Home Christian News ‘There’s Life on the Other Side’—Beth Moore and Russell Moore Discuss Leaving...

‘There’s Life on the Other Side’—Beth Moore and Russell Moore Discuss Leaving the SBC, Deconstruction, and Political Polarization

Russell Moore Beth Moore
Screengrab via YouTube / Christianity Today

In a recent joint event between Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministries and Christianity Today, Beth Moore and Russell Moore sat down to discuss Russell’s new book, “Losing Our Religion: An Altar Call for Evangelical America.” 

During the wide-ranging interview, the two discussed their shared history with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), their experiences leaving the denomination, the crisis of faith taking place in the evangelical movement, as well as their hope for the future.

Beth Moore and Russell Moore Remember Their Shared Southern Baptist History

Toward the beginning of the interview, Russell spoke about his Southern Baptist upbringing in Biloxi, Mississippi, how he met his wife, his call to ministry, and the first sermon he delivered at the age of 12. 

While Beth and Russell were both raised in Southern Baptist churches and served the SBC for many years, Beth noted that, in some ways, the two came from different worlds in that Russell was a seminary trained pastor and denominational leader, whereas she had always been a lay Bible teacher. Beth added that, across those two groups, stereotypes abound. 

Beth said that she wouldn’t have personally crossed paths with Russell if it weren’t for social media. She recounted that she first became acquainted with Russell through Twitter while Russell was still serving on the faculty of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

“What first made me raise my eyebrows was that I could see that your students, your present students at Southern or past students, I could see how playful and fun they were with you,” Beth said. “That was the first [time] I knew you had an actual life.” 

The two went on to discuss their shared love of hymns and 1990s Christian Contemporary Music, with Russell noting that he had a crush on Amy Grant throughout his teenage years. 

“Were you even a Christian boy if you didn’t?” Beth joked. 

Russell Moore on Leaving the SBC, Why Many Evangelicals Are Deconstructing Their Faith, and How Political Polarization Is Affecting the Church

Steering the conversation toward Russell’s new book, titled “Losing Our Religion: An Altar Call for Evangelical America,” the opening chapter of which recounts the latter days of Russell’s tenure as president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), Beth said, “It’s such a book of hope, throughout…[Hope] is very much woven throughout.”

Nevertheless, Beth expressed that both she and Russell felt a great sense of loss leaving the SBC, the denomination they had both loved and served for most of their lives. 

“And it’s not even past tense,” Russell said. “I’m the most Southern Baptist person I know, and I’m not even a Southern Baptist anymore. I mean, I literally have a bust of Lottie Moon [in my office].”

Beth noted that Russell had previously expressed that being president of the ERLC had been a “dream job.” Nevertheless, Russell recounted that when he was considering leaving, Beth counseled him that “there’s life on the other side.”