By Elizabeth Prata
Celebrity ‘Bible teacher’ Beth Moore has identified herself with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) since her earliest church-going days. She has had the support of Lifeway Books, an arm of the Convention, which has paid for half of her private jet travel to venues, including Australia, published her books, and organized her Living Proof events. She has been partnered at events with the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Commission president Russell Moore. She has been a member of SBC churches in the past (but not lately).
But all that is over, as today Beth Moore announced her split from the SBC and her departure from the Convention. This announcement is in-name-only, since she hasn’t adhered to the SBC’s Baptist Faith & Message for thirty years, and hasn’t been a member of any SBC church for a while. Her announcement today only confirms what we have known all along, she is leaving the SBC because she no longer identifies with its core beliefs. More on that in a moment.
Moore said that the catalyzing event that began her launch from the convention which has protected and supported her for over 30 years, was because Donald J. Trump allegedly engaged in sexual escapades with women some years ago. Or something. Moore has been strongly hinting that of a shocking moment that shocked her sensibilities in 2016, an event she often alludes to darkly. It turns out that,
“In October 2016, Moore had what she called “the shock of my life,” when reading the transcripts of the “Access Hollywood” tapes, where Trump boasted of his sexual exploits with women. “This wasn’t just immorality,” she said. “This smacked of sexual assault.” (Source)
Yet Moore was “staggered” that people still voted for him. She reports being totally disoriented over this. As the scales fell from her eyes, “Moore also became increasingly concerned about her denomination’s tolerance for leaders who treated women with disrespect.” The news article mentions her “Letter to My Brothers” outlining her concerns that men in the convention (unnamed) were disrespecting women (also unnamed) including not being nice to her in the elevator and not even noticing that she wore flats in deference to the shorter men so she would not loom over them. I am not making this up. Go to the link.
Moore soon began using stronger words such as misogyny, hypocrisy, and oppression, but vaguely and never naming a person, church, or issue that could be honestly dealt with. Nebulous accusations, bucket-loads of discontent, and a wagging finger became Moore’s MO in recent years. This is sad, because this MO prevented handling any actual issue, or any grace sought, or any forgiveness extended. Instead, she just stirred the pot continually with never a resolution. She felt particularly aggrieved at the push-back she received when she preached at the Sunday pulpit to church congregations, something the Baptist Faith and Message disallows. Moore said that this was a mistake. Not the preaching, just tweeting publicly that she was going to preach.
Moore’s rebelliousness within the denomination includes an ambitious, feminist lifestyle, where her children watched a driven mother fulfill her ambitions and career, eating a lot of takeout and being handed off to their working dad or relatives for their care. Her preaching is the most obvious and terrible rebellion. Moore also introduced visions and direct revelation to the congregation, fatally. The Henry Blackaby book “Experiencing God” was the groundbreaker of the direct revelation issue in the denomination, but Moore’s running with it to her millions of followers embedded it. And ultimately, the lack of discipline by her own church and ultimately SBC leaders by their silence legitimized it – a behavior that has become rampant among the millions of women influenced by her brand of “God told me” religiosity.
Moore’s twisting of scripture and mishandling even the most basic and easy to interpret verses in her books and teaching events is another cause for concern, and another reason that Moore’s escaping the Convention would give her even less oversight than she has now and more ability to operate as a lone entity.
The issues with Beth Moore are numerous and critiqued here by 70+ plus people. The disheartening aspect of this “split” (and I put split in scare quotes because Moore as noted has been functioning as a non-SBC person for decades, this split simply formalizes the obvious) is the reporting on it by entities that claim the faith.
One news outlet began their report this way: “For nearly three decades, Beth Moore has been the very model of a modern Southern Baptist.” No. She has been the very model of a usurping, rebellious woman given too much latitude and no discipline at home, in church, or in the denomination.
Another claim was, “She has been a stalwart for the Word of God, never compromising,” former Lifeway Christian Resources President Thom Rainer said in 2015, during a celebration at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center in Nashville that honored 20 years of partnership between the Southern Baptist publishing house and Moore.” Also no. Her compromises are legion, whatever way the wind blows, Beth Moore follows, and then virtue signals the shift.
“Anthea Butler, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of a forthcoming book on evangelicals and racism, said that Moore could become a more conservative version of the late Rachel Held Evans, who rallied progressive Christians who had tired of evangelicalism but not of Christianity.” I say, Moore is already there, only the smoke and mirrors of insisting she was a Southern Baptist kept many from seeing who she really is- a Rachel Held Evans in the making.
This article’s author said that her departure from the SBC is “an enormous blow”. Perhaps. For many, it will be an enormous relief.