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”

If you'd like your own pic by your comment, go to Gravatar.com. Click the first button "Get your gravatar today ->", and it will walk you through a simple process to select a picture.


  1. 151
    Maria says:

    EXCELLENT MELISSA!!!!!! Fabulous Blog!!! It makes me sad that writers do that ESPECIALLY to our Siesta Mama!! We Love you Ladies!!

  2. 152
    Bethany says:

    Thank you for clarifying. You did an amazing job of backing your mom and her writing. Thank you for hunting down those misused quotes and putting them back into context for us. As one of many siestas, I appreciate your care for us to go to the great lengths that you did to present the information clearly, understandably, and completely. Thank you.
    You are deeply loved!
    Bethany (CA)

  3. 153
    Lori, Love2Praise says:


    I love the way you presented and supported your mother’s thoughts and the truth of her teachings. Anyone who has studied under your mom would know that those “misleading” statements were never uttered in that way from her.

    I have never known your mom to ever have to put something or someone down to prove a point. She goes out of her way to NOT do such things. And we all know how highly she esteems Theologians and their Institutes of Higher learning. She has always prodded us to seek out the same if we are unsure of certain doctrine. I just finished the study of Daniel and love how she presented Revelations and urged us all to seek out others teachings in comparison to hers and that which she believes.

    We also know how proud your mother is of you and your intellect and your passion for higher learning. You and your sister have the thirst and hunger to follow after the Word and it’s meaning. For you it could have been genetically transferred but for us, Siestaville, it has been breathed into us and spreads like a fire through the very passion with which your mom speaks about Jesus! (The genetically transferred part was supposed to be funny!) I know that it is God annointed and I thank Him for entrusting your Mother with this gift. She truly handles herself with grace and humility. Which is what draws us to her.

    If there is one person whose flaws your mom points out it is her own! This is what makes us connect to her, love her and respect her. She gives us the HOPE that even sinners like us can have an intimate, loving relationship with Christ! I hunger for it, thirst for it, seek after it, and grow from it – THE WORD! Thanks to your mom, you and Amanda for sharing your gifts!

    In His Love, Lori

  4. 154
    Elizabeth says:

    This is totally not related on the subject of your post but sent you an email a few weeks ago. Wanted to see if you got it. 🙂


  5. 155
    kathy Pink Bicycle Arkansas says:

    Thank you Melissa for setting the record straight. I was scanning your post earlier while at work and seen the statement that referred to Beth saying that seminaries were “snobbery”….mind you I was just scanning but I thought that sounded very wrong. Later as I had a chance I read more and then later more.

    Siesta’s know our Siesta and we know those were not her comments we pray that Chritianity Today will clarify that for those we do not know her and prove themselves to be responsible journalist.

  6. 156
    Katie says:

    It amuses me that one would have the conclusion that your mom found seminaries and theological study repugnant when for me, it was the fire to learn as an insatiable hunger in her that ignited that same flame in me. I can count her as an important vessel in encouraging me into further study after my time at Southwestern Bible College in Arizona. In conclusion, what I’ve taken from Mrs. Beth is entirely different from the author of that article. Thank you for presenting this for those who may be swayed to be mislead from the true heart of your mom.

  7. 157
    Lindsay says:

    This is a beautifully written post Melissa. It was ironic that as this post came through my email today I was at seminary in a hermeneutics class (I know I shouldn’t have been reading email but it was a 6 hour class today and I needed a break). As I am listening to the professor explain the importance of context and how it RULES in interpreting text, reading your post, Melissa, shows how damaging it is to miscontrue the contextual origin of the author’s words. To see that this happened, and furthermore that it happened while pointing out that your mom does not hold to an “academic” approach to her teaching, is such an oxymoron. While doing a piecemeal representation of her work, they not only misconstrue what she truly said, but by not following a basic hermeneutical approach (the very basics of the “academeia” purported to be disdained) they contradict their very own claim. As my professor said, “Hermeneutics is everything to the text. If you’re not willing to do the work to research it, you have no right to comment on it.”
    Every siesta on here has been so blessed by Beth and her heart and work to make the Word of God known to women (and men). To minimize that in any way is so very sad.
    This is a magazine that I also subscribe to and I am so disappointed to know that the editing was not more rigorous in assuring the used sources are accurately cited.
    I apologize if this didn’t make any sense, but my brain’s a little friend from listening to the importance of historical knowledge of bronze vs. iron age today. :):)
    Thanks for the great post!!!

  8. 158
    Connie says:

    Thanks so much for what you wrote, I don’t have the magazine, and I know how things can get twisted or from a different point of view. I have never thought your Mom meant what you thought the article was saying. I have enjoyed all the studies I have done.

  9. 159
    Rachel says:

    You and your mom are so precious to me. I knew when I read the article that something was off. I am praying for you and your family and the ministry work ahead. Praying God’s protection, peace and grace over any thoughts of mis-step. Your character is transparent even when a written article is cloudy. All my thanks for being Christ with big hair,
    No longer HAD,
    Rachel King

  10. 160
    Chris in PA says:

    Melissa that was so well said even I understood it! Well done! In the meantime, God used the section on pride to speak to me. I have wrestled with my pride so much this week and trying to get back in a right spirit from an offensive remark made to me. The words leaped off the page and the Lord used it to set me right again! Love and blessings to you.

  11. 161
    DigiNee says:

    Well said —– I have to also say that I look forward to your posts Melissa —– you inspire me to expand my horizons and re-think issues. Peace.

  12. 162
    Chris in PA says:

    P.S. it makes me want to go dig all those bible study workbooks out and do them all again!

  13. 163

    Thanks, Melissa, for your post. My husband and I had a good discussion about it. When he went off to a Christian college, his mother (who also attended there) told him not to come back thinking he knew more than everyone else. Good advice. And if I had read that article, I would have not believe that was your mother’s heart on that issue.

  14. 164
    Cindy Moses says:

    I immediately thought of these words from Kipling’s ‘IF’:

    “If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,”

    and I thought these were also fitting!

    “If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
    If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;”

    Good for you, Melissa. I think we should all be more discerining in what we read and hear. And that we should hold those who speak it and write it more accountable!

  15. 165
    Rebecca Gumina says:

    Here’s to you, Melissa! I imagine you were wondering even whether to write something. I’m glad you did, as I came running here upon reading the articles. I, too, subscribe to Christianity Today and was looking forward to the coverage ever since they promoted it last month. I have done most of your mom’s studies and have read all the books and as I was reading the article, I got stuck on the same part thinking “this is not the Beth I know!” It did not tarnish what I know of your mother’s heart. It did, however, make me wonder what other CT profiles or articles I’ve devoured in the past that might also have been misrepresentative.

    I didn’t grow up in Arkadelphia, but slightly north in Kansas (now in Michigan) and in Kansas we had a saying that the ‘proof is in the pudding’. I oversee our church’s women’s on-campus small groups, attended by 500-600 weekly, and I’m going to tell you something you already know: your mother’s lifework has made the difference between Life and Death time and again for our women. We have seen transformation after transformation, Bible-hunger upon Bible-hunger growing and gnawing in our women as a result of God’s handiwork through Beth Moore. And while we offer a variety of teachers and studies, it is to your mother’s work that they stampede…as it speaks to them in profound ways and they cheer while laughing and crying and touching their own big hair in a virtual high-five with Beth. Carry on, Beth and Melissa! You are loved and held dear in my heart.

  16. 166
    Cinthia says:

    Well, now I am very disappointed in Christianity Today. I would expect journalists from other places to take liberties, but I held them to a higher standard. I write garden columns (not nearly as important) and I would never take that kind of liberty. You know you are doing it, you know you’re misleading and misguiding because it sounds good, reads well, and captures an audience, but it doesn’t feel good and then you have to delete everything and ask yourself, “What is the truth? Stick to that.”

    And where, I might add, are the editors? My editors double-check botanical names and drive me crazy over quotes to the point that I try to avoid them if I can. What happened to the editing of the article?

    I do hope Christian publications aren’t just printing what is going to get readership. Now, I’m suspect of it all. Good thing we’ve got the Bible. I can always just go read it and not worry about editorial misquotes. 🙂

  17. 167
    Kim says:

    I’ve read and loved Christianity Today for years and have sat under your moms teaching for about as long. I think your evaluation of the article was completely right on, your mom is nothing but loving, supportive, and respectful of others. She just does not seem to have the attitude that was portrayed and it is unfortunate that she was misquoted. I would encourage you to write the editor with your thoughts, and see if you can get your corrections printed in the “Viewpoints” section. I think it is important enough to try.

    However, and I’m sure you will agree, it is exciting that such an intellectual magazine has taken her seriously enough to write about her and evaluate her. It thrilled my soul to see the front cover say “Beth Moore has become the most popular Bible teacher in America” Woot! Woot! God seems to have no boundaries as to where He desires to use your mom. With a front cover like that it would seem the intellectual community will have to take notice. I love it!

    What I love about your mom, and I don’t think the articles did justice to this fact, is that she could go toe to toe against the best Bible scholars in her understanding and grasp of God’s word and the deep things of God, and yet she would do circles around them in being able to effectively communicate it to the simplest of people. I wish the articles had said that about her.

  18. 168
    Danielle says:

    Oh, Melissa! I thought the same things too – only in a less eloquent way. Your mom has been such a heroine of the faith to me. A significant portion of my passion for the Word has been fueled by her delightfully undignified dance in praise of the God of the Holy Scriptures. I hurridly posted on the blog the other day when I got my copy of CT, but I had yet to read the second article. I’m starting MTS in the fall (I’ve said this 800 times on the blog b/c I’m so excited!), and the statement about her views on seminary was a hard pill to swallow. I thought to myself “did I miss that book study?” Ha! That aside, I absolutely reveled in the image of Hawk as a sort of club bouncer. Too funny. Was I the only one that read it that way?

    Also, I wanted to let you know that I am so stinking excited about a LPM study on James! I can’t wait to see your voice on those pages! Thanks for all you bring to the table; you’re an absolute blessing. Truly.

  19. 169
    Tanis says:

    Melissa, thank you for taking the time to write your blog.

    I have not read the article yet but if I had read it I would have been questioning where the author got their facts.

    I have completed several of Beth’s studies and never once have I thought that Beth was teaching that “seminaries are necessary despite the “stunning arrogance” and “theological snobbery” that reside in them…”). Just listening to your mom talk and blog about you shows that your mom does not think this.

    I loved the Stepping Up study and at no time did I think that Beth was teaching what this author is leading the reader to believe.

    I am so thankful that God has blessed your mom with the desire to study the Bible, the patients to read all the commentaries the theologians have written and the ability to put all the material she learns into a package that the rest of us can study and learn from.

    But most of all, Beth’s desire to study the Bible is contagious. Because of Beth, a group of women I meet with are studying Ruth this summer. My co-leader and myself are working through Kay Arthur’s study on Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther so that in the fall we are ready the study that Beth has done on Esther.

    Women are studying God’s Word. Praise God.

  20. 170
    Joyce says:

    I am sorry I do not understand what I just read? …but I love all of you anyway.

  21. 171
    Diane says:

    Thank you, Melissa, for your post and for calling attention to the misrepresentations in the article. I would defend our Siesta Mama to anyone, but could never have done it as eloquently as you did. I wouldn’t have been surprised to read an article such as this in the mainstream media (which loves to be critical of us Christians), but not in a publication with the word “Christian” in the name. I am in my late 40’s and have been a lifelong Christian – I was baptized as an infant and have faithfully attended Sunday worship services and Sunday School classes my whole life, and I can honestly say that no other pastor, teacher or Bible Studies have led me into the Word the way that Beth’s studies have in the past 6 years or so. That is all because of the power of the Holy Spirit and to the glory of God, not Beth, and I know that she would be the first to acknowledge that, but her passion for studying God’s Word and her relationship with the Lord have been an example to me. What troubles me greatly is that someone may read the Christianity Today article and choose not to pursue a Beth Moore study, thereby missing a wonderful opportunity to dig deeper into the Scriptures with a gifted teacher. May God continue to bless all of you at Living Proof Ministries.

  22. 172
    amybhill says:

    doncha love that there is only ONE opinion that matters?!

  23. 173

    I am so glad I read this before getting my “Christianity Today.” I always assume (incorrectly I guess) that the person is actually being interviewed for a specific article. I didn’t realize they “lifted” certain quotes from different writings. And I am doing “Stepping Up” this summer so am familiar with these passages.
    I have always thought how wise your mom is; quoting Greek and Hebrew and referring to other learned Christians; even heros of the past. It makes her teaching authentic and her love for her Lord clearly comes through and inspires me everytime I hear her speak. I think to myself “This woman knows her Bible.” She is in the word, knows the word and remembers the word and instead of just eating the seed, she “plants” it and waits for the harvest. Love you all!!

  24. 174

    I have had my hands on any bible study your precious mom has ever published and thru the years she has only ever pointed me to Jesus. I have only wanted to pursue and love Jesus all the more. Also, I consider her brilliant. I thank God that she doesn’t have some huge education for people like me who are sort of ordinary. I was in prayer for Bethie today and just thanked God that her life has been so given to Him. One more reason why we need to be like the Bereans. I have a lump in my throat over the discipling I have received via bible studies and etc. Your mom in all humility wouldn’t even like us all boasting in the Lord over her.

  25. 175
    Barbara says:

    I know that you can’t believe much the media tells us now days, but it totally disgusts me that a “Christian” writer would pull the same tactics as the world and subsequently be published in a “Christian” magazine. With the recent example of the video that was edited in such a way that misrepresented a federal government worker’s statements and caused her to be fired, this incident sounds remarkably similar. Shame on the author and editor of Christianity Today for allowing such misrepresentation to be published.

  26. 176
    Amanda May says:

    This is so good. Thank you for taking the time to break this down for us. I’m sure that this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to all your sweet Mama has to deal with…and I’m sure she wouldn’t trade it for anything. I am so thankful for her beautiful mind and the impact that her Bible studies have had on my life! I will be praying for all of you! xoxo

  27. 177
    Linda says:

    Melissa, I love your love for your mom. This isn’t the first time it’s struck me what a rare kind of beautiful love you have for her.

    Like many others, had I read the paragraph you addressed, it wouldn’t have rung true. I know your mom is careful to tell and remind us that she is as human and sinful as the rest of us, but after almost 10 years of sitting under her teaching, that just seems an attitude or criticism she wouldn’t have – or if it had been an attitude she had, it would’ve been confessed down on her face before her God and she would’ve been more than careful not to let it slip. – Thank you for this, for many reasons.

  28. 178
    Becky says:

    I’ve been thinking and praying for you since I read Melissa’s post.
    Sweetie, are you alright?
    Know this, I’m praying for you as are all the other siestas in siestaville. WE ALL LOVE YOU, and believe you were misquoted, and not represented well.
    I honestly am praying that you are not spending a moment of fret on this. Don’t forget…. God’s got your back…and front, and heart and mind and soul…. ;0)

    • 178.1
      Eposi says:

      I am totally going to be presumptuous and say that Ms Beth is alright, Becky. We need not worry about her concerning this. Pray? Yes. Worry? Absolutely not! SHE IS NO WIMP! She can definitely take the heat. Don’t be fooled by her little, sweet self, sister! 🙂

  29. 179
    Ruth says:

    So if Christianity Today misrepresented our Beth in such an obvious way–how many other ministries of the gospel have been unfairly raked over the theological coals? How easy satan can use these theological debates, doctrinal reviews, and personal critiques of someone’s calling and leading from God!

    It saddens me.

    While all for the exploration and commentary of Gods Word I have to ask the question–what is the purpose of this? How does this bring GLORY to God? Perhpas it is the season of life that I am in. While I am an highly intelligent woman with multiple higher educational degrees and I do enjoy healthy discussion I DO NOT need ivory tower religion. I need Beth Moore. I need Louie Giglio, Andy Stanley, and Priscilla Shirer. I need GOD and His TRUTH. I need healing and help and comfort and strength and forgiveness and peace. While wordy articles that tear down and have the possibility to destroy godly ministries–all done under the heading of academia, the pursuit of knowledge and Christian accountability–may have their place. I have only one thing to say.

    When the storms of life blow—the ivory towers are the first to fall. Articles, papers, degrees, and opinions go out the window. And when they do may they stay there. Because you will find your self broken and on your knees holding on to the one thing that matters. God’s truth. And you will run to those that shower His message just so you can get a drop of those life giving words and truth. Then I vote we shut that window.

    There I feel better. Thank you for your responses. To “have learned something” is truely the response of one that walks with God.

  30. 180
    Becky says:

    Dear Melissa,
    Thank you for a wonderfully intelligent response to the article written about your mother. I received my copy in the mail 2 days ago & had hesitated to read the articles based on a concern I had that Miss Beth might be presented in a false light. I have to say I wasn’t impressed with either article. I do not put Miss Beth on a pedestal. I am ever so grateful that she reminds us of her humaness & weaknesses. But she has been a teacher to me & has encouraged ne to be up to my eyeballs in the word of God. In fact, at 34, I start seminary in less than a month. Her teaching & example have been an encouragement to me in that direction. I love the Moore family as a brother & sisters I have never met face-to-face, but know by heart because of what we share in Christ. Blessings to your family & may God continue to use you all in touching so many lives thru Kingdom work.

  31. 181
    Kasey says:

    Very well stated!! I didn’t see the magazine, but greatly appreciate the time you took to explain and defend your mom. I think it’s extremely admirable, wonderful and honorable that you’d do such a thing. I do hope that you shared your piece with the magazine’s editor. I think it’s very important that such a misleading section be brought to their attention… and frankly, how you executed it in your blog post would be perfect for them to read! It’s sad that a particular journalism agenda would be more important than keeping the intent of the author being critiqued (in this case, your mom) fully correct. You ladies keep up the GREAT work!

  32. 182
    anonymous says:

    This is quite off topic, but it really does relate in my heart to your post, and I just need to share. I went shopping this afternoon and bought a new pair of running shoes that really did break our very tight budget. (My current running shoes have been with me so long they have holes in them. – And I’m staying anonymous because it’s all rather hard to publically admit….)

    It’s a bit complicated to explain how, but between purchasing the shoes and a few other items, somehow my entire bill came to less than the cost of the shoes alone. I questioned the salesperson, she mentioned a sale, and then she actually rerang the purchase – and it came to that same original amount again. I left the store, but the more I thought about it, the more I knew something was amiss.

    I checked the receipt and somehow BOTH times the girl missed ringing in the shoes! And there I was with a free pair of shoes. I CANNOT TELL YOU how quickly my weak heart went to work rationalizing keeping the shoes. No joke: I even started arguing to myself that David and his men took plunder; this was certainly plunder! This was God giving me a gift after years of financial struggle, right?!

    The struggle was so strong that I left the parking lot and drove home with the shoes. “Should I? Shouldn’t I?” It was quite a battle. And this is what it came down to: How could I relish keeping the shoes without paying – “dishonest gain” to be sure – after reading again today of your mom’s tenacious love for Jesus through this post? I seriously asked myself, “What would Beth do? What would Beth tell me to do? Is this something that will lengthen my time in or drop me back into the pit?” And I could hear her say, “Oh yes it is.”

    So I went back to the store, this time with my son (under the guise of looking at football equipment), still vascilating even on the way. When we got to the parking lot, I told my son the story and asked him to pray with me that I follow through and honor God.

    I brought the shoes to the very same girl, sadly enough with tears in my eyes (and not thankful ones; still bummed that I was actually paying!). And no, she wasn’t overly astonished or surprised or grateful. But at least I know I chose to honor God over our checkbook. And I pray that somehow this will carve a deep impression on our son for honesty and integrity and honoring the Lord – (even while I still feel the sting of forking over that money). Maybe just maybe that action will have an impression on him like so many of your Mom’s decisions for Christ have had on you. — So in a crazy unexpected way, your post made a difference in our lives today, Melissa. I am thankful that you wrote it.

    • 182.1
      Melanie L says:

      You would not have been able to truly enjoy those shoes if you had taken them without paying. “It’s a slow fade…” Casting Crowns sings. Praise God for working in your heart and your example to your son. You planted a seed in that cashier’s heart, be sure!

      • anonymous says:

        Melanie, thank you for your words. I have listened to that song by Casting Crowns countless times, and yet it never went through my mind during my battle the other day. When I read “It’s a slow fade” in your comment, it sent shivers down my spine. (Yes, it is a slow fade. Or a quick trap. …And how many other “tiny” sins do I let slip? Sobering.)

        There is an update to this story! God’s AMAZING grace… The day after the shoes incident, my mom called out of the blue and said she and my dad would like to cover the cost of a new dryer to replace our broken one! I don’t even remember mentioning that it wasn’t working! Then this morning my older son, who plays on a jr. golf league thanks to a First Tee scholarship, was given a beautiful used pair of golf shoes (he’s been wearing my husband’s!). When I picked my son up from golfing and he showed me the shoes in front of the pro that gave them to him, I almost bust out sobbing. It’s small potatoes compared to all that happens to the main character in the movie “Facing the Giants” (have you seen it? I love it.), but I could relate to the man’s emotion at the very end: “I’m overwhelmed!” As are our boys. God is amazing. (Satan is a liar.) And I’m so humbled and thankful.

  33. 183
    Katie says:


    Great post! What a testimony!

    This is a bit of a rabbit trail… I wish I could chat with you about your thoughts on Calvin’s Institutes. I’m not sure if you’re familiar with him, but we recently had James White speak at our church for a Bible Conference and it was very interesting. Wish I had more time to study it all, but chasing 3 little ones under the age of 4 leaves little time for extended study of theology :o)

    Hope you have a great weekend!

    In Christ,

  34. 184
    Xena says:

    Thanks Melissa, well said. Unfortunatley, Christianity Today falls into the crack of media manipulation for the sake of making the almighty buck! I mean, how was God gloried in jumbling someone else’s words? We know your mom’s heart through her studies, and like the rest of us, she’s on a journey of discovering Who her Jesus is. I’ll walk along side you guys anyday!!

  35. 185
    Rhonda says:


    I so appreciate the fact that your daughter Melissa totally presented all the facts about the article and in fact pointed out that you indeed had been misrepresented. But I want to tell you, that regardless of what anyone or any article said about you, I want you to know that I so believe your heart and your desire to follow what God directs you to say and do. Knowing you as a “Mama Siesta,” I feel like after all these years of Bible study and blogs, I truly know your heart, even though you and I have never met personally.

    You have the Savior’s approval, and that is enough! You are a wonderful teacher of the Word, and you have so blessed my life. I hear your heart and know that anyone that would misrepresent you, doesn’t have a clue what you’re about!

    Please “shake the dust off your feet,” and don’t worry about any critical words! You’re Siesta’s love you and believe in you!

    Your Siesta in Callifornia,

  36. 186
    Terry says:

    I also want to add my compliments to you Melissa for such an eloquently written defense of your dear mom. The thing that kept flashing in my head when I was reading the article was that anyone who has been a student under your mother could not possibly believe these to be her words. I was reading your blog post to my husband. He said that we must let Christianity Today know how unhappy we are that they would let an article that apparently set out to misrepresent be published.

    I think that Satan himself is tremendously troubled by all the women your mom has encouraged to really dig in to God’s Word: to know it, and live it! So many lives have been forever changed and he will use whatever means necessary to try to discourage her. Too bad such a public “Christian” resource was the tool this time.

    My biggest concern is not that there will be many who will beleive such an obvious misrepresentation, but that it will discourage Beth or make her feel like she is failing us in some area–DON’T BELIEVE THAT FOR ONE MINUTE! My prayer is that the comments on this post will help turn what Satan meant for evil into something good and encouraging to all of you in your ministry and that God will get the glory!

  37. 187
    Rhonda McClellan says:


    I esteem loyalty, and I highly appreciate you properly setting the record straight. Had I seen the article, I would have questioned it myself. I’m so grateful to your mom and all of you at Living Proof. Bless you for caring enough to clarify the facts. You guys bless the socks right off of me!

    Down the road from you, in Newnan, Georgia, and sending prayers your way.

  38. 188

    Great Job Melissa! I love how you took so much time and effort to show us the CONTEXT of where the magazine took Beth’s quotes from. Your love for your Mama just oozes from this post! Again I say Great Job Melissa! Sometimes I have to stop and begin again when I’m reading something you write because it’s so ….so….hmmmm…I don’ know….so deep! You stretch my mind girl. 🙂

    Marilyn…in Mississippi

  39. 189
    Carla says:

    I am quite sure I did not get all of what you said but I do know how words can get twisted. I love your Mom’s candor and forthright manner in her teaching. To coin a phrase, just the facts, mam. Your Mother reaches so many and I am sure that you, your sister and those two grands are protected prized possessions of hers. Blessings to all the Moores and thanks.

  40. 190
    Stacy Featherston says:

    Way to go Melissa!! Anyone who has taken the time to do any of your Mom’s studies would certainly know her true heart. We SIESTAS will help you defend her any time…
    Love to you all…

  41. 191
    Treva says:

    Melissa, Thanks so much for taking the time to write this post. It blessed me so much that Beth said she learned something from the article. Wow! That a Christian publication would take Beth’s statements out of their context seemingly to be critical of her is a sad comentary that even Christian journalism can be tainted. I am not saying that criticism should not be given when criticism is due. I wish the author had spent the same amount of time and energy looking for the value in what Beth writes. I have personally grown by leaps and bounds in my knowledge of God and in my relationship with Jesus Christ because of Beth’s Bible studies. Beth challenges anyone willing to study with her because she has done her homework and encourages participants in her studies to do the same. I believe God is so pleased with the ministry of all of you at Living Proof. I pray the Lord will continue to richly bless you. You do extraordinary work. Thanks for your faithfulness!

  42. 192
    texatheart says:

    Thanks for the post. I have only met your mom once, but through the past 2 years her theology and teaching have transformed my life. A woman of greater integrity I have not met. I am thrilled to have walked through the Bible with her. (I even take notes in my Bible now so I can go back through and study them again.)
    Love all of you!

  43. 193
    Michelle says:

    Melissa, sweet girl…I can hear the passion and tenacity pouring from your heart as you wrote this piece of apologetics on behalf of the one you love so much. Actually, it was partly as a result of the in depth study of Scripture through many of your mom’s teachings during this rough and tumble road of life that led me to pursue my calling to fall in love with Christ, and head to Waco from Nashville, TN in order to pursue seminary three years ago now. I went from future veterinarian out of UT Knoxville, to one getting her face rocked off to be able to go dive further into the heart of God full time in seminary. It had been the desire of my heart since a little girl to know him more fully, and it was because of individuals like your mom that I was able to be drawn into His heart more fully. To fall in love more with His scriptures. I’ve even made a few trips to Houston during the school year on God retreat to worship at First Baptist under the tutelage of your mother. Even hearing snippets that you had previously been at Baylor, I had never once felt judgment or condemnation for pursuiing the call to study the Scriptures more in depth in this way that God has laid out for me. I think for those of us who have heard the God given outpouring of God’s love for us through her amazing thick Texas accent and mama Beth personality, we know better than to trust the extrapolations of writers in magazines. We all know what it’s like to be, at best, misunderstood and at worst, attacked. At the very same time, I completely understand your need to help create clarity for those who may have caught wind of the article and have found question in her teaching or of her heart. Please know that she has been an amazing spiritual mom to me, and nothing but an advocate in my adventure from non-Christian home to seminary student and future hopeful servant of others in the body of Christ. She has been one that I have looked up to in this fiery trial of life. It has been, in part, her understanding of the beauty and cohesion of the Scriptures that creates a beautiful mosaic truly inspired of God that I have had the great blessing to dive into in this way in this time of my life. Like you said, there is nothing beyond question. God can handle all of our questions, because we have that relationship. Just like I know your mother is strong enough to take the criticisms of the world, because at her head is Christ. She has helped draw so many of us closer into His loving gaze. I believe fully that He’s got her back…just like so many of us do 🙂 BTW…thanks for sharing her so graciously and for loving her passionately. There are others of us out here who do too, even if we’ve never met a single one of you!

  44. 194
    Michelle says:

    PS…I even went through Stepping Up bible study my first year of seminary. During one of the HARDEST seasons of my life, it was one of the things that made me feel most loved and drawn into his arms amidst all my questions. If that’s any consolation to the misguided interpretations of others.

  45. 195
    Tami says:

    Melissa ~ you rock! Your expanded explanation was well planned and understandable; I hope you sent a copy to the editors at CT. I am the daughter of a lady preacher who endured criticism throughout her ministry with the grace and compassion your mom shows. Often, it was the simple fact that she was a woman that was so offensive to others. Your sweet mom is the first Bible teacher I’ve come across who (it feels to me) has the same anointing as my mom had. My first introduction to Beth was this past spring when I attended the “Esther” study at my church. I was absolutely gobsmacked and couldn’t get enough of hearing from this woman of God who reminded me of my own mom! I am a new Siesta this year, and I know it was God who led me to meet up with the LPM blog after He took my dear mom home at age 90 just before Christmas. Love to you all & let us know what CT’s response is…

  46. 196
  47. 197
    Jodi says:

    Dear Melissa,

    I read your very thorough explanation and I could see your love and loyalty in it. Your mom has been my teacher for the past four years and I appreciate you’ve got her back.

  48. 198
    Janet Bilinski says:

    I just love how you stood beside your mom and came to her defense on this. Like mother, like daughter. 🙂 Your mom is the picture of a student of the word and a teacher whose passion and love for her savior cannot be quenched. I have been so blessed to be a student of hers through her ministry. Blessings to you as you continue your studies, I appreciate your tenacity, Janet

  49. 199
    Nikki L' says:


    Your Mom must be so grateful for the way you’ve got her back:) You are so smart and articulate, wow.

    I too, like all these other women, love your Mom and feel almost as though I know her. It really hurt to see her misrepresented in that way, or any way. It seems like it hurts more when it comes from inside the walls of the church, at least that has been my experience.

    Praying for you all, with thanks for all you do.

  50. 200
    Susan says:

    Thank you so much for this information. Whenever I read something like that article I truly wonder what was their bias or angle. Years ago I believed so much of what I read, and now it is the reverse. Politics, the news organizations all have their twist – so sad.

    One of the many things I admire about your Mom is that she encourages sitting under multiple teachers and she actually does other studies as well! She has handled ridiculous criticism with grace. God Bless your family for being willing to be out there – it can’t be easy.

    I love how different you, Amanda and your Mom are! All three of you are so unique and each of you bring such a different perspective. You are loved dear sister!!


Leave a Reply

To receive a daily digest of comments on this post, enter your email address below: