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Stone addresses crowd at Conservative Baptist Network breakfast

The Conservative Baptist Network met Tuesday morning (June 13) in New Orleans. Photo by Elijah Hickman

NEW ORLEANS (BP) – A lineup of speakers at the Conservative Baptist Network breakfast encouraged attendees to labor on behalf of the Gospel in a culture steeped in opposition to biblical truth.

The event, held June 13 at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, was sponsored by The Standing for Freedom Center at Liberty University.

June’s association with Pride events brings questions on how to engage with the culture. Humility is the counter-offensive but can be misapplied, noted Ryan Helfenbein, Freedom Center director.

“Humility isn’t silence in the face of evil,” said “Humility is speaking the truth boldly in the service of One who is far greater.”

Georgia pastor Mike Stone addresses the Conservative Baptist Network breakfast. Photo by Elijah Hickman

Chuck Kelley, president emeritus of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, spoke of “a very specific purpose” for which he stepped down as NOBTS president in 2019.

“I knew that the Southern Baptist Convention was then in an unprecedented crisis in evangelism, spilling over into other things,” he said.

The questions over the direction and future of the SBC led him to write a book, “Best Intentions.” Copies of it were made available to every breakfast attendee.

“Continuing as we are right now is a road to insignificance,” said Kelley, adding that an insufficient emphasis on evangelism will inevitably lead to the day of an empty church.

Event emcee Brad Jurkovich, pastor of First Baptist Church in Bossier City, La., introduced evangelist Tim Lee prior to final remarks from Georgia pastor and SBC presidential candidate Mike Stone.

The church needs mighty men in a time of moral confusion, said Lee, a Marine vet who lost his legs while serving in Vietnam and whose father was a Southern Baptist pastor for 60 years.

“When I was in school … if a boy would’ve tried to sneak into the girls’ bathroom he woulda got blistered real good,” Lee said. “Someone has to fight. Someone has to stand up. Someone has to preach the truth. Somebody has to be a mighty warrior in this day.”

Stone, a member of CBN’s Steering Council, talked about his desire to bring about “real systematic change in the ministry that we call the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Stone, who was not raised Southern Baptist, recounted his desire to join by biblical conviction after high school. Southern Baptists have much for which to be thankful, such as a massive missions presence throughout the world, the theological impact of its six seminaries and a renowned Disaster Relief ministry.  

His love for those things and more about the SBC, he said, is why “we are committed to see our Convention committed to biblical fidelity and doctrinal precision.”

Criticism included a February financial report over the sustainability of financing sexual abuse reforms, the ARITF’s partnership with Guidepost Solutions as well as the timing of ending that partnership and Annual Church Profile reports that Stone said show decline “by every reasonable metric.”

Stone encouraged attendees to vote to disfellowship Saddleback Church and pass a motion to amend the SBC Constitution regarding women pastors.

“But,” he said, “that does not mean that there isn’t confusion and disagreement within the Credentials Committee and your Executive Committee about where this Convention needs to stand on a male-only pulpit.”