This is a companion post to 2015 Living Proof Live Simulcast Review Part One. I recommend reading that post first to give this information better context. In it I respond to a main teaching given by Beth Moore during the simulcast.It was one of six “mighty makers”.
Mighty Maker #1
“The audacity to make an unseen Savior the supreme romance of your life.”
The teaching surrounding this “mighty maker” was a proposal given to us by Mrs. Moore to enter into a supreme romance with Jesus. According to Mrs. Moore, that is what we were created for. The idea of romance with Jesus stuck me as unbiblical right away. I tested it biblically and ended up retaining my first impression. Please see my review for my analysis. I could have let it go at that point; but I’m the curious type. I wondered if anyone else was teaching this same thing. I opened my browser and started doing some research. This is something I tend to do as a companion to testing teachings biblically. I look for and examine material published both pro and con on whatever the current subject happens to be. It helps me to expand my knowledge of the subject and see how it is affecting the church as a whole. Trends and the big picture interest me and can be very telling. I encourage you to do this as well. We can do background checks on our Bible teachers, but we can also do them on teachings.
In this post I will present some of the bigger picture surrounding the teaching of romance with Jesus. This is just a sampling of what’s out there, but it’s a good launching point if you’re interested in looking into it more. I believe it’s important to do that because the idea of romance with Jesus is widespread enough to merit study and is having an effect on individuals and the church. For some of you, this will come as no surprise because you are up on all this. Others may not be, so below I present some of my findings in the hopes of increasing awareness about this important subject.
Correcting a Misunderstanding
Before we go any further, I want to address a misunderstanding that I had about the description of Mrs. Moore’s new book Audacious which I examined in my post Evaluating Beth Moore’s Upcoming Live Simulcast. The description speaks about something that had been missing from Mrs. Moore’s vision for women. It says, “Glancing over the years of ministry behind her and strengthening her resolve to the call before her, she came to the realization that her vision for women was incomplete.” It goes on to say, “Beth identifies that missing link by digging through Scripture, unearthing life experiences, and spotlighting a turning point with the capacity to infuse any life with holy passion and purpose.” After reading that, I concluded that the missing thing was new to her too, but now I don’t think that is the case.
The missing link was revealed during the simulcast when Mrs. Moore connected her teaching about making Jesus the supreme romance of your life with her book. She said, “That is what the book (Audacious) is. It goes totally with the love thing. It is the one thing it is about. Giving your heart to this outrageous love and my own journey to discovering that and how it compelled me and propelled me for 30 solid years.” (parentheses mine) In a promotional trailer for the book Audacious on Lifeway’s website (a connection I didn’t make before) Mrs. Moore says, “The message in this book is something that has been on my heart for many, many years if not decades. It became a turning point for me in my own relationship with Jesus, and it’s something that I think about continually.”
So, the idea of romance with Jesus compelled and propelled her for 30 years and has been on her heart for years; and while according to the description of Audacious this teaching had been missing from Mrs. Moore’s vision for women, apparently she knew about it. She’s just hadn’t shared it with her audience before the book and simulcast, the same thing the description of the book says that women were aching for, Jesus was longing for, and was the path to the life we were born to live. A further indication that this teaching is not new to Mrs. Moore is that she endorsed a book on the topic back in 2002. You’ll find the link below.
The Bigger Picture
In my research I discovered a lot of material that touches on the idea of romance with Jesus and God. There’s so much out there. Every time I pulled a thread, more pieces fell out. I did not expect my research to lead to learning that some women go on dates with Jesus, but it did. I did not expect to find out that it is affecting men’s attendance at church, but I did. I did not expect to see contemplative prayer and mystics past and present to come up, but they did.
I have provided links below for your consideration. Please check out as much as you can to see the bigger picture around this teaching. It is my hope that they increase understanding of why Mrs. Moore’s teaching about romance with Jesus is so troubling and what is going on in other quarters of the church. Some of the links go to sources teaching romance with Jesus. Some lead to analysis of the teaching. I am sharing these pages with my usual recommendation to be discerning. I’m not giving a sweeping endorsement of the websites.
Romance love language in Christian music
When I started my research, I began with the topic of Christian songs that sound like love songs. I mentioned in my review that I had been aware of this for years, but I wanted to read up on it again. Benign as it may seem to some, there are Christian songs that have lyrics that speak of a relationship between us and God that could be interpreted as a song between lovers. While I can’t draw a straight line between them and some of the more disturbing aspects of romance with Jesus, they can create an atmosphere in churches and hearts that is conducive to accepting those aspects. That is why I feel it is relevant. The inappropriateness of some of the lyrics is an issue worth studying all on its own, but the effect they can have on both men and women is also an important study. The following articles and video address the issue of romantic love language in Christian songs.
Jesus Just Wants to Give You a Hug? Todd Friel
Worship songs aren’t for the blokes. Matt Redman comments Premier.tv Youtube video
Jesus is Not My Boyfriend Keith Burton
I discovered that there are books already on the market about romance with Jesus. In highlighting them, I am not disparaging any good things in them or doubting the sincerity of the authors. It is done for the purpose of addressing the subject at hand. In them you’ll find some of the same ideas that Mrs. Moore put forth during the simulcast. After the simulcast, I couldn’t help but wonder, if a woman leaves the simulcast completely enraptured with the idea of making Jesus the supreme romance of her life, where will she go? Will she search for books on the topic? Will she find books like the ones below? Where will these books lead her? Will she end up in bed with Jesus or on a date with him? Unfortunately, I’m not kidding.
Some examples of romance with Jesus books
With each book there is a description to help give you an idea of what they are about. I also put a couple of reviews to demonstrate how some people are interpreting the message within them and to show the effect it can have. Even the positive reviews are telling. There are other informative reviews as well, but for the sake of space here, I can only include a few. I think it’s important to mention that both books reference The Sacred Romance: Drawing Closer to the Heart of God by Brent Curtis and John Eldredge 1997
Book #1) The Wild Romancer: Uncovering the Romance Jesus Longs to Lavish on You by Brenda Cobb Murphy 2008
The following is just part of the description of this book on Amazon. It is enough, however, to reveal some disturbing concepts connected with romance with Jesus.
THE LOVER OF YOUR SOUL DEEPLY DESIRES TO ROMANCE YOU
Once you have fallen in love with Jesus, once you have looked in His eyes and danced in His arms, you no longer care what others think. Once you have laughed together, shared a personal joke, and caught His eye across the room, you are lost to reason. You walk in a cocoon of His love and protection that nothing can enter. Life becomes just you and Him, even in a crowd. I have seen Him, held Him, felt Him, eaten with Him, and laughed with Him, but it is never enough. I attempt to share some of it with you so that I can show you what is possible in Him and how He desires you. Jesus is calling us out of our mundane lives into a living Romance, the Love Story to end all love stories. He is gently wooing us, singing love songs to us, and whispering our name.
Here is a review for this book on Amazon
“For women seeking Jesus” by Karen: “I’ve read Brenda’s book twice. The first time I read it with a thirst for more of Jesus and found that Brenda experiences Jesus in ways I didn’t realize were possible. Her book showed me how to really be with Jesus, see his face and feel his presence. The second time I longed for even more and thought what a great retreat book this would be. Share this book with every woman who longs to know Jesus as friend.”
This is the book that Beth Moore endorsed on the back cover. In her endorsement Mrs. Moore says, “Who could resist falling in love with Jesus? Obviously not Kathy or Dee… or any of the rest of us who read this fabulous book. What a gift!” It is also endorsed by Max Lucado.
From the description of the book on Amazon
Authors Dee Brestin and Kathy Troccoli introduce readers to the ultimate love relationship of all time: a relationship with Jesus Christ. Using humor, contemporary love songs, real-life stories, and solid Biblical teaching, Dee and Kathy help women discover a life-changing intimacy with Jesus. No matter your age or marital status, you are His bride, the object of His affection. The secret to an abundant life lies not in ten steps, but in developing a deep love relationship with Jesus, abandoning yourself to the greatest romance of your life!
The following two reviews are from Amazon
“Will Always Remember This Book” by Rose: “Before reading this book I never realized how much Jesus really loves each of us, and in a way that we always dreamed of as little girls. Many women are let down by men because they think that men should fit into the knight in shining armor image, but they are human just like us and not perfect. Jesus is perfect and our yearning for the image is due to our yearning for a romantic love with Jesus, not with men. My favorite part of this book was “kisses from the king” which describes that any little thing during the day that just makes you smile or makes you heart happy like a full moon, or a beautiful sunrise.. he is loving you daily.”
“Sadly, the premise of this book is unscriptural” By A Customer: “I am highly suspicious of any reading material that indirectly encourages Christian women to imagine Jesus in bed with them and uses the word “honeymoon” to describe one’s relationship with Christ. I have a number of friends who have bought into this idea. They try to look at Jesus as their “Beloved” because they are single. One of my friends has gone so far as to put on a special “nightie” for God. She said she felt a warm presence enveloping her in bed as she slept.”
Clearly the idea of romance with Jesus can lead to inappropriate, weird, and even scary places.
Two More Books Worth Mentioning
While they don’t speak of romance in the title, there are other books that present a romantic view of the relationship with God.
There is one that has been on the New York Times Bestseller’s List for 60 weeks. It is One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I believe this book is relevant to the conversation at hand. The following book reviews address some of the romantic themes in the book.
First Book Review
Romantic Panentheism, a review of One Thousand Gifts by Bob DeWaay This review focuses on two main issues. Both are worth reading, but for our purposes please see the sections “Romanticism” and “A Romantic Encounter with God”.
Here are some small portions for your consideration.
From the section “Romanticism”
“Voskamp is not so concerned about the Enlightenment or other philosophical considerations, but displays Romanticism throughout her book. In fact it could be mistaken for a romance novel with God the desired lover. Here is an example:
I long to merge with Beauty, breathe it into lungs, feel it heavy on skin (she also eschews personal, possessive pronouns). To beat on the door of the universe, pound the chest of God . . . No matter how manifested, beauty is what sparks the romance and we are the Bride pursued, the Lover pursuing, and known or unbeknownst, He woos us in the romance of all time, beyond time. I ache for oneness (Voskamp: 119).”
From the section “A Romantic Encounter with God”
“Voskamp’s romanticism reaches its pinnacle in chapter 11. There she describes a trip to Paris where she has an intimate encounter with God through art and architecture. God “woos” her through this encounter and she falls in love. She writes, “I am falling in love. . . . I’m accompanied by this Voice whispering to me new words, new love—urging me, Respond, respond” (Voskamp: 206). The entire chapter is laced with sensual terminology.”
Interesting note here: Speaking of wooing, during the simulcast, in the context of romance, Mrs. Moore also spoke about Jesus wooing us. The idea is also present in the other three books mentioned above. Similarly, the idea of God or Jesus whispering to the author (or to all Christians in general) apart from the Bible appears in every book mentioned in my post except one.
Second Book Review
One Thousand Gifts by Tim Challies This is a general overview of Ann Voskamp’s book, but please see the section “Sexuality & Ecstasy”. There are themes in this section that reminded me of the physical aspects mentioned about the first two books above. Here is a quote from the review:
“This closing chapter, “The Joy of Intimacy,” is her discovery of God through something akin to sexual intimacy. In a chapter laden with intimate imagery she falls in love with God again, but this time hears him urging to respond. She wants more of him. And then at last she experiences some kind of spiritual climax, some understanding of what it means to fully live, of what it means to be one with Christ, to experience the deepest kind of union. “God makes love with grace upon grace, every moment a making of His love for us. [C]ouldn’t I make love to God, making every moment love for Him? To know Him the way Adam knew Eve. Spirit skin to spirit skin?””
I think it’s inappropriate to sexualize – even spiritually – an exchange between God and a believer. Not because I’m a prude or skirmish about sex. I feel it’s inappropriate because I see no biblical basis for it.
Please see the following review. A Review of Sarah Young’s—Jesus Calling by Bob DeWaay
From the section “Romantic Intimacy”
A popular but horribly unbiblical understanding of Christianity portrays Jesus as a romantic lover with which one should strive to find greater intimacy. I identified this issue 17 times in the book (some of these categories overlap). The romantic connection has been around in the church since the Song of Solomon was allegorized into something it is not. I wrote a critique of a rather radical version of this as expressed through the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.4 Young expresses the same idea, only through Jesus’ first person words:
For years you swam around in a sea of meaninglessness, searching for Love, hoping for hope. All that time I was pursuing you, aching to embrace you in My compassionate arms. . . I sang you a Love song, whose beginning and end are veiled in eternity. (June 14)
Where can this lead?
When I look at all these songs, books, and teachers promoting romance with Jesus, I wonder how we got here and where we are going. How far can it go? This is an important question. Since this teaching relies on human imagination and experience with romance to shape the relationship with him, where will it lead? We’ve already seen some outcomes in the Amazon reviews above. Here are some others.
Why Jesus Isn’t Your Boyfriend: A Critique of Dating God Christianity Today
Personal experience shared of hearing young women call Jesus their “boyfriend” in college.
God Is My Husband: A Jesus Romance Pastor’s Wife 2020
This article, written by a pastor’s wife, addresses the issue of romance with Jesus. It also includes the video below in which a woman describes her literal date with Jesus. Please take a few minutes to watch at least some of it. I in no way mean to embarrass this woman. I pray for her. I share her public story to demonstrate just how far things can go. Will any of the women who watched Mrs. Moore’s simulcast go this far? I don’t know. For me, it’s bad enough that they may exchange a biblical relationship for one based on or shaped by human experiences with romance. That can’t lead anywhere good. I pray for them too, and Mrs. Moore.
The Romanticizing Jesus movement is turning women into camp followers The End Time
What effect does it have on men?
This is where we can really see how big this issue is. What happens to the church when the focus is taken off the biblical relationship of love with God and shifted to a human one that is steeped in romance? It doesn’t just affect women. It affects men too.
The Feminization of the Church: Why Its Music, Messages and Ministries Are Driving Men Away Holly Pivec via Biola Magazine
Interesting article. Make sure to see the section “Love Songs and Feminine Spirituality”. I can only imagine how the men interviewed would respond to being taught by Mrs. Moore to make Jesus the supreme romance of their lives and that it is what they were created for.
Stop telling me to fall in love with Jesus David Murrow
Contemplative Prayer and the Be Still DVD
There is one more important thing I would like to bring up as part of the bigger picture concerning romance with Jesus. It is contemplative prayer. It’s a big topic, so I’ll be brief. Contemplative prayer is a troubling, unbiblical practice that has been growing in acceptance amongst those who may be unaware or unconcerned about its Roman Catholic mystic heritage. Contemplative prayer is done in part to hear God speak in silence – inside you – and to be transformed through intimate encounters with him. This intimacy is referred to in romantic terms or ideas. That is true for the way it is practiced today and for the way it was practiced in the past. There are many examples of this, some of which lead to mystical or spiritual marriage; but I only have room for one here. I might write about this at a later time.
“Digging a little deeper, there seems to be two overlapping goals to contemplative prayer. The first is to encounter God in an inexplicable way. Ruth Haley Barton, well-known in spiritual formation circles and formerly on staff at Willow Creek Community Church, describes this desire,
There are many terms that seek to capture this dynamic – silent prayer, centering prayer, contemplative prayer, interior prayer, prayer of the heart. Each carries a slightly different nuance, but they all are attempts to capture the same thing: the movement beyond words to an intimacy that requires no words. This intimacy is the kind that lovers know when they give themselves over to the act of lovemaking 
It should be noted that this type of erotic/romantic expression of the believer’s relationship with God is historically common among the mystics.”
Back in 2006 a DVD promoting contemplative prayer was released. There is so much I could say about this troubling production, but I will set that aside for now. Beth Moore appears in this DVD as well as Priscilla Shirer and Max Lucado. The first section of the Be Still DVD is called “Contemplative Prayer: The Divine Romance Between Man And God”. From what I know about contemplative prayer, I can understand why the producers would choose to use the words Divine Romance.
A Widespread Theme
I don’t know the full effect this teaching of romance with Jesus will have on individuals and the church as a whole, but I am concerned about it. The theme is clearly widespread. It flows from destination to destination either directly or indirectly. Mrs. Moore gave a message at the simulcast about romance with Jesus, but before that she endorsed a book about the same subject and participated in a DVD about contemplative prayer, which has the element of romance with God as one of its aspects. It’s possible that Mrs. Moore’s concept of romance with Jesus is connected in some way to her beliefs about contemplative prayer. Christian songs with romantic language can lend support to teachings women hear about romance with Jesus. Mrs. Voskamp used romantic and erotic language describing some of her encounters and exchanges with God. She also references mystics and contemplatives in her book. Women who go on dates with Jesus are probably not aware of Teresa of Avila and other mystics who had/have a divine romance with God, but I still see similarities.
A common thread here is relating to or experiencing Jesus in a specific way, through the imagination or imagery of romance whether based on human relationships or subjective, mystical ecstasy in the mind. This places a human idea on a pedestal and exchanges something glorious for something dull. Human romance may seem wonderful when it’s between a man and woman, and it is. But should it be our model for relating to God? Last time (and every time) I checked, the Bible doesn’t say, “Women, love Jesus as wives romantically relate to their husbands or as girlfriends romantically relate to their boyfriends.”
Loving God According To His Word
It is clear that some women are quite comfortable with romance with Jesus. They offer the church as the bride of Christ for support or taking Song of Solomon allegorically for Christ and the church. While I happen to take Song of Solomon more at face value, I also don’t see biblical support for using the idea of human romance as the model for our love relationship with the Creator and Sustainer of everything, even if he is called the church’s bridegroom. (Colossians 1:16-17) Have we forgotten that we are dust? (Psalms 103:14) That all human ideas are marred with sin? (Jeremiah 17:9) Instead, should we not let the word of God inform our love for him; let the Holy Spirit instruct us through it? Is that not enough? Is that not more than enough? Real love with God should not be based on human feelings or subjective experiences connected with romance. It is defined by him according to his nature and works which we come to know and believe through his word. That is why doctrine is so important. Want to have a heart that is fully satisfied in the Lord? Study the Bible. Really study it. Learn the great doctrines of the faith. They are not boring. They are illuminating and inflaming and sustaining.
What are some biblical truths that give us our understanding of our love relationship with God? Here’s just a few. God initiated the love between us. We love because of his love. (1 John 4:19) We know love by the sacrifice of Jesus (1 John 3:16) That makes it real and shapes it, not the human experience of romance. Who God is helps to explain love to us because he is love. (1 John 4:16) Jesus is the righteous Judge. (2 Timothy 4:8) He is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20) He is the King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 17:14) He is so much more. We are his creation, his sheep, a chosen and beloved people. We are not his romantic partner.
Lord willing, I will be posting Part Two of my review of the simulcast sometime in the weeks to come. Thank you for your patience.
If you haven’t already, please subscribe to my blog to receive notification by e-mail of future posts or follow Chapter 3 Ministries on Facebook. Thank you.
What is contemplative prayer? Gotquestions.org
Centering Prayer Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry
The Be Still DVD: An ode to silence Christian Answers for the New Age (Be Still DVD Review)
Cosmic Romance The Outspoken TULIP (Personal testimony of attempting romance with the Lord)
- Writing Project News and Prayer Requests - December 20, 2022
- A Christmas List for the Christian Wife - December 9, 2022
- Love Your Children by Teaching Them to be Apologists. Here’s How - June 29, 2022
This whole ‘romance with Jesus’ goes back much, much further than any of these books. Roman Catholic nuns have been giving themselves in marriage to Jesus since their inception. They go through a marriage ceremony and everything. They even wear a wedding band. Thank you for all the research in your posts. Eye opening … and a bit nauseous all at the same time.
It is upsetting. It’s also interesting how similar ideas have been around for quite a while.
Thank you for the Living Proof Live Simulcast review and this article as well. I’m currently working on a presentation that addresses all (or at least most) of the problems with Jesus Calling. It’s impossible to do without also discussing contemplative prayer, new age/new thought and Catholic mysticism. Your article helps me see that I need to provide more discussion on the romance angle. Please pray for me! I’m heartbroken over the lack of discernment in the church. Thank you, again!
Hi Sarah, I will definitely pray for you and your presentation. Is it going to be online or are you giving it in person? I’m heartbroken too.
Sharon, my plan is to do it in person with slides; however, I’m not sure how it will end up or even if I’ll have an audience. It just won’t go away and is so pervasive in the church. Fifteen million copies have been sold. Fifteen million! The last time I opened up Bible Gateway on my computer, a box popped up where you could sign up for daily Jesus Calling devotional emails. Not long ago, my pastor’s wife brought two brand new copies of the book to church to give as gifts. I’ve been thinking about doing this for months but haven’t seriously worked on it. Recently someone on Facebook reached out trying to find resources about what’s wrong with Jesus Calling, and it inspired me to really get going with it. At least maybe I can compile my own concerns with those of others all in one place in such a way that it can be useful. Thank you for your prayers!
I will pray that you have an audience. I would very much like to see it. I appreciate the work it would take to put it together, and I am encouraged by your desire to do it. It would be great to have a resource like that to point women to since the book is so prevalent. I don’t understand how so many got past the Introduction. Please contact me if your presentation is ever available online. I think there are some online slideshow presentation sites. If I can do anything to help, please let me know.
Hannah Hurnard’s book, “Hind’s Feet In High Places” (1955) has been a large influence on evangelical women toward romance with Jesus, so this isn’t a new trend. It’s disturbing, though, and totally unbibliical.
Interesting piece of the picture. This issue of romance with Jesus is big. That’s why I didn’t call this post “The Big Picture.” There’s still so much out there beyond what I have written.
What these unsuspecting women who want to have a physical romantic relationship with G-d or Jesus are going to end up doing is inviting the presence of an incubus (a demon disguised as a man who comes to women to have relationships with them). The practices they are engaging in are from the occult. Very scary and dangerous.
Hi Jeanne, It is disturbing.
Thank you for your work and disciplIned reasoning. The date with Jesus video – seems to go beyond poetic license, analogy or parable. It seems that she is making an example of herself in a self exaulting way, but with a veneer of humility. Does she really mean for viewers to take all of her content literally ?
She certainly seems to. She has two other videos about her date that I watched as well. Through them all, she appears to want us to understand that she really was planning on and then had a literal date with Jesus in a restaurant.
Wonderful work here, and so needed these days. Beth Moore is hugely popular but she must be examined just like everybody else, and I have found very few places over the years where I could read a careful analysis of Beth, both the good and the bad. I love that you’ve done that for us.
I was really surprised to see what Beth taught at this Living Proof conference. Not what I expected at all. This emphasis on romance is disturbing. It reminded me of a “Tres Dias/Walk to Emmaus” women’s retreat I attended 21 years ago. While there, I watched some ladies (older than myself) discussing Jesus, and how (several were widows) they looked at Jesus as substitute husband or boyfriend. I had never seen this before. They spoke of him with a spouse-like familiarity, bragging about how he was better looking than any other man, etc. I remember them saying that they wrote him love letters. (No more Tres Dias after that! I couldn’t be comfortable there.)
I wonder about fantasy and how it plays into this. Are women mentally constructing the lives–even spiritual lives–they wish they had? (I KNOW this is possible, I’ve done it, and the Lord delivered me from it almost ten years ago.) Can popular speakers and authors be unwittingly communicating with a fantasy figure, and could an actual spirit even secretly inhabit that fantasy figure? I wonder. Fantasy can be powerful, and can allow a person to sin without ever leaving the room.
I believe Jesus warns about this in the Sermon on the Mount passages, and that Paul refers to it with his admonition to avoid “vain imaginations.”
Can’t wait to read the rest of your review, and thank you for your service to all of us!
Thank you for sharing your experience from the “Tres Dias/Walk to Emmaus” retreat. It was interesting. I can understand why you didn’t feel comfortable there. You bring up some interesting questions about fantasy. The mind is powerful and self-delusion is a real possibility. Also, I am concerned that it is possible that an actual spirit could be in play in some cases.
In one of her studies (sorry, not sure which one), Beth talked about how Jesus would look at us and tell us we were beautiful. At the time I had no discernment and an undemonstrative husband, so I bought it hook, line and sinker. I have since grown in my discernment and realize how dangerous that kind of talk is.
Thank you for sharing some of your experience. I am interested in hearing how your turnabout came about. Do you mind sharing a bit about that?
Challis had an edit to his review….read “In Which I Ask Ann Voskamp’s Forgiveness…”
Hi, I have actually seen that article already. I read it before I posted mine. In it, Mr. Challies does not move away from his conclusions about the content of One Thousand Gifts. He says he stands by the concerns he raised, including those regarding “the language of sexuality and ecstasy”. He does, however, show regret for his approach in writing his review. His article gives a good message to remember when writing critiques, and his willingness to ask for forgiveness is admirable.
Good examination of Moore’s talk and her main emphasis, Sharon. I’ve spent the better part of the past year and a half closely examining Moore’s study, Breaking Free. While going through the study in a group I was concerned from the outset about the faulty premise of the study and how she supported the concept by proof-texting Galatians 5:1 (which obviously has nothing to do with what she’s putting forth), then allegorizing from the historical narrative of the kings of Israel to establish her own ideas. Her “freedom trail” as she calls it, is a ‘formula’ (she calls it that too), that if one follows– all of her instructions in the book, and puts in the time and ‘hard work’ necessary, will insure one’s freedom from bondage, slavery, and captivity. She insists that she knows it works “because it worked for me”. Throughout the study she uses the word ‘freedom’ differently than it is used in the New Testament. I kept asking myself what meaning she was pouring into the word freedom. It finally dawned on me that the word which would most accurately fit her meaning is ‘righteousness’. The true gospel is absent from her teaching, and it most certainly is not the foundation for the study. In the absence of gospel-centered teaching her ‘freedom train’ is an elaborate maze of moralistic instructions.
One section of the workbook is about how God fulfills our girlhood dreams. She definitely gets into the concept of a romantic relationship with Jesus in that lesson. She also added some creative writing about Tamar after her brother raped her–as if Jesus came to her, spoke tenderly to her, caressing her face etc. which was romanticized and strange. She talks a lot about how Jesus will think we are beautiful. She brings in the Song of Psalms and considers it a fitting allegory of our relationship with Him.
It doesn’t take much thinking on this subject to realize that this can easily lead to a woman fantasizing sexually about our Lord, which is repulsive and evil, and certainly not of the Lord. It smacks of something demonic. After mentioning this to my husband while reading your article, I came to the video you posted. That woman pretty much confirms my suspicions. She said after the date she went into her prayer closet and read the entire book of Song of Solomon (which we all know is pretty graphic on a sexual level) and she had intimacy with Jesus. Her concluding comment was something about having told all she was going to but she wouldn’t discuss everything. I knew right then that she had taken it into the sexual realm. This is evil and wrong. It is like a christianized version of Fifty Shades of Grey, with probably a similar impact on women who get sucked into it…and who’s minds are full of it all the time. It isn’t going to bring a woman into a better relationship with her husband, that’s for sure. It is calling them to seek romance elsewhere. Wow!
The reason for my lengthy examination of Moore’s work was that I became convinced that it was a mistake to be using her studies at our church. I had some unpleasant experiences along the way with a couple of church leaders once they realized what I intended to do, and it took a long time to get to the point where our pastor could see problems big enough to finally disallow Moore’s studies. The turning point was my discovery of Beth Moore’s non-trinitarian teaching. She appears to be teaching Oneness Pentecostalism, which is a subtle heresy as it is…but even subtler coming from someone who does not want to be obvious about it because she knows she would be branded a heretic if it became known.
I’m pleased to see your work, Sharon. As I was reading it I commented to my husband that you’ve been doing the same thing I’ve been doing. “She sound like me”, I told him. I’ve also transcribed and evaluated quite a number of Moore’s Life Today TV talks and some of her conference talks. I learn more and more about her deceptive teaching every time I study her. I don’t have a blog, however. I pretty much kept my findings under wraps because I knew I needed to bring it straight to our senior pastor without the involvement of women.
As an FYI, romanticizing one’s relationship with Jesus is Gnostic. I’ve discussed some of my findings with a NT scholar who noted her dualistic Gnostic treatment of Christ’s death and body in the grave. I read a good article about Gnosticism and realized that virtually every characteristic of Gnosticism is true of Beth Moore’s teaching. I think the article was on the Modern Reformation site. I can look for it if you are interested.
Hi Susan, Thank you for your contribution. In the article above at The King’s Dale, he mentions a similar mishandling of Galatians 5:1 in the book Praying God’s Word. It’s interesting too how the romantic theme has been in her material already. I think it’s great that you have done so much work and presented it to your church leaders. I praise God that your pastor got to a place where he could see it would be best to disallow Mrs. Moore’s studies. I am very interested in what you have discovered about non-trinitarian teaching. Would you mind emailing me with that information? And yes, I would like to see the article you mentioned about Gnosticism. Thank you again for your work.
Does King’s Dale post reviews on Amazon as Dale Wilson? I’ve read all of his reviews of Beth Moore’s books there. In fact, one day after my Sunday school teacher told me she didn’t think I should try to have Moore’s studies demised by our pastor (which was discouraging because I think highly of her biblical teaching skills), I went home and found Dale’s review of Breaking Free (the book, not the workbook/study). It was the shot of encouragement that I needed that day. I had already spent countless hours meticulously examining the Breaking Free study alongside scripture, so it was good to read his lengthy review and see that he had seen many of the problems I was seeing.
My review is now over 100 pages long and I haven’t finished the last two lessons. There is error and scripture misuse on virtually every page of the workbook, not to mention the videos.
She frequently uses the concordance word-search method to construct her lessons and talks. She uses whichever verses support her ideas and leaves out the verses that would refute it, which many verses about freedom and bondage would do. I’ve seen her use this hermeneutic in numerous other places. It’s eisegesis all over the place! Or, “narcigesis” as ,Chris Rosebrough, of Fighting for the Faith, aptly calls it in Moore’s case. She does preach from an ‘it’s all about me/it’s all about you’ viewpoint.
I’ve found that there is a notable amount of Word of Faith theology in her teaching as well. It’s not good. She does, after all, surround herself with WOF pastors and teachers–such as James Robison, the host of the Life Today TV program she teaches on weekly, and then there’s her very good friend, pastrix ,Christine Cane, of Australia, and her associations with Hillsong church of Australia–Bobby and Brian Houston (who have just opened the door to affirming homosexuality by baptizing a gay Broadway couple and sharing God’s new vision for the church in that regard), and then there’s Moore’s two recent appearances on Joyce Meyer’s program, where they discussed unity (a hugely important theme to her lately– “prophetically” driven). I will look for the gnosticism article and find your email address. You are one person I think I would be comfortable collaborating with. I appreciate that you aide people in knowing how to examine and evaluate a teacher. Much can be addressed by simply examining the verses used to prooftext ideas in context, in scripture. I’ve done a lot of that in my Breaking Free evaluation.
For some reason I did’t receive the notification of your reply in my email inbox, though I thought I checked that box. Can you make sure I’m set up for that?
It might be the same Dale. In the past I have not been able to find his full name, but I went back today and found it at the very bottom of his site. It does say © 2013-14 Dale Wilson. I have not seen his review on Amazon yet. Thank you for letting me know about it.
Your review is over 100 pages long? (Boy, we are similar. Lol I transcribed almost every word of the simulcast.) It would be great if you could share that information somehow. There is already a lot out there, but apparently more is needed.
I should have mentioned that you can find my e-mail address on my Contact page. There’s a link to it on the bottom of this page.
I agree that so much can be addressed simply by checking the verses in context. A young woman shared a story with me about that very thing. One of her friends suggested a tape series by Beth Moore. As she listened, she stopped the tape and looked up the verses in context. She saw that the verses didn’t mean what was said. She knew that wasn’t good interpretation practice, and discontinued listening. That’s all it took.
I can see the amount of subscribers, but I can’t see individual information. So I can’t tell if you are setup. I know there is an e-mail that is sent out with a link to confirm your subscription to the comment. Did you receive the email?
I was just looking for an email response from you and this just came in. yay!
I sent you an email :-)
Here’s a new post by Tim Challies about Jesus Calling
I am a 31 year old Christian mom. I just wanted to thank you for doing this thoughtful, balanced, and not hateful critique. It is badly, badly needed! Sadly, I think Beth herself is deceived, and is deceiving others. I was a Beth Moore “follower” so to speak for a solid ten years, from my college days until the end of last year, and I realized over the course of a year,last year, that she was compromising the Gospel with her views on church unity/ecumenicalism.
The teaching of men was my first “red flag” so to speak. Then I read some reviews of her, and realized that she was probably taking verses out of context. I then slowly began to see what I had read about her. I did not want for her to be “false” but, I had to cut ties with her studies and blog and events when I came to see that she really was compromising the Gospel in the name of church unity.
In her Believing God study, she did a taping where she had different “denominations” on the platform with her while she taught, and she included the Catholic church. That did not sit well with me at all. I have many related family members who are Catholic, and they believe that works plays a role in salvation. I could not personally ever say that I felt like they were my brother of sister in Christ, because I believe salvation is only by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.
It was so hard to not be apart of that group of Beth Moore followers anymore! I think her personality is so personable, friendly, and likeable. I told her why I wasn’t able to support her or her ministry any longer in a letter…I was a regular blogger on her blog too. She even mentioned my blog name on there and I met her in person very briefly at one of her events and gave her a hug. She recognized my blog name then too.
I still wish she wasn’t guilty of all these things, but they are there. It’s undeniable. She had a tragic and sad childhood, and she has had her fair share of heartache in this life. I told her I would pray for her though. I doubt the she really misses my presence on the blog or anything, but I pray that she would turn to the Truth, just the same.
I don’t really want to be influenced by her anymore until she seriously changes the direction she has been heading in for a long time it seems. I’m not sure that will happen though. She is surrounded by people like James Robison, and other women writers for Lifeway that think like she does.
Which brings me to this. Please look up the Manhattan Declaration, and then look up why John MacArthur did not sign it!! It is so important. This is where the visible parachurch at large seems to be headed in America.
Compromise over the Gospel amongst Lifeway authors, even key people in the Southern Baptist Convention. My pastor even looks up to some of these people. It saddens me more than anything. I am very very concerned for the true church. I wish the real church was more visible than this phony Gospel compromising, best life now, emotions based instead of Scripture based version.
Thanks again, you are a breath of fresh air to me, finally someone who is not blinded and opposed to researching who preaches to them!
Hi Katie, You’re welcome. Thank you for sharing some of your experience. I know it can be difficult to change paths. It sounds like your decision was made carefully and with real concern for the gospel. I think it’s great that you were willing to read some reviews and test her work. It’s something we need to do all the time with all our teachers.
The unity/ecumenical issue is serious. I’m familiar with the taping that you referred to in which the Catholic Church is included. The fact that it was included because of a vision of the church “as Jesus sees it in a particular dimension” only deepens the concern. My husband and I are former Catholics. After we were saved and began to read the Bible, we soon faced a choice about staying in the Catholic Church or not. We learned there were some discrepancies between the teachings of Catholicism and the Bible. We did not take our decision lightly or make it quickly. When it comes to truth about God, it’s important to be careful and thorough. Though we already had a good understanding of the teachings of Catholicism, we dug in and studied many official church sources in great depth to see if we could reconcile the teachings with the Bible. We couldn’t. It was a hard time for us and members of our family, but we knew we had to put God’s word first. We understand there is a distinction that cannot be denied.
Thank you for mentioning the Manhattan Declaration. I read it years ago. I could see the problems back then, and it was discouraging to see it embraced by some. Like you, compromise over the gospel saddens me. We just have to keep holding the line in our own lives and look for sound unity grounded in fidelity to the word of God. We can also try to shed a little light in a sister’s mind about these issues if she isn’t aware. And as always, we can pray for church leaders. Thanks again for sharing. Your story might help someone else move along the same path.
Thank you so much for sharing your Biblical critique of BW. Like Susan H, I am trying to open the eyes of my church to her false teachings but am struggling to break through their mesmerized state with Truth. I would very much appreciate her 100 page review of BM’s Breaking Free study and her info in BM’s non-trinitarian Oneness Pentacostalism teaching if she is willing to share. I need all the ammo I can get – including your prayers! Thank you.
You’re welcome, Mary. I will be praying for your church situation and that you are able to collect all the helpful information you need.
Mary, I can share some things with you if you will give me your email address. Good to know that others are trying to alert their church leadership of the problems with her teaching. You should probably make your case before your pastor rather than the women’s ministry leaders since so many women are enamored with Moore–they sometimes develop an emotional attachment that obscures objectivity. Your pastor is undoubtedly theologically trained and will hopefully be open to seeing the evidence of problems with Moore’s teaching.
Have you seen this recent ‘outpouring prophesy’ by Moore? She continues to insist that all who name the name of Christ should be united, such as Catholics and Liberals and Word of Faith adherents etc. She quoted a Latter Rain author, Francis Frangepain, in her Breaking Free study. Latter Rain Pentecostals believe that this unification of the church must take place in order for certain end time events to occur. This idea has gained ground in a lot of false churches. You can see a clip from Moore’s Believing God Bible study on Youtube if you search “Beth Moore’s False Prophesy” That was recorded a few years ago.
This prophesy is recent. Notice her frenetic delivery:
And this is Chris Rosebrough’s evaluation of the prophesy:
Thank you for offering, Susan.
Mary, if you would like to keep your e-mail private please visit my Contact page. If you send me an e-mail I will forward it to Susan. We have been corresponding. As an alternative, you could delete your reply here after she sees your address.
I know I am a few years late to this blog, but I feel compelled to ask, with all your research and study on this subject have you, have any of you who are so appalled by the idea of a romantic Jesus actually sat down and asked the man yourself what he thinks? Have you put all your skepticism aside for a moment and sat with him in your quiet space and heard his answer in your own heart?
In my opinion I believe a romantic relationship with Jesus is meant for some, but not others. Perhaps to some it’s an acquired taste they simply cant stomach and for others it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to them! So what! I think what’s more important that we dont condemn one another for the nature of or relationship with God personally. When it comes down to it, it’s a one on one relationship that is sacred and beautiful no matter what form it takes specifically. Each connection with Jesus is meant to be personal and intimate and each one is unique to the individual because none of us are exactly the same. To some that means more of the romantic angle to others it doesnt. Over all my point is not to condemn one another for how we chose to do faith personally. I like how Paul puts in Romans. Even though he is referring to eating and drinking, I believe the principle still very much applies here.
Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? Their own master will judge whether they stand or fall. And with the Lord’s help, they will stand and receive his approval. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Romans 14:3-4, 17 NLT
Might I add quick that most woman who have recieved Jesus as the husband or their souls have found a goodness, peace and joy in his Spirit unlike…
Hi Rachelle, I just wanted to let you know that I will be replying soon. I’m wrapped up in something that is time sensitive, but I will surely come back to your comment soon, Lord willing.
Thank you for your study into this topic. I have grown up hearing this taught and I often just took it for granted that the Bible taught it. I recently began to question it and as I studied scripture on this subject I saw that this is a heretical and dangerous way to relate to God. Thanks again for doing the heavy lifting for the body by researching these things and posting for us.
You’re welcome, Joel. It’s great that you checked things out by studying the Scriptures. I praise God that you came to see the problems with this teaching. I pray that others do as well.