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Reformed International Theological Education
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RITE News : Teaching Report by Rev. Glen Gerdes
Posted by webmaster on 2009/12/16 16:50:00 (3306 reads)

I had the privilege of traveling to Donetsk and teaching for RITE during the first two weeks of January, 2007. Although it was not easy to be so far away from my wife and three young children for that length of time, I was delighted to be part of this wonderful ministry and the congregation I serve was excited to send me. Why? Because RITE is fulfilling the Great Commission in a strategic and wise way.

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RITE News : Sixth Graduation This June
Posted by webmaster on 2009/12/16 16:46:35 (3054 reads)

We just had our sixth graduation this June. Each year, as a final requirement for graduation, our students write a final thesis paper. When I am there during the year, I meet with each of them and assist them in their work. The students give an oral presentation of their papers to the student body and answer questions from the professors and the students. This year we had two exceptional papers, one on justification by faith alone and another on progressive sanctification. Both of these students had also maintained high grades and graduated with honors. They are continuing their studies in our master’s degree program. It is always encouraging to see the growth of our students. When they start our program, they have very little theological understanding or interpretive skills. When they graduate, they have a solid understanding of and commitment to Reformed theology along with good interpretive skills. Some of them have developed into excellent expository preachers.

Besides our graduation, we met with eight new students who will start studying with us in the next session in August. Most of these new students are already involved in ministry work in their churches. These students come from various churches and all of them spoke about the good academic reputation our school has developed in Donetsk.
They came to the Lord in various ways, but have one thing in common. They all have a deep desire to grow in their understanding of the Word of God and be more effective in his Church. As we interviewed each prospective student, they expressed their desire to grow and their frustration with the limited opportunities they have had for theological study. They were all excited about starting the program. Reformed theology and theological instruction are still very new to this region. This impressed upon me once again how important this teaching ministry is in Donetsk. Please pray for this vital work and consider regular financial support of it.

Van Lees

RITE News : Our Need and God’s Care by Dr. Merle Messer
Posted by webmaster on 2009/12/16 16:40:00 (3713 reads)

My German Shepherd, Hannah, loves me. When I come home each evening she is anxious to see me and she dances around me. One reason for this is that I take care of her every need. For example, I feed her every day. She does not worry about having food because I purchase large bags of it in advance of when she will need it. She will not have a ‘case of the nerves’ or get ulcers worrying over my care for her.

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RITE News : Convicts and Cheaters by: Dr Merle A Messer
Posted by webmaster on 2007/10/26 16:11:21 (3936 reads)

Convicts and Cheaters

What do convicts and cheaters have to do with the International Reformed Theological Seminary in Donetsk, Ukraine? Well, they have a lot to do with it. This September I asked our new students to introduce themselves and tell us something about their backgrounds. The oldest student, Evodna, said he was 42 years old and had spent 17 years in prison. He is an excellent student and smiles all the time.

I taught Homiletics and one of the students used an interesting sermon illustration. He was a Junior in college when he was converted and he realized he could no longer pay his teachers for passing grades (a usual practice in Donetsk).

Now what do these two men have in common? They both had dramatic conversions and they are overcoming great difficulties to study and be approved workmen of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Covenant of Grace Reformed Church

Another new student, Anatoly, started classes in September with one of his main goals being to help RITE with our new church. Covenant of Grace Reformed church had its first service on September 9th. We rented a small room and we had 28 adults in a standing room only situation. We are looking for a larger place for worship. Of the 28 adults we had four male Muslim students from Syria. They went to the church office after the service for a time of fellowship and desserts to eat, but they remained non-committal about themselves. Many of the people that came did not know what reformed was, but they will find out with time. Rev Artyom did an excellent job of preaching and conducting the service. Our Lord has been gracious to allow us to be part of the beginning of this reformed church after just four years in Donetsk.

Gift Of Books

Through some special donations we were able to purchase some theological books that are printed in Russian. We purchased 25 copies of the following: Calvin on Romans &Galatians, Matthew Henrys commentary on the New Testament (6 vol), Matthew Henry on Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs, The Westminster Shorter Catechism &Commentary, Thomas Watsons, Doctrine of Repentance, Octavius Winslows, The Work of the Holy Spirit and Spurgeons 4th book of Psalms. We got 30 copies of the Heidelburg Catechism. We purchased three copies of William Guthries, The Christians Greatest Interest and Thomas Watsons Heaven Taken By Storm. The last two sets were for our seminary library. We also purchased about 10 copies of the Geneva Study Bible and Calvins Institutes for those who lacked the Bible or the three volume set of Calvins work. We certainly appreciate the special gifts to purchase these books. Now for the first time students will have theological books at home for their personal study.

Visitors

In September we had the pleasure of having two ladies from Canada visiting classes and some orphanages. Mrs Thea VanDixhoorn and Mrs Anje Boer were there for about a week. I think they were tired when they left, but they saw a lot and met our present students and some past graduates.

Dr Merle A Messer, merlemesser@bellsouth.net Cell 24/7 1-601-573-8974

RITE News : Article by: Glenn Gerdes
Posted by webmaster on 2007/10/25 17:30:15 (3491 reads)

By: Glenn Gerdes

I had the privilege of traveling to Donetsk and teaching for RITE during the first two weeks of January, 2007. Although it was not easy to be so far away from my wife and three young children for that length of time, I was delighted to be part of this wonderful ministry and the congregation I serve was excited to send me. Why? Because RITE is fulfilling the Great Commission in a strategic and wise way.

Concerning this, I would like to share five encouraging thoughts with those of you who are supporting or serving with RITE.

First, RITE is effectively building up and encouraging pastors, teachers and other servants of the church who are part of the Ukrainian culture. I say this to accentuate a significant difference between the ministry of RITE and that of a full-time cross-cultural missionary. Whereas it takes a lot of time, money and effort to train and send one full-time missionary into a culture other than his or her own, RITE is graduating many students who are from the culture and who desire to serve the body of Christ in it. After the recent joy of teaching for RITE, I can affirm that these students are willing and dedicated to the task that is set before them in Ukraine.

In saying this I am not trying to down-play the need for full-time cross cultural missionaries, rather I am emphasizing how RITE plays a distinct and significant role in the spread of the Gospel.

Second, RITE students are eager to test and approve what is true and minister accordingly. For instance, while in Donetsk, I taught a course titled, Hard Sayings of the Bible, and the various passages we looked at lead to profitable discussions concerning specific Reformed doctrines, Christian living, and church discipline. The students asked many challenging questions and because of the answers they discovered in the Bible they are becoming more Reformed in their thinking.

Third, Doctrinally Reformed church plants are desperately needed in Donetsk and the work of RITE is and will help fulfill this need (see thought number two). It was exciting to meet a graduate of RITE who is now seeking to plant a church of Reformed persuasion in Donetsk. Because the students are eager to learn and RITE is committed to solid teaching, by Gods grace and power we anticipate more of this fruit in the future.

Fourth, the translators who work for RITE are not only proficient in their work - they are dedicated to serving Christ and advancing the work of RITE. I mention this because they serve a vital role in this ministry. The students hear through the translator not only the knowledge the professor is teaching but also his passion for Christ and Gods Word. Therefore a Spirit-filled translator who is zealous to see Christ exalted is crucial to the process. RITE students are blessed to have such translators! And let me also testify that this is a blessing for the professors as well. The translators welcomed us to Ukraine with the love of Christ and helped us live there and enjoy their city.

Fifth, let me mention a Scripture passage that comes to mind as I write to those of you who are supporting RITE financially and in prayer. In Philippians chapter 4 (starting with verse 17), the apostle Paul writes the following concerning the monetary support the Philippians had been providing for his ministry: Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)

Those of you who are supporting RITE should take great encouragement from this passage. None of us earn anything from God but God does graciously and eternally reward the faithful, sacrificial work of his servants (see Luke 12:32-34, Matthew 25:14-30, and II Corinthians 9:6-8.) So even though your feet may never walk the streets of Donetsk, the work being done there is being credited to your account because you are supporting it! Your gifts are a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

May God continue to bless the work of RITE, raising up eager students to learn, gifted professors to teach, and more people to pray and support the ministry.

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