Last week I began a two part article on Beth Moore bible studies. There were a lot of comments, some helpful and others counterproductive. However, I would like to conclude this article and give some constructive ways in which we the faithful can overcome this current invasion of the evangelical horde.
The first issue addressed against Beth Moore was her doctrine of free will. Like most evangelicals, Moore begins the theological task with the false assertion that man has free will to choose Jesus over and against the devil. This false confession leads to many other statements that contradict Sacred Scripture. Another issue with evangelical theology is it’s symbolical interpretation of the Sacraments.
In her bible study, Moore asserts her interpretation of the Last Supper saying, “Capture this meal with your imagination. I think we’ve inaccurately pictured the last meal as moments spent over the bread and the wine. Christ and His disciples observed the entire Passover meal together. Then He instituted the new covenant, represented by the bread and the wine” (Jesus the One and Only pg 200). Moore interprets the Last Supper, specifically the bread and the wine, as mere symbols of the new covenant. They are not the true Body and Blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ, but rather they represent the new covenant that Jesus will institute in His death and resurrection. In the remainder of her bible study, Moore does not connect the cross to the Lord’s Supper, at least not asserting the Lord’s Supper as the means by which the sinner receives the benefits of the cross.
Is this issue worth the denial of any help from Beth Moore. Is this misinterpretation of the Lord’s Supper cause for alarm or distress? Yes, of course it is. In his treatise,That These Words of Christ, “This Is My Body,” ETC., Still Stand Firm Against The Fanatics,Luther says, “It is precisely the same devil who now assails us through the fanatics by blaspheming the holy and venerable sacrament of our Lord Jesus Christ, out of which they would like to make mere bread and wine as a symbol or memorial sign of Christians, in whatever way their dream or fancy dictates. They will not grant that the Lord’s body and blood are present, even though the plain, clear words stand right there: “Eat, this is my body.” Yet those words still stand firm.” Dr. Martin Luther, of blessed and holy memory, asserts that these Words of Christ stand against the heretical confessions of the fanatics. The Words of Christ still condemn those who would make the bread and the wine mere representatives of the covenant.
Beth Moore does not listen to the clear words of Christ Jesus when she interprets His last will and testament. She confuses the reader by allowing her own emotional exegesis to control the meaning of Christ’s Words, rather than listening to her savior. As the Formula of Concord so clearly confessed, “now there is no more faithful and more reliable interpreter of the words of Jesus Christ than the Lord Christ Himself. He understands his own words and his heart and intention best. Given his wisdom and intelligence, he best understands how they are to be explained. Here, in the institution of his last will and testament and this enduring covenant and agreement, he did not use flowery language but rather the most appropriate, simple, unambiguous, and plain words. He also did so in all articles of faith and in every institution of the signs of his covenant and grace, or sacraments, such as circumcision, the various sacrifices in the Old Testament, and Holy Baptism (Formula of Concord Solid Declaration VII.50-51).
The Church receives the Words of Christ and therefore confesses the Bodily presence of His Body and Blood in the Bread and the Wine in the Lord’s Supper. The Words of Christ determine the sacrament, not the opinions of fallen man. Moore’s poison rushes quickly to the heart of the believer who reads this imaginary theology.
What then should we do about these Beth Moore bible studies going on in our Lutheran Churches today? Should we rush in, wield the sword of the Spirit, and excommunicate all who cherish this beloved sister in the faith. Shall we, as Christ, chase out the money changers of false doctrine? Well, we could if we were Christ, but we are not. We are sinners who receive the benefits of forgiveness, life, and salvation solely out of the depths of Christ’s gut wrenching compassion. Let us repent of these self-righteous notions. We are no better and we have been corrected of some false doctrine at some point in our Baptismal life. On the other hand, we are called to be faithful and steadfast in the one, true faith. Let us remember the words of St. Paul to St. Timothy, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (2 Timothy 4:2-5).
We are called to be faithful, but in a peaceful manner. We are called to teach patiently. Like a parent teaching a child to ride a bike, so the Pastor must be patient and suffer in leading the flock back to the truth. No parent screams at their beloved child who falls down and scraps their knee, but instead rushes to them and cares for them. So the Pastor must not punish, but should with great haste tenderly care for the souls of the sheep entrusted to him. He must not be angered, nor grow tired of preaching the same message over and over again. All we can do is preach, teach, and above all else pray that God will rid the Church of all false doctrine and Charlatan evangelists.
I recommend that the Church oppose Beth Moore and any evangelical materials. She must remain pure and not lust after the false promises of main stream protestantism. Let’s be Lutheran shall we. We aren’t children of the Pope, nor are we brothers of Geneva. We are descendants of the bold confessors of old like Luther, Chemnitz, Flacius, Walther, Sasse, and Preus. We know this, but many people in congregations today do not know this; therefore, we must be loving and excruciatingly patient in teaching the truth and removing false doctrine.
If the Church desires to have a separate women’s bible study, I recommend that the Pastor lead the study. He is called to teach as per AC XIV. If he is unavailable because of time constraints, then there are good materials from Concordia Publishing House. Especially if you are trying to replace Beth Moore, the series, “A New Song,” is very helpful. The ideal is that the Church doesn’t have any of these Small Groups, but that all would be taught together by the Pastor.
Let us pray that God would defend us against any aggressors that would wreak havoc on the Bride of Christ by bringing false teaching into her bedchamber. Pray therefore that God keep you steadfast in the faith unto life everlasting, Amen.