I apologize for going a whole month without posting my notes on Chapter 13. Can I be totally honest? I did not like anything about this chapter. And when I first started writing this post I was kind of upset. I find myself increasingly frustrated that Moore and others like her have so much influence among Christian women. I don’t begrudge her her place; it’s not that nor jealousy. I would just really love it if her presentation of the gospel included…well, more of the gospel. I know what you’re going to say: She’s writing to women who already know the gospel. That has been true for all of her books before SLI. This book is different, though, in that it was not solely marketed to Christian women. Chapter 13 is the first time Moore presents to the reader that she can “receive” Jesus, that there is a connection between emotional security and a relationship with Jesus. I don’t like how she uses Jesus; I don’t like it when teachers, preachers, speakers turn the gospel into something therapeutic, as a means to some other end.
On the other hand, I am completely open to other opinions about this chapter. If you think I’m out-of-line in my assessment, that I’m reading too much into Moore’s words, please tell me. If you think Moore’s explanation of the gospel in this chapter is full and complete and is faithful to scripture, then say so.
She begins this chapter sharing her beliefs about free will and choice. The power to choose is so important to our lives that, according to Moore, God had it on his mind before he created light. She writes, “Nowhere do we bear the image of our Creator more forthrightly than in the ability to exercise our free will.” She doesn’t stop with that, though. Moore believes that even before God began to create the universe He had determined to give us free will. After all, “He sought relationships, not robots.”
Moore puts such emphasis on this point because when it comes to a woman’s fight for security, she has to know that she has some power over her life, that she has the power to choose, that she knows she can “really say, ‘No, thanks.’ We can make a deliberate choice to refuse insecurity the space to seed.” Moore says we can learn to recognize our insecurity triggers and refuse insecurity and can choose security.
Not only can we choose security, but we can choose Jesus. According to Moore, if you really want to choose to be secure, then you have to first choose Jesus. “Every person created in the image of God has the right to choose, but those of us who have received Christ’s own Spirit also possess the concentrated strength to exercise that right.” Moore believes that without the Spirit of Christ helping and enabling a woman to do what, up to this point in her life she has been unable to do, she is doomed to fail at growing in security and wholeness. A few quotes:
“A tenacious countercultural mind-set will be impossible to maintain in the long run because she’s limited to her own current mood and the ebb and flow of verve. Hear me out for just a moment. If you do not have a personal relationship with Christ, I’m not trying to manipulate you, pressure you, or worm you into some kind of cult. My life’s passion is to see women like you really live and truly thrive. No matter how our beliefs may differ, you were created in the image of God and therefore possess a dignity that deserves my respect. I joyfully and unhesitatingly give it. You also possess the God-given free will to choose Christ or not, and regardless of what you decide, I’m grateful you came along on this journey.
“I need to shoot straight with you though, lest you find yourself exasperated with another book that makes a promise it can’t keep. The human spirit on its own is not strong enough long enough to keep its security afloat in the shark-infested waters of our current society. You can still find help within these pages, and I encourage you to see it to the end. Some of our most practical applications lie ahead. The thing is, we don’t just need help with our insecurity. We need healing.
“Grant me one chance to say this. If you’re not a believer in Christ, you can ask Him to come into your life this moment as your Lord and Savior, and you will instantly and permanently possess the divine power inside of you that I’m talking about — and eternal life besides…I’ve encountered this supernatural unction countless times, knowing even in the moment that God was enabling me to do something that I was totally incapable of doing in my natural strength. It’s a high like no other high. It has also made my lows so very less low.”
If I boil down her words, she is saying, Jesus works. So, choose Him. If you don’t, you’re probably going to fail in the long run. Choose Jesus because He will make your life so much better. Choose Jesus because He is your means to an empowered life. All you have to do is ask. Turn to back of this book and pray the prayer I’ve written out for you.
That is the kind presentation of Jesus and the gospel that I do not like. It is not the gospel. And I do not think it honors the Lord.
But Moore has set the terms in this chapter. Anyone who disagrees can just turn to page 246 and read, “The power to choose is so inherently God-given that Scripture raises a gigantic red flag over people who make us feel so weak we can’t make a sound decision.” To back her statement, she turns to 2 Timothy 3:6, strips it from its context, and turns it into a warning against the emotional predators in your life.
Also in this chapter, Moore introduces yet another mantra: “I am clothed with strength and dignity!” She encourages her readers to repeat this phrase any time one is tempted to act out of her insecurity or when one feels insecure.
Then she removes Hebrews 10:35-36 from its context and uses it as a clarion call to be secure. The verse says, “Do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Read Hebrews 10. It has absolutely nothing to do with a woman’s confidence in herself.
In conclusion, I’m willing to forgo the free will/choice argument to go for fidelity to the gospel. If Moore presented/explained the gospel better (and she may do that in another book, but I’m only dealing with SLI now), then I think I would like this book more.