Popular author Beth Moore leaves Southern Baptist Convention

For nearly three decades, millions of evangelical Chris­tian women have read Beth Moore’s Bible studies and flocked to hear her speak at stadium-style events where Moore delves deep­ly into biblical passages.

Then along came Donald Trump.

Because of her opposition to Trump and her outspokenness in confronting sexism and nationalism in the evangelical world, Moore has been labeled as “liberal” and “woke.” She’s even been called a heretic for daring to preach a sermon during a Sunday morning church service.

Finally, Moore had had enough. On March 5, she said in an interview that she is “no longer a Southern Baptist.”

“I am still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with Southern Bap­tists,” Moore said. “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.”

Moore said she also recently ended her longtime publishing partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources, the publishing arm of the Southern Bap­tist Convention. While Lifeway will still distribute her books, it will no longer publish them or administer her live events. (Disclosure: the author of this article is a former Lifeway employee.)

Beth Allison Barr, a history professor and dean at Baylor University, said Moore’s departure will be a shock for Southern Baptist women. “If she walks away, she’s going to carry a lot of these women with her,” said Barr.

Moore hopes that at some point Southern Baptists will return to core values and away from the nationalism, sexism, and racial divides that seem to define their public witness.

So far that has not happened.

“At the end of the day, there comes a time when you have to say, this is not who I am,” she said. —Religion News Service

Bob Smietana

Bob Smietana is a Religion News Service national reporter.

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