The Gospel Coalition — Day One

Effervescence is a fine sounding word that describes the process of bubbles moving through a liquid solution. At the end of the first day of the conference here in Chicago, I’m weary in body, but my spirit is effervescent! There has been ample spiritual stimulation — from the Word of God, from times of corporate worship, from reconnecting with old friends, and from discovering new friends.

This morning Ron and I walked through all the exhibits (seminaries and ministries) on display here — even one highlighting African Christian University (a seminary planned in Zambia, the vision of Conrad Mbewe and others). I hope you take a minute to check it out…

Then it was off to walk through the book store — the size of a small Walmart — with discounts offered of up to 50% on some mighty fine titles. I ran into friends working the tables at: the Matthias Media (Marty), Reformation Heritage Books (Mike & Joel), Banner of Truth books (Steve). I might mention some of the good books I bought later on, after the conference.

After an opening word of welcome by Dr Don Carson, we were led in worship by Keith & Kristyn Getty and their wonderful band. The room rang out with songs of praise to our Lord Jesus Christ, as an estimated 6,000 or more souls sang together in the huge convention hall.

SESSION ONE: Dr Al Mohler on “Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus” from John 5:31-47. The words of Jesus here plainly point out that HE is confirmed as our Lord, the Messiah, by multiple witnesses, particularly that of Moses (Jn. 5:46-47). Mohler said ‘the OT is not just background information to the NT, but it is the presentation of Christ Himself.’ It was helpful as he dealt with some of the “problems” some folks raise to avoid making use of the OT. Mainly the problem is neglect of the OT. The audio is now online here.

SESSION TWO: Tim Keller on “Getting Out” from Exodus 14. The story of the Red Sea crossing also presents the story of a Christian’s conversion: (1st) getting out of bondage/redemption, (2nd) getting out by way of ‘crossing over’ by the grace of God, and, (3rd) getting out because of the work of a mediator. One of those delivered on that day long ago as well as a Christian from today, could use this same language to describe God’s gracious saving work in their lives. There were several references to the writings of Alec Motyer (long a favorite author of mine), and an excellent use of a Lloyd-Jones question [more on this in the future]. Audio for this address is online here.

*Over dinner I met with 150 guys as a “Band of Bloggers.” More on that in the morning…

SESSION THREE: Allistair Begg on the story of Ruth. In his very winsome style he presented 3 ‘character sketches’ from the story of Ruth to demonstrate how preaching from this Old Testament book could (should) lead to presenting Christ and His gospel. *If there was one audio from todayyou have time to hear, check this one out! [*listen to the audio here]

SESSION FOUR: Panel discussion with John Piper, D.A. Carson, Tim Keller, and Crawford Loritts (led by Bryan Chappell) on preaching Christ from the OT. Some recap of points made earlier in the day, as well as some fresh insights… [listen to the audio here]

*A great moment for me at the end of the day:
On the walk back to the hotel, I just happened(!) past the hospitality room as John Piper was standing near the door. I popped in and waited for his conversation to end in order to say hello. Then C. J. Mahaney appeared to whisk John away! So I actually held up my hand and said “You can have him after one more brief hello!” Then my dear former pastor (from seminary days), looked my way, recognized me and gave me a great big embrace. What a thrill to be so warmly remembered after so many years. Laurel and I have many precious memories of our days at Bethlehem baptist Church. I am so glad that John has not only influenced me and my ministry, but hundreds of other young pastors around the world. May the Lord grant John Piper many more years of service in the kingdom!

All of the sessions today contributed greatly to the cause of raising the importance of preaching Christ in the OT — in ALL the Scriptures. And, like the men hearing Jesus teach on the road to Emmaus, may our hearts warm within us.

Soli Deo Gloria

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