Longtime Bible study leader Beth Moore has publicly announced that she is ending her affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention and LifeWay Christian Resources, relationships stretching back more than three decades.
Moore made the announcement through an interview with Religion News Service on March 9.
“I am still a Baptist, but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists,” she 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.”
Moore told RNS her perception of the SBC began to change in 2016 with the election of Donald Trump as president. Specifically, she cited his behavior toward women as revealed in an Access Hollywood tape and a lack of condemnation from Southern Baptist leaders.
On May 3, 2018, Moore published “A Letter to My Brothers,” outlining her experience as a woman ministry leader in Southern Baptist life. As stories of sexual abuse in Southern Baptist churches became more widely known, Moore became a leading voice for accountability and healing. That culminated in her taking part in a panel at the 2019 SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, “Sexual Abuse and the Southern Baptist Convention,” which was attended by nearly 1,300 messengers, guests and media. But in the RNS interview, she said by that point, she no longer felt a part of the SBC.
Though no longer her publisher, LifeWay will still carry Moore’s books and Bible studies.
“LifeWay is thankful for the partnership we’ve had with Beth Moore for more than two decades,” LifeWay President Ben Mandrell said. “We will continue to pray for her and her ministry moving forward. We look forward to working with Beth in new ways to encourage women to encounter God in His Word.”
“The positive spiritual influence Beth Moore has had on the SBC is immeasurable, and I am thankful for her and her continued ministry,” SBC Executive Committee president and CEO Ronnie Floyd told Baptist Press. “God has used her to shape a movement of women committed to the local church and the Word of God. 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 and Message, and I am committed to making it feel like a home for all who wish for it to be.”
Becky Loyd, director of LifeWay Women, said Moore’s impact would continue to be felt.
“We will continue to love, pray and support Beth for years to come,” Loyd said. “We are so 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.”
In February 2015, when she was honored for 20 years with the entity, Moore’s studies had reached more than 21 million people around the world and had been translated into 17 languages. During that span, she had also conducted 166 Living Proof events, each of which drew thousands.
— Scott Barkley is national correspondent for Baptist Press.