Friday, April 15, 2016

Together for the Gospel, biennial conference for pastors . . . "We are Protestant: The Reformation at 500" (2016 theme)

What a joy to attend my third (2012, 2014, 2016) Together for the Gospel pastors conference, April 12-14, 2016, at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. This also was my second time serving as a volunteer, being one among the 320 volunteers.

The combination of sound biblical instruction, sweet fellowship with attending friends from Canada, and 10,000-plus "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in [our] heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:19) makes the every-two-year conference truly special.

All plenary sessions, panel discussions and breakout sessions are available for viewing at the T4G website.

As a former nominal Roman Catholic who is deeply appreciative of the Protestant Reformation and its European leaders like Martin Luther (1483-1546) and others, I was doubly blessed by this year's theme of the Protestant Reformation. From now and throughout 2017, tributes and commemorations will be taking place within many Protestant denominations in honor of Martin Luther's bold protest against the theological teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Luther's nailing of his "95 Theses" on the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517, is widely considered the action that sparked the Protestant Reformation. The Latin-worded "Five Solas" best summarize the theological emphases of the reformers in regard to a sinner's salvation before a holy and righteous God:

Sola fide (by faith alone)
Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone)
Solus Christus (by Christ alone)
Sola gratia (by grace alone)
Soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone)

Begun in 2006 by evangelical leaders Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, C. J. Mahaney and Albert Mohler---and with frequent guest speakers such as Kevin DeYoung, John MacArthur, John Piper and R. C. Sproul--the conference grows in attendance each time. 

For the 2016 T4G conference, over 10,000 attended from 43 countries, including 459 from Canada. About 19,500 "unique users" from 130 countries watched the livestream of the conference. Over 20 Protestant denominations were represented, with 41% from the Southern Baptist Convention (just 4 miles away from the downtown Louisville arena are the SBC's Boyce College and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary which total over 5,000 students). 48% attended for the first time, with 56% being under age 40. Over 200,000 free books were distributed, with each attendee receiving over 20 free books (thus, the registration fee just about equals or is less than the retail value of the books received).

The next T4G conference is scheduled for April 11-13, 2018, in Louisville. Registration will begin in late 2017. (The 2016 conference sold out, so be sure to register early.) If interest, time and finances allow,  T4G is a truly special and highly recommended conference to attend.

T4G at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. April 12-14, 2016.
Over 10,000 attendees from 43 countries and 20 Protestant denominations.
Friends at the T4G "Canadians Together for the Gospel" breakout session.
April 13, 2016. Watch the video of the session here.
Over 20 free books for all T4G 2016 attendees.
Read and be blessed!