Forget what your societal deprivations are, you will die in your sins. You don’t need to worry about what happened in the past or what’s happening collectively to your group, you need to deal with your own sin before God, because you’re going to be held accountable.
Furthermore, MacArthur says the message of the prophet Ezekiel is that each person is responsible for his or her own sin. “No one has ever been sent to hell because of the sin of a past generation, or the sins of a father, mother, family or the sins of people around them,” MacArthur says.
Based on this sermon and the subsequent Statement on Social Justice that MacArthur and some colleagues compiled, it’s doubtful MacArthur would have approved of Jones’ actions. It would have appeared to be a double-transgression to MacArthur: First, telling the Native American women they are victims, and second, Jones asking for forgiveness for sins he did not personally commit.
Some Twitter commenters raised such objections on the comment thread on Moore’s post. While Moore hasn’t publicly said whether she agrees with MacArthur or not on the topic of social justice, it would seem she does not. Moore defended Jones’ action this way:
We see a number of occasions in Scripture where a man who had committed no such wrongs voiced repentance. Moses, Nehemiah, Daniel. There is definitely a biblical precedent for this but there is also no command that we must do it. It was something we wanted to do & felt led to do.
What Exactly Does Scripture Say?
You can imagine the debate that ensued on Twitter when Scripture was brought up. And herein lies the lynchpin of this whole debate: How are we to interpret the passages of Scripture brought up by Moore and MacArthur?
In Exodus we read, “I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (20:5-6).
Later in Ezekiel, we read, “The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.” (18:20)
In Jeremiah we read about God visiting the sins of the fathers on the children while also holding each person accountable for their own sins: “You show love to thousands but bring the punishment for the parents’ sins into the laps of their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord Almighty, great are your purposes and mighty are your deeds. Your eyes are open to the ways of all mankind; you reward each person according to their conduct and as their deeds deserve.” (Jeremiah 32:18-19).
This last passage seems to give a combined message: Yes, the sins of your fathers affect you, but you are also responsible for your own actions and sins. There is little wonder as to why there are differences in opinion related to these Scriptures and the actions they warrant. These are just a few examples from Scripture. There are several more that could be brought into the debate, but suffice it to say there is room for different interpretations here.
While Moore and her ministry are no strangers to controversy, it does seem a little underhanded for those to take the celebratory post she shared and turn it into the object of a debate (at times, a heated and less-than-civil debate). The least her critics could have done was acknowledge they can agree to disagree about these Scriptural interpretations.
Moore mentioned this wasn’t the first time this kind of asking for forgiveness has occurred at one of her events. The recent attention those like MacArthur and other critics of the social justice movement have given such acts likely have spurred the heated debate.
More About Beth Moore
Born: Wanda Elizabeth Green on June 16, 1957 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, U.S.
Title Founder, Living Proof Ministries
Spouse: Keith Moore (m. 1978–present)
Beth Moore is an American evangelist, author, and Bible teacher. She is the founder of Living Proof Ministries, a Bible-based organization for women based in Houston, Texas. The ministry focuses on aiding women who desire to model their lives on evangelical Christian principles.
The ministry, in conjunction with LifeWay Christian Resources, conducts more than a dozen conferences, known as “Living Proof Live”, around the United States annually. Moore also teaches through her radio show, Living Proof with Beth Moore, and appears as a regular on the television program LIFE Today, where she hosts “Wednesdays in the Word” (formally known as “Wednesdays with Beth”).
Additionally, Moore writes books and produces video resources based on the Bible studies that she conducts at the Living Proof Live conferences and at Houston’s First Baptist Church. She currently attends Bayou City Fellowship, Houston, Texas, where her son-in-law, Curtis Jones, is lead pastor.