Beth Moore is considered to one of the most influential Bible teachers and writers in the Christian faith today. She is the founder of Living Proof Ministries and has written many top-selling books including “So Long Insecurity” and “Breaking Free.” Her conferences draw in thousands upon thousands of women to hear her preach on the Word of God. Moore’s life, though, has been anything but a smooth ride filled with regrets, pain, and insecurity. Her life is “living proof” that God uses every part of our past for His glory and purposes.
Setting the Stage:
Wanda Elizabeth Moore was born on June 16, 1957 on an Army Base in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Her father recalled that she was born during a fierce thunderstorm as if God brough her into the world with “a drum roll.” Raised in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, Beth was the one of four children whose parents were a retired Army major and a homemaker. Early on in her life Beth’s job was to hand out samples of popcorn and soda in a local cinema managed by her father.
In her book, “Breaking Free”, Beth reveals that she was sexually abused as a child by someone outside of her immediate family. These scars ran deep in her life. Moore does not give many details about this dark part of her past and explains why:
“I never share the details of my childhood victimization for two reasons: First, I want the Healer glorified, not the hurt; and second, a greater number of people can relate to more general terms. I believe ultimately Satan is the chief abuser. Satan accused me every day of my life from that time on until I said ‘Enough!’ and agreed to let God bring healing and forgiveness…”
From her time at the theater, Moore began a fascination and love with stories. She loved to tell them, write them down, and be told them. The story that captivated her the most was not in the movie theater, though. It was the story that she was introduced to in Sunday School about Jesus Christ. From this story, Beth began to fall in love with Christ and wanted to teach others about the Bible.
After high school, at the age of 18, she began to sense God had a great calling in store for her life. She attended Southwest Texas State University graduating with a degree in political science. Along with this degree, she obtained an honorary doctorate in humanities from Howard Payne University. During her time at Southwest, Beth met and married Keith Moore in 1978. Shortly after, she gave birth to two daughters: Amanda and Melissa. Her love for the Lord grew as she served by speaking at luncheons, retreats, and aerobics classes.
In 1982, she joined Houston First Baptist church serving as a volunteer Sunday School teacher. Beth began to realize how much she longed and needed to know the Word of God more. She attended a Biblical doctrine class and quickly decided to teach her own weekly Bible study class. Buddy Walters, a former college football player, became her mentor and along with her husband, Keith, they began to feverously study the Bible.
By 1993, her class grew to 2,000 women and her ministry grew to churches throughout South Texas. A year later, in 1994, Living Proof Ministries was founded with the vision to teach women how to love and live out God’s Word. LifeWay Christian Resources began publishing her Bible Studies and her ministry began to spread nationwide.
Running the Race:
Today, Living Proof Ministries is run by only sixteen people including Moore’s two daughters and her son-in-law. She has written countless books (over 20 to date) who are mainly targeted towards women desiring to learn and live out God’s Word. Her best-selling books include: “Breaking Free”, “Believing God”, “The Patriarchs “, and “Get Out of That Pit.” Since her ministry was founded, Beth has held a conference in all fifty states, and has taught around the globe including: Ireland, England, Puerto Pica, India, and South Africa. Over 600,000 women have attended her speaking conferences presently. Moore also teaches through her radio show, Living Proof with Beth Moore; as well as a television program called, LIFE Today, where she hosts Wednesdays with Beth.
With her success and rise to being one of the most recognized women Christian speakers in the nation, Beth has been faced with her share of criticism. Some describe her teaching methods as “over-the-top”; as she is known to communicate with high intense energy and fierce passion. She’s also said to be too exclusive and “just for women.” Essentially ignoring the men in the church. Her workbooks and Bible studies are said to be “simplistic” and too focused on application instead of overall background of the Bible; a pop-psychology Christianity. Lastly, some question how guarded she is about her past and her personal life; including news that she adopted a son for seven years and then returned him to his birth mother. She has offered few details about this ordeal besides that his name (Michael) and that the boy had “alarming behaviors” and his birth mother had “resurfaced, strongly desiring to reclaim her son.” Beth would go on to say about that time in her life:
“It was an immensely painful time in my life, but if on the other side of it, God’s Word and His Spirit equip me to be able to turn around and minister to a women, then it’s of value. We all deal with feelings of failure. It ranks right up there.”
As for why Moore’s privacy is so important, she has stated that she values “authenticity” and “honesty” in all areas of her life and wants to leave “her fans at the door of her home.” Addressing the criticism with her ministry that is highly targeted towards women she commented during one of her conferences:
“The gentlemen who had such courage to come into this place….we are so blessed to have you. I do not desire to have any authority over you.”
Beth has also revealed that she has recently had a hysterectomy and through her best-selling book: “So Long Insecurity”, her struggles with self-esteem as a child. On the latter issue, she goes on to say: “My very addictive personality and all sorts of strongholds are a thing of the past for me. Yet at the root of every single one of those issues was insecurity, something I had battled since childhood.” This has mainly stemmed from the sexual abuse she endured as a child.
Her books and teaching are centered around four genres: Biblicism, Spiritual warfare, mysticism, and popular psychology. Her books on Biblicism include: “To Live is Christ”, “Esther”, “Daniel”, “Jesus: The One and Only” and her newest book released in 2012: “James: Mercy Triumphs.” Most of these books come with workbooks tailored towards small group settings. “Breaking Free” is Moore’s most popular book speaking to women on release from bondage. Other books on spiritual warfare include: “Praying God’s Word” and “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things.”
More criticism with Moore is her teachings on mysticism. Christian mysticism can be described as direct encounters with God and Beth isn’t shy to claim she’s directly communicated with God. In nearly every book, she relates personal experiences of direct revelation from God or conversations with God. This being said, it is very difficult to discern if what she states is direct communication from God or simply Moore’s thoughts on a matter. Beth’s conviction in what she preaches and writes is testimony that this type of mysticism is indeed available to all those follow Christ in the church today.
The last genre of teachings from Moore have been categorized as popular psychology in books such as “Get Out of That Pit” and “So Long, Insecurity.” Although the books are indeed short on theology and Biblical analysis; Beth wants her readers to be able to relate to her own personal experiences that she learned the hard way. Christianity Today states this on Beth Moore:
“Many professed Biblical teachers rely more on popular psychology than on sound analysis, but few can mine the riches of Scripture and apply them to everyday life wit the giftedness that Moore has demonstrated over the past 26 years.”
Unlike some popular evangelical preachers in today’s church, Moore has resisted the urge to give into the prosperity gospel and is honest about the presence of suffering in the Christian life. She remains humble about her success and unwavering amidst the amount of criticism her ministry has received. She has held true to her calling to shed light on the Biblical illiteracy in the church and has helped thousands of women draw closer to God through the Word. Beth Moore is “living proof” that God works through our pain, scars, and mistakes to create beauty out of the ashes. A calling for more of Him and less of us. May we inspire to proclaim and teach the Word of God with the passion and dedication Beth does. To study it dilgently in order to fall in love with it’s author, Jesus Christ. To show the world the living proof of who God really is and the destiny we have in Him!
Her Illuminating Impact:
Through Living Proof Ministries, Beth has been able to speak to hundreds of thousands of women (and men) on the importance of being Biblical literate in light of the state of today’s church. Carrying out the truth is also highly emphasized in her Bible Studies; as it’s not enough to just know the Bible–it must be lived out! Her books have helped women cope with the damaging effects of the influence of today’s culture that exploit and degrade women. She sheds light on the issues of insecurity, shame, and bondage that are often overlooked in the church today. Finally, the powerful truths of spirtual warfare have been illustrated and taught to women, by Moore, who long to live in a way that is set apart from the world’s lies.
Beth Moore’s life has valuable insight for Christian women and men that can be taken to heart. First, God uses every part of our past, including our darkest days; all for this purposes. From her sexual abuse as a child, Beth is able to relate, discuss, and help women cope with what they’ve gone through. Feelings of insecurity, doubt, shame, and bondage can be overcome through the power of Christ in the lives of women and men no matter their past. Criticism will come with popularity in ministry in serve to the Lord. If we remain true and faithful to living and proclaiming the Gospel; we have nothing to fret about. God’s view of who we are and what we’re doing for Him is far more important than that of those around us think. With this being said, be humble and be quick to admit when you’ve erred in your teaching. Encountering and experiencing God in our everyday life is not reserved for just those who lived in Biblical times; it can be a reality in our own life if seek God with all our heart, mind, strength, and soul. Lastly, our lives need to be built upon the Word of God in order to form a rooted foundation in Christ.
“We’re going to have to let truth scream louder to our souls than the lies that have infected us.”
“You are God’s chief creation, and you are here for His pleasure and His glory.”
“When you accept the fact that God is determined about you and you add to it your determination about Him, I am telling you there’ll be no stopping you from fulfilling the absolutely God-ordained destiny He has for you.”
“True intimacy with God always brings humility.”
“God surpasses our dreams when we reach past our personal plans and agenda to grab the hand of Christ and walk the path He chose for us. He is obligated to keep us dissatisfied until we come to Him and His plan for complete satisfaction.”
“Oddly, the most freeing thing we can ever do is to abdicate the throne of our own miniature kingdoms.”
- Beth has reportedly seen the movie, Remember the Titians, over 40 times!
- Beth and Keith have been married for 33 years and they enjoy traveling, hiking, walking their dogs, and being grandparents in their time spent together.
- Both of Beth’s daughters, Amanda and Melissa, serve with Living Proof Ministries
- Melissa recently earned a Master’s degree in Biblical Exegesis from Wheaton College and was married to Colin Fitzpatrick in February 2008
Christianity Today, August 2010, “Why Women Want Moore”, Pages 21-25
Christianity Today, August 2010, “First Came the Bible”, Pages 27-28