The Big-Haired Biblicist
Thank you for the superb August cover package on Beth Moore ["Why Women Want Moore," "First Came the Bible"]. As a fellow Southern Baptist, I notice her books and workbooks are displayed prominently at LifeWay bookstores. She is our Esther, a healthy antidote to the fake-bake-shake prosperity teachers. Every Christian man should read her books to understand his sisters in Christ.
South Coffeyville, Oklahoma
Not only is Beth Moore's foray into pop psychology another example of gospel-gone-wrong, the stubborn privacy of the subject should have prompted Christianity Today to scrap the article. By its own admission, the article repeated facts that Moore has shared in speeches and books. In an age where total disclosure is the unfortunate norm, there is a trace of honor in Moore's privacy, but it's not worth a CT cover story.
Beth Moore is exactly what the body of Christ needs. She knows when the Lord speaks to her and then takes that understanding to her listeners. Notice I said listeners—many men like Beth too. I don't have many opportunities to study with her, but when I do I take full advantage of it and have never been disappointed.
If you want a preacher, go and listen to what others have to say. If you want a teacher, tune into what Moore says about Scripture, and get ready for the ride of your life.
Moore is fairly harmless doctrinally, and she sincerely encourages women to not take her word as final, but she fails to appropriately model an approach to the Christian life that all women can pursue. She doesn't teach women how to study the Bible; she studies it for them and then spoon feeds. Moore's "figurative application," as she refers to it, calls into question her ability to handle the context of a given passage. And her scorn for the theological academy is apparent not only in her writings but also in her videos and online audios. One need not look far to discover this.
In his well-written article "Saved by an Atheist" [August], Rob Moll quotes from Albert Camus' The Plague that the priest had "no real answer to suffering." The priest evidently went on to argue that suffering is due to "God's judgment on a wicked city."
Without knowing the circumstances, it's hard to discern the reasons behind particular instances of suffering. However, we cannot talk about any suffering without remembering the suffering God took upon himself for our eternal redemption.
Speaking personally, it took suffering in my life for Jesus to get my attention. It was his love and a saving miracle from a suicide attempt that brought me to him. Our Lord is the One we can always depend on, even if it takes suffering to find that out.
William Stewart Whittemore
Grants Pass, Oregon
Gritty Creation Care
How do we know that the Gulf spill was caused by hubris and greed? The spill showed we aren't safely able to drill nearly a mile below the ocean surface. But such an error in judgment may not express these vices. Regarding the damage, the restorative properties God has built into the ecosystem will likely surprise us.
Creation care? Yes! But not an easy condemnation of legitimate human enterprise that, in a fallen world, will occasionally end disastrously.
Mark E. Roberts
CT's editorial "Let the Sea Resound" [August] was a nice start, but only a start. That we are required to steward the earth is obvious. But how do we steward in specific instances such as the oil spill? Do we stop all deep-sea drilling, or do we insist that government regulators more diligently require oil companies to implement methods of preventing blowouts? Both options are consistent with creation care in the simplified version. Yet between these two options is a huge political battle. If Christians are going to get beyond platitudes, we need to address the gritty specifics.
The Christian Right has been castigated for using political power to influence public policy. Now Christian environmentalists want to do the same thing. That's not necessarily wrong—we just need to think more carefully about it.
I agree with Chuck Colson's main point in "The Lost Art of Commitment" [August], but take exception to his statement that the anthem of the '60s anti-war protesters was "nothing is worth dying for." Has he forgotten Kent State? That "group" was asking, "Is there anything worth killing for?"—a question that many Christians of the past 2,000 years have also asked in their quest to become like Jesus.
If Colson wants to blame something from about 40 years ago that has led to a low-commitment culture, may I suggest the introduction of no-fault divorce laws?
Kansas City, Missouri
One expression of our fear of commitment is Christians hopping from one church to another for all kinds of reasons except the only legitimate one: the Holy Spirit's leading. The early church faced this problem as well, but with competing denominations, worship styles, and ministry focuses today, it has become an epidemic.
Having pastored a church that had split over a financial crisis, I learned that the membership covenant means very little to many people. I encourage any believer who reads this to stay faithful to the local body God has led you to until you move away or God leads you elsewhere.
What got the most comments in August's CT
32% "Why Women Want Moore" Sarah Pulliam Bailey
20% "Let the Sea Resound" CT Editorial
16% "The Lost Art of Commitment" Chuck Colson with Catherine Larson
Readers' take on "Why Women Want Moore"
"It would be easy to pigeonhole Anne Rice. The better choice is to sit down and have a chat with her. I applaud CT for talking to Rice rather than just about her."
Tom Fisher, on the novelist's announcement that she's leaving Christianity.
Q&A: "Anne Rice on Following Christ without Christianity," interview by Sarah Pulliam Bailey
"If we put as much time into prayer for the gay community as we did into forcing our values on them, maybe lives could be changed. I'm not saying legislation isn't important, but we forget that those in the lgbt community are people who need Christ."
H. K., on the Christian response to Judge Walker's ruling against Proposition 8.
"What Is the Gospel Response to the Prop. 8 Decision?" by various commentators
"The Taliban believes they were promoting Christianity—and so do I. Without a word about Jesus, they were being 'living stones' in the house of God."
Phillip Ross, on the 10 medical workers murdered by the Taliban, who said the group was "preaching Christianity."
CT Liveblog: "Christian Aid Workers Killed in Afghanistan," by David Neff
"I suspect there's a little Sonny Dewey in us all. We may not kill or commit adultery (save in our minds), but identifying with him can lead to some neglected soul searching."
Johnny Long, on the protagonist of The Apostle, Robert Duvall's 1997 film about a Pentecostal preacher.
"The Low-Down on Robert Duvall," interview by Mark Moring
Copyright © 2010 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
The October issue is available on our website.
Letters to the editor must include the writer's name and address if intended for publication. They may be edited for space or clarity.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.