By Will Hall, Baptist Message executive editor
DEVILLE, La. (LBM) — The Conservative Baptist Network announced Feb. 18 the launch of its Louisiana state chapter, with more states soon to launch as it expands as a localized, grassroots effort, according to organizational sources.
In a statement released to the Baptist Message, the CBN shared that Philip Robertson, Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee member (2018-present) and two-time past president of the Louisiana Baptist Convention (2004-2005), will serve as the lead state coordinator.
Robertson is senior pastor of Philadelphia Baptist Church, Deville, with a campus in Alexandria, and served as a member of the Louisiana Baptist Convention Executive Board (1997-2003), including two years as LBCEB president (2001-2002). He also was a trustee of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (2003-2006). Robertson currently serves in various capacities for his local association and state convention.
“I joined the Conservative Baptist Network for two reasons,” Robertson said. “One, because I believe there are important issues affecting our churches and the SBC that need to be addressed, and two, because CBN is a ‘pro’ Southern Baptist Convention movement. I wholeheartedly support our cooperative work as Southern Baptists, and I believe it is important that we address the concerns that threaten our cooperation in Kingdom mission. Having a Louisiana chapter of CBN will provide an opportunity to educate, encourage, and engage all Louisiana Baptist pastors who are committed to the sufficiency of Scripture and evangelism.”
Joining Robertson as chapter regional leaders are Steve Folmar (First Baptist Church, Houma), David Goza (Jefferson Baptist Church, Baton Rouge), Mike Holloway (Ouachita Baptist Church, West Monroe), Nathan Davis (First Baptist Church, Coushatta), Lewis Richerson (Woodlawn Baptist Church, Baton Rouge), and Corey Smith (Heritage Baptist Church, Shreveport).
Davis, Richerson and Smith currently serve as members of the national steering council as well.
Folmar cited a commitment to the sufficiency of Scripture as a driving force in his decision to join and support the biblically conservative group.
“The CBN is working hard to keep us grounded in the Word of God and not chasing every new idea that comes along,” Folmar said. “The Gospel is sufficient for all of our needs! We do not need the Gospel plus something else.”
Holloway, too, harkened to honoring the Word of God as a reason for joining the leadership of the Louisiana state chapter.
“I have been burdened about the direction of our SBC for a few years,” Holloway said. “When asked to join this Louisiana steering committee I agreed with one major thought: I’m willing to do my part to help return our Convention to evangelism and continue its belief in the inerrant Word of God.”
Davis echoed the sentiments of his fellow pastors.
“I have admired the Southern Baptist Convention and our leadership but feel the Conservative Baptist Network has been established for such a time as this,” Davis said. “I am grateful to be involved in a network of like-minded pastors and leaders and am encouraged by the participation and engagement.”
Louisiana pastor and CBN spokesman Brad Jurkovich lauded the formation of the state chapter and noted his excitement for the growing interest in the network from within his own state.
“This particular state chapter is especially encouraging to me as it comes from the state where I serve as pastor of a local church,” Jurkovich said. “The value of these state chapters cannot be overstated. Pastors and churches standing together locally and nationally in SBC life and organizing to speak and vote at the annual SBC gathering in Nashville is vital for the future of our Southern Baptist family.”
Robertson noted that the Louisiana chapter already has scheduled three events, each featuring Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Georgia, and a candidate for SBC president: March 15, 6 p.m., Jefferson Baptist Church, Baton Rouge; March 16, noon, Philadelphia Baptist Church, Deville; and, March 16, 6 p.m., Cook Baptist Church, Ruston.
“Everyone is invited for a time to hear about current issues within the Southern Baptist Convention,” Robertson offered. “There also will be a time for your questions and answers and for sharing your SBC concerns.”
Learn more about Louisiana chapter events at www.conservativebaptistnetwork.com, which also shares about the CBN as a broad-based grassroots movement of Southern Baptists. Individuals may become members by signing up online. The complete list of the CBN Steering Council can be found there as well. This leadership team comprises pastors and laypeople from across America and includes some 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, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Vice President Tom Phillips, and immediate past SBC Executive Committee Chairman Mike Stone.