An Australian expression of The Gospel Coalition is up and running, seeking to unite and energise evangelical and reformed Christians across Australia.
On 23 July in the Brisbane Town Hall the launch of The Gospel Coalition Australia (TGC AU) was held. You may know of The Gospel Coalition USA, which consists of a council of 54 men of reformed and evangelical convictions, most of them pastors or theological educators. The purpose of the US coalition is to advocate gospel-centred principle and practices to younger Christian leaders, to link like-minded people across denominational, class and ethnic lines, to renew the contemporary church in the ancient gospel. They do this most visibly (in Australia) by running an impressive website, posting articles and essays themed in channels including Current Events, Ministry, Arts and Culture, Bible & Theology and Faith & Work. The website also hosts blogs, contains resources of various kinds and aggregates relevant external material. This website has grown popular in many reformed and evangelical circles in Australia (apparently Sydney is the city with the 6th highest number of visitors to the website in the world, including all US cities), and so TGC has built a certain amount of loyalty and brand recognition in Australia. TGC USA also get on the ground in the US by running regional chapters which hold regional conferences.
Some leaders in Australia were attracted to the TGC project of rallying reformed and evangelical Christian leaders together from across denominational and other lines, and linking them regionally. What about a chapter of TGC where I am? they asked. After all we are fellow travellers with the US leadership, and there’d be an advantage in linking to the established TGC brand. And so the US leadership linked two Australians with the same desire, and in time an Australian council of 13 men — all pastors of churches — was formed to establish The Gospel Coalition Australia. An Australian website, sister to the US one, went up, featuring Australian content and contributors, and a National Consultation with a wider circle of Australian Christian leaders from across denominations and states was organised in Brisbane, to engage a wider circle as supporters and to discover any sticking points or issues that might cause other reformed and evangelical Christian leaders to stand aloof from the enterprise.
At that National Consultation in Brisbane about one hundred Christian ministers from around Australia looked over details of the foundation documents of TGC, spent time in regional groups discussing how TGC AU might contribute to the strengthening of gospel ministry in the Australian states, and also spent time in groups devoted to particular interests — church planting, or public theology, or women’s ministry, for example. The council worked hard to introduce itself, its reasoning and hopes for TGC Australia, and the results of this consultation will no doubt stand it in good stead for discussions about their priorities and next steps. The Consultation was itself a great gift, bringing like-minded Christian leaders from around Australia together for a few days, to meet, discuss and encourage one another.
Ben Underwood, Shenton Park, WA