INDIANAPOLIS — Some 8,500 people — including a significant contingent of Southern Baptists — celebrated the Protestant Reformation’s 500th anniversary at The Gospel Coalition’s National Conference April 3-5 in Indianapolis.
Five centuries after Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses to a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, the meeting featured sermons on each chapter of the biblical book Galatians as well as historical addresses on key Reformation figures.
About a quarter of the meeting’s 70 plenary session and workshop speakers had ties to Southern Baptist churches or Southern Baptist Convention entities. Seven SBC entities were among conference exhibitors.
The Gospel Coalition website describes TGC as “a broadly Reformed network of churches” founded by New Testament scholar D.A. Carson and New York pastor Tim Keller. The group seeks to unite believers “across denominational, ethnic and class lines,” according to the website.
Daniel Akin, a TGC Council member and president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, called the conference “encouraging and fruitful.”
“It is encouraging to see evangelicals come together around biblical fidelity, expositional preaching andgGospel centeredness,” Akin told Baptist Press in written comments. “Southern Baptists have been very involved this week, from interactive exhibits and personal contact to multiple workshops, and culminating with a powerful message from pastor Thabiti Anyabwile on the last morning. I have personally been blessed and glad to participate with thousands of people coming together to honor our Lord.”
Anyabwile, pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C., delivered a plenary address on Galatians 5. Preaching about freedom in Christ, Anyabwile said, “God’s will for your life is that you use your freedom to serve others,” according to The Gospel Coalition Twitter feed.
Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Russell Moore participated in a plenary session panel discussion on racial reconciliation and introduced an address by U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.
Also during a plenary session, the ERLC announced plans to cohost with TGC next year an event on the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. Known as “MLK50: Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop,” the event will focus on racial reconciliation and occur April 4, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn., the city where King was murdered.
The ERLC hosted an April 3 TGC pre-conference at the Indianapolis meeting on “Gospel courage in a complex culture,” with 900 in attendance.
SBC entity leaders to speak at TGC workshops included Akin; Moore; Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler Jr.; and Zane Pratt, the International Mission Board’s vice president for global training.
Among pastors to address TGC workshops were Matt Carter of Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas; Andy Davis of First Baptist Church in Durham, N.C.; and Juan Sanchez of High Pointe Baptist Church in Austin, Texas.
Kentucky Baptist Convention associate executive director for convention relations Curtis Woods was among workshop speakers, as were professors and staff members from Southeastern, Southern, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and LifeWay Christian Resources. (BP)