FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sept. 19, 2020
Brad Jurkovich, Conservative Baptist Network Spokesman
Bossier City, La. –Today, the Conservative Baptist Network issued the following statement regarding the use of “Great Commission Baptists” in place of “Southern Baptist Convention.”
While the Conservative Baptist Network supports the term “Great Commission Baptists” as the theme for the 2021 Southern Baptist Convention, and while Network 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,” nevertheless:
First, we reject the idea that the name “Southern” is racist, which would itself be a slur against millions of innocent Americans of all races; and
Second, 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.” Headlines such as that in The Hill, Sept. 15, 2020 – “Southern Baptist Convention leaders dropping ‘Southern’ from name over slavery connection” – 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. 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. 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, Tenn., June 13-16, 2021. We strongly encourage all Southern Baptists to reengage with their Convention by attending and making their voices heard.
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 54-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, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Vice President Tom Phillips, and immediate past SBC Executive Committee Chairman Mike Stone. The Steering Council can be found online at ConservativeBaptistNetwork.com.