My Belated Thoughts on the Desiring God Conference
I know, I know. Everyone has already done this; it is two weeks old (really old news in the blogosphere), and I probably won’t say anything someone else has already said. But . . . I would still like to chip in my $.02 if that is okay.
2006 Desiring God Conference
I have been thinking about what this conference in the long run will accomplish. People have already adequately addressed the great messages given, the humility of the speakers, especially from John Piper himself, and the controversy over Mark Driscoll. What was monumental in this conference was its desire to address straightforward on of the biggest issues of today with some of the greatest voices in the evangelical world, both from academia and church fronts. But the enormity of this conference lies, in my mind, in a couple of areas. First, this conference was a real convergence of scholars and pastors from various backgrounds, philosophy of ministry, and geographical contexts. However, what they did have in common is an unyielding commitment to the supremacy of Christ in our postmodern world and want to lead the Church in the epistemological shift from the modern to the postmodern ethos – which leads to my second thought. In the conservative evangelical world, there were men who valiantly lead the Church from both scholarly and pastorally perspectives. There were men like Carl F.H. Henry, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, J. Gresham Machen, James Montgomery Boice, among others. We are now in a postmodern era, and a new crop of leadership is needed to contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, but to do it in a relevant and contextual fashion. The Christian community, and now its leaders, have recognized men like Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, and Voddie Bauchum as men who have taken up the postmodern challenge – which leads to my third thought.
As our elder leaders of the conservative, evangelical movement fade away into history, there is a real sense of recognizing, conferring, and blessing the generation to come, along with its leaders. When men like Piper welcome on the same platform men like Driscoll, this should say something of confidence and commendation that one should take note. C.J. Mahaney is an evangelical leader who has recognized this transmission of orthodox teaching and the gospel by training up and handing over the mantle of his ministry to Joshua Harris. As men like MacArthur, Piper, Mahaney, Mohler, Sproul, Dever, and Duncan see their day in the setting sun, they will soon look to the uprising of another generation who will lead the Church under the same pattern of pastoral fidelity and theological integrity required to respond to the day in which we live. Furthermore, scholars like D.A. Carson and David Wells are raising up first-rate scholars to serve the Church and forge ahead in pursuit and defense of biblical truth.
So I ask? Who will lead this next generation of conservative, evangelical Christians? Who, in this next generation will resemble men like Charles Spurgeon, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Francis Schaeffer, Carl F.H. Henry, J.I. Packer, John MacArthur, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, D.A. Carson, David Wells, John Frame, Al Mohler, and Mark Dever? My guess is that you find many of them being welcomed to the same platform as their predecessors and conferred with the blessing and responsibility to love the Church and care for the gospel in a developing cultural context and diverse world of philosophies, theologies, and worldviews. So when I see men like Joshua Harris, Voddie Bauchum, and Mark Driscoll, I am encouraged by what I see. Over the course of time, we will see the men God raises up for such a time, who are God-appointed leaders that the Church recognizes as servants with grave responsibilities but endowed with great gifts to meet those responsibilities. My prayer is that God will continue to bring biblical scholarship and pastoral ministry together so we can see the Church become the first responder to cultural and theological issues and advance the
At the T4G Conference, I met for the first time Marc Heinrich, Joe Thorn, and Tim Challies. Marc graciously allowed me to infest his basement along with Joe, and the fellowship, conversation, and encouragement I received was truly enjoyable. Joe and I met up early Friday and took the back roads into
Along with meeting old friends, I was also excited about meeting some folks for the first time who I either know through the blogosphere or mutual friends. Of those, I was privileged to enjoyed lunch with Nick Kennicott who is ministering in GA and shares many similar passions as I do. All in all, I must say that it felt like family at the conference. These were my kind of people – lovers of God, lovers of people, and lovers of the gospel and wanting to bring all three together and make them central in their lives.