Conservative Baptist Network breakfast focuses on courage and truth ahead of 2023 SBC Annual Meeting

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By Sharayah Colter

June 13, 2023

Standing for the truth of Scripture boldly and courageously rose as the resounding theme of the third Conservative Baptist Network breakfast event at the Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in New Orleans, La., June 13.

A sold-out crowd heard from conservative leaders during the breakfast, all calling them to unashamed service for Christ and allegiance to His Word. Jeff Schreve, pastor of First Baptist Church of Texarkana, Texas, and a radio show host with American Family Radio, said pastors, specifically, must be willing to sound the alarm and “to stand alone if we have to,” in telling the truth.

“God hasn’t called any of us to be popular,” Schreve said. “He has called us to be faithful…. I am about as nuanced as a sledgehammer, but we need some sledgehammers to go out there and say, ‘this is the way; walk in it.’”

Evangelist Tim Lee, a marine who gave both of his legs in service to his nation, said he wanted to take a few moments during the breakfast to talk directly to the men. 

“We need women,“ Lee said, highlighting the remarkable effect women including his mother have had on his life. “We need women serving in our churches and working in our churches. We need you. We just don’t need you to be the pastors of our churches.

“What we do need our churches today is some men—but not just any kind of men. We need some mighty men,” Lee said, pointing to Joel 2:7. “We need some men in America that have courage and backbone, who will draw a line in the sand and say ‘enough is enough.’”

Someone must stand up and say ‘no’ to those who wish to make boys into girls and girls into boys.

Speaking truth is of utmost importance and is the way to live a life honoring Christ, said Ryan Helfenbein, Liberty University senior vice president of communications and public engagement and Standing for Freedom Center executive director.

“True humility stands in the gap, alone if necessary, because the battle is the Lord’s, and all glory belongs to Him,” Helfenbein said. “Trust the Lord. Speak the truth. Remain humble. That is one of many messages that we’re getting out there to young people….It’s not enough to say you have a Christian worldview. You have to have a biblical worldview.”

At times, a course correction is necessary, explained Bob Pearle, senior pastor of Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas.

“Sometimes well-meaning efforts to reach more people for Christ or to to be socially relevant can take us off track,” Pearle said. “We have to have the courage to change course.”

Pearle’s call to re-examine even well-meaning intentions and efforts echoed comments from Chuck Kelley, president emeritus at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary who has just published through Northeastern Baptist Press a new book titled, “The Best Intentions: How a Plan to Revitalize the SBC Accelerated Its Decline.” Speaking to breakfast attendees, Tuesday, Kelley emphasized the need to continually reach the lost with the message of Christ’s salvation.

“If you don’t keep reaching and discipling people, you will eventually have an empty church,” said Kelley whose new book examines the reason for concerning decline among Southern Baptist evangelism effectiveness. “Let’s keep filling up the church with lost souls who have found salvation.”

Mike Stone, candidate for Southern Baptist president, also spoke at the breakfast and shared concern about the current direction of the Southern Baptist Convention. He said as someone who became a Southern Baptist by choice and biblical conviction, he loves so much about the cooperative work Southern Baptists do and the biblical foundation that has long been central to their efforts.That love is what propels him to care deeply about seeing the Southern Baptist Convention remain faithful to biblical fidelity and doctrinal precision.

“If we did not care,” Stone said, “we would do what some of our critics said yesterday—that a magician would make some of us disappear. But we are not going away, because we love our convention of churches. While I am not a Negative Nancy, I am also not Pollyanna Pastor. There are real concerns facing our convention of churches.”