From a Manhattan sidewalk cafe in 2002 to a Pastors’ Colloquium in 2004 to the first National Conference in 2007, The Gospel Coalition’s beginnings make for an interesting story. In this ten-minute video, co-founders Don Carson and Tim Keller join former executive director Ben Peays to reminisce about how TGC came about, where we’ve been, and where in God’s mercy we hope to go.
It all began, Carson reflects, with the aim of helping to “restore the center of historic, confessional Christianity” in the broadly Reformed heritage. Officially constituted with a Council and Foundation Documents around the time of the 2007 National Conference, TGC has since seen the birth of a website with about 4 million monthly pageviews, more than a dozen Regional Chapters, a biennial Women’s Conference, and an International Outreach initiative dedicated to relieving theological famine around the globe.
“We were initially thinking more in terms of conferences than of the web,” Keller admits. “It seems we’ve created a space that’s made people think, ‘This is broad enough and yet focused enough that I can really learn from this group.’”
Regarding TGC’s international vision, Carson explains, “We’ve been clear from the beginning that we don’t want [overseas groups] to be American-controlled.” Instead of an “American hegemony that’s some sort of new worldwide mission,” the hope is simply to engender “strategic and mutually encouraging” fellowships around the world. As Keller remarks, it’s vital for such TGC-inspired partnerships to be and remain indigenous.
“We certainly make our share of mistakes,” Peays acknowledges, “but we’re grateful to God for where we are now, and we hope to honor him going forward.” And, Lord willing, Carson adds, “This is only the beginning.” May God grant us strength, humility, and wisdom to equip and encourage his saints in the days to come, to the praise of his glorious grace.