Category Archives: T4G
The every-other-year family reunion called “Together for the Gospel” has come and gone for 2014. Somewhere near 8,000 persons gathered for a week of preaching and teaching on the theme of evangelism. There couldn’t be a timelier theme or a more encouraging group with which to consider it.
As with all edifying events of any length of time, there’s much to give God thanks for and to reflect on. And there’s many way to distill one’s thoughts into a summary of sorts. In fact, there’s probably too much to comment on for any one debrief post. So, I’m going to narrow my thoughts to a series of superlatives. Mark Dever doesn’t like superlatives, but I think they’re the best! So, here goes….
1. Best sermon for my heart
Without question, Lig’ Duncan’s exposition of Numbers 4, “The Gospel by Numbers,” was the best sermon for this often weary, sometimes heavy, frequently wandering heart! As I listened, I felt a new appreciation for the Savior’s words, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.” Christ was majestically lifted up and extolled as glorious! From Lig’s meditation on sin as defilement to his biblical theological run to Christ as the One who cleanses, my heart mourned over sin and rejoiced in my Lord! Thank you, Lig!
2. Most convicting sermon
That superlative goes to David Platt’s passionate exhortation to prayer, “Relenting Wrath: The Role of Desperate Prayer in the Mystery of Divine Providence” (Exodus 32). I wept listening to …
Together for the Gospel’14 is coming up in just a couple of weeks (April 8-10th). Registration remains open until March 31st. If you’re still thinking about attending, let me encourage you to do so. I’m certain you will be glad you did because of the encouraging fellowship, the teaching on evangelism (I know I need encouragement in this area!), and the precious time of retreat we all need from time to time.
And if that’s not enough, there’s a Christian pastor’s equivalent of the county fair’s dunking booth: Stump the Panel. This year our brother Mike McKinley is leading a panel made up entirely of questions from you, the ball buying, ball throwing public. It should be fun… in that heart-sinking, shame-inducing way it’s “fun” when you see the ball hit the lever, hear the bell ring, and plunge into ice cold water only to mount and do it all again! I don’t know why I agree to these things. Here’s Mike talking about it:
Here’s How to Submit Your Question:
Option #1 (Preferred): Record Your Question (Via Smartphone Video)
Record a video of yourself asking a question.
Say your name, your church’s name, where it’s located, and then ask your question.
Only one question should be asked in each video. You may submit multiple videos.
Videos should not exceed 30 seconds.
Please hold the smartphone horizontally during recording and be in a well lit area.
Email your video to: firstname.lastname@example.org with “Stump the Panel” in …
A couple days ago, David Murray posted a second reflection on T4G where he asked, “Where were all the African Americans?” Murray expressed some timidity raising the question for fear of saying something offensive or incorrect. We’ve all had enough hand-slapping when it comes to reaching into the “race” and ethnicity cookie jar. I appreciate the courage to press into the issue. As far as I’m concerned (and who am I to offer an opinion?), it’s okay to ask the question, even though something feels “off” with the question.
For anyone interested, here are my quick responses:
1. Murray guesses that African Americans made up about 1-2 percent of the crowd. That might be correct. But here’s the question for me: What percentage of the Reformed Christian world do African Americans comprise? I’d think we’re not much more than 1-2 percent–tops! The Reformed world is small and the African-American Reformed even smaller. Perhaps this is what seems “off” about the post to me. On a percentage basis, I wouldn’t be all that concerned even though I’d love all my kinsmen according to the flesh to adopt this robust, God-exalting, and biblical theological world and life view.
2. Murray mentions that the Man Up! conference was happening at the same time and might have attracted some who otherwise would have attended. That might be true. I know a couple guys who opted for Man Up! over T4G. And I think they made the correct decision. Here’s why. Man Up! represents an important movement …
More as to why…
I try to answer that and other questions in this T4G tour of my office.
C.J. Mahaney explains why he asked that Matt Chandler fill his speaking slot at Together for the Gospel:
When I was a young pastor, a wise older pastor communicated to me an unforgettable sentence: “C.J., prepare your church for suffering.” I’ve never forgotten that sentence. It’s a sentence that informed my 27 privileged years in pastoral ministry. It is a sentence that reminded me over the years to prepare the church I love and serve for suffering. It is a sentence I have shared many times with several pastors over the years. And it is why I approached Mark, Al, and Lig with the idea of having Matt Chandler take my session.
Hearing from Matt will equip us as pastors to respond to suffering in a way that glorifies God. And it will help us return to our churches more intentional about preparing those we love for suffering. From my observation Matt has done this well, both personally and pastorally. I want to learn from his example and I think you will as well.
You can read the whole post here as he goes on to explain how they’ll structure that session.
R.C. is clearly the much-beloved “grandfather” of contemporary Reformed theology.
I wanna be like R.C. when I grow up.
I hope you are. It’s going to be a feast on and in the word of God! If you’re thinking of coming, remember that the “early bird registration” lasts until Saturday. A snippet to whet the spiritual thirst:
What a tremendous privilege it was to participate in 2008’s Together for the Gospel conference, and to attend in 2006. Both of these events have had sizable impacts on my life and ministry, and I’m very much looking forward to attending next year as well. I hope you’ll be there and bring a team from your church.
In advance of T4G 2010, you may now get a copy of the book, Proclaiming a Cross-Centered Theology, which features the talks from the conference along with a very helpful addendum from Greg Gilbert called “What Is the Gospel?”
Loving, teaching, and rightly dividing the Word of God is every pastor’s privilege and responsibility. If a pastor understands what the Word says about God, man, and the curse, about Christ and his substitutionary atonement, and about the call to repentance and sacrifice, he will develop and preach a sound theology. And sound theology is, in the words of J. Ligon Duncan, essential to faithful pastoral ministry.
Proclaiming a theology that is centered on Christ’s atonement is especially critical, for by this atonement, Christians have been brought from death to life, and by it a church lives or dies. In this penetrating sequel to Preaching the Cross, John Piper, R. C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and Thabiti Anyabwile join authors Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney, and Albert Mohler in exploring the church’s need for faithful proclamation and calling pastors and churches to cross-centered, scripturally saturated thinking
This slipped by me. But visiting the T4G blog again is a treat because they’re posting short interviews with some great guys:
My favorite question is #8, “Which of the main T4G speakers could you take to the mat, so to speak?”
Kevin, you’re too kind. Tony, don’t make me lose some weight!