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. 301
    Julie says:

    Melissa – You are right to defend your Mom. But know that most of us readers out here have not been to seminary, and we still know to read anything we read with a critical eye. Anyone who has studied under her knows her heart more than her opinions anyway. It sounds like the magazine was trying to tip their hat to her in a kind of underhanded and arrogant way. Like, “You are a great teacher, but since you don’t have a seminary degree, you still do not fit the formula for success, and we cannot understand that.” Just remember who anointed her in the first place! The Bible says the first shall be last. And – the Bible is filled with people being used by God for a reason unknown to the people around them.
    Thanks for clarifying on the article. My husband went to seminary, and many people are seriously arrogant because of that. But my husband is not. 🙂

  2. 302
    Kay says:

    I have heard Beth speak and read her Bible studies enough to know immediately that she did not say those words in the context in which they were presented.

    This is why I rarely read magazines or newspapers, or watch the news.

  3. 303
    Karen says:

    Melissa, Thanks for your blog. My husband subscribes to Christianity Today and I am sorry to say I usually don’t read it. But after reading your blog comment I decided to pick it up and check it out. I found the article to be interesting. I think one positive comment was your mom’s gift for exortation. She does inspire people to delve into the word of God. I have been a Christian all my life and have been in Bible studies starting in high school. Your mom’s studies have challenged me more than any other studies I have done. Most studies have you read a scripture and make a quick comment on them. With your mom’s studies, I tend to read the scripture leading up to whatever passage she is pointing out, and then proceeding that passage. Through your mom’s studies I have grown so much in my faith and knowledge of the Bible. It has been my priviledge to facilatate several studies. I am so thankful for your mom’s insights and look forward to sharing God’s word in the future with her.

  4. 304
    apurefire says:

    Thank you so much for taking the time to cut through the article and lay out what’s true. It’s obvious the writer hasn’t studied under Beth. I’ve done many of Beth’s studies and have never thought of her as being anti-seminary. And because of what I’ve learned under her teaching, I desire with my whole heart to study the Scriptures in depth, possibly through Moody’s Online Degree program. I’m still praying about it but the desire that I have is birthed out of what I’ve seen in your Mom. She is a beautiful example of our Savior to us all. I love her passion for God’s Word and for teaching us women.

  5. 305
    Joyce Watson says:

    Even in the midst of life’s encounters, God is still in control. God will show Himself faithful to His people.
    As Christians, our focus should lead others to Christ.
    Beth, has always shown reverence, purpose and kindness toward God and His Word.
    We appreciate the things she has taught us over the years. Our own families, our grandparents did not know some of the things she has taught us in the Bible. We should be grateful we can apply some of these things to our lives and draw closer to God. Some of us come from backgrounds of abuse, divorce, alcohol, hurts, heartaches, and pain, so anything Beth has to say through God’s Word or from Christian counselling that can help someone else to look for God has a source for help I think it is a blessing! Thank you, God for our Sweet, Loving Beth who loves You so much.

  6. 306
    Monica Smith says:

    As a second year seminary student at Regent University in Virginia Beach, VA, and a lover of your mother’s Bible studies, I have to agree with you and think that perhaps we should send the author a copy of Turabian!
    Your mother’s passion for God and His Word is what led me to attend seminary. “I believe so that I may understand.” I have been exposed to so much more of who our God is and joyfully and humbly come before Him seeking to know more.
    I am currently going through Stepping Up and will be working on Week 5 this coming week. I am looking forward to seeing what God has for us to learn, even with my seminary training (smile)!
    Be blessed,

  7. 307
    Judy B says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share all of this information with us. I’m still processing my thoughts about this — but I am disappointed in the author of the article as well as the Editors of the magazine. And I imagine that having your mom’s picture on the cover sold a “few” extra copies!
    This reminds me of the time that TV Guide had a photograph of Oprah in a beautiful red evening gown on one of its covers. She looked great — but it was later reported that TV Guide had put Oprah’s head on Raquel Welch’s body! I haven’t see this issue of Christianity Today – is it really her? 

  8. 308
    Polly says:

    Your precious Mom is richly blessed in that (1)God has sovereignly “allowed her” to be your Mom and (2)the passionate, public display of your love for your Mom and for the God of your family must bless her socks off! Keep it up, Little Sista! God’s Kingdom is growing though your family!
    Love & blessings,
    Polly Balint

  9. 309
    Kacie says:

    Hey Melissa, I paused before I opened the article too, and was sobered by the thought of how personal this would be for you and for your mom and family.

    I found the articles mostly fair and honest, but also tough. It was a critical analysis. Sometimes they were presenting things honestly knowing that some people would love those things about your mom, and others wouldn’t. I would usually have read the article and critically analyzed right along with the authors, but having met you and your mom at Moody, it was uncomfortable! Like having someone speak too-bluntly about a friend.

    Your mom speaks to a lot of people, and God has used her mightily. Her goal was never to teach the theologians, but to bring the Word of God to women. That is what she’s done, and although as a Bible College grad the CT article may address some things that make your mom’s style hit home a little less with me, she hits home in a huge way with most women. The fact that YOU are on the team actually speaks to people who love history and theology and can be a little arrogant about it all. You love those things too, and you fight for the Word of God and women right alongside your mom.

  10. 310
    Karla says:

    Boy! Would I ever love to know what you mean by this section from your latest post, Melissa. “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.” I have participated in lots of your mom’s Bible studies and have been greatly blessed by her insight and depth of wisdom that God has blessed her with. Admittedly, I am not a theologian with degrees behind my name but I am an officer in our church and do a lot of study. Please tell me what I am missing in the doctrinal differences between your mom and the PCUSA. There have been a couple of times, even recently, that questions have been brought up and discussed but this makes for good study and good digging deeper into the Word. I will really appreciate your answer and thank you ahead of time for the time it may take.

  11. 311
    Diana Lamb says:

    Doesn’t the Bible teach us that if we have something against a brother/sister in Christ, that we go to that person PRIVATELY and discuss it with them? Since when do “Christian” magazines speak for the Christian population as to whether or not a Bible teacher is right-on in his/her training or methods? I trust that Mrs. Moore’s family, co-workers and pastor are doing that job if and when it needs to be done. I can do without articles like this one.

  12. 312
    Katie says:

    Your reaction to seeing your mom on the cover of Christianity Today was similar to my own. My heart starting beating as I wondered…what are they going to say about her? I feel so protective of all of you, even though I’ve never met you, because of how profoundly this ministry has touched my life. I’ve been drawn to Jesus and his Word, felt the healing power of God on my broken heart and been infused with a great sense of joy largely because of reading Beth’s studies, participating in the blog and just laughing with all of you and your crazy antics. Would that be represented in the article I wondered? And to be fair, I think it was. After reading it, I actually felt a sense of relief as it seemed mostly positive. I think solid Christian publications, such as CT, feel a need to not just be self-protective. In other words, they want to appear un-biased and willing to take a hard look at all things “Christian” to make sure they are truly representing Christ and not merely supporting the “cause”. In order to do that, they need to fairly address the criticisms of any given preacher, teaching, study, movement, etc. In the case of your mom, it seemed a bit of a stretch. It’s almost as if they went hunting for something negative to avoid the appearance of bias. Overall, though, I think a person unfamiliar with Beth’s teachings would walk away from reading that article with a positive feeling about her and her ministry. I’ve had to learn the hard way that when it comes to working with people… YOU CAN’T WIN!! Someone will ALWAYS find fault with what you do, no matter how pure your motives and methods are. So just keep looking up, pressing ahead, loving each other and helping the rest of us to do the same :). We Love you!

  13. 313
    Stacey says:

    I have read almost every book Beth has written and have completed each bible study as well over the years. I’ve seen Beth live more than a couple of times in the Denver area too. I’m not one to comment here on the blog but I just want to today. Here’s my take on Mrs. Beth Moore. Beth loves God with all of her heart and loves God’s Word with all of her soul, period.Beth has blessed many with her work and glorifies God daily… Keep up the good work Beth!

  14. 314

    Melissa it was good to read your
    review of your moms article and I
    wonder who had the last word before
    going to press, and how much of what we
    read in the magazines is filled with
    “combined words” from other works.
    Your mom’s response was not a shocker!
    She is far more gracious than I could be.
    I hope that the magazine will review its
    content in a much more critical way as to
    to make sure the facts are consistent with
    the conversation of that day or reference
    material used to complete their story.
    I think you did a wonderful job of explaining
    how the words we speak can be disguised as “word
    for word” during an interview.
    I also learned some new words while you were
    talking about the experience. Like anathematizing 🙂
    Thanks for sharing,

  15. 315
    Gulley says:

    Melissa – I totally appreciate and respect your protecting your mother. Just know that those of us who have done her studies/read her books/heard her talks could not question her sincerity ever! Hang in there!

  16. 316
    Denise says:

    Thanks for posting Melissa. You know something? I do your Mom’s bible studies, I read and listen to Ravi Zacharias, Priscilla Shirer, my own pastor and a good many others. My pastor is like Beth, he says do not study under any one teacher or any one denomination (and he is a ‘denomination pastor’). I have read some post and other things that attempt to discredit the teachings of all of the above mentioned teachers so I am not surprised by this ‘context issue’ in this article. What disturbs me is why the body of Christ tears pieces of itself. I recently listened to someone saying that one of these teachers was taking something out of context, then they played the teaching but wouldn’t play the entire piece, just played segments, stopped to comment about why it was wrong without listening to the entire piece. And we wonder why the world calls us hypocritical.

    Love to you, your sweet mama, and the rest of your family. This time ya’ll took one for the team!!

  17. 317
    Jaime S. says:

    It hurts my heart to think for a second that anyone would purposefully misconstrue Miss Beth’s words and intentions. She is the most genuine, authentic, and real bible teacher I have ever had the priviledge to learn from. In fact, I just spent 2 hours today with Miss Beth and God working on the online bible study, “Living Beyond Yourself”. Thank you for informing us, but know that we Siestas will always protect, love, and respect your Mom. We “know” Miss Beth better than some author in a Christian magazine looking for attention…

  18. 318
    Jill says:

    Beth’s comment was the best. “They were kinder than they had to be. And I learned a lot.” I said, “You learned a lot? Seriously?” What a great way to greet life’s challenges! That ministered to me in a big, big way.

    Melissa, you are a wonderful daughter and loyal friend. I tend to be in the category, you can say or do anything to me, just don’t attack my loved one. I would have had to have put on my snake killing boots to have written that post.

  19. 319
    Jackie says:

    Wow Melissa! Thanks for straightening that out. It surely did not sound like your mom. It’s so crazy the way writers piece things together the way this one did….I think this would fit in to a “spin” in our lovely culture of making things the way we want them.

  20. 320
    Barb says:

    Thank you Melissa – you are a good daughter! I’m glad that you took the time to clarify the inaccurate statements so completely!! Because of the books I have read of your Mom’s, I wouldn’t have believed what that person reported but it is still good to correct the mistakes and make clear what could be a stumbling block to others hearing about how much our Savior loves us thru your Mom!!!
    lovingly to you all, Barb

  21. 321

    Amen, sister. Your mom must have loved your systematic defense as only one trained could do. We love you both.

  22. 322
    Heather says:

    Okay, so I just read this, and the only thing that could come to my mind is, why are you defending her? I know she is your mom, and she is an amazing teacher, but really, don’t let it bother you. If anyone “knows” her, does her studies.. etc… family and all of that, we will not let that get to us.

    It’s really not a big deal, maybe it is to you, but it is in Gods hands and he knows what is and is not true. Kinda like the bible, we don’t have to defend what Jesus says to be true, we know that we know that we know it is true, it’s where faith comes in to play! And trust, and God will reveal what is right!!!

    Not trying to be harsh at all, but remember, you don’t have to carry it on your shoulders and neither does your mom or family!!!!

    Just a thought!

  23. 323
    Aunt Rhody says:

    Thank you for a stunning explanation of the article. But, you must know, that as I read the quote, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that she didn’t actually “say” that. He is her Defender!

  24. 324

    Melissa, Thank you for taking the time to point this all out to us. Not that I have read the articles or even the magazine, but because I love your Mom. For many of us she has been the cheerleader at the top of the pit we are so desperate to get out of. There are so many times in my life over the last few years that something she taught me via video or book comes to life and I turn and flee from the devil’s plans for me. God has used your Mom to not only change my life, but save it. I have taken her advice and been taught by other teachers as well, but I have to be honest, no one has been used by God more to touch the depths of my heart like your Mom’s teachings have. She has spoken truth into my life, made me laugh, cry, scream and she’s even been an unknown witness to my hardened heart turning so soft like warm cookie dough in my Saviour’s hands. I give thanks on behalf of all the lost daughters God has used your Mom to reel back into His arms that you defended your Mom’s work. Because Melissa, women like me are “living proof”, reflections of the work God is doing in and through your Mom. Please tell her “I love you” from Lelia in Nebraska.

  25. 325
    Millie says:


    Thank you for the academic defense of your Mom’s work. I have long been a student of hers and all of us who have, know her heart, and her heart is not in the quotes included in that article as they were presented. The most important contribution she has made in my opinion, is to bring the heart of God through His Word to the heart of so many women and men, and give us a deep thirst for more. She enthusiastically supports anyone (whether in “academia” or not) who does the same through her videos, books and talks. Who doesn’t remember a time when she gets so excited and pulls out a book to read someone’s quote and says, “Now stay with me, stay with me”?
    I personally want to thank all the Moores for loving God and his people enough to stick their heads above the crowd and declare His Word to all people.
    I know your mama couldn’t be any prouder of you! God bless you all.

  26. 326
    Andie says:

    I don’t read the magazine but when I read your blog, it broke my heart for your mom. I can’t imagine that this has not hurt her in some way – please tell your Mom that I am so sorry for that – it takes strength and faith to stand up and share with people the revealation that you know ,that you know, that you know , (with no doubt)the Holy Spirit has told you-no theology,etc.can touch that. I admire her for that and I for one am grateful..

  27. 327
    Joni says:

    Well written. Well said. Well supported. The pursuit of truth is always worth the efforts.

  28. 328
    Hattie says:

    Melissa, I have participated in a number of your Mom’s bible studies. I love her practical, down to earth approach of teaching God’s Word. She is a valuable asset to the “theological” community and as equally if not more to me~a housewife with 4 kids and an awesome Godly man. We are Counting On God to lead us to Heaven and He is doing that through your Mom. I love her dearly and feel as if I’ve known her my entire 36 years. Thanks for standing up for her….Peace & Blessings!

  29. 329
    Pam says:

    I think when broken women are made whole in Jesus without people who have a degree it is hard for Theologians to accept. I have “caught” your Mother’s passion for Jesus and his word. The Holy Spirit leads me into all truth as I spend time in God’s Word.

    All glory and honor to Jesus Christ alone!!!!!

    • 329.1
      Sandra says:

      It was the Pharisees, the theologians of the day, who persectued Jesus the most. It is still the same today. I love you, Beth. I think you have done an excellent job in teaching the Word. The Holy Spirit has your back! Praise the Lord!!

  30. 330
    Hilda says:

    I recall you mom saying several years ago that she expressed to you her interest in attending seminary to advance her academic credentials & your reply to her was, “Oh no, Mom, you represent to many women that they don’t HAVE to attend seminary in order to be an excellent Bible student”… Perhaps I misunderstood and have therefore misrepresented, but I agree with that (if indeed you DID say that & I’ve not misquoted your Mom or you. HOPE NOT! If so, my apologies). I have a (healthy) skepticism toward institutions of higher learning, as so many are liberal and cross over into heresy. After reading your blog this weekend, I rushed out to buy CT, something I don’t usually read. I honestly didn’t find it offensive, but then I’m no doubt very biased when it comes to Beth. One of the things I admire (among many) about your mom is her intellect and the energy/effort it requires to keep up her pace. I know that every speaking/teaching/writing minute of hers has to be backed up with not only 1-on-1 time with our Lord but STUDY, STUDY, STUDY. Her unique way of believing & applying His Word and then sharing it with us is immeasurable in value. I surely don’t mean to minimize your education, Melissa, and I also admire your vigilance toward your mom; I enjoy your contributions to the blog and I know your mother values your input & ability to tap your academic contributions. Keep up the good work! So love you Moores, one & all.

  31. 331
    Jeannette says:

    hmmmm…. I think sometimes God strikes a nerve in us to end up reassuring ourselves…


    From Leadership Weekly – @ ChristianityToday.com (TODAY!)
    (see Below)

    “Gordon MacDonald’s Bible reading took him in a surprising direction this week. In the text, one of Jesus’ healings (a woman crippled for 18 years) elicits a sour response from a theologically minded observer. How can that be? Gordon reflects on similar attitudes he’s seen in his own ministry. Why do some people allow their theological assumptions about God to trump their delight when God does something unexpected yet obviously good?

    Jesus’ response is a refreshing glimpse into the character of God, which sometimes confounds the theologically wise. You’ll appreciate Gordon’s How Can Anyone Think God Is Like That?

    Knowledge is a good thing. And I’m especially grateful for my theological education. After reading Gordon’s reflections today, I pray that my studies will help me see the Lord more clearly, and not just through lenses that distort his character and blur his goodness. “

  32. 332
    MamaCat says:

    Melissa, I hope you are reading all these comments and realize how very well respected your mother is especially by those who truly know her teaching. As one whose whole life has been changed by the words God gave her, NO ONE on this earth can change how highly I regard Beth Moore. I am impressed with the depth of her research into any subject and love her fresh way of viewing God’s Word. I love her passion for Him and her joy of passing on that passion to others! May God continue to bless her work and hopefully use this article to touch others. Those who are not meant to be touched will take the article at face value but those who are meant to be reached will do their own research into who Beth Moore truly is. And once touched, they will not be able to resist the wonderful work that God is doing through her.

  33. 333
    Shelly says:

    If I hear a negative word (especially one that I know is not true) about Beth, I run to her defense (and I have never met her!. I have many times wondered how it would be like being you and Amanda. God has such an incredible calling on your family and HE EQUIPS moment by moment for the tasks at hand. As a mom of 3, I am proud of the way you articulated yourself and I agree with all the other siestas that ANYONE who has heard Beth speak for any amount of time would know that she is the most humble, non-pretentious, non-judgemental, sound Bible teacher on the planet. And that bothers some especially if her teacher has been the Holy Spirit Himself! Praise His Name! Love you guys.. always keeping you in prayer.

    Shelly in Largo

  34. 334
    Angela says:

    Thanks so much Melissa for doing all the legwork to clarify the origin of the quotes. Having worked in communications and PR, I’m well aware of how some reporters and editors can slice and dice quotes ever so subtly, but with obvious implications. It saddens me that the author of the article and editors of CT didn’t provide a more honest presentation of Beth’s views, in this regard.

    While I don’t have a seminary degree, over the years I’ve read and studied books from a number of different Christian teachers/theologians, both contemporary and classic. I’ve done, I believe, all of the studies Beth has written and can honestly say my faith has grown immeasurably deeper through them, along with my desire to understand the Word of God. Her ministry has been instrumental in deepening my relationship with God and I am eternally grateful.

    While it’s hard to understand why CT would publish an article in such a way, one thing is absolutely clear. Beth’s ministry has touched many, many lives lighting a spark of interest that is growing into a strong desire to know God more deeply, based upon His Word.

    He’s in control and even though it smarts to have unfair representation, He knows the enormous impact of your ministry. Praying for God’s blessings on you, your mom, your sister and the whole Living Proof group.



  35. 335
    Pam says:

    your words…” Only once someone is properly understood should he or she be criticized.”

    This was not the case with Jesus and it’s not the case for us at times. As painful as it is to go through, this one phrase is something I’m am convicted to learn and live as I deal with others. It may not always happen to me but I do not want to be guilty of doing this to any one else.

    thank you Melissa!

    p.s. Anyone who has been under your mother’s teaching knows the real truth in this article. God Bless Her!

  36. 336
    Colima says:

    I read the article this past weekend and it didn’t set right with me, either. Personally I didn’t appreciate how they suggested that Beth hadn’t really heard from God and it was innapropriate for her to claim that any of her studies were directly from Him. Thank you for clearing up the misquote, I didn’t think it sounded like something she’d say.

  37. 337
    Ada - Lovin Him says:

    Melissa I can’t tell you how blessed I am by your defense of your mom and seeking to right the wrongs that were done to her by misquoting and taking out of context things she’s said. We know her heart and are offended also over those misleading comments shared in the article. It’s such a comfort to know that the Ancient of Days looks at the heart and will some day right every wrong! I have to thank your mom for teaching me that and enabling me to tattle to God and leave many hurts at His feet – trusting Him to make them right!
    I have a 16 year old daughter who is SO affected by “the most difficult thing about being a woman” as quoted from the REDbook – “hormones Hormones, HORMONES” Some days I wonder who she is! Even though I trust my Ultimate Defender, I still hope and pray she will one day stick up for me and come to my defense when I’ve been treated wrongly as you have so wonderfully spoken up for your mom and defended the truth!

  38. 338

    Thank you for the well explained post! Like many of the other commentors said – we know your mom and truly see her as a scholar of God’s word! We LOVE her!

    I was also excited to see you went to Moody Bible – I was a graduate of Moody in 97′. I blog at http://www.womenlivingwell-courtney.blogspot.com

    I always enjoyed Founders Week – my favorite speaker when I was there was Elizabeth Elliot – but boy would I have enjoyed your mom too!

    Thanks for the well written post explaining this out. I slightly understand your frustration. I had a very poorly written newspaper article written about me after I was on the Rachael Ray Show back in Nov.09 – it was SO annoying and once it’s in print there is nothing you can do…ARGH! So sorry 🙁

    Feeling for you as a sweet daughter! Can’t wait to see what you and your mom are writing next! I just finished the Esther Study and could see your finger prints all over it!!
    Much Love,

  39. 339

    Those of us who know your mom’s writing and speaking, know her love for the intense study of the Word. 🙂 I am thankful for this blog post. It shows us all a little taste of the downfalls of “public life.” Thank God that her reputation is held in the hands of God…ours as well…Jesus understands what it feels like to be misquoted and misrepresented. He is surely a High Priest who understands!

  40. 340

    I meant our reputation is held in God’s hands…I did not mean that your mom’s reputation is held in our hands…egads…sorry to be confusing!

  41. 341

    Warmest Greetings to you Melissa,

    this post has been very insightful…not sure what to say…this opens my eyes some more to the criticism or examining that Bible teachers receive, especially ones out in front of the masses. What I do know is that God knows your Momma’s heart so well, and He knows yours and enabled you to express it here. This does make me think of I Cor. 13, because when I have felt misunderstood or misrepresented by people or in others eyes, it comforts me to know that, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” Just as I also have been fully known…He knows me. He knows my true state, and my true thoughts…this post makes me think Melissa…thanks for posting.

    Blessings to you today,


  42. 342
    Beckie says:

    Melissa, this was a wonderful written blog. Let me tell you first that I actually heard your mom speak for the first time at that Moody’s Foundation week as I’m a 1982 alumni. I was moved by her devotion the Word and our Savior.

    My very first study with your mom was her Stepping Up and it was used in a mighty way to reveal more of my Savior’s love to me. I now have attended several of your mom’s conferences and would recommend them to anyone over many other women venues I’ve attended.

    The Lord has strategically allowed every one of the studies I’ve participated in that your mother wrote bring great healing to my spirit and soul because of her devotion to the Word and our Savior.

    Melissa, I want you to know that I’m saddened that Christianity Today, one of my most favorite magazines used your mom’s words out of context to misrepresent her view on some things. Thank you for not only have the courage to stand up for your mom with this blog entry but the integrity of a godly woman being misrepresented by her words being misconstrued.

    I would count it a joy and privelege to have someone like you defending my integrity if I ever needed it! Great job here sister!!!

  43. 343
    Sharoni says:

    Melissa, I love your heart.

  44. 344
    Barbara says:

    Melissa do you notice reading these comments how many of them say I don’t read CT but I read your Moms books and do her studies and go to her events — Well Im just saying

  45. 345
    Di Kroplin says:

    It’s a no-brainer for anyone who has done your mom’s studies – she simply doesn’t represent this set of beliefs, much less use the article’s language. Extremely poor journalism, and they owe Beth an apology.
    Frankly, I think CT should hire YOU!

  46. 346
    Patti says:

    All I have to say is that I have been a Christian for 23 years, I have struggled with many, many issues because of lots of trauma in my life. Sitting in church all these years wondering why dod i still have problems, why am i not victorious, free, and delivered? What is wrong with me? I read the word i do lots of things i am supposed to do. But i still struggle. If it wasnt for people like Beth Moore who talk to me where i am at, with everyday real life struggles, i would not survive. I need practical every day help and support with my life. It has to be relevant to where i am at. Husband, kids, INSECURITIES, those are the issues i need help with, and I believe God has annointed Beth Moore to help people like me. If the divorce rate, pornography rate, drug addiction rate, and insecure rate is the same for christian’s and non christian’s, what does that tell us? People in the church are still struggling and we need to talk about it (Like Beth does) and not hide and pretend that it doesn’t happen in church. It does and it is. Please dont stop talking real Beth Moore, or people like me will have to keep hiding in church, asamed that there is something wrong with us, and that God is mad at us because we dont have total victory, yet.

  47. 347
    Carole Anne says:

    Melissa, I love you for stepping up like this. I ended my career in journalism because I was encouraged to distort facts in the newsroom, and I just could not do it. Statistics show that 75% of readers believe what they read from news sources, and I just did not want the responsibility…

    • 347.1
      Arlene says:

      Amen! I took a writing class once and It made me give up taking writing classes (not writing)and opened my eyes about everything I read. Magazines and newspapers are written to make money. Whenever something has that kind of agenda we need to be prudent what we read and believe.

  48. 348
    karensk says:


    Thank you sooooo much for taking the time to explain this in such detail! You did a really excellent job, and with a great tone, too (completely non-harsh or judgmental-sounding).

    Unfortunately, this exact type of “reporting” happens so much that I tend to disbelieve most of the national news segments on our local news. Anyway, I appreciate you being so precise and meticulous in your explanation of the various pieces. I even had my husband read it (who loved it, too, btw). Not that either of us would’ve believed what the author of the article was implying about your mom on those issues in the first place, but still….it needed explaining, and you did it brilliantly!

    Karen K.

  49. 349
    Margarite Anderson says:

    I also read the Christianity Today article, and I was struck by the comment about scholars as well. However, overall, I thought the article was complimentary. Beth has made such an impact on so many lives – thank you.

  50. 350
    Dianne Donaldson says:

    Melissa – have thought of so many “things” to say since reading your post about the Christianity Today article – which I have not read. BUT – I am so thankful that God trusts the least of us with His Holy Word – that we are “allowed” to own a Bible and are indwelt with His Spirit so that He might teach us – WOW! I am so thankful for scholars also – you all can keep each other in check – and help out the “leasts” when we need enlightening.

    Your Mom – she has so many strengths – faith with fashion, scholarship in stilettos…but today while lying on the couch I read something that so described one of your Mom’s greatest strengths.

    A SANCTIFIED IMAGINATION from The Power and Pull of Stories by Stuart McAllister:

    How we need storytellers, writers, and dramatists to offer fresh approaches to connect with reality that are rooted in God’s story. Yet each of us who longs to be faithful to the gospel and effective in connecting with postmodern listeners needs what A.W. Tozer calls a “sanctified imagination.” In his essay “The Value of the Sanctified Imagination,” Tozer observes, “the value of the cleansed imagination in the sphere of religion lies in its power to perceive in natural things shadows of things spiritual. It enables the reverent man to ‘see the world in a grain of sand and eternity in an hour.’ The weakness of the Pharisee in days of old was his lack of imagination or what amounted to the same thing, his refusal to let it enter the world of religion. He saw the text with its carefully guarded theological definition and he saw nothing beyond…I long to see the imagination released from its prison and given to its proper place among the sons of the new creation. What I am trying to describe here is the sacred gift of seeing, the ability to peer beyond the veil and gaze with astonished wonder upon the beauties and mysteries of things holy and eternal. The stodgy pedestrian mind does not credit to Christianity.”

    McAllister then goes on to finish by saying: Human beings are hungry for stories, and ultimately – though they may not know it – for the one true story. To reach them we must enter their story, learn how to retell that story, and then capture the retold tale within the gospel narrative. May God grant us his grace and wisdom as we aim to become grace-filled and creative storytellers.

    And Beth Moore has that sanctified imagination – that ability to tell grace-filled and creative stories. Tell on, Beth.

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