21 October 2007

confronting kingdom challenges

The World Reformed Fellowship (WRF) was formed in the year 2000 by a merger of the World Fellowship of Reformed Churches and the International Reformed Fellowship, both of which had been founded in 1994, the former serving the Americas (along with India and east Africa) and the latter serving mostly the Pacific rim nations of Asia.

Today the WRF has grown to include Reformed bodies, institutions, and individuals from around the globe: 22 denominational bodies, 37 educational and missionary organizations, and hundreds of individual members (of which I am one) representing six continents and dozens of nations. Thus it is a truly worldwide effort in Reformed ecumenism.

All members affirm the authority of Scripture, the catholic Creeds, and at least one of the following: the Gallican, Scots, or Belgic Confessions, Heidelberg Catechism, Canons of Dort, Westminster Confession of Faith, London Confession of 1689, or Savoy Declaration.

If this sounds like a project you would want to be part of as an individual, parish, or institution, I would urge you to join by contacting executive secretary of the WRF, Samuel Logan (President Emeritus of Westminster Theological Seminary).

The Second General Assembly of the World Reformed Fellowship took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 2006, the theme of which was Masibambisane, the Zulu word meaning "Let us carry the burden together." The papers presented at that historic conference have now been collected together as Confronting Kingdom Challenges: A Call to Global Christians to Carry the Burden Together and addresses the enormous challenges we face throughout the world today.

The proclamation of the good news of the kingdom of Jesus Christ calls us to carry these burdens together and equips us for the opportunities confronting us. Confronting Kingdom Challenges assists us in our increasingly global vocation to serve those around us.

The volume begins be setting a theological context for burden sharing, focusing upon evangelism, as well as giving important attention to the biblical mandate for unity in Christ and the spiritual and practical dangers of disunity.

The chapters that follow provide insight and teaching on concrete issues. These address the challenges and opportunities of ethnic conflict in the Middle East, global sex trafficking, forms of so-called "neo-paganism," defending the gospel, HIV/AIDS, missions, the global urban poor, spiritual formation of ministers, theological education, and radio ministry.

The volume concludes with a hopeful and needed essay on sharing burdens with our sisters and brothers in the mainline churches and other Christians from whom we find ourselves ecclesiastically separated.

Authors include Christian leaders in religion, education, medicine, broadcasting, psychology, urban ministry, and missions, from an Anglican archbishop to a counselor who cares for victims of sexual abuse.

Confronting Kingdom Challenges is a profoundly encouraging book worthy of attention by all Reformed Christians.