Bible studies

Why Beth Moore’s departure from SBC really matters – Baptist News Global

In his own year of racial reckoning, the Southern Baptist Convention has just awakened to a high profile consideration of the genre.

Beth Moore, the famous Bible studies teacher and author who for years maintained the line of being a “teacher” not a “preacher,” said Information service on religion she is “no longer a Southern Baptist.”

Beth moore

“I am still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with the 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 of our heritage that haven’t stayed in the past.”

What put her above the line can be summed up in two words: Donald Trump.

While the SBC and its leaders joined other white evangelicals in adulation of Trump and his policies, Moore has been a notable anti-Trumper. The move reportedly cost him nearly $ 2 million in lost book sales and event ticket sales.

Still, his decision to leave the SBC and opt out of future publishing deals with the denomination’s publishing house, Lifeway, will likely have a bigger financial effect on Lifeway than on Moore. For at least two decades, Moore has been the bestselling author of Lifeway; by some internal accounts, his books and related materials have kept the Nashville-based publisher afloat.

Moore’s Bible studies and books are perhaps more ubiquitous in SBC churches than Lifeway’s own Sunday School program. His work has been so popular that one would be hard-pressed to find a Southern Baptist church in America that had not used one of its Bible studies in written or video form. What has made her a bestseller beyond that, however, is her ability to reach outside of the SBC other Protestant churches of all kinds.

Diana Butler Bass

Christian author Diana Butler Bass summed up the seismic shock of Moore’s split with the SBC, which was announced two days after Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s explosive interview with Oprah Winfrey: “Beth Moore leaving the Southern Baptist Convention is the religious news equivalent to Prince Harry leaving the royal household. An important and unthinkable affair.

Author Brian Zahnd tweeted: “If you can’t keep such a gifted, loyal and generous theological curator as @BethMooreLPM in your theologically conservative denomination, you are probably doing something wrong.”

And SBC pastor Dwight McKissic, who led the charge against the SBC for its racist past and refusal to tackle systemic racism, connected the dots in his own tweet: “When people like Beth Moore, Charlie Dates and Ralph West – 3 of the Kingdom’s most gifted, godly, and effective spokespersons leave the SBC – and many more stand at the door – it certainly indicates, to paraphrase an old Negro Spiritual, “There is has a danger, in the water. “

Appointment and Where is are two prominent Black Baptist pastors who left the SBC to protest a statement by the six SBC presidents condemning Critical breed theory.

Why she left

In his interview with RNS, which was given on Friday, March 5, but was not reported until Tuesday, March 9, Moore recalled his shock in October 2016 when reading transcripts of the “Access Hollywood” tapes, where Trump bragged rudely about his sex. exploits with women.

“It wasn’t just immorality,” she told RNS. “It smelled of sexual assault.”

Yet the same Southern Baptists who had been outraged by former President Bill Clinton’s conduct in the 1990s gave Trump a pass – not just a pass but a resounding endorsement. “The disorientation of it was astounding,” she told RNS. “Just amazing.”

“Make no mistake about Moore’s own theology: she is not a ‘liberal’, however you define the word. “

Make no mistake about Moore’s own theology: she is not a “liberal,” however the word is defined. Her Bible studies, books, and videos form a traditional Southern Baptist line in Orthodoxy, and she describes herself as “pro-life from conception to grave.” She has also repeatedly dodged the thorny question of whether she is a “preacher” or just a “teacher”, deflecting the debate on the role of women in the church by saying that she is not called to be. pastor.

Throughout the Trump administration, Moore has maintained a critique of the president’s own immoral behavior and his administration’s less than biblical policies. This criticism peaked on December 13, 2020, amid Trump’s baseless claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him. Moore tweeted: “I don’t believe these are days to mince words. I am 63 and a half years old and have never seen anything in this United States of America that I have found more surprisingly alluring and dangerous to the Saints of God than Trumpism. This Christian nationalism is not of God. Stay away from her.

Illustrating the setback she had received from the more conservative wing of the SBC, Tennessee pastor Greg Locke (a staunch Trump supporter and not a Southern Baptist) responded to Moore via Twitter: “Ma’am, you are honest with God. you lost your mind. This trashy rhetoric is why America is where it is. You say “walk away”. I rebuke you in the name of Christ. You are NO friends of babies, of Israel, of religious freedom, or of the nuclear family. SIT.”

Locke’s “sitting” language echoes Moore’s harsh rebuke given in the fall of 2019 by influential pastor and author John MacArthur: “Go home.”

Although Locke and MacArthur were not Southern Baptists, they and others like them today wield tremendous influence in SBC circles.

In June 2019, SBC Seminar President and Influencer Al Mohler confronted Moore via Twitter after announcing she would be speaking at a church from the pulpit on Mother’s Day Sunday morning: “We’ve reached a moment. criticism in the Southern Baptist Convention when there are now open calls to retreat from our biblical beliefs about complementarism and embrace the very error that the SBC repudiated over 30 years ago. Honestly, I never thought I would see that day.

Complementarism is a belief that God created men and women for different purposes and that they “complement” each other by staying true to these God-given gender roles. While Mohler asserted that this had always been the view within the SBC, Moore disputed whether this was true, speaking from his own experience of life as a Southern Baptist.

She rose to prominence as a gifted Bible teacher at the First Baptist Church in Houston.

She came to prominence as a gifted Bible teacher at First Baptist Church in Houston, where she was an aerobics instructor and also gave a brief Bible lesson with each class. It turned into a very popular weekly Bible study that she taught at First Baptist for 29 years.

First Baptist Houston is a mega-church firmly rooted in the conservative evangelical culture of the SBC. His longtime pastor there in the 1980s and 1990s was John Bisagno, one of the leaders of the so-called “conservative resurgence” that ousted moderates and liberals from the SBC.

Jeff straub

Jeff Straub, professor of historical theology and missions at Central Seminary in Plymouth, Minnesota, explained the background in a February 28 article. item published on the seminar website.

Describing a current call for a second “conservative resurgence” within the SBC, he drew attention to the Conservative Baptist Network and the Founders Ministries – two far-right groups within the SBC’s right-wing world. One of the hot spots of these two groups, he wrote, is Beth Moore.

When Moore preached Mother’s Day Sermon at her son-in-law’s church last year, “it sparked an internet storm with opponents and supporters questioning whether women should ever preach in SBC churches.” , Straub explained. “To compound the problem, Moore, herself a victim of childhood sexual abuse, accused the convention of overemphasizing complementarism, thus contributing to the MeToo movement hitting the SBC.”

SBC tent shrinkage

Faced with increasing pressure from the conservative Baptist network and founding ministries, among others, SBC leaders over the past two years have sought to reassure the far right flank within the denomination.

Beth Moore chats with Russell Moore at an ERLC 2018 conference (Photo: ERLC)

When Russell Moore, head of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Freedom Commission, joined Beth Moore (they are unrelated) in criticizing Trump’s personal behavior and some of his policies – such as his actions tough on immigration – he has also come under intense criticism within his own denomination.

The SBC executive committee received a report last month from a special study committee which claimed that Russell Moore’s criticism of Trump was costing the SBC money because angry churches cut back. donations.

With the battle between Trumpers and Never-Trumpers well underway, the six seminar chairmen on November 30 added fuel to the fire with their statement on Critical Race Theory – which seemed to align with the Trump’s ban on speaking about critical race theory and systemic racism in federal workplaces.

All of that is expected to spill over at the SBC’s annual meeting in Nashville this summer. Having previously alienated the anti-Trump segment of the SBC and the majority of black pastors in the SBC, the denomination now faces further alienation from women who value Beth Moore more than their denomination.

In a workshop session with Beth Moore at the SBC Annual Meeting in the summer of 2019, Russell Moore Said this: “An SBC that has no place for Beth Moore, has no place for many of us.”

We will soon see if these words were prophetic or hollow.

Related Articles:

Houston pastor leaves Southwestern and SBC over race seminary presidents’ statement

Another prominent black Baptist pastor publicly quits SBC

‘The wheel is still turning’: Beth Moore revives stalled debate | Alan Bean’s opinion

Debate over women in Southern Baptist pulpits erupts on social media

Mohler says women shouldn’t be in the Lord’s Day chair


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