We have some questions for those headed to Louisville for T4G. Just how accurate is the conference name “Together for the Gospel”? Why would we even ask such a question? Here’s why…
What percentage of the speakers and attendees are “reformed”? Would it be accurate to say one hundred percent?
Would someone who is a committed Christian but less than a five-pointer feel comfortable at T4G?
How many women attend T4G? After all, at least half the population is made up of women .How many women are there in our churches? Do they have any input beyond flower arrangements?
How many other than Reformed Baptists attend T4G? What is the breakdown between denominations represented at the conference (Southern Baptist, PCA, SGM, etc.)?
Oh and why is the conference always held in Louisville? Interestingly, someone commented that T4G is a reunion of sorts. That puts a whole different spin on Together for the Gospel. Could it be that a good number of T4G attendees are SBTS alumni who are getting together with their seminary buddies to renew friendships every other year?
From all outward appearances, Together for the Gospel is a select group of pastor-types with an extremely narrow theology, which we call “Neo-Calvinism”, which is NOT the same theology as traditional Calvinism.
Quite frankly, we find the slogan Together for the Gospel to be an arrogant concept. It implies that those who don’t abide by the Calvinista theology are somehow not interpreting or perhaps not contending for the Gospel correctly.
Is this just another forum for larger than the Gospel personalities? Is there ever an attempt to invite obscure people who are contending for the Gospel to speak? In fact, are the only ones speaking just the same old, same old? And if so, why?
Perhaps Jeff, a recent commenter on our blog can shed some light here. Jeff, who says he is a pastor, plans to attend T4G. At first he contended commendably for Dever, Piper and others who speak at T4G. However, when the comments on TWW did not support his way of thinking, he wrote the following,
“Some anonymous, obscure, bitter-sounding bloggers have said that Mahaney and Sovereign Grace pastors are mean.”
First of all, whoever is writing the playbook for insulting one's Christian brethren, should, at least, demonstrate a working knowledge of the English language by coming up with some synonyms for the word, “bitter.” It's getting boring and definitely elicits a large “yawn” from us. Perhaps you could use my personal favorite – "mordant" – which sounds rather Tolkienesque. TWW would be delighted to write the new “insult” book for pastors.
As for anonymous, well, it's quite easy to find out our identity if you know Internet basics. Plus, Jeff is probably a nickname; so is Dee.
However, Jeff's description “obscure” says it all. TWW believe there is a fair amount of arrogance in the Calvinista world. We have C.J. Mahaney parading around his humility by name-dropping all of his best friends. You know the drill – Mohler, Dever, Grudem, Piper, Keller, and on and on. Mahaney declares himself the “worst sinner in the world”, vying for some sort of bizarre adulation for the depths of his humbleness and how closely he resemble a real apostle, Paul.
Is this how a pastor like Jeff views those who do not bear the name of his idols – "obscure"? Our guess is this is how Jeff views the members of his congregation. Here is how I responded to him.
“This morning in church, I spent some time contemplating your “obscure” comment. Obviously, it is meant to be derogatory. Yet the Lord that you serve often sought out the “obscure.” You know, the little guy-tax collector, prostitute, fishermen, the nobodies. Jesus chose to come out of Bethlehem, a no place. In fact, Jesus, for most of His life, was another obscure nobody, wasn’t He? Perhaps you feel that notoriety is the key to proven worth????
I embrace my obscurity and readily admit that I am a “nobody” in this world. But, praise God, I am somebody to Jesus and He died for me so obviously He cares about the little guy. I think, in heaven, you may see far more “nobodies” than “somebodies.” You might even be surprised to find out that some of these obscure nobodies are honored above the latest “it” guys.
I know some of these obscure nobodies. One is a guy in prison who has come to a startling faith in the Lord and serves Him faithfully. Another is a man and his wife who live amongst the poor in their community and give their lives and possessions to them. What about the obscure women who work in pregnacy support centers saving the lives of the unborn? How about the obscure missionaries who labor for years among people who do not seem to care about the Gospel? Think about the obscure members of the great clouds of witnesses who, in every age, stood for the Gospel and paid dearly for it.
But don’t worry. They won’t spoil the T4G conference for you. Your speakers are “somebodies” with plenty of dough, lots of “cool” friends”(Calvinistas only, of course) and many adoring fans to buy their books…
So, for all the Jeffs out there in T4G land, think about it. Think about the obscure little three year old girl molested by a fifteen year old boy who was a member of her family's Sovereign Grace Church. The perp purportedly went right back to working with children at church. Think about the overwhelming number of claims by obscure people of spiritual abuse in SGM when you hear Mahaney cackle and tell all sorts of stories having to do with sports. And maybe, instead of getting Mahaney and Mohler to autograph your shiny new ESV (is that one of the FREE books?), you might actually seek out an obscure lost person and give the Bible to him, autographs and all.