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. 251
    Jennifer Scott says:

    Thanks for clarifying that article. As a seminary graduate and a part time Bible instructor at a Christian University, I sometimes feel that I need to “defend” Beth’s teachings because she doesn’t have a seminary degree. Of course, the criticisms usually come from people who have never sat under her teaching. I think your response was appropriate and even necessary for those who may hold an incorrect (ignorant) view of Beth’s mission and ministry.

    In the end, God sees.
    Blessings, Jennifer Scott

  2. 252
    Rose says:

    Melissa, love love your posts!! They never cease to make me think for an hour thereafter. .. withthatsaid, women send us some pictures please to balance our intake of words 🙂 keep em coming!

  3. 253
    Heidi (Univ. NH) says:

    Speechless! Totally speechless! You know the feeling after you’ve read Scripture in it’s entire context, like the Kay Arthur kind of way. . .you reread and reread and reread, until you come to the point where it’s enscribed, “And the GOD of Israel said unto them. . .”. and so by the time you get to that point, those words echo with a rumble! Am I alone on that?

    I have a heart for writing, and I usually have a mouthful to type out, but Melissa, you got me. . .you got me. . .it’s like, and Melissa spoke! However dear Sister, you spoke with wisdom, knowledge, and grace, in which there was (and is) a presence of the Holy Spirit. In other words, a mix of research and the Holy Spirit has gotta be close to the meaning of dynamite power!!!!

    P.S. You graduated this year, and I graduated as well, with a Masters. I had the very privilege of praying with your Mom (Miss Beth) at the University of New Hampshire; and your schooling has paid off for your post has greatly reminded me of the importance of how one prefaces themselves, whether it be through writing or speaking, of others literature and/or spoken word. May GOD bless you, and turn His face toward you sweet One, and give you peace. ‘Cuz there ain’t nothin like knowing the peace that comes from being in the center of His will. . .even when we don’t quite understand it or haven’t figured it all out, but we know, because He gives us peace that the world cannot give!! Praise GOD!!

  4. 254
    Rachel G. says:


    First off, because I have never commented, let me say that I feel blessed by the entries you, Amanda, and your mom write on this blog. I am just completing my second Beth Moore study, Esther (I did Believing God two years ago), and am anxiously awaiting hearing your mom speak in Richmond, VA where I live at the end of August. You three ladies appear to be vastly different, each with precious gifts, and I am humbled by the faith the three of you demonstrate. I know you are all human and imperfect, but from afar it is so wonderful to witness the dynamics of your faith lives. Thank you to all three of you for what you share with us ladies! Okay, got that off my chest 🙂 Second – I do not receive Christian Living, nor have I read the articles you speak of, but, in my own church and faith life, I have known some people who have been heavily critical of your mom’s ministry and teachings. I have never understood it as I have felt more challenged and encouraged by the studies I have done and by reading this blog, and because it is obvious how deeply committed you all are to research, insight from those you esteem, and most important, prayer over the studies you prepare. I wanted to say thank you for writing this particular entry, because while I am sure your initial instinct is to defend your mamma to the death, you did an excellent job of laying out the facts and giving a true picture of what you know her heart to be. She is blessed to call you daughter – but she already knows that! I can’t wait to experience your viewpoint in the new James study when it comes out and pray that your work and research is fruitful in the year to come. Thank you again to you, Amanda, and your mom for your love of women and your passion to share. It is hard not to idolize you guys (just keeping it real here!), but praise God that we are all fearfully and wonderfully made and that he is anxious to use us all in His kingdom! Oh, and if I didn’t love our life in Virginia and if I could convince my husband to move to Texas, I would be sorely tempted to park myself outside the LPM office and spend each day begging for a job just to be a part of what appears to be a special group of people! Ha!

    Your sister in Christ,
    Richmond, VA

    • 254.1
      Terry says:

      Rachel, I just wanted to say “Hi!” and tell you that my sisters and I will be at the LPM conference in Richmond. I cannot wait to worship and to see what treasures of insight and wisdom God has in store for each of us.

      Terry in Louisa, VA

  5. 255
    J. says:

    Thanks so much, Melissa, for taking the time to explain this. It just didn’t sound like Beth, but I couldn’t figure out why they would have written it in quotes if it wasn’t something she said. . . was trying to figure it out. Thanks for telling us.

  6. 256
    Bethany says:

    Hey Melissa,
    Just had to hop on here and tell you that I thought of you today. You see, I went to my first photography workshop and let me tell you….I was so lost in the world of aperture, exposure, shutter speed, and iso!
    Finally did figure it out a bit though and was so very grateful that my sweet and very talented photography friend Amber made it possible!

    Just had to share!

    • 256.1
      Bethany says:

      oops! supposed to say “photograper” friend!

    • 256.2
      Melissa says:

      Bethany, How fun that you were able to take your first photography workshop! Wish I could have been there with you! Sounds like a wonderful world to be lost in, if you ask me. All my best, Melissa

  7. 257
    Kathy Knoblock says:

    I really appreciate your courage and candor and speaking the truth in love. Your Mom’s studies are amazing in their depth of research that opens up all manner of detail and insight into the Scriptures. They are also down to earth and practical and understandable!!! She LOVES God and His word and she has opened our hearts to that love as well. Thank you, Melissa, for all the digging you did to bring these things to light. In Jesus’ Love Kathy Knoblock

  8. 258
    karen lipford says:

    I’ve heard more bad than good about Christianity Today over the years.

    Those who know Beth, even just through Bible study material, LOVE Beth.
    She is the real deal.
    Isn’t it Hebrews 4:12 that Beth lives by?
    Only God’s Word will “judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Not a magazine.

  9. 259
    stillanon says:

    I can still see and hear your mother telling the story at a tues night bible study about her desire to do some scholarly bible study at a place of “higher” learning!! Was it you or Amanda who said:”Mom, you can’t!” It was one of her many stories that i will always remember….i was so grateful she laid that desire down….It appears her offering was well recieved – so many women have hearts for studying the word of God because Beth studied with them…thank you Beth and thank you Melissa for your informative commentary on the obviously misrepresentational part of the article!

    • 259.1
      stillanon says:

      ok ill reply to myself;;;i’m pretty sure it was you- Melissa, because your Mother was overflowing with joy for you and your studies!!!!! So unlike the woman described in “thearticle”

  10. 260
    pam b says:

    Interpret this as you like- I smell a green blog of jealousy. And it doesn’t come from your blog; it eminates from within the pages of the magazine. I’m just saying…

  11. 261
    Marcia says:

    Thank you for your blog entry. I have great respect for all three of you; for your uniqueness, for your passion for Christ and the truth of scripture, and for your love for all of us. Unfortunately, when one is in a public arena there will not only be appreciation for one’s work, but criticism or misunderstanding of it as well. The CT piece was a twisted media account of Beth’s writing, but I believe media twists things quite often, and on many subjects. We should always read with Godly wisdom and discernment.

    Although God has spoken mightily to me through Beth’s studies and written words, I praise God alone. I am incredibly grateful and thankful for Beth’s passion to teach the scripture and I believe her to be a humble servant of Christ. I am thankful for her life and for her teaching, and although I have never personally met her, I consider her my friend and my sister in Christ.

  12. 262
    Jennifer says:

    Amen. We all love you so and know your hearts! Thank you for sharing this with all of us and setting the article right.

    Blessings to all of YOU!

  13. 263
    Maryellen says:

    Melissa, I love you all the more for defending your Mom’s reputation. ♥♥♥
    …and one of the reasons I adore studying your Mom’s work is that she has ALWAYS told us to not take her word for it or any other teacher’s word for it. That we must be in the Word ourselves and study and investigate all by our own grown up selves. She has NEVER, in the 10 plus years that I have read her books, followed her blog or seen her videos, set me up to follow “Beth.” She has all but demanded us to “question with boldness” as one of our Founding Father’s charged.
    It is because of your Mom’s passion for Christ and her teaching us that we can get a glimpse of who He is in the Word that I have sought out on this adventure and for that, I get to get in line to hug her neck in Glory someday…you know, when we are all done bowing down at the feet of Him, so it may take a while.
    Be blessed, daughter of the King. Love to you all.

    • 263.1
      Terru says:

      Amen Maryellen,

      Anyone who has actually been in one of Beth’s studies, knows these words were either taken out of context or simply never said. Most of us aren’t called to be Bible scholars. We are all called to know HIM. Beth helps us know HIM better in every study.

      I gave up trusting man’s written word after my mom and I were interviewed for an article in the Houston Chronicle showcasing our design business. Absolutely none of the quotes were correct. It was as if the reporter spent that hour sitting in the room with us and one of our clients and then went off to write her own little work of fiction using our names. It was maddening!

      If they want to take on Beth, they better watch out for her Father…
      I’m just sayin’

  14. 264
    Martha Helen says:

    Hey Melissa

    Thanks for your response to the article! I hadn’t read it but it certainly doesn’t surprise me that Beth was criticized unfairly for a viewpoint she surely doesn’t hold! I have also done a number of her studies and I have never been more delightfully challenged to dig deep into the study of God’s Word and to read scholarly work and various viewpoints on it. I love that most about her! I feel she is quite an example to me of loving God with her mind and her heart. It hurts to hear about her misrepresentation as she is like a mother to me spiritually, and I can only imagine how much more you hurt and want to come to her defense. She is ever gracious and kind in response, of course. I can’t imagine the heat she feels sometimes but I am so grateful for the work and hard labor she does and all the LPM staff and hope she knows how dearly she is loved. 🙂
    Isn’t it wonderful at times like these to be reminded that the Lord is our defense?! He knows.

    Blessings on this Lord’s Day

  15. 265
    Denise says:

    I bet your mom feels blessed that you’ve got her back. Nicely written!

  16. 266
    Marla says:

    Thanks, Melissa. No matter who writes an article there will always be bias or critisism in some form. The time you took to clarify what appears to be quotes taken out of text clearly shows how much respect you have for your mom’s work as do I. I can’t imagine life under a microscope, which is why covering your family in prayer, as well as the others who are courageous enough to step out and speak, is so important.

  17. 267
    Eileen says:


    Thanking God for you and your mom that the Lord would help us all “see” what is true and personal about Him and the knowledge of Him. I haven’t read CT very many times but it is just a sad account, really, of our “times” when so many articles and quotes are “taken out of context”!! I don’t know alot but what I DO know is your mom and yourself have a heart for the Lord and that paragraph just doesn’t even “sound” like your mom!! Thanks so much for “rooting” this out and it is just another reminder of the “times in which we live”. We must keep our eye on the goal and on our Lord of Truth and Righteousness!!

  18. 268
    Dontia says:

    Like many others I had the impression “that just doesn’t sound like Beth.”
    It impressed upon my heart that we should be that familiar with Scripture that when something comes out of left field we can say, “that just doesn’t sound like God.”
    And being able to support it academically makes it all the better.

  19. 269
    Cecilia says:

    I haven’t read the magazine article, but I wanted to say that I admire the way you explained the context. Very tactful and well laid out, while still expressing the heart of the matter. I could only hope to be as gracious if this had been my mama.

  20. 270
    Barbra Keeler says:

    Thanks Melissa, for your careful and fair evaluation of the article. The amount of research your mom (and YOU)puts into each of her Bible studies has my highest respect. Having had my share of Bible and theology classes in college (only at the undergrad level though), I tend to be skeptical about the abundance of “fluffy” Christian speakers I’ve heard over the years. I’m not trying to be unkind, the Holy Spirit frequently uses these speakers to show me that He can touch peoples’ lives, despite my own theological snobbery =) Anyway, from my first experience with one of your mom’s studies (7 or 8 years ago)until now, I have consistently been impressed and grateful for your mom’s commitment to challenging women to use their brains as well as, if not more than, their hearts/feelings when following hard after Jesus. She does such a fabulous job of encouraging women to view themselves as smart, discerning, wise women of the Word! I love you all and appreciate you so much!

  21. 271
    Jenny from VA says:

    I am SO grateful for your mom and all the Lord does through her. NOTHING can touch that for me. She is awesome!

  22. 272
    Kay Martin says:

    Melissa, A very good post! It is very obvious they do not know your mom, have never studied her Bible Studies or sat under her teaching! Thanks for taking the time to set the record straight!

  23. 273
    Georgia Jan says:

    Melissa – What an amazing editor you are! I always knew you were a wordsmith, but this is beyond that. Especially in the tenderness with the subject being your own mom…yet you were so “fair and balanced” (not to overuse that verbage) and most of all – kind and thoughtful.

    I’m very proud of you and I think this work of yours has just sealed it (if there was ever the slightest doubt). I picked up a copy of the magazine yesterday.

    Love you,
    Mrs. Jan

    PS: Jeremy has the same attitude as you toward Christianity Today. He is in a doctoral semainar at SWBTS this week. About a year left and then he writes his dissertation.

    • 273.1
      Melissa says:

      I sure love you, Mrs. Jan! I’m so excited for Jeremy that he is almost to the dissertation phase! I hope he is having a blast in Fort Worth (?) this week! Miss seeing your face! xoxo

      • Georgia Jan says:

        He is – he just send me a text that he went to church somewhere in Dallas with his cohort and heard Dr. Paige Patterson preach “profound truth made clear and simple.” He is also LOVING the food – he texts us everytime he eats something he knows we all would love. We are crazy that way. All his Dad wanted to know was how the music was…these ministers. Married to one, mother to one. I don’t stand a CHANCE!

        Come see me – many photo ops await!

        • Melissa says:

          How wonderful. And yes, the food in Texas is the BEST! And you’ve got a deal- once it gets a little bit cooler, that is! The camera bag is already packed 😉

          • Georgia Jan says:

            I absolutely loved eating at Pappasitos while I was there – the fajitas and the tablside guacamole were amazing.

            Yes, when this horrible heat & humidity subside! GREAT!

            <3 Mrs. Jan

          • Erika says:

            I have never heard a Texan say that something in their state WASN’T the BEST. 🙂 I’m eagerly anticipating your Culture of Sorrow Part 2 blog entry, or did I miss it?

  24. 274
    Denise says:

    Melissa, you have given great clarity to what was muddled and confusing. I don’t understand why a Christian publication would allow such a twist on the reality of the “quotes” to create an author’s intent rather than to relay the truth in whole. I have never been led astray by your mother’s Bible studies. In fact, I have been encouraged and challenged to go straight to the Truth – God’s Word each and every time.


  25. 275
    jenny howle says:

    I tend to be very protective of Beth, so I can only imagine how you should feel. I’m only psuedo bffs with her! Everyone knows that anything said against Beth Moore is fightin’ words with me. I hate this happened. I am so excited about the study you are working on!!!! Carry on girls!!!!

  26. 276
    Theresa says:

    Thank you for taking the time to lay it all out there for us. I have not read the article yet. Your post clearly exhibits how you are not only an “olive shoot” but an “arrow” that defends her mother and her writings skillfully and accurately. You are not defending blindly. You know her writings, her teachings but more importantly her heart! It has been through your mother’s teachings and writings that I have seen her heart but more importantly I have come to know God’s heart. But for Beth Moore teachings, writings and heart I would not have known “how” to seek God with all my heart through scripture and life. Thank you for “setting the record” straight. It is through truth, love and accountability that we all learn and become who God created us to be.

    “For the word of God is living and active. sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

    May His Word be living and active for all who call Him Savior! This alone is LPM’s mission and Beth Moore’s heart and I am thankful for all of you.

    God Bless you dear one,

  27. 277
    Timey says:

    I too just finished reading the article in Christianity Today and was appalled at the way she was portrayed, especially the inference that she ‘was drifting away from scripture and into psychology’! I have done several of her Bible studies and recently flew to Irvine, Ca to attend my first Living Proof Live event [Fantastic!!] so I think I ‘sorta’ know her and she is as Biblically based as anyone I know. I have been tremendously blessed by her teachings! Thank your for defending her and setting the record straight as to her view on seminaries.
    Continued blessings to her and all the staff at LPL.
    Timey [San Jose, CA]

  28. 278
    Destee says:

    This is a shout out to your mamma……..
    I love you (and your girls, and LPM)! Your willingness to serve women and your style of teaching has helped me grow tremendously. For years I read the pages of the Bible not absorbing or even knowing what in the world I was reading. Your studies gave me direction and have helped me learn to study on my own resulting in a realtionship richer with the Lord than I’ve ever had.
    The workbooks have created a Bible loving nerd who loves to dig into the word and the workbook when the kids and the hubs go to bed.
    Your self admitted flaws, pit dwelling past and frank teaching brings a realness to the ministry that so many of us need. There are women that are drawn to you because you are human and not to proud to admit it.
    This is just some encouragement to keep moving ahead. I don’t know if you needed it or not but felt lead to share it. The Lord is using you to bless many women and you have been willful in accepting the challenge. During the rough times remember the thousands of women being blessed each week through your faithfulness in serving……and forgive & forget the few who may be critical. God is the only critic that matters…..and I have a feeling he’s got your number if He needs it *wink*.

  29. 279
    Melissa says:

    Just goes to show that in everything nowdays you must search things out for yourself. You cannot absolutely trust anything but God’s Word.

  30. 280
    Kim Safina says:


    A breath of fresh air!

    I totally agree with Mrs. Jan!

    I am picking up my copy of Christianty Today, tomorrow! 🙂

    David (son)has been sharing his thoughts and adding his opinions on our siesta fb chat.He is off to law school this week. Going to miss our discussions so much!
    David has studied some of the written works of your mom. He is presently reading the entire Bible, the Apocrapha, early churchfathers,near eastern mythology, early rabiinical writings,etc.

    We have always taught our children “There are no questions that are off limits. No one is above question,observation, or criticism.” to THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. I love to hear what young people say and think!!!

    Thank you for your informative commentary.

    If you are interested in our siesta fb pvt. conversations, Mrs. Jan can point you in the direction of David’s comments.
    Let me know what you think!
    Enjoy your 1st day/eve of August!

    I love & appreciate you! <3<3<3


  31. 281
    Laura Smith says:

    Like many others who responded to this, I do not often comment, however, reading your post made my blood pressure rise. I love your mama (and her daughters) more than I can say! It is quite unfortunate that she was taken out of context so terribly. I am proud of your defending her and hope that you sent a copy of your post to the magazine. Each of you seem so different, but one thing always shines consistently to me– your heart for God!

  32. 282
    Lauren says:

    I read that article just today, and I am glad to see that you addressed this issue, Melissa, because I put the magazine down feeling a bit confused, since that was not exactly the Beth Moore I am familiar with. I love CT and am sorry to see that they didn’t do a thorough job on this one.

    Also, Melissa, you are an efficient, effective, and overall excellent writer.

  33. 283
    Mara P. says:


    I know I’m MONTHS behind on finishing the Scripture Memory Verse challenge with y’all– I’m blaming it on the fact that I started a few months after you guys– but I FINALLY FINISHED my 24th verse today. I’m crying tears of happiness that I actually saw this challenge through!!! =) Thank you so much for the challenge. I have 24 new memory verses engraved on my heart!!


  34. 284
    marylee says:

    Everyone should be as fortunate to have someone like you covering their back…Blessings to you! Marylee

  35. 285
    Rebecca Downey says:

    Having now lead three of your mother’s Bible Studies, I think I “know” your mom a little more than the casual follower. She is one of the most dedicated believers in education and learning. To say she objects to seminary is of course, ridiculous. As a writer myself, it appears that the writer of the article was looking for issues that would inject confusion or conflict to make the article more provocative.

    I am fiercely defensive of your mother, and even though she doesn’t know me, I know and love her heart.

  36. 286
    Gretchen says:

    Way to stand up for your momma, Girlie!!!
    This was a great reminder of something my own sweet mom taught me, “Don’t believe everything you read. Be a Berean.” Sometimes I assume something is correct if it comes from a trusted Christian source. Thank you for reminding me to take everything I read to Jesus and ask for clarity, wisdom, and discerning.

  37. 287
    Heisfaithful says:

    I recently heard a teacher of the WORD say, “Christians are the only people on earth who arrange their firing squads in a circle.” Although I recognize that the Body of Christ needs to be vigilant and protective about God’s WORD and His truth, we may have some disagreements along the way. But how we express that difference of opinions and esteem those who hold those different opinions are very crucial in examplifying what we live by. Only the Lord can judge the motives of the heart. How careful we all need to be when we dissect someone else and pass criticism under the guise of the Lord’s name! I will be praying for the author of that article. How we all are in such desperate need of His mercy and grace! Thank God He promises that He has more than enough for us!

  38. 288
  39. 289
    Catherine says:


    You are a wise and caring woman. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I want to believe that it was not with any intent other than the best that the article was written. I want to think that the reporter{s} tried their best to capture all your mom’s thoughts and ideas, and it just didn’t come out entirely right. We have had a few newspaper stories and one television story done about our family, and honestly, there were mistakes in every single one {and we were a “happy” human interest story, so no reason to suspect bias, etc.}. I know the reporters took their time with us, but they are human, and mistakes can and often do happen.

    I haven’t read the article, but so appreciate the time you took to find where all the information came from. Thanks for explaining it, and I look forward to reading it!
    And I pray that from it all, that God would be glorified, and that lives and hearts would be drawn to our precious Savior Jesus Christ!

  40. 290

    Wow, talk about the press twisting what was really said! This is so disturbing to see from CT, and I’m so thankful you shared it – and shared it with such careful research and wording, so as not to fan any flames.

  41. 291
    Melissa says:

    Thanks Melissa,
    I normally enjoy reading this magazine, but did not care for this article.
    Even though your mom doesn’t know me, I feel I know a lot about who she is from years of doing her Bible studies, and also participating in the blog as a siesta for a long time.
    Nothing I read in the article changed my opinion of her whatsoever, but I did feel it was unfortunate that many who are unfamiliar with her could get a wrong impression.
    I’m glad you responded as you did.
    Asheville, NC

  42. 292
    Pam says:

    When I read the “stunning arrogance” and “theological snobbery” comments, I knew she didn’t say that in that way. Makes me mad that they took her statements out of context . . .

  43. 293
    Mary McGonegle says:

    I feel so protective over you mother, over Beth, I don’t personally know her or any of your family and yet I feel as if I know all of you. With so many of her bible studies, books, LPL conferences as well as jumping on the blog to see what the Moore girls and families are currently up to, I feel as if I do know you and this article does not do justice to what your mother teaches. It is because of her that so many women have come to study the scriptures on their own, to research it and own it, especially and most importantly in their hearts but in knowledge too. The friends I have that have equally enjoyed Beth’s bible studies and myself discuss frequently that “we want what she’s got!” The relationship and deep love affair she has with Jesus, her deep knowledge of scripture and memory thereof, all of it we want it, and we laugh because we know exactly what Beth Moore would tell us that we have to own it, it’s up to us to study the word and to memorize the word and to let it penetrate our hearts!! And if you have a calling to go to Seminary, then do it! The words in the article are shocking to me as how can they take her segmented words and change the meaning, wow… I suppose that kind of misinterpretation happens to the best of writers! 😉
    Your mom is my mentor as she is to thousands of women all over the country and world like I said I feel very protective over her reputation! Thank you for sharing this and especially for clarifying it!
    Love you all

  44. 294
    Sparki2003 says:


    Please know that I, having had the Lord bless me enough to have allowed me to be under Miss Beth’s teachings during her live Tuesday night studies, as well as having been one of her former Sunday School students for a season of time, I would KNOW when something that another person had written about her is NOT what our Miss Beth would do or say.

    Your dear Momma is one of the best Bible teachers I have ever studied under, and I truly am very saddened 🙁 that even a Christian magazine would choose to mis-interpret her words, as this one most obviously has done.

    In Christ’s Love,

    Jennifer Olmstead

    Southern Wisconsin

  45. 295
    Spiritmom says:

    Melissa, I think I speak for most siestas (hopefully all) when I say I trust you and I trust Beth!!

  46. 296
    MDPH says:

    “Only once someone is properly understood should he or she be criticized.”
    So true, and Oh! how I wish this was the way the world worked!! I’ve fought so hard on so many fronts to try to make it so, yet the world won’t bend. (Not only is it not so, but often enough the misunderstanding is willfully done and perpetuated in some arenas.) Even so, we need to keep on loving and fighting for truth, and to stand up for those we love. Ultimately, then, we leave it in the hands of the one who sees all, knows all hearts and in whom there is no darkness at all. Good job, Melissa.

  47. 297
    Anastasia says:

    I loved reading your blog Melissa. I am the daughter of an evangelist who travels all over the world and speaks a Churches both small and great. I too have read things about my father that are so far from the truth from the “Christian Community”. I have done every single one of your Mom’s Bible Studies and some of them twice. Anyone who knows anything about her knows exactly who and what she is all about. I guess it comes with the territory but you don’t expect it to come from God fearing people. Why are christians so quick to cut one another apart? Do they not get it that we are all going to the same place? I often think that God is sitting up in heaven shaking his head at us thinking…I cannot believe they can be so hateful to one another. ( His children)

    Take a deep breath and rest assured. Your Mother is exactly the women you know her to be. When you know who you are, it does not matter what others believe about you. I think she taught me that…I am not sure at this point.

    My fathers dear friend, Spiros Zodhiates went to be with the Lord last year, shorty before his death my father visited him in TN. He asked him if he had anything to leave him with before he went to be with the Lord…my father leaned in as the great Greek Theologian whispered these beautiful words….Love them

    I think theology is great but if it makes us debate with people and in the end leaves them feeling unloved, we have failed as followers of Christ. We all must find the balance between being the student of God’s Word, and the lover of the lost.

    Thank you for your passion and love for you mother. You are your mother’s daughter in every way and no one can take that from you.

    God bless,

    Anastasia Mahairas Pothoven

  48. 298
    Denise says:

    I appreciate the heart of your blog and the willingness to go to hard places. This is also one of my favorite magazines… and I have not read the article yet however I appreciate your proactive feedback.

    I have been a student of your mom for ten years. I have been blessed by her faithfulness and transparentness. It is hard to read things that are not true…that are misrepresented… or are offensive. God can still use those things to bring glory to himself and to increase HIS Kingdom.

    Your Mom is a REMARKABLE lady and that is why she made the cover of CT.

  49. 299
    Joy S. says:

    Thank you, Melissa, for such thoughtful and vulnerable work so as to appropriately contextualize your Mom’s heart and thoughts on the matter of theological education and academia. As a journalism major in undergrad who was taught the virtue of honest appropriation of quotes and printed materials, it seems an injustice to have “pieced” together a quote from your Mom that was taken so inappropriately out of context.

    I am also a seminary grad, answering God’s prompting much later in life than I should have, so I too value the blessing of a theological education, and will echo your Mom’s warnings about the potential for arrogance that creeps through the halls of sacred spaces of learning. However, having done the “Stepping Up” study, I can vouch for your mom’s true expression of gratitude for the work done by scholars on whose shoulders she stands and teaches.

    Your defense of her is noble, accurate and just what I would have done should my mom have been misrepresented. Beyond that, I think those of us that have studied and learned with your Mom can attest to the veracity of your statements and the genuineness of her heart.

    Thanks for being faithful to exegete the article as well as the Word!

  50. 300
    Leslie says:

    As a former reporter/editor, let me say that none of us are perfect. THAT being said, I was completely amazed that anyone who took the time to interview Beth would ever string together pieces of quotes to form some sort of mean-spirited jab that doesn’t sound a BIT like her! We have done 11 of her studies in our little rural church and traveled to numerous LPM events through the years. We all feel like she’s our best girlfriend and we’ve never detected a hint of arrogance or meanness in her.

    Most of us will never have the opportunity to attend seminary, and Beth has made deep, solid, challenging Biblical teaching available and accessible to many, many women. We thank her for that.

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