The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) just made on their largest spiritual acquisition in history with Greg Laurie , the main leader of the Calvary Chapel Movement announcing he would affiliate with the SBC. Laurie is the key figure in organizing the annual Harvest America crusade, where a large number of people gather to be baptized.
The Harvest Christian Fellowship founder announced his decision to affiliate his Riverside, California-based church just a day after his address at Harvest America in Glendale, Arizona. His church will also continue its union with the Calvary Chapel Association. The affiliation with the SBC is a decision that Laurie says he took because at this point of time American churches need to have greater unity with each other. He added this merger would help expand the horizons for preaching the gospel and bringing more people to Christ. He also said, “this decision does not change our theology, philosophy of ministry or our history,” indicating no change in the Church’s core teachings and way of functioning.
Laurie believes a national revival will be possible only when his church joins hands with the SBC. The 2017 Harvest was conducted in collaboration with the SBC, and Laurie said that the same will be done next year at Dallas. “This is why we’ve chosen to extend a hand of fellowship to the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination of churches. We’ve chosen to partner in total, unrelenting pursuit of our nation’s next great awakening,” Laurie said about his dream of creating a national revival together with the SBC.
The megachurch pastor believes his own goals match the SBC’s focus on evangelism. He added as someone who has been called to preach the gospel, he will try his best to work hard with members of every denomination. He says this is the time for Christians of every denomination to come together with a spirit of evangelism.
Getting affiliated with the SBC does not mean he will lose any autonomy over his church. It only means his church will now have greater reach than before. Pastors affiliated with the SBC are allowed to retain their autonomy and run their churches however they want. However, the offer to merge from the pastor of such a huge church with an organization that is reporting a decline in numbers and baptisms is still very surprising.