This year’s Shepherds Conference was titled “Faithful.” It was focused on being faithful in ministry. A host of men joined John MacArthur this year including Sinclair Ferguson, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, HB Charles, Voddie Bachman, Joel Beeke and many others.
This years conference also included some great breakout sessions focusing on the ministry of faithful ministers.
Sinclair Ferguson on Robert Murray Mc’Cheyne
Joel Beeke on Bunyan
Dever on Sibbs
Lig Duncan on Samuel Rutherford
Steve Lawson on Jonathan Edwards
Mohler on Luther
HB Charles on Spurgeon
Voddie Bachman on William Arthur Phillips
Sinclair Ferguson examines the life and preaching ministry of John Flavel. Flavel was a non-conformist preacher in the 17th century who was exiled from Dartmouth during the Great Ejection. He, along with many others, was not allowed to preach within five miles of any major population center. Consequently, he was devoted to ministering to a single flock in an out-of-the-way place in the south of England.
Flavel epitomized the Puritan style of preaching, which was characterized by three dimensions.
The ministry of the gospel is a ministry of the Word of God
The ministry of the Word of God is a ministry to this particular world.
The ministry of the Word of God to this particular world by this particular worker.
This last dimension is something that is not well understood in our contemporary day, as sermons are reduced to mere facts and figures independent of personality. This didn’t sidestep the importance of carefully preaching the text. The Puritan sermon was a carefully wrought piece of work that began with a clear introduction to the text, an analysis of the key points of the text, an exposition of the truths enshrined in the text, and a clear explanation of how the particular truths arise from the text, and sensitivity in the handling of any difficulties. All of this would be done using plain speech and manifest love for the congregation.
Flavel was a remarkable illustration of this.
In fact, Flavel’s preaching and writing was very popular. A number of his books have remained in print and are available today.
The theme of T4G/18 is about being distinct from the world. The usual suspects led the conference: Mohler, Dever, Duncan, Mahaney, DeYoung, Piper, MacArthur, Chandler, Anyabwile, and Platt.
From the website:
What began as a friendship between four pastors from across denominational traditions has burgeoned into a biennial conference for thousands of pastors and church leaders who, for all their differences, are committed to standing together for the main thing—the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Over a decade of consequential gatherings focused on expositional preaching (2006), biblical theology (2008), the gospel (2010), conversion (2012), evangelism (2014), and the Reformation (2016), T4G has sought to reaffirm and reiterate the central doctrine of the Christian faith and to encourage local churches around the world to do the same.
The ensuing years have brought with them many new faces, along with seismic cultural shifts and challenges for Christian ministry. And yet the conference has grown as more and more pastors discover that they share the same gospel-centered ambition.
Twelve years ago, at the inaugural T4G, we adopted a series of theological positions in the form of affirmations and denials. “We are convinced,” we wrote, “that the Gospel of Jesus Christ has been misrepresented, misunderstood, and marginalized in many Churches and among many who claim the name of Christ.”
As false gospels circulate and pastors are tempted to bow to cultural pressures, we remain convinced that the church is in a moment of spiritual crisis. Going on twelve years, buoyed by Christ’s promise that the gates of hell will not prevail against it, we remain convinced of the need for a full and gladdening recovery of the gospel in the church.
Many years ago John MacArthur was asked what preachers he listens to for his own joy and edification, and one of the men on his short list was S. Lewis Johnson. I had never heard of Johnson and immediately went looking for him. Johnson was involved in ministry for 45 years, a professor at a number of seminaries such as DTS and TEDS, and finished his days of ministry as the pastor at Believer’s Chapel in Dallas.
Johnson is a first-class Bible expositor and I have been blessed by listening to this faithful man preach the Word of God with clarity and power.
Since his death in 2004 the SLJ Institute has collected more than 1500 of Johnson’s sermons and is in the process of transcribing them.
The 2018 Shepherd’s Conference media is now available at the Shepherd’s Conference page. The title of this years conference was “I Will Build My Church.” John MacArthur was joined by Al Mohler, Austin Duncan, HB Charles, Mark Dever, Steve Lawson, Arturo Azirdia and Ligon Duncan.
9Marks and the North American Missions Board (NAMB) partnered with Send DC to hold a one-day conference on church planting and revitalization in DC. This year’s focus was “Understanding the Basics for Planters & Revitalizers”.
Mark Dever, Senior Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC
Jonathan Leeman, Editorial Director, 9Marks
Bobby Jamieson, Associate Pastor, Capitol Hill Baptist Church, Washington, DC
Ed Moore, Senior Pastor, North Shore Baptist Church, Queens, NY
Nathan Knight, Senior Pastor, Restoration Church, Washington, DC
Brian Davis, Pastor, Risen Christ Fellowship, Philadelphia, PA
Philip Van Steenburgh, Senior Pastor, Grace Harbor Church, Cape Cod, MA
John Onwuchekwa, Lead Pastor, Cornerstone Church, Atlanta, GA
A new book being lauded in reformed circles is a printing of seven of J. Gresham Machen’s radio addresses on theology. The book is tltled “The Person of Jesus; Radio Addresses on the Deity of the Savior,” published by Westminster Seminary Press.
Machen’s importance is as an evangelical theologian has not lessened with time, and his insights into the many problems that plague the church today, and his trust in Christ and Scripture have not lost their sharpness. John Piper’s biographical sermon of J. Gresham Machen’s life and work is a great introduction to a great man, and I hope many will become acquainted wth Machen through this marvelous book of radio addresses.
R.C. Sproul, Al Mohler, Stephen Nichols, and R.C. Sproul Jr. gathered in Sanford, Florida to speak on lessons from the Reformation and the relevance it has for us today. Audio and video are free to stream at Ligonier.org.