|Dr. Carl Trueman|
When invited to do a breakout at T4G, I had initially said no, not being a big conference person. I was ultimately persuaded by the fact that the preponderance of attendees are officebearers in the church; and by the fact they put the guy who cries on my case (yes, that bit is truly pathetic, I know). Last Sunday, as I packed my bag to leave, my wife asked me if I was looking forward to going. No, I replied, but it will give me something to write about.
Indeed it did. And not quite as I expected. I went a sceptic; I returned encouraged. For what it is worth, here is my take:
I was reassured by what I saw that T4G is in the game of putting on a good conference every two years and not in becoming a movement or setting the agenda for any church or churches. It is just that: not a movement but a conference. Just look at the webpage: it looks great but it is hopeless, magnificently hopeless. It hardly changes from month to month and it did not even have the schedule up by the time of the conference. That is indicative of an appropriate modesty of ambition. It is just a biennial conference, not a movement or a source of primary identity.
Yes, the men at the plenary sessions are 'celebrities' in our small world; but they were not on the platform simply because of that fact. There was no swagger in evidence; all, in their different ways, spoke powerfully about the gospel; nobody indulged in magnifying their own name; and my guess is that none of these men will do anything which embarrasses T4G in the next twelve months. ...
My general conclusion on this point is that celebrity is clearly here to stay; the key point is that those who have such celebrity cachet acknowledge it and leverage it for good. By 'good', I mean direct people back to their own churches and set examples themselves as those who are committed first and foremost to their own people, congregations and denominations.
Read the entire article here to find out why Trueman thought T4G made him look like a girlyman. By the way, his lecture at the breakout session was informative, interesting and just plain fun.