The Conservative Baptist Network (CBN), a grassroots movement that launched today, is working to affirm the Bible’s sufficiency and to reject “unbiblical ideologies” affecting the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The partnership of Southern Baptist pastors and laypeople formed in response to what it considers theologically liberal trends in America’s largest Protestant denomination. The group is essentially calling for a new conservative resurgence.
In a press release and on social media, the CBN says it’s a place “where all generations are encouraged, equipped, and empowered to bring positive, biblical solutions that strengthen the SBC in an effort to fulfill the Great Commission and influence culture.”
An official CBN launch event is planned for June 8, ahead of the SBC’s annual convention in Orlando, Florida.
It’s Time for Another Conservative Resurgence
CBN spokesman Brad Jurkovich, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana, says the network is “concerned” about the denomination’s current path—“a road that is twisting what God’s Word is saying about things like human sexuality, biblical racial reconciliation, and socialistic justice.” The CBN, he adds, offers “fresh breath” and “the momentum needed for a course correction” in the SBC.
Southern Baptist pastors and churches have three choices, Jurkovich says: Do nothing and “watch this denomination drift, drift, drift into oblivion.” Leave the SBC and leave its many resources in the hands of “ideologies that will lead this convention into irrelevancy.” Or take a stand and make a difference. The pastor believes most people want to take a stand, saying the CBN is forming to support efforts to “overcome our present malaise and experience another spiritual renaissance.” It could be time, Jurkovich indicates, for another Conservative Resurgence, a movement that started in the SBC 40 years ago.
CBN posted a 1988 quote from former SBC president Adrian Rogers: “Denominational cooperation through compromise is neither Baptist nor biblical. And Baptists must beware of the leaven of liberalism.”
What Concerns the Conservatives
CBN’s press release references the “insolence and disrespect” shown by some 2018 annual-convention attendees, who walked out of an address by Vice President Mike Pence. Jurkovich asks, “As Southern Baptists, can we not love both Jesus and America? Is it no longer okay to be a pastor and a patriot?”
Another concern is Resolution Nine (which passed last year) and its social-justice concepts of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality (CRT/I). While other SBC leaders have called those concepts “analytical tools” that encourage diversity, CBN maintains they’re “ideologies that have their roots in Neo-Marxist, postmodern worldviews.”
Lorine Spratt, an African-American and longtime Southern Baptist, says she’s “embarrassed and insulted” by CRT/I. “I’m insulted that [denominational leaders] would think to use something like that to say that my culture or ethnicity…that we need extra care; that is not true,” says Spratt, who serves as executive assistant for Jurkovich. “You’re not helping me if you’re not pointing me to the Lord Jesus Christ. And I am not a victim. I am victorious in Jesus Christ.”
CBN’s concern about “the redefining of biblical gender roles” refers to the debate about complementarianism, a concept that’s being scrutinized in the wake of church sexual abuse scandals.
On its website, the new conservative network says it “affirms the longstanding Baptist beliefs as expressed in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.” It also specifies that the CBN is not “a new denomination, a blog or social media page existing solely to air grievances, a competitor with other like-minded ministries, [or] a group exclusive to one soteriological view or another.”
Who’s On-Board With the CBN
By midday on Friday, CBN reported that more than 800 people had signed up to join during its first five hours. Many supporters say they’re excited to confront the so-called #WokeChurch movement.
Tom Ascol, president of Founders Ministries, tweeted: “I am glad to see this new network roll out today. A growing number of Southern Baptists are determined to resist godless ideologies that undermine the authority and sufficiency of Scripture.” And Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis, tweeted: “It’s great to see leaders in the SBC publicly taking a stand on challenging the church to stand on God’s Word in all areas. Culture changes but God’s Word doesn’t! The church needs to be reminded of this.”