The World Reformed Fellowship
The World Reformed Fellowship seeks to serve the Kingdom of Christ by advancing Reformed partnerships worldwide. We believe this can be done so that the strengths of some might become the strengths of all in the service of Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 4: 11 - 13).
Our name reflects some key points about our identity:
- Glocal in reach: We are a global organization that seeks to impact the worldwide church also locally. (WORLD)
- Distinctive in character: We seek to act from a distinctively reformed theological and ecclesiastical tradition that we believe to be rooted in the Scriptures. (REFORMED)
- Connectional in nature: We do not exist to duplicate the work that is done by the visible church or to function as a church council, rather, we are called to establish, nurture and encourage relationships and cooperation within the visible global church at the individual, organizational and ecclesiastical levels. (FELLOWSHIP)
In accordance with our identity and to fulfill our mission, we have set forth four (4) aspects of what we aim to help the church accomplish (our end-result goals):
- To GLORIFY God
- To PROCLAIM the Gospel of grace
- To SERVE the church and society
- To PROMOTE the Reformed Biblical world and life view
Why a World Reformed Fellowship?
The Biblical and Confessional Foundation of the World Reformed Fellowship
While specific regional or national expressions of the universal church do, in many ways, embody characteristics of the Body of Christ, there are other characteristics of that Body which transcend those expressions. It is those other characteristics that the WRF seeks to set forth in its commitments and in its activities.
- The mission of the World Reformed Fellowship is to promote understanding, cooperation and sharing of resources among our membership of evangelical and reformed Christians in the advancement of the Gospel.
- The vision of the WRF is simple: "That the strengths of some might become the strengths of all in the service of Jesus Christ" (see Paul's prayer in Ephesians 4: 11 - 13).
The Affirmations of the World Reformed Fellowship
- The essence of the true religion (and of Reformed theology) is adoration and worship of the Triune God - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
- This Triune God is worthy of the praise and service of all of creation
- Christians in many places and many denominations who share these first two commitments will find their worship and service of the Lord God enhanced by contact with others of like mind
The Formal Doctrinal Basis of The World Reformed Fellowship
We affirm the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the God-breathed Word of God, without error in all that it affirms.
We stand in the mainstream of the historic Christian Faith in affirming the following catholic creeds of the Early Church: The Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Chalcedonian Definition.
- More specifically, every voting member of the WRF affirms one of the following historic expressions of the Reformed Faith:
A Brief Historical Sketch
The World Fellowship of Reformed Churches (WFRC) was created in 1994, under the leadership of the Presbyterian Church in America, the Presbyterian Church of Brazil and the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico. They were joined by other churches from Latin America, India, East Africa and the United States of America.
Also in the early nineteen nineties, churches in Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan and other parts of Asia came together to form the International Reformed Fellowship (IRF).
On October 24, 2000, leaders from the WFRC and the IRF gathered in Orlando (Florida, USA) to form the first truly reformed, evangelical, worldwide fellowship, naming it the World Reformed Fellowship (WRF) and establishing its governing structure and Bylaws.
The World Reformed Fellowship was thus formed to encourage understanding and cooperation among evangelical Presbyterian and Reformed denominations and institutions, and to link those institutions having ministry resources with those possessing vision but few resources. The fellowship would promote Reformed thinking, a Reformed world and life view, foster evangelism and strategies on missions, church planting and theological education, and promote international communication for the further advancement of the Gospel.
The founders understood that the people of God, with diversified cultural and ethnic backgrounds, are one in Christ. Through the years, God has enabled WRF to express the unity of the church through cooperative agreements based upon the same Biblical, evangelical, and missionary vision. Thus, believing that these are but expressions of a well-thought-out Reformed perspective, we continue to invite other Reformed churches, agencies, institutions, and individuals to join with us under the banner of a new international, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic Reformed fellowship of believers. The desire of The World Reformed Fellowship continues to be to see the Gospel spread throughout the world, applying the distinctives of a Reformed world and life view.
Members of this fellowship are not obligated to formally be responsible for one another's specific positions or actions, but in the atmosphere of free association, may lovingly influence and encourage each other toward greater consistency in Biblical faith and witness. WRF provides a context in which member organizations may become acquainted with each other, and where their leaders may develop friendships and trusting relationships leading to closer, mutually beneficial cooperation.
In many ways WRF fulfills the dream cherished by John Calvin in the 1500s, the Westminster divines in the 1600s, and George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards in the 1700s, of a truly worldwide union of the Reformed branch of the Church.
Unlike other international bodies which have sought to unite Reformed Christians, WRF emphasizes that it is a fellowship, not a council. Councils tend to require tight agreement doctrinally or in polity, or focus on mutual declarations of an academic nature. WRF is designed to surmount difficulties caused by geographic, cultural, or linguistic barriers and to offer a gathering point where Reformed leaders can grow to know one another and then work out mutually beneficial cooperative agreements. WRF provides one level of fellowship for denominations and another for agencies, institutions, lay persons and leaders.
Nearing its twentieth anniversary, the WRF has a growing membership of over 73 denominational members (in 30 countries), 54 congregational members (in 26 countries), 114 organizational members (in 30 countries), and 374 individual members (in 53 countries). Considering all four categories, WRF has a footprint that covers at least 61 nations.
With a board of thirty-two members representing thirteen nations, The World Reformed Fellowship continues its mission and also focuses on the contemporary needs of the international Reformed community such as the plight of persecuted Christians and religious freedom in general, societal changes, incorporation of theological education, missions, publications, and the expansion of evangelical fellowship into all parts of the world.
...the strengths of all
IN THE SERVICE OF JESUS CHRIST
- Promoting Reformed thinking and world and life view
- Informing and encouraging Reformed churches and people
- Providing a forum for dialogue on current issues
- Offering direction to the evangelical Reformed community
- Promoting evangelization in the Reformed tradition
- Maintaining, strengthening, and defending the sound doctrines and Biblical-theological tenets that distinguish us as Reformed Christians