Editor’s Note: This article is reprinted with permission from The Baptist Bulletin.
by John Greening and Kevin Mungons
The Gospel Coalition conference, held on April 21-23 at a suburban Chicago conference center, was an enriching and enlightening time of learning and personal fellowship with conservative evangelical brothers and sisters who share many ideals with Baptist fundamentalists. Both of us attended with a desire to learn more about a growing movement within evangelicalism.
It was an uplifting conference. The sheer number—3,300 people, primarily male—was a moving sight. The participants seemed to evidence a deep commitment to the Word of God and the primacy of bold proclamation of the Scriptures.
We were accompanied by our pastor at First Baptist Church of Arlington Heights, Ill., Dr. Bryan Augsburger. All of us are now in our middle-age years, probably at least 15 years older than the median age of the attendees, who are in ministry or preparing for ministry. Perhaps we stuck out in the crowd a bit, and for reasons other than our graying hair: Our pants didn’t have seven pockets, we tucked in our shirts, and we didn’t send any text messages to the guys sitting next to us.
Of course, we’re teasing! The younger men who attended this event seemed to have a strong desire for sound Biblical exposition. This fact in itself was encouraging. This is the same longing we have heard repeatedly from the younger men who are part of our particular fellowship of churches.
Part of this conference’s attraction was the opportunity to hear and meet well-known pastors and authors such as John Piper, Don Carson, Phil Ryken, Tim Keller, and Ligon Duncan. It is easy to see why young leaders gravitate to this conference—they want to follow the examples of fine Biblical expositors who are among the most articulate and thoughtful preachers in conservative evangelical circles. The speakers largely demonstrated the expository form of preaching that they hope to encourage.
The conference was organized around the theme “Entrusted with the Gospel,” a series of expository sermons from 2 Timothy. The schedule was also notable: three days of back-to-back sermons, morning, afternoon, and evening. No activities, no golf outing, no organized receptions or parties. Read more about Learning from the Gospel Coalition, Part 1