Amid growing concern that the nation’s largest Protestant denomination is increasingly “woke” and drifting from biblical orthodoxy, a new network has formed to emphasize evangelism and the sufficiency of Scripture within the Southern Baptist Convention.
The Conservative Baptist Network, which is being launched Friday, describes itself as a grassroots effort to maintain the proclamation of the Gospel at the center of SBC life, in addition to prioritizing fidelity to Scripture and all of its implications, including presenting a vibrant, biblically-informed witness when engaging culture. The network fully affirms the longstanding beliefs of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
Those involved in the network’s formation, many of whom spoke with The Christian Post, say their efforts are needed given the direction and perceived future of the Convention that many devout Southern Baptists find troubling. But the network is not, they say, a new denomination, a blog or a social media page that exists solely to air grievances or a competitor with other like-minded ministries.
“We are concerned about the current road our Southern Baptist family is traveling. It is a road that is twisting what God’s Word is saying about things like human sexuality, biblical racial reconciliation, and socialistic justice,” said Brad Jurkovich, the network spokesman and the pastor of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana, in a press release exclusively provided to CP Thursday.
“There are three choices that every pastor and church have to make,” he explained.
Those three options, he said, are to remain in the SBC and say nothing and watch it drift into obscurity; walk away entirely, cognizant of what they are leaving behind; or remain within the denomination and contend for the restoration of what has been lost in recent years.
The Bossier City pastor believes many desire the third option and the CBN pastors, lay ministers and seminary professors are ready to stand alongside them.
“Are the apparent theological, ethical and social compromises simply indicative of Southern Baptists succumbing to the apostasy of the Laodicean Age? Are we doomed to the fate of an unrepentant church or will we open the door to let Christ in, overcome our present malaise and experience another spiritual renaissance?” Jurkovich offered, speaking to how he presently sees the spiritual status of the denomination as a whole.
He further maintained that a significant number of Southern Baptists are especially concerned about the overemphasis on certain issues that have received more attention than has evangelism and spiritual renewal — emphases that have helped make Southern Baptists the largest and most influential evangelical group in the nation.
For many, particularly those who make a point to attend the denomination’s annual meeting each year, their concern was crystallized following the 2018 gathering in Dallas when motions were made on the floor to prevent Vice President Mike Pence from speaking to the messengers. While those efforts ultimately failed, some in attendance nevertheless got up and left the convention center in protest as Pence began to speak, actions many considered disrespectful and contrary to the admonition in 1 Peter 2:11-17 about showing proper deference to governmental authority.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Brandon Showalter