Iain Murray’s Reflections on T4G 2014

Iain Murray attended this years T4G Conference and reflects on it’s participation in the “New Calvinism” that is emerging today.

But what is now occurring in many parts of the United States can patently be seen to have sprung out of what is far from new. It is no more ‘new’ than the doctrine that was heard under Whitefield and Edwards in the 1740s, or later, under Spurgeon or Lloyd-Jones. What was supposed to be ‘as dead as Queen Anne’ is very much alive in what is happening today. Old authors are being read more eagerly than for a long time, yet it is not the literature, significant as it is, which can account for what is happening.

This movement is characterized closely by what Archibald Alexander observed over a century ago.

Archibald Brown once told the declining congregation at the Metropolitan Tabernacle that, when God revives his work, popular solutions for a recovery would disappear: ‘There will be nothing said from the pulpit or platform about “up-to-date” . . . it will be Bible! Bible! Bible! And the people clamouring, “Let us have the Word of God!”’3 The phenomenon I am discussing does not profess to be a revival, but it is appealing to the Bible in a new way and challenging the perceived wisdom of much contemporary evangelicalism.

He writes that T4G is unique in it’s rejection of evangelical pragmatism.

What it stands for is unambiguous. It has 18 Articles of Faith printed in the conference programme, and the addresses given at the earlier conferences are available.6 They will make surprising reading for anyone who supposes that this is just another of the recurring cycles of evangelical enterprises intent on drawing a crowd. Instead of following a well-trodden evangelical pragmatism, T4G departs from much that has been near axiomatic in contemporary thinking.

In fact, the organizers of T4G hold no affection for what is common thinking in evangelical church growth efforts.

The idea that the presentation of the gospel must be adjusted to contemporary culture, for long a ‘sacred cow’ in much evangelicalism, has received no reverence at T4G. Instead, the concern over what ‘appeals’ to people, or ‘turns them off’, is traced to a lost confidence in the power of the gospel itself.

Thabiti Anyabwile makes a great observation about the church.

Thabiti Anyabwile argued how the church has ‘an alternative culture’ which ‘undermines the prevailing cultural norms . . . If we imagine that something called “secular” is the same as “safe and neutral”, already we’re deceived by fine-sounding arguments. The word “secular” is not safe neutral ground.’

You can read the rest of the article here.