MOPS International has been made aware of a new blog and companion podcast posted this week criticizing MOPS’ theology. We are saddened that these Christian bloggers did not contact us directly with their concerns. Solid theology is important to all of us, and we want to honor God’s call for unity in the body as we try to understand each other’s different points of view and respond to criticism.
Here at MOPS, we believe that Jesus calls us to build a bridge of authentic friendship to moms of young children, living life together and meeting felt needs so that we can share with them the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. We are not a traditional Bible study, nor a Christians-only club. We offer a safe place for women of all backgrounds to share the hard parts of parenting and ask the hard questions regarding our spiritual journeys.
We do this by equipping thousands of churches across the US and across the world with a variety of tools that lead to Jesus. MOPS curriculum is written by a large team and reviewed by a content advisory panel that is made up of pastors, theologians and leaders. We strive to create content that is practical, hopeful and full of biblical truth, while at the same time being understandable to women who are new to a faith journey. Our leaders’ materials promote discipleship, evangelism and prayer, all tools for discovering and deepening a relationship with Jesus. The books published through Zondervan are not required for anyone to purchase, but are another way to gently encourage moms outside of the church to walk toward Jesus.
Last year more than 10,000 moms reported to us that they had made a first-time decision to follow Christ because of their involvement in a MOPS group. We think that’s really good news!! We want to help them deepen their understanding of Jesus as we continue in our partnership with churches to reach the many other moms who have not yet discovered Him.
As we listened to the podcast and read the blog, we found it primarily revisiting concerns from 2016 which we thoroughly responded to then and made adjustments where needed. These concerns have been addressed. Since the bloggers state they are not involved in MOPS, they don’t appear to know this, and their posts this week do not accurately assess MOPS theology, our materials or our CEO.
We ask that anyone who has additional questions would contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are open to questions, even when fellow Christians are responding as iron sharpening iron, as this allows us to even further proclaim the foundation of Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and the owner of this ministry.
Listed below is our organizational statement of theology, which guides all MOPS decision-making and materials. All board members and our CEO and our staff affirm agreement with these tenets. https://www.mops.org/about/statement-of-faith/.
In His service to moms everywhere,
MOPS International Board of Directors and Mandy Arioto, President and CEO
MOPS Statement of Faith
The only true God, the sovereign Creator and Sustainer of all things, existing eternally in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Deuteronomy 6: 4-5; Acts 17:24-28; 2 Corinthians 13:14).
The divine inspiration, entire trustworthiness and authority of the Bible in faith and practice (2 Peter 1:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; Psalm 119:9-11, 105; 1 Thessalonians 2:13).
The full deity and humanity of Jesus Christ, who lived as a perfect example, who atoned for the sins of the world at the cross, who was bodily raised from the dead and ascended as both Lord and Savior, and who will return in power and glory in the fullness of time to judge the living and the dead, to consummate history and the eternal plan of God (John 1:1, 14; Colossians 2:9; Hebrews 4:15; Isaiah 53:3-6; Acts 4:10-12; Matthew 26:63-64; 2 Timothy 4:1).
The value and dignity of all humankind: originally created in God’s image to live in love and holiness, but who became alienated from God and each other because of sin and guilt, and who are justly subject to the judgment of God (Genesis 1:26-27; Colossians 1:21; John 12:47-48).
The justification, by God’s grace, of all who repent and put their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10; John 3:16-17; Romans 4:4-5).
The present ministry of the Holy Spirit, by whose indwelling and transforming power the Christian is enabled to live out our new life and new calling to evangelism and discipleship of believers within the fellowship of the Church (John 16:7; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Galatians 5:22-23; Matthew 28:18-20).
The spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ, with equality across racial, gender and class differences (John 17:20-23; Revelation 5:9).
The passages of Scripture associated with each of the statements are not offered as proof texts; rather, they are intended to serve as a beginning place for further study.
Mandy Arioto’s Response
I thought it might be good to chime in here since it is always good to hear from the source so there is no room for speculation. I was really surprised that the Theology Gals didn’t reach out to talk to me but instead chose to talk about my beliefs based on second-hand information. So, in order to set the record straight, here is what I believe …
- I am a sinner, probably the worst of the worst. I regularly fall short, make mistakes, and desperately need the forgiveness that Jesus offers.
- I have spent the last 20 years sharing the good news about Jesus with anyone who will listen. I follow the model that Jesus gave us where he encountered someone, and then simply by having an experience with Jesus, people were convicted of their sin and then Jesus encouraged them to go and sin no more. What I have learned over my 20 years in ministry is that not one person I have met comes to Jesus feeling like they are clean, perfect or worthy. That is why I strive to help people encounter the hope of Jesus, and then encourage them to acknowledge their sin, accept Jesus’ forgiveness through his death on the Cross and then “go and sin no more.” If you were at MOMcon last year, you would have seen that in one of the sessions I led all 3000 women in a prayer experience that addressed sin and walked them through a process of praying for forgiveness and freedom from the specific sins they were dealing with. You may prefer to approach this topic with the bad news of sin followed by the good news of a Savior.
- As far as who I have quoted in the past, I made a mistake in quoting John Phillip Newell, honestly, I wouldn’t do it again and didn’t understand his theology at the time. As far as Rob’s Bell’s quote, I quoted where he says, “the most powerful words we can use are ‘me too'”, and they were written in one of his earlier books before his theology shifted. The quote had nothing to do with theology, only how we connect with people. I will tell you that since Starry‐eyed, I try not to quote from controversial figures who don’t align with traditional Christian teachings, because as my leadership grows I am aware that my words have more weight and I don’t want to be misunderstood or assume that I align with that teaching.
- In response to who do I think Jesus is, I believe Jesus is the Christ, the risen Messiah and the only path to salvation.
- MOPS International is a high‐impact ministry that has been doing kingdom work for over 45 years. We spread the message of Jesus in over 60 countries around the globe and see transformation happen on a daily basis where moms come to Jesus and then their kids and husbands do as well. To question the work of MOPS in advancing the Kingdom of God is to seriously misunderstand our ministry. MOPS is an outreach organization that brings together women under the common experience of motherhood and then share the message of Jesus, with the ultimate goal of connecting them to the local church where they can experience life‐long faith formation. MOPS provides our leaders with training in how to do relational evangelism and we present the gospel at Christmas and Easter along with one‐on‐one over the course of the year. Hundreds of thousands of women who have experienced MOPS will tell you how their life changed because MOPS was a safe space to talk about faith. Every year we see families coming back to the church and getting baptized because a mom showed up at MOPS and heard the Gospel. We are not perfect, and our member churches who partner with us aren’t either, but we are open to learning from where we fall short.
- Regarding the number of moms who started a relationship with Jesus, it is disturbing to me that this podcast inferred that some of these women might not really be saved. I think we need to always encourage women to keep going deeper with Jesus and trust Him to convict their sincerity. As noted in our Statement of Faith, we firmly believe salvation is given by God’s grace to those who repent and believe in Jesus Christ.
- The content that MOPS puts out is deeply biblical, and reviewed by a content advisory panel made up of theologians, pastors, leaders and our board. We provide a broad range of content to an interdenominational cross‐section of churches who decide which pieces to use. Examples include teaching that helps moms in the areas that contribute to their flourishing including marriage, health, mothering, and faith. For our leaders, we provide a leader certification that walks them through how to do evangelism and reach moms who do not have a faith background. I encourage you to check out our materials and see for yourself what we provide.
- Lastly, I have built my career encouraging women, and attempting to be a follower of Jesus who represents Him well. Many of the quotes you have attributed to me were not well researched and not shared in context. As believers, we can do better. The only way we are going to woo a weary world to Jesus is by trusting in the Holy Spirit and cheering each other on as we all attempt to do the same work even if our approaches differ.
If anyone has additional questions, please email email@example.com.