By Staff, Conservative Baptist Network
BOSSIER CITY, La. (CBNSB) — The Conservative Baptist Network of Southern Baptists issued a statement, Sept. 21, offering support for the use of “Great Commission Baptists” as the theme for the 2021 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention. But, the group opposed the theme as a name swap for the SBC as has been suggested in news headlines that claimed “Southern” was a racist term and that the name change was needed in light of current social justice issues.
Brad Jurkovich, the network’s spokesman and pastor of First Baptist Bossier, Bossier City, said “CBN members hold a variety of opinions on whether Southern Baptists should or should not change their name from the historic but more regional name ‘Southern Baptists’ to a more expansive name such as ‘Great Commission Baptists’ or ‘North American Baptists.'”
But, he added, “we reject the idea that the name ‘Southern’ is racist, which would itself be a slur against millions of innocent Americans of all races. Moreover, he continued, “we oppose any effort to change the name of the SBC that is simply a desire to pander to advocates of Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and similar ideas deceptively labeled as ‘Social Justice.'”
In the release posted on the group’s website, Jurkovich explained that “headlines such as that which appeared in The Hill – ‘Southern Baptist Convention leaders dropping “Southern” from name over slavery connection’ on Sept. 15 – are extraordinarily divisive and harmful to the SBC’s Gospel mission, among both those inside and outside the denomination.
“We are gratified by SBC Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd’s statement that headlines such as The Hill’s were false,” Jurkovich shared. “Indeed, messengers to our annual meetings – who alone have the right and power to change our name – have repeatedly rejected a name change, in 1965, 1974, 1983, 1989, 1990, 1998, and 2012.
“Even the 2012 vote permitting the use of ‘Great Commission Baptist’ merely granted recognition of that term for such churches which might wish to use it,” he said. “According to the 2012 Book of Reports, the recommendation did not apply to the SBC itself but rather to ‘churches, entities, and organizations in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention,’ and indeed, eight years later, very few churches have used it in any region of the country.
“Finally, whether or not Southern Baptists choose to change their name, the only forum in which such an issue may be properly debated and acted upon is the annual meeting, which next year will be held in Nashville, Tennessee, June 13-16, 2021. We strongly encourage all Southern Baptists to reengage with their Convention by attending and making their voices heard,” he concluded.
The Conservative Baptist Network is a broad-based grassroots movement of Southern Baptists of all generations who are committed to the sufficiency of Scripture for all facets of life and application. Its 50-member Steering Council includes pastors and laypeople from across America, including well-known figures such as former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, past SBC President Charles Stanley, and immediate past SBC Executive Committee Chairman Mike Stone. The Steering Council can be found online at ConservativeBaptistNetwork.com.