As many Southern Baptists are well aware, our beloved Convention has become deeply contentious. In recent years, Southern Baptists have found themselves increasingly divided, which has played itself out in almost every area of denominational life. Many of these tensions came to a head following the 2019 annual meeting in Birmingham where Resolution 9 was adopted. Our baptism numbers continue to decline into historic lows, churches are walking away from the SBC and functionally disengaging, and the Cooperative Program is now experiencing decline as are many of our seminaries.
With increasing dismay regarding this current trajectory, the Conservative Baptist Network was formed by grassroots Baptists who came together over deep concerns. Since its launch, thousands have joined this informal network, and it continues to grow daily. Questions are often received requesting more details about the concerns shared by many Southern Baptists. In turn, a document has been compiled across several months in an effort to provide some form of an answer to these questions. This document was composed to rely on primary sources and original material with documentation. While far from exhaustive, this encapsulates many of the concerns being presented by life-long Southern Baptists.
The concerns and this document are not meant to be personal. Both arise from deeply held convictions of thousands of everyday Baptists—pastors and church laymen alike—who care deeply for the Southern Baptist Convention and the message of the gospel that takes precedence over our desire to avoid difficult discussions. These individuals feel their concerns are not being heard as they watch the SBC continue down the leftward path previously navigated by every other mainline denomination.
This document is offered to the greater Southern Baptist body as a limited catalog of concerns that have arisen over the course of several years. Though some of the concerns included in the document have been addressed in some fashion or another, responses have been found generally inadequate. Moreover, that our Convention has been a hospitable environment to the leftward drift detailed in this report, in any way and for any amount of time, is concerning in and of itself.
Many feel that we have remained quiet for too long. We have at times been apathetic and even complacent regarding these matters, but our consciences will allow that no longer. Where any of us have been lax in this regard, we must repent of failing to raise these concerns sooner. In our current cultural climate, each and every Southern Baptist must bear the responsibility of delivering a conservative, biblically healthy, and strong Baptist convention to our children and our children’s children. Although we do not take pleasure in this, we will lead the way in bearing this responsibility.
Will you join us?
The mantra of the Southern Baptist Convention has always been that we can do more together than we can separately. That does not only apply to missions; it also applies to standing for truth in a wayward and ever-darkening world.
Will you join us in lamenting the current state of the Southern Baptist Convention and join us in changing the direction from our current downward trajectory back to a positive, God-honoring, and biblically faithful path?
May our God make it so.
Respectfully submitted by members of the Conservative Baptist Network