Question: "What is the Conservative Baptist Association? What is a Conservative Baptist Church?"
Answer: The Conservative Baptist Association is a fellowship of Baptist churches holding a doctrinally conservative set of beliefs. Baptist churches are by definition independent and autonomous. As such, Baptist does not technically denote a denomination. Baptist churches are not hierarchical; the final authority rests with the members of each local body. However, it would be difficult for a single local church to operate a Christian college or a missions organization, so there are a number of Baptist organizations that a local Baptist church may affiliate with in order to have greater impact through combined efforts. Any individual church is free to withdraw from any Baptist organization at any time. However, if the individual church has invested significant resources into one of the organizations (e.g. a college or missions organization), that church may choose to stay within the fellowship in order to exert influence within.
The Conservative Baptist Association grew out of the liberal-fundamentalist controversies in the first half of 20th century. At that time, many Baptist churches and pastors abandoned the fundamentals of the faith while others remained true. As a result, long-standing Baptist fellowships experienced internal struggles for control of the various organizations and institutions that the fellowship founded or supported.
In the early 1900s, the Northern Baptist Convention had become theologically liberal, prompting many churches to withdraw and form new fellowships that represented a commitment to biblical truth. The Conservative Baptist Association of America (also known as CBAmerica) was one of those groups. The churches that made up the Conservative Baptists had remained in the Northern Baptist Convention longer, even after many other churches had left to form other fundamentalist/conservative fellowships. In the 1960s, a group of churches, feeling that the Conservative Baptists were not conservative/fundamental enough, split from the fellowship to form the Fundamental Baptist Fellowship.
Currently, the Conservative Baptist Association describes itself as “a church-based network of missional ministries.”
Mission Statement: the Conservative Baptist Association champions Great Commission fulfillment through its missional networks.
Vision Statement: Gospel-centered congregations transforming every community.
• Congregational Health – A constant stream of people becoming reproducing disciples of Jesus Christ.
• Congregational Multiplication – Churches reproducing individuals, leaders and congregations.
• Leadership Development – Reproducing leaders who reproduce leaders.
The Conservative Baptist Association supports two mission agencies: World Venture (foreign missions) and Mission Doors (home missions). The international fellowship of Conservative Baptist Churches is known as CBGlobal. Most of the Conservative Baptist Association churches are concentrated in New England, the Middle Atlantic States, the Upper Midwest, and the West Coast.
The doctrinal statement of the Conservative Baptist Association is easily accessible on their website and is thoroughly evangelical.