Spiritual

Beth Moore Leaves the SBC, Saying “I Can No Longer Identify With Southern Baptists”

Beth Moore Leaves the SBC, Saying “I Can No Longer Identify With Southern Baptists”

New York Times bestselling author, speaker, teacher, and Living Proof Ministries founder Beth Moore told Religion News Service (RNS) that she is “no longer a Southern Baptist.” The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC0 is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States with more than 14.5 million members in a little over 47,500 churches.

Moore says that she is “still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists. “I love so many Southern Baptist people, so many Southern Baptist churches, but I don’t identify with some of the things in our heritage that haven’t remained in the past.”

“At the end of the day, there comes a time when you have to say, this is not who I am,” she said after sharing that she and her husband Keith thought about joining another denomination but explained that in her heart she remains Baptist.

“I still love the things Southern Baptists believe,” she said and hopes the SBC will turn away from what she calls the nationalism, sexism, and racial divides the public is witnessing and return to core values she partnered with for the last 25 years when LifeWay published A Woman’s Heart: God’s Dwelling Place.

Beth Moore’s Views Conflict With Those of the SBC

The Houston based Moore has been a predominant female voice speaking out against misogyny and sexism within the church. She has shared her story of sexual abuse in the hopes of helping others tell their story as she seeks to not just expose the abuse, but for healing as well. She once shared her story at Saddleback Church saying, “The truth will set you free, but it will make you miserable first.”

The 63-year-old mother of two grown daughters, was also very critical of the 45th President Donald Trump and tweeted in December, “I have never seen anything in these United States of America I found more astonishingly seductive & dangerous to the saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Move back from it.”

Moore told The Atlantic in 2018 that she believes “that an evangelical culture that demeans women, promotes sexism, and disregards accusations of sexual abuse enabled Trump’s rise.”

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She sparked a controversial debate within the SBC and evangelical church about whether women should be allowed to preach in church in May of 2019 when she tweeted that she was preaching at a SBC church on Mother’s Day, something that she now says was “really dumb.”

Explaining why she called it “dumb” and how much the reaction affected her, she said, “We were in the middle of the biggest sexual abuse scandal that has ever hit our denomination…and suddenly, the most important thing to talk about was whether or not a woman could stand at the pulpit and give a message.”

In response to Moore’s role in the above egalitarian/complementarian issue, Pastor John MacArthur told Beth Moore to “go home” after he was asked about her at the Truth Matters Conference. MacArthur said, “There’s no case that can be made biblically for a woman preaching….end of discussion.”

At the Southern Baptist Convention’s Caring Well Conference in 2019, Moore addressed complementarian theology saying “Complementarian theology became such a high, core value that it inadvertently…became elevated above the safety and wellbeing of many women. So high a core value has it become, that in much of our [Southern Baptist] world, complementarian theology is now conflated with inerrancy.”

When Moore spoke on a panel about sexual abuse in 2019 at the SBC’s annual meeting, Moore told RNS that “she felt she was no longer welcome.” Explaining that since the last in-person SBC annual meeting “things have only gotten worse” in reference to Black pastors leaving the SBC because of debates over critical race theory and politics overshadowing the gospel.

She told RNS that she ended her publishing partnership with the Southern Baptist Convention’s publishing and distribution division LifeWay Christian Resources. Although it will still distribute her books, LifeWay will not administer her life events or publish her future books. Talking LifeWay she said, “These are people that I love so dearly and they are beloved forever. I just have not been able to regard many things in my adult ministry life as more of a manifestation of grace than that gift of partnership with Lifeway.”

“I am going to serve whoever God puts in front of me,” Moore said as she mentioned her future speaking events may look different, but she is looking forward to beginning anew.

Reaction to Beth Moore’s Split From the SBC

President of Renewal Ministries Ray Ortlund tweeted: “One of my heroes.”

Author Trillia Newbell posted: “I have deep love and respect for @BethMooreLPM. She let me know this was coming because she is human, and she loves others fiercely. As I think about our tendency to analyze and tear each other apart, I hope we’d resist it here and instead pray.”

Cornerstone Baptist Church’s Senior Pastor in Arlington, Texas, Dwight McKissic tweeted: “When the likes of Beth Moore, Charlie Dates & Ralph West-3 of the most gifted, godly & effective spokespersons for the Kingdom leave the SBC-& many others are standing at the door-it certainly indicates-to paraphrase an old Negro spiritual-“There is danger, in the water.”

Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Lindale, Texas, Tom Buck posted: “In light of our BF&M2000 confessional statement, Beth Moore hasn’t been SBC for some time. I’d rather see her return to the doctrinal beliefs of the SBC than leave. However, anyone who doesn’t intend to walk in agreement with our confession should leave.”

Current SBC President J.D. Greear tweeted: “I have loved and appreciated Beth Moore’s ministry and will continue to in the future. Personally, she has been an encouragement to me and I will always be grateful. I am grieved anytime someone who believes in the inerrant Scripture, shares our values and desires to cooperate says that they do not feel at home in our convention. When I first allowed my name to be nominated for President, I said we did not need to change our doctrine or our mission, we needed to change our culture. My time as President has shown me that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are ready to walk into the future unified around the Great Commission. Sadly, it’s many of our leaders that seem bent on pulling us apart. My prayer is that this news will cause us to lament, to pray, and to come to Nashville rededicating ourselves to be Great Commission Baptists who keep the Gospel above all and to become a Convention united around the message that Jesus is the only way.”

Jesse T. Jackson
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Jesse is the Content Editor/Site Manager for ChurchLeaders and ChristianNewsNow. An undeserving husband to a beautiful wife, and a father to 4 beautiful children. He serves as a deacon, a growth group leader, and is a member of University Baptist Church in Beavercreek, Ohio. Follow him on twitter here (https://twitter.com/jessetjackson)

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