Reformed Seminary, College, Free Sermons, Scholarly Resources, and Overseas Missions Opportunities
Vision & Mission
BASIC MISSION POLICIES
OVERSEAS MISSION STATEMENT
The purpose of Reformation Christian Ministries is Gospel-centered education and outreach aimed at Reformation. Let us be clear that when we say Gospel-centered, we speak of the true biblical Gospel which is set forth in Scripture and rooted only in the works and obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ to which man can offer nothing nor do anything. When we say that we are Gospel-centered, we mean that this true Gospel is the only building block for life in fellowship and communion with God. As this is God's world, everything that man does in his body and with the resources of creation must be done for His glory. As a result, out of this Gospel-centered foundation, there is a resultant culture which issues forth from within individuals who have been made anew by the Holy Spirit of God which has potential impact throughout an entire society, and in this global age, throughout the entire world. As such, we see our work as an integral part of the Great Commission given by Christ to His church on earth, under whose authority and oversight we carry it out.
We see Gospel reformation taking place by the means of Gospel preaching and education aimed at the conversion of individuals to Christ from both within and without the visible church. When true conversion takes place, it is due to God’s sovereign uniting of the believer by new birth to His Son Jesus Christ so as to place him irretrievably on the path of on-going transformation and a walk of increasing holiness. God brings about this change as the fruit of His Holy Spirit in those He has made righteous that they may become a tree of life to those around (Proverbs 11:30). This we believe to be Great Commission evangelism which begins with the individual, but is not consummated until all nations of individuals have been discipled (Matthew 28:18-20) to the extent of “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5). While there is still great debate on the degree of progress Christ's kingdom will achieve on earth and how it is to be measured, we are comfortable with seeing this victory by faith as set forth in the Scripture in the fulfilling of this command since Christ is with His church till the end. This cannot result in failure any more than Christ's work on the cross resulted in failure. In the final analysis, our ultimate hope is not to be found upon this earth, but rather in the final consummation when the Kingdom of Christ is delivered over to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24).
We believe that biblical love and doctrine are the mainstays of this reformation, and the ordained self-governments of individual, family, church and state, are each utilized in its promotion by carrying out their respective God-given tasks. We believe this biblical world/life view is best expressed doctrinally in the Three Forms of Unity, Westminster Standards and such other doctrinal statements that are essentially consistent with them.
Through ministers of the Gospel from North America and other countries operating under church authority, we seek to come along side of “reformers” who either are, or are inclined to be, committed to the same Gospel and same basic doctrinal standards; to assist them especially in areas of educating both themselves, families and fellow countrymen in planting and extending like-minded churches within their culture/nation. In addition to churches (which we see as foundational), we also believe Christian schooling is an integral part of Christian discipleship. While this may take place in different ways, depending upon the temperament of the society/culture, this educational process is nevertheless imperative in obedience to 2 Corinthians 10:5 "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ" as part of the "discipling" process (Matthew 28:19).
As we receive requests from around the globe for assistance of various kinds far beyond our ability to respond. Providence forces us to restrict ourselves to those with whom we have good acquaintance and like-precious faith as expressed in our doctrinal standards.
This is an educational outreach ministry through both printed and on-line courses aimed at presenting the Gospel in relation to every subject upon which it teaches. The courses are written in English and translated into other languages for distribution through various means throughout the world.
It is the purpose of RITS to provide Gospel-centered education and training for those called to be Gospel ministers and preachers as well as others desirous of Reformation oriented theological training. The program of study is specifically designed to be carried on under the oversight and in the context of a local church or mission station, enabling a student to obtain a high quality education without the imperative of relocation and thus immediately apply their education in the context in which it will be used. The education is offered in English, but is also designed for fairly easy translation into other languages and also with English as second language students in mind. Degrees are offered in accordance with the laws of the State of Florida for post-secondary education at the Licentiate, Diploma, Bachelor, Master and Doctoral levels.
It is the purpose of RIC to provide Gospel-centered education and training for those called to serve the Lord in various occupations. The program of study is designed to provide a general Christian studies degree (what some might call “liberal arts”) with certain majors offered in economics and education all in the context of a home and/or home church. Studies may be used by young people entering into college from a home or Christian school environment or for adults seeking their first degree or some form of continuing education. The program allows for the student to complete at least a Bachelor degree without the necessity of relocation. It is designed for those both in North America as well as in other nations all in the English-language.
The purpose of RMP is to support the above educational ministries, as well as the Christian public in general with publications consistent with its purpose of promoting Gospel-centered education. Special emphases are laid upon the publication of courses of study, audio and video courses, as well as books aimed at fulfilling these purposes. Additionally, we aim in furthering the understanding and endeavors of Christian missions, outreach, the science of missions and its history.
Basic Mission Policies
The Gospel is the same not only yesterday, today and forever; but also on every continent in the world. The Gospel and the Christianity that issues forth from it is universal and always confronts culture. To the degree that there is a conflict, culture must give way. Where there is no conflict, then culture and Christianity may coexist quite harmoniously. Whenever “contextualization” wants to adjust the Gospel to the culture by in some way changing the Gospel or diminishing the import of God's law or making it more “keepable” and thus adjust it to the culture; it is going against the God of Scripture and must be vigorously resisted.
On the other hand, there are traditions that have gradually been incorporated into the practice of Christianity in a culture. To the extent that these traditions are not clearly rooted in Scripture, they cannot be viewed as universal biblical principles or commands of God and as such are within the scope of contextualization (i.e. able to be varied from culture to culture).
We believe missions to be the work of the church and not that of para-church organizations (that is, organizations not instigated by or under the authority and general oversight of the church). At the same time, we recognize that many churches (especially local churches) do not have the experience gained in mission work over the centuries since the Reformation. Therefore, some pooling of resources and advice with those who have this experience is most advisable (this being one of the purposes of RCM).
We believe strongly in working, wherever possible, with and through the indigenous church. We believe that the day of foreign missionary pastors is largely gone and counter-productive.
Wherever possible and to the degree possible, we promote policies of self-sufficiency rather than dependency. This by no means should interfere with the welcome concept of fraternal relationships and mutual partnerships, but must always beware of dependency which masquerades under other names.
We believe that whatever policies and methodologies are employed in cross-cultural mission work (whether within or outside of the missionary’s sending nation), that they should be done in a way that is capable of long-term duplication within a nation from the resources of that nation's churches (with the exception of disaster and other emergency diaconal relief).
We believe, to the degree possible, that preaching should be done in the language of the people.
We believe, to the degree possible, that leadership education should likewise be done in the language of the people. This may not be initially possible, but should be the long-term objective.
We acknowledge that English has become something of the universal common academic language of the world today in the same way that Latin and Greek were in prior centuries. We acknowledge that due to the extensive availability of English language materials, that top educated church leaders in different cultures would be wise to acquire this language for the benefit of being able to both read and translate materials into their local languages. We also recognize the knowledge of Latin, German, French and Dutch to be useful.
While we acknowledge the primary role of the church in the Great Commission, we believe that educational training based upon the same doctrinal standards of the church must take place at home; in primary, secondary and trade schools; colleges; seminaries and universities.
"Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them … And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, 'All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen." (Matthew 28:16-20)
Let's take a close look at the Great Commission. Note first that this commission was given to the Church as a body represented by the eleven apostles (v. 16 cp. Eph. 2:20). We find that the central verb in Jesus' command (v. 18-20) is make disciples (more precisely, the verb disciple). The object of the verb is nations. While individuals make up nations, nations is the objective of our Lord's commission to His Church. The Greek word for nations is ethnoi (εθνοι), from which we get our word ethnic, as in ethnic groups. Therefore, nations can refer to tribes or ethnic groups and include nations within nations (as in the Cherokee Indian nation or the Chinese within the United States or Canada). Each is composed of individuals, but also constitutes an ethne (nation).
Participles work with a verb to further explain it. In this case, there are three participles: 1) going (translated as go therefore), 2) baptizing and 3) teaching. The activity of the verb (make disciples/disciple) upon its object (nations) is further explained by the participles — the object of the verb is also the object of the participles. Grammatically, missions is to be going to the nations (including our own); baptizing the nations and teaching the nations. That is how we make disciples of all nations. Obviously, nations are composed of individual people; so the process of going, baptizing and teaching the nations starts with individuals, but does not end with individuals. It ends only with all nations (i.e. individuals from all nations). When we think GREAT COMMISSION, many tend to think too individually. Many people today are seeking to fulfill the Great Commission by sending themselves instead of being sent by the Church and see their objective as reaching only individuals and not nations.
While it is true that individuals are involved, we need to keep our perspective that our Lord's commission was to His Church to reach all nations. Some individuals may be lost, but no nation will be lost (Gen. 26:4; Is. 2:2; Jer. 3:17; Ps. 22:27; Acts 3:25; Rev. 7:9; 11:9; 12:5).
In Matthew 21, when Jesus spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people and said, "…the Kingdom of God will be taken from you (i.e. Israel) and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it," He was speaking to them as a nation (Matt. 21:23, 43).
When Peter preached to the individuals at Pentecost in Acts 2, he started off by addressing them as "Men (individuals) of Israel (the nation) . . ." In Acts 8, when Philip (one of the scattered preachers of Acts 8:4)preached to the multitudes (of individuals) in the city of Samaria (Acts 8:5), verse 14 says "…the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria (city/nation) had received the word…"
Paul says "…my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel (a nation) is that they may be saved" (Rom. 10:1) and "…that the Gentiles (many nations) might be saved" (1 Thess. 2:16). God is interested in peoples or nations. Individuals are the key to reaching those peoples/nations, but we must not lose sight that nations (ethnoi) is the object of our Lord's commission. Nations are to be discipled. Nations are the ultimate objective of the Great Commission.
The Church is to preach the Gospel to them (Mark 16:15) and disciple them. To do this, the Church must go to them. The Church must also baptize them (i.e. baptize the individuals in order to bring both them and through them, their nations into covenant with God). While the Church is a spiritual nation (Matt. 21:43 cp. 1 Pet. 2:9) in full covenant with God, it has/is infiltrating all of the other families/tribes/nations with the intention that they would enter this covenant as well (not unlike Israel did in the wilderness before entering Canaan — Joshua 5). Finally, we are to teach them (again, the nations, cf. Micah 4:2; Jer. 3:17; Rev. 21:24), all things — to obey Christ in everything. He has authority over them; they ought to obey Him.
Christ rules individuals and families by giving them commandments to follow in their individual/family lives. He also rules the Church by giving her commandments to follow in the ecclesiastical realm. Likewise, Christ gives commandments to nations for the ordering of their civil lives. The Church has no less a task to individuals and families (though perhaps more directly) than to the civil magistrate.
The point of all of this is that the nations are the ultimate scope of the Great Commission. Individuals are a necessary means to that end, but the end of the Great Commission is all the nations of the earth. The discipling of individuals must have as its objective the discipling of their family, community and eventually their whole nation. Reformation at the individual level, must conform with the objective of reformation of the nations. Anything less is not the Great Commission.
How does this affect missions?
It has a calming effect on our evangelism, giving us the prudence to work with God's methodology rather than man's. We are not as concerned about short-term reportable successes as we are about long-term impact. It gives us the patience to truly disciple and nurture so that the short-term results mesh with the long-term objectives. It allows us to withstand revolutions and all other political upheavals knowing that our sovereign God controls all such events. It also insists that covenantal relationships be established not only with individuals, but their families, communities and nations.
This discipling approach makes a world of difference in how we approach our mission work overseas. For example: We not only want to disciple our nation and the nations within our nation, but the nations abroad. Christian discipleship requires us to train up nation-disciplers who will stay in their country to be Christ's light to its darkness. The tendencies of many Christians in countries where life is difficult is to find a way to leave so they and their family can live a better life till Jesus comes. However, other groups of people, such as communists and all kind of other non-Christians, often make a point of staying in a country in order to be an influence for their ideology (which Christians know to be false). If this is so with those who do not follow God, why should it not be more so for those who know the Lord, especially since He has given them His command to make disciples of the nations. We should not think about going elsewhere until we have establish a good foundation at home.
Most countries today are dominated in their educational institutions and civil government by socialists, communists and, increasingly Muslims, where once these used to be dominated by Christians. With the advent of dispensationalism, Christians have largely given up on the discipling of nations, leaving this to these others.
As Christians, we should not believe in political salvation; neither should we believe that we are to turn over the educational and political future of each nation to the anti-Christian influences in each country. These are to be gradually taken over by Christians and taken captive for Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5). The light and law of Christ must shine into every nook and cranny of each and every nation — from the remotest regions of an individual's heart to the most humanistic and pagan practices of every institution operating within each nation.
Wherever sin abounds, Christ's light must shine forth.
Check out the work being done in different fields.
Albania & Kosovo | Italy | Russia | Suriname