Evangelism and Missions
- To stimulate and encourage the members of the WRF in and for the task of Mission.
- To promote the fully Biblical study, discussion and practice of Mission.
- To provide a useful network for members involved in Mission.
The Commission on Theological Education was established by the Executive Committee of the World Reformed Fellowship at its General Assembly held at Johannesburg, South Africa, on March 7-10, 2006. The mandate given was “to facilitate international cooperation among those involved in the work of evangelical Reformed theological education to the end that the entire Church of Jesus Christ is strengthened.”
The need was keenly felt by the participants at that Assembly that we should form a network of theological schools at all levels that hold to the evangelical and Reformed faith, and of theological teachers… The need for exchange and shared teaching especially through short-term lectureships, workshops, and seminars is vital to the unity and strengthening of the worldwide church.
- To promote fellowship among theological schools and teachers who share the common evangelical Reformed faith;
- To share resources and experiences such as library, learning and teaching, by means of visits, communication, short-term teaching and conferences;
- To explore ways to maximize the impact of Reformed theology on leadership development by means of curriculum design, spiritual formation, contextual theological construction;
- To discuss and study issues of concern such as accreditation, mentoring, online education, placement assistance, and to share our findings through publications and the WRF website.
Past Initiatives of the Commission
1. In 2011, WRF brought together 30 Muslim Background Christians to discuss what they thought were the key resources to which those involved in ministry to Muslims should have access. The goal of WRF was to create links in training individuals and institutions for ministry in the context of Islam.
This was followed in 2013 with a Consultation being held in Orlando, Florida.
2. The Theological Education Commission was involved with the Lausanne Movement and many other organisations in 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil for the Consultation on Global Theological Education. This was a major global discussion on theological education. Full resources of those participating and the videos of the presentations can be found here.
3. A) Ongoing relationship with ICETE.
B) Involvement in regional theological educational consultations and meetings, eg Africa…
Current Initiatives of the Commission
1. WRF through its Theological Education Commission partners with the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE). WRF was represented at the most recent ICETE meeting in Panama City, Panama in October, 2018 through Dr Steve Curtis for the WRF TEC. The theme was, The Sacred Secular Divide in Theological Education. The WRF through its Convenor Dr Whytock of the TEE has been involved as a responder to the document concerning quality theological education in the ICETE Roman document.
2. The Theological Education Commission is beginning the process of creating a list of current resources and ministries which can be accessed for free as relate to evangelical and Reformed theological education and which will in time be made available through this website.
Leadership of the Commission
The convenor of the Commission is Dr. Jack C. Whytock (2018-)
At the inaugural General Assembly of the World Reformed Fellowship in Orlando, Florida in 2000, it was determined that the WRF could serve the Church by preparing a new Statement of Faith for the 21st Century.
There were three primary reasons for this decision:
The first reason was that the members of the WRF were drawn from many nations and from many denominations and were using a whole range of confessional statements which included the Scots Confession, the Belgic Confession, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Thirty Nine Articles, the Canons of the Synod of Dort, the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Savoy Declaration and others. At the same time, there was general agreement that we were all ‘"eformed" in theology. Since we were all Reformed, surely it should be possible to come up with a common confessional statement?
The second reason was the need for a confessional statement to address the issues the church is facing today. All of our Confessions were written in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and were largel designed to state the Reformed faith as over against medieval Roman Catholicism and, in the case of the later ones, Arminianism. None of the historic Reformed Confessions deal with the major issues which have faced the Church throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, such as Liberalism, Pluralism and Postmodernism, or with such specific matters as abortion, homosexuality, and genetic engineering.
The third reason was that all of our Confessions were written in Western Europe, whereas the leadership in the evangelical and Reformed global church has now moved to the southern hemisphere. We desired that voices from the Majority World join voices from the West to set out Reformed Theology as we believe it is taught in Scripture.
Shortly after that inaugural Assembly in 2000, 9/11 happened and very little work was done on this project. At the General Assembly in South Africa in 2006, the WRF appointed a Theological Commission and instructed the team of scholars thus appointed to set about the business of writing a new Statement of Faith. The members of the Theological Commission who carried out this work were as follows (in alphabetical order): Dr. Professor Pierre Berthoud from France; Dr. Gerald Bray from England; Dr. Flip Buys from South Africa; Dr. Leonardo de Chirico from Italy; Dr. Wilson Chow from Hong Kong; Dr. Victor Cole from Kenya; Dr. Allan Harman from Australia; Dr. Peter Jones from the USA; Dr. In Whan Kim from South Korea; Dr. Julius Kim from the USA; Dr. Samuel Logan from the USA; Dr. Augustus Nicodemus Lopes from Brazil; Dr. Andrew McGowan from Scotland; Dr. David McKay from Northern Ireland and Dr. Steven Tong from Indonesia. Dr. McGowan served and continues to serve as the Chair of the Theology Commission.
The Statement of Faith was presented to and received by the WRF General Assembly in 2010 in Edinburgh and all members of the WRF were invited to communicate with the WRF Board of Directors with questions, suggestions, or concerns about the Statement of Faith.
Many communications were received, the Theology Commission reviewed each one carefully, and presented to the Board of Directors, at its meeting in Bethesda, Maryland, in March of 2011, a number of suggested modifications to the original Statement. After lengthy discussion and further amendment, the Board approved a final version of the Statement of Faith which has been posted on the WRF website since June 1, 2011.
Subsequently, the Board determined to bring the final Statement of Faith to the 2014 General Assembly with the recommendation that it be approved as one of the confessions to which applicants for membership in the WRF may subscribe as part of the application process.
The Statement of Faith is available on this website in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Korean (under the “About” tab on the home page).
At the 2011 Board meeting, the Board requested the Theology Commission to undertake a further project related to the first. In light of the wide variety of ways in which the word “Reformed” is used, the WRF asked the Theology Commission to prepare for the 2014 General Assembly a brief summary of this question, ‘What does it mean to be ‘Reformed’?”
This project is now underway with Dr. Andrew McGowan continuing to lead the Commission. Members currently serving on the Commission are Pierre Berthoud, Victor Cole, Benyamin Intan, Augustus Nicodemus Lopes, Samuel Logan, Kin Yip Louie, Fergus MacDonald, and Rob Norris.
Anyone having questions about the work of the Theology Commission should contact Dr. Samuel Logan at firstname.lastname@example.org .