I believe the event that broke the camel’s back so to speak involved a leaked tape of then presidential nominee Donald Trump speaking to another man about objectifying and groping women. Unfortunately, the response to the leaked tape and the character issues it revealed about Trump caused some Christian leaders not to question their endorsement of him as a candidate, but seemingly to double down on their support. Some leaders brushed his remarks aside as inconsequential. This did not sit well with Moore. A victim of sexual abuse herself, she felt the need to say something. And say something she did.
Wake up, Sleepers, to what women have dealt with all along in environments of gross entitlement & power. Are we sickened? Yes. Surprised? NO
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) October 9, 2016
The backlash was swift, as it tends to be when a leader of any persuasion gives an opinion on a controversial topic. (To which many of the women reading this post likely wonder “why in the world was this controversial? Can we all agree bragging about groping and objectifying women is wrong and should be called WRONG?”)
I once had great respect for you, looked forward to Wednesdays so I could catch your teaching on Pat Roberson. No more!
— Tea Party Ted (@SteveBauer24) October 17, 2016
there has always been something so terribly fake about her. So I never listened
— RevWarPatriotCaptSamuelBliss (@zekewatch317) November 28, 2016
The Other Reasons People Don’t Endorse Beth Moore
Veiled political statements aside, there are other reasons people have called Beth Moore a “false teacher”. Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry has a profile on Moore that essentially calls her unfit to teach on the Bible due to the fact that she is a woman and has not been formally educated.
Moore definitely needs a proper theological education and needs to learn how to exegete Scripture better. Both would help her immensely. Furthermore, she is a Bible teacher. Is this appropriate for her since she is a woman and Paul says, “But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve,” (1 Tim. 2:12-13)? She is teaching people, including men. Though she is not doing it from a church pulpit, she is teaching on T.V. I know that the issue of women teaching men is not popular, but to what do we submit—popular opinion or God’s word?
In her open letter, Moore addresses the concern over her education. She writes:
Some will inevitably argue that the disrespect was not over gender but over my lack of formal education but that, too, largely goes back to issues of gender. Where was a woman in my generation and denomination to get seminary training to actually teach the Scriptures? I hoped it would be an avenue for me and applied and was accepted to Southwestern Seminary in 1988. After a short time of making the trek across Houston while my kids were in school, of reading the environment and coming to the realization of what my opportunities would and would not be, I took a different route. I turned to doctrine classes and tutors, read stacks of books and did my best to learn how to use commentaries and other Bible research tools. My road was messy but it was the only reasonable avenue open to me.
Thabiti Anyabwile’s Response to Beth Moore
The same day Moore posted her open letter to Christian men, a Christian leader in the complementarian sphere, Thabiti Anyabwile, wrote a letter of apology to Moore and other Christian women. He also alludes to the accusations of her being a false teacher. In a surprisingly candid letter, Anyabwile explains how he contributed to her slandering.
That scoffing attitude and that instinctive suspicion grew stronger in me. Here’s where I need to ask your forgiveness most. Not knowing you personally and having not read or watched you teach, I passed along that suspicion and doubt to others in my pastoral care. I didn’t say much about you with words. I can’t recall saying anything about you as a person. But with a raised eye brow, a shrugged shoulder, a “hmmm” before a redirecting sentence, I passed along what was in my heart, the sinful attitude rooted in the very misogyny and chauvinism you describe in your post. If we communicate most in non-verbal ways, then I’m afraid I’ve “said” a lot about you, and I have slandered you.
And I have let others slander you. I’ve been in rooms where your name was mentioned with disparaging tone. And rather than ask a few basic questions (how do you know this about her, do you have any evidence you can point us to, and so on), I said and did nothing. I wasn’t any different from Saul standing by holding clothes while Stephen was stoned.
Anyabwile’s words are refreshing to read. Moore is quick to explain in her open letter there are some men who see the problem she describes and they are doing their best to alleviate the problem. And Anyabwile’s words of conviction make me feel there are other men who may also start to understand the centuries-old problem we are finally starting to speak about in a meaningful way in the Church. It is a problem that will take both of us—men and women—to solve. As Moore explains, men aren’t the only ones contributing to misogyny. In many ways, women contribute when they remain complacent to being dismissed or abused or abuse other women themselves. It definitely costs to speak up, but if we aren’t willing to pay the price, we will never move forward.