Welcome to Carnivorous Caribou

Monday, May 01, 2006

T4G: Full of Heroes, but No Idols

You are going to hear a lot regarding the Together For The Gospel Conference for quite some time. I do not plan to give just a run down of the schedule and events, as much as some thoughts and experiences that have impacted me.

This conference hosted:

Al Mohler
Mark Dever
CJ Mahaney
J Ligon Duncan
RC Sproul
John Piper
John MacArthur

These men are all giants when it comes to rightly handling the Word of God and boldly proclaiming it. Several of them have radio programs. Nearly all of them are accomplished authors. Individually, each would probably make a conference worth attending. Yet, here were these seven men, each giving a presentation to our gathering.

In baseball terminology, each of them hit a "home run." Seriously, the "worst message" of the entire conference is still one worthy of listening to several times over. Each of them presented messages that left the room of pastors challenged, encouraged and marveling at the awesome nature of our God. Yet, one thing I appreciated was something that never showed up at the conference:

the standing ovation

I'm not a big fan of the standing ovation. a) I think we pass it out far too often (Seriously, there should be at most 10 events in your life that should be worthy of such applause), and therefore render it pointless. b) Especially at Christian gatherings, the audience is left to feel embarrassed when someone calls for gratitude to be given to God and we have already offered such a high form of praise to men.

Even when MacArthur gave a presentation of the 40 years of ministry in his life (If you find MacArthur "too bold" or "a mean preacher," you need to download his message to hear his heart and his personal side), when it was obvious the audience was thanking him not only for his presentation, but to his faithful service to the Word, no one stood and applauded. It was wonderful.

Each of these men presented God's Word in a way that did not call attention to themselves. Each of them kept the glorious message of God redeeming man through faith in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus as the central point. At the conclusion, I did not find myself thinking, "Wow, what a great message/speaker/sermon," but instead, "Isn't God's Word amazing!"

It's great to be in such a place with such heroes of the faith. It's even more wonderful that they would remind us that they are far from anything to be idolized.

5 Comments:

  • At 9:06 AM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
  • At 10:35 AM, Anonymous mcgriff said…

    Man that was a great conference wasn't. What I found most encouraging was that in a day when the mainstream churches are going down a path of church marketing, as well as the emergent church movement, it was great to see how many young pastors there were that are grabbing hold of God's truth and the understanding of a reformed theology

     
  • At 12:12 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    I couldn't agree more with your comment, gary. (wow, how often have i typed that?)

    i think it gives me a chance to clear things up. i would say each of these men are a hero to me. let me explain why:

    1) they handle the Word of God with reverence and joy.
    2) they preach a gospel that allows for no glory for man.
    3) they LOVE the church
    4) they have public lives that they have handled above reproach and not defamed God with a lack of character.

    but they are not heroes because:

    1) they have large churches
    2) they've written books
    3) they speak before large crowds
    4) they've been on national tv
    5) they're entertaining and creative

    yes, each did a great job speaking. each handled the Word very well. each was engaging. however, i didn't leave their sessions thinking, "oh, i need to use that illustration" or "wow, i like the way that guy used gestures or his animation" and i didn't even think "wow, i need to try to speak more like that guy."

    the sessions concluded with me thinking "God is glorious." i was rebuked that i don't adequately preach of the glory of God in every sermon. i was humbled that God called me to preach the message, despite my inadequacies. i was challenged to continue ahead.

    i think they are heroes to me, because none of them spoke in a way to bring the attention to themselves.

     
  • At 7:48 AM, Blogger danny2 said…

    i warned him that if he deleted his comments again (which drives me nuts)...that i would copy and paste it

    therefore...Gary Underwood writes:

    Dude, sounds like a great conference. I pondered five statements from your post. The first four seem to agree in thought, that these are wonderful men who gave wonderful (and humble) talks....

    Statement 1: "These men are all giants when it comes to rightly handling the Word of God and boldly proclaiming it."

    Statement 2:"It's great to be in such a place with such heroes of the faith"

    Statement 3:" Individually, each would probably make a conference worth attending."

    Statement 4: "In baseball terminology, each of them hit a "home run." Seriously, the "worst message" of the entire conference is still one worthy of listening to several times over."

    -- But statement 5 here seems to disagree with the other four statements.

    Statement 5: "At the conclusion, I did not find myself thinking, "Wow, what a great message/speaker/sermon"

    ---My point is this - The first four statements indicate that you indeed were thinking that these are great messages, great speakers, great sermons - "Heroes" as it were.

    I don't see anything wrong with having heroes, or acknowledging a great sermon.

    Hebrews 13:7. It's okay to admire them.

    And you thought I was going to post Hebrews 13:9.

    Ha ha ha..

    --

     
  • At 12:33 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    just for the records, when i said these men were not my heroes because:

    1) they have large churches
    2) they've written books
    3) they speak before large crowds
    4) they've been on national tv
    5) they're entertaining and creative

    i was not condemning people that do any of those things. for even the most casual observation should reveal that those things apply to these men as well...

    but that is not WHY i loved the conference, or appreciate them.

     

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home