It’s not often that a single person’s decision to leave a Christian denomination dominates the pages of Christianity Today, the Washington Post, and New York Times, but when that person is Beth Moore, one of America’s most popular Bible teachers, and she’s leaving the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, that attention is justified.
But is the commentary surrounding her departure hitting the mark? Is it capturing what’s really going on? I’m not sure. But first, let’s briefly discuss the facts.
Beth is a longtime Southern Baptist. She has filled arenas and reached millions with her Bible studies. And while she’s always been the subject of some controversy in a denomination that often wrestles with questions surrounding women’s roles preaching and teaching, she lived happily within the Baptist theological tent.
As Bob Smietana wrote when he broke the news of her departure, Moore “support[ed] Southern Baptist teaching that limits the office of pastor to men alone” and was an important cheerleader “for the missions and evangelistic work that the denomination holds dear.” What happened? Here’s Smietana again: