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Working Together for the Gospel
March 20, 2006
By Jeff Robinson

Mohler teams up with "band of brothers" to host Together for the Gospel conference

Next month's Together for the Gospel conference was born out of a deep friendship between four ministers who are in every way "a band of brothers," said R. Albert Mohler Jr.

Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is teaming up with three close friends Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan and C.J. Mahaney to host a three-day event April 26-28 at the Galt House Hotel & Suites in Louisville that is aimed at promoting the centrality of the Gospel in pastoral ministry.

All four will preach at the conference along with special guests John MacArthur, John Piper and R.C. Sproul. Dever is pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., Duncan is pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Miss., and Mahaney is president of Sovereign Grace Ministries.

"The Lord has just forged a band of brothers among the four of us in terms of common concern," Mohler said.

"We delight in each other and in each other's ministries and in each other's families. We share so many common concerns in the church and a common mission to encourage pastors toward faithfulness, towards a full embrace of the faith once for all delivered to the saints, towards a love for the Gospel and a love for the local church.

"The four of us got together as friends concerned for the future of the church and we started talking about what we might do. It seemed that the Lord had drawn us together in a real commonality of spirit and concern, with very long friendships between us."

The conference is aimed at encouraging pastors through promoting the centrality of the Gospel of Christ, Mohler said. The four organizers hope to extend to pastors the encouragement, exhortation and edification they have enjoyed through the years as preachers and brothers in Christ, Mohler said.

Another aim of Together for the Gospel is to encourage ministers to build friendships with other ministers, Mohler said. The life of a pastor is often seen as a lonely enterprise, but it should not be that way, Mohler said.

"The sad reality is that many Gospel ministers seem to enjoy few friendships and seem, in some cases, not to know how to enjoy such friendships," Mohler said. "I see that as a great tragedy.

"I think if you look at the early church, you find a band of brothers who love each other, who would live and die for each other, would support each other, pray for each other, bind up each other when necessary, and who would confront each other when necessary. We want to encourage pastors to develop these fraternal relationships in which they can share the same kind of joy and accountability and fulfillment."

Mohler said the four conference hosts differ on some points of theology such as the doctrine of the church. However, Mohler said they wanted to assemble a conference that spotlights the main doctrine all of them hold in common: a robust commitment to the Gospel. They all agreed to include MacArthur, Piper and Sproul as guests because they are preaching heroes to the four conference hosts, Mohler said.

"We are very different in terms of personality and very different in terms of background, and some questions related to church life and theology we have a good time debating among ourselves," he said.

"Where we stand together is in the Gospel and that really excites us. So when we started talking about having a conference in which we would all participate as friends and invite some other friends to join us it just seemed natural to call the entire project Together for the Gospel because that is who we are."

The conference is designed for pastors but is open for seminary students as well. Students may register at a significantly discounted rate. The conference has its own website and weblog (www.togetherforthegospel.org) on which Mohler, Dever, Duncan and Mahaney post regularly.

Mohler urged seminary students to register and participate in this "historic occasion."

"Students at Southern Seminary have the very unique privilege of having this hosted in our own city, so I would encourage them to attend.

"This conference is something we hope will make a real impact on life. We want it done the right way and we want it to honor Christ and we are really looking forward to being together and I want to encourage as many students as possible to attend."

For more information or to register, please visit the Together for the Gospel website.

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