God

Jan 07, 2019 by Alyssa Duvall

What Is The Root Problem With Beth Moore's Latest Twitter Debate?

In the latest of innumerable examples of why Twitter is not the best platform for showcasing deep theological truths, acclaimed author and Bible teacher Beth Moore sparked another debate when she tweeted that "spending time with God and spending time with the Bible are not the same thing."

This seems like a massive contradiction coming from Moore, head of Living Proof Ministries, whose mission is "encourage people to come to know and love Jesus Christ through the study of Scripture," and whose website even gives Hebrews 4:12 ("For the word of God is living and active...") a rather prominent spot on its landing page, but is it? What is Moore's real meaning?

While the 250 characters Twitter grants its users per post can be enough to ignite a deeper, more edifying discussion, it's all too easy to post a rather shallow tweet, or, come away from reading that tweet with a shallow understanding of the author's point. 

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.

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!



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