CJ Mahaney [joking] - I'm amazed we've gotten through this whole time without you [Al] making some remark to Lig about his position on baptism. [Cue laughter & joking.]I agree with these men. Unity is not a fluffy thing to cuddle up in. Fellowship is not something you have when you display only those things you both like. Togetherness is not found in holding to those things you agree on but ignoring their consequences. Unity is in truth. Truth as revealed, truth loved and truth applied and ministered.
Al Mohler - In all seriousness, one of the criticisms that I have received about Together for the Gospel is that we talked about all these things, but didn't talk about baptism. And I want to come back and say, look at the title of the conference. Together for the Gospel. We're the people who believe that baptism is of urgent importance. Because we believe so much in ecclesiology. And so, with all the humour and love between us, the fact that we disagree on this is no small matter. And when I have preached from Lig's pulpit I have said we may be the last people on the planet who can have an honest disagreement because we honestly believe in Biblical authority, confessional accountability and the importance of baptism as an act of obedience to Christ. But we're together for the gospel. So we're not going to just sublimate these things and act like they don't exist - and I love the fact we can tease each other about it - and we can talk responsably, because there are few persons of the theological stature of a Lig Duncan that I can even talk to about this as a baptist to a Presbyterian. So where there's friendship and history and tradition and creed and confession and exegesis and all that behind us, we're the people who are going to say there are a lot of things that are extremely important beyond what we talk about at this conference. But we're focussing right now on the gospel.
Lig Duncan - This issue (Al, you're exactly right), illustrates one of the ways in which we are trying to be different from other alliances and coalitions that have been formed in times past in evangelicalism and that is, that has often been: "The gospel's important; none of these other things matter." That's NOT what we're saying. We're saying the gospel is very important, we are together on it, these other things DO matter. And they matter enough that we will talk seriously with one another, we'll tease one another about them, and we'll teach our congregations what we believe the Bible says. And I think that helps evangelicalism, when there are men like Mark Dever, and Al Mohler, and CJ Mahaney, teaching faithfully that these things matter in their pulpits. I don't think that hurts presbyterians, or baptists: I think it hurts when people tell people that those things don't matter.
Yet some important truths are more important than others. So we can express unity in them while disagreeing strongly on those other things. But if you tell people that those other things don't matter, you're not helping them in unity; you're harming them. Because truth matters. That we live the lives God has given us thinking, acting and feeling according to the truth he has seen fit to reveal by his Spirit, matters.