Friday, April 18, 2008

Reflecting on T4G

This last week was a great encouragement and an enjoyable one for me. Together 4 the Gospel 08 was everything I had hoped... and more.

The Fellowship of fellow attenders and the challenge of the speakers has made me very excited to return home to my ministry. As I prepare to preach on Mark 16 this weekend, I am bringing forward with me the call to clarity and to place the passage in its theological context.

As I worked on translating the passage this week, I found a quiet nook in the Southern Baptist Seminary Library. There I sat successful working through the text when suddenly voices got animated and people crowded around me. Since I was pretty sure it was not to check out my parsing, I wondered what it could be.

Looking up, I beheld, the big guys had walked in, and about 5 feet from me Mark Dever, CJ and Ligon Duncan were trying to look at some books surrounded by a crowd of admirers!

Well, that ended the study session for me, as I of course joined the crowd of admirers :)

And now back to work deciding on how much to speak about the drinking of poison, handling snakes and textual criticism...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

T4G 2008!

This is a conference that brings together a Southern Baptist (Dever), a Presbyterian (Duncan) and an Independent (MacArthur) along with several other leaders, on the issue that matters.

While many issues of polity and practice are important, it is encouraging to see the Christian church unite on what really matters. Too often, we unite on being united and decide that everything has to go (including a clear understanding of the gospel) or divide on something that is at best secondary (views on polity) and leave off cooperating with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Today we face a similar situation in our Canadian context, that Lloyd-Jones faced with the Evangelical Alliance in GB half a century ago, or which Spurgeon faced with the Baptist Union churches in London in the 1800's, or the Puritan's in the 17th century, or the reformers in the 16th, or even the situation of the Nicene clergy, especially Athanasius in the 4th century. It is this, that unity is on everyone's lips. And unity should be.

Unity is our goal, but how do we achieve it? Unity comes through the gospel. The gospel is a propositional understanding of doctrine regarding Christ, a historical fact of the death and resurrection of Christ and an experiential union with Christ through the Holy Spirit.

I'm glad the T4G organizers and attenders are together on this issue and sad, that so many others are not.