And he took him to Jerusalem and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, "'He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you," -- Luke 4: 9-10 (ESV)
The New Apostolic Reformation incorporates many false teachings. Most of the common heresies are openly embraced and taught by the NAR and those who follow it. One of the most popular in these end days is the notion of experiential Christianity. The experiential Christian relies more upon their personal experiences than on Scripture for their truth within the faith. Bethel Church and IHOP are ground zero for such false teaching as they incorporate eastern mysticism to achieve the experience they seek. Emptying oneself, meditation, centering prayers are common to achieve a sense of things that pop into your mind that can then be blamed on God. We usually end up hearing the "Christianized" version of the story. "I was deep in prayer when an angel visited me" or "I was in my secret place when I felt the Lord speak to my heart" are typical statements that can tip one off to the fact that they were seeking the experience, which now rises to the level of Scripture once you believe it has come directly from the Lord.
The problem is the bible teaches us that our hearts are wickedly deceitful above all things. Simply put we lie to ourselves all the time. Believers in the experiential will insist that detractors have a "religious spirit" and need a deeper revelation of the Spirit. They will claim the critic believes in academic Christianity devoid of the Spirit of God but that is simply nonsense. We insist on the verity of Scripture to determine if the experience is actually from God. For example, Joseph Prince insists that every sermon he gives was given directly to him via the Lord yet we know that cannot be true because he preaches outright heresy. We use the bible to debunk the false teaching. With this as the backdrop, let us examine a recent development from the world of false pastorix Beth Moore. Beth is a poplar darling in the Baptist world and adored by female followers across the globe. Here is the first tweet that drew the ire of many bible believing folks:
"Spending time with God and spending time with the Bible are not the same thing. The Bible is the Word of God, crucial to knowing Him, but it's not God. We can study our Bibles till the 2nd coming & leave God completely out of it. We can grow in facts & never grow a whit in faith." -- Beth Moore
Like any good deception there is always a sliver of truth running through it. It is wholly possible that someone could approach the bible from a strictly academic point of view and never grow any faith but those people were not saved to begin with beloved. I know pastors who went to school and received degrees that can put together a sermon masterfully yet live in opposition to what they teach. The person with the indwelt Holy Spirit however has been promised that the spirit will lead them into all truth. That is not what Beth Moore is speaking about here. The bad guy presented here is the actual reading of Scripture. Her foundational argument however is inane and inaccurate because spending time reading the bible is spending time with God. It is the primary way, along with prayer, that we spend time with Him. John 1 teaches that the Word IS God. Here is the dilemma for false teachers like Beth Moore. She spends her entire life and career marginalizing Scripture so is it any wonder she does not value it? If she valued it, she would not be preaching to begin with, let alone preaching such nonsense.
Here is a simple test for anyone preaching garbage like this. Ask them if they believe that any experience or revelation must align with scripture. If they are biblically honest they must answer yes. If they answer no then you know that they believe in extra-biblical revelation and you should want no part of them. If they answer yes then why seek the revelation when you already have the surety of Scripture? The point is that Beth Moore is leading people away from the Word and thus away from God. She would tweet again however:
"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
Now let us be careful in parsing this out. People who are genuinely mean-spirited, rude and slanderous while presenting with a veneer of piety do exist and we do need to be watchful of them. These are like the Pharisees of old who would strain out a gnat while swallowing a camel. The problem is that Beth Moore presents the problem with them as reading Scripture too much. That was not the problem of the Pharisees. Their problem was that they missed the point of Scripture. They made sure to tithe their dill and mint yet consumed the houses of widows. They missed the weightier points of scripture. Likewise, Moore misses the weightier points as well because she does not value Scripture at all. She is right that God affects us when we spend time with Him but she has decided already that reading His Word is not akin to spending time with Him. After some blowback, Moore tried to moonwalk away from her statements:
"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
As a believer in Jesus Christ the concept of leaving Him out of reading His Word is completely foreign to me. That aside, we understand that Beth Moore's point was not to downplay studying the Word. The problem is that is all she sees the Word for. She is so busy chasing experience that she fails to see Christ in the pages of Scripture speaking to her and that is profoundly sad. Here is a recent defense of her silliness from Relevant Magazine that joins her in missing the point:
But what Moore is saying isn't just common sense. It's biblical. In Jesus' temptation in the desert, Satan himself uses Scripture in an attempt to lure Jesus away from obedience to God, inspiring William Shakespeare to write that "Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose" in The Merchant of Venice some centuries later. This would certainly suggest that spending time with the Bible doesn't necessarily mean growing close to God. -- Relevant Magazine
Yeah, no. It is not biblical and the example provided furthers my point. Satan did not use Scripture to lure Jesus away from obedience beloved. He twisted Scripture to lure Him away. It is a perfect picture of how false teachers like Beth Moore twist Scripture in order to lure people to follow her and thus away from Christ. The referent from Relevant Magazine is found in the key verses today, taken from the temptation of Christ. The devil says to Jesus that it is written and then misquotes the actual Scripture, found in Psalm 91:
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. -- Psalm 91:11 (ESV)
What did Satan leave out? "In all your ways." Matthew Poole's Commentary says this as, "All your lawful ways." Throwing oneself off the pinnacle of the temple to challenge God or satiate Satan is neither lawful nor according to the ways of God. It is only fitting then that this largely carnal tweet fest is ultimately defended by an alleged Christian publication citing William Shakespeare as confirmation. Is it true that the devil will cite Scripture? Yes but never correctly and never with the accompanying context. He told Eve that surely God did not say when he knew very well that He had. Beloved, Beth Moore is a false teacher. This little incident only further reveals that her brand of Christianity is based on personal experience with the bible being relegated to second tier status. She is not alone as many mainstream churches teach essentially the same false doctrine. Mark them as such and avoid them. That is what God says to me through His Word.