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Theology for Life

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
January 23, 2020 12:01 am

Theology for Life

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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January 23, 2020 12:01 am

When R.C. Sproul began the Ligonier Valley Study Center in 1971, it was a place of life-on-life discipleship. Today, we join Stephen Nichols in the new building at Reformation Bible College to see how this vision of learning and discipleship continues to flourish.

Your Generosity Fuels the 'Right Now Counts Forever' fund at Reformation Bible College

Don't forget to make RenewingYourMind.org your home for daily in-depth Bible study and Christian resources.

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Today on a special vision of Renewing Your Mind.

When public schools are government schools they were going to keep God and religion out of the curriculum were going to be neutral or killing themselves. They've already stepped into an theistic worldview and it's killing us and what were trying to do is to train people to think as Christians we just are not Darcy's goal explain one of his motivations for founding Reformation Bible college. He wanted to provide students with the knowledge of God and his holiness and prepare them for faithful Christian service, in any vocation or calling and now nearly a decade later were seeing the fruit of Dr. schools vision. We welcome you to Renewing Your Mind and you may notice that that week sound a little different today. That's because were not in her studios. I'm here with Reformation Bible College president Dr. Steven Nicholson, Dr. Nichols, let me let you explain where we are. You rightly. This is a very special place. This is this is our new building and were standing right in the center of it of this grand main hall is a single story, but the ceiling peak is 38 feet up there and assess a beautiful building were truly grateful to have it. But let's go back to it.

Dr. Stroh said this is a place to train Christians how to think and he knew we needed a place space you know you go back to his classic holiness of God. He ends by talking about sacred space and sacred time. I think there's also something to academics. Basically, and we were very intentional about this building. The academic spaces will get into this as we go on the classrooms the beautiful library places for students to just gather be discipled and learn together but really what's more important, what is of utmost importance is not just the building but what happens inside the building and carrying on that vision.

Dr. Stroh's vision of training Christians how to think how to think biblically and theologically so they can serve God for the rest of their lives. That's were trying to do here and we have a beautiful space to do it well. It is a beautiful building. Dr. Nichols and we will be ushering with you, our listeners more about this wonderful new facility. As we go along but that will be for Reformation Bible college got off the ground. Darcy already had. It is my what it would be like you already knew why Reformation Bible college needed to exist. I frankly believe that having taught seminary for so many decades and started out as a college professor that one college students are more teachable and I want to get to them before they already know everything and that if you really ground students in biblical truths at the college age is going to capture their thinking for the rest of their lives and enrich the church and enrich the culture in which we live. There is a unique opportunity in the small environment of the Bible college really grounding students in the things of God and we have seen that vision that become reality. Dr. Nichols, we have moved from the great Hall of this new building into one of the classrooms sure weren't really what is the flagship classroom.

I we caught Simpson Hall and it's got some beautiful wood features that sort of old world old-school feels what we really wanted but we also recognize what we can accomplish with technology today so were able to take care hopefully someday what were doing here and and maybe spread it around the world. But for now it is really important for us was important about these classrooms is the issue of discipleship. You know when RC first started the legionnaire Valley study center.

It was a place where students went to learn life on life discipleship and technology so wonderful to spread the truth of the gospel, it can go to places where people physically can't get to, but there's no substitute for life on life discipleship and it's the exegesis his own model is in it and in his incarnate ministry to not just teach, but to teach in the context of life and one of the things that we see here at RBC and honestly you could talk to any student in the Titus. It's the community of RBC that draws and when they say that what they mean by that is discipleship. They come here to learn not just to learn the knowledge of God, but to learn how to love God more and to learn how to serve and worship is so we are all about education minister Dr. Stroh's college so everyone who listens to Renewing Your Mind you know these fears are going to get an education, but that education is about discipleship and that's a crucial piece of what were doing here and this is discipleship inside the classroom and discipleship outside of the classroom, so it's not unusual for some of your professors to take the students to an ice cream shop that entered last gather is that there's a particular restaurant on a Monday were one faculty member is always there for lunch and students just come and ask any question they were asking is very typical for faculty to be engaged in students and because that's their calling their scholars, but there really called to mentor these young students for years. Dr. Nichols higher education is trended toward teaching students skills so they can enter the workforce and received a high-paying job, but what you say to parents who are wondering how Reformation Bible college prepare students to enter the real world yeah love that question minutes and it's a real question that college is an investment and you do go to college to prepare for the life ahead so I I appreciate value. The question here so answer it for one we do one thing here at Reformation Bible calls we teach theology. So to have a theological foundation to be grounded in theology can serve you in whatever you do in life with you go into the pulpit or go into the pew. And I firmly believe that, but the other thing whereafter is in addition to that is that the soft skills the communication skills.

The critical thinking skills. The problem-solving skills.

These are a lost art and there are many college educations were students aren't even writing, not writing papers. Not that the good old exercise of the research paper.

Those are important skills but we also have our students write blog articles and we have them engage in all sorts of communication because we recognize that this was something RC wanted us to do here.

We want to produce knowledgeable and articulate students. So those are some of the things we also hope our students pick up as they come through the door, not just a theological education but there soft skills and honestly Leah. I'll tell the students to almost all the time. If you're able to look a person in the eye, shake their hand treat them with respect and talk in complete sentences.

You are ahead of the game, and so there really are some of those skills that I think will will set our students apart as they enter into the workforce and as they enter into the church service of God for students and parents who may not be familiar with the curriculum. Would you talk specifically about some of the courses they can expect to take for sure. So our curriculum is got RC's DNA all over it.

We have three streams running through the curriculum. Theology is one so we have seven semesters on systematic theology I want. I would to a great seminary for my seminary training, I did not have seven semesters of theology so so we do more theology than even most seminaries do. We also have seven semesters of Bible survey we take our time walking through the Bible. This is God's word really this is the foundation to all knowledge and truth and goodness and beauty God's work. It's in our name Reformation Bible college, but we also recognize the value of the humanities and the value of a classical liberal arts education.

It's disappearing on the landscape of higher Ed what we do here is we have seven semesters of great works.

So there walking through the classics of literature and art and philosophy and music. We also have year church history. We have local theology with hermeneutics, which teaches students how to study the Bible for themselves with the biblical languages we have histories philosophy so that rounds out the curriculum, but it's theology, it's biblical studies and it's the great works truly classical education.

All of the design. Of course, so the students leave Reformation Bible college with what we know as a biblical worldview.

What a Christian worldview and let's hear RC talk about that how a person views themselves how they view the world in which they live, how they view the culture and everything in it art, music, law, politics, economics, all of those things are part of the broader perspective of what we call a worldview. Our view of the world and and everything in it and ultimately their only two kinds of worldviews there's either a theistic one, where the character and being of God informs everything about that world, mathematics, music, everything or you have a worldview without God, which is nontheistic. The other word for that is a theistic and there is no middle ground there. There's no detergent quit. There is no third option. There is no neutrality when it comes to education.

When public schools or government schools. They were going to keep God and religion out of the curriculum were going to be neutral there killing themselves. They've already stepped into an awe theistic worldview and it's killing us and what were trying to do is to train people to think as Christians to seek the mind of Christ to understand that that the Christian faith is not a compartmentalized reservation that has nothing to do with the rest of life. It has everything to do with the rest of life that God is God.

It is God of all is not just God of the church is God of the government. He's got of the arts is going over everything. Well, that's exactly what were trying to instill in our students leave that God is over every area of life so we get that through teaching them.

Of course, and its rigorous what we do here as we teach in theology, but we also want them to learn theology.

This was table talk right into Luther would have his classroom but it was around the table the students and life that they learn theology and that's what really excites me about the next space were noted were walking back through the great Hall we come to what's open the door. Here, yes, were coming into one of the rooms that RC believe it or not leak where the rooms RC was really excited to have a student comments just a place where they could gather in.

We talked about this earlier that role of discipleship is not just the faculty as seasoned Christians who are mentoring our students.

This is true for all of us in the Christian life. We have our mentors.

We have our pastors we have the senior saints that God brings along. We also have our peers and if we have those right peers, and how influential they can be. But how important they can be in our Christian life is so important. Have those connections and what a comfortable setting. This is some is beautiful. Let's describe what were looking at are very comfortable sofas here at chess table is Ray Lee there's a foosball table also assumes love that they have their own kitchen and breakfast bar and caf seating in here, but this is this is their space and got youthful colors and it's and it's just meant to be a place where they can just be together. In other here. They have a common calling. If common convictions and they all have common work and they help each other in and it's really a model of what the Christian life is that were in this together. This discipleship together.

You mention the Laguna rally study center which are soon invested. Founded in 1971 and I was just thinking that many of the people who came were college-age students only whirly and infecting of the interesting thing about the early study center was about a dozen or so colleges gave credit college credit to students who would go and study at the center so they had a J term in summer terms and they dictate study philosophy and all sorts of things with Dr. scroll late. They take it back to their colleges for credit and many of the pictures of you and I've seen of the study center of those days wasn't just about RC teaching it what it was. The fellowship it's in areas like this that that help cultivate the Christian worldview. You know that. And I've I've talked to people from literally study Saturday's and it was the legendary softball game seen our Savior you're out on the diamond and its rear right, it's in sports is where your Christianity is really put to the test, but this is true for all of us.

We need those times to learn. We need those Sunday morning were fed content. We need the weekly engagement with content SI so I these folks are listening to Renewing Your Mind and recognize the value of teaching, but that teaching gets lived out in life and that was so crucial to Dr. scroll in a heap. He would say you gotta get it in your head then you get it in your heart.

Then it comes out of your fingertips. Was he talking about Terry's talking about a lived theology and that's were trying to do here in our students do that. Hopefully there forging bonds and relationships that that will be with them for a lifetime that they formed and also this is happening to. There's a lot of marriages happening here looking for us to hook usually come the summer were busy with weddings of her students so families are getting started from coming here at RBC all all this pointing to the fact that that RC wanted the students to be well cared for and blood for listeners to hear what he said about that. I think the biggest mistake that parents make when choosing a college for their children is the assumption that the college that they went to years ago is at the same place today. College education is in a series crisis right now. Ellen Bloom's book and no really exposed that where the colleges are given to relativism so that 95% of the students come.

The college already committed relativism and that view is cement putting cement in the four years of their college, even a so-called Christian college, you have to be extremely careful and I have talked about how beautiful our campuses, which can make a decision somebody or somebody door school just goes the grounds are pretty gotta look carefully at the curriculum carefully at the faculty and see what the school stands for and I can tell you this, that if I work right now going away to college that's run one because you're just joining us your listening no special edition of Renewing Your Mind and I'm here with that Reformation Bible College president Dr. Steven Nichols.

We are in the main hall of Reformation Bible colleges new building and is weak, make our way. Dr. Nichols from the student comments back into the main hall and the into a very special place. This is a very special room and went when Dr. scroll says that this is a place where he like to go. He's because of this really this is the library and course the library as it is crucial center room for any college campus boat but again we purposely designed this library as a place where students would recognize the value of the reformed classical tradition and the value of these great ideas that we are trying to teach here so this is a very curated library and we are purposely putting in front of the students. The books we want them to master or introducing them to that the great church fathers to Augustine to Thomas Aquinas and the other medieval thinkers. Of course, to the reformers and to those who come after the reformers Jonathan Edwards and Warfield and of course we have Dr. scroll's own collection but we want students to recognize that there part of this tradition and not only a part of this tradition, but they have an obligation to learn it so that they can handed over to the next generation. This goes back to Paul and Timothy. So Paul trained Timothy and Timothy was to teach faithful man who would train others also. And we see ourselves in that long chain of that tradition of handing on that. The truth of the gospel. The truth of the Christian tradition to the next generation and caused as Dr. scroll's talking about the relativism that is just rampant in higher education. We are pushing back against that with all our might and were not about relativism here were not about the novel were not well not the novel you read about the new innovation is not about innovation right we have been entrusted with the tradition and we want our students to feel the weight of that and now they go out and they defend and content for that tradition. While you may be hearing some of the workers that are in this new library.

I didn't want a leader Dr. Nichols before we came to this very special part of the library explain where we are yeah worse right outside the rare book room and it is it. It's being finished as we speak.

You can hear the workers and their are looking at these doors that are actually modeled after the doors of Luther's monastery in Wittenberg. The black cloister was where he was, as he is a monk and when he got married. Frederick the Wise gave it to them as a wedding present. The black oyster. It was where he lived, where he taught where dignitaries would come and spend time is it the table talk was inside the black cloister. So we've modeled the doors to a rare book room.

After that that important connection to the reformers in the Reformation. What are some of the rare books that will be in that room.

Well, we have a number of the books belong to Dr. scroll, which are wonderful with his underlines and annotations. We have a 1611 King James Bible, we have a couple early editions of the Geneva Bible, we have a whole collection on John Bunyan and Pilgrim's progress.

A Noley that that book early editions of Pilgrim's progress. They were literally devoured people just pass them from one to another and they're very hard to find.

We have a number of early editions. We have a few medieval manuscripts with the Torah scroll.

We've all sorts of treasures that we can actually put into our students hands as so they can again get the sense of this tradition to which they belong and the obligation they have, to pass on these eternal abiding truths that are so crucial and so urgent. Well I let's make our way out of the library.

Dr. Nichols went back through the main hall as we work away outside a II wanted you to talk about their what RC made very clear that he didn't want Reformation Bible college to be a cast of thousands. That's right, he would say no and Nicole is one of the bigger bigger bigger. He said he wanted to build a college that was a small intimate community and really Lee that goes back the original vision for RBC. The original vision was Calvin's Academy at Geneva. That was a large place when a huge impact that place had an impact on John Knox which is added in impact on Scotland Geneva.

There were there were missionaries who were trained at the college at Geneva. They were sent to the shores of Brazil in the 1550s and was never a big place, but what a huge impact and that was really Dr. scroll's vision for RBC that the students who would come here to this beautiful campus they wouldn't stay here but they would take what they've learned here and they would take it with them and literally go all around the world so you don't have to be big to have a huge impact and that's our vision for this college should sort of natural ops as opposed to regular Army.

Still, the students need a place to stay when they're here studying and I do we come now to a place outside of the this brand-new building and would explain why worsening stakes out here with large flags sure were looking to the west.

Our quad here for campus and you can hear that there's construction around us these stakes for the footprint for what will be our new student housing. This is a projected two-story building 33,000 ft. will house about 70 students in these private bed private bath suites but we all know remember from our own college days.

How important that dorm life is, and it's really the final piece of the puzzle for us here and for campus gutter are existing building lot of administrations in classrooms and there are new building with all of the spaces it affords.

But this new student housing will be that final piece and provide that place for students to live as they learn here at RBC.

Well, as we as we turn back around Dr. Nichols and look at this magnificent new building from from outside. We realize that this is the result of of God's kind Providence and in the faithful giving of many people.

It certainly does Lee know we've been talking about the students and faculty that are here at RBC. There's a whole another group and that's our group of friends who come along and support us in and give for the ministry here of Lincoln here and for Reformation Bible college to enable us to build this building debt-free, which is great. Our new building is debt-free and even friends or come alongside us in before we've launched this new student housing leak to contribute to these folks make this possible effect.

We have a fund here at the college we call the right now counts forever fund and course you know where that comes from that was RC's byline in table talk from the very first one back in 1977 and that fund covers her operation expenses. Here, it enables us to hire a world-class faculty in a dedicated staff and it also funds student scholarships because truly Lee right now does count forever and a gift to RBC. Think about this, you're giving to a student now they have a whole lifetime of service ahead and think about the lives that that student little touch that is a multiplying effect of your gift and were so grateful for the many who do contribute in the many who come alongside. Frankly, we cannot do it without them and we wouldn't exist without her friends who support us and so we would like to invite you to be part of this important work. Educating young minds and pointing them to a biblical a Christian worldview.

Would you contact us today with a generous donation for this right now counts forever fund our number is 800-435-4343 also give your gift securely online by going to Reformation Bible college.org/donate again. That's Reformation Bible college.org/donate in the number again is 800-435-4343 and when you call to speak to our colleagues mentioned the right now counts forever fund Dr. Nichols thank you for being with us today.

We so appreciate the tour of Reformation Bible college.

It's been my pleasure. I hope you'll join us again tomorrow for Renewing Your Mind because were going to hear the charge that students heard at the beginning of the school year. Dr. Sinclair Ferguson, one of our teaching fellows religion or ministries gave the convocation message will hear that and will also hear from some of the students were being educated and encouraged here at RBC we hope you'll join us Friday for Renewing Your Mind


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