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Beth Moore is still making waves. On April 7, soon after announcing her departure from the Southern Baptist Convention, she took to Twitter to proclaim complementarianism “a doctrine of MAN” and to beg forgiveness for supporting the theology of male headship. “I could not see it for what it was until 2016,” she wrote. (Moore later clarified that she hasn’t totally abandoned complementarianism; rather, she disapproves of how the doctrine became supreme.)

Conservative evangelicals were swift to rebuke her, quoting scriptural commands for women to “remain quiet” and expressing regret that Moore was “running to embrace the world.” Others applauded her for acknowledging how complementarianism is derived from human culture, not divine law. The latter critique is also described in a recent wave of academic books that argues that complementarianism and its corollaries—”purity culture” and “family values”—are based on a foundation of sexism and white supremacy. Within this wave is Beth Allison Barr’s Making Biblical Womanhood: How the Subjugation of Women Became Gospel Truth, which examines how figures like James Dobson “sanctified” the nineteenth-century “cult of domesticity” demanding women’s...