Thursday, April 01, 2010

Together For The Gospel

Lord willing, I'll be flying to Kentucky in less than two weeks to attend the Together For the Gospel conference. I went two years ago and--besides the fact that God turned my life upside down through this conference--I absolutely loved it.

But, in my opinion, I think John Piper's decision to invite Rick Warren to the Desiring God National Conference this Fall (which he shares about below) is a better demonstration of what it truly means to be together for the gospel than the conference that is called by that name because here we can see where the rubber really meets the road. It's one thing to go to a conference called Together For the Gospel where the truth of the matter is that the majority of those in attendance think and minister much like you do (which I'm really looking forward to and which Piper will also be speaking at!). And something completely different to live that out in real life with brothers and sisters in Christ who think and minister much differently than you do.

So may the conference in Kentucky two weeks from now bear the kind of fruit in the lives of all who attend that can be seen in John Piper through his desire to partner with and learn from a good brother like Rick Warren for the glory of Jesus Christ. Please pray for us.


travellinghaj said...

T4G looks amazing!! I went to Louisville in 2004 for a "New Attitude" conference with CJ Mahaney, I think it was through Sovereign Grace Ministries... it totally changed my life. God works so powerfully through gatherings like this. I will be praying!!

pilgriminconflict said...

I've heard great things about "New Attitude"! Yes, it's an SG ministry. T4G is hosted by SG as well. That's cool that you got to go. Thanks Elise.

Chris Kiagiri said...

I've been hoping that Tim Challies would chime in on the Rick Warren matter. He chronicled his visit to Saddleback last year, and afterwards gave a fairly balanced assessment of the time he spent with Rick. He is also familiar with Piper's public ministry, and the one book that Challies has authored so far is "The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment." I was therefore glad to read his latest blog post, which is the most thoughtful response I have read so far:

pilgriminconflict said...


That post by Challies is VERY helpful. Thanks for posting. I read it and have mulled on it since yesterday. I think he's right on in (almost) everything he says. But I'm still not sure I'm sold on the conclusion: that in light of those things Piper should not have invited Warren. It's one thing for Piper to say that he agrees with everything Warren teaches and practices (which he doesn't) and another thing for Piper to invite Warren to speak on a very specific topic that Piper knows he is deficient in.

I think we make alot bigger statement over such separation in the evangelical world than we sometimes realize. Do we realize exactly what we are saying when we separate from brothers and sisters in Christ? Are we saying that they are not brothers and sisters in Christ? If not, it seems to me that we are getting close and I'm not really willing to go there.

There's alot that we who are more "conservative" (for lack of a better word) in our theology and practice are both strong in and weak in. And there's alot that those who are more "liberal" in their theology and practice are both strong in and weak in. God, in His infinite wisdom, has ordained for it to be this way (including all of our disagreements) to humble us and show us that we NEED each other (1 Cor. 13).

My prayer is that through this conference Piper and the more "conservative" in our theology will learn from Warren (and co.) and Warren and the more "liberal" in their theology will learn from Piper (and co.) so that we will all be more fruitful for the glory of Christ.

Lord willing, I look forward to talking more about this with you at T4G next week. Based on our time in Kenya this past winter, you and I both know how important our mindset in this area will be for the ministry in Nairobi.

Really glad to be together for the gospel with you,

Chris Kiagiri said...

Brother, you and I are on the same page on this one. I too, am still mulling over this one and it definitely gives a lot of meat to the "closed fist, open fist" philosophy that we will undoubtedly continue to work out in the days ahead.

A couple more contributions to look at ahead of our time at T4G next week: (from last year's "bad boy") (the second of two posts by this brother in Michigan, recommended to me by Dan Huffstutler who organized the conference here in Kenya 2 weeks ago)