Bible teacher Beth Moore recently announced she was leaving the Southern Baptist Convention due to its racism, treatment of women, undeniable support for Donald Trump, etc.
Now she’s distancing herself even further, apologizing for accepting the idea of complementarianism, the Christian belief that men and women are essentially “separate but equal.” It’s a view that many progressive Christians would tell you has been used to prevent women from taking control of their lives, having their own careers, or even preaching like Moore.
I beg your forgiveness where I was complicit. I could not see it for what it was until 2016. I plead your forgiveness for how I just submitted to it and supported it and taught it. I trusted that the motives were godly. I have not lost my mind. Nor my doctrine. Just my naivety.
— Beth Moore (@BethMooreLPM) April 7, 2021
In an email to Religion News Service, Moore didn’t go quite so far as to say she has entirely abandoned complementarianism. But she no longer sees it as essential.
“I’m not going to be pushed into either category right now because that’s not my point,” Moore wrote in response to a question about whether she was still a complementarian, or its counterpart, an egalitarian. “My point is that it has taken on the importance of a first tier doctrine.”
But apologizing for her role in supporting and elevating the importance of that theology, which she had submitted to, is a major step for Moore.
While a lot of readers may roll their eyes at Moore concluding what so many egalitarian Christians and non-Christians have known for a long time, it’s still a big deal for a prominent Baptist to admit complementarianism isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Moore certainly knows firsthand what it’s like to be negatively affected by the theology. While her ministry has been successful by any standard, she has been told to “go home” by one prominent (male) preacher and pushed in that direction by many others — all for promoting Christianity while being a woman. For all her success in the Christian world, she’s been effectively “cancelled” by right-leaning stores and organizations that will no longer sell her books or invite her to speak.
The average Baptist woman who pushes back against these damaging teachings likely doesn’t have Moore’s financial cushion or support from social media followers. When they stand up for themselves, many of those women lose everything. That’s why it’s no small thing for Moore, with her platform, to say publicly what so many other Christian women like her believe privately.
Some people have chastised Moore for waiting so long to speak up. But when you’ve spent the majority of your life in a cult, it can take years to find your voice — and more time to be strong enough to use it. Moore is showing a rare humility and repentance that other Christians in her circles can learn from.