In an interview with the Religion News Service Beth Moore explains that she is leaving the Southern Baptist Convention. Issues such as sexual abuse and how women are treated are part of it. But the rise of Christian nationalism and the embrace of Donald Trump in 2016 stunned her. The tipping point is seeing the same Baptists who went after Bill Clinton for his sexual affairs defending or explaining away Donald Trumps’ sexual abuse. This article is an overview of a number of issues that Beth Moore had with the Southern Baptist Convention. What does her departure mean? Well the Convention is dying. The death of the SBC will be good as the organization is not healthy, and instead corrupt and filled with rot. From its founding in 1845 until 2021 the organization has not moved very far over 170 years.
“Human identity is the most fragile thing that we have, and it’s often only found in moments of truth.”
“I am still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists,” Moore said in the phone interview. “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.”
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
1 Peter 3:15 NIV
John Piper on why men can listen to Beth Moore
In the Trumpist Southern Baptist Convention does this old Passion Talk in 2017 predict what will happen to Beth Moore?
When I lived in Milwaukee I picked up one of the Passion Conference DVDs from Lifeway and listened to the speakers. One of them was Beth Moore. I will never forget listening to John Piper speak for about thirty minutes beforehand as to why it was Biblical for a man to learn from a female. As Piper said she is not the authoritative voice in the church as she is not an elder or pastor. She’s like a Sunday school teacher who is serving the church. This was at a time in my life in which I liked Piper and with that I listened to Beth Moore preach and I was taken back. She was forceful, articulate and bold. She spoke her mind and communicated a lot for me to contemplate. In grad student housing at Marquette that was my introduction to Beth Moore. From time to time I listened to her as it became clear that she was quite gifted in her talks. And as a student leader of Campus Crusade on Campus I thought she would be a good role model for the females and shared this with the female leaders who led Cru.
Who is Beth Moore?
Beth Moore is a well known evangelist within the Southern Baptist Convention. She lives in Houston, Texas and is the founder of Living Proof Ministries, which is a Bible based ministry to women. This is a ministry that aims to help women model their lives on evangelical Christian beliefs. The ministry was connected with LifeWay Christian Resources and conducted conferences both here in the United States as well as globally. She also hosted another conference called, “Deeper Still: The Event.” She has been a staple at Louie Giglio’s Passion Conferences in for over twenty years. And she also has an active YouTube channel for teaching and a radio show which she does.
She was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin but attended SouthWest Texas State University and earned a degree in political science. She is married to Jason who is a local plumber in Houston. Her ministry began when she taught Sunday school at the age of 18 and realized she needed to learn more. After studying and writing material for her local Southern Baptist Church she submitted it to Lifeway who rejected it. However, by chance the person who rejected it then saw her teach and changed his mind. Upon learning more about Bible doctrine she became a popular women’s leader in South Texas. LifeWay Christian Publishing began to publish her material. What is notable is that during the 2008 credit crisis Moore’s book on Esther is credited for being over a “quarter” of the sales of Lifeway Christian Stores during that recession. Moore is an accomplished author and has written the following books. “Chasing Vines: Finding Your Way to an Immensely Fruitful Life“, “Praying God’s Word: Breaking Free from Spiritual Strongholds“,”Get Out of That Pit: Straight Talk about God’s Deliverance“, “Looking Up: Trusting God With Your Every Need” , “So Long, Insecurity: You’ve Been a Bad Friend to Us” , “Believing God“, “Breaking Free: Discover the Victory of Total Surrender“, “Promises for a Fruitful Life“, “Delivered: Experiencing God’s Power in Your Pain“, “The Undoing of Saint Silvanus” , “Praying God’s Word Day by Day” , “Breaking Free Day by Day: A Year of Walking in Liberty” , “John: 90 Days with the Beloved Disciple” , “Jesus, the One and Only” , “The Beloved Disciple: Following John to the Heart of Jesus” , “To Live Is Christ: Joining Paul’s Journey of Faith” , “Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer” , “Believing God Day by Day: Growing Your Faith All Year Long” , “A Heart Like His” , “A Woman and Her God (Extraordinary Women)” , “Paul: 90 Days on His Journey of Faith” , “Made to Flourish: Cultivating an Abundant Life” , “Portraits of Devotion” , “Jesus: 90 Days With the One and Only” , “Undoing What Has You Undone” , “David: 90 Days with A Heart Like His” , “Voices of the Faithful: Inspiring Stories of Courage from Christians Serving Around the World” , “The Promise of Security” , “Believing God Devotional Journal ” , “Audacious” , “Things Pondered ” , “Feathers from My Nest: A Mother’s Reflections” , “Looking Up When Life is Looking Down” , “Praying God’s Word: Devotional Journal” , “A Heart Like His – Devotional Journal” , “Further Still: A Collection of Poetry and Vignettes” and “Scriptures and Quotations from When Godly People Do Ungodly Things” On a personal note I actually have that last book on my bookshelf. I saw the title and picked it up as I was deeply intrigued. I buy more books than I can read at times which is a problem.
Problems Beth Moore Runs into Inside the Southern Baptist Convention
Beth Moore in the view of this blog is probably the most influential female inside the Southern Baptists. Her books and teaching materials are well known and yet years ago she began to run into problems inside the Southern Baptists. Despite that Beth Moore is very theologically conservative often affirming that women could not be elders and supporting male pastors. Moore is not, not has she ever been a theological liberal. But she began to run into issues inside the Southern Baptists and this is what transpired.
Beth Moore has been open and talking about how she was sexually abused when she was younger. More’s abuse came from inside her own family and her discussion of it strained the relationship with her Mom. Moore wrote about it in one of her books. She went public about her abuse and on Twitter discussing why she didn’t report the abuse.
In a talk with Rick Warren at Saddleback in California in January of 2018 Moore explained the long lasting harm sexual abuse did in her life. She asked why is the church the last to expose and the first to cover up sex abuse? Here’s how the website Church Leaders described it.
The crime left her with a pervasive sense of shame that lasted for years. What people don’t understand, she told the Saddleback congregation, is that somebody’s selfish five minutes can cause a lifetime of painful memories and set them on a course to question everything they believe to be true.
Rick Warren, pastor at Saddleback Church, shared the stage as Moore told her story of abuse. In acknowledging the church’s role in revealing sexual abuse he said, “The truth will set you free but it will make you miserable first,” acknowledging how hard it will be for many to stand up and tell their stories. “You may know these steps but not take them out of fear. Then you’re stuck in it for the rest of your life.”
Moore knows telling the truth can be hard and shared how her life was affected when she revealed the abuse.
Moore became increasingly horrified with how the Southern Baptists were handling sexual abuse. Her hometown newspaper the Houston Chronicle broke a national story about the problems of sex abuse inside the SBC. Moore responded through Twitter to the story which you can see above. When Moore was abused she sought comfort in the church. This is what she told the Religion News Service the other day. “My local church, growing up, saved my life,” she told RNS. “So many times, my home was my unsafe place. My church was my safe place.” And the sex abuse inside the church taught her as to how sick the Southern Baptist culture has become. If you want to read about Moore and sexual abuse consider the following articles.
- Christian Post, “Beth Moore answers: Does complementarian theology cause abuse within the Church?“
- USA Today, “Bible teacher Beth Moore, Trump critic and advocate for sex abuse victims, says she is no longer Southern Baptist.“
- Church Leaders, “Beth Moore on Sexual Abuse: Why Is the Church Last to Expose and First to Cover?“
- Baptist Standard, “Beth Moore, Max Lucado share stories of sexual abuse.“
John MacArthur tells Beth Moore to go home.
Role of Women in the Church
Beth Moore was known for teaching and had a great deal of influence inside the Southern Baptists. However, there were many male pastors who felt she was a threat to their authority and teaching. In April of 2019 she tweeted the following which led to a roaring debate inside the Convention on the role women should play.
Those tweets ignited a debate with Owen Strachan, Al Mohler and Josh Buice calling her out. John MacArthur who is not even a Southern Baptist weighed in. Strachan from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City said, “For a woman to teach and preach to adult men is to defy God’s Word and God’s design.” Mohler who leads the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said “There’s just something about the order of creation that means that God intends for the preaching voice to be a male voice.” Meanwhile Josh Bruice who pastors a SBC church in Georgia wrote a scathing post that called Beth Moore a theological liberal in, “Why the SBC Should Say “No More” to Beth Moore.” John MacArthur told Beth Moore to go home and it led to a discussion that the church is collapsing to women and liberals. For Beth Moore she was shocked that this would be the issue when sex abuse is tearing the Southern Baptist Convention apart. You can read more below in:
- Religion News Service, “Beth Moore’s ministry reignites debate over whether women can preach.“
- Christian Today, “John MacArthur rebukes Beth Moore, calls Paula White a ‘heretic’, slams all evangelicals who support women preachers.“
- Religion News Service, “Accusing SBC of ‘caving,’ John MacArthur says of Beth Moore: ‘Go home’“
Access Hollywood tape and Donald Trump
Christian Nationalism and Donald Trump
Beth Moore is a victim of sexual abuse. Moore also grew up inside the Southern Baptist Convention. She recalls when Southern Baptists called out Bill Clinton and calling him immoral. Many Southern Baptists said Clinton lacked character as evidence of his sexual affairs came to light. Recalling that Moore became shocked and disillusioned when Donald Trump came on the scene in 2016 and the same Baptists who condemned Bill Clinton excused, rallied and defended Donald Trump. In October of 2016 the Access Hollywood tape was leaked by the Washington Post. In the tape Trump talked about moving on women like bitches and how when you are wealthy you can do anything. You can grab them by the pussy. One of the people most offended who spoke up was Beth Moore. She went to Twitter and pushed back in a series of Tweets. Here’s a couple
Beth Moore’s ministry suffered as many Christian nationalists inside the Southern Baptists called for her boycott. Over the next three years her ministry lost $1.8 million dollars. But that didn’t stop Beth Moore as she became vocal and still spoke out against Trumpism and Christian nationalism. Beth Moore was conservative but she wanted and believed that faith should be a-political. After those October 2016 tweets pushing back against Trump the illiberal nationalist media such as Britbart attacked her as a Hillary Clinton lover. Britbart’s disinformation played into evangelical’s political fears. You can read that article in, “Christian Speaker Beth Moore Stands in the Gap for Hillary Clinton.” If you want to read more about Beth Moore and Donald Trump in 2016 you can read the following.
- Huff Post, “Evangelical Moderates Rise Up — Finally.“
- The Hill, “Election divides evangelical women, says Christian leader.“
- Slate, “These Evangelical Women Speaking Out Against Trump Have More Influence Than You Think.“
But as the Trump era continued traditional conservatives who were a-political like Beth Moore had their faith turned on their head. She began to realize that evangelical culture demeans and leaves little place for women. Two years after taking on Trump and his supporters through Twitter she gave an interview to Emma Green of The Atlantic. She wondered, how could a complementarian female like herself be called a liberal by Christian nationalists? But she also became deeply concerned about the growth of Christian nationalism during the Trump era and saw it as a threat. To read that Atlantic interview go to, “The Tiny Blond Bible Teacher Taking on the Evangelical Political Machine.” Her criticism of Donald Trump and her consistency resulted in atheists taking notice. “Imagine that – A Christian that actually believes in god and is not about political power.” That was one of the comments I saw in one of the atheist articles I looked at. The Friendly Atheist also chimed in and talked about while they disagree with Beth Moore on many topics her consistency and practice of faith deserves deep respect. You can read that article in. “Evangelist Beth Moore Has Become an Anti-Trump, Pro-#MeToo Lightning Rod.” She caused another debate in December of 2020 when many white evangelicals had a Christian nationalist rally blowing shofars and carrying the cross while proclaiming Donald Trump’s name. She took to Twitter and spoke the following about the danger of Christian nationalism.
As she rebuked rebuked Trumpism she also said the answer is not Bidenism either. You can read more about this in the following.
- Religion News Service, “Evangelical leader Beth Moore trends on Twitter after calling Trumpism ‘seductive and dangerous’“
- Relevant Magazine, “Beth Moore’s Condemnation Of ‘Trumpism’ Is A Watershed Moment.“
- Texas Monthly, “The Power Issue: Beth Moore Is Forcing Evangelical Christianity to Get Woke.”
Beth Moore Leaves the Southern Baptist Convention
Then after all that happened the dam broke and in an interview with the Religion News Service. Beth Moore said that she is leaving the Southern Baptist Convention. The Convention went quiet as she explained the reasons why. Moore said that 2016 became a tipping point for her and it was when she realized that her days of being a Southern Baptist were coming to a close. As she criticized Trump she was stunned as to how people attacked her and said that she was “liberal” or “woke.” As a sexual abuse victim she did not feel like the Southern Baptist Convention had a place for her. “I am still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists,” Moore said in the phone interview. “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.” The Washington Post said that she looked at Lutheranism and Presbyterianism but she still likes Baptist culture. As a part of leaving she ended her publishing relationship with LifeWay which will hit the organization hard. Lifeway has been losing money for a while now. If you want to read more about Moore quitting the Southern Baptists you can read the following article below.
- Washington Post, “Bible teacher Beth Moore’s split with Southern Baptists has some women wondering whether to follow her.“
- New York Times, “Beth Moore, a Prominent Evangelical, Splits With Southern Baptists.“
- Washington Post, “Bible teacher Beth Moore, Trump critic and advocate for sexual abuse victims, splits with Southern Baptist Convention.“
- Baptist News Global, “Why Beth Moore’s departure from the SBC really matters.“
- Religion News Service, “Bible teacher Beth Moore, splitting with Lifeway, says, ‘I am no longer a Southern Baptist’“
The Southern Baptist Convention is Dying. Let it Die and Let it Disappear
Before I get into some analysis of all that has transpired let me show you a couple of videos and compare and contrast what it means to be a Southern Baptist today.
In one video you have a person talking about finding hope in Jesus. About how Jesus can help the broken. She draws from Psalm 56:8 and 147:3, She also talks about how God enjoys his creation and how God pursues a relationship with people. Faith is more than being fixed. Its about a relationship with your creator. In the next video you have Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas defending Donald Trump after the Access Hollywood tape broke. He deflects and doesn’t call on him to repent. He dodges the question and tries to make the issue about Hillary Clinton’s emails. He points out we are all sinners why should Donald Trump be called out?
Now think of it like this. Beth Moore is being driven to leave while Robert Jeffress feels more at home inside the Southern Baptists. Moore has faced boycotts, attacks, criticism and rebukes. She has had her faith in God questioned and told that she is not a Southern Baptist by some. Meanwhile has that happened to Robert Jeffress? Has there been any efforts to rebuke him in a resolution? Any calls for expelling First Baptist Dallas from the Southern Baptists? Has Robert Jeffress faith in God ever been questioned inside the Southern Baptists? What discipline has he faced? Well when Trump talked about the size of his penis there was Robert Jeffress defending him. When Trump used violence and the Bible as a prop there was Robert Jeffress defending him. Affairs with porn stars no problem there was Jeffress defending him. Jeffress was on Fox News more than Shepherd Smith shooting off his mouth. Pardon me for saying this Robert Jeffress has done everything except get on his knees and suck Donald Trumps’ penis. So what does it say that the Beth Moores are leaving and the Robert Jeffress are increasing in power and stature? It means the Southern Baptist Convention is dying. The rot inside the SBC is so deep and so far, its imploding. From the time of its founding in Georgia in 1845 until today it hasn’t moved very far. What two or three feet over 170 years? How many people in the Southern Baptist know that the Civil War is over? Honest question by this blog. The Southern Baptists were founded on the error of slavery and that is why its broken and flawed. Its why it will never be more than what it is right now. It can’t move beyond 1845. Its stuck. And that is why people like Robert Jeffress and the fringe Christian nationalists find a home inside the SBC. An organization that once was the home of pastors defending slavery is now the home of those defending Christian nationalism. But its bigger than that. The Christian nationalists have also targeted the likes of Russell Moore. Think of the energy, time and money that has gone into going after such people while defending the Christian nationalist fringe. Stop and consider if that energy just went into basic Christian faith issues. How would things be different?
I’m not going to mince words. But if you are a Southern Baptist you can’t follow God simultaneously by being a part of the organization. If you are a Southern Baptist as an outsider I would legitimately question your faith in God after all the garbage that goes on inside the Southern Baptist Convention. For example I would question the faith of those at McLean Bible and the New City Network such as Clint Clifton, Mark Campbell, Eric Saunders, Nathan Reed, or Todd Peters. I would question the faith of those at Citylight such as Dale Sutherland or Nate Crew. I would also question the faith of individuals like Allan McCullough or Nick Jones. To claim to be a Christian and a Southern Baptist can’t work in the same sentence. Its not possible to find Christians inside the SBC. Why? The Christians are the ones leaving it. For those who stay its not about its not about Jesus its about drawing a paycheck and having a job. Its about selling your soul for the money. Is this why Jesus had more praise for the prostitutes than the religious establishment? Yes I believe that can be said.
The best thing people can do is walk away and leave the Southern Baptist Convention. Let it die. Let it wither and break into dust and join organizations like the Soviet Union in the dustbin of history. The death of the Southern Baptist Convention will be good for American culture as well. May the poisonous fruits of Christian nationalism die with it. While saying that this blog respects Beth Moore and wishes her well.