In the introductory section of Paul’s letter to the Romans, he makes this crystallizing statement that sets the framework for his entire letter:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith…” (Romans 1:16,17)
With these words, God Himself, through Paul, establishes the centrality and priority of the gospel: it alone is the power of God for salvation. The implication of this truth is that when anyone comes to genuine saving faith in Jesus Christ, it is only because God in His mercy has enabled them to hear, understand, believe, and receive the gospel.
The word “gospel” literally means “good news.” This good news of God’s salvation through faith in Jesus Christ is revealed in Scripture. Sadly however, Satan is constantly working to distort, diminish, and decentralize the power, hope, and riches of the gospel. This is tragically evidenced in many churches where the clear, precise, bold, authoritative, and gracious proclamation of the gospel no longer holds central place in the life of the church. As one saint from the past has said, “the main thing about the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Well, THE main thing is the gospel, and the church in every age must labor diligently to keep the main thing the main thing!!
To that end, one of the marvelous works God is doing in our day to help us keep the main thing the main thing surrounds a conference known as “Together for the Gospel” (“T4G” for short). This is a bi-annual conference that was first held in April of 2006 in Louisville, Kentucky, and then again this past April 15-17. The purpose and heartbeat of the conference grew out of the deep friendship of four men who share a common passion for the gospel: Dr. Albert Mohler, Dr. Mark Dever, Dr. J. Ligon Duncan, and C.J. Mahaney. Their vision has been to champion the centrality of the gospel, and to encourage friendships among believers, pastors in particular, who share a common passion for the gospel (even though there may be differences in secondary areas of doctrine and understanding). Each of these men spoke at the conference, along with messages from Dr. John Piper, Dr. John MacArthur, Dr. R.C. Sproul, and Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile.
I had the privilege of attending this year’s conference with my son Zach. Additionally from our church, Chuck Meadows, and with his son Ryan and son-in-law Dan attended. We joined about 5500 other people, mostly pastors, who attended the conference. Suffice it to say that the conference was profoundly refreshing and impacting. But rather than trying to describe it all for you, I would encourage you to go to the T4G website at www.t4g.org. There you can learn more about the men who spoke at the conference, see pictures, read the T4G statement of affirmations and denials concerning the gospel, and also listen to and/or download the messages. I was encouraged, convicted, and helped by all of the messages.
CJ’s message in particular was deeply significant for me. If you want to know the kinds of things God is dealing with me about in my own soul, just listen to this excellent message!
So I encourage you to check out the T4G website, and be encouraged and strengthened in the power and riches of the lorious, life-giving, transforming gospel of Jesus Christ!
Together with you,