I did mention that the crowding was a bit of a problem, but even that is a stretch. Although there were 7000 people, almost everyone acted graciously toward one another.
So, what was really the biggest problem? That's easy: There was no stated biblical definition of what the church is and how it should function.
This may not seem like a big problem since the focus of the conference was the gospel and not the church. However, we must keep in mind that it is the church where the gospel is manifested in this world. The world does not see or hear the gospel apart from the church.
In the opening address of the conference, Mark Dever asked an important question (you can watch him by clicking here). He asked how the church we are a part of displays the gospel (that is a paraphrase). In other words, how do people see the gospel in the life of the church?
It must be clear to all of us that if the vehicle of gospel proclamation is the church, then we must understand both what the church is and what is does. We can only do this by looking to scripture.
At the conference, however, the church was more assumed than anything else. The speakers, of course, mentioned that the church is people. The church is followers of Jesus Christ. The problem was that after that, when they spoke of the church, they seemed to rely more on tradition than bible. The church they spoke of is the traditional, institutional church that we see today in the modern West.
This is a significant problem. During a conference that spends a great deal of time looking to scripture to define the gospel, it seems that the speakers would also look to scripture to define church belief and practice. This did not happen.
Why is this? I believe the problem is that so many current church practices, especially the ones that seem "to work," are almost never questioned. They just happen and keep happening.
Where do we live out the biblical gospel? In the church.
How does the world hear and see the biblical gospel? Through the church.
Since this is the case, if we want to live out the gospel and proclaim it according to scriptural standards, then we must let the bible inform all our church belief and practice.
This conference, as great as it was, was also a good reminder to me of the importance of not assuming anything by tradition. We must be biblical in all things.