Introducing Reformed Faith & Practice
John R. Muether
Editor, Reformed Faith & Practice
With this issue Reformed Theological Seminary presents Reformed Faith & Practice: The Journal of Reformed Theological Seminary to the Reformed and evangelical community. We are pleased to inaugurate this online journal during the school’s fiftieth anniversary. The RTS faculty has grown to a size, now spread across several campuses, which we believe is capable of producing a quality journal, and we are eager, in this jubilee year, to exercise our continuing stewardship of the convictions that led to the founding of the Seminary in 1966.
The history of American Presbyterianism is a reminder that seminary journals can be very influential – for good or for ill. The “majestic testimony” of Princeton Theological Seminary would not have had nearly the effect it did without the publishing organs that disseminated its teaching, establishing it as a leading voice of international Calvinism. Beginning with the Biblical Repertory in 1825 and continuing through many name changes, Princeton used the printed word to uphold and propagate the Reformed understanding of the faith for over a century. Conversely, Sean Michael Lucas (in his recent history of the founding of the Presbyterian Church in America) notes that the erosion of Calvinistic orthodoxy in the Southern Presbyterian Church caught many conservatives unaware, because it took place largely through “a musty theological journal,” in this case, the Union Seminary Review. This history underscores the importance of stating our goals and objectives.
We write from convictions that comport with the mission of RTS, which is “to serve the church by preparing its leaders, through a program of graduate theological education, based upon the authority of the inerrant Word of God, and committed to the Reformed faith.” An ecclesial focus will, we hope, be especially prominent in these pages as we seek (in the language of the RTS vision statement) to serve Christ’s church “in all branches of evangelical Christianity, especially Presbyterian and Reformed churches.” Thus our pledge is that we will commend the Reformed faith with a particular view toward the well-being of Reformed churches. While we aim to maintain high levels of scholarship, we write as servants of the church. Even more specifically, we seek to serve alumni of Reformed Theological Seminary with hope that RF&P will be an ongoing source of wisdom and continuing education in the work of pastoral ministry. As our title suggests, we plan to give particular attention to the relationship between doctrine and life. Our faith should inform the practice of the Christian life, and that practice must, in turn, reinforce our doctrinal commitments.
In launching this journal we recognize that we join a crowded field in publishing, print and electronic, that vies for the interest of readers. We publish with respect for other journals, to many of which our faculty regularly contribute, and we strive for cordial conversation with these other voices. We hope that humility will characterize the tone of our offerings. But we also write with confidence, firmly persuaded that the Word of God and the Reformed confessions have answers to the biblical and theological questions and the cultural challenges of our age.
RF&P is edited by members of the faculty on behalf of the entire body, and most of the contributions will come from faculty of the several RTS campuses. Our voice will be united but not uniform. The faculty of the Seminary manifests the diversity of Reformed confessionalism in our day and we expect the pages of this journal to do the same.
RF&P will publish three times a year, and each issue will contain several sections: articles and book reviews, a few discoveries from our Reformed past, and occasional tastes of campus community life – excerpts from classroom lectures, chapel presentations, and lunchtime conversations.
We welcome feedback from our readers. Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.