With this week’s Together for the Gospel conference (T4G) gathering at the basketball arena in Louisville, it seemed like hoops was the right direction to take the promo.
But, come on, it’s Opening Week in Major League Baseball, and there are nine speakers giving nine plenary addresses. Nine. Nine innings. Nine men on the field. The list of nine speakers is almost a lineup card, is it not?
Which got some of us at the DG offices thinking, Forget the conference, if this were a baseball lineup card, would it make sense to bat the players in this order? And what positions would they play in the field?
So, first, here’s the order for this week, and second, some of our commentary on the lineup and where we'd put these guys in the field…
- CJ Mahaney: The Sustaining Power of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 4), Tues, 1pm
- Al Mohler: The Power of the Articulated Gospel (Romans 10), Tues, 3:15pm
- Mark Dever: False Conversions: The Suicide of the Church, Tues, 7:30pm
- Thabiti Anyabwile: Will Your Gospel Transform a Terrorist? (1 Timothy 1: 12–17), Wed, 9am
- Kevin DeYoung: Spirit-Powered, Gospel-Driven, Faith-Fueled Effort (1 Corinthians 15:10), Wed, 10:40am
- David Platt: Divine Sovereignty: The Fuel of Death-Defying Missions, Wed, 7:30pm
- Ligon Duncan: God’s Ruthless Compassionate Grace in The Pursuit of His Own Glory and His Ministers’ Joy (1 Kings 19), Thurs, 9am
- Matt Chandler: The Fulfillment of the Gospel (Revelation 21–22), Thurs, 2:30pm
- John Piper: Glory, Majesty, Dominion, and Authority Keep Us Safe for Everlasting Joy (Jude 1:24–25), Thurs, 7:30pm
It makes good sense that Mahaney’s the leadoff hitter. He has the speed and energy, and can probably beat the others in a footrace. Likely he can bunt his way on — especially if the other team’s fielders are fellow conference speakers.
Mohler batting second is hard to see — and maybe hardest of all for Mohler himself to see, since he often jokes about his lack of athletic ability and interest. Great seminary president, but we're thinking he's a pretty poor hitter.
Dever in the third hole? Perhaps. He has the size, and probably could have some power if he gets the bat on the ball. But that may be a big if.
Thabiti is in the cleanup spot — since, of course, he pastors in the Cayman Islands and anyone from the Carribbean’s gotta be the best hitter on the team, right? Isn’t that somewhere pretty close to the Dominican Republic?
DeYoung hitting fifth might be a stretch. Michigan’s not really a big state for baseball, is it? Maybe he’d surprise us with his ability to hit with runners in scoring position — he likes to produce under pressure. But we lean towards him being further down the lineup than fifth.
Platt hitting sixth might be out of place as well, but in the other direction. We suspect he hits line drives and hard ground balls, and could be a good two, three, or five hitter.
Duncan batting seventh? Like Platt, we’d move him up the lineup. He has athletics in his background (played football at Furman University), and we think he’d be one of the better hitters on the team. And all the Presbyterian order stuff might translate into good discipline at the plate.
Yeah, Chandler eighth and Piper ninth makes sense. They might be two of the weaker hitters on the team (although surely stronger than Mohler), but both could be big assets in the field.
And in the Field…
Chandler’s on the mound (P), and Duncan’s behind the plate (C). If Chandler could throw a baseball, he might be hard to hit. Probably a nasty tail on that fastball, and we bet his curve falls off the table (that's a good thing). And Lig, the former football player, might be a stand-out behind the plate.
Who’s on first? We think it’s Thabiti — isn’t that where your clean-up belongs in National-League play when there’s no DH?
Put Piper (2B) and Platt (SS) up the middle. That might be a killer double-play combination with their focus and intensity.
On the hot corner is Dever (3B).
And in the outfield are Mahaney, Mohler, and DeYoung. Mahaney’s clearly in center (CF) with his speed, but what do you do with left and right? We think DeYoung has the better arm and belongs in right (RF), and you put Mohler in spot where you try to hide your weakest defensive link (LF). But we wonder if Mohler might have a sick knuckleball, and should be on the mound.
Bad Baseball, Good Conference
Honestly, this doesn’t look like it would be a good baseball team in the least — actually, not even a good church softball team. But these guys are gifted in what they do (not baseball, but gospel preaching), and this looks to be an outstanding lineup for a gospel conference.
Stay tuned to the blog this week, and we’ll provide links to the audio and video of the sessions as they become available.