The Vision and Operation of the Trust
The New Testament features a number of parables concerning the Kingdom of God. One of them concerns a mustard seed. It reads as follows:
'The Kingdom of God,' he said, 'is like a grain of mustard seed, which someone took and sowed in his field. Its the smallest of all the seeds, but when it grows it turns into the biggest of all the shrubs. It becomes a tree, and the birds in the sky can then come and nest in its branches.'
The operation of the Reformational Christian Studies Trust is indeed like that of a mustard seed. Looked at in worldly terms, our numbers and resources are small. However, we take heart from this little story. It provides us with the hope that our attempts to plant a tiny seed with so much potential to leaven the whole fabric of our culture and social order with the gospel of the Kingdom.
If the mustard seed is to become a shrub and a tree so that people of our and future generations might find shelter in the branches of its future communal and organisational structure, then the planting of the seed needs watering and the proper care and attention of the kinds of gardeners needed for the task. Our prayer is that God will bless this venture, and that others might share in its benefits. The treasure of the gospel is housed in very earthen vessels, and it is in the weakness of our organisational structure that we place the vision of reformational Christian cultural and scholarly renewal before you, inviting you to join our community.
God’s will and Good purposes for the Creation - under its human mandate to subdue and care for the garden of creation- have been reaffirmed. The enigmatic but powerful events that took place in first century Judaea, the land of Palestine, home to the Jews, announced an era in which the Kingdoms of the world was challenged by the invasion from heaven – as the realm in which God’s will was faithfully fulfilled. In Nebuchadnezzar’s vision, recorded in the second chapter of the book of Daniel, the great kingdoms of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, the Hellenistic Greeks and the Romans that had held sway over the world, were challenged by the coming of a new and everlasting kingdom. Its manner of coming into being was likened to that of a stone cut by no human hand smiting the great image of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay symbolising the wealth, power and arrogance of all of these kingdoms.
Nonetheless ‘the kingdom of the world’ remained strong and immensely powerful. Indeed,the book of Revelation pictures its struggle with the Kingdom ruled by the Lamb of God in vivid apocalyptic terms. As far as our present historical situation is concerned, the hostility of the kingdoms of the world against the Kingdom of the Lamb become clearer almost day by the day. The way of the Kingship and Kingdom of God ushered in through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus was not one of human pomp and power. It entailed humility, suffering and death. On the other hand this Kingdom established by the stone cut by no human hand, was not a ‘spiritual only’ kind of Kingdom. The final chapters of the book of Revelation may be read as picturing ‘the stone as the New Jerusalem’ coming from heaven to earth, entailing amongst many other things, ‘the kings bringing their glory into it’ so that ‘they shall bring into it the glory and honour of the nations’. There is a sense in which the goal of the Kingdom is one in which the human work shaping the Creation world in all its cultural and social dimensions, will be purified and transformed into the new heavens and the new earth.
In our times, the present age entails the Kingdom of God continuing to do battle between the good and evil penetrating into every nook and cranny of the ‘the world’, with each of us communally engaging in what might seem a modest endeavour to help turn it ‘right-side-up’.
We might describe this situation as a ‘reformational’ calling to live now in ways that promote the healing, the hope and something of a new vision for the various spheres of our social order as this has already been redeemed in Jesus, Messiah. Our marriages, families, industry, farming, commerce, education, the arts, the churches, scholarship, the sciences, engineering and the university.
The societal structure from which we ourselves work is that of the University. In this respect, our mustard seed of an organisation is linked to other mustard seeds around the globe. In both New Zealand and possibly Australia, we hope to establish all manner of links with other organisations so as to assist them realize their own goals, as well the gaining of their assistance in the realisation of ours.
The Program and its Operation:
The Kinds of Activities we will seek to promote in the immediate future.
The immediate focus of our activities will be threefold:
- Scholarly endeavour developing insights for publishing in a variety of ways.
- The Development of this Website.
- The Running of Day and Weekend Seminars. Our intention will generally be to do this in cooperation with other organisations.
We see the Reformational Christian Studies Trust as a kind of mobile think-tank motivated by the work of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts, minds and strength. Our resources are in some ways meagre. The Trustees each have sizeable libraries corporately covering a wide spectrum of subjects and disciplines. We also have a considerable library of dvd’s – including regular films, documentaries and a wide range of educational courses developed by the Teaching Company in the USA. These are at the under-graduate to graduate level, and are generally do not reflect our reformational Christian standpoint. They are nonetheless a great resource that, in some shape or form we want to make available to the public. However, as these have been sold to one of our Trustees on the usual basis of being limited to showings in the home etc, this will be a bit tricky.
In this respect, we also feel it important that we establish a community of scholarly endeavour that is able to inform the wider public of the way in which reformational Christianity may contribute – humbly but authentically – to life in our present world and beyond. To this send we have a vision for developing a Study Centre – possibly in the rural setting of the Wairarapa – to which a whole range of people may be welcomed, given accommodation for varying periods of time – to undertake study programmes. In the longer run, we would hope that these may be credited as reputable courses toward diplomas and degrees.
However, at the present time, this is a vision. We simply do not have either the funds or the personnel to begin such ventures. We therefore invite you to join our community and to share our vision, praying that God would indeed grant it his blessing.
Links to Kindred Organisations and Websites.
Link to Planned Activities – Forthcoming Seminars etc.
Links to the Personnel Involved.
This is a mockup. Publish to view how it will appear live.