At our Theology Pub in January, Dr. Craig Carter presented a paper called “Why the Young, Restless and Reformed will Save Evangelicalism in the Next Few Decades.” I was sure that the paper would generate a lot of controversy at the pub – even I thought the title overstated things – but when he was done I sensed general agreement. God is up to something, and he seems to be using this movement in the wider church, even if you don’t share all the convictions of this group.
(A side note: I believe Dr. Carter is going to post his paper at some point. Can’t wait.)
It’s still hard for me to believe that this movement exists. I have Reformed friends who felt isolated for the longest time. Ten years ago, I wouldn’t have predicted that there would be a renewal of interest in Reformed theology coupled with a desire to be on mission.
One of the movement-shaping forces has been The Gospel Coalition. In just a few weeks, thousands of people will gather at the 2011 Gospel Coalition Conference. This is still a small slice of evangelicalism as a whole, but it’s significant. Here’s why I’m grateful for The Gospel Coalition and what they’re doing:
- The Foundational Documents – The Gospel for All of Life, Confessional Statement, and Vision for Ministry are just excellent. They articulate a theology and philosophy of gospel-centered ministry. I’ve turned to them many times since they first came out.
- The Resources – The Gospel Coalition website has become an invaluable resource. The blogs are thoughtful. Themelios is always worth reading. I love reading the book reviews, and I’m benefiting from their new section Preaching Christ from the Old Testament. They keep adding new, quality material. Apart from their website, I’m looking forward to reading their new set of booklets.
- The Models – Ten years ago I wouldn’t have been able to name many models of effective ministry from a Reformed perspective. Now I can name many. I’m learning lots from those who are both thoughtful and reflective, and who are ministering well in their contexts.
- The Network – I wasn’t going to attend this year’s conference. You can listen to the talks online. I’m now planning on attending. I’ve developed many acquaintances and friends who will be there. They’ve enriched me. TGC has helped develop networks of pastors who share similar convictions and who encourage and sharpen one another.
My sense is that this movement has significantly shaped a number of pastors and churches in North America and beyond the world. Its influence is being felt even beyond those who hold to Reformed theology.
Tomorrow I’ll post on some potential dangers for this movement, and some of my prayers for it.