Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop

April 3-4, 2018 in Memphis, TN
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About MLK50

Racial unity is a gospel issue and all the more urgent 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr.’s death. Join the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and The Gospel Coalition at a special event, “MLK50: Gospel Reflections from the Mountaintop,” taking place April 3-4, 2018, in Memphis, TN. Key speakers include Matt Chandler, Jackie Hill Perry, Eric Mason, Russell Moore, John Piper, Benjamin Watson, and many others.

The 50th anniversary of King’s tragic death marks an opportunity for Christians to reflect on the state of racial unity in the church and the culture. It creates the occasion to reflect on where Christians have been and look ahead to where we must go as we pursue racial unity in the midst of tremendous tension.

Danny Akin

Phillip Bethancourt

Missie Branch

Don Carson

Matt Chandler

H.B. Charles

Jason Cook

K. Edward Copeland

Dan Darling

Dr. Charlie Dates

Byron Day

Brian Dye

Miguel Echevarria

Christina Edmondson

Mika Edmondson

Carl Ellis

Karen Ellis

Steve Gaines

Justin Giboney

Collin Hansen

Jackie Hill Perry

Beau Hughes

Jamie Ivey

D.J. Jordan

Trip Lee

Larry Lloyd

Crawford Loritts

Eric Mason

Russell Moore

Eli Morris

Matthew Mullins

Steve Nash

James Netters

Trillia Newbell

Bartholomew Orr

Ray Ortlund

Daniel Patterson

John Perkins

John Piper

CJ Rhodes

Kelly Rosati

Juan Sanchez

Kevin Smith

Melvin Charles Smith

Rufus Smith

Bishop Ed Stephens

Craig Strickland

Walter Strickland

Karen Swallow Prior

BJ Thompson

Jason Turner

Stephen Um

Todd Wagner

Andrew Walker

Benjamin Watson

Ralph West

Darryl Williamson

Sandy Willson

Afshin Ziafat


April 3rd, 2018 – Tuesday
  • Session 1: 1:00-3:00 PM
    • Keynote 1: Black and White and Red All Over: Why Racial Justice Is a Gospel Issue - Russell Moore
    • Keynote 2: The Most Segregated Hour in America: Overcoming Divisions to Pursue MLK’s Vision of Racial Harmony - Charlie Dates
    • Panel 1 - Memphis 50 Years after King with Sandy Wilson (Moderator), Steve Gains, Eli Morris, Bishop Ed Stephens, and J. Lawrence Turner
  • Session 2: 3:30-5:20 PM
    • Brief Talk 1: Equipping the Next Generation to Embrace Gospel Diversity -Jackie Hill-Perry
    • Keynote 3: The Power of Unearned Suffering: Celebrating MLK’s Legacy After 50 Years - Mika Edmondson
    • Panel 2 - Complex Aspects of King with Mika Edmondson (Moderator), Russell Moore, Car Ellis, Charlie Dates, and Trillia Newbell
  • Session 3: 7:00-9:30 PM
    • Brief Talk 2: Don’t Lose Heart: Why It’s Worth It to Fight for Racial Harmony Even When We Don’t See Progress - Eric Mason
    • Keynote 4: The Church without Walls: How God Can Use the Unified Church to Serve Our Divided Communities - Ralph West
    • Keynote 5: The Civil Rights Movement 50 Years after MLK: An Interview with Russell Moore - John Perkins
    • Panel 3 - Civil Rights Storytellers with Sandy Wilson (Moderator), John Perkins, Melvin Charles Smith, James Netters, and Beverly Robertson
    • Corporate Prayer
April 4th, 2018 – Wednesday
  • Session 4: 8:30-10:00 AM
    • Brief Talk 3: Next Steps every Church Can Take to Pursue Racial Unity
    • Keynote 6: A House Divided Cannot Stand: Understanding and Overcoming the Inconsistencies in White Evangelicals on Racial Issues - Matt Chandler
    • Brief Talk 4: Christian Hip Hop and the Next Generation of Christian Racial Unity - Trip Lee
  • Session 5: 10:30-11:35 AM
    • Brief Talk 5: Testimony - Bartholomew Orr
    • Panel 4 - The State of Racial Tension in America with Collin Hansen (Moderator), Christina Edmondson, Justin Giboney, Juan Sanchez, and Benjamin Watson
  • Breakout 1: 1:30-2:30 PM
    • Should We Give Up on Multi-ethnic Ministry? with Jason Cook sponsored by The Gospel Coalition
    • The SBC and Race: Problems and Progress with Daniel Patterson (Moderator), Kevin Smith, Byron Day, Vance Pitman and Danny Akin sponsored by The Young Leader Initiative by the Executive Committee and the North American Mission Board
    • Race and the Family: Marriage, Fatherlessness, Adoption, Foster Care with Andrew Walker (Moderator), Ray Ortlund, Kelly Rosati, BJ Thompson, and Jackie Hill-Perry sponsored by the 2018 ERLC National Conference
    • Jesus Loves the Little Children: Raising Kids who Embrace Diversity with Trillia Newbell sponsored by The Good Book Company
    • The Gospel in the Hispanic-American Experience with Juan Sanchez sponsored by Evangelical Immigration Table
    • Good Shepherds: How Pastors and Leaders Can Shape Their People's Hearts for Racial Unity with Beau Hughes (Moderator), Todd Wagner, Stephen Um, Ed Copeland and Daryl Williamson
    • Seeking the Welfare of the City: Learning from Local Memphis Ministry Leaders with Ei Morris (Moderator), Larry Lloyd, Randy Odom, and Reggie Davis sponsored by Memphis Christian Pastors Network
    • A Dream Deferred: The Church's Mixed Record on Civil Rights with Collin Hansen sponsored by The Gospel Coalition
    • The Politics of Race: How the Political World Undermines Racial Unity and What We Can Do to Change that Reality with Brent Leatherwood (Moderator), DJ Jordan, Travis Wussow, and Justin Giboney sponsored by the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
    • The Bible and Bigotry: How Scripture has been (mis)used on Racial Issues with Michael McAfee sponsored by the Museum of the Bible
    • How Should Christians Engage Restoration in Their Communities? with Dhati Lewis the North American Mission Board
  • Breakout 2: 3:00-4:00 PM
    • How (Not) to Talk About Race: Talking with Each Other, Not Past Each Other with Walter Strickland, Danny Akin, Miguel Echevarria, Matthew Mullins, and Missie Branch sponsored by Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
    • Women and Racial Unity: Reflections on the Last 50 Years with Trillia Newbell (Moderator), Christina Edmondson, Karen Swallow Prior, and Jamie Ivey sponsored by The Gospel Coalition Women’s Conference
    • White Church, Black Pastor: Leading a Majority Culture Church as a Minority Culture Minister with Rufus Smith and Craig Strickland sponsored by Memphis Christian Pastors Network
    • Justice Delayed is Justice Denied: Pursuing Criminal Justice Reform with Matt Hawkins (Moderator), Ed Copeland, Heather Rice-Minus, James Kirkwood, and Julie Warren sponsored by Right on Crime
    • Ministry on the Margins: Immigration, Refugees, and Ministry to the Vulnerable with Travis Wussow (Moderator), Alan Cross, and Rondell Trevino sponsored by The Evangelical Immigration Table
    • The Gospel in the African-American Experience with Carl Ellis sponsored by Reformed Theological Seminary
    • Revitalizing our Communities: Pursuing Poverty Relief and Economic Development with Steve Nash sponsored by Advance Memphis
    • The Gospel in the Asian-American Experience with Raymond Chang
    • For the City: Growing Disciples who Serve Their Community with Brian Dye sponsored by The Legacy
    • Following Kings Dream: Reconciling the Two Americas through Economic Justice and Educational Equity with Justin Giboney and CJ Rhodes sponsored by The (&) Campaign
  • Session 6: 7:00-9:40 PM
    • Keynote 7: To the Ends of the Earth: The Great Commission, the Global Persecuted Church, and Racial Unity - Karen Ellis
    • Brief Talk 6: Interview with Phillip Bethancourt
    • Panel 5 - Evangelicals and the Future of Racial Unity with Phillip Bethancourt (Moderating), Don Carson, H.B. Charles, Crawford Loritts, and Afshin Ziafat
    • Keynote 8: The Glory of God and Racial Unity - John Piper


Danny Akin
President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Thabiti Anyabwile*
Pastor, Anacostia River Church

Phillip Bethancourt
Executive Vice President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Felix Cabrera
Pastor, Iglesia Bautista Central

Don Carson*
Professor, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Matt Chandler*
Pastor, The Village Church

H.B. Charles*
Pastor, Shiloh Church

Jason Cook*
Associate Pastor, Fellowship Memphis

Ed Copeland
Pastor, New Zion Baptist Church

Charlie Dates 
Pastor, Progressive Baptist Church

Byron Day 
President, National African-American Fellowship

David Dockery 
President, Trinity International University

Ligon Duncan
Chancellor & CEO, Reformed Theological Seminary

Brian Dye
Director, The Legacy

Mika Edmondson* 
Pastor, New City Fellowship

Christina Edmondson 
Dean of Intercultural Student Development, Calvin College

Carl Ellis
Academic Dean, The Makazi Institute

Karen Ellis
President, The Makazi Institute

David Fleming
Pastor, Champion Forest Baptist Church

Ronnie Floyd 
Senior Pastor, Cross Church

Steve Gaines 
Pastor, Bellevue Baptist Church

Robby Gallaty 
Pastor, Long Hollow Baptist Church

Justin Giboney
Co-Founder, AND Campaign

Matt Hall*
Dean, Boyce College

Collin Hansen*
Editorial Director, The Gospel Coalition

Steven Harris*
Director of Advocacy, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Jackie Hill Perry*
Writer, Speaker, & Artist, Humble Beast Records

D.A. Horton
Pastor, Reach Fellowship

Dean Inserra
Pastor, City Church Tallahasse

Dhati Lewis
Pastor, Blueprint Church

Shai Linne
Pastor, Risen Christ Fellowship

Nathan Lino*
Pastor, Northeast Houston Baptist Church

Louis Love
Pastor, New Life Fellowship Church

Dwight McKissic
Pastor, Cornerstone Baptist Church

Russell Moore*
President, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Trillia Newbell*
Director of Community Outreach, Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

John Onwucheckwa
Pastor, Cornerstone Atlanta

Ray Ortlund
Pastor, Immanuel Nashville

Jason Paredes
Pastor, Fielder Church

Ben Peays
Executive Director, The Gospel Coalition

Vermon Pierre
Pastor, Roosevelt Community Church

Eric Redmond
Assistant Professor, Moody Bible Institute

C.J. Rhodes
Pastor, Mount Helm Baptist Church

Juan Sanchez*
Pastor, High Pointe Baptist Church

Kevin Smith
Executive Director, Baptist Convention of Maryland & Delaware

Walter Strickland
Professor, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

BJ Thompson
Co-Founder, Build a Better Us

Stephen Um
Pastor, Citylife Presbyterian Church

A.B. Vines
Pastor, New Seasons Church

Todd Wagner
Pastor, Watermark Community Church

Benjamin Watson
Tight End, Baltimore Ravens

Darryl Williamson
Pastor, Living Faith Bible Fellowship

Curtis Woods
Associate Executive Director for Convention Relations, Kentucky Baptist Convention

Jenny Yang
Vice President of Advocacy & Policy, World Relief

Afshin Ziafat*
Pastor, Providence Church

*Indicates participation in the MLK50 Programming Committee.



Memphis Convention Center
255 N. Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103


April 3rd, 2018 – Tuesday
Check-in – 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Conference – 1:00 PM – 9:00 PM

April 4th, 2018 – Wednesday
Conference – 8:30 AM – 9:30 PM


The Memphis International Airport (MEM) is about 12 miles from the convention center.

We have partnered with Delta, Southwest, and United to provide airline discount codes for your travel to Memphis. See below for details on obtaining the discounts.

Delta: Go to and click on Book Your Flight Here. Enter in the city/airport info, dates, and meeting event code: NMRAP

Southwest: Go to and click on Flight. Enter 99524821 in the company ID box and select Continue. From there you can search for flights with the discount code applied.

United: Go to and click on All Search Options. Enter in city/airport info, dates, and ZEG5505687 in the Promotions and Certificates box.


Limited rooms are available at the Big Cypress Lodge in Memphis. Please call 1-866-380-9431 to reserve your room.

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