Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting a new student at RTS who has sacrificed much to come to this seminary to prepare for a life of service to the Church back in his persecuted nation. It took some creative and Providential work to get that young man from leaving his weeping but proud family in his home village to beginning studies in semester. There are layers of stories involved. He is staying with a family who are providing help to him as he prepares to become a pastor. They are as much heroes to me as the young man. I am praying for that young man today. And in my prayer I reminded of a Biblical promise and a Spirit-wrought conviction that is leading me to another promise:
The Biblical Promise
“No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall confute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord ” (Isaiah 54:17 ESV).
God‘s power will overwhelm all opposition in your land, my young friend. And the very thing that is fashioned to destroy you will become the instrument in the hands of a sovereign God that destroys (the greatest “destruction” now is the destruction of sinful captives to the devil, and the salvation of “Sauls;” so that those who curse Christ today and persecute His people will preach Christ tomorrow and bless His people).
And there is another promise. This promise comes from deep within my heart as I serve this seminary. It is a challenge to each faculty member, administrator, employee, supporter and prayer warrior: The Persecuted Church who risk all to come to us remind us that our identity is, and always has been, first, a missions movement of the Holy Spirit to prepare Soldiers of the Cross for the spiritual warfare that is going on in the world. We are not an educational institution. We are not a graduate school of theology. Those are terms and identifiers that the world uses to help find us on their map of identities. We are a missions movement designed to prepare pastors and missionaries and other Gospel laborers for the Church of Jesus Christ to fulfill the Great Commission. Our identity is firmly rooted in Great Commission ministry and service to the Church. Our means for ministry is altogether grounded in prayer and teaching and preaching the Word of God. I promise to you that by God’s grace I will not forget why God established us. We are here for you, to teach, to prepare, to give you a time of vocational preparation for a life of service to Christ and His Church. This is our passion and our prayer. God help us.
And may God establish you in your study of His Word, in a community of prayer, where your mind and heart will be strengthened to return to the front lines and carry on the good work of the Gospel. Your example, your sacrifice clarifies our vision and mission and gives strength to our prayer for revival in Old Christendom even as we watch the Spirit bring revival to New Christendom and prepare to open up the Next Christendom.