Between December 27 and 30, 2013, about 3,600 college students met in Louisville, Ky., to consider the global glory of Christ, the nature of Christ’s mission to the unreached peoples of the world and the power of the Christian gospel. For some of us, this was a dream come true.
Here was a conference on missions for students with a resounding focus on:
1. the sovereignty of God’s grace in the salvation of sinners (Acts 13:48),
2. the wrath of God over all mankind as the greatest threat to the world (John 3:36),
3. the terrible reality of eternal suffering (Matthew 25:46),
4. the greatness of God’s mercy in propitiating his own wrath in Christ (Romans 3:25-26),
5. the necessity of hearing the gospel of Christ in order to be saved (Romans 10:13-17),
6. the stupendous Reformation truth of justification by faith alone (Romans 4:4-5),
7. the compassion of missionaries who are called to suffer for the good of all men, especially the eternal good (Galatians 6:10),
9. and the summons to joyfully sacrifice anything to reach these nations, because to die is gain (Philippians 1:21).
In other words, this conference—which we called Cross—was the fruit and overflow of an awakening in our day to the glory of God’s sovereign grace.
1. Call it Reformed theology.
2. Call it the doctrines of grace.
3. Call it the new Calvinism.
4. Call it Big God theology.
5. Call it a passion for God’s supremacy in all things.
6. Call it the resurgence of God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated worship.
7. Call it a vision of a great, holy, just, wise, good, gracious, sovereign God whose throne is established in the heavens and who does whatever he pleases.
8. Call it what you will.
God is doing this—God is awakening millions of people all over the world, especially young people, to these stunning and glorious realities. This conference was a fruit of this awakening.
Something Much Bigger
It is also part of something much bigger than this theological awakening. For the last 40 years, amazing things have been happening in the world to advance the spread of the salvation of Christ among the unreached peoples of the world. For example,
The 1990s saw the most concerted attempt to analyze the need of the world. … 1995 saw the beginning of the Joshua Project List (JPL), originally a list of 1,583 of the world’s least reached peoples. While this is expanded to now include all the peoples in the world (16,583), the original list served as a catalyst for the church to pray for, adopt and engage with every one of these least reached peoples. It also inspired national-level research in many countries where the 1,583 were found; this missiological and people group research by Majority World Christians has been a major step toward the completion of the Great Commission. (Operation World, 6)