The Wanderer

As I walked through the wilderness of this world …

Counterpoints on conferences and coalitions

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Over the last few days, the two articles below drew ever closer in my feed reader, until they nicely juxtaposed themselves alongside one another, providing a little fruitful tension in the contrast. I thought it might be worth offering.

First, there is Carl Trueman, calling us back to the priority of pastoral ministry, quoting a note from a friend:

I worshipped this Sunday with my in-laws at their home church which is pastored by a man featured at this year’s [conference name supplied] with 6000 of my closest friends.  My father-in-law has been dying for five years (renal failure) and is very likely within months of his death.  I can’t get a pastor or elder from this congregation to come and visit him once, let alone make it a weekly priority to help him die well – in the full confidence of the Lord Jesus.  But there’s time, mind you, for (yet another) conference.

Then there is Jason Bohm (at the TGC website), acknowledging some of the temptations that Trueman identifies, but speaking movingly of meeting a distant friend for the last time on earth, reminding him of his priorities:

And it is for this gospel that we must not ignore the temptations that lurk at conferences like TGC and Together for the Gospel. Temptations to glorify ourselves rather than Christ. Temptations to idolize for the listeners. Temptations to pride for the speakers. In both cases the disease is the same: We are stealing something that belongs only to God. But in both cases the cure is the very reason conferences like TGC and T4G exist: the gospel. The cure is realizing, by God’s grace, that all the glory of all my heroes is filthy rags compared to the glory of Christ. This is the same antidote for the temptation to pride that lurks for those who preach, whether it is to 5,000 or 50. We all, both speaker and listener, must boast only in the Lord (1 Cor. 1:31). And we all need to remember that the only perfect Gospel Coalition takes place in heaven.

I hope that this will keep us thinking.

Written by Jeremy Walker

Thursday 28 April 2011 at 14:51

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