Ten years ago Don Carson and Tim Keller convened more than 50 pastors concerned with re-establishing the confessional, evangelical center in church preaching and practice. Meeting on the campus of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School north of Chicago, they sought God’s leading in a cooperative effort that would advance orthodox theology, stir spiritual affection, and model compelling apologetics in the public sphere. In short they asked God to raise up a new generation of church leaders as he had done last century through Carl F. H. Henry, Harold John Ockenga, Billy Graham, and many others. This initial meeting in 2005 became The Gospel Coalition.
Last week I joined executive director Ben Peays (second from left) in accepting on behalf of TGC the Billy Graham Award for Excellence in Christian Communications from the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB). According to NRB, this award is “presented to a Christian organization that effectively and creatively uses multiple electronic media technologies in fulfillment of its mission, while maintaining fidelity to the message of love, redemption, and hope found in the Holy Scriptures.” Founded in 1944, NRB is a non-partisan, international association of Christian communicators whose member organizations represent millions of listeners, viewers, and readers.
Five years ago Peays and I met at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where we had both studied with Carson, and sketched out on a piece of scratch paper the design for our new homepage. What he and I lacked in money and experience, God more than compensated for in a global movement of men and women eager to share their gifting for the good of the broader church by writing, recording, designing, and editing. Since 2010 we have worked with nearly 1,000 different contributors, and we continue to marvel that they entrust us with their stories, their insights into the Word of God, and their passion to see the gospel of Jesus Christ spread around the world until our Savior returns. Our growing and gifted staff likewise encourage us with their sacrifice and dedication as they labor unto the Lord in their diverse responsibilities.
We do not know what challenges the next 10 years will present. The sober mood around NRB’s annual convention reflected how much public opinion has changed on issues of concern for Christians since 2005. But we do not trust in trends, and we do not suffer in vain. Because we have peace with Christ, we have hope for eternity. And this “hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us” (Rom. 5:5).
We’re honored to receive this award named for the best-known broadcaster and evangelist of his era, during which Graham pioneered effective use of electronic communications to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. While using all technological means available to us, we pray along with past recipients that God would use our online articles, books, podcasts, and videos to save some to his glory.