If you have attended any of the Together for the Gospel conferences, you likely know about the “band of bloggers”. But for those who are unfamiliar with them, we thought it might be helpful to share a little information obtained from the arena in which they (and we) operate – the World Wide Web.
The Band of Bloggers have their own website, and it is there that they explain how they got their start in 2006. Here’s how they describe their vision and beginning:
“The Band of Bloggers was started with a vision and collaborative effort to unite bloggers who have a passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ. It carries with it a desire that the gospel be normative in our lives, central in our writing, and powerful in our witness to the world.
The first Band of Bloggers (2006) fellowship developed when several bloggers who were attending the 2006 Together for the Gospel Conference discussed the possibility of holding a meeting to encourage one another to live and write with a gospel-centered emphasis. Within a matter of weeks, the idea had blossomed to an event with a panel of speakers–Justin Taylor, Tim Challies, Dr. Albert Mohler, and Dr. Russell Moore–and a gathering of more than 70 bloggers hosted by The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. The meeting served to compliment the thrust of the conference, viz. to come together for the sake of the gospel in this generation.”
There can be no question that the Band of Bloggers (shortened to BoB on their website) has been influential. Remember, acronyms are important to this crowd… T4G, TGC, ESV, DG, SBC, SGM, ETC – sorry, etc.) They even have a BoB directory of Gospel-centered bloggers which you should check out (http://bandofbloggers.org/bob-directory/).
Networking is incredible among this Reformed group. Some of the bloggers listed in the directory that we have heard of are: Tullian Tchividjian, Abraham Piper, Phil Johnson, Adrian Warnock, Justin Taylor, Tim Challies, Owen Strachan, Tom Ascol, Tony Reinke (co-blogger with C.J. Mahaney), Timmy Brister, Mike Seaver, and Thabiti Anywabwile to name a few.
So far BoB has held four fellowships connected to the following conferences, T4G 2006, T4G 2008, The Gospel Coalition (TGC) Conference 2009, and T4G 2010. Since T4G and TGC hold conferences every other year, BOB will be extremely busy covering these events.
Here’s how the BoB fellowship was promoted to those attending T4G 2010. They advertised on their website that they would be hosting a luncheon (costing only $25), which would be held during the T4G Conference. Check out the exciting announcement:
“This year’s Band of Bloggers giveaway is the biggest yet. 12 books at over $225 in value with nearly 2,000 pages of reading. I want to thank all the generous publishers who have donated these giveaways–Crossway, Broadman & Holman, LifeWay, Multnomah, Moody, Reformation Trust, Kregel, Reformation Heritage Books, Banner of Truth, and Founders Press. It is our desire that Band of Bloggers would foster a great relationship between gospel-centered bloggers and the publishing companies who are seeking to network together for the purpose of providing and promoting solid evangelical literature to the wider public.”
And this marketing scheme works!
The BoB fellowships feature a panel of speakers who address various topics during the luncheon. Blogger Tim Brister introduced the four speakers, who were Justin Taylor, Jared Wilson, Trevin Wax, and Jonathan McIntosh.
Who are these blogger-speakers?
Let’s start with Justin Taylor, whose blog Between Two Worlds is now featured on The Gospel Coalition web site(http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/).
Notice how Justin describes himself on his blog:
“I work at Crossway in Wheaton, IL, where I’ve been since 2006. Prior to that I worked at Desiring God in Minneapolis, MN. “
Let’s see… The latest and greatest Bible that is being heavily promoted by the Calvinistas is the English Standard Version. Remember the booth in the T4G Bookstore video featuring the ESV Bible? And who publishes it? It's none other than Crossway. Didn’t all T4G attendees receive a free ESV Study Bible?
It’s noteworthy to point out what Justin Taylor includes under the “Advertising and Affiliations” heading of his blog. Justin explains:
“Between Two Worlds is sponsored by several organizations via paid advertising. If you are interested in advertising on Between Two Worlds, feel free to send us an email. We can also create an ad for you.” (http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/about/)
Here, Justin also explains that he is the Managing Editor of the ESV Study Bible; however, he makes it clear that he is not an employee of The Gospel Coalition.
Keep on promoting those ESV Bibles, Justin! Now that all the pastors attending T4G have been told that the ESV is the best translation bar none, think of the increase in revenue for Crossway when these pastors promote it to their congregations… What a great marketing plan!
Now let’s take a look at Trevin Wax (http://trevinwax.com/)
Interestingly, Trevin’s book Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals was one of the book giveaways by BOB. To view the entire list of free books (twelve in all), go to this link: http://bandofbloggers.org/2010-band-of-bloggers-giveaways/
Next up … Jared Wilson (http://gospeldrivenchurch.blogspot.com/)
Jared has been especially busy writing because he has TWO books that were given away to BoB luncheon participants, namely: Your Jesus Is Too Safe: Outgrowing a Drive-Thru, Feel-Good Savior and Abide Practicing Kingdom Rhythms in a Consumer Culture (DVD + Book).
And last but not least is Jonathan McIntosh (http://www.rethinkmission.org/) who is currently planting a church in midtown Memphis.
The 2010 BoB focus this year was “Internet Idolatry and Gospel Fidelity”. Here’s a video by Tim Brister which introduces the topic:
Tim begins by warning the audience to keep themselves from idols. He reminded them that Calvin said our hearts are idol factories.
For those of you who wanted to be at the luncheon but couldn’t because it was sold out, here’s Justin Taylor’s talk:
Justin explains to the audience that he has to mention a Crossway book or his expenses won’t be reimbursed by his employer (Crossway). Then he promotes Dave Harvey’s upcoming book. FYI – Dave Harvey is responsible for church care, church planting, and international expansion for Sovereign Grace Ministries.
Incredibly, today’s post on Justin Taylor’s blog (remember, it's on the Gospel Coalition website) features C.J. Mahaney’s presentation at T4G 2010.
In case you’d like to hear the other BoB speakers, you can find the links on YouTube when you click on Justin Taylor’s talk.
So what’s really going on here? Could it be that those involved with T4G and BoB have discovered a great way to “sell God” while reaping their own financial reward? That certainly appears to be the bottom line – pun intended…