With Beth Moore Leaving the Southern Baptists, Will Other Women Follow Her Out? March 17, 2021

With Beth Moore Leaving the Southern Baptists, Will Other Women Follow Her Out?

Bible teacher Beth Moore has arguably created space for women within the Southern Baptist Convention that didn’t exist before. So what happens to those women now that Moore has announced she’s leaving the denomination?

Some of them are following her out the door. Some of them, as Kate Shellnutt writes for Christianity Today, are waiting to see how pastors treat Moore’s decision before they decide their own fate.

As one Southern Baptist women’s ministry leader tweeted on Wednesday, “Pastors, I hope you are watching women in the SBC and their response to Beth Moore …”

Many fellow Southern Baptist women were sad but not surprised that she decided to leave the SBC. The women who followed in her high-heeled footsteps know the tensions Moore walked through too well, dismayed at how issues like abuse, racism, Christian nationalism, and the Trump presidency were dividing the denomination rather than deepening its gospel witness — all issues that came up in a recent Religion News Service story about her decision.

Christine Hoover, a Bible teacher and SBC pastor’s wife, remembers asking herself, “If Beth is treated so disdainfully in public arenas, what is being said privately, and what does that say about how, in practice, the SBC values the contribution of women to the kingdom?”

“I can’t overstate how much of an impact Beth has had on women in our churches,” Hoover said. “I was in rooms in those years with SBC female leaders from all corners of the convention who said they, too, were paying close attention, most of us wondering if we as women actually have an honored place in the SBC.”

Many other Christian women, some of them also high-profile, have taken to Twitter to celebrate Moore’s courage in leaving — something that isn’t simply for show because it also impacts the kind of money she would make in SBC churches or via the Christian publishing industry:

The men running the SBC may congratulate themselves for being rid of a so-called heretic, but time will tell just how far the ripple effects of Moore’s departure will go. As of now, it’s not looking good for them.

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