In May 2022, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) made publicly available a bombshell report by Guidepost Solutions regarding the denomination’s systemic failure to properly respond to sexual abuse allegations over the period of 20 years.
Now the Conservative Baptist Network (CBN) has released a report of its own, outlining what they believe to be the failures of the SBC to respond to the threats of, among other things, critical race theory and the rise of women in pastoral leadership. The report also called into question whether the sexual abuse crisis is as much a cause for alarm as many SBC leaders believe it to be.
Since its creation in 2020, the CBN has been a vocal and consistent detractor of SBC leadership, often accusing them of various improprieties that the CBN believes are pulling the SBC away from its traditional values and convictions.
While the CBN mobilized a large number of Southern Baptists around the vision to “change the direction” of the denomination in the run-up to the 2022 annual meeting in Anaheim, California, the candidates they endorsed for various high level leadership positions, including SBC President and President of the SBC Pastors Conference, failed to win those elections.
Nevertheless, the CBN boasts that their “grassroots effort has grown significantly since its founding in 2020, with individuals and churches from all across the nation linking arms to stand together for the biblical gospel.”
The CBN released its comprehensive, though “not exhaustive,” list of grievances with the SBC on Wednesday, Jan. 18. Titled “The Evidences of Concern Within the Southern Baptist Convention,” the 49-page report was prepared by Klayton A. Carson and “a team of researchers from the Conservative Baptist Network.”
CBN Criticizes CRT in the SBC
With regard to the issue of critical race theory, the report castigated the SBC for not taking a harder stance against CRT, pointing to the contentious Resolution 9 that was passed in 2019 and which referred to CRT and Intersectionality as “analytical tools” that “can aid in evaluating a variety of human experiences,” even though they are “subordinate to Scripture” and “alone are insufficient.”
The report also pointed out a number of key institutional leaders in the SBC whom the CBN believes are responsible for the alleged spread of CRT throughout the denomination. Those leaders include Southern Baptist Seminary professor Jarvis Williams, Southeastern Seminary professor Walter Strickland, Southeastern Seminary President Danny Akin, SBC pastor Kevin Smith, former Send Network president Dhati Lewis, former dean at Southwestern Seminary Jeffrey Bingham, and, somewhat surprisingly, Southern Baptist Seminary president Al Mohler.
Specifically, the CBN criticized Mohler for publicly speaking against CRT on his podcast, while when it came to Resolution 9, he “did not speak against it, or offer an amendment to it, on the floor at the Annual Meeting prior to the resolution’s adoption.”
The report also named former SBC president Ed Litton for his racial reconciliation work with the Unify Project, the tactics of which the CBN believes to be “problematic.” The CBN also cited Litton’s sermon plagiarism scandal later in the report.
CBN on Women in Leadership
Turning from its concerns about race, the CBN report then focused on what it believes to be a significant departure within the SBC from its historic view on gender roles and women in leadership.