The goal of theological education is the spiritual formation of people so that they come to know God, love him with all their being, and are motivated and equipped to serve him according to their gifts and opportunities. Theological education is not only about the acquisition of knowledge, but the assimilation of knowledge that shapes and forms people to live in greater submission to God, greater likeness to Christ, and greater responsiveness to the Holy Spirit, wherever life’s journey takes them. Our aim is that students develop the convictions, character and competence to be effective leaders and servants of God in this world:
- Convictions: deeply held beliefs that shape thoughts, feelings and actions.
- Character: growing conformity to Jesus Christ through close relationship with him.
- Competence: cultivation of God-given gifts for leadership and service.
RTC’s training of students in these three ways is guided by the following nine commitments:
1. A commitment to the Word of God as the source of all true knowledge of God and of ourselves. Our teaching will be grounded in God’s Word and will model a commitment to thinking biblically about doctrine and life.
2. A commitment to reformed theology. Our educational approach is informed by a reformed understanding of Scripture, building on the reformed confessions and the historic streams of reformed Christianity. This will be particularly evident in the promotion of a reformed understanding of:
- the doctrine of salvation
- covenantal theology and the Christ-centred flow of redemptive history
- Word-centred spirituality
- the church, the sacraments and corporate worship
- a Christian worldview perspective on the Lordship of Jesus Christ
3. A commitment to represent reformed theology in a manner that is charitable toward those who hold different perspectives. We want our convictions to be held firmly but not arrogantly, nor in isolation from other evangelical Christians. We wish both to teach and to learn from others in the body of Christ, and both contribute to and benefit from people who are Bible believing and gospel loving. We will use language that is hospitable toward those who are not of reformed conviction, and we will cultivate a culture of humble conviction.
4. A commitment to ensuring that students learn in the context of community. Theology and ministry training cannot be done in isolation, but require robust interaction and dialogue with others, in the context of mentoring, corporate prayer, worship and fellowship. Students need to be engaged both in a scholarly community with lecturers and fellow students, and also in a local church community. A key part of such community is the example, influence and transparency of godly, passionate teachers.
5. A commitment to appoint full-time faculty who have pastoral and ministry experience as well as academic expertise. Lecturers and tutors will be sought on the basis of their theological stance, qualifications, experience, passion, character, and alignment with RTC’s position. Excellence in teaching is largely dependent on the quality of the teachers, and the training of gospel workers should primarily be done by those who have ministry and mission experience.
6. A commitment to cultivating relationship between students and teachers. Recognising the importance of personal influence in ministry training, delivery modes need to be as personable as possible. A portion (e.g. at least one third) of a ministry program ought to be in modes where there is verbal (not just written) interaction between students and with the lecturer or tutor (e.g. via video conferencing, intensives, on-campus studies etc.)
7. A commitment to excellence in teaching and learning. We are committed to helping students aim for and achieve high academic standards. However we believe that academic achievement in a government accredited program is not the end goal, but is a means to a greater end. The purpose of theological education is that students learn to think for themselves, learn to become life-long learners, and learn to apply what they know to ministry and life. Teachers must therefore not only be knowledgeable, but also capable of igniting in students the desire to learn, the ability to apply what they learn, and the skills to pass on what they learn to others.
8. A commitment to preparing people for the complexities of pastoral ministry. A key goal of our theological education is to prepare people to be pastors, preachers, church leaders and missionaries (whether in paid or voluntary, full-time or part-time, ordained or unordained roles). In order to do this, our teaching must constantly interact with current issues in ministry and mission. All subject areas should be taught with a view to equipping people for pastoral ministry and mission. Practical ministry subjects in particular must equip students to interact with the paradigms, culture, expectations and realities of church ministry. We recognize, however, that to prepare people adequately for ministry, theological education must be interfaced with extensive mentored ministry experience, ideally before, during and after formal theological study.
9. A commitment to training people to serve God in all spheres of life, not just pastoral ministry. While a particular focus of our education is the preparation of pastors and church leaders, we are committed to making theological education available to all of God’s people. We believe all Christians should learn to think biblically and theologically, and learn to apply what they believe to the arenas of life in which God has called them to work. We will encourage the pursuit of all God-honouring vocations, and promote scholarship that supports, encourages, and promotes a Christian worldview in society.