We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer

Monday, February 2, 2009

Beth Moore's "Breaking Free"

I have been slowly reviewing the title book for the past few months and now I felt the need to post analysis of what I read. Let me say firstly that, even though it took a long time due to my not taking the time to just sit down, it is still a very cursory review which doesn't detail all the problems I found.

Let me say up front that I think Beth gives some very good advice in this book, but her credibility is denigrated by the problems she presents in her teachings. If she could eliminate the claims of special revelations and correct her hermeneutics, this could be a valuable book for women. Unfortunately, there will never be changes made so I have to recommend against the book if I am ever asked, unless it is used by very discerning Christians - or at least provide this information to them!

I’m not going to address every time Beth has poor or misleading teaching, rather I am going to concern myself only with poor use of Scripture, claims of special revelation, and eisegesis. To point out every problem would be an arduous task! (She also has some pop-psychology that disturbs me.)

Claims of Special Revelation: (I skimmed much of the book for these later, so I may have missed some)

1.  “You see, the finished work that falls in your hands represents untold hours of intensity with God in which He first taught it in ‘long hand’ to me.” P.4

2.  “God spoke to my heart and said something like this: ‘I sent my Son to set the captives free. You will go forth and ring the liberty bell.’" p.6

3.  “The words He first gave me after I began walking the path to freedom still echo in my mind.” P.6

4.  P.43. “When I finally bent the knee to the Prince of Peace over hurts in my childhood, I realized He was directing me to forgive the person who hurt me. God did not insist on my forgiving for the sake of my perpetrator but for the sake of peace in my life. Once I began to surrender to Him in this painful area, He began to give me a supernatural ability to forgive.” Besides the pop-psychology evident here, what is the evidence that God insisted Beth forgive her offender; did He say something audible? Was there a sign given? And what is the evidence that she was giving a “supernatural ability to forgive.” Again, did God reveal this to her audibly or with a sign? 

5.  “As God began stirring the tremendously heavy burden in my heart to write this study…” Who’s to say that this was just her own emotions instead of God “stirring” her?

6.  P.102 Moore lists five reasons she believes God allowed her childhood abuse. I can agree from biblical principles that the first four items are highly likely, especially since Beth starts each statement correctly with, “He knew.” And God knew all the things would happen as she says they happened because God sees the future. It is her last statement that bothers me because she says dogmatically, “He wanted me to teach how to make freedom in Christ a reality in life from the passion of personal experience.” Beth CANNOT know this! Therefore, this becomes a de facto claim of direct revelation. (And it may well be that God never wanted her to do anything about it!)

7.   P. 181 Beth says, “I believe this week will be a supernatural turning point for all who take advantage of what they learn.” I wasn’t sure whether I should also include this under “revelation” or “other problems,” so I’m putting it here. Is it not arrogant and presumptuous to believe that your teaching will be a “supernatural turning point”? Is Beth then saying that God supernaturally meets everyone who studies Beth’s work? Of course this only works if we “resist the temptation to take any shortcuts or skip any homework!”

Misuse of Scripture and other problems:

1.  Pp.14-15. We have first looked at 2 Chron. 26:21-27:9 and then Isa. 6:1-8 for the context of this section. “Isaiah grew up under the reign of the mighty King Uzziah and no doubt idolized him as a young boy…” is how Moore begins on p. 14. Then she decides that when Uzziah died it was “perfect timing” for God to choose that very same year to call on Isaiah because Isaiah was now “hero-less.” She continues on the next page, “I believe Isaiah idolized King Uzziah.” I think the word “idolized” is a bit extreme. Beth continues with an analogy of how she sees sports figures and in the world. But I don’t think the Israelites would put their kings in the position of idol, since that would be a rank violation of the Commandments.

Moore then gets really extra-biblical as she imagines all sorts of things about these passages. “People crave a human worth worshiping. We are wise not to try to deliver. Uzziah accidentally left poor Jotham hopeless to measure up in the minds of many. I believe Isaiah was one of them. Notice Isaiah 6:1 does not say, ‘in the year Jotham became king, I saw the Lord.’ Not the existence of something new but the removal of something old opened Isaiah’s eyes to the kingship of God.”

There are some real problems here. Firstly, Moore assumes Isaiah was worshiping Uzziah and then decided Jotham wasn’t worthy of worship. Secondly, she decides that Jotham was “hopeless to measure up” to his father “in the minds of many,” including Isaiah. Where does Scripture even intimate this? The Bible tells us Jotham, except for not tearing down the pagan “high places,” was more godly than his father! Moore’s idea comes because Isaiah says it was the year Uzziah died that he saw the Lord instead of saying it was the year in which Jotham became king. That is a non sequitur: what difference does it make how Isaiah recorded time? Perhaps he used Uzziah’s death because it was something that stood out? We don’t know because the Bible doesn’t say. But Moore says that the death of Uzziah was what “opened Isaiah’s eyes to the kingship of God.” So does this mean that Isaiah, in chapters 1-5, really didn’t understand God’s kingship? That’s what Moore implies. I think this is a gross misreading of Scripture.

At the bottom of the page Moore then makes this statement about Isaiah: “Isaiah was probably just as corrupt in mind, mouth, and practice as the people surrounding him.” I would think if this was the case that the Bible would have at least hinted at it. Isaiah was certainly a sinner, as everyone is, but it does not follow from this that Isaiah was so corrupt. Isaiah saw the corruption and I believe he was pained by it. After all, he was a prophet of God! Yet Moore has decided on her own that, “I don’t believe He called Isaiah because he was a man of character, like Noah. I suspect He may have called him because he was just as sinful as the rest of them.” But there is no Scriptural justification for this idea.

2.  Pp. 32-33 Beth uses Isaiah 43:10-13 as if it is directed at the Christian, but the context of this passage is God talking to Israel. She asks, “Why have we been ‘chosen’ according to Isaiah 43:10?” But Is. 43:10 says nothing about us being chosen. The whole context of Is. 43:10-13 is about God and Israel yet Beth finds many parts of it addressing Christians. Can we as Christians take lessons about God from this passage? Yes: there is no other god besides God, there is no other Savior besides God, and no one can undo what God has done. Is Moore’s conclusion about who we are correct? Yes, but her method of coming to the conclusion is erroneous. (She misuses this same passage later in the book.)

3.  Pp. 34-35 Beth again misuses Scripture to make her points. This time it is Isaiah 43:7. In context God is again talking about the nation Israel, but Beth asks the questions, “According to Isaiah 43:7, why did God create us?” In context God is talking about why He created Israel. Is Moore’s answer to her question correct? Yes, but again her road to the answer misuses the text.

4.  P.39 we are to look at Jeremiah 31:23-25. God is talking about what he will be doing for Israel when He brings them back from captivity. Beth makes a spiritual application of this passage, saying that God “will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint” when He releases them from spiritual captivity. If she wanted to make an analogy, I’d have no problem with this, but to take the passage out of context and spiritualize it is another matter.

5.  P. 46. Beth again is using Isaiah out of context with Isaiah 43:1-7. The context is God’s relationship with Israel but she makes it about His relationship with us. Again, if she discussed it as an analogy or a principle of God’s attributes, that would be okay. But she makes it a specific application to us.

6.  P.73 begins a lot of pop psychology, which in itself can be harmful to individuals if that’s the route they take to deal with their problems. On page 75 Beth mentions things that keep us in bondage because of things we “inherit.” Then she defines what she means: “learned environmentally” (agreed), “genetically predisposed” (also agreed), “binding influence passed down through other means” (if this isn't the same as environmental influences, then it appears she is going into the “generational sin” of the aberrational spiritual warfare movement.).

7.  On pp.79-80 she gives her interpretation of what Exod. 20:5 means, which really becomes no more than the unbiblical idea of generational sin. She starts by giving the example of “alcoholism” (a psychologically-incorrect term that pretends a lack of self-control with alcohol is a disease) and how many “alcoholics” (i.e., “drunks”) are in a family throughout generations because “alcoholism had been deposited in the family line.” But what she doesn’t see is that drunkenness is a learned behavior, not a “deposited” behavior. She seems to say these problems are learned behaviors with her citation of a story by Gilda Radner, but then she becomes inconsistent in whether it’s learned (environmental) or “deposited.” Maybe that’s why I’m confused about her teaching! While Beth, in that section, seems to be saying we can determine whether we want to continue with the sins of our progenitors or change for the better, there is also much to make me think she may want us to believe we can inherit these things, as Bill Gothard teaches (and as do many false “spiritual warfare“ teachers).

8.  Her citation and use of Exod. 20:5 is common among proponents of this teaching, in that they overlook the next verse. She points out (p.83) how God allows “the sins of the fathers to visit the children to the third and fourth generations” but completely ignores the part about thousands of generations in verse 6! But even vs. 5 says “of those who hate me.”

9.  P.99 Moore says that she believes Matt. 18:5-9 “specifically apply to child victimization or abuse…” While it is highly possible that victimization and abuse may lead the child into a sinful life, I think Jesus is talking specifically about leading them to sin in any manner. I’ve read some commentaries which say this isn’t addressing children so much as it is addressing those who are children in their faith. But Moore needs her meaning to apply in order for her to discuss her topic of child abuse. ( I think one can find plenty of passages to show God’s view of any abuse of a child!) The remainder of this section and the next is based on Moore’s interpretation. So, although her teaching on the subject may be helpful, her misapplication of Scripture is unacceptable.

10.  P.120, Moore starts with a little bit of, “studying the tender - and may I say, romantic - ministry of Christ.” There is nothing “romantic” about Christ’s relationship with women any more than with men. This is one of the problems with many women’s teachings - they often tend to put a romantic slant on our relationship with Christ. Christ is not their individual husband as Moore claims beginning on p.121- He is the Husband of the Church. And that is a metaphor, not literal. Yet Moore continues to call each woman, and even each man, a separate bride of Christ, and she carries the analogy much farther than biblical. What she really leaves out by this teaching is the LORDSHIP of GOD the SON; he is not a lover. Beth continues the next chapter also teaching that Christ can fulfill “girlish dreams” of romantic relationships. This is unbiblical.

11.  Beginning at p.126, Moore claims that the Song of Songs is “ultimately a story about Christ and His beloved bride - us.” This is 100% false. The Christian church, under Rome, started making this claim long ago because of prudery over the story. But if one reads the story in context, there is no way it can be about Christ and the Church. It is about a romantic - and even sexual - relationship between a husband and wife, and this cannot be made to be about Christ and the Church without eliminating the romance and sex, and then spiritualizing it all. P.135 ends with the romantic Jesus slant and the S.o.S nonsense. I will cut Moore a wee bit of slack on identifying S.o.S. as Christ and the Church because that has been taught by many.

12. P.148 “Even the Father and the Son had a Potter-Clay relationship. Christ obeyed the Potter. Beth needs to be clearer here, because it sounds very much like she is saying Jesus was created by God the Father. I don’t think this is what she means, nor do I think she believes it, but she needs to be very careful of her verbiage, nevertheless.

13.  P.163 Beth endorses a book by Francis Frangipane. I find this extremely disturbing! Frangipane has many, many aberrational teachings and is heavy into the “signs and wonders” movement and should never, ever be recommended in any teaching.

14.  P.174, item 3. This sounds much like pop-psychology, self-esteem theology. Beth says that Jesus “thinks it will be heaven because you will be there.” So if you weren’t there it wouldn’t be heaven to Jesus? What if you choose not to follow Christ and end up in Hell - does Christ then think heaven isn’t heaven? Then Beth cites a song saying, “When He was on the Cross, I was on his mind.” No, it wasn’t anyone personal who was on Jesus’ mind, rather it was the salvation of mankind in total.

15.  P.203 Beth says, “This journey has required the full participation of your heart, soul, mind, and strength. If you have fully participated in every lesson and every exercise, you have withheld nothing from Him.” This equates withholding participation in a Beth Moore study with withholding yourself from God. I find this a bit arrogant, as well as presumptuous.

Well, there you have it - my cursory review of this book by Beth Moore. I can only guess that the DVD probably has obnoxious behavior as seen on her "Believing God" series.

I really would like to see Beth Moore get some good theological training and retract a lot of her bad teachings, even pulling publications that have them. With her popularity, she could really do some good if she cleaned up her act.

59 comments:

Glory 2 Jesus 4 Photography said...

What a great detailed review. It is rare that you see some one give the the truth and correction for others misleading and weak doctrine. If you do not mind I would like to link this and put you in my blog role.
Thank you for standing and speaking out in the name of Jesus.
God bless.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well, hello Corey (I looked at your blog!),

Thank you for your kind words. You must have just stumbled across my blog because I have dealt with Beth previously. You might want to read those posts (and some of the comments I get - not all nice)to see the progression. Also, I have just co-authored an article about Beth in the latest Personal Freedom Outreach journal (www.pfo.org)

http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2007/12/beth-moores-bad-teachings.html

http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2008/02/beth-moore-reprised.html

http://watchmansbagpipes.blogspot.com/2008/05/beth-moore-revisited.html

I would be honored to be in your blog roll!

In His Service,
Glenn

Marie said...

Hey again,

Wow - I must have missed the Francis F endorsement, b/c I read "Breaking Free" before I even knew who she was. Unfortunately, I gave my copy away to an equally deluded soul and no longer have it.

The "generational curses" doctrine that Beth teaches unapologetically struck me even back then as being totally unbiblical. Thanks for pointing that out. Also, her theology is very "us" oriented and "self-esteem" - as if the sole purpose of God is to glorify man and enjoy him forever.

She takes the Bridal Paradigm waaaaaayy too far in almost ALL of her "studies". She even worked it into "Daniel" (Christ is looking down from His throne anxiously courting us.) Unfortunately, women seem vulnerable to this and eat it up.

As time goes on, Moore seems to sink further and further into unsound doctrine and becomes increasingly prideful and unteachable.

Glory 2 Jesus 4 Photography said...

Glenn,
Thank you for taking the time in pointing me to your other post I will be sure to try and read those as well. You are correct I just happened to stumble onto your blog and am glad I did.
God Bless

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Marie,
Breaking Free was copyrighted in 1999, so it is a rather ancient book. Perhaps that's why I found a lot more beneficial teaching in this one that newer ones.

When I move just south of Cedar Rapids, IA a bit over 13 years ago I was just starting to branch my apologetics study off of just cults and into other false teachings and teachers, having spent the previous year learning all about Word of Faith. I had never heard of Frangipane.

Our first Sunday in town our realtor invited us to church with him and we went to River of Life, Frangipane's church. It was an experience I will never forget - BIZARRE! And they sent us out with some of Frangipane's books. Reading those things was a real eye-opener. Then I learned a lot about his history from those in the area who've know him for a long time through church splits and take-overs. I could tell you about lots of weird/wacky things with that church since I've been here!

There's sort of a sad joke among the discerning Christians in town. The corner with R.O.L. is know as "cult corner": Across the street east is Unity and across the street north is the RLDS (now known as Community of Christ).

Why any discerning Christian would recommend anything by Frangipane is beyond me.

Marie said...

Beth Moore is anything but discerning, Glenn. She constantly quotes Deitrich Boenhoffer and Eugene Patterson, neither of whom are (or were) exactly doctrinally sound. Her "Be Still" participation revealed an affinity for medieval Catholic mystics, as well.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

HAH, HAH! I know Beth is not discerning - that's my point with exposing her. :oD

I meant that last statement as a general comment about Frangipane.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if you'll read this, but if you do, I would greatly your input. Some of the ladies of our church began a study just today of Beth Moore's "A Woman's Heart God's Dwelling Place" .. I attended this morning's session and came away wondering if this is worth my time. It seemed very 'me' centered as in "God pursued me". Again, your insight is appreciated. Blessings!
Louise M in Michigan

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Louise,
I have been told that when Beth does a study of a specific book of the Bible she is usually not too bad, but when she does topical studies she can be completely off-the-wall.

My feeling is this: If a teacher is known to have continuous hermeneutical problems, continuous claims of direct revelation from God, sanctioning of secular psychology, and a host of other problems as does Beth, then I would not recommend any studies by that person, nor would I spend my valuable study time wondering if I was able to discern the wheat from the chaff reading her stuff.

As for the title of the one you name, isn't every Christian's heart "God's dwelling place"? Don't we all have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? That title, in and of itself, would be a bell-ringer to me. And if it is consistent with other Beth Moore stuff, then it will be much about the self.

Does this help?

Glenn

Anonymous said...

Glen, thank you for taking the time to answer my question and confirming what's been running through my mind since yesterday morning. Our time IS too precious to spend it attempting to discern wheat from chaff, and Beth Moore's past shows us clearly where she's likely at today.

Indeed, our hearts already ARE our precious Savior's dwelling place...what a blessed truth that is. Thank you for reminding me of that.

May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you. You are doing a great service to the body of Christ and I am deeply appreciative and thankful I found the blogs of yours and your wifes.

Blessings,
Louise in MI

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Louise,

Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad to be of help.

Jill has been a wee bit behind on her blog. She has about 5 articles started and keeps saying she needs to sit down and finish. We seem to be so very busy outside the home, that when we are home we have lots of work around the house and yard to do!

Keep the discerning eye open!

Glenn

Anonymous said...

Tis me again ... one more thought ... if you could do an article about Beth Moore's latest study 'A Woman's Heart, God's Dwelling Place' it would be appreciated.

Blessings,
Louise in MI

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Louise,

Well, I really don't have the inclination to go buy her book just to review it, especially since I have more than enough reason to discourage people from reading Moore's books. Not only that, but I am currently really very involved with writing an apologetics course for high school students and don't have the time to put into another study of Beth Moore. However, if someone wants to do a good objective study, I'd be more than happy to read it!

Glenn

BeckyJo606 said...

It makes me sad that you decided to refer to the Community of Christ as a cult. In what says does it resemble a cult? How are we going to ever get anywhere when Christian churches continue to attempt to one up each other?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well Hi BeckyJo606,

Calling a sect a “cult” isn’t a matter of churches trying to “one up each other,” rather it is a matter of determining whether a particular sect is orthodox in their teachings.

The Community of Christ is also known as the Reorganized Latter Day Saint Church, a break-off of the Utah LDS denomination. Joseph Smith’s son, at the behest of Smith’s wife and other followers, started the new sect. They essentially dumped all the bizarre doctrines of the Nauvoo period, claiming Joseph didn’t really teach such things (the proof is irrefutable that he indeed did so).

The RLDS still holds that Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is true. Any church which follows a false prophet is cultic. The book of Mormon is also a false gospel, which Paul condemned in Galatians chapter 1. As with the LDS, the RLDS claims that the New Testament church went into total apostasy after the death of the apostles and disappeared from the earth until re-established by Joseph Smith, and as a result of that all existing churches in 1820 were wrong and their creeds were an abomination before God. Another part of the false gospel taught by the RLDS is that salvation is by obedience to the laws and ordinances of Joseph Smith, and that heaven consists of three tiers, and that people will be able to hear and respond to Smith’s gospel after death. The RLDS God is an eternal visible being, and he and Jesus appeared to Joseph Smith (the deity of Christ is equivocated on).

Aside from following a false prophet, false holy book, false God, false Christ and a false gospel, the RLDS has become a very liberal church allowing women leaders and supporting homosexuality. The RLDS even has an official organization named GALA (Gays and Lesbian Acceptance).

The RLDS fits all the classic definitions of a cult. It is not a biblical Christian denomination. Ex-RLDS members will tell you the same thing.

Kristi said...

But I don’t think the Israelites would put their kings in the position of idol, since that would be a rank violation of the Commandments.



It's difficult for me to imagine anyone giving a "critique" of another child of God's ministry, actually using this statement. Israel's entire history is a rank violation of the Commandments! Their very name means struggles with God. You really should try to read the "heart" before critiquing the "sacrifice", God clearly says He's much more interested in that. Just a thought...

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Kristi,

Of that entire review you chose to disagree with that ONE statement of mine.

I realize that Israel did much to disobey God, but you will find nothing in Scripture that even HINTS that any Israelite ever idolized their kings.

What about the rest of my critique? Did you see anywhere that my analysis was in error?

I think what you will find God interested in, is the proper teaching of His Word, and not twisting it to suit one's one belief system, as does Moore. 2 Peter 3:16 talks of those who twist it to their own destruction, and we read many times in Scripture about adding to God's word. Beth adds much! Very often she does not "rightly divide" the Word. This is the crux of the matter with her teachings -- poor hermeneutics!

Also, there is much in Scripture about false prophets - those who claim revelation from God but in reality do not receive such; Beth is very much guilty of claiming direct revelation in all the stuff I've seen by her.

So then you think Beth should be above examination? That any critique of her teachings is wrong?

The "heart" of Beth may be in the right place; I don't doubt that and I have never stated otherwise. But her "sacrifice" is not an acceptable one because it is blemished.

Georgia Lee said...

Oh nothing like a hypocrit such as you. Have you actually read the bible? The Israelites made nearly everything and anything a false GOD and worshipped it. How about when Moses was on the Mountain speaking to GOD and getting the 10 Commandments?

You stated yourself you didn't even READ the study, you only "skimmed" it. Well I can simply skim your blog before getting a massive migraine and tell that you're 1. Jealous of Beth Moore
2. Have a long walk to go before you'll have a moment where you have any business writing an apologetic for high school students.

If you're not hearing GOD's voice you have no business writing for him and telling others how to decifer his word. I will make all the assumptions about you as you've made about Beth! You are one of those people who send new Christians running because of your out and out hypocricy!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Georgia,

You called me a hypocrite - do you have evidence to back up that charge? In what way am I a hypocrite?

Of course I have read the Bible! More times than I can count and I never stop reading it. If you truly looked at my blog instead of "skimming" it, perhaps you would see that I study the Bible quite zealously.

I don't understand your comment about Israel making idols of things; what does that have to do with my review? The comment about Isaiah not idolizing Uzziah? Demonstrate to me from Scripture where I was wrong in correcting Beth here.

You claimed I said I only "skimmed" this book; well, either I'm blind and just can't find where I said that or else you misquoted me. Perhaps you think I skimmed the book because I said this was a "cursory review"? The review is cursory; i.e., I didn't want to take the time to do an in-depth review of this book.

Your accusation of me being jealous of Beth Moore is certainly a false charge. I have no reason to be jealous of her.

As for my qualifications for writing an apologetics course for high school students, there are many, many people who will disagree with you - it was a local home-school group who approached me to write the course based on the many, many classes I have taught.

Now, you have again ended your comments by insinuating I do not hear God's voice (I "hear" God through His Word - I don't claim direct revelation the way Beth does), and that I am a hypocrite.

Your comment was no more than a continuous ad hominem attack on me with no substantive criticism of my work. Instead of attacking me as a person, perhaps instead you can demonstrate where my analysis of Beth Moore's work is in error.

Perhaps you are idolizing Beth? Perhaps your awe of Beth's claims to direct contact with God lead you to lose objectivity? Just some thoughts that came in my mind. Defenders of Beth seem very much to be deceived by their investment in her - can't admit she is in error because they spend so much time studying her and that would say they weren't discerning - and of course one can't admit they weren't discerning when they should have been, so they remain deceived by Beth.

How about the next time you want to comment, you don't attack me as a person, but examine what I say and demonstrate the error of what I say. If I am in error, I willing accept correction - after all, I am ever learning myself!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

For Georgia,

I found where I mentioned that I "skimmed" this book - the context was looking for her special revelations: whereas I pretty thoroughly read most of the book and the actual biblical "expositions," I only skimmed for claims of special revelation after I finished the book because I wasn't recording them as I went. My original intent was to examine only the hermeneutics, but then I kept coming across revelation claims and went back to the beginning and skimmed looking for all of them. I should have been more clear with that statement, so I understand your thinking I did not study the entire book. My apologies for not making that clear.

Anonymous said...

I have read you comments concerning Beth Moore. I feel you are entitled to your opinion as I am entitled to mine. Everyone interprets the Bible differently and God uses his work to speak to everyone a different way. As well as using people like Beth Moore or Joel Olsteen or any other Preacher/Teacher of God. I don't agree with some of the "opinions" you offer. The bottom line is that we are all Christians (followers of Christ) and that we should love each other and not tear each other up as I feel you are doing. So, you don't buy into some of the "Doctorine" of Ms. Moore. That does not mean that it does not speak to People and that God uses it to his glory to bring people to him and to set people free. Maybe you should start "Practice" what the bible preaches and that is love. Love your neighbor as yourself. I will pray that God reveal to you what "Love" means in his terms.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Well hello, Anonymous, (3/2/10)

I’m sorry, but there aren’t multiple interpretations of the Bible. People may interpret it how they want it to be, but there is only one true interpretation.

Yes God can use anyone for His purposes, but that doesn’t mean God approves of everything they teach. I have stated many, many times that Beth Moore has SOME good teachings, but her misuse of Scripture, claims of direct revelation from God, etc make her dangerous to anyone not very mature in the Word. As for Joel Osteen, I don’t think he is even a Christian because he doesn’t understand the Gospel, let alone anything else in the Bible, and he certainly doesn’t teach the Bible.

Is it really “unloving” and “tear[ing] each other up” to expose false teaching? Jesus didn’t think so when he exposed the false teachings of the Pharisees, nor did Paul think so when he exposed the Judaizers. What IS unloving is to continue to allow false teachers to deceive others with their teachings.

I don’t “buy” into some of Beth’s doctrine because it is not found in the Bible.

You accused me of not practicing love because I dare criticize Beth Moore’s false teachings. Perhaps you should pray that God reveals to you that Love is not looking the other way when people misuse His word or misuse His name with their claims of direct revelation.

Now, if you want further comments posted, then have them address my analysis of Beth - demonstrate to me where I am in error rather than just make general statements of how unloving I am.

Anonymous said...

I am responding to your last comments that you made regarding my previous post. How do you know that God has not Given Beth Moore "direct revelation from God". God reveals himself to many people in many ways. The word of God (the Bible) speaks to people in many ways. I NEVER said that there were many "interpretations" of the bile. I said that people interpret God words in many ways. They also take scripture out of context and use it to their advantage. Just remember that there is no perfect "Christian" and there is no Perfect Human. Just remember the Bible says: Judge not lest you be judged and He is without sin cast the first stone.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hello again, Anonymous (3/2/10)

Beth has claimed direct verbal revelations from God. If Beth was getting direct revelations from God, then the teaching she claims came from God would have no errors, especially in hermeneutics: she would not have misinterpretations or out-of-context use of Scripture. Also, the revelations would be in line with what we already know about God and his Word. I think I adequately demonstrated where neither of this happens with Beth, therefore the evidence demonstrates that she does not get direct revelation from God. Deut. 18:22.

I understood you to say that “Everyone interprets the Bible differently.” If ‘everyone” interprets the Bible differently, then that would mean there are multiple interpretations of the Bible. My point was that, no matter how many people interpret the Bible personally for their own understanding, there is only one true interpretation. It is the true interpretation that we should seek, and not just what it means to us.

I have never made claims about anyone being perfect Christians (no such thing exists), so I don’t know why you made that statement.

As with many who defend false teaching from an emotional standpoint (rather than demonstrate biblically where I have erred in my analysis of Beth’s teachings), you took the teaching about not judging out of its context, as you also did about casting the first stone.

The teaching about not judging lest we be judged is about hypocritical judgment and judging motives, neither of which I have done while judging Beth’s teachings. We are told to judge rightly (Lk. 7:43,12:57), to judge righteously (Jn 7:24), to judge all things (1 Cor. 2:15), to judge Christians’ behavior (1 Cor. 5:11-13), and to judge what is said (1 Cor. 10:15). We are told to test all things (1Thes. 5:21). We are told over and over again to test teachings, and the Bereans were declared noble for doing so (Acts 17:11). It appears to me that you are not willing to hold Beth's teachings up to the light of the Word of God.

And lastly, I never said the Beth was guilty of any sin and therefore cast no metaphorical stones at her.

Anonymous said...

It saddens my heart to read the comments written here about Beth Moore. She must be threatening your Mormon ways for you to hit her so hard. Proof to me once again that Satan never lacks a willing vessel to spread his venom. You have allowed Satan to use you in the most aggrevious way. I will pray that you will all come to know the love of Christ and truly be set free from the bondage of Mormonism.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous 3/8/10

Firstly, I am not a Mormon. You obviously do not read my blog too closely. My first religious experience was in the Mormon church, but after less than two years I left it because I realized it was a false belief system. I have been a born-again Christian for 36 years.

You made all sorts of emotional comments, but you did not show me where my analysis of Beth Moore's teachings is wrong. Perhaps if you would compare Beth Moore's teachings to the Bible, as I did with the Mormon teachings, you would come to find that you are being greatly deceived by this false teacher.

Lin said...

I am so glad to see this post! Oh how I wish more people would start really dissecting the teaching out there. I have had a problem with Moore for quite a while but heaven forbid if one even mentions it because she is so popular.

I believe her teaching is very shallow and extra biblical. And she does twist context to fit her premise.

With that said, there is another problem. I come from the marketing side of Christedom (repented and out of it now) and I know Beth is a very hot commodity in those circles. Lots of money is being made and I know how it works. Keep the materials coming before the fire dies out. The more this is done, the more the author plays to the audience. I am not even sure they realize it. But they do believe their popularity is God's Blessing. When in reality, it is just the opposite.

I so pray that Christians would stop following man and start following Jesus Christ and be Bereans.

J.A.D. said...

Hi, Glenn,

I came across your blog while searching for articles on Moore's involvement with contemplative spirituality. Thank you for taking the time to point out the errors! While I have never read any of her books, her penchant for the mystical was something that Lighthouse Trails Research has known for a few years. To see the excerpts you pulled out of her book is so discouraging, as Christianity has become so consumer based, solution-seeker-friendly, and customer service-oriented (Super Size the fries with the video sermon?). God definitely uses women to comfort and encourage one another in difficult, challenging situations. Moore may indeed be giving these women some of what they are hungry for, and I believe that there is a place for well-written (and researched) books that tackle these topics. But to include wild comments and ideas from people who had questionable beliefs about God is irresponsible and dangerous. They're better off reading dead guys' stuff like Tozer and the Puritans.

By the way, how HAS she been able to become such a thorough expert on so many topics in such a short time??? Must be the specialized prayer ...

Thanks again for blowing the whistles.

MST said...

Glenn you will never see the emotional folks correct you with Scripture. Whenever you start stepping on folks golden calves they get so mad that they lose any reading comprehension skills they may have had. See all the time at my blog. Great review keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

I ran into your review as I am thinking about attending the bible study. I was surprised what she wrote about Isaiah. Thank you for sharing that. If I decide to join, I need to research more and confirm what I read with the Scripture or some other study guide. You were questioning several times about her revelations from God. I would question you how you can prove that she didn't hear from God. What would you say to God if He told you that He have given her all the revelations she had? She is only human just like us, I am sure she is not right about everything just like all the pastors and teachers in the world.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Anonymous 2/3,

The reason I say she doesn't get her revelations from God is because 90% of what she claims comes from God is false and disagrees with Scripture. That makes her a false prophet. If you look at my other articles on Beth you will see the many other claims of direct revelation from God.

I consider attending "studies" of Beth's to be a waste of time, since there are so much better studies available.

gary said...

thanks for the "Breaking Free" post. My wife is planning on attending a women's study which will last for two hours once a week from Jan. 24 until some time in April. They are using the “Breaking Free” material and it is plastered all over their Church’s website. It is being held at the flagship church in our little rural association which hosts all the up-to-date relevant teachings that are all the rage.

I came across your bog post because I am suspicious…hence my finding your comments. I did not experience a special revelation, just curious about all the hype about Moore. I am not jealous just wondering why I am picking up vibes such as: “if it isn’t a study using Beth Moore materials…then there is no interest.”

I am a full-time pastor and seminary student not to mention father of five along with Boy Scout assistant responsibilities. Suffice it to say that I appreciate the ground you have covered and passing along what you found. For some of us who are in seasons of life where we can’t set aside time to test the teachings of every flashy “Bible” study which entices our families, lucid critiques from fellow Christians help.

I will consider what you have written and will talk with my wife about it.

Thanks again,
Gary

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Gary,

You might want to peruse the other posts I have about Beth and check with Personal Freedom Outreach for their series of articles on her works http://www.pfo.org/Beth_Moore.htm

It's always good to see another discerning soul!

mp0wR said...

Hi Glen, I came across your site actually looking for info on deliverance ministries. I have a friend with past occult involvement who reports to be experiencing deep depression, loss of joy and will to live, as well as a lot of confusion. My parents were heavily involved with Gothard, Rebecca Brown - type spiritual warfare (if that's what you want to call it) and authors such as Bubek and Logan. Back to the woman, she is in my women's Bible study group at church and we are actually going through the Breaking Free study.
It seems to me that she is under pretty heavy oppression but I don't know how discerning I am when it comes to deliverance (I still that the subject is a bit murky because of what I was taught growing up). Anyway, I want to minister to this woman because she is having real struggles but I'm not sure where to direct her... hence I ran across your site.
Thank you for your synopsis of Breaking Free. I have to admit I haven't read/done the workbook past the first 20 pages. In reading through the workbook I was struck with its spoon-feeding approach and how much of Moore's interpretations where the focus of the Study, even though it is peppered with Bible verses. I have to admit I haven't been a "watchman" and have not taken that approach with the readings.
I'm a busy Mom of three and I found that time spent in God's Word and in prayer meant more to me than the workbook.
I felt uneasy while watching the DVD when Moore stated that IF you were committed to the study, and IF you followed through with the workbook, you were GUARANTEED success in breaking free from strongholds. I also felt uneasy reading her interpretation of Isaiah (right in the beginning where - and I think you quoted her - she said that he was basically just as corrupt as the Isrealites around him.
Reading your critque/review has reminded me that I felt that caution, and has given me some concrete issues to process and examine. I think that I will, in the future, need to research authors before I spend time reading their work.
Anyway, thank you for work!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hello mp0wR,

Wow, what a handle! :oD Interesting that you felt uneasy watching the DVD with what Moore was saying - that wee bit of discernment is all you need to get your warning bells ringing, and it will help you to learn more and more discernment as you go.

Moore is certainly not a good teacher to listen to, especially for a lady like you described; she doesn’t need self-esteem psychology and twisted Scripture.

Firstly, the whole idea of “deliverance” is unbiblical, so that’s about all you need to know about it - keep away from it!

Secondly, the lady with the past involvement with the occult, if she has indeed turned her life over to Christ she should not be “oppressed” demonically; she more likely is not turning her past over to the Lord for forgiveness - lots of guilt about it, etc. There may be other issues as well and unless you can know the person very well it will be difficult to deal with whatever issues she has. A good biblical counselor could do her wonders.

I know of a good woman biblical counselor, Marie, who has a couple good blogs, and you might check them out and e-mail Marie about your friend and bounce ideas off of her.
http://theo-geek.blogspot.com/
http://redeemedfromthepit.blogspot.com/

The worst thing you could do for the lady is to think it is a matter of exorcism, such as is taught by deliverance people; Christians do not need exorcised! The main thing would be to be sure she has turned her life over to Christ, that she is indeed a Christian, and then good biblical counsel will help her leave all that past and walk away from depression.

Anonymous said...

Beth's Bible studies are life-changing. How can you study the Bible as a history book. It is alive and relevant today. God is interested in every detail of our lives. But it seems like you are more interested in proving you are right. Where is love???

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous 9/14

Beth Moore’s studies are NOT “Bible Studies.” They are Beth Moore commentary studies. I daresay they might be “life changing,” but I also maintain they are more “life changing” for the worse - not better.

What I am interested in doing is exposing false teachings. It isn’t a matter of me being right, rather it is a matter of whether the teacher accurately presents the Word of God - which Beth has been proven not to do by many, many apologetics ministries.

Where is love? Is it love to allow people to teach falsely? Is it love to allow people to be deceived? Is it love to keep silent on the truth? Jesus had love for everyone, yet he was less than kind about the teachings of the Pharisees. Paul had love and yet he said anyone who taught falsely should be “eternally condemned.”

You made an emotional comment, yet you provided no evidence that anything I said was wrong. I suggest you be a wee bit more objective in your review of Beth’s teachings.

Jacqueline said...

I enjoyed this blog post. You were able to articulate and show Biblically what I have been trying to pinpoint for months in regards to Beth Moore. I have participated in a few of her studies, and left each feeling a vague unease.

Could I ask if you have any thoughts on Elizabeth George- or on her book "A Woman After God's Own Heart'? It was recently recommended by a friend and I am looking into her website... she seems to have a lot of interesting-looking books, but I have not heard anything about her. Not sure if you are familiar with her or not.

I noticed in other posts you have suggested Kay Arthur, and I love her studies. Her 'Lord, Teach me to Study the Bible in 28 Days' study really helped me delve deeper into the Word.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Welcome to my blog, Jacqueline,

I'm glad I could provide you with some good information. Moore is sincere, but she is also dangerous as a teacher because she leads too many women the wrong way.

I have not read anything by Elizabeth George, but from all I have heard and read she has a good reputation for solid teaching.

Jacqueline said...

Thanks for your response! I have heard similar things in regards to Elizabeth George, so I think I will delve into some of her books this week and give them a try.

I agree- Beth Moore is definitely sincere. I believe she has good intentions... But when it comes to teaching God's Word that is not enough. I continue to pray for her. However, I can't condone reading her materials or following her teachings.

I will continue to read your blog and look forward to further posts. Thanks again. God bless.

Anonymous said...

I realize this is an old post but I am just now reading it. You have every right to not agree with Beth Moore that is not what I am arguing here. What I am wondering if what credentials you have?
I am also wondering why you find it so impossible to believe and accept that God can still speak to peopl. Did he not leave us witht he Holy Spirit? If you have never felt stirrings/callings from the Lord I would be in serious questioning of your walk with the Lord.
And lastly as a Christian I am seriously disgusted by your lack of love and compassion, as well as your lack of education about alcoholism.
Alcohlism is a disease, alcohol affects your brain and secrets hormones that affect your ability to make proper decisions. And it is hereditary.
I refuse to drink becuase every person in my fahter's family is an alcoholic. It is quite obvious you have never been next to the bed of a recovering alcoholic. Or never spoke to the 'drunk' as you so compassionatly state, who never wanted to be like their dad but after one drink something snapped inside them. Everyone has a sin issue and how dare you decide that people who struggle with the battle of alcoholism are somehow lazy or worthless. You need to look in the mirror and ask yourself what your Lord adn Savior would have to say to you about that self righteous attitude!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous,
Might I ask what credentials YOU have to criticize me? You start off by making an assumption that one needs to have specific “credentials” to use the Bible to examine teachings in an effort to determine if they are true or false. My “credentials” are that I have studied the Bible, the Christian faith, and Christian apologetics for almost 40 years.

I do not find it “impossible” to believe that God can still speak to people; God can do anything He wants. However, when a person claims that they have a direct revelation from God and what they claim does not match up with Scripture, then we can know they are not telling the truth. Beth Moore claims a lot of direct revelations from God which are totally contrary to what Scripture teaches. As a “Berean,” I’ve searched the Scriptures.

You made a charge that I have a “lack of love and compassion,” yet you gave no examples to back up your charge. You also charged me with a lack of education without know anything about my education.

As for my statements about alcoholism, I stand by what I stated. What studies have you done on the subject? There is absolutely no medical studies which say “alcoholism” is a disease - because it isn’t, nor is it hereditary. Do you know the origin of the word “alcoholic”? It was coined by the founders of “Alcoholics Anonymous.” The idea was to remove personal responsibility for drunkenness. The Bible plainly teaches that drunkenness is a lack of self control, as is gluttony. If everyone in your father’s family is a drunk, it’s because they chose to be so. No one is ever compelled to drink. If I lack compassion for using the factual word “drunk” rather than the psycobabble term “alcoholic,” then so is the Bible.

Alcohol is a drug and one can get addicted to it, and in the same way drug addicts sometimes have to be helped out of their addictions, the same is true with a drunk. But it is not a disease, nor can it be inherited. It can be learned.

If a mother is a drunk when she is pregnant, the alcohol - as with other drugs - can cause genetic defects in the child she carries. But this is not inheriting. One drink does not lead to drunkenness; only the choice of the drinker to continue drinking the alcohol makes them drunk.

I challenge you to show where I EVER stated that a drunkard was “lazy or worthless.” You have made that false charge against me.

You claim I have a “self-righteous attitude” because I expose false teachings. I guess you’d have to make the same charge against Jesus and the apostles! But might I point out that I could make the same charge against you base on your unwarranted attacks on me?

Anonymous said...

Jesus is quite clear in Luke 9:50 "Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us."

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous,
The context of that passage had nothing to do with a person teaching falsely. Jesus would never put up with false doctrine, claims of special revelation from God (i.e., lies), or abusing the Scripture.

Cindy said...

Hi,

I was reading about the problems with Beth Moors teachings and chance upon your blog.

I also read that you mention deliverance is not biblical and wonder if you could explain and elaborate. The reason is that my church believes in spiritual warfare and deliverance is one of the things done and taught.

Thank you so much!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Cindy,

The “deliverance” ministry is nothing but psychology dressed up in Christian clothes. The idea is that people aren’t responsible for their sinful behavior, rather they have demons possessing/oppressing them (depending on the teacher) from which they must be delivered. You will find this no where in Scripture, but you will find it taught by such false teachers as Neil Anderson and Mark Bubeck.

To begin with, Christians cannot be possessed. Secondly, where does the Bible say our sins come from? Look at James 1:13-15 for the answer. And of course there is the old “binding” of Satan nonsense that HE laughs at. Again, nowhere will this be found in the Bible.

I can recommend two good books for more in-depth study:
“Miracles, Demons, & Spiritual Warfare: An Urgent Call for Discernment,” by Edward N. Gross.
”Modern Myths About Satan and Spiritual Warfare,” by David Kirkwood

Then there is Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare as developed by C. Peter Wagner and his ilk. This teaching was popularized by Frank Peretti’s books. This includes “binding” Satan also, plus prayer walks, “binding” the “strong man” of a city via “spiritual mapping” and such. More stuff not found in Scripture.

For this topic I’d suggest the book, ”Territorial Spirits and World Evangelisation?” by Chuck Lowe.

Don’t you think it is amazing that the church didn’t discover this spiritual warfare stuff for the first almost 2000 years? “If it is true, it isn’t new; if it is new, it isn’t true.”

Glenn

Cindy said...

Hi Glen,

Thanks for the books recommendations. I've been thinking about spiritual warfare and reading the related biblical verses:

1) Mark 3:20-23 : There is a mention of binding the strong man (ESV, KJV, NASB) in the context of Jesus driving demons by the power of the Holy Spirit. This seems similar to the binding of strongholds used for spiritual warfare prayer.

2)Mark 16:14-20. what caught my attention is v15-18 where the Great Commission is commanded with Jesus stating clearly that signs and wonders would accompany those who believe. If we understand that the Great Commission is also for present day believers (not just the apostles then), then the part on signs and wonders following those who believe would apply today too? In other words, we can't just take v16 to apply to us now but exclude v17-18?

3) John 14:12 where Jesus told Philips that "very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father." Would this show that even believers today can perform 'greater things than Jesus', including the healing and casting of demons he did?

While I agree that the current literature on Spiritual Warfare like those you mentioned (some teachings of Peter Wagner) seem to have added more stuff than what is found in the Bible, especially in the "How to" cast out demons etc, it does not mean that deliverance and spiritual warfare is non-biblical? We are told in Eph 6:12 that 'our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms'. In fact Eph 6:10-18 does tell us "How to" be prepared for such spiritual warfare.

In other words, what I'm thinking is that God can still perform His miracles (heal the sick, cast out demons etc) through his believers today. However, it is completely up to God whether He will do it each time someone prayed or asked for because it has to be within His will and purpose to do so. Just because there are Christians who added "ways" believers can follow to get God to "perform miracles" does not mean God has stop performing His miracles.

Sorry for the lengthy responses. I hope it's not confusing as I have tried my best to share my thoughts and feelings. Pls feel free to correct my sharing as I'm trying hard to understand the role of Holy Spirit and His works in Christian living today.

Thanks for reading. God bless!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Cindy,
In the Mark parable, Jesus did not call Satan the strongman. He was making an analogy when he was charges with being a demon driving out demons. He was pointing out that Satan couldn’t drive out Satan or else he would be a kingdom divided against itself. Then he pointed out that no one can enter a strong man’s house to steal and carry everything away unless he first ties up that strong man who is that owner. The analogy Jesus makes is comparing Satan to a strong man who is a house-owner. With Satan, his dominion is analogous to the house, and the people over whom he holds sway are his possessions. Jesus spiritually binds Satan and frees the people by driving out the demons as a forecast of the complete binding of Satan in the future.

This passage is severely abused to teach that we “bind Satan” and that he is called the “strong man.” There is no such thing as “spiritual warfare prayer” in the Bible - it came from the minds of people like C. Peter Wager. The “strongholds” we have “warfare” against are ideas - see 2 Cor. 10:3-5. We “fight” against these by teaching proper ideas - not by “warfare prayer.”

Mark 16:9-20 is not found in the earlier manuscripts. As stated by one commentary, “Serious doubt exists as to whether these verses belong to the Gospel of Mark. They are absent from important early manuscripts and display certain peculiarities of vocabulary, style and theological content that are unlike the rest of Mark. His Gospel probably ended at 16:8, or its original ending has been lost.” But let’s say it is authentic - does it say EVERYONE will be doing this - or just that these signs will accompany Christians? That is, will every Christian cast out demons and speak new languages or will this only be a sign where it is needed? Do you think God will protect Christians who are bitten by snakes, or drink poison just because they are Christian? Or do you think God might only do this where signs are necessary? Is there anywhere in the book of Acts or any of the Epistles where it says these things happened? Is there any witness by the early church fathers that any of this happened? The answer to both of these questions is, “NO.” To claim this passage as a reason for aberrant “spiritual warfare” is unfounded.

Continued next comment

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

John 14:12 is another passage thoroughly abused by the charismatics. The consensus among commentators is one of two things:
1. It is addressed to the apostles only, since they were the audience at the time. In this case they did “greater” in number of things, or greater in how they were done (Jesus healed by the touch of his hem while Peter healed by his shadow (Acts 5:15) and Paul by a handkerchief which had touched him (Acts 19:12). Jesus did it for only three years, while the apostles’ ministries lasted much longer. Such signs and wonders were to authenticate the ministry of the apostles.
If the message was for all Christians and not limited to the apostles, then the “greater” does not mean “greater” in power, but greater in extent. As John MacArthur says, “They would become gospel witnesses to all the world through the power of the indwelling and infilling of the Holy Spirit and would bring many people to salvation because of the Comforter dwelling in them. The focus is on spiritual rather than physical miracles.”

Ephesians tells us how to be prepared by using the Word of God as our offensive weapon - i.e., again it is teaching the Word and changing minds which “delivers” people from the darkness of sin. It says nothing about “warfare prayer,” “binding Satan” etc, nor does it even hint at such things. Why is it none of this was done before the 20th century?

Really, all one has to do is look at the evidence vs the claims of the charismatics. Where is the evidence of healing? Where is the evidence of biblical “tongues”? Where are they casting out demons vs making shows and entertainment? All you ever see are anecdotes or people.

Can God perform miracles through believers today? Of course He can. But it would not be a normal part of the Christian walk, nor would it be an almost every day occurrence as claimed by the charismatics, and would almost certainly only be in areas where the Gospel has not really been spread and the miracles would have the same effect of authenticating the teaching as it did for the apostles.

Cindy said...

Hi Glen,

Thanks for your detailed responses. Re Mark 16:9-20, I did read about its authenticity when I chanced upon http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=704 However, as this article concluded, Mark 16:9-20 are 'original—written by the Holy Spirit through the hand of Mark as part of his original gospel account'. On v17-18, it might not be an everyday event and possibly be in areas where the gospel was just starting to be spread, as you stated. That is good enough for me to know as I come from Asia, where the gospel is spreading. When I came to know the Lord more than 20 years ago, there were a number of signs and miracles within the very small churches here. Now, perhaps, it was less common to hear of that.

Thanks for highlighting 2 Cor. 10:3-5 about what strongholds refer to. Perhaps, there are varying ideas of strongman in the bible given that in Mark 3:20-23, it seems like Jesus is teaching disciples how to cast out demons indirectly through his analogy, like how He would teach christian principles using the many parables. I'm still reading and reflecting on this point.

Thank you.


Cindy said...

Hi Glen,

I forgot to add on to my previous comment about 1 Corinthians 12, in particular, v27-31

27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tonguesd ? Do all interpret? 31Now eagerly desire the greater gifts.

How can we know that the above is not applicable to today's believers?

Would appreciate your views and thoughts on this. Thanks!


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Cindy,
I’m familiar with all the discussion surrounding the Mark passage, but I wanted to point out that since there is controversy surrounding it, it should not be used as a “proof text.”

The analogy that Jesus used about a “strong man” of the house needing to be tied up, has nothing to do with current SLSW nonsense about a “Strongman” over every city which has to be bound. In the particular context he likened Satan to the owner of the house who was a “strong man” but this lends no credence to the claim that Satan or the demons should be identified as a “strong man” to bind. In fact, Christians CAN’T bind either Satan or the demons - if we could, why didn’t the apostles bind him, and why weren’t we taught this in Scripture? Matthew, Mark, and Luke all record this same incident and there is no other reference I can find to any “strong man,” so there are no other “ideas” about a strong man which are being referred to. All Jesus is doing is saying if the owner is a strong man vs a weak man, then he has to be bound in order to plunder him.

Again, I go back to the same question I keep asking - if the current idea of spiritual warfare, be it the “deliverance ministry” or SLSW, then why did it take over 2000 years for someone to “discover” it?

In ref to 1 Cor. 12, the gifts of healing and other miracles were signs of the Apostles, and no one else is recorded in Scripture as having such gifts. Any other gift claimed must be exercised in accordance with the Scripture, and this is the problem for charismatics - none of the claimed gifts meet with Scriptural requirements.

As I said, if God wanted these gifts active in the church today, He could certainly give people such gifts, but there would have to be a purpose - the building up of the Church being the main purpose explained in Scripture.

Cindy said...

Hi Glen,

Thanks once again for your clarifications. I appreciate that.

Regarding the strong man issue, I remember prayer sessions to bind strongholds, and break them down? Is this thus unbiblical too though it's more about srongholds rather than strong man?

Also, is it possible for you to share your thoughts on Eph 6:10-18, esp v18 which tells us to 'pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests', in particular what it means to pray in Spirit?

I have always thought Eph 6:10-18 to be part of spiritual warfare and 'to pray in the Spirit' to include praying in tongues.


Thank you.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Cindy,

Since a "strongholds" as defined in 2 Cor. 10:4-5 are nothing more but "arguments" and "pretensions that sets itself up against the knowledge of God," (NIV) or "imaginations" and "every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God," (KJV) how is it that we "bind" them or break them down? We do it with the Word, with better arguments. We "take captive" these opposing thoughts and arguments to make them obedient to Christ. We don't have some spiritually "binding" where we go around praying for them to be "bound" or claim "I bind thee..." No such thing in the Bible, but certainly found in the minds of those who teach false spiritual warfare.

For example, the demonic teaching of evolution replacing God's creating - how do we "bind" such vain imaginations, arguments and pretensions against God? With solid Creationist teachings using God's Word. We take them captive by comparing them to Scripture. Same with the teachings that homosexual behavior is acceptable to God - we demolish these strongholds with better arguments from Scripture.

When we pray in the Spirit, it is our spirit praying with the Holy Spirit. I have read an interesting description that prayer is "the Holy Spirt, speaking in the believer, through Christ, to the Father." In other words, we don't pray in our own selfishness, or in our flesh, rather we pray in accordance with the Spirit who dwells in us.

Look at Eph 6 - it is all spiritual, not literal. Our belt is the truth, our breastplate is our righteousness in Christ, our feet are fitted with the Gospel, our shield is our faith, our helmet is our salvation, and our sword is God's word. This is how we "war" against the powers of darkness - not by "warfare prayer" (unbiblical).

Nor do we pray in "tongues," which is one of the worst teachings of the charismatics in my opinion. Tongues are actual languages in the Bible, not a bunch of gibberish people learn or work themselves up into a frenzy with. REAL languages which if used in the assembly must have an interpreter. They were a sign to unbelieving Israel and the sign is only effective if there is someone who the sign is directed at in the presence of said sign. I.e., unbelieving Jews must be where tongues are spoken so they see the sign. (1 Cor. 14:22). Since they are a sign for unbelievers, why is gibberish used for prayer or even in an assembly with nothing but believers? And where in Scripture does it say we pray in a language other than our own?

Cindy said...

Hi Glen,

Thank you so much for your detailed replies. I have learnt a lot from them.

Would you mind 'elaborating' on this "In ref to 1 Cor. 12, the gifts of healing and other miracles were signs of the Apostles, and no one else is recorded in Scripture as having such gifts. Any other gift claimed must be exercised in accordance with the Scripture, and this is the problem for charismatics - none of the claimed gifts meet with Scriptural requirements."

In particular, how charismatics did not exercise the claimed gifts in accordance with scriptural requirements, besides the 'gift of Tongues?'

Also, is there any christian denomination that is not tainted by the Charasmatics movement? I'm looking at the Methodist church. Any ideas would help greatly.

Thanks!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Cindy,
I’m not sure how I can elaborate about the gifts of healing and miracles being signs of the apostles. I’d say look at Acts 5:12; Acts 14:3; Romans 15:18-19; and 2 Corinthians 12:12. And, as noted, no one else in Scripture is recorded as having the gifts of healing and other miracles.

Let’s look at the spiritual gifts, most of which may very well be active and yet also may not be recognized as such, so I’ll start with them.
Distinguishing spirits. (1 Cor. 12:8-10)
Teaching (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:28-30)
Helps. (1 Cor. 12:28)
Administrating (1 Cor. 12:28)
Serving. (Rom. 12:6-8; 1Pet. 4:11)
Exhorting (Rom. 12:6-8)
Giving (Rom. 12:6-8)
Leading (Rom. 12:6-8)
Showing Mercy (Rom. 12:6-8)
Evangelism (Eph. 4:11)
Pastor-Teacher (Eph. 4:11)
Speaking (1 Pet. 4:11)

Now, you have to remember that the gifts are all for the building up of the church, and not for personal gratification. The above gifts are certainly active in the Church. Now lets look at the ones abused, which might also be active in the Church:
Faith. (1 Cor. 12:8-10) This is a gift beyond normal faith, but the Word of Faith crowd make it a power.

Word of Wisdom. (1 Cor. 12:8-10) This is claimed by many false teachers in the charismatic movement, and is usually in the form of supposed revelation, or a “new understanding” of what the Bible says.
Word of Knowledge. (1 Cor. 12:8-10) Treated by the charismatics the same way as word of wisdom.

Now let’s look at the ones not in the Church today, but claimed and abused.
Apostleship (1 Cor 12:28-30; Eph 4:11) No longer valid since the original ones in the first century. There are requirements for Apostleship which no one living can meet. The false teachers of the New Apostolic Reformation claim this gift.

Healing (1 Cor. 12:8-10 and 12:28-30) All you ever see is “fake healing” - never real healing. Nothing verified medically. Every claim by charismatics to have healed has not been proven. Every claim has been just anecdotal with no evidence. Some have even claimed healing by getting gold teeth to replace bad ones, but God doesn’t heal by giving something which is false. This is a sign of an Apostle.

Miracles (1 Cor. 12:8-10 and 12:28-30) Again, all they have are claims with no evidence. It is another sign of an Apostle.

Prophecy (Rom. 12:6-8; 1 Cor. 12:8-10; 1 Cor. 12:28-30; Eph. 4:11) No longer needed since the canon is closed. Those who claim to have prophecies have never had one come true! That means they are false prophets.

Tongues: Real languages, not fake gibberish as displayed in the churches.
Interpreting Tongues: The miraculous, unlearned, ability. No such demonstrated.

As for a Christian denomination not tainted? Well, the mainline denominations all have some really substantial problems, but if you don’t mind “Reformed” theology, the Presbyterian Church in America (NOT PCUSA!), or the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church are pretty solid (I can’t recommend “Reformed” theology, but that’s another subject). Otherwise, the PCUSA, ELCA, Episcopal Churches are all very left-wing liberal and apostate. As for the Methodist Church, denominationally they are quite into the Social gospel and promoting homosexuality. You may find an individual assembly which hasn’t gone that way, but most have. Look at the articles I’ve labeled “Methodist Church.” The Evangelical Free Church, as a denomination, is pretty solid, as are most Calvary Chapels.
Otherwise, a non-denominational church, like a Bible church, would be best in my opinion. Even then you need to exercise discernment because of so much aberrant teachings permitted. I’d avoid a mega-church like the plague. If they say “King James,” you’d also better run.

I hope this is helpful. You might also want to change from comments to e-mailing me - just for simplicity.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cindy,
If you're still reading this thread -- Eph 6:10-18 (the armor of God), note that God's Word tells us to "stand firm," "resist," "stand firm," and again "stand firm" in our fight against the devil. Nothing about rebuking or binding Satan & his demons.

The battle belongs to the Lord and He defeated the prince of darkness at the Blessed Cross. Our mission is to preach Christ and Him crucified (1 Cor 1:21, 23 & 1 Cor 2:2). As we await the Glorious return of our God and Savior may we be firm in our faith (1 Peter 5:9-12).

Happy Easter! Thanks Glenn for your faithful ministry and service for our LORD. ~Brenda

Anonymous said...

Mr. Chatfield:

Hello sir. In number 14 mentioned above, you cannot know your conclusion the same way Moore cannot know her statement. The Bible never confirms either one of your statements.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous,

You are in error, because we CAN know that Jesus was NOT thinking of each of us specifically. He was dying for sin for everyone. What Beth Moore teaches is pop-psychology of self-esteem. She teaches that we are to feel great about ourselves because Jesus was thinking about us individually. If that was the case, the Bible would have said so. It isn't even hinted at in principle!

And wouldn't Christ think it is heaven to have any of us there, because it is heaven whether we are there or not.

I suggest you think a wee bit more discerning and use a wee bit of rational thought.