The Gospel Coalition Canada
The Gospel Coalition Canda is a national coalition of churches across the country committed to the priority and application of the gospel in a Canadian context. The "north/south" relationship has been strong with brothers and sisters down in the States, but there has never been an effective relationship "east/west". The goal of TGC Canada is to build partnerships across the country to help one another advance the gospel of Jesus Christ. Pastor Paul Martin sits on the executive committee.
Here is an important release from the TGC Canada executive committee:
Every generation has to refight the battle for the centre. It isn’t that enemies are holding it; rather it is that so many friends are leaving it. The call to reformation, therefore, is always a call to return.
“Listen to me, you who pursue righteousness, you who seek the LORD: look to the rock from which you were hewn, and to the quarry from which you were dug." (Isaiah 51:1 ESV)
When TGC was founded in 2005 by D.A. Carson and Tim Keller they listed among their motivations a deep concern over the considerable drift that they had observed within traditional evangelicalism. Led astray by an impulse towards consumerism, co-opted by a conservative political agenda and thoroughly disoriented by theological and moral relativism the movement had lost its centre. In response they declared the following:
“We have committed ourselves to invigorating churches with new hope and compelling joy based on the promises received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.”
Through the website, conferences, print resources and council deliberations, TGC has attempted to regather the church around the historic principles of the Protestant Reformation - Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide, Solus Christus and Soli Deo Gloria. The growing influence of the website (65 million page views a year), the increasing attendance at the central and regional conferences (10,000 expected in 2017 in Indianapolis alone, over 6,000 in Orlando for the Women’s Conference) and the growing cadre of young pastors passionate for reformation principles and practices testify to God’s grace upon this coalition.
Why TGC Canada?
The original TGC Council included 3 pastors ministering in Canada in addition to a handful of ex-patriot Canadians serving in the United States. Nevertheless, and quite understandably, the focus of TGC is on the unique context of American evangelicalism. A need was recognized for a specifically Canadian coalition.
Canada is a land with unique challenges when it comes to articulating and applying the Gospel. According to a recent Faith Today article, the evangelical population in the U.S. is 25 times larger than it is in Canada – we are smaller, more spread out, more isolated and less organized than our American cousins and these realities commend different strategies for our evangelism and mission.
The social and political context in Canada is also vastly different than what is found in the United States. In some ways we are further along in terms of moral and social decline, but in other ways we are far better off. Canadian churches have had more time to adjust to our diminished role in the public square and more time to think about how to minister effectively from the margins of political life.
All of these unique factors seem to commend a distinctly Canadian adaptation of The Gospel Coalition model for reformation and renewal. While we continue to benefit from the “north/south” dynamic, we believe that now is the time for an intentional “east/west” movement of pastors and churches in Canada, coming together and resourcing one another for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
In March of 2016 representatives and delegates from across Canada gathered together in our nation’s capital to discuss the formation of a National Committee. In that meeting they worked their way through the TGC Statement of Faith and Foundational Documents. At the conclusion of that gathering they elected an Executive Council to begin to act on their behalf. The stated goals of that National Committee include the following:
1. To launch a Canadian website featuring the best of the TGC content as well as our own in-house productions.
The folks at TGC have offered us full access to their on-line content. They aspire to produce 4 original blogs or articles per day and we would look to borrow the best 2 of those for our Canadian site. We would look to make use of those that were more general in topic and theme while avoiding those that focused more narrowly on American cultural issues. We would then attempt to publish 2 articles per day from our own Canadian cadre of pastors and writers. We would actively solicit content that would serve pastors and churches in this country in their efforts to preach and apply the Gospel in the Canadian context.
2. To facilitate a national conference in Ottawa in 2018.
The TGC Canada National Committee has no interest in severing the north/south dynamic that has been such an incredible blessing to pastors and churches all across this country. Because of our unique geography it is often easier and cheaper for pastors to fly to Louisville than it is for them to fly to Ottawa. Therefore we anticipate that conferences in places like Louisville and Indianapolis will continue to be efficient and effective places for Canadian pastors to receive encouragement and Gospel resourcing. Nevertheless, the National Committee does sense an opportunity for a uniquely Canadian gathering at this particular time. There is an increasing sense that we must not be too tethered to American evangelicalism. There are unique forces at play there that are not at play here and we need to begin developing a distinctive voice. A national conference will help us build identity and momentum toward that end.
3. To explore Canadian options for theological education and ministry training.
Too many Canadian pastors are forced to go to the U.S. for training and a great many of them never return. We need to work together and with our Bible Colleges and Seminaries to adapt our methods to the changing needs of the Canadian evangelical church. We need to work with American seminaries to create teaching hubs in Canada so that more of our students can intern in the Canadian context. Given the advances in technology and through our partnership with TGC we are confident that a revolution in pastoral and ministry training can be realized in our generation.
How Can I Help?
Please pray for God’s grace to remain on this movement. Pray against human pride, petty grievance and gross ambition. Pray also against faithlessness and lethargy. We sense a unique opportunity. We sense a call to action. We believe that God is on the move in our great country. Pray for the Gospel to run, pray for God to be gloried in our day and through our churches.
Please also consider giving. We are asking for churches to add TGC Canada to their missions line. While TGC has been a great supporter of global missions we also believe that the Sovereign God of the universe has put us in Canada for a reason; a Gospel reason. We are also asking individual donors to consider making a seed investment that would allow TGC Canada to begin operating in pursuit of its objectives. We are confident that the conference revenue, website advertising and regular donations from partner churches can sustain TGC Canada once it is fully operational. But of course as any driver will understand, it takes a great deal of gas to get up and moving. Please pray about whether God is calling on you to help us launch this new initiative.
This is an exciting time; this is a moment pregnant with opportunity. There is an entire generation of young men and women who are tired of compromised and contentless Christianity and who are ready to trust in the Word of God to do the work of God, as in days gone by. TGC Canada wants to plant a flag, regather the centre and republish the Gospel for the glory of God and the good our nation; even so, come Lord Jesus!
Rev. Paul Carter
On behalf of the Executive Committee
June 4th, 2016