A Troubling Perspective on The Gospel Coalition (but what a lot of people have been saying)

Dane Ortland is very positive on the recent Gospel Coalition conference, especially his dad:

Really appreciated Matt Boswell’s leadership of the singing. That was one of my favorite things about the event. Don Carson on John 11 was rich indeed. Tim Keller on the new birth: typically insightful. Paul Tripp on suffering: deep wisdom. The best thing I heard all week was my dad’s talk ‘Pastor, Your Church Can Become Healthy Again.’ I wish everyone at the conference could have heard it. Searching, deepening, eye-opening, emboldening.

Scorecard results:

Carson – rich
Keller – typical
Tripp – deep
Ortland – bold

Then this:

I wonder what all of us who support TGC can do to consciously work against this great enterprise being quietly taken down by the flesh. Human nature being what it is, it seems to me virtually inevitable that an event such as this, with well-known speakers, and a big crowd, and a green room, and preachers quickly and quietly escorted around, provides a unique venue for venting the flesh, for schmoozing, for preening and parading–unless we deliberately fight against it. Left in neutral, we will slide toward worldliness; church history, the Bible, and honest self-knowledge all confirm this, unpleasant as the thought is.

Green room for celebrity preachers? Not standing in line with the hordes for donuts? Preening and parading? Sounds like the slide is already happening.

Hint: it has a lot to do with celebrity.


10 thoughts on “A Troubling Perspective on The Gospel Coalition (but what a lot of people have been saying)

  1. Looky there Daryl. Here’s another time when you and I agree. We should both be very afraid.

    The social gospel coalition is in the process of losing whatever little bit of it’s mind it might have had left.

    Ya know, the devil’s been around a lot longer than we have and he’s a lot smarter than we are. He’s figured out that getting some sectors of the visible American church to deny the Gospel altogether isn’t going to work. But from his perspective, that’s ok, There’s nothing more useful to the father of lies than a defeated neutralized Christian and especially one who doesn’t know they’re neutralized and defeated.

    He doesn’t care how much people talk about Jesus. As long as they dress Him up in the clothing of the world. In fact, he probably prefers them to the God hating pagans crowding the halls of western academia.

    In my children’s lifetime, committed Christians on this continent will be facing circumstances we always thought could only happen to somebody else in another part of the world. It’ll be the best thing that ever happened to American Christendom.


  2. Well said as always–just seeing names such as Paul Tripp and Tim Keller makes me cringe, and too many people at my local OPC are infatuated with them, one of them being the young “pastor.” Give me Martyn Lloyd-Jones and the Puritans any day–won’t find anyone with whom to discuss them at my local OPC.


  3. In addition to Christa’s and Greg’s comments which I agree with, TGC seems to be a jobs program for the children of these ministers and their boosters. Building the brand and corporation allows you to hire “content managers” and “product managers” and “social media managers” and other kids to plan conferences and other makework positions.

    I can’t see how a Reformed minister would like Paul Tripp. I’ve sat through some of his video series and they were awful: him up on his hobbyhorse about people – especially seminary men – not living ethically-enough or trusting God enough, very little interaction with the texts. I hate “content” that is more about the teacher than the text. He has great style and an awesome mustache though. He could be a SEAL or firearms instructor with that mustache.


  4. 1) TGC recently ran a piece plugging Von Balthasarian universalism. I was amazed and also not so much. This is the way the cookie crumbles.

    2) Read so many Crosswy Books, and notice the painfully Joe Biden-like stream of book blurbs plugging this and that “must read.” Pretty mind-boggling.

    3) Five Things You Need to Know About Joe Carter: this format is as annoying as “Gospel-Centered” this and that.

    But hey, Dane Orland did get a book deal out of his connections. It’s all very incestuous, very woke, and very commercial in a Joel Osteen-crossed-with-John Piper sort of way. Crossway’s publishing volume is way, way out of control. I await Barnabas Piper’s next “essential” book. Christians apparently have a lot of disposable income.


  5. Sorry, but I’m not making the connection between the Gospel Coalition and Tom Petty. Was he one of the speakers? I thought he died.


  6. Dane Ortland is correct in his observations. His comments are hopeful that the gospel coalition will not implode on itself.
    But you don’t have to be a conference speaker celebrity to show arrogance and elicit fame to one self. I think some of the highest displays of arrogance that I have seen is at OPC Presbyteries where there two or three presbyters rise up regularly to make a point with reference to the Book of Church Order over minuscule and irrelevant points. Talk about a display of self importance–You know what I am saying is true!


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