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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.
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The Gospel Coalition Is a Coalition

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The title of this article is not meant to be the merest truism. It is meant to draw the attention of TGC’s supporters and detractors to an important stance that everyone on our Council takes for granted, but of which many readers are unaware. Board members have been talking for about six months about posting something like this, and here it is.

We are not a monolith; we are a coalition. What holds us together is our shared commitment to the gospel of Jesus Christ, as expressed in our Foundation Documents—our Confessional Statement and our Theological Vision of Ministry. This is robust confessionalism; moreover, we have tried to write these documents in such a way as to show that our creedalism is not just cerebral, but is to be worked out in adoration of our Maker and Redeemer, in transformation of life under the Lordship of King Jesus and in the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s what holds us together. But we are also very different. Our Council is made up of Anglicans, Baptists, Free Church pastors, Independents, Presbyterians; of pastors from a diverse range of ages, backgrounds, cultures, races, and geographical locations; of leaders with different theological understandings of desirable church government, sacraments/ordinances, eschatology, styles of evangelism, and visions of cultural engagement. In these and many other domains, we not only reserve the right to disagree; we actively promote open debate. We are eager to let differences of opinion play themselves out in the arena of public discourse, provided our Foundation Documents are not breached.

Because we are a coalition, certain things follow. Because we adhere to a more robust view of the gospel than is the case with some other denominations and organizations, some will think we are too narrow; because we leave some issues wide open, some will think we are too lax. We have happily sponsored debates between young earth/old earth supporters, between paedobaptists and credobaptists. We are not a denomination or a tightly constrained parachurch organization. We are a coalition.

This also has a bearing on how we view the blogs hosted by our site. Most things that appear on our site pass through the capable hands of our editorial team before they are posted, but the bloggers and their posts are treated a little differently. TGC expects all blog posts on our site to operate within the happy constraints of our Foundation Documents, and to reflect a valiant effort to speak the truth in love. Occasionally one blogger or another consults one of our editors. Certainly all the bloggers know that deviation from our Foundation Documents, or meanness of spirit, is grounds for removal from our site. But we do not expect our bloggers to agree with everyone else who blogs on our site. Opinions expressed in blog posts do not necessarily reflect the views of TGC. We are a coalition.

And, with a certain degree of delicious irony, this is the official position of TGC’s Board!

Don Carson
President

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