Comissions

Much of the work of the World Reformed Fellowship is carried out by its three Permanent Commissions. The permanent commissions are chaired by board members elected by the Board, but the commission itself may add to its composition, with the consent of the Board, any member of the WRF who is willing and able to serve.  Each commission develops and implements projects and partnerships that address specific needs of the global visible church in such ways as to foster interconnectedness, impact at the local and global levels and ultimately reflect the glory of God that is manifested through His Global Visible Church. The description of the work done by each of these commissions is found under the three different headings.

Evangelism and Missions

The Commission on Evangelism and Missions
“From the rising of the sun to its setting the name of the Lord is to be praised” (Psalm 113:3)
 
1.   Statement of Purpose:
 The Great Commission of Christ (Mt 28:18-20) is the mandate to the Church to take the gospel to the world. As the Missions and Evangelism Commission (MEC) of the World Reformed Fellowship (WRF), we understand that our role in that global mandate is to promote, encourage, and assist WRF members in their various endeavors to proclaim the gospel in whatever context and by whatever means, in accordance with the call of God and consistent with a Reformed theology of mission. Specifically, our goals are:
  • To stimulate and encourage the members of the WRF in and for the task of Mission.
  • To promote biblical study and theological discussions on the concept and practices of mission
  • To provide a useful network for members involved in Mission.
2. Projects toward achieving goals
The WRF motto is “Strength of some; Strength of all.” How will this commission assist in making the strength of some the strength of all?
  1. Draw lessons from the work and experience in mission from the members of WRF and make it available to those who can benefit from it, allowing others to look through their eyes into their context. To this end, we could solicit articles/chapters from WRF members. We would not be seeking a fully-orbed theology of mission from each; rather, just a particular issue or method they have encountered, learned about, seen to be effective (or fail). In short, simply a lesson or word of advice for others. These contributions might be published, but could certainly be made available on the website.
  2. Create a searchable directory on the website of WRF members who are engaged in missions and/or evangelism, with information as to who is serving where in what capacity, to help everyone learn from one other, collaborate and maximize their output, and reduce repetition and duplication of work.

In sum, the Missions and Evangelism section of the web-site will provide:

  • a supportive and stimulating resource for Reformed Christians working in isolation or in non-Reformed mission contexts;
  • a networking point for Reformed missionaries and mission organizations, to stimulate missiological thinking with a world-wide perspective, to share the experience and wisdom of their ministries, and to fuel intelligent and fervent prayer;
  • a point of entry into the world of Reformed thought and activity in the realm of missions and missiology, useful for seminaries, students and practitioners of mission.
3. Membership of the MEC
The Commission aims to be representative of the WRF’s whole range of membership and expertise. Ideally, each of WRF’s Regional Groups will be represented, along with various specialists in aspects of Missions and Evangelism.

Currently, the Commission includes the following members:
  • Steve Curtis (Philippines), Convener 
  • Hiralal Solanki (India), Co Convener
  • Woody Lazara 
  • Todd Smedley 
  • Fikret Bocek 
  • Antonio Cabrera 
  • Laurence Gatawa
  • Rev. John Norwood
  • Samuel Christian
  • Case Thorp
Those who have an interest in being part of the work of this Commission should contact Dr. Davi Charles Gomes at davi@wrf.global.

Theological Education

Formation 

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 

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.

The Objectives
  1. To promote fellowship among theological schools and teachers who share the common evangelical Reformed faith; 
  2. To share resources and experiences such as library, learning and teaching, by means of visits, communication, short-term teaching and conferences; 
  3. To explore ways to maximize the impact of Reformed theology on leadership development by means of curriculum design, spiritual formation, contextual theological construction; 
  4. 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-)

Theology

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 samueltlogan@aol.com .