US Bible teacher and preacher Beth Moore has announced she is “no longer a Southern Baptist”, following her increasing frustration over the denominations’ ties to former US president Donald Trump, nationalism, sexism and racial divides.
“I am still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists,” Moore told RNS. “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.”
She also told RNS she had ended her partnership with Lifeway Christian – the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention – and no longer uses them to publish her books or run events.
Since the RNS article was published, Moore has not commented further about her decision. Instead, she simply retweeted the RNS article.
. @BethMooreLPM says she is looking forward to beginning anew.
“I am going to serve whoever God puts in front of me,” she said.
Read the full article here: https://t.co/mmUXj33ftX
— Religion News Service (@RNS) March 9, 2021
Meanwhile, Lifeway says it will continue to sell Moore’s resources and to support her ministry.
“We will continue to carry and promote Beth’s Bible studies and books,” Becky Loyd, director of Lifeway Women, said in a statement.
“Our relationship with Beth is not over, we will continue to love, pray and support Beth for years to come. We are thankful that God has allowed us to be a part of how he has used Beth to help women engage Scripture in deep and meaningful ways and help them grow in their relationship with Jesus Christ.”
Moore has taken to social media frequently over recent years to express growing concerns about sexism in the Southern Baptist denomination.
Her outspokenness has led to criticism by some prominent US Christians, including John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, who said Moore should “go home” during a conference at his church.
In May 2019, as more news surfaced of a culture of concealing sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches, Moore took to Twitter. She wrote: “I am compelled to my bones by the Holy Spirit – I don’t want to be but I am – to draw attention to the sexism and misogyny that is rampant in segments of the SBC, cloaked by piety and bearing the stench of hypocrisy.
She continued: “I had the eye opening experience of my life in 2016. A fog cleared for me that was the most disturbing, terrifying thing I’d ever seen. All these years I’d given the benefit of the doubt that these men were the way they were because they were trying to be obedient to Scripture…Then I realized it was not over Scripture at all. It was over sin. It was over power. It was over misogyny. Sexism. It was about arrogance. About protecting systems. It involved covering abuses & misuses of power. Shepherds guarding other shepherds instead of guarding the sheep.
“Here is what you don’t understand. I have loved the SBC and served it with everything I have had since I was 12 years old helping with vacation Bible school. Alongside ANY other denomination, I will serve it to my death if it will have me. And this is how I am serving it right now.”
Despite this vow of commitment to the denomination, Moore recently told RNS, “At the end of the day, there comes a time when you have to say, this is not who I am.”
Moore and her husband are reportedly visiting a “gospel-driven” church.
“I am going to serve whoever God puts in front of me,” she told RNS.
According to the article: “She still loves the things Southern Baptists believe, she said, and is determined to stay connected with a local church. Moore hopes at some point, the public witness of Southern Baptists will return to those core values and away from the nationalism, sexism and racial divides that seem to define its public witness.”
The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, accounting for 5.3 per cent of the U.S. adult population, according to Pew Research Center.