Gospel Coalition

Learning from the Gospel Coalition, Part 2


by John Greening and Kevin Mungons

Read Part 1.

Reprinted with permission from The Baptist Bulletin.

John PiperEvaluations

We believe the Gospel Coalition movement bears watching. Because the movement itself is still developing and taking shape, our thoughts here should not be taken as a full analysis of this new movement. But having attended the conference and having enjoyed many aspects of it on a personal level, we would like to offer a few tentative observations.

We share an emphasis on quality expository preaching. To be honest, while we felt the overall quality of preaching here was superb, it was not vastly different than what we are accustomed to from preachers in our association. Granted, the Gospel Coalition speakers were “heavy hitters” who have traveled and written extensively. We are grateful for their ministry. However, our pastors are just as committed to consistently and faithfully opening the Bible to feed the flock (though many of them will never become famous). We are grateful that the speakers here have humbly expressed complete confidence in the power and authority of the Word of God—but we also believe this is a virtue our pastors have consistently displayed. We returned home from the conference with a new appreciation for our own preachers. We should encourage such preaching wherever it occurs.

We do not share an exclusively Reformed identity. At times we felt more like spectators than participants in the conference—there are a few obvious points of theological difference. Many of the leaders of the Gospel Coalition are Reformed pastors and theologians. While respecting Reformed teaching, we do not fully identify ourselves under that umbrella. We make this distinction for what we consider to be valid theological and hermeneutical reasons. The GARBC has sometimes been described as “moderately Calvinistic” in its soteriology, but we do not embrace covenant theology and its hermeneutics. Some of our pastors and leaders feel more strongly than others about the resurgence of Reformed thought among our young leaders. As we continue these discussions, we need to carefully articulate the affinity—and differences—we have with Reformed theology. Read more about Learning from the Gospel Coalition, Part 2

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Learning from the Gospel Coalition, Part 1


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

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