May 3, 2006
Mark, you are so right who knows what will come from T4G, but we all long for God to be glorified and his people helped as a result. And you are certainly right that we all want to see the Lord’s work cross-fertilized.
Two things are for sure. 1. We long to see a renewal of the old evangelical alliances, around the Gospel, and a strong coalition of Bible-saturated, truth-driven, God-entranced, prayer-soaked, aggressively evangelistic, Christ-treasuring, Christ-exalting, Spirit-filled, sovereign grace-loving, missions-advancing, hell-robbing, strong-thinking, real-need-exposing, soul-winning, mind-engaging, vagueness-rejecting, wartime-life-style-pursuing, self-denying, self-giving, risk-taking, justice-advancing, Scripture-expounding, cross-cherishing, homosexuality-opposing, abortion-denouncing, racism-resisting, heaven-desiring, imputation-of-an-alien righteousness-proclaiming, justification-by-faith-alone-apart-from-doing preaching, error-exposing, complementarian, joyful, humble, loving, courageous, happy pastors working together for the Gospel. (Thanks to John Piper for so many of these words and thoughts).
2. And we want to see them leading strong evangelical churches who, while they hold as faithfully and biblically as they know how to certain doctrinal distinctives not shared by all other biblical evangelical churches, band together for the Gospel on a basis that is robustly doctrinal, historic, orthodox, reformational, world-opposing-while-at-the-same-time-world-loving, Bible-preaching, Scriptural-theology-inculcating, real-conversion-prizing, deep biblical evangelism-practicing, New Testament church-membership-implementing, church-discipline-applying, healthy and growing Disciple-making, biblical church leadership teaching-obeying for the display of God’s glory in the churches.
May the Lord raise up such a ministerial fraternity not on the basis of doctrinal minimalism but rather on the basis of shared conviction of the truth and Gospel forbearance in the areas where we differ; not to the detriment of our convictions regarding our distinctives in faith and practice in the local churches and families of churches we serve, but to their enhancement. And may the Lord raise up churches that are truly a witness to grace in this passing age, a display of the glory and power of God’s saving grace, outposts of heaven, suburbs of eternity. For the church is God’s strategy, and there is no plan B.