Do not be deceived. People who study the Scriptures constantly and are continually mean-spirited, rude, slanderous and, aside their religious rhetoric, bereft of outward evidences of the Holy Spirit are having Bible study without God. He affects us. You can take that to the bank.— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) January 3, 2019
Setting aside the tweet's many knee-jerk reactions, the debate carried on between those who defended Moore's tweet and those who disagree on the basis that God's Word does not return void and is the means by which He speaks to true, regenerated Christians.
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Not as Christians we can’t because the HS fills us and uses scripture to sanctify us. Fact is, the more time we spend in study of His Word, the more He will change us. You are making a separation that does not exist.— Steve Pierce (@StevePierce17) January 3, 2019
Though Moore did her duty in sticking around to address critics, did she really clarify her point?
I will emphasize once more that my point is NOT studying Scripture less. I am a proponent of daily Bible study. It’s my practice. My life work and my delight. My point is that we need to God in our study of His Word. I’m just saying don’t leave Jesus out of Bible study.— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) January 3, 2019
What does it mean to include God in our study of His Word? Ultimately, this seems to point us back to Moore's controversial promotion of the practice of "contemplative prayer." While Moore has had the crosshairs of a few firebrand polemics blogs on her for years, apologist Matt Slick offers balanced, charitable insight on the problem of contemplative prayer.
"'A true lover of God once spoke about practicing God's presence," Slick quotes Moore in his thorough editorial. "To me that's such a part of contemplative prayer. That we are able to absorb the reality that as we commune with God through prayer that he is with us that his spirit for those of us who are in Christ fills us that we are drawn near to him that our souls find rest in him." According to Slick, however, the "true lover of God" Moore is referring to is, in fact, Brother Lawrence, a 17th-century monk who incorporated practices heavily influenced by eastern mysticism and Zen meditation into private prayer.
"In brief, [contemplative prayer] is a way of trying to commune with God by emptying one's mind, focusing on a word or phrase, and practicing the presence of the divine through inner, silent contemplation," Slick continues. "In this practice, people are instructed to quietly sit, contemplating on a special word or phrase that is supposed to help you focus on the presence of God."
The problems of contemplative prayer are, like the issue Moore sought to address in her tweet, deeper than can be contained in so few words. What do you think of Moore's statement? Let us know in the comments below!