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. 101
    Kari says:

    While I would not have ever known about this article if you had not posted pieces of it on here, I greatly appreciate your post.

    LPM is a wonderful blessing to many. Thank you all for the work that you do and Beth especially, for continuing to put yourself in the public’s view, even though it isn’t always easy!

  2. 102
    Sarah M says:

    I think your mom better watch out, or Christianity Today will have you researching and writing for them! Had I come across the article, I would have found that paragraph hard to believe. Though I don’t know your mother’s heart the way that you do, I can’t imagine such words coming out of her mouth – much less her heart.

    I loved this sentence that you wrote “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.” I couldn’t agree with you more.

    I’m sure your mom didn’t ask you to come in and defend her, but way to go! I know she appreciates her girls!

  3. 103
    Suzy says:

    I’m a “PK” — so totally understand how difficult it is to hear criticism of your parents (or someone misrepresenting / misinterpreting what your parent said). As a teenager and young adult, I can remember crying out to God to take vengeance on those people who were hurting the ones I loved by untrue words. 🙂 (Of course, I’ve heard your mother quote more than once, “vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” – so I have matured since then….Maybe.) We can tolerate a lot against ourselves – but don’t touch the ones we love. We tend to get a little mama-bearish then.

    Anyway – I only say all that to let you know that I totally understand what you were feeling and appreciate your efforts to set the record straight. But like everyone else on this site, I “know” Beth Moore enough to realize when I see something like this that doesn’t ring true to character.

    And of course, God will set the record straight for everyone else one day. Because He said he would.

  4. 104
    Faran says:


    Thank you for taking the time to present this information. Your gifting as a writer has never shined brighter to me because you ably defended your mother’s heart without being defensive. That is not easy!

    You really are well-equipped take the arcane or complicated and present it logically and simply. Can’t wait for the James study!

  5. 105
    Jill_in_AL says:

    As always, you rock, Melissa. I love the passion and clarity in your analysis. Great post. I don’t get that magazine and would never have know there was an article; however, I do consider myself a Siesta and in that way feel like I “know” you all as much as we can “know” each other across this virtual space. Anyone who has spent time with and knows the heart of your family knows how much you love Christ, His church and His people and how very much you all respect the same.

    As your mom said yesterday on Life Today–you do have the heart of a lion! Have a great weekend, J

  6. 106
    Kim says:

    Nice clarification. You know, for those who only have heard your mom a few times or are not that familiar with her teachings, I think this needed clarifying. We tend to look at these articles from time to time and take it word for word but when you KNOW, “Wait that’s not right”, then you are able to take a different look at it.
    I think in this situation, your moms writings are reality and we all live it daily. I too will be taking a seminary class soon to help with my foundation of God’s Word. I believe we need foundation and structure but living the daily reality of life, is the TRUE Reality of God’s Word.
    Hope this makes sense.
    Thank you Melissa!

  7. 107
    Thom Rainer says:

    Melissa –

    Thank you so much for your well-articulated post. It is anything but boring. When I read the second article, I showed it to my co-worker, John Kramp. We both commented that it did not sound like Beth and wondered if there were contextual issues.

    Please know that we at LifeWay love and support you, your mom, and all the great team of LPM.

    • 107.1
      Melissa says:

      Dr. Rainer, I am so delighted and honored to see your kind comment. Mom sure does love working with you and the Lifeway team. Please send my regards to Mr. Kramp- once upon a time, I was a summer intern at Lifeway and had the time of my life! Such a great group of people. Warmly, Melissa

  8. 108
    sepik-meri katie says:

    thanks melissa, you addressed that article with excellence!! your sweet mom; she WOULD say something like that… “they were kinder than they had to be”. i am so glad you put those things back in context for anyone who might have been misled by a misleading article. we know your moms heart, and we stand up with and for her as family! we love you!

  9. 109
    Johanna says:

    Goodness, I am still reeling from how your Mom responded. I was convicted of my own unwillingness to do things because of undue criticism. We all need a good dose of criticism at times to help refine us. But really, do we have to have it come from people who are supposed to be our brothers and sisters in Christ? (that’s rhetorical) Even if your Mom is chalking this up as a learning experience I am praying specifically for this situation. I am a Thursday Prayer Warrior and had been wondering if there was anything I could specifically pray for, well I think I’ve got my answer.

  10. 110
    sharon says:

    Melissa, Can’t you just wonder how many times Jesus’ words have been twisted and misconstrued and misrepresented and misquoted and wrongly taught and He’s felt the very same thing? God Himself knows how you feel! Surely, Jesus has often wanted to say to the crowd that’s been “said” to, “Wait a minute! I didn’t say that! How could you say that I said that? That isn’t even My heart!” And yet…when His accusers and persecutors were mocking Him and spitting on Him and questioning Him as they led Him to the cross… surprisingly, He didn’t say a word. Woe, though, at the expression that surely rose on His Father’s face! Wildly still, Jesus finally responded with, “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” No doubt, you felt a little of what our Father feels when reading the misconception about your mom! Don’t you know He’s nodding with understanding. He gets that! And He will so very much take care of your sweet mother! Perhaps even bless her MOORE because of the critical saying. For what man intends for evil, God means for good!!!!

    I love all of ya’ll Moores.. and all of the girls that work for ya!

  11. 111
    Pamela says:

    This disappoints me greatly. Having walked through so many of your moms God-inspired bible studies, I have seen her thoughts and heard her beliefs, and experienced her love for God. They are way off and to mis-print as they have saddens me. I do hope you send a response….maybe we all should also.

    Believing Him…Experiencing Him~Pamela

  12. 112
    Warm in Alaska says:

    Bravo! Bravo! Why bravo? Because you took the time and energy and effort (and I certainly want to hope you had a couple good Starbucks along the way) to carefully present the truth, the right context, and the heart of the matter.

    Melissa – you could have ignored the parts of the articles that didn’t sit right with who you know Beth to be and what you know her ministry to be: but you did the right thing in shedding light and setting the record straight.

    And you did it with a kind firmness. And let me tell you – next to watching your child’s character come under wrong scrutiny – the only thing that is as hard is watching a beloved parent’s character be treated less than is meritorious – particularly in a case such as yours where Beth has been so willing to be so open with who she is and with her teaching and writing (and blogging!) gifts.

    So – bravo to you for the hard work of presenting the truth, and doing so diligently – but with kindness to CT and to the author of the piece.

    I appreciate you – and if I could slap a “BRAVO” sign on your forehead and reward you with another Starbucks (hopefully you would want a venti size – that’s what I’m about to go get!) than I would!!

    Warm in Alaska.

  13. 113
    Jean says:

    My sweet girl, you touch me. You just do. Thank you for lovingly clarifying your mother’s heart. You are a precious gem.

    • 113.1
      Melissa says:

      Jean, you are so sweet. Your comment almost made me cry and I’m not even sure why. Hope you have a great weekend.

  14. 114

    testing my gravatar…………it hasn’t been showing up

  15. 115
    Jeri Meek says:

    Having done numerous studies and attended Living Proof Live events… I would have had a hard time taking the article at face value. I would have felt the need to defend your mother as though she were my own, only I wouldn’t have had the actual context of her statements to go to. I appreciate your bias, as any of us who have come to love your mother and her ministry stand right there with you!

    In some ways, it’s like when critics tear down scripture. It makes us figure out why we believe what we do, or how we came to understand it a certain way. I would like to think God allows the contraversy to solidify our beliefs!

  16. 116
    Mary Watkins says:

    Thank you for this detailed clarification of the Christianity Today article. It is pretty sad when quotes taken out of context are fitted together to paint the wrong picture. It is like forcing pieces of a jigsaw puzzle together in all the wrong places. It is not very pretty.

    Thank you for the step-by-step review of the article.

    Your mom has been my mentor for years. She not only shares her love for Christ, she loves us and she wants us to know Him more.

    Beth Moore belongs in the Hebrews 11 Hall of Faith.

  17. 117
    Emily D says:

    Meliisa -Good, well written response.

    My memory verse this month seems apt – Prov 19v11 “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” (I started learning bible verses for the first time last Jan when a certain bible study teacher set up a ‘team’ to do so)

    Actually this week I’ve also learnt quite a bit about patience. I always have thought about patience as being ‘what you need whilst waiting for a bus that is late’ but studying the fruit of the spirit this week, I now know that the word used in Gal 5 is makrothumia which means,in part, ‘the quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so’. (I learnt this from the same said bible study teacher )

    We have a saying in England ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’. I, like many many others, have greatly been influenced by the work of Beth Moore. I have been encoraged to learn greek and hebrew words, inspired to buy several concordances and commentries, I now study various translations of the bible at one time to get a better picture and I am developing a love and understanding of the word that I wouldn’t have imagined possible 2 years ago. Also, and more importantly, I have grown deeply deeply in love with my saviour.

    I thank God for Beth Moore -and am grateful that she has a clever , articulate and corageous daughter to mind her back !

    • 117.1
      Catherine says:

      Emily said what I had been thinking after I read the CT article. No one is above reasoned criticism, but the specific points that you mention, Melissa, also caught my eye and I thought they were mistaken.

      Emily said it so good (as we say in the South) that I want to quote her:

      “I, like many many others, have greatly been influenced by the work of Beth Moore. I have been encouraged to learn Greek and Hebrew words, inspired to buy several concordances and commentaries, I now study various translations of the bible at one time to get a better picture and I am developing a love and understanding of the word that I wouldn’t have imagined possible 2 years ago. Also, and more importantly, I have grown deeply deeply in love with my Savior. “

    • 117.2
      Melissa says:

      Emily D, where in England do you live? I love the phrase “the proof is in the pudding”- we have a catering place nearbly our home in Atlanta that is named just that! Very fun!

  18. 118
    Nichole's Mom says:

    Melissa you DO have the heart of a lion just like your Dad said! I’m glad you keep an open mind, otherwise people won’t take you seriously. The peice you just wrote was fair and professional. Anyone who has actually listens to your mother would know that she wouldn’t say things like that. I love that you said unless she was talking about you! When my daughter went to Masters Commission she sort of got uppity with me about her Bible knowledge and I let her know one day she was being a snotty little Bible school brat! We laugh about it now! Thank you for sharing your life with us all these years and for the part you are playing in this body!

  19. 119
    Jeanette Fester says:

    you lost me girl.. too long..:)love you anyway…

  20. 120
    Kelly says:

    Amen, Sister! Great job on the response. It was thoughtful, well-researched, and above all done respectfully! Thanks for sharing it with us! I just know your mom and family is surely proud at how you handled this!


  21. 121
    Gretchen says:

    Dear Melissa,

    Thank you for that thoughtful, insightful post. It’s funny how I feel like I know your Mom, like she’s really one of my friends. That happens because of how she shares herself within her teaching, whether in a book or Bible study, or at a conference. Her sacrifice, worship, and humility before God are on display every time we listen to her speak or read something she has written. One of our very favorite things about your Mom and LPM is that every resource and teaching are excellent. From the packaging to the content, the pursuit of excellence is apparent. That is so rare in any place you look these days and it is a distinct characteristic of this ministry. Above all, it’s the sincere love that we see in everything she says and does that convince us that she is indeed a woman after God’s own heart. It is evident that the Lord is with her and using her in mighty ways (may His name be praised!) That quote did not sound like my Siesta Mama, and I knew it when I read it.

    These are interesting days we’re living in, aren’t they? I am praying for a continued excellence, protection, and sincerity as we pursue the Lord Jesus Christ with everything we’ve got until He brings us home.

    Much love,


  22. 122
    Mercy says:

    Melissa, I could not read the article fast enough. I locked myself in the bathroom and I read it twice. I read so fast that I was spinning. I feel that after so many years of doing bible studies with your mom I am also her daughter. And we know her (a little :)) but we know her character, her love for Jesus and her humility. After I read the article I knew that it was not a complete presentation of our Beth.

  23. 123
    Kristi says:

    I recently finished seminary and have begun working at a church. A few months ago I received some pretty harsh criticism. I’ve prayed through the words that were said to find any nuggets of truth in them – I don’t know how else to turn blatant slander into something constructive. It’s sometimes really hard to be right at the beginning of my life in ministry and already have people trying to tear me down.

    I know this is backwards, but it is amazingly encouraging to hear that someone as faithful as Beth Moore has been criticized and lived through it with such grace. That takes the strength of God. It’s nice to know that even our heros get criticized sometimes. Thanks for sharing! Only in doing so can this become a learning experience for everyone in blogland.

    • 123.1
      Melissa says:

      Kristi, where did you go to seminary? I pray the Lord enourages your heart through this season of learning. All my best, Melissa

  24. 124
    jennifer says:

    Melissa, oh man do i feel your pain. Fellow seminary student myself. Beth is like a digital mom to me. I snapped at a professor for belittling Beth in class and he hasn’t forgotten and neither have I. Why do they hate women so much? It’s things like that article that make me grateful God does not miss our hurt feelings. i do understand the seminary pride issue.


  25. 125
    Julie says:

    When I first saw the article and began to read the quotes my inner “sirens” went off. Having spent years in the word with many of your moms studies as companions, I KNEW there was no way whoever wrote those “quotes” had it right.

    I know your mom is often criticized, after all she is in ministry. However, blatant twisting of words to create criticism is, in my opinion, inexcusable. Thanks Melissa, for protecting your mom when these boundaries were crossed. She deserves it.

    While I was reading your blog God brought these amazing words from Proverbs 31 to mind:

    26 She speaks with wisdom,
    and faithful instruction is on her tongue.

    27 She watches over the affairs of her household
    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

    28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:

    29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”

    30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

    31 Give her the reward she has earned,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

    You particularly embraced verse 28 in your own unique Melissa way. I love it!! Thanks for being you!

  26. 126
    Beth says:

    thank you for such a well written and thoughtful post! You are a credit to your mom and a blessing

  27. 127
    Linda says:

    What a sweet daughter you are. I can only imagine how you felt reading that article. Your love for your Mom shines through this post Melissa.
    I cannot imagine ever thinking (or believing) anything critical of your Mom. Her absolute honesty and humility have always been so special to me. She is the real deal.

  28. 128
    Siesta OC says:

    Melissa, what study tools do YOU use? IF you don’t mind me asking…I just love reading your posts. And that quote from Anselm,

    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.”

    Where do you get these things!!! That touched my heart, where I am at right now, it was like, whoa! And not just any whoa, one of your Mama’s “WHOA’S”

  29. 129
    Kim says:

    Oh my gosh – I missed the second article. When I first read the first article, I confess that I read it as though they were writing about MY mother or sister or dearest friend. I was defensive from the onset. Most of it was good and part of it – I wanted to scream – YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW THAT WOMAN HAS BEEN USED OF GOD TO CHANGE MY LIFE! I have never been to an LPM event, never met any of you and yet you all minister to me more than any other pastor ever has. God uses each one of you – the whole Moore bunch – to speak to me, encourage me, bless me, and make me laugh and cry.

    I love each of you and praise God for the day when we will actually meet and boast in the Lord together, even if it is in heaven.

    I will faithfully lead your mother’s bible studies and do them with full passion.

    Couldn’t love any of you more than I already do. Thank you for all you are and all you do.

    With much love

  30. 130
    Melody Reid says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your words. As a new seminarian, I am just beginning to begin to figure some of these hard theological issues out. Does it ever get any easier???? I’ve been a devoted Beth Moore Bible Study participant for many years. In fact, I would say that it was your mom who first began to place a desire in my heart to go to seminary. She has NEVER spoken disparagingly about scholars, theologians, or acadamians. In fact, she has always given credit to learned scholars who she has gleaned insight from. Thanks for defending her!
    Melody Burroughs Reid

  31. 131
    Gayla says:

    What a well-written and carefully thoughtful post. Thank you. I am sorry it was needed but this is life.

  32. 132
    Amanda Billings says:

    Its like the writer of the article took all of Beth’s quotes and twisted them together at Beth’s expense just to make her article more “juicy”.

    Way to go Melissa at coming to her defense. And Beth, your humility is so gracious, you learned from the article and we are learning from you.

  33. 133
    Brenda O (KCMO) says:

    I’ve never commented on here before, but I check in everyday to see what’s happening. THIS post I felt compelled to comment on. It’s like hearing about Shirley Sherrod all over again. If what you believe happened really happened, and I believe it did, then I just have to ask, “Why?” I don’t get it. I have not seen the magazine (yet), but now my interest is peaked and I will certainly be tracking it down.

    God bless, you Melissa. God bless your for your perseverance to track all that stuff down, for your ability to put it into writing in a manner we all can understand, for the love for your mother. You have an amazing way with words, girl. (I speak simply, saying stuff like “stuff”) And I read this post in awe, picturing Beth doing the same. Beth Moore, you must feel so loved to have a daughter come to your defense in this manner. And your pride must be bubbling over right about now. I love you guys! Your whole ministry is such an inspiration to me and to so many others! God bless you all! Brenda (one of the banana peel girls from KC.)

  34. 134
    Heather Smith says:

    What an excellent job you did in writing this post! Having just finished Steppin’ Up, I heartily affirm what you stated.
    In ministry, it is often hard to know when to speak and when not to regarding things said, written about, or attributed to you (or someone you love). Thank you for handling this with such grace and serving as an example of how to do so appropriately when it becomes necessary.
    My husband (a pastor) and I are both seminary graduates (he with his doctorate and I with my masters) and we can both attest to the fact that we serve the Lord with greater love, wisdom and passion due to the firm foundation that they gave us!
    May God continue to bless you and your Mom as you serve our Lord. I am so grateful for you both!

  35. 135
    Sarah Pulliam Bailey says:

    Hi Melissa,
    Thanks for engaging with the articles that ran in Christianity Today. I wrote the first article (the profile) on your mother, so I didn’t want to weigh in on Halee’s article. I wanted to focus on this comment you made:
    “Unlike Amanda, I was never interviewed by the folks who wrote these articles.”

    I want to make sure you understood that I did try to interview you but your mother’s staff said that you would not be available. I was given a very short phone interview with Amanda, but it was hard to discuss much more than a few brief experiences. Your perspective would have been invaluable, and I wish we would have had the opportunity to speak with you. Thanks again for engaging with the magazine. The articles will be posted online in the next week or so.

  36. 136
    Amy Beth says:

    This whole response fascinated me (along with the article) because of my own experience of having been in a religion grad program. I know this post isn’t meant for us to all rally around Beth, but I’ve got one thing to say:

    If this don’t get resolved (sorry, I have to use the Tennessee vernacular) in an “editorial correction” in the next issue, I think my Cousin Cate and I are going to have to make a little trip to wherever this magazine is published. I realize you don’t know my Cousin Cate, but I assure you that she is well known throughout the greater southern United States for her ability to get to the heart of a matter rather quickly, especially when it comes to someone that she often refers to as her best friend (i.e. Bethy). When Cousin Cate hears about this, she is going to be none too pleased and, dare I say it, she might actually TAKE OFF HER EARRINGS TO SHOW THEM SHE MEANS BUSINESS.

    (When Cousin Cate takes off her earrings, things are about to get settled. And quick like.)

    All joking aside, I think it’s really important that the article was clarified and I think that this post makes it very clear which parts of the article might have been a bit misleading (I’m putting it nicely). I’m looking forward to seeing that “editorial correction” next month.

    Let me know if you need Cousin Cate’s services. 🙂

  37. 137
    becky says:

    Melissa, what a wonderful response! I dare say there is a small army of women who agree and who stand with you. Beth has done a wonderful job at bearing her heart to us through years of teaching by written and spoken word. Humble is her way and the word that I most often use to describe her. Before she wrote a lesson I saw her in a small ladies retreat (1989 maybe), she came equipped with her testimony and she “signed” the worship songs for us. Humble then and humble now even while filling stadiums. She teaches us to connect with HIS Spirit, thats the draw no matter the articles.

  38. 138

    Melissa, as a writer, I think it is a real shame that they don’t allow the person the article is written about to double check the article to make sure they are being represented correctly. Every article I write, I have to do that very thing, and I feel good and confident knowing that it meets their approval. Wow.
    Love, Shelli

  39. 139
    Georgia Boone says:

    You go girl. I do not subscribe to Christianity Today, but I am sure you are probable right on in your assessment. You of all people should know where your Mom falls theologically.
    I will say I absolutely hate it when people are taken out of context. Scripture is so often only partially quoted and if you hear the whole scripture it doesn’t mean what they are quoting…..listen to the whole verse dang it!!

    Thanks for the clarification and the obvious love for your Mom.

    Have a great weekend,
    Bible Bunny in NO MI

  40. 140
    Diana A says:

    Isn’t God so gracious and amazing?

    James is the new study, and God has provided Beth the opportunity to walk out chapter 1 verses 2-4! “Consider it great joy …!” Girl you ain’t gonna lack nothing!

    Please feel encouraged by all those who love you through your work, testimony, and writings that although we may not know our Beautiful Beth personally – Jesus does! He will bring truth and redeem all her efforts for His glory and for the Glory of our Heavenly Father!

    Ms Beth please keep walking your life out before Him, and He will lift you up in due time – I am sure you know this by heart, I just want to send you love from a woman who is still learning many lessons herself.

  41. 141
    Becky says:

    Whoa—thank you Melissa for clearing all that up.
    In your blog you quoted your Mom…”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, weather at home, at work, on a date, a baby shower a funeral or at church.” Oh my. That just hit the nail on the head. She has not failed us or anyone she has taught. Seems to me we have been taught down through the ages to “do church” a certain way, but life a different way….BAMB! there’s our problem right there.
    This “how you do church” has created a problem for me for the past several years. I have learned through the Bible study ‘Breaking Free’ that I have been taught since birth, a whole lot of legalism. It took me 40 yrs to realize it. Again BAMB! there was my problem right there.(or some of it) If the pulpits and the Sunday school classes and the Teen classes were filled with teachers like your Mom and taught like your Mom does, man! the churches would be on fire for the Lord. We would be living an exampled life of ‘the scripture is for how you do life.”

    No matter how you slice it or dice it. Beth Moore has stimulated my passion for studying the Word of God where no one else I have ever incountered has, and honey, I’ve been in a Baptist church since birth, and I’m in my 40’s.

    If I understood all that you said correctly…
    The mag. article… well, we siestas will just have to pray for that person who got the words all mixed around to say something not really said, and give this issue over to the Lord.
    Melissa —It was good to hear from you,
    Beth—- big hug here girl. :0)
    Love ya sweetie.

  42. 142
    Sandee says:

    that must be hard….an article written that way…from a magazine you respect. I think anyone out there who has every read a book written by your mom, or taken a Bible study, or sat in a conference….can feel and sense your mom’s heart for God, the word and the study of the word…including institutions. If I had read that article, prior to you writing this blog….it would have jumped out at me as misquoted and not understanding her heart….

    Blessings to you and Beth and all your family. …God looks on the heart.

  43. 143
    Diane says:

    Good job Melissa. It is the reality check for us all to NEVER take an article,report, book or teaching as solid truth with out first testing it to see if it IS true.
    Who could be in a study by Beth Moore without seeing how how she holds solid Bible commentators in high regard by drawing on them and quoting from their works.
    Do I get dubbed the title for knowing what Turabian style is? 😉

  44. 144
    Suzan says:

    Love Miss Beth’s studies. What others say really doesn’t matter. It is was God says to Beth and how she allows Him to use her that is the most important. I know I have received many a blessing and many a growth spurt by studying Beth Moore studies. God is alive and active through her ministry!

  45. 145
    Adele says:

    Melissa, I hope you send your response to the editors, with the suggestion to adhere to Turabian when using quotes. 🙂 Well articulated, as always.
    Love from Jakarta, Indonesia.

  46. 146
    Tera Austin says:

    Way to go Amanda. God bless you and your Mama. You girls make it so easy for me to understand God’s Word.

    • 146.1
      Tera Austin says:

      I meant Melissa. I do love you too, Amanda. I am so grateful for the e-mails, I can not always get the blog.

  47. 147
    Emmy says:

    Great post Melissa! Love your passion… I could feel it as I was reading. I was cheering you on! : )

  48. 148
    Becky says:

    As I read the words in the articles, even before you said anything else, I JUST DID NOT think they were written exactly from your mom. Just didn’t sound like the Beth I have come to know and love! Keeping on in the faith together! b

  49. 149
    Michelle says:

    Thank you, Melissa, for “setting the record straight”. I have not read the Christianity Today article, but as I was reading your quote of the article, I thought, “Wait a minute….that doesn’t sound like something Beth would say.” Truly, I esteem your mother in so many ways, not just for her lovable personality (although that is a large part of it.) But I also have so much genuine respect and appreciation for her search for God’s truths. Y’all just try to let this slide off you like water off a duck’s back. I am so sorry for the pain and anger you must be feeling. Love you all.

  50. 150

    I love that you wrote this Melissa. Just how much you love your Mama shines through as you share her actual quotes. I only hope that my daughter jumps to my defense someday when she’s grown in the same sweet way!


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