Evangelist Beth Moore Under Fire After Saying Reading Bible Isn't Spending Time with God
The great — and terrible — thing about social media is that we can share an opinion without the immediate repercussions we would otherwise face in real life scenarios.
We can say whatever we want, then immediately block users or turn off our notifications if we don’t want to hear what the other side has to say.
What’s interesting is that studies have found the things we’re comfortable saying behind our social media masks are completely different from how we might more respectfully respond in real life.
“The level of hatred and incivility on social media has gotten out of control,” Troy Dunn of Dr. Phil’s “Tuesdays with Troy” notes in a video on “Killing Hate.”
His point hits home, especially for those with strong convictions. Christians, in particular, seem to have engaged in more heated debates on social media in recent times.
Most recently, a tweet posted by Living Proof Ministries‘ speaker and evangelist Beth Moore has sparked some flames.
On Jan. 2, 2019, Moore wrote, “Spending time with God and spending time with the Bible are not the same thing. The Bible is the Word of God, crucial to knowing Him, but it’s not God.”
“We can study our Bibles till the 2nd coming & leave God completely out of it,” she goes on. “We can grow in facts & never grow a whit in faith.”
As you might imagine, this tweet can be taken one of two ways. It will either resonate or it will offend. It all depends on how you read between the lines.
Here’s the thing about social media — we always read between the lines. We see someone’s words and throw intention and inflection out the window.
Moore’s seemingly controversial tweet has been commented on by many. Some argued with Moore, expressing that she’s wrong on all counts.
One group known as Reformation Charlotte even went as far as to respond to Moore’s statement on their website.
The group claims to “faithfully work together to glorify God by exposing our culture of darkness to the light of the Gospel.” And it appears, according to their response, Moore is that darkness.
“…in her world, spending time with God consists of fanciful dreams of being lifted up in the air…” the group argues. “Of course spending time in Scripture is the same thing as spending time with God. You cannot know God any other way.”
Beth Moore Declares “Spending Time With God and Spending Time With the Bible Are Not the Same Thing” https://t.co/G2k8Hrk0U8
— ReformationCharlotte (@ReformationCLT) January 3, 2019
While it’s clear in the Gospel of John that “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God,” we could also stand to take Moore’s tweet inside of its context. She even responds to her own words, explaining her intention.
“I will emphasize once more that my point is NOT studying Scripture less… I’m just saying don’t leave Jesus out of Bible study.”
I will emphasize once more that my point is NOT studying Scripture less. I am a proponent of daily Bible study. It’s my practice. My life work and my delight. My point is that we need to God in our study of His Word. I’m just saying don’t leave Jesus out of Bible study.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) January 3, 2019
It seems Moore was not saying that studying the Bible doesn’t serve to draw one closer to God, but that study and knowledge don’t trump true relationship.
She even notes in yet another tweet that “People who study the Scriptures constantly and are continually mean-spirited, rude, [and] slanderous… are having Bible study without God.”
Do not be deceived. People who study the Scriptures constantly and are continually mean-spirited, rude, slanderous and, aside their religious rhetoric, bereft of outward evidences of the Holy Spirit are having Bible study without God. He affects us. You can take that to the bank.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) January 3, 2019
It’s clear in scripture that Jesus himself chastised the Pharisees for their vain practice of religion. They, however, lacked one very important thing — love.
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, he discusses the difference between love and going through the motions of religion.
“If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 1 Corinthians 13:2“
Despite the backlash she’s received, a number of others have praised Moore for her words, taking them to heart in a different way. “So true Beth… I praise God it drove me back to my 1st love again!” one follower commented.
So true Beth, and a picture of me only a month ago. Oh what hard trials expose in our hearts! My trial exposed that even though I had head knowledge, I sorely lacked in relationship and when the trial came, found my lamp EMPTY!
I praise God it drove me back to my 1st love again!
— Brian Tims (@BrianTims12) January 3, 2019
“One can absolutely make a purely academic study of the Word and never let God penetrate her heart. It takes both — Him and His Word — to change lives,” another supporter tweeted.
To this writer, it does seem Moore’s intentions were absolutely clear. As one who has personally lived out a story in which the knowledge of scripture was used to abuse, rather than build up, I have seen firsthand that some people study scripture purely for their own personal gain.
Yes, scripture study can be rich and intimate, and is a wonderful way to draw closer to God. Moore appears to agree. Why else would she spend her life writing Bible studies for the purpose of growing in wisdom and in faith?
In the end, her point seems to be that study for the sake of study does not equal a relationship. And that knowledge of the Word does not equal a love for the Father.
What do you think? Was Moore out of line with her statement? Could she have reworded her point in a different way to get her intentions across?
Or was she right on target? Have you ever been in a situation in which someone abused scripture and lacked love? Did her words resonate with you personally?
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