John MacArthur is taking flack for disparaging remarks about Beth Moore. As Mark Galli observed recently, why are standards of decency applied to MacArthur for comments about a celebrity Bible teacher when social justice Christians receive praise for speaking truth to power, not always in delicate ways. MacArthur may have more status than Moore, but it’s not an easy call.
Even odder is that evangelical academics would choose to stand with Moore who is not exactly the best example of a Christian feminist. In Halee Gray Scott’s article for Christianity Today (August 2010), “First Came the Bible,” noted, Moore’s instincts are anti-intellectual:
“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.”
At the same time, not clear is why evangelical academics worry much about John MacArthur. He’s on the far- or extreme-right (or a fundamentalist) of evangelicalism and hardly a pastor or teacher that believers with Ph.D.’s take all that seriously as an arbiter of faith and practice.
What is relatively clear, is the current cultural dynamism that allows us to feel better about ourselves if we identify with someone criticized by a white Christian man with affinities to the Republican Party.
But before John MacArthur put Beth Moore down, female students of Scripture were not wild about the Southern Baptist celebrity’s biblical instruction:
Cue Aimee Byrd (well, her podcast colleague, Todd Pruit, though Aimee has also criticized Moore in No Little Women):
If you want to get people mad at you (I mean really mad) just criticize Beth Moore’s teaching. Trust me on this. Many a young pastor has found himself being roasted over the rhetorical bonfire of women’s ministry meetings for daring to raise concerns about Beth Moore’s rather exotic approach to biblical interpretation.
But those who don’t much care about popularity or physical safety have in recent years been willing to challenge some of the outrageous claims and troubling teachings coming from Beth Moore. It would be one thing if Beth’s claims of direct revelation, sloppy exegesis, and squishy ecumenism were confined to a small corner of the church. The trouble is that Beth Moore is hugely popular which means she has a lot of influence.
….Beth Moore has been pushing for a kind of ecumenism between Baptists and Charismatics and Roman Catholics and Prosperity heretics that ignores essential Christian doctrines. In Beth’s ecumenism, the doctrines of God, Scripture, salvation, and the church do not seem to matter nearly as much as her vision of “unity”. Hers is an unbearably light unity for it cannot bear the weight of biblical distinctions. And to make matters worse, if you disagree with her ecumenism you are standing in the way of Jesus’ vision for the church. How do we know that Beth’s vision is Jesus’ vision for the church? Because she told us so HERE.
It is, I suppose this shallow ecumenism which explains Beth’s willingness to praise and partner with false teachers such as Joyce Meyer. If you are wondering why this is a problem then I assume it is because you do not know what Joyce Meyer preaches.
Beth also claims direct revelation from God. Her claims that God speaks to her are ubiquitous throughout her books and preaching. It is these divine revelations that supply the gravitas for Beth’s extravagant claims. If you watched the video clip above you have already seen her claim to have received a prophetic vision directly from Jesus concerning the future of the church. . . .
What Beth Moore is describing in her experiences is what we call “direct revelation.” Revelation means to unveil or make known. The doctrine of direct revelation means that God speaks directly to someone apart from any mediation. We understand that direct revelation was given by God to the prophets and apostles and was ultimately inscripturated as God’s written word. Protestants have historically denied continuing revelation. We believe that God’s Word is His chosen and sufficient means to speak to his people. Indeed the Southern Baptist Convention has clearly denied continuing revelation and affirmed the sufficiency of Scripture.
And yet Beth Moore’s books and studies are published by Broadman & Hollman (B&H) and sold in Lifeway stores. Both Lifeway and B&H are Southern Baptist entities and Beth Moore a member of a Southern Baptist Church. So why does the Southern Baptist Convention publish, promote, and sell teaching that clearly departs from historic Protestantism and is against its own doctrinal positions? Follow the money my friends. Follow the money.