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Together for the Gospel - Ray Hilemen

Four Church of the Brethren pastors attended this year’s Together for the Gospel (or T4G) Conference in Louisville, KY, April 10-12. Altogether, over 7,000 pastors and church leaders were in attendance. The theme was “The Underestimated Gospel.” Over two and a half days, participants heard nine speakers and six panel discussions on various topics, as well as attending one out of a variety of breakout sessions.
T4G is the brainchild of four friends who have different views on some issues but who are agreed about the essentials of the Christian faith and about what the gospel is. Albert Mohler and Mark Dever, Southern Baptists, Ligon Duncan, pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America, and C.J. Mahaney, leader of Sovereign Grace Ministries, a Charismatic Reformed association of churches, began T4G in 2006. The conference meets every other year, so this was the fourth gathering, which has grown in attendance each time. The first year, the group was small enough to meet in a hotel ballroom. This year, main sessions had to be held in the arena where the Louisville Cardinals play their NCAA Basketball games. Meals for those who purchased a meal plan, bookstores, and exhibits were found at the Convention Center two blocks away.
The speakers kept reminding us not to underestimate the gospel, using Romans 1:16 as a key verse: “For I am not shamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” In addition to Dever, Mohler, Duncan, and Mahaney, this year’s speakers included John Piper, Thabiti Anyabwile, Matt Chandler, David Platt, and Kevin DeYoung. They and others participated in the various panels. Musical worship was led simply from a grand piano by Bob Kauflin, former keyboard player for the group Glad. The music consisted almost entirely of hymns, old and new, which lifted up the gospel and Christ’s saving work.
In addition to a massive bookstore from Lifeway Publishers, perhaps the most comprehensive store for pastors ever seen, there was also the “Zero Dollar” bookstore, where each participant collected, throughout the three days, a total of 19 free books, plus free CD’s and DVD’s from some of the exhibit booths.
The next T4G will be held April 8-10, 2014, in Louisville, and I would highly recommend it as a conference to attend. Meanwhile, you can go to www.togetherforthegospel.org and download or listen to any sermon, panel discussion, or workshop from any of the four T4G conferences for free. Some sermons and panels are also available in video. Take advantage of this great opportunity.
Ray Hileman, Miami First Church of the Brethren, Miami, FL