Southern Baptist pastors and other Christian leaders have weighed in on the topic of Bible teacher Beth Moore leaving the denomination after nearly 30 years and ending her longtime partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources.
“There comes a time when you have to say, this is not who I am,” Moore, 63, told Religion News Service in an interview published Tuesday.
“I am still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists,” she added.
In recent years, Moore has grown increasingly critical of the Southern Baptist denomination, particularly after the election of former President Donald Trump.
She told RNS she was shocked at how fellow evangelicals rallied around Trump, particularly after the “Access Hollywood” tape from 2005 was released ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
On Twitter, where she now has more than 950,000 followers, she wrote at the time:
“I’m one among many women sexually abused, misused, stared down, heckled, talked naughty to. Like we liked it. We didn’t. We’re tired of it.”
She has also denounced Christian nationalism and what she deems as “the sexism & misogyny that is rampant in segments of the SBC.”
“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 told RNS.
Moore said she ended her longtime publishing relationship with Lifeway, but it will still sell her books.
Here’s how Christian leaders both within and outside the Southern Baptist denomination have reacted to the news.
In a series of tweets, J.D. Greear, president of the Southern Baptist Convention, said he has “loved and appreciated Beth Moore’s ministry and will continue to in the future.”
“Personally, she has been an encouragement to me and I will always be grateful,” he wrote.
Greear said he is “grieved” anytime someone who “believes in the inerrant Scripture, shares our values and desires to cooperate says that they do not feel at home in our convention.”
“When I first allowed my name to be nominated for President, I said we did not need to change our doctrine or our mission, we needed to change our culture,” he wrote.
“My time as President has shown me that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are ready to walk into the future unified around the Great Commission.
Sadly, it’s many of our leaders that seem bent on pulling us apart.”
Greear said he prays the news of Moore’s leaving
“will cause us to lament, to pray, and to come to Nashville rededicating ourselves to be Great Commission Baptists who keep the Gospel above all and to become a Convention united around the message that Jesus is the only way.”
“The positive spiritual influence Beth Moore has had on the SBC is immeasurable, and I am thankful for her and her continued ministry.
God has used her to shape a movement of women committed to the local church and the Word of God,” SBC Executive Committee president and CEO Ronnie Floyd said in a statement.
“It saddens me to hear from those like Beth who no longer feel at home within our convention.
At any given time in our convention, there are countless opinions about theology, ministry and culture.
The Southern Baptist Convention should be a home for all who share our common mission and doctrine as outlined in the Baptist Faith & Message, and I am committed to making it feel like a home for all who wish for it to be.”
Trillia Newbell, director of Community Outreach for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC, tweeted:
“I have deep love and respect for @BethMooreLPM. She let me know this was coming because she is human, and she loves others fiercely. As I think about our tendency to analyze and tear each other apart, I hope we’d resist it here and instead pray.”
Author and Bible study teacher Jen Wilkin tweeted,
“Thank you, @BethMooreLPM for the light you carry, for the compassion that drives you, for the steadfastness that marks you.
I wouldn’t be teaching today if I hadn’t seen you do it first. I might have given up if I hadn’t seen you persevere. What a debt we owe you.”