The Desiring God Conference '06 was excellent, as I would expect any DH Con to be, but it was even better than that. This conference hit two issues which are absolutely critical to the future of the church, and all of our churches, in the west. One is the connection between church and culture, specifically how to best preach the Gospel (the never-changing good news of Christ and his Kingdom) to a people who are in the tension between, or transitioning from, the modern worldview to the postmodern worldview. I know some evangelicals do not consider this issue to carry much weight, but I think it is clear that while our culture is experiencing some dramatic changes the church has lost how to best preach to a people who are thinking, believing, speaking, and living differently than they used to. Knowing how to speak the Gospel in ways people can really hear is increasingly difficult for the church when she continues to function as if she were speaking to men and women who understood her language, and shared some of her basic presuppositions.
The other issue is the Gospel itself, and at the conference this year we heard two aspects of the Gospel that are seldom heard together. It is popular to focus on one or the other, but I rarely hear both brought together in one place as it was here. The supremacy of Jesus in his life, death, resurrection, ascension and return on behalf of sinners was exalted and shown to be the only thing we have to offer the world. This is at the heart of the Gospel. In my circles we hit this well, but what is often overlooked is the emphasis Jesus himself places on the "Kingdom of God." Indeed, the good news is that Jesus is King of a Kingdom that has been inaugurated and is truly present. He preached, and calls us to preach, of a Kingdom in which the King extends forgiveness to all who will enter via faith and repentance, where justice and mercy and restoration are promised, tasted and demonstrated by the citizens of the Kingdom. Beautiful.
The audio should be available for free from DesiringGod.org in a few days. Be sure to check it out. If you don't have time to listen to it all I would encourage you to download David Wells' and Tim Keller's sermons and spend some time with them. Of course the others were fantastic as well, but if I had to choose I think these might be the most helpful for most people. Unfortunately I did not hear Voddie's sermon. During that time Timmy and I were sitting in the car staring at this guy for 30 minutes.
It was also great hanging with Timmy, Marc, friends from church and from across the country. We had a good time taking photos when we could, I found an excellent Irish Pub (thanks Rick!), and a strange woman I met downtown last night asked if I wanted "some company" (Yes, I'm serious and no I didn't). I am heading out today after worship and want to try and hit Bobby and Steve's on the way. Big thanks to friends from Grace and Marc and his family who really made this trip possible for me. Thanks for the fellowship, friendship and photography Timmy. And thanks to everyone who took the time to stop and say "Hi."