Does Complementarianism Cause Abuse? (Beth Moore)

The following is from a portion of Beth Moore’s speech, “The Courage to Confront the Crisis of Abuse in the Church” at the Caring Well conference on October 3, 2019, hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

This is not on anybody else but me.

Does complementarian theology cause abuse?

The answer’s no.

Sin and gross selfishness in the human heart cause abuse.

Demonic influences cause abuse.

However, has a culture prevalent in various circles of the SBC formed and burgeoned out of it contributed to it?

Absolutely, and heavily.

And I’d ask you to hear me out on it, even if you could not disagree more. Even if I thought you were sitting over coffee late tonight talking about how you didn’t like it, I would know you’re talking about it.

You see, the world is watching to see if we will bring up what they believe is the biggest elephant in the room.

Complementarian theology became such a high, core value, that it inadvertently, by proof of what we have seen – look at the fruit of what happened – became elevated above the safety and well-being of many women. So high a core value has it become that in much of our world complementarian theology is now conflated with inerrancy. Case in point: notice how often our world charges or dismisses egalitarians by saying they have a low view of Scripture, because unless they think like us about complementarian theology they do not honor the word of God.

Watch for it. Test it and see if it is so.

Far too many SBC congregations and SBC seminaries…so few women are in any visible area of leadership, that women who are being abused by the system itself or within it by people that are in places of power don’t even have a female to turn to. They don’t even know where to go.

Here’s the best way I know to put it.

If complementarianism were a woman, I’d tell you that woman is being abused and somebody needs to call the police and start an investigation and God help us if the police are in on it.

And I guess now I will enter the witness protection program.

In the metaphor I just used for complementarianism I’m certainly not suggesting we throw out the woman. I don’t see any signs of that happening. I’m saying it is imperative if the SBC is to become a healthier church culture that she be protected from abuse and from exploitation for the sake of owning all the power. We must be willing to courageously face all that makes us vulnerable.

Misogyny has no place in those who are being conformed to the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Published by Chris Bolt

Wretched sinner saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Husband, father, pastor, seminary professor, and author.

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