Contend Earnestly: The Gospel Coalition

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Gospel Coalition

I found this on the Resurgence and thought it looked pretty cool. Take a look.

By: Mark Driscoll

Last year I had the privilege of attending a small theological colloquium led by Dr. D. A. Carson and Dr. Tim Keller in Chicago. Over the years, Dr. Keller has been kind enough to speak a great deal of wisdom into my life regarding the gospel and role of the church in culture. Although I have read a great deal by Dr. Carson, who is among the leading New Testament scholars in the world, I had never before had the privilege of meeting him. To be honest, I had never been to a theological colloquium before and found it to be the most fascinating theological discussion I've ever witnessed.

It centered on a new evangelical reformed confession of faith drafted up by Dr. Carson with a preamble composed by Dr. Keller regarding the role of the gospel and church in culture. The colloquium was arranged in order to help hone the statements into an agreeable final draft. The hope was to redefine a clear center for evangelicalism more akin to that previously articulated by men such as Francis Schaeffer, John Stott, and Billy Graham.

Joining in the small colloquium were men from a number of churches, such as Alistair Begg, Kent Hughes, Philip Ryken, Mark Dever, Ray Ortlund, and Ligon Duncan. Also represented by various leaders were organizations such as The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Desiring God, Together for the Gospel, 9Marks, Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, Sovereign Grace Ministries, along with Acts 29 and The Resurgence. Overall, there was a great deal of ethnic, geographic, denominational, organizational, and stylistic diversity, bound together by a solid reformed confessional agreement on theological essentials.

Out of this gathering of the tribes has come a new organization called The Gospel Coalition. It will be holding its first conference beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 23, and finishing on Thursday, May 24, on the campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. The shape of the conference is as follows:

Wednesday (May 23)

1:00 – 2:45 Open Corporate Worship
"What is the Gospel?" Primarily an exposition of the first part of 1 Corinthians 15
(Don Carson)
Panel Discussion
2:45 – 3:15 Break
3:15 – 5:00 Gospel-Centered Ministry
(Tim Keller)
Panel Discussion
7:00 – 9:00 Corporate Worship and Exposition: "Passing on the Torch"
(Crawford Loritts)

Thursday (May 24)

8:30 – 9:00 Devotions and Corporate Prayer
9:15 – 10:30 Workshops
The Doctrine of God Today
(Graham Cole)
Defining Evangelicalism
(Ray Ortlund, Reddit Andrews)
Union with Christ and Justification
(Phil Ryken)
The Use of the Bible in Pastoral Counseling
(Mike Bullmore)
Mentoring Younger Pastors
(Mark Driscoll, Michael Lawrence)
Mentoring Younger Lay Leaders
(Harry Reeder, John Yates)
The Church of the Living God: Crucial Issues in Gospel and Community
(Jeff Louie)
The Church of the Living God: Practical Challenges in Mobile Society
(Stephen Um)
Christ and Culture Revisited
(Sandy Willson)
Q & A on Preaching
(Crawford Loritts, Ligon Duncan)
Cultivating Biblical Meditation and Prayer
(Andy Davis)
Evangelizing People in a Post-Christian Society
(David Bisgrove)

10:45 – 12:00 Closing Exposition: "The Triumph of the Gospel in the New Heavens and the
New Earth"
(John Piper)

It is likely that this will be the only smaller conference of this magnitude because once the ministry is officially launched it will attract thousands and not hundreds. I would strongly encourage any young Christian leaders wanting to meet and learn from the men who are participating to sign up; space is limited to 515 and filling fast because the cost is only $80. If you would like to attend, you must book your registration at this secure registration page: The $80 registration fee covers conference costs, including snacks and the evening meal on Wednesday. Each person attending will have to register separately. As soon as the conference is over, all of the materials from both the plenaries and the workshops will be made available on The Gospel Coalition website, which we expect to be fully functional by the time of the conference. Our crew from The Resurgence will be on-site interviewing the speakers on various subjects and making the content available on this website in both podcast and vodcast form. As always, that content will be free thanks to the generosity of the elders of Mars Hill Church who fund this ministry.


Anonymous said...

Let me respectfully suggest John MacArthur's new book "The Truth War" as it speaks to this and a couple of other recent posts.

Seth McBee said...

I just got "The Truth War" in the mail...does MacArthur speak out against the Gospel Coalition? If he does he is calling out at least two guys that speak every year at his conferences (Ligon Duncan and John Piper) so that would surprise me. He also endorses a lot of what D.A. Carson does as well.

Anonymous said...

No, but he does speak against Mark,"the cussing Pastor"(page 139), which when googled reveals Driscol.

Seth McBee said...

I go back and forth with Mark Driscoll but as for now I land on liking his ministry for the Lord. Do have some hang ups? of them is his language. He doesn't outright cuss in his sermons (from what I have heard) but uses some phrases and coarse language (both of those in my opinion) that I wouldn't use, especially in the pulpit.

But, his ministry is turning people to a life that loves God and Jesus Christ.

there is a reason why conservative Christendom (Ligon, Dever, Piper, Carson) is starting to join hands with Pastor Driscoll. He speaks out against the Emergent movement and Mark is an expositor of the Word. He also engages culture in a way where he does not sell out the Gospel, which is rare to see.

Do I respect Mars Hill? Immensely. Do they do things that I wouldn't necessarily do? Yes, but so do Presbyterians and Charismatics.

David Shaw said...


When I heard about Mark and his speaking style I thought that I would hear for myself. I found a sermon title "A Good Soldier" and thought I would give a listen. I was floored. He said that young men are "banging their girlfriends like a screen door in a stiff wind." I understand the message the he is trying to get across but the way he said it is wrong. It is not justifiable. I view the language and/or phrases he uses as worldly and not fit for a preacher of God's word.

Mark may be reaching many unbelievers and leading them to Christ but I don't believe that the end justifies the means. Scripture is clear about not using coarse language. I know that there are denominations that have doctrines and practices that I don't agree with but one would be hard pressed to find any that agrees that using the language he uses glorifies God in any way.

If I attended a service of his with my wife and two young sons and he used the language he uses I would leave. I don't believe that I am the only one who would leave either. Is this something that he is striving to achieve? Have people leave his sermons because of his language?

I know in the blog world it is very tough to read the writers tone and I apologize if I came across to harshly.

Anonymous said...

Sadly it seems like apostasy, false teaching, and heresy is alive and well. I pray that you will see the error in this. This type of praching will only bring false conversions. I've enjoyed your site, but now I'm out.

Seth McBee said...

If preaching the depths of sin and the glory of the atonement on the cross is apostasy and brings false conversions, then I am falsly converted, and I preach a false Gospel.

But then, so did Christ, Paul and Peter

Anonymous said...

I don't recall Christ, Paul and Peter using the language you attributed to Driscoll. Preachers willing to bend scripture to make Christianity seem more appealing to the audience or politically correct are in effect denying Christ as the true Head of the church. That you continue to defend such says more than you apparently realize.

I believe you preach what you say you do. Why apologize for those that don't?
No, I haven't heard Driscoll personnaly, but from you've said and from what's in the public domain and on YouTube an informed opinion can be rendered. There's not a thing been presented that would make me want to know more about him.

Seth McBee said...

I am not condoning Driscoll's sometimes, and this is actually very rare in his sermons, not the norm as some purport, coarse language. But, (this is going to sound like I am condoning) have you ever read Ezekiel 16? Isaiah 64:6 or Phil 3:8? Song of Solomon?

Ezekiel 16:25
You built yourself a high place at the top of every street and made your beauty abominable, and you spread your legs to every passer-by to multiply your harlotry.

also read Ezekiel 23:20

Isaiah 64:6 when speaking of filthy garments literally is the menstrual rag of a woman.

Phil 3:8 when Paul says "count them but rubbish" gives the idea of animal dung and very close to, if not literally our English term for the "S.H." word...

I won't even go into Song of Solomon which is very rich in describing the woman...

Anyway...all this to say the Bible in parts uses very vulgar language and very vulgar images that I believe need to be preached with caution but, yes, the Scriptures are "vulgar" in places.

Where do you get that Driscoll is being "polically correct?"

Many would laugh at that...

If you have not heard him preach, or seen his ministry, I find it real hard to put any validity in what you say about a man. I would be very careful how you call someone a false teacher leading to false conversions if you have never even heard him preach or read about the conversion of the people in "his" ministry...he loves the Lord Jesus Christ and loves to preach on Christ's salvific message, and that is why, and he will not deny and I just heard him preach once again, the Lord is building Mars Hill: Because of God and not Mark Driscoll.

Seth McBee said...

bob...I linked to a preaching video on the Mark Driscoll post that I posted...take a look...

Anonymous said...

I was generalizing about false teachers we see today with the "pollitically correct" term. And yes I'm familiar with the scripture that you listed. Maybe I'm wrong but it seems to me that the use of foul language and speech in the church, except when it's in proper scriptural context, is just a salacious attempt to tililate the audience and therefore inappropriate.
I'll take a look at the video. Thanks.

David Shaw said...


Like you I have been through some things recently that have truly humbled me. God gave me my wife to help me stay humble.

When I posted earlier I didn't want to come across as though I don't have faults or that my pastor does not as well. I have been convicted lately about some of the television programs that I watch that use worse language than Driscoll. Because of that conviction I feel strongly about his approach. Like I said in my earlier post I have problems with his speech and wouldn't want my kids to hear it. In saying that in my research of him I can tell that he does have a heart for God and wants to disciple his church in the word of God. Looking at his sermons and what the messages are is impressive.

I think we agree that there is a better approach then his. I pray that he can grow and become the pastor that God has called him to be.

I will be praying through the night as you go about ministering. May God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Seth, thanks for the Driscoll video. It opened my eyes to better see what he's about. My opinions were unjustly formed by the publicity of his "bad boy" image, but I still think that the use of these tactics diminish his message rather than enhance it. I'm glad that you don't use them.
There is, though, a lot of differing information out on exactly what the Emerging Church movement is about. I'll have to research this more.
Keep up the good work.

Seth McBee said...


thanks for your honest look and taking the time to check it out...that is what we ALL should be about...

I do agree that sometimes Driscoll's tactics take away from some of his great thoughts on ecclesiology and Christology.

Hope we didn't scare you off...

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