It’s hard to believe that the 2016 G3 Conference is now another page in the history books. This year the focus of the G3 Conference was the doctrine of the Trinity. People from around the nation and beyond gathered together on our church campus located just west of Atlanta for an intensive weekend of preaching and singing. Thousands more, from 52 different countries, watched the G3 through our Livestream. As always, the G3 is designed to be a theology conference rather than a Christian pep rally built upon a superficial foundation.
Preaching and Teaching
One of the foundational goals of the G3 each year is to educate people in sound biblical teaching and preaching. This year, we had 13 different sessions packed into three days. If you add the pre-conference session with Dr. James White on Wednesday evening and the post-conference sessions on the Lord’s Day by Dr. James White and Dr. Steven Lawson, that brings the numbers to 16 sessions over 5 days.
One of the main emphases of the G3 this year was to point out that the doctrine of the Trinity is not some esoteric teaching reserved for the seminary classroom or selective group of spiritual elites. The doctrine of the Trinity matters because God matters. How we view God will shape our worship and many other aspects of life and ministry.
I was joined by a lengthy number of preachers (Bruce Ware, Steven Lawson, James White, Tim Challies, David Miller, Anthony Mathenia, H.B. Charles Jr., and Todd Friel) in the conference, and it seemed like there was a great mix of different styles, focal points, and specialties among the men speaking in the conference. From pastors to seminary professors (and Todd Friel), the mixture provided depth, knowledge, and wisdom.
I preached the first session of the 2016 conference by preaching from the Great Commission passage. The goal was to exhort everyone and remind us that we as Christians are called to proclaim a triune God from a Trinitarian book. Tim Challies followed with an overview of the Trinity. From that point, the conference was propelled onward.
With the conference in full stride by this point, the Trinity in salvation, the dependence upon the Holy Spirit in preaching, roles among the Persons of the Trinity, sanctification, the resurrection of Christ, and beholding the Trinity in worship were all different subjects that followed throughout the next two days. There was a richness to the preaching and teaching.
- All who go to hell go there because of their own free will. All who go to heaven go there because of God’s sovereign will. ~ Steven Lawson
- Jesus had to be fully God in order to represent God to man & fully man to represent man to God. ~ Steven Lawson
- It’s hard to be godly and popular at the same time. ~ H.B. Charles Jr.
- God demands perfect righteousness and in Christ, God supplies what God demands. ~ H.B. Charles Jr.
- The Bible is like Big Mama’s house where you eat what she serves or you don’t eat at all. Can’t pick and choose! ~ H.B. Charles Jr.
- You don’t want your election to be on the basis of what God foresaw. ~ David Miller
- We know the Trinity because we’ve been known by the Trinity. ~ Tim Challies
- The hard work of exegesis is an act of worship and a service to others. ~ James White
- The Qur’an is only 14% the length of the Bible and was written by a man with no understanding of the Trinity. ~ James White
- The Trinitarian confusion would evaporate with great exegetical teaching. ~ Todd Friel
- There are no loopholes in the command to be Christ-like. ~ Anthony Mathenia
- The #1 most magnificent evidence that the Spirit controls a person is that they love and want to be like Jesus. ~ Bruce Ware
Good conferences have their place in the life of the church. One of those purposes is to encourage one another. That certainly happened during the G3 this year. I was greatly encouraged by old and new friends in the faith. However, we were never intended to remain in the huddle. We must move forward and get back in the game of life and ministry.
One particular man was in attendance this year from California who was with us last year as well. The difference between this year and last year is that his wife was not in attendance this year because she finished her course in this life within the past several months. This gentleman came along with friends – a good way to be encouraged in the faith. I met a sweet couple who told me that they had been dismissed from their church a few weeks ago. He was looking for another church to serve as pastor. I could see the tears in their eyes as I spoke to them after one of the sessions. It’s good to join together and be encouraged in conferences.
God has not called us to remain in endless hours of theology conferences. God expects us to learn, gain tools, and be encouraged among the saints, and then He sends us back out into the context of difficulties, trials, and problems. Ministry is never easy. There will always be real people with real problems, but we can rest assured that we have a real Savior who has real solutions.
My heart is full of joy, my mind is full of truth, and my body is tired after this past week. As I reflect on the success of the G3, I’m freshly reminded of what a great church I serve. I’m freshly reminded of what a good pastoral team I serve alongside. I’m grateful and encouraged and tired, however, I’m already looking forward to the 2017 G3 Conference. I hope to see you there.
If you’re interested in early registration for the 2017 G3 Conference, you can go ahead and register until 1-29 (save $80).
All of the sessions will be archived to the G3 Conference website over the next several days.