That is the word that most aptly defines my review of the Gospel Coalition. Woah. I have been waiting for the Coalition ever since I got here to Moody. I knew that I would be a student here during one of their conferences so I kept a close eye on their website for the dates and times of their national conference. As soon as they allowed people to register for the conference, I was on it. I picked my breakout sessions, checked out the venue, saw their theme was preaching Christ in the Old Testament, and scouted the main speakers to ensure it was a wise use of my 100 dollars. And then I waited with eager anticipation for everything I was going to learn.
I waited until this last Tuesday. On Tuesday, April 12, 2011, the Gospel Coalition began at McCormick Place promptly at 1330 hours. A couple buddies and I went really early to get seats. We waltzed in the doors at 800 for registration, to find seats, and to plunder the books (okay so it wasn’t plundering because they were free). We then, like hawks, went from table to table searching for free books.
As we are broke college students, we knew that some publishers and organizations would be giving away free good books. And that is what we did. We got most of our books the first day. But the final book count is 20 free books and 4 free Bibles. Oh how God is good. I got titles like Kevin DeYoung’s Dont Call It a Comeback, John Piper’s Think, a book on Spurgeon, Trevin Waxx’s Counterfeit Gospels, Bock’s Recovering the Real Lost Gospel, and many others. I could not believe how many free books we got. Praise God for the printing press and generous people!
So the conference was kicked off by D.A. Carson. He prayed a brilliant prayer and brought the band up who led us in musical worship. From there, the conference really got interesting.
R. Dr. Albert Mohler preached the first message on Studying the Scriptures and Finding Jesus coming out of John 5:31-47. This was an awesome message that set up the rest of the conference. Dr. Mohler walked through John 5 and showed how Jesus said that the Old Testament testified about Him. He additionally said that there is a way to read the Old Testament which completely leaves Christ out, this would be wrong. We can read the OT and miss the point of Jesus. This does not mean that we eisegete Jesus into every OT text but it does mean that we place the OT text into the greater metanarrative of the whole of Scripture. Additionally he said that too many Christians view the O.T. as non-essential, not important, or they think that the God of the OT is different than the NT. I highly recommend listening to his message as he handled Christian’s fear of the OT. You can get it here (to download it for a mac, right click it and chose “save link as”).
Next, Tim Keller preached an amazing message from Exodus 14 titled Getting Out. (This is one of my favorite sermons preached at TGC this week.) “If there is one passage in the OT which we can preach Christocentrically it is Exodus 14.” The Exodus in the OT has as much gravity and weight in the minds for the Jews as the resurrection in the NT for Christians. Keller taught how God’s deliverance of the Hebrew nation teaches us about salvation. It teaches us what we get out of, how we get out, and why we get out. What do we get out of? Bondage. How do we get out? Crossing over by grace. Why is it possible for us to get out? Because they had a mediator. What affected my most was when Keller pointed out the Gospel in this passage, verse 14 that periphrastically states, “Shut up, stand still, and let God do your fighting!” Looking at God will make you holy, we are not holy, or could ever become holy, on our own. Let God do your fighting. Here is a link to his message.
After Keller, and a dinner break, Alistair Begg took the stage. Preaching from Ruth titled From a Foreigner to King Jesus, and his Scottish accent, Pastor Begg gave us 3 sketches of how we could preach from Ruth. He said that he did not want to do the work for us but like an art teacher, would help us get started. The first sketch was titled “Three Women on the Road to Somewhere.” Main point: Ruth, hated by the Jews because of her nationality, entered through the narrow gate and went to Bethlehem to follow Naomi’s God. It is remarkable that because of this, she is graciously included in the lineage which leads to the Messiah. The second sketch was titled “The Name of the Man is Boaz.” Main point: God is our greater kinsman redeemer who ‘just so happens’ to have favor (one of the keywords in Ruth 2) on us undeserved estranged sinners. Finally, the last sketch was titled “Look at that Little Bundle.” Main point: Over and over against we’re told that Ruth is a Moabitess underscoring the point that she was once outside of the covenant of God, as we were, but God reached down and brought her in, as He does with us. You can find Pastor Begg’s sermon here.
Tuesday ended with a panel discussion on Preaching Christ in the Old Testament. The men who sat on this panel were jokingly called, “the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.” They were D.A. Carson, John Piper, Crawford Loritts, Tim Keller, Ligon Duncan, and with Bryan Chapell as moderator. They covered the topics of how to preach verses like “thou shalt not steal”, what is the difference between moralizing and preaching morals, does every story really lead to Jesus, and many more topics. It was a wonderful panel to listen to and you can find it here.
Keep posted for my next post on Wednesday’s lineup and brief summaries on their messages.
If you went, what was your favorite part of The Gospel Coalition 2011?