By Jessica Pigg
July 30, 2021
ALBEMARLE, NC—More than 700 Southern Baptists—representing more than 40 local churches—gathered at Prospect Baptist Church in Albemarle, N.C., July 25, for a one-night revival and launch of the North Carolina State Chapter of the Conservative Baptist Network.
Stoney Benfield, senior pastor of Prospect Baptist Church and Conservative Baptist Network steering council member, began preparing the hearts of his people long before the “Revive Us Again” event. Delivering a message on Isaiah 57:15 during the church’s Sunday morning worship service prior to the evening revival meeting, Benfield had led the people of Prospect Baptist Church in cultivating much anticipation for the regional revival service.
“We believe that God wants to meet with us tonight,” Benfield shared Sunday morning. “The Lord dwells on earth with those of a ‘contrite and humble spirit’ to revive us—we need to express our need and desire for God to meet with us and revive us.”
Attendees were not disappointed. The evening, featuring a message from Florida pastor Timothy Pigg and music by the widely-loved gospel quartet Greater Vision, encourages pastors and laymen, alike, and set the tone for future Conservative Baptist Network revivals.
In an effort to begin a movement of revival in local churches, in communities, and in the Southern Baptist Convention—the Conservative Baptist Network has launched a series of “Revive Us Again” events across the country. Utilizing an organized, grassroots effort within the State Chapters, the revival gatherings will be one-night events hosted by local churches dedicated to praise, prayer, and preaching.
Scott Colter, executive director of the Conservative Baptist Network, shared with those in attendance that the Network came about when a grassroots group of pastors and laypeople were disheartened by what they were seeing in local churches, seminaries, and the Convention.
“We started realizing that we have the same concerns about our nation, Convention, and about our denomination all across the country, and we began to meet and realized that if we didn’t do something, we were headed in the wrong direction,” Colter said. “Over the last several years, Southern Baptists baptized fewer people and led fewer people to Christ than we had since 1947. What we’re doing is simply not working,” he shared. “If we don’t do something as an SBC to turn around that tide, there just functionally won’t be an SBC in several years.”
In an effort to reverse the tide, Colter shared that the Conservative Baptist Network wants to focus on the Bible, the Great Commission, cultural engagement, engaging in the processes of the Southern Baptist Convention, and about championing the local church.
“We want to be about the Bible. We want to be about the Bible being inerrant and sufficient,” Colter said. “We don’t need analytical tools, worldly philosophies, and systems of thought that are based in secular and cultural Marxism. We simply need the Word of God.”
Colter challenged those in attendance to not withdraw from the conversation, but to be informed and engaged with a lost and dying world.
“We will not fix this country in Washington D.C.; we will fix the United States of America in Prospect Baptist Church,” Colter said. “You cannot legislate morality. You can only change the hearts of men and women in a saving relationship [with] Jesus Christ. For this reason, you and I are called to engage in culture.
“Don’t withdraw. We have been called to be ‘salt and light’ and to engage the world with biblical principles. The Conservative Baptist Network is calling you to engage.”
Following Colter’s passionate plea for people to engage was Rep. Mark Walker, (R-NC), United States congressman and co-chair of the Congressional Prayer Caucus.
Quoting Ephesians 6, Walker described how Christians wrestle with something much darker than what appears to be on the surface.
“We are in a spiritual battle,” Walker said. “This is not political; this is spiritual warfare. Unless we have that approach to take it on in that manner—biblically—then we’re not going to resolve very much.”
Referencing John Jay, the first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, Walker stated that it is the duty and privilege of believers to select and vote for Christian leaders willing to stand upon Judeo-Christian principles in the nation’s capital.
“We have become unraveled today and have turned our back on God, and that’s why it’s important to send people to office who are willing to walk with the Lord in the halls of the U.S. Congress,” he said. “No great battle was ever won in Washington D.C.; it was won by God’s people coming together to make a change in this country.”
Walker encouraged local church pastors to stand up and remain faithful to the task at hand—preaching the Word and remaining engaged and informed.
“God is calling us to be faithful right now,” Walker said. “Wherever we are, whatever we do, we need to be bold. It’s very important that all of us stay engaged and all of us stay informed.”
Walker, who has previously served as a local church pastor, said that he has met so many people serving in local churches today who are not willing to take a stand and champion the Bible. In his closing remarks, he shared how grateful he is that the Conservative Baptist Network is taking a stand and encouraging those in the church to engage in the fight for the Bible.
“Boldness needs to start in the pulpit,” Walker said. “Too many times there are progressive pastors telling me that this is not their battle. If we agree that the issues we are facing today are evil, then who in the world do we expect to be fighting the fight?
“That’s why I’m thankful for the Conservative Baptist Network. We’re going to do what we can to support them.”
Continuing the all-important theme of heralding and championing Scripture, Timothy Pigg, pastor of Fellowship Church and national steering council member and state chapter coordinator for the Conservative Baptist Network, delivered the night’s message.
Originally delivered by Dr. Jerry Vines at the 1987 Annual Meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Pigg expounded upon Vines’ verbiage and dealt with the sufficiency of Scripture in a message he titled “A Baptist and His Bible – Revisited.”
Utilizing Psalm 19:7-11, he walked through the rooms of sufficiency (v.7-8), reasons for sufficiency (v.9), and the rewards of sufficiency (v.10-11). Quoting Vines, Pigg proposed a question to the audience—“What is the difference between a theological liberal who says he doesn’t believe the Bible and doesn’t live it and the average church member and pastor who says he does believe the Bible and doesn’t preach it and live it? The practical result is the same.”
“We might not be fighting a battle today over liberalism,” Pigg said. “But we most certainly are fighting a battle against pragmatism.”
Whether that time period in Baptist history is referred to as the “fundamentalist takeover,” the “Conservative Resurgence,” or the “battle for the Bible,” Pigg argued that Southern Baptists have been in a battle since 1979.
“We are at a crossroads. No longer are we fighting for the inerrancy of Scripture, but we find ourselves now asking, ‘Are we going to follow the sufficiency of Scripture?’” Pigg said. “It is not enough to simply say that you believe the Bible is inerrant and authoritative. You must also stand and say that the Bible is God’s Word, and it is the guide for your life.”
In closing, Pigg encouraged those in attendance to rely fully and wholly on the Word of God.
“The Bible is not just a book for the academy, but for your kitchen table…The Bible is a sufficient guide for all of life,” Pigg said. “You cannot know the Lord apart from His Word. A church can do no good unless they preach the Word of God.”
Benfield spent the final moments of the evening casting a vision and introducing the regional coordinators that have volunteered to lead the state chapter of North Carolina. Following the same blueprint as the North Carolina State Convention, Benfield has gathered 10 men to represent each region throughout the state to better represent and serve all North Carolina Baptists well.
“Our mission for the state chapter of North Carolina is that we get into as many churches in the state as possible and have one-night revival meetings,” Benfield said. “The goal is simple: We will love on people in the church, preach the Bible, trust God for revival, and rally the troops of the living God.”
With the goal of hosting at least ten one-night revivals across the state this year, Benfield and the regional coordinators encouraged churches to sign up to host similar “Revive Us Again” gatherings on weeknight evenings that would not interfere with already established church services.
“All you have to do is open your doors and invite your people,” Benfield said. We believe that revival is the message.
“We know that revival from God is the only answer for what we’re facing. We will never be conservative until God does the work in our personal hearts.”
Aaron Otten, associate pastor of education and administration at Prospect Baptist Church, encouraged those in the audience to register to be part of the Conservative Baptist Network in hopes of increasing local engagement.
“We are grateful for the men who are willing to stand up and take the lead,” Otten said. “But the strength of the Conservative Baptist Network is the spirit-filled believer in the local church, and what we have seen is membership equals engagement.”
Immediately following the “Revive Us Again” event, the church hosted a dinner and question and answer time for pastors, their wives, and church leaders interested in learning more about the Network. As Benfield, Colter, and Pigg fielded questions from more than 70 men and women, one theme rang out consistently—engagement.
“We need local, grassroots churches across this country to rise up and become engaged in the processes of moving the needle in our denomination and within our Convention,” Colter said. “That is the grassroots involvement in the SBC, and that’s what the CBN is. It’s the Bible, evangelism, engaging culture, and grassroots involvement.”
“The only hope for our churches, communities, cities, Convention—and really the only hope for the entire world—is for local congregations, who believe that not only is the Bible authoritative and inerrant but also sufficient for all matters of life and godliness, to experience true heaven-sent revival,” Pigg said.
For more information about how to join the North Carolina State Chapter, visit ConservativeBaptistNetwork.com/north-carolina. If you are interested in launching a State Chapter or hosting a one-night “Revive Us Again” gathering, contact Timothy Pigg at [email protected].