By Will Hall, Message Executive Editor
BOSSIER CITY, La. (LBM)—Brad Jurkovich, pastor of the First Baptist Church in Bossier City, announced on Valentine’s Day the launching of the Conservative Baptist Network, a grassroots movement of Southern Baptists “concerned about the current direction and perceived future of the Convention.”
In just three days, more than 3,200 churches and individuals had signed onto the initiative to restore conservative Southern Baptist views of Scripture, Jurkovich told the Baptist Message.
Jurkovich is joined in leadership of the movement by a number of pastors and laymen, but two of the most prominent supporters are: Rod Martin, described as a “tech guru” by Fox Business News and noted especially for his work as a member of the startup team that developed and launched PayPal, and who serves as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee; and, Chuck Kelley, a longtime Southern Baptist leader who recently retired after serving 24 years as president of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.
BATTLING RADICAL IDEAS
During a radio broadcast about the announcement Jurkovich told Todd Starnes, a conservative Southern Baptist, formerly with Fox News, but who now has launched his own media network from the campus of Liberty University, that the issues of concern are “the apparent emphases on social justice, Critical Race Theory, Intersectionality, and the redefining of biblical gender roles” that is evident on SBC seminary campuses and creeping into SBC policies.
Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality are radical concepts from leftist academics and they perpetuate the ideas that the majority of Whites are racists and that institutions such as our legal system promote White supremacy.
Both Critical Race Theory and intersectionality were lauded as useful analytical tools in the controversial Resolution 9 passed by messengers at the 2019 SBC Annual Meeting.
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
In apparent criticism of the formation of the Conservative Baptist Network, Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and an announced candidate for SBC president, tweeted out that “The real network of Southern Baptists is called the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s going to meet June 9-10 in Orlando. I look forward to joining you there.”
However, Mohler is a supporter of his own networks within Southern Baptist Life, including The Gospel Coalition, a denomination-like network that describes itself as exclusively Calvinist; Baptist 21, a Calvinist-only network of then-mostly seminarians that started on the SBTS campus; and, Together for the Gospel, a biennial conference credited with helping to sustain the modern Calvinist movement in the United States.
Mohler also employs Curtis Woods, the chair of the Resolutions Committee that crafted the highly criticized Resolution 9, as a faculty member.
J.D. Greear, pastor of The Summit, in Durham, North Carolina, and two-term SBC president, also took issue with the formation of this new group.
In a Feb. 18 tweet, he took to social media with this statement: “Don’t launch a network that says it’s about the recovery of conservative theology or the mission when it’s really not … I’ve seen where this kind of separation leads, and it’s not where most Southern Baptists want to go.”
However, Greear is known for promoting his preferred networks like The Gospel Coalition, and Acts 29, a church planting network that is exclusively Calvinistic.
Jurkovich said that besides the new-Marxist nature of Critical Race Theory and intersectionality, there also is the troubling implication that the Bible somehow is not sufficient to address the human condition, whether about racial discrimination or misogyny.
He told the Baptist Message that the Bible “speaks to every issue.”
“When you believe and preach the Bible you won’t have to apologize for what you said and you’re going to be able to address these issues.”