On September 11, a previously unthinkable act of violence against our nation occurred. We were shocked saddened and outraged. The memory of that day will be with us all our lives.

      A passenger jet disappearing into a fireball in World Trade Center; the Twin Towers collapsing into a pile of smoking rubble; a gaping cavern in the side of the Pentagon; Pennsylvania woods charred when heroes thwarted terrorist plans to attack another symbol of American life; and the more than 6,000 people killed. Its effects will be felt here, and around the world, for generations to come.

      As diabolical as the violence of that day was, it has provoked a spiritual awakening. When was the last time you saw so many in this country publicly turning to "God"? I am not sure I ever have.

       The hearts of men, women, and children all over this country have been stirred to look beyond themselves for comfort, strength, and security. Will the Church direct them to the one, true God?

       So many Americans are at that place Carolyn James describes her new book, When Life and Beliefs Collide. Current events have slammed into the prevailing, unbiblical worldview and people are shaken to their core. The Church in America has an uncommon opportunity to take the gospel to hurting and insecure people. We desire to offer the biblical worldview - which glorifies the sovereign God - the only worldview providing real and lasting security.

       The opportunity is also a daunting task. "We are willing... God is able," the Seminary's first president, Sam Patterson, declared over thirty-five years ago. Over the years, RTS has grown and has experienced growing pains along the way We, like each of you, have felt the effects of economic hardships, political and military crises, and personal struggles. And, all along the way, RTS has kept its founding commitment to the Bible and to the Westminster Standards.

       Because RTS has stood firm in its commitment, we have been an evangelical and Reformed influence in the lives and ministries of the more than 5,000 students who already have passed through our doors. You can find our graduates ministering in more than 50 countries and in almost every U.S. state. Their ministries, coming in all shapes and sizes," are making a positive difference in people's lives. You will read in this issue of the REFORMED Quarterly about Mo Leverett (MDiv Missions '90) and his gospel ministry to the poor.

       Dan Claire reminds us that the gospel message is not a boring one. The terrorist attack calls us, as Christians, back to resting in God's sovereignty. And, it reminds us at RTS how much work there is yet to be done - how many people in this country still do not know the one, true God and therefore sit in darkness" (as Isaiah put it)! How can the Light who shines with unimaginable glory into a dark world, and into dark lives, be boring?

       I heard just recently of a congregation that cancelled its regular Sunday evening service to enable their members to invite neighbors to come into their homes that evening for prayer. A national crisis provided a doorway; this congregation opened the door and stepped through. New relationships were established and the gospel was shared. We do not know why God allowed the terrorists to strike. However, we do know that the strike has opened opportunities for the gospel light to shine. Will there be enough workers for the harvest?

      Today RTS has more students desiring to prepare for ministry than we have resources to train. Tuition averages $8,000 per student, but the cost per student to the seminary averages $24,000. This gap is not unique to RTS; it is common to all institutions of higher learning. Schools differ in how they fund the gap. Most colleges and universities fund their gap with state and federal support. Because of the potential of interference in our work, RTS does not accept government funding. Instead, we turn to the lord's people, asking them to join us in preparing men and women to shine the gospel light into a world appearing dark and chaotic.

We are thankful for the 35 years of ministry the Lord has allowed us thus far, but we are not resting on our past. We are resting in him... looking ahead, hard at work. Join us, won't you?

Reformed Quarterly, Volume 20, Number 4
© 2001 Reformed Theological Seminary
Articles may not be reprinted without permission.


Last updated 1-10-02.