REFORMED EVANGELICAL MOVEMENT
- Vision & Mission
- Before The Movement
- Reformed Movement in History
- Calling of the Reformed Evangelical Movement
Vision and Mission of the Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church
We call ourselves the Reformed Evangelical, because we believe in reformed theology and are excited to evangelise. Reformed theology, we believe in a theology based on the sovereignty of God and we make every effort to reinforce the authority of the Bible. Our evangelical spirit reminds us Christians, that we should be the salt and light of the world, loving those who are still living in sin, who need the atoning blood of Christ. We express this in our Creed, as well as in the burden and prayer that was expressed by Pastor Stephen Tong during the opening service of GRII in Jakarta.
Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church (Gereja Reformed Injili Indonesia - GRII) was founded by Pastor. Dr. Stephen Tong. GRII was set to fight for a pulpit that is faithful to the Word of God. Therefore, GRII takes very special attention to the teaching of the Word from the pulpit. We strive to keep the pulpit to truly become a place of responsible preaching, which is based on a careful exposition of the Word of God, and refrain from abusing the pulpit for personal gain or worldly gains and other secular matters.
GRII's existence anywhere is expected to be a blessing to all the Christians in the area. Therefore, GRII never thinks that this church solely exists to cater a specific group of Christians, but will always strive so that we can be a blessing to as many people as possible with the widest possible scope.
Before This Movement
In the middle of the twentieth century, the world of Christianity had only experienced some relief from the difficulties brought about by World War II. Eastern Europe has fallen into the hands of communism. The Western European region is beset by secularism. Missionaries began to shift from mainland Europe to North America. Meanwhile, the church in America must face the development of Liberalism which is very threatening to the life of traditional Christianity.
Meanwhile, the most recent theologies, for example: Demitologization try to compete with the NeoOrthodox from the Barthian wing to denounce the belief of the gospel. At such times, the church in Asia is sleeping in the stage of neglecting theology, even though the spiritual movements that have been gifted by God are already bearing fruit, especially in Southeast Asia and China. As a result of the revival services led by John Sung and Andrew Gih have produced many fruits in the form of full-time workers serving God and evangelistic teams that have developed here and there that have aroused the national spirit in Asian countries. But the Ecumenical movement which ignored orthodoxy and expanded the spirit of tolerance towards all kinds of new currents,
In the 70s and 80s, when evangelicals saw the danger of confusion within Christianity, in Southeast Asia student movements began to be revived, including the Office Movement and Student Service Institutions (Campus Crusade). However, theological camps, namely places where the servants of God are educated, do not have sufficient strength to maintain the orthodox faith. That is why there was a movement to establish theological schools outside the line of conventional institutions. History has proved that schools of this kind have little weight in maintaining correct theology and a responsible and correct understanding of the Scriptures. That is why many servants of God who graduate from these kinds of schools find it difficult to accept the challenges of the times let alone challenge the times, especially in dealing with intellectuals.
On the other hand, the revival of religions outside Christianity also poses a great challenge to the Christian faith. The increasing number of intellectuals in other religions and their awareness to consolidate is also a fact that we should not ignore. In addition, the increasing education and increasing influence of modern philosophy in Asian countries have increased the likelihood that Christianity, with less weight in leadership, will become a religion that is considered backward and despised by new generations. Seeing such a situation, who is prepared to accept this challenge and fill the needs of the times at the end of the 20th century?
The quantity gained through the movements taking place among the common people is not sufficient to answer the challenges of this age. Due to dissatisfaction with the confusions of Christian teaching today and the inability of both Liberalism and Christian movements with emotional wings to represent true Christianity, we considered the need for an Evangelical Reformed Movement.
This movement is in a wave of transition from an agricultural (agricultural) society to an industrialized society and also to an information society. That is why this Movement is not easily followed by people who are not familiar with the awesomeness of this transitional wave, especially since the Movement against the current has its roots in the spirit pioneered in the 16th century. This movement is motivated to bring Christianity into the 21st century. That is why, do not be surprised, if this movement is considered too backward or against the current.
2. The Reformed Movement in History
The Reformation that took place in the 16th century was a unique and unrivaled movement because the motivation for reform was to return to the Scriptures and claim that all things are based solely on grace, and that it is only through faith, and not human merit, that the elect are called to become. witness of God in this world. The church is called not only to preach the gospel and teach the truth, the church is also called to carry out a cultural mandate through the guidance of God's Word to enlighten this world with the principles of God's Word in all aspects of culture.
In all aspects of human life, history has witnessed the contribution of Calvinism, from personal life to social life and education, even as a pioneer of democracy around the world. At a time when Liberalism's influence widened and undermined Christian faith in the 19th century, Reformed theologians staunchly stood at the forefront of the battle against teachings that were not true to the Scriptures. So that both in Europe and in America, the books that have the most weight in combating liberal teachings are mostly the work of Reformed theologians. It is this spirit of Reformed theology that has kept Christianity from all abuses and affairs of the church as the bride of Christ who must be faithful to God.
Figures such as Abraham Kuyper, Herman Bavinck, Hendrik Kraemer in the Netherlands; and Charles Hodge, Archibald Hodge, BB Warfield, Gresham Machen, Cornelius Van Til, John Murray, and other figures in America have demonstrated their uncompromising spirit inherited from John Calvin. The discovery of the common grace (common grace) and the uniqueness of the understanding of general revelation (general revelation) has become the hallmark and hallmark of Reformed Theology in dealing with cultural problems and providing enlightenment and guidance to all the most modern scientific discoveries, as well as changes in the flow of thought to the Movement New Age and Postmodernism. No one can ignore what Reformed theology has been doing throughout history. It is a theology that is enduring and prominent in leading Christians through their war in faith and to be a guide for the future of man.
3. The Calling of the Reformed Evangelical Movement
Have not many church leaders ever been educated in the Reformed theological schools in America, the Netherlands, and other places who have returned to the ministry fields in Indonesia? Are they not the ones who are supposed to bring the church back to the Reformed Spirit and to awaken the Christian consciousness to preserve the faith that was revealed to us and to fight in a world full of currents that are so contrary to Scripture?
After waiting for about 20 years, I felt that I couldn't wait anymore - even though since 1964 I have been teaching Reformed doctrine at the theological school, I have served and shaped Reformed thoughts in the students. The call to establish the Reformed Evangelical Movement became clearer and more urgent after I contracted Hepatitis B in 1984.
Life is temporary. Even though I have served for 27 years, with the understanding gained through the experience of suffering from such liver disease, I feel that I might be able to survive in this world for only 15 to 20 more years. So I won't wait for other people anymore and sincerely pray to surrender myself once again to uphold the Evangelical Reformed Movement in Indonesia. I asked God that within 15 years, approaching the 21st century, a group of young people will have been formed who understand and realize the importance of the Reformed Evangelical Movement and are willing to surrender themselves to serve and sacrifice in this era.
The response to this call received the blessing of God, that in 1984 the first step was initiated, namely by courageously holding a Christian Faith Development Seminar (SPIK) to pioneer the Reformed doctrine. Unexpectedly, more and more participants and with high enthusiasm accepted the Reformed Doctrine which was being taught.
The SPIK movement which began in 1984 has become a movement that has not withered until now, both in Indonesia and abroad. Those who were awakened took the decision to study theReformed doctrine further. As such, the second step in this vocation was to establish the Evangelical Reformed Theology School (STRI) for the laities in 1986.
What is the Reformed Evangelical Movement?
A movement is different from an organization. A movement is a fire, a burning spiritual zeal that inflames a group of people which forms an influential force towards others to see, confess, take part and undertake an important task to change history. A historical movement of quality always possesses consistent theories, agile strategies, wholehearted dedication, faithful followers, and timeless influences in secular and spiritual aspects; such elements above can be seen clearly. Due to this, the Reformed Evangelical Movement needs to also pray to God to provide help and blessings in these important matters. We believe that the motivation to establish this movement is purely by God’s calling, the demands of the current age as well as living the life of faith as Christians in history. As such, we can clearly see how God abundantly gives his blessings both in his accompaniment and his anointing, especially in awakening many individuals kindled by the fire of the Holy Spirit. Soli Deo Gloria (All glory be to God alone).
What are the contents of the Reformed Evangelical Movement?
This movement covers two aspects. Firstly, to return a theological understanding based on the revelation of God in the Holy Bible that is spearheaded by the Reformators, especially by Calvinist faction and its successors until today. With strict adherence to theology, based on the significance contained in the Scripture, the faith of Christians will be equipped and strengthened to face the challenges of all ages. Secondly, to kindle the evangelistic passion and mobilize Christians to directly proclaim the Gospel, which is the good news for all mankind. This introduces the power of salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ for the forgiveness of sins and the reconciliation of man and God, creating a new life that glorifies God, bears witness to Christ, and preaches the Gospel. Thus, this movement brings the church to take root in the Word of God and bear fruit in the world.
How Did This Movement Begin?
The steps of this movement have been led by God through the obedience of his servants. So, we have planned several aspects (based on Reformed Theology): Firstly, to develop as many people as possible who understands and experiences Reformed Evangelical teachings. This is realized by holding Christian Faith Development Seminars (Indonesian: Seminar Pembinaan Iman Kristen, SPIK). Secondly, to filter and refine a select group of lay people who are invested in studying Reformed theology systematically and consistently. This aspect is realized by the establishment of the Reformed Evangelical Theological School (Indonesian: Sekolah Teologi Reformed Injili, STRI). Thirdly, to establish a library providing quality books to fill the needs of people who desire to learn more of the truth, and who believes that this movement is universal in nature and impactful in history. Fourthly, to develop a theological school and Institute to prepare full-time ministers for future generations. Fifthly, to build churches and Evangelical chapters with right theology to act as a container for ministers to courageously teach Reformed theology and shepherd the Lord’s elect. Sixthly, to translate and print Reformed theology books.
With regards to Evangelism, the plans involve: Firstly, to hold mass evangelism events and directly face the needs of society and teach people to repent and accept the invitation to believe as Christians. Secondly, to hold evangelistic discipleship training to equip individuals called to expand the Kingdom of God through personal evangelism. This mobilizes Christians to be the channels of God’s grace to the public society. Thirdly, to train full-time evangelists in theological schools to prepare ministers with gifts and particular calling in evangelism. Fourthly, to provide Gospel chapters in order to provide the fruits of evangelism leading to pastoral and church community life.
What is Unique About This Movement?
The Reformed Evangelical Movement is different from the Reformed Evangelical church and denomination. The Reformed Evangelical Movement is intended to encourage all denominations and may be part of churches outside the Reformed Evangelical denominations, so that churches may be revived and directed to correct theology and proper Evangelical spirit. However, the Reformed Evangelical Movement does not close any possibilities for ministers holding Reformed Evangelical theology to establish Reformed Evangelical churches as one of the vessels in the Kingdom of God, accompanying other churches to carry out its calling as the body of Christ.
Who is In This Movement?
This movement is not monopolized by full-time ministers, nor by IREC, because Reformed theology and evangelism in the Reformed Evangelical Movement should be the internal essence and external action that all churches must possess. Thus, every Christian who has experienced new birth by the Holy Spirit and has been baptized in the Lord has the right to take part in the Reformed Evangelical Movement. God willing, then such Christians with passion and holding such theology in heart can freely, by their own volition, join the Reformed Evangelical Institution, even the Indonesian Reformed Evangelical Church. Every man who takes part in this movement must realize and understand the Reformed Evangelical Confession of Faith and be willing to work together with the Reformed Evangelical community to develop this movement, in order to glorify God, purify the faith of the church, and inflame the spirit of the Great Commission until Christ returns.
IREC and the Reformed Evangelical Movement
IREC is built on the grounds of the Reformed Evangelical Confession of Faith with the purpose to uphold a church with Reformed theology as its basis, with a pulpit that preaches expositorily, and a congregation that commits to proclaim the Gospel. This church is part of the body of Christ, composed of all the churches which base themselves on right teaching in carrying out their duties in this world. The members of IREC are composed of: Firstly, the people who accept God as the result of direct evangelism and are baptized into IREC. Secondly, from a member of a church overseas which moved in to a city where IREC exists, and by their own volition and request becoming a member of the church by attestation after undertaking catechism classes. Thirdly, children of members which are entrusted by faithful parents to be brought up in the Christian faith. Fourthly, the changing of church membership following appropriate procedures.
Among the members of IREC, those who believe in the importance of this movement and also possess the calling of God to dive in this movement will be given the opportunity to join the church ministry so that through observation, refining and training, members are developed into workers which may serve many more people. Committee members are selected from those who have passed ministerial duties and are considered mature in faith. Every Christian who comprehends the Reformed Evangelical Movement should provide a positive influence, both in church life, public society and the country on which they live in.
The Prospects of This Movement
Through the Reformed Evangelical belief, we hope more churches return to correct teaching and more churches be involved in undertaking the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ. As such, the Seminary (STTRII), Reformed Institute, and Theological School (STRI), located in major cities in Indonesia and overseas, bear the responsibility to educate Christians in their knowledge of Reformed theology as well as mobilizing evangelistic mission campaigns. IREC is expected to open as many Reformed Evangelical Chapters (Indonesian: Mimbar Reformed Injili, MRI) as possible in various places to fill the needs and thirst of Christians on the Word of God, Reformed theology, and evangelism training. We hope that true theology can be the key in illuminating culture and life in this world; and via evangelism, bringing all nations back to God, for the Lord said, “You are the light of the world; you are the salt of the world.” As we approach the 21st century, marked with mass movements greatly influenced by the spirit of New Age Movement as well as cultural movements based on postmodernist philosophy, let us shine forth the Word of God as lighthouses, leading the lost back to the embrace of our eternal God.
We believe that the Old Testament and the New Testament is the perfect revelation of God that is inspired by the Holy Spirit to the authors thus the Bible is completely inerrant in the original manuscripts. The Bible gives testimony of the Holy Spirit, and is the sole and absolute authority for faith and life, both for individuals, churches, as well as communities. We believe that the Bible is inerrant of all the things that it taught, including matters concerning the history and science.
We believe that human beings was created uniquely in God's image, created with holiness, justice and true recognition; and was commanded by God to understand and to live up to God's thoughts as a devout convenant custodian: he was entrusted to govern and rule over God's other creations for the glory of God. We believe that all aspects of life must be lived under the commandment of God as an expression of obedience to God's laws.
COVENANT OF GRACE
We believe that God in eternity has made covenant with his chosen people, with Jesus Christ as the Head; that through the perfect obedience of Jesus Christ and His death as a substitute for man on the cross, Christ has satisfied the demands of God's wrath against his people.
Through the power of the resurrection of Christ, God continually calls and gather His people from all ages and all nations to be a royal priesthood and a holy nation for His glory.
We believe in Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Triune God, true God and true man, the only savior of mankind; which has been conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; lived a sinless life, was crucified to death and rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, sits at the right hand of God the Father to intercede for his people as the High Priest, the victorious and full of understanding; that He will come again in his glorious body, visually and suddenly to judge the living and the dead.
THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Triune God, the Divine inspirator of the Bible, that convicts people of their sins through His Word, regenerating them, so that the growing faith and repentance to Jesus Christ bring people to salvation; He equips believers with the power to obey God's laws; He gave the Church of Jesus Christ gifts for ministry of the saints; He intercedes for believers with unspoken groaning for and until the day of the glorification of God's people.
CHURCH AND MISSION
We believe in one holy universal Church, composed of all the elect of God of all times which are now partially absorbed in the local churches; The local church should be an expression of the nature of holy and universal Church by maintaining purity in accordance with the teachings of the Bible, by giving precedence to unity based on truth in the bond of love between the various local churches and denominations that exist, to radiate the glory of God.
- I believe in the Gospel as the power of God to save everyone who believes.
- I believe in one God in Three Persons, the Creator of man and the world, Supreme Judge for all the sins and the source of human salvation.
- I believe the fall of man as a historical fact that pollutes the human nature in total. Therefore, human beings are not able to save himself.
- I believe in the grace of a sovereign God to human beings who are not worthy to receive salvation, who has chosen His people in His supreme wisdom is supreme by His eternal decree, and act in a dynamic process of history, to redeem them in His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
- I believe in the incarnation of Jesus Christ through the virgin birth, His sinless life, crucifixion, death, resurrection and ascension are historical facts that make up the essence and message of the gospel, as the only means to obtain God's salvation.
- I believe in the power of the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses, contained in his sacrifice that is the substitution, propitiation, redemption and atonement, which gives new life to human beings.
- I believe in the preaching of the gospel (evangelism) as the only good news, which provides the foundation of a life filled with joy and eternal hope for man. Evangelism is:
-The true testimony of Christian life that submits themselves to God’s commands
- The formation of personal fellowship among sinners with God, through the mediator Jesus Christ.
- The cause in which the saving faith in human hearts is derived from.
- The key to church growth and to desire His eternal presence.
- I believe in repentance as a sign of rebirth through the Holy Spirit that produces true faith and the fruits of new life in Jesus Christ.
- I believe in the anointing of the Holy Spirit in evangelism that takes the form of courage, wisdom, power and authority, as well as the desire to be witnesses over those who obey the Great Commission of Jesus Christ.
- I believe that the final entirety of the gospel is perfect in itself, that it cannot be replaced or compared, including through religious and philosophical views, good worldly deeds (qualitative difference), and even through cultural mandate and its social responsibilities in regard to the orthodox faith and the gospel (it only complements pre and post evangelism). Its finality also extends to the grace of the Holy Spirit with its miracles and signs as stated in the Bible (that God occasionally uses to showcase His gospel). Therefore, we are mandated to preserve the perfection of the gospel.
- I believe in the immutable power of the gospel of Jesus Christ that is able to sustain His redeemed people and to change society through their testimonies until the glorious consummation of Jesus Christ’s second coming.
BURDENS & PRAYER
Based on the grace of God and the faith handed down from generation to generation to us, we will serve this generation by establishing a pulpit that is faithful to the Word of God and that shares the good news, the Gospel of Christ to our fellow human beings.
With all of God's chosen people around the world, we want to see a strong church established as a witness of Christ, as we welcome the next century.
We pray that the Spirit of God fulfils every Word that is preached from this pulpit. We pray that every congregation who hears the Word from this pulpit obtain the true faith through His Word.
We pray that people who obey His Word may experience salvation in His Gospel and become more and more perfect like our Lord. We pray that this pulpit arouses the conscience of the people of God who live godly and righteous before Him, living justly and lovingly in the body of Christ, and is responsible in all aspects of his life as a witness to the Gospel of Christ in the world.
All glory to God, the giver of His Word to man. May peace reign every soul who loves Him forever. God, bless and lead this pulpit ministry until Thy will be done. Reveal your vision to your people, call upon Thy servants to Thy fields for harvest. Bless our people through this pulpit. Graciously hear your servant's prayer.
Rev. Dr. Stephen Tong