Trinity Evangelical Divinity School professor Don Carson and Tim Keller came up with the idea for the Gospel Coalition (TGC) several years ago. They kicked it off in 2007 with a conference attended by 500. In 2008, the conference was a by-invitation-only, off-the-record meeting of the nearly 50 men on the coalition's council. In 2009, 3,100 pre-registered and 223 walked in.
They also rolled out the Gospel Coalition Network (TGCN) on The City, a social networking site developed at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. The site will allow TGCN to approve and register members who agree with TGC's foundation documents (including their statement of faith and "Theological Vision of Ministry"). They can then organize in geographical groups.
Carson sat down with Susan Wunderink at the conference to talk about the surprises and challenges of the last few years of TGC.
There are a lot more people here than in 2007. What does that say to you?
In some ways we're almost a coalition of coalitions. Tim represents a whole network. John Piper represents a whole network. And because we share a common vision of what the gospel is and common aims and so on, it's not, in some sense, just individual churches. It's all the networks that are linked with that.
It's partly [that] we've worked very hard at distributing materials on the web. Now it's going through another huge technological leap.
I think, humanly speaking, those are the reasons. I don't want to sound too pious. Certainly I eschew every hint of triumphalism. I do think that there is a hunger in the land for a vision of confessional Christianity that is robust, God-centered, tough-minded, able to address today and tomorrow and the next day, and comprehensive.