The following Christmas letter was sent to friends of RTS, and it is offered here with every prayer that you would know the blessing of the presence and power of Jesus Christ at this and every season of life:
“Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations (Isaiah 42:1) For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15).
Dear Friends in Christ,
Greetings in the Lord! The advent of Jesus Christ, celebrated at this time of year, brings with it the story of our Servant-King who came to save us. That truth is brought home at Christmas with familiar aromas of Christmases past: of freshly cut firs, gingerbread cookies baking in the oven, and, for me, the smell of mincemeat pie!
There is also an aroma here at Reformed Theological Seminary. It is the aroma of salvation to the world through our Lord Jesus Christ. At RTS in Jackson, Orlando, Charlotte, Washington DC, through our RTS Virtual campuses, our new Houston extension site and our Memphis extension, as well as our international partnerships in Brazil and Indonesia, we are preparing men and women to be the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing (2 Corinthians 2:15), men and women who will boldly declare Christ as the suffering servant of Isaiah to the lost (Isaiah 42:1). They will preach this Gospel, as our graduates are doing now, to the ends of the earth. These courageous men and women are increasingly leaving hearth and home from all over America and even from around the world to attend this seminary. Our pastors and other servants-in-training also come together as one community from over 50 different denominations to learn the truths of the Word of God that give us our unity in Christ.
I write to ask you, during this Christmas season, to please pray for this Gospel work of RTS. Pray for our faculty and staff who give their gifts and lives for the sake of this vision. Pray for our students and their families as they make sacrifices in order to be equipped as pastors, educators and missionaries. I ask you to also pray about financially supporting this Great Commission ministry at this season. Help us spread the aroma of Christ throughout the world. Your gift at the end of this year means more than we could ever say. Your gift, however modest or large, will be used to help scholarships for many who depend on our supporters in order to attend seminary. The cost for each pastoral student is $13,500 per year, or about $40,500 for the entire program of preparation. Would you please pray about a gift to help raise up a new generation of pastors faithful to the inerrant and infallible Word of God, who may one day pastor your grandchildren? Our students have left all to be here. They need your help now more than ever. One may give online at a secure RTS site here.
And so, with my wife, Mae, and our son, John Michael, with our dear students, dedicated faculty and staff, we all wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Christ-centered New Year! With the great poet-preacher John Donne, of St. Paul’s, we too breath in the aroma of Christmas and exhale a prayer into the clear, cold night of this season, remembering that
“we cannot speak, we cannot sigh a prayer to God, but that that whole breath and air is made of mercy” and that “all times are His seasons” (Christmas Day sermon in the Evening, 1640, at St. Paul’s).
It is all of mercy. All times are His seasons. Christmas is His time, His season. Christmas is about His mercy to sinners by sending His only begotten Son to a sinful world to live the life we could never live and die the death that should have been ours so that through faith in Him we, who believe, are justified before our holy triune God. This is the message entrusted to us. This is the message we ask you to support. Thank you for all you have done for this ministry.
Yours Faithfully in the Lord,
Mike MiltonChancellor/CEO Elect James M. Baird Jr. Professor of Pastoral Theology Reformed Theological Seminary