On Saturday I was privileged to attend the first Canadian Gospel Coalition Conference here in Hamilton. It was an excellent conference, very edifying. I didn’t hear a lot of new content, but I did hear a lot of new, fresh ways of expressing old truths. It also consolidated a lot of my convictions regarding the centrality of the gospel in ministry. We heard wonderful expositions by Don Carson of 2 Timothy 3:1-4:8 and John 3:1-21 and Mike Bullmore on 1 Thess. 2:1-12. Mike Bullmore also spoke on “The Functional Centrality of the Gospel.” Good stuff! Said he, “So many (if not all) problems in pastoral ministry come from a failure to connect our life issues with the gospel.” That has certainly my observation as well.
The highlight for me was definitely listening to Don Carson, a man whose books and articles have been so instructive for me. The man spoke with passion. There was also a panel session including John Mahaffey, Joe Boot, and Dwayne Cline (along with Carson and Bullmore).
One comment during the panel session by Joe Boot struck me as rather interesting. He noted that his (mine) is an antinomian generation, a lawless generation. This is true. He went on to note that many Christians are really part humanists and part Christian. What is the solution to this antinomianism, this worldliness? Preach more law? That would be the intuitive response, but it would be wrong. We need to preach the gospel so that people can be reoriented to the law in terms of love and gratitude to God. The gospel is the answer to antinomianism.
This was a great day spent focusing on the riches of the good news of Jesus Christ. I was glad that there was a good Canadian Reformed contingent present, including many seminary students and professors. Mention was made of the fact that the Gospel Coalition exists to also pass on a passion and enthusiasm for the gospel to the next generation of preachers. If we assume the gospel or take it for granted, it only takes a generation to lose it. May God preserve the faithful proclamation of the gospel in our churches.