“So Long” One Moore Time

That’s it?” I wondered after finishing Beth Moore’s So Long, Insecurity.  “This is what all the buzz is about?”

Thinking I must’ve missed something, I re-read SLI and took sixteen+ pages of notes.   Single-spaced.  Both sides.  Among other things, I noted Moore’s brisk, chatty style.  Her homespun, self-deprecating humor.  Her charming “kitchen table” tone.  She’s gifted, witty and winsome, with a passion and personality that are as warm as Texas Hill Country in July.  I also noted:

  • Her “succinct definition of insecurity: self-sabotage” (p. 27)
  • Twenty-seven pages of run-up and roll-out of six insecurity “triggers” (Chapter 5, “Rooting It Out”)
  • That she’s “convinced that virtually every destructive behavior and addiction I battled off and on for years was rooted in my (well-earned) insecurity” (p 150).
  • Her habit of ignoring the cultural-historical-grammatical context of Scripture to advance her own agenda (see chapter 4, “Good Company.”)
  • Her curious hermeneutic.
  • Her presumptive, me-centered assumptions (see p. 13)
  • She rarely (twice?) uses the word “sin” and seldom links it to sexual immorality, covetousness, dishonesty, jealousy, anxiety, pride, etc.  Per Moore, “insecurity” – not sin – is at the crumbling core of nearly every rotten apple.

And so on.

Pink Pachyderms?

According to Moore, almost every thought, word, or deed by anyone who’s vertical and breathing is rooted in “insecurity” of some type or stripe.  (Grand Canyon-sized bungee cords may have trouble with that stretch.)  She expends vat loads of ink insisting that “insecurity” is a “cultural epidemic” that goes with female territory like peanut butter goes with jelly.  In so doing, readers may ask if Moore is creating or exacerbating the very symptoms, scenarios or battles she’s trying to dispel.  Read: “Am I insecure?  I must be.  Beth Moore says so.”

It’s like asking a husband when he stopped beating his wife or saying, “DO NOT think about a pink elephant wearing a purple tutu. DO NOT, DO NOT, DO NOT!”  (What kind of pachyderm springs to mind?)

“And The Winner Is…”

Speaking of which, Moore says her book is “messy” (p. 335).  Is that why it’s neck-deep in “me, myself and I-isms” as in, 30+ appearances on one page (p. 172)?  I mean, God is almost an afterthought.  A dandified postscript.  Maybe that’s why it takes Moore 238 pages to introduce Him as “The only definitive and enduring motivation for a true transformation in our security.”  While we’re at it, why does insecurity remain a “cultural epidemic,” post-Praying God’s Word(2009),  Breaking Free (2000), Believing God (2004), Get Out of that Pit (2006)?  Did them thar praying, freeing, believing, former pit dwellers miss their ‘booster shots’?   How many times do readers have to “break free” to make it stick, or exit that pit for good – or at least until the next Moore title hits store shelves?  Hmmm.

Someone suggested SLI could win the Academy Award for “Best New Narcissism.” In case you don’t recognize the category, it looks like this:

“Narcissus never had it so good than in best-seller Christianity, which has become self-centeredness wrapped up as ‘spirituality,’ which has become the latest fashion accessory for the person who has everything.” (Sweet and Viola, The Jesus Manifesto, p. 100)

It looks like this a la SLI:

I have given myself over to a lot of things along the way, but God help me, somebody tell me to retire when I start writing books just to talk about myself.  That kind of self-importance makes me want to hang my head over the toilet.

God has sustained this women’s ministry with its one simple approach: I’m a common woman sharing common problems seeking common solutions on a journey with an uncommon Savior.  If something hurts me, I conclude it probably hurts somebody else too.  If something confuses me, I figure it probably confuses somebody else.  If something helps me, I hope against hope that it might help somebody else” (p. 13).

When’s the next sale on golden parachutes?

Herma-who?

And the Moore hermeneutic?  Girlfriend, it oughtta raise the “say what?” antennae toward Pluto.  Moore’s habit of overlaying the point she wants to make or illustrate onto Scripture instead of allowing the text to speak for itself jumps out in neon in chapter 4.  A couple quick examples include her take on King Saul and the Apostle Paul.

Moore pegs Saul for her “Most Insecure Man in the Word Award” (p 52) because Saul “let his emotions get so out of control that his insecurity morphed into complete instability.” (p. 55)

Not quite, sister.  Look at the text.

The core issue that cost Saul God’s favor as well as his throne and emotional well-being wasn’t “insecurity” over David’s success, but disobedience.  See I Samuel 15:10-28.  Alert readers should also note that the Scripture says when “the Spirit of the Lord had departed Saul,” an “evil spirit” – not “insecurity” – was the direct source of Saul’s torment. (I Samuel 16:14).  Even Sauls’ attendants saw this and understood what was going down (verses 15, 16).

Okay: It’s Not

Turning to the New Testament, “Tell me that’s not insecurity” Moore writes of Paul’s remarks in II Corinthians 11:5-6 (p. 56).  Okay: That’s not insecurity.

Referencing 12:11, Moore says of Paul: “In all probability, he fought the awful feeling that he was as good as the others who hadn’t done nearly so much wrong.” (p. 57.  Yeah.  I had trouble with the syntax there, too.)

Moore’s hermeneutic is off by about a mile and a half here.  She not only completely misses Paul’s purpose for writing, she also trips over the historical-cultural context of II Corinthians.  In her apparent eagerness to “prove” Paul suffered from insecurity, Moore also neglects the broader context in his first letter to the church at Corinth.

Quick refresher

After writing I Corinthians, Paul heard his letter hadn’t completely accomplished its purposes and that a group of false teachers came to Corinth presenting themselves as “apostles.”  Among other things, they challenged Paul’s personal integrity and his authority as an apostle (see 11:4 and 12:11).  These guys have trussed up truth like a Christmas goose. Paul responds by taking pen in hand and delivering some well-aimed rhetorical whacks at the minority opposition who’d infiltrated the Corinthian church and challenged his apostolic authority and mission.  What Moore mistakenly attributes to “insecurity” or inferiority is Paul’s response to error as he refutes the claims of the “super apostles” (11:5) and sets the record straight (see I Corinthians 10).

Two Tips

I know, I know.  Beth Moore is sacrosanct.  She’s an “evangelical superstar” and “one of the most respected and sought-after Bible teachers,” whose conferences draw women — and some men — by the thousands.  Critique her work and you’re likely to wind up the main event at the next piñata party.  But 350 pages of this stuff?  If this continues to sell, Sominex can fold up its tent and go home.  (More on this in upcoming posts, What Are ‘Best-Sellers’ Selling, Parts 1 and 2.)

So girlfriend or fella, here’s the deal. I may whip that 16-page puppy into shape some day and post all four feet and fur in a detailed review.  In the meantime, here are two tips:

1) If you feel like your life would be incomplete without the latest Moore release,  cut to the chase and start with chapter 17.  It’ll save you 318 pages and lotsa “mess.”

2) If you’re struggling with “chronic insecurity” or count yourself among the “insecurity epidemic,” SLI may be for you.  Just realize that not all “buzz” is worth “buying.”

***

Also see:

Beth Moore Again (a compilation of different analyses on Beth Moore’s teaching(s)

Beth More Exposes

Preview articles (you can order the full version): So Long, Beth: Your Precepts Have Been a Bad Friend to Us and Breaking Free from Faulty Stronghold: The Haphazard Hermeneutics of Beth Moore

Beth Moore’s Hermeneutic

More on Beth Moore

Does Beth Moore Have the Apostle Paul Right?

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2 Responses

  1. Excellent review – thanks much! I will keep this one on file for furture reference.

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