STATEMENT: A Response to the SBC President’s Feb. 22 address

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Feb. 25, 2021

Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear’s needlessly divisive speech to the Executive Committee meeting, Feb. 22, makes painfully clear that the mission of the Conservative Baptist Network is more important now than ever.

We join President Greear in decrying division and Pharisaism. Indeed, those who insist that secular philosophies and fallen ideologies must be accepted as “useful analytical tools” have wrongly added to the Word of God, bringing needless division to a people that firmly believes in the sufficiency of Holy Scripture.

Further, we join President Greear in repudiating “closet racists and neo-confederates” who would make anyone feel unwelcome in Southern Baptist churches. And today, there is no more culturally-prevalent racism than that of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality, which require us to view all people through a racial lens, not as individuals made in the image of God and made one by the blood of the Lamb. 

Such teachings are not merely incompatible with the Baptist Faith and Message as our seminary presidents have unanimously said; they are inherently racist, divisive at every level, and antithetical to the gospel itself.  

Scripture teaches, and therefore we hold, that racism is evil and antithetical to the gospel. Anywhere racism, prejudice, or partiality occur, we should together call it what Scripture calls it: Sin.

And we do.

Conservative Baptist Network Steering Council member, Pastor Mike Stone, wrote and successfully shepherded through the Executive Committee a constitutional amendment explicitly naming ethnic discrimination as grounds for removing a church from our Convention of churches. We look forward to its second and final ratification at June’s annual meeting.

We call on President Greear and all others who share these concerns about racism and neo-confederacy to publicly provide specific examples of churches he or they believe promote racism and neo-confederate teachings. We demand that such churches be removed from our Southern Baptist family.

Vague generalities and nameless accusations are not sufficient in the face of such alleged evil. While we are not aware of instances of churches harboring such wickedness, we know the president of our Convention would not have made a broad and baseless claim—especially one that would paint the SBC in such a negative light before an on-looking world. These churches should be brought under public scrutiny so that light can pierce that darkness and hate can be harbored no more.

As we did in 2020, we again affirm the bold missionary plan of Dr. Ronnie Floyd—Vision 2025. It is, at its core, an acknowledgement that mankind’s problem is as old as the garden of Eden: Sin. The solution is older than sin itself: The Lamb of God slain before the world’s foundation.

The gospel is and must remain above all. This is precisely why the Conservative Baptist Network rejects Critical Race Theory in our prayerful pursuit of a just society. CRT is not only lower than the gospel; it is anti-gospel. The gospel message alone is able to bring dead men to life and reconcile sinners to God and to one another. The accommodation of unbiblical ideology will only bring further division, and render real reconciliation impossible.

It is also time for Southern Baptists to have honest conversations on several fronts. Our network has heard from thousands of Southern Baptist pastors and churches who are tired of condescending attitudes, diatribes, and calls for a supposed unity—calls which ironically have entreated churches that share the Network’s concerns to leave the Convention.

No, this is our Southern Baptist family too. We believe it’s a worthy call to partner together, to stand together, and to call our convention of churches to go forward and reach our world for Christ. But before we can go forward into the future, we—like every generation before us—must determine who we are, what we are about and whether we are willing to be courageous in the face of cultural accommodation and compromise. 

Doctrine does matter, because doctrine determines the outworking of Scripture in our churches and in our lives. Holding fast the faith makes us Biblicists—sinners saved by grace, desiring to live for Christ according to the inerrant, sufficient, and authoritative written Word of God.

On Monday night, President Greear told you what he thinks of millions of Southern Baptists. In June, we will have the opportunity, once again, to decide who we are and where we are headed as a Convention.