A blog post written by fellow blogger Edie at Life In Grace blog, used with her permission:
Why I don't Do Beth Moore... Anymore
After spending lots of time on the blogsites of christians, I know right away that this will be a controversial topic---but this is the little spot in the world for my perspective. I've done probably 5 Beth Moore studies over the years. I enjoyed the fellowship with women and I really like Beth's 'style' of teaching. She's down to earth, funny, sincere, and very cute. And I learned some great stuff. My favorite study was probably David. I'm guessing that that's because aside from Jesus, David is my favorite Bible figure. So why, you ask, have I given up on Beth Moore studies? I only know one other person who feels the way I do so I realize this is a lonely place to be in American Christianity. The last study I did of hers was the Psalms of Assent. It hit me like a ton of bricks when I was doing my daily 'homework'. Everything seemed so self-focused.
What does this verse mean TO YOU?
What experiences IN YOUR LIFE are like this?
How does this make YOU FEEL?
You may not see really anything wrong with that on the surface, but there is a recurring theme in every fad that passes through pop American Christianity: ME, ME ME. Look at the titles in your own christian book store: “7 ways to be a better wife” , “Your Best life now”, “The Purpose Driven Life/Church/Christmas”, “Promise Keepers”, “The Prayer of Jabez,” and don't forget the WWJD bracelet as you check out. We have turned in on ourselves.
We are obsessed with the christian rather than the Christ.
We have been led by well-meaning, sometimes highly educated people, to look into our own hearts and our own selves for the answer, for meaning, for good works and for purpose. We live in a postmodern society that is completely driven by feelings. Whatever I FEEL must be right. And our churches and the writers and leaders of our Bible studies have fallen right in sync. Go to almost any church service in America and you will probably 'feel' good; the music will be right, the lighting, the dynamic preaching, all orchestrated to bring about all the right feelings. But what will be the over-arching message of the day? 7 ways to be a better you? How to be the best You you can be, smothered with a little feel-good God loves you? Maybe I exaggerate but I went to a local contemporary service for quite a long time and went 14 weeks in one stretch without hearing a clear presentation of the gospel.
The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation.
It is objective truth---outside of ME----and has nothing to do with my feelings or my best life now. It doesn't have to be manipulated or presented with the right kind of music. The Word of God is powerful and it will do its work if we get out of the way. I think we are so focused on ourselves and on our particular christian life that we don't even realize the gospel is missing. And instead of a clear presentation of God's law in all its harshness followed by God's gospel in all its grace, we usually get some watered down 'you can do it if you just try harder/pray more/grit your teeth and be more dedicated'.
And I say to that.....no.....no....no, I can't do it.
But I know ONE who did it FOR ME: who lived the perfect purpose driven- promise keeping life and DIED the perfect death on the cross of Calvary and then rose again to redeem me back to himself. And I am trusting in HIS best life now----not mine.
Half the time, I don't feel like I'm even saved. I don't FEEL spiritual or forgiven or redeemed at all. Does that mean I'm not? Can I trust what's in me? Ever? Not usually. As a matter of fact, hardly ever. And does it really matter 'what this verse means TO ME'? Or does it just mean what it means----translated from the Greek and Hebrew and given to us by the inspiration of God? We have subjectivized nearly everything in today's form of christianity.
But God is unchanging. He is objective truth. And He gives me His word---which is objective truth, outside me. He proclaims that he forgives me. He gives me His very body and blood---which is objective and outside me. All these objective things He gives to me so that I don't have to look inside myself. So that I can know beyond of a shadow of a doubt, despite how I 'feel' at any given time, that He loves me and has given His son to die for me. That He has forgiven me and lived the perfect life as my substitute. Those are words I can trust---not feelings that change with every blowing wind or fad.
We often want a Jesus life coach.
What would Jesus DO instead of what HE HAS DONE.
Unfortunately, I lived like that for 20 years and it has 2 possible outcomes. Either I think I really am 'doing it'----living my best life now. Or I realize I can't and look around at all the people in my Beth Moore study who seem to be pulling it off. And I despair.
God never meant His gospel to be a 'how-to'. His story to us is a story of how HE DID IT-----and wrapped the gift of salvation up in a babe in swaddling clothes and presented it to us as the greatest gift on earth.
So as I ponder how I do sometimes miss the fellowship. I wonder if you think I'm being too harsh, too picky? I see her new study out on Esther and it makes me wanna give it one more try.
“A little bad theology maybe isn't all that bad.” I say to myself. “Just take the good that's there (and I know there's plenty of good) and when the focus gets off Christ...you can just 'refocus' yourself.” That's very hard to do. I've tried it.
That's what I have so loved about Lutheranism. It is intensely Christ-centered, cross-focused. You don't have to sift through questionable theology. Maybe we need a Lutheran Beth Moore. But you know what, it wouldn't sell well. No gimmicks, no manipulation-----just pure law and gospel and a worship style that's 2000 years old. It's not flashy enough or hip enough to make a splash in today's postmodern culture.
But when I go to church today here's what I know for sure: I will hear of God's complete forgiveness of all my sins (confession and absolution), I will hear a clear presentation of the gospel (the preached and read word), I will receive the very body and blood of Christ (the Lord's supper). And it won't matter or depend on how I feel. The objectiveness of those things is what I've come to crave every week. And maybe I'll find a good study on Esther by some codgy old Lutheran. (who guaranteed won't be nearly as cute or fun as Beth Moore).
P.S. A hearty thank-you to Issues Etc. for hours and hours of good sound teaching.....that has helped shed the light for me on so many of the books/fads in my life.