What is the Gospel Coalition, and why are you part of it?
I got a letter from Don Carson a few years ago—maybe Tim Keller had signed it as well—and they said that they had been talking together for some time about pulling together a group consisting mainly of pastors who were exegetically and expositorally driven, and who operated from the center.
In other words, he said that he was concerned that the voice of evangelicalism was often defined by the margins, by voices that were on the periphery of the gospel—very powerful voices, voices with huge churches and huge movements, but when they spoke they didn't speak from the center. The cross didn't seem to be the center, the Bible didn't seem to be the center, the gospel of Christ crucified for sinners and risen didn't seem to be the energy that was driving the movement or the church.
And they wanted to pull together a group of pastors to think and pray about what would happen if there were a coalition (pretty broad) that operated out of the center. So about 40 pastors got together three years ago or so and just began to pray and think. And there emerged from there a yearly gathering and a conference. There was a small one first, and now a larger one is going to happen.
So I think the leaders—Don Carson, Tim Keller, and there is now a wider leadership that has come out of that pastoral group—would say that they're not sure what the Gospel Coalition will become. It now has a remarkable website where you can hear sermons and see interviews and read. They've also taken under their wing Themelios which is a theological journal. And who knows where it may go?
But it was an effort to try to pull together pastors mainly, who do their pulpit work centered on biblical exposition and centered on the gospel. And so Gospel Coalition. And we'll see what the Lord might be pleased to do.
It's not out to compete with anything. It's not out to be any kind of denomination. It's simply a loosely drawn together coalition of pastors, mainly, who are of like mind concerning the centrality of the gospel in church life.