Thanks, and have a great day!

  27. 27
    Kathy B says:

    Atta girl, Melissa. I’ve never loved you Moore 🙂 So very well spoken. And I agree with you with all my heart! I’m fairly sure I’ve read almost every published word of your mother’s and I am one among many. So your description/defense of her LOVE for deep theology was well warranted.

    “So in brief, I want to say what I would have told them…” Well, you told ’em all right! I laughed out loud when I read that. Bless you, dear girl for so eloquently clarifying a glaring error on the part of that interviewer. How unfortunate.

    And rest easy, Melissa. The hundreds of thousands of us (if not more), who’ve done so many of your mom’s studies have not misunderstood her passion, her viewpoint, or her Lord.

    The only criticism I’ve ever heard about your mom came from those who, believe it or not, had never even read a word of her very own. I nearly smacked ’em with my Breaking Free workbook. That’ll set ’em free.

    Do you know how many of your words I had to look up? Loved it. I’m going to try to work “pedantic” into my next conversation. It’ll drive my 16yr old crazy. Turnabout’s fair play!

    • 27.1
      Michele says:

      hahaha Kathy

    • 27.2
      Donna says:

      Kathy, you worded your comments so well and I ‘echo’ them to the fullest. Now,about trying to work “pedantic” into my next conversation…hmmmmmm. Thanks again for your wonderful comments.

      • Kathy B says:

        Bless you, Donna. What tremendously kind words. I was actually pleasantly susrprised not to find my name after the definition of “pedant”. Yeah, if the shoe fits…ask for it in a different color 😉

      • Terrie says:

        Melissa didn’t fall far from the apple tree with her vocabulary. At one of the many Bible studies I have led using one of Beth’s studies, several ladies said they had the Bible study study book, their Bible, and a dictionary out to help them with many words that Beth used in her studies.

    • 27.3
      Forever His says:

      Loved your comments! You are a riot!

  28. 28
    Deana O'Hara says:

    Well done Melissa. I’ve had the wonderful joy and honor of facilitating many of your mom’s bible studies. I can remember opening my first book of hers and knowing I’d found a kindred spirit. (I cut my original bible study teeth on Precepts) I love her quote in this “They were kinder than I used to be and I learned a lot.” Somewhere along the line I believe I learned that mindset from Beth. Looking at life and asking “What can I learn from this?” rather than reacting takes great spiritual maturity. A good teacher never stops being a student.

    Blessings from Oklahoma.

  29. 29

    Breathe Melissa …Breathe,,,Thank you for this Blog post.Your elegance and expression in Communicating was Full of Grace!! Please know that the Character and Integrity that your Mom strives for in her life and in her published work is known to women around the World.Through her Teaching Jesus has Brought Salvation,Healing,Deliverance and Redemption by the Revelation Power of His Word and Spirit.She has shared her heart so readily with us,we actually respond with “Are you kidding?,,Siesta Momma would NOT say that”when we read odd quotes,,..and she has taught us to look for ourselves in the Word,,Dig it up,,search it out,,,make sure what she or any teacher is telling us
    is Truth.
    Thank you for Your Love and Passion
    God Bless You and your Family

  30. 30
    Church Lady says:

    Very well written Melissa. I understand how frustrating it is to see the words of someone you love and respect very much taken out of context. Your mom is in good company, it happens to God’s word all the time.

  31. 31
    De Anna says:

    Melissa, those of us who have followed your mother through our journeys know the truth and will not be swayed. Your mom is a wonderful example to all of us of what pursuing the One who Created us is to be about…HIM, His Word, obedience to HIS WORD. Period. We have been blessed, inspired and encouraged to love the ONE she loves more…not because of anything she does or is, but because of who HE is through her. Let the critics be critical if they want…but we, the women of God, simply know good fruit when we see it and hear it…because we, too, have Tasted and seen that the LORD is Who HE Says HE is!!

  32. 32
    Teresa says:

    I love it when you write and inform us. No snoozing here!

  33. 33
    Melissa says:

    Melissa, Great post. I too was caught off guard by some of the phrases used in the article about your mom. SO glad that you took the time to enlighten us as to where the “sources” came from. As a LONG-time junkie of your mom’s studies, I too felt a little protective of her when the subject of seminary was brought up in the article. The good thing is that those of us who know your mom via her studies, ministry, blog, etc., knew better……..

  34. 34
    Tina says:

    Amen sister! We are all behind you and agree with all your descriptive words. I love your mom’s response…just like my mom would have responded. And I mean, isn’t that why we LOVE her OH SO much?!! Humility and wisdom that I can learn for myself. Thanks for the posting!

    • 34.1
      Tina says:

      Oh and many of those descriptive words I didn’t even know what they meant. I must look them up! You are one SMART girlie:)

  35. 35
    Deidra says:

    Thank you, Melissa, for your explanations. To me, Beth’s humble testimony speaks for itself. God has been teaching me lately on the importance of counseling God’s Word and not opinion. I have always found that Beth’s counsel and teaching is the Word of God, not merely opinion.

  36. 36
    Andrea says:

    Melissa, Well done and well written!

  37. 37
    Robin says:

    Thank you Melissa for sharing! This is a great reminder to always dig deeper on any media piece. We are all flawed and only God knows the true heart/motive of any individual reporting a story, aspect or opinion. That goes the same for any preacher, author, etc. Get in God’s Word, dig deeper, and confirm God’s truth for yourself.

    It is hard to know the background of why the author made the decision that were made in the article. Thank you again for being honest and sharing a difficult situation.

  38. 38
    Katie says:

    Melissa thanks for sharing this and sharing your heart! I would do the same thing for my mom. It’s hard to see someone you love get attacked or misrepresented when you know they got it wrong and you want to set them get the facts straight! I think anyone who has read your mom’s work or dug into God’s word with her studies, has seen her true colors and that she is a woman after God’s own heart as are her daughters. 🙂 Beth teaching is rooted deep in the word and that’s the only reason why I trust it, and it’s the best reason! Psalm 34:5 “Those who look to him are radiant;their faces are never covered with shame.” Humility is a soul beauty treatment but we don’t need to fear shame of slander because of God sticking up for us! God Bless!

  39. 39
    jill says:

    there should be some sort of journalist integrity that ESPECIALLY follows in a “Christian” magazine…i hope the author of the article reads your entry. nice job.

  40. 40
    Donna says:

    Melissa, thank you so much for your post. I have learned that there are very few honest articles written by the media today. I live in Eldorado, where the FDLS has their Mormon compound that was raided and had children taken a couple of years ago. It was a media ‘circus’ and if you had the misfortune of speaking to any of the media,you learned that what you said was reported out of context. This happended with a member of my family, so I know first-hand. Those of us that have sat under your Mom’s teachings for so many years know what she believes & what she stands for and what she does NOT stand for. I have not gotten the magazine as of yet but plan on doing so. Thank you so much for the “heads up” on the article. Have a great weekend, sweet girl.

  41. 41
    Kathy says:

    Bravo, my dear- very well expressed- your mother deserves amazing daughters like you and Amanda- As Rev. Evans said in Oak Cliff last weekend “Religion is supposed to set people free” Your mother’s ministry certainly does that and THAT is what Jesus did for us- Thank you for using your brilliance and passion in your studies- We need you in the academic arena with your grounded spiritual eyes.

    Lots of blessings and love

  42. 42
    Corrie says:

    Thanks for your post Melissa, very well written. I have not read the articles (well, at least not all of them, I may have read one of the shorter ones online), but I am amazed at the lengths journalists will go to to state something.

    I appreciate your heart in the matter. You have shown great fortitude and diligence yourself to research where the quotes came from! I appreciate your taking it up for all the reasons you mentioned.

    Like many of the others reading here, I too would have thought something was amiss with those parts, simply based on your mother’s love for you and the time/energy you have invested studying.

    May the grace of God be with you all.

  43. 43
    Cherie says:

    On more than one occasion, I have figuratively engaged in “spirited debate” with your mother while reading one of her books or worked on one of her Bible studies, but … I have Never thought that she wasn’t firmly rooted in Biblical scholarship and had a healthy respect for academia. I probably wouldn’t be in seminary now if it weren’t for her. But, I agree; we must all be mindful not to lose sight of God and his Word in our scholarship.

  44. 44
    Leslie says:


    Great work – Great love – Great passion
    You know the truth, Your mom knows the truth, many of us know the truth and God definitely knows the truth….

    I admire your ability to lay it out so clearly for us, but even more, your passion to defend your mother so strongly and tenderly. She is truly blessed by her daughters.

    It occurs to me as I ponder this, that your mom has, with her faithful service, kept me (and countless others) rooted in God’s word for 6 years and I KNOW that no matter what the enemy’s intent or even small success, God is going to twist this thing back over on him and use it for good and glory –

    Like others, I’m requesting that you clarify the title of the magazine since there is one stand out since it’s been the running ad on facebook this month and I would be saddened for the wrong magazine to “catch heat.” Also, you have made us all interested in which magazine for the positive impact you’ve experienced from its articles.

    Thank you for your post – I love how you have “risen up and called her blessed.”

  45. 45
    eva says:

    This post made me realize how much words on a page can be copied in random order rather than intended order and totally “not get” what the author was trying to impress on the reader. Further, how often and easily the author’s words are completely misunderstood or distorted or blatently misquoted. It happens daily in biased articles as well as any media outlet wanting us to join their mindset, knowing the masses are either too lazy to check out the validity of their quotes, or too ignorant to use the sound mind God gave them. Either way, I can’t help but compare this post with the Word of God himself all the time. How often his children totally “don’t get” what He is saying to us. How often His own sons and daughters(like you and your mom and hopefully us too) try ever so viligently to help others “get Him”(of course through the Holy Spirit)when we see this happening.

    I know God is smiling on you today, using your God given intellect and servant heart to clarify the misquoted article that will no doubt cause some readers to grasp the wrong intent of your mom’s quotes.

    Thanks so much for your post.

  46. 46
    Mandy says:

    Well said, Melissa. I esteem you highly and my life has been changed by the love of the Moore women. Press on. Keep your eyes on Him and know you are making a difference.

  47. 47
    Joy Matteson says:

    Thanks, Melissa, for writing this. I graduated from Moody with a degree in historical theology about 3 years ago, and have read and completed so many of your mom’s bible studies since I was in high school. In those years, even as I was studying at Moody, I never got the impression your mom undervalued seminaries or the pursuit of theology; on the contrary, I was encouraged to delve even deeper into what theological truths she was pulling from Scripture as I read her words.

  48. 48
    Margie says:


    You’ve honored the Lord and your mom. Excellently researched and articulated.

  49. 49
    Tara says:

    Whew! Melissa, girl, I love your posts. You knew your Mom well enough to know this wasn’t right (I did, too, by the way, as soon as I read it…I bet most Siestas did). It’s scary to think that we often likely read, even in Christian magazines, articles that misconstrue other’s words or contain information that is simply inaccurate.

  50. 50


    I remember when AJ asked us to pray about that interview, I understand why now. Wow.

    I see there are questions from others asking what y’all will do with that article; and what I wonder ,is it something that just is the way of the world, that really people have to come to understand the “real story” on their own?
    Because while I read through this, I have seen myself and others I’ve known in my life in between the lines; we have all felt that time of being miscommunicated.

    So reading through this, it teaches me that “someone” is always going to “miss the point” entirely, and see the “perspective” from their own side.
    I think people sometimes forget, that the person they are writing about, actually has “walked in their own shoes.”

    It irritates me when I’ve been online and seen anything negative about anyone I respect, because they’ve only seen the surface of that person. As if they were standing outside interviewing and talking about what they “assume” is going on inside someone’s home.

    But it is truly in those times of being misunderstood in my own personal life, that I realized how much more God did understand my entire life story…

    And maybe that is why Beth is so humble about it, because ultimately, in Him no matter what insecurity of the world is out there…we are still secure in Him.

    A learning process for myself daily…but I rest in Him.
    I am sure she does too.

    Because its something I indeed have learned from her.
    Thanks for that Beth:)

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