A group of Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, and lay people concerned with their denomination's leftward drift has formed a group called the Conservative Baptist Network.
Southern Baptists trying to keep Vice President Mike Pence from speaking at the 2018 convention in Dallas; Resolution 9 promoting Critical Race Theory in 2019; and redefining of gender roles by some Southern Baptist leaders – these all are signs to Pastor Brad Jurkovich that the Southern Baptist Convention is leaving its conservative moorings and drifting away from scripture.
"Clearly there are some different ideas out there – whether it's from the ERLC* or it's in seminaries or this and that that Southern Baptists are concerned about," says the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, Louisiana.
Jurkovich and other Southern Baptist leaders have formed the Conservative Baptist Network of Southern Baptists to push back against the drift. Jurkovich is spokesman for the Network.
"Our group senses that most of our Southern Baptist family has not been comfortable with the road we've been going down," he shares. "And so if we can connect with them, speak honestly with them and rally them, then we can be strong and move forward in a healthy way."
On the Network's website, he describes the road currently being traveled by Southern Baptists as "twisting what God's Word is saying about things like human sexuality, biblical racial reconciliation and socialistic justice." He also describes three choices that every SBC pastor and church have to make:
"First, you can stay in the Southern Baptist Convention, not say anything and watch this denomination drift, drift, drift into oblivion.
"Second, you can totally leave. You can walk away, but you need to know that when you walk away you are handing billions of dollars of assets, and mission passion and evangelism strategy over to ideologies that will lead this convention into irrelevancy.
"Third, you can stay and stand and by standing make a difference. I believe that is what most Southern Baptist pastors and churches want to do, but they are not sure if they stand, who will stand with them."
Some are already referring to the effort as the second "Conservative Resurgence" – referring to a move back to orthodoxy in the mid-1980s. Jurkovich tells OneNewsNow that he's willing to let others decide if that's an appropriate title.
"We wanted something at the heart of it that would encourage pastors, connect pastors, equip pastors and churches to say, Hey, we share these burdens, we're likeminded in our vision," he explains. "But you've got to have some organization so pastors don't feel like they're alone."
And they're not alone, he emphasizes to like-minded pastors and churches: "I want you to know that I am willing to stand – and there are many others who are ready to stand with you."
The Network launched officially on Friday. Jurkovich says more than 900 churches signed on to the Network on its first day alone.
OneNewsNow reported on Friday about a Nevada pastor who is convinced this is the time to fight for the soul of the SBC. "I believe this is the year to take back the Convention," said Pastor Sam Bunnell. The answer isn't to boycott the SBC Annual Meeting in June, he added, "but to show up and take control back of the denomination."
* The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC