On Sunday (June 12), the lead up to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Anaheim, California, kicked off with events geared toward pastors and church messengers and which focused on the issues the Convention faces in the days ahead. One of those events was hosted by the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) and featured speakers Voddie Baucham and John MacArthur, as well as a panel discussion with CBN-endorsed candidates for SBC offices.
The CBN is an association of Southern Baptists who believe that the Convention is “drifting in a liberal direction” and want to mobilize SBC leaders to “change the direction,” which is the campaign slogan of the CBN-endorsed candidate for SBC president, Tom Ascol.
Recurring themes at the event included the sufficiency of scripture against the backdrop of opposition to Critical Race Theory, suspicion about proposed reforms in light of revelations of sexual abuse and coverup in the denomination, and a call for expository preaching.
Voddie Baucham, who is running for president of the Pastor’s Conference, an annual event that takes place in the days leading up to the SBC’s annual meeting, was the first to address the crowd of roughly 2,000 attendees.
“I want to say at the outset that, no matter how many warnings we give, make no mistake about it. We recognize the fact that the Kingdom of God is undefeated and shall remain so,” Baucham said. “And here’s another thing that I want to say. We recognize that God doesn’t need the Southern Baptist Convention.”
“I love the SBC. I’ve been trained and educated and nurtured in the Southern Baptist Convention. I praise God for the Southern Baptist Convention,” Baucham continued. “But hear me when I say [that] God does not need the Southern Baptist Convention. Now, we pray that God will continue to use the Southern Baptist Convention, amen?”
“And that’s what I mean when I say that God doesn’t need the SBC,” Baucham said. “My prayer is that He would bring not just revival but first repentance in the Convention.”
“And the reason I say that is because I recognize that God doesn’t need America…What I’m worried about is that there is this judgment that is happening simultaneously,” Baucham expressed. “There’s this judgment that we’re seeing in our broader culture that is also being reflected in a kind of judgment that we’re seeing within broader evangelicalism and a judgment we’re seeing within the Southern Baptist Convention.”
Though the SBC will spend a large portion of its annual meeting this week grappling with the Guidepost Solutions investigation that uncovered a decades-long history of sexual abuse and coverup in the denomination, Baucham set his sights on addressing an entirely different danger to the SBC: a culture that has become “an enemy of the gospel.”
Specifically, Baucham addressed when missionaries and ministers focus on benevolence, mercy programs, and social justice to the detriment of communicating the message of the gospel. Baucham argued that such emphases are a result of compromise among Christian leaders who are seeking to win the affection of a culture that hates Jesus.