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Bringing the Truth of Christ to the Nations

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
December 15, 2023 12:01 am

Bringing the Truth of Christ to the Nations

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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December 15, 2023 12:01 am

The Lord is using your prayers and generosity to bring the truth of His Word to millions worldwide. Today, Nathan W. Bingham is joined by Chris Larson and other ministry leaders to share what your support of Ligonier Ministries has accomplished in 2023.

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There are great changes taking place in our time, but I think we can also rejoice that God is purifying His church. And I think as we come out of this, we as Christ people, I think we'll find it a new world in which we can bear testimony to Christ and to His truth.

It may not always be easy. We may see persecution, just as we see many brothers and sisters around the world being persecuted in our time. Jesus declared that He will build His church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And as we heard W. Robert Godfrey just say, yes, the Lord may be purifying His church, but we also see the church being strengthened and growing, sometimes in unexpected places.

And that's some of what you'll hear today. Thanks for joining us for this special edition of Renewing Your Mind, as we share with you a live event that we hosted last month with thousands of Ligonier's ministry partners. You can learn more about this partnership program that fuels the outreach of Ligonier Ministries, including Renewing Your Mind, at renewingyourmind.org slash partner. From prisons to college campuses, Minnesota to Mozambique, the Lord is using your support of Renewing Your Mind and Ligonier Ministries to strengthen God's people and really to bring the truth of Christ to the nations. So I hope you'll be encouraged as you hear more about that, reflections on the times in which we live and as we pray for the global church.

Here's that conversation now. Firstly, I'd like to introduce our president and CEO, Chris Larson. Chris, thank you for being with us tonight. I always enjoy being with our dear ministry partners and providing this special update. The Lord is at work and we have a lot to share, certainly more than we can even probably cover in the time that's been allotted to us. So just grateful. And I just want to say, Nathan, you know, on behalf of the ministry, thanks for the way that you've stepped in to help to host Renewing Your Mind now, day in and day out, seven days a week.

That's a significant work. We miss Lee, but thankfully we still see Lee at church. I just saw him this week and it's good to see that he's doing so well and he loves to step in to the studio occasionally in the campus. And he's probably listening in even tonight. I've heard from so many of our ministry partners who've appreciated the way that you are stewarding that daily broadcast that Dr. Sproul started back in 1994.

Well, it's an incredible privilege and I appreciate that encouragement and thankful for Lee. Chris, it has been a full schedule of travel over the past number of weeks and few months. And as we've traveled, the weather has caught us by surprise. We were in London in September and we brought, you know, clothes to keep us warm, but we didn't need them there in London.

We did not. The fellowship was warm at the conference that we had there, the London conference and the temperature was warm. I think they had their hottest weekend in the UK that weekend that we were having our conference there in central London. Some of you know that we held it at the historic Westminster Chapel, which many of you might remember was where Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones preached and ministered for many years.

And it was warm inside the building, no air conditioning, of course. But, oh, Nathan, that conference, it still warms my heart because I think it could have been maybe one of the top three, four conferences that I've ever been a part of at Ligonier Ministries. We had a thousand people there from 27 different countries, only half the attendees from the UK. We met people from Eastern Europe, Middle East, Central Eastern Africa. I even think we had somebody from Nepal who came to that conference. I met Australians there. It was a wonderful weekend.

Yeah. So encouraging to see the receptivity to God's word and maybe not to jump too far forward here, but we can be discouraged by some things that are facing us here in the West, in the US in particular, in Canada, where we were last weekend. It's challenging times, but the church is growing in so many parts of the world and I'm eager for us to get to some of those updates in a little while.

But yes, it has been a very, very full ministry calendar. Well, we're also joined by the chairman of Ligonier's board, Dr. W. Robert Godfrey. Dr. Godfrey, thank you for being with us. And would you please extend greetings to our ministry partners from the board?

Well, yes, indeed. I'm delighted to do that. Greetings from the board, the board that is so very eager to see the vision of RC's parole continued. And as RC always said, we really rest our work on the support, the prayers, the gifts of our ministry partners.

And so we're so thankful that you've taken time to be with us tonight. We really expect that you'll be encouraged by what you're going to hear about what Ligonier is doing. But from my point of view, what continues to be most compelling for me is the faithfulness with which Ligonier continues to make the truth of the scriptures and the gospel of Christ known. We've seen over the history of American churches, so many groups in one way or another compromise or slip away from their commitment to the truth. And I'm so very thankful that Ligonier has remained so committed, so dedicated to the inerrancy of scripture and to the great truths of the Reformation. And I'm excited to see the ways in which that truth is being brought to the world. So thank you to our ministry partners for the ways in which you make all this possible. Dr. Godfrey, Chris mentioned earlier some of the discouragement that we can tend to feel as we look out to the world and see what's happening. There are wars, there's instability domestically and internationally.

As you look at some of the studies, there's an increase even just in anxiety, fear, restlessness out there in the world. And then when you look inside the church, there's discouragement to be found there as well, particularly if you think about Ligonier's state of theology survey, and you see the church compromising when it comes to areas about gender identity, even some compromising on their views of the scriptures and not seeing them as the authoritative word of God. You are a church historian, Dr. Godfrey. Is this a unique time in which we find ourselves today?

Well, I wish I could say that it is a unique time. It would be great to think that there were vast periods of golden ages when everything was perfect in the church and in the world. But of course, that's not true.

It has never been true. Christ gave us promises that He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. But even in that promise is implied a struggle.

There is going to be opposition. I've been recently often thinking about Psalm 23, and in the metrical version, the fourth verse is, A table thou hast furnished in presence of my foes. So even when we are at rest, even when we seem to see Christ victorious and spreading a banquet feast for His people, there are foes that have had to be overcome.

And every generation has its own unique issues to face. We think this year we're remembering the 100th anniversary of the publication of Dr. Jay Gresham Mason's great book, Christianity and Liberalism. A hundred years ago, the Protestant churches in America were facing liberalism.

In some ways, that battle was won, at least in the sense that today we look around and the liberal churches seem to have far less influence, far less size than they did 100 years ago. But I think the anxiety that we feel comes from this sense that our culture is unraveling, that the kind of assumptions we could make that united us as a culture about what was moral and what was right are all, it seems to be, dissolving. And it's very hard to be able to assume that there's a consensus about what's right and wrong.

We've all just seen some of the terrible demonstrations in defense of terrorism in the Middle East. And I think all of us are very concerned about that. I fall back on those wonderful words of Martin Luther when he wrote to his wife, when she was greatly worried about him and about his health. And Luther marvelously said to his wife, pray and let God worry. I think that's wonderful advice when we are feeling anxious.

Most of the things we're anxious about, we can't individually change immediately anyway. And the greatest thing we can do is pray. And in praying, know that God hears us, but also that God is in control and will work all things together for good. Yeah, there are great changes taking place in our time and in our country, but I think we can also rejoice that God is purifying his church. And I think as we come out of this, the church will be rid of various factions that were only in the church because the church seemed influential. And we as Christ people, I think we'll find it a new world in which we can bear testimony to Christ and to his truth.

May not always be easy. We may see persecution just as we see many brothers and sisters around the world being persecuted in our time, but Christ has promised to be with us. One of the great promises in the book of the revelation is that in Christ we will overcome, we will conquer. And that certainly implies a fight before we get to that victory when our Lord returns in glory. So I'm so thankful that we can be part of that at Ligonier and part of making the reality of Christ's truth known to the church in our time.

Dr. Godfrey, that's such a helpful perspective. It does remind me of when Ligonier Ministries was born in 1971. Of course, we were coming out of a decade of great turmoil in the sixties, and there was this rising secularism and relativism out there in the culture, but then of course there was rising liberalism even within the church and compromise of the gospel. And so Ligonier was born in a time when faithful Christians were trying to fight a two front war, fighting in one sense against that unbelief that is in the world, but also the unbelief that was in the visible mainline churches. And so many ways, you know, it feels like we're having a back to the future moment in 2023, where the past few years there's been all of this turmoil and upheaval and a shaking of society in so many different ways. And the unbelief that is in the world certainly seems muscular and aggressive, but then there has been a silence from the church as it sought to accommodate itself and to influence culture by being likable, but they have instead abandoned the gospel.

And I think of R.C. just all those years and decades just striving to faithfully teach and preach the word of God because he knew it was putting the confidence in the word of God that is where we have our hope. Sometimes we can make too much of ourselves, and we need to remember that it is the Lord, as you say, who's building the church. So thank you for that encouragement, and may we be courageous and faithful and do our part in our time. And as we are following that strategy of proclaiming God's word and opening up the Scriptures to help people better know who God is, the Lord is blessing those efforts. And so we do have encouraging things to share with you. One of those encouraging reports is that it looks like by the end of this year we will have reached over 100 million people, putting an opportunity for them to learn who this holy God of Isaiah 6 is. And we just rejoice and give thanks for that growth.

Last year it was 75 million people reached, the year before 56 million. So this ministry that you are praying for and supporting, the Lord continues to bless and open doors for ministry and for outreach. And we're going to have some extended time to talk about some of our international outreach. But before we do that, I did want to share a few updates about some of the growth that we're seeing, particularly online.

These are really encouraging numbers, Nathan. Yes, like 140 million lifetime views on our YouTube channel. And what excites me, Chris, about our YouTube channel, we mentioned Renewing Your Mind earlier. You go back to 1994, people discovered Ligonier Ministries because they turned the dial on their radio, and they heard R.C. Sproul teaching, and that was the beginning of their journey. Now they're opening their YouTube app, and an algorithm, a sovereignly controlled algorithm, we'll say, is putting up a clip from R.C.

Sproul. And they're beginning their journey with Ligonier Ministries. People from all ages, too. This is amazing. And of course, geographies, it's amazing to see what that audience is.

Yes. And as we go to conferences, and we talked about London, we mentioned Canada earlier, the young families and the teenagers that are coming to these conferences, and they're telling us their first introduction was via YouTube, or listening to some of our podcasts. This year, so far, we've had over 23 million downloads of our podcasts, growing 15% year over year.

Or our new Ligonier app that we just launched, this app this year has been open more than five million times. So we're seeing continued growth, continued engagement with our teaching, reaching every age and stage of the Christian life. And so we're grateful for you, our ministry partners, because we know that without your support, none of this would be possible.

And Chris, we touched on the conferences London and Canada. What stood out to me was the response from those in attendance, such a warm welcome, and saying, come back. We want teaching like what Ligonier is producing. It is amazing to see when Ligonier comes to these different cities around the country and even around the world, we have people coming from all kinds of different denominations and Christian backgrounds. But they're drawn because of our placing of the Word of God as the authority. It's the authority that we stand under and stand on and all that we seek to preach and teach. And really, it's not doing anything new, but just giving God's people God's Word, and his sheep hear his voice, and they come and they feed deeply. And we are quick to remind these folks that, yes, it's a conference, and we want it to be edifying and encouraging, really just so that you're going right back into your local church and seeking to revitalize the ministry of the local church. Ligonier is not the church, but we do exist to come alongside and underneath the church to support and strengthen her.

And that's what happens through these conferences. And these people come together because they have this common love for a high and holy God who has spoken through his holy word and given us the gospel of his holy son. When we were there in London, we met a young church planter who's serving in Spain. And he had an incredible story, and the Lord has used Ligonier in his life. So we grabbed an iPhone out and just said, can we just record your story so we can share it with our ministry partners? And he agreed, and here's his story now.

Hi, my name is Dylan. I'm a church planter of a Reformed Baptist church in Madrid, Spain, and living in a country where it's just theologically dry and just being in a desert, I found such a refuge and a fountain of just life in the community that Ligonier has provided to me, both through its free resources, also through Reformation Bible College, being able to take advantage of those things. As a church planter, it's just been life in the midst of desert and inviting others in that unreached people group in Spain into this theological conversation, not just knowing who God is, but being able to know who God is through Christ Jesus in all of his glory. And so Ligonier has just provided such a resource for me and my ministry and what really Christ has done in his ministry through us and to see his glory known more throughout Spain and throughout Europe. So I just wanted to have a huge thank you to Ligonier for all that it's really done for me personally and my own life to help me to be able to worship and see who God is and to be able to really know his holiness and invite other brothers in to study the holiness of God in all of his glory together. So I just want to say thank you to Ligonier for all that you have done for me. Thank you. Wow.

It's incredible. So please pray for Dylan and the many church planters and churches that are using the resources and materials from Ligonier Ministries. Chris, I do want to talk about international outreach and introduce our next guest. But before we do that, could you briefly tell us where were you earlier this week?

Yeah, two days ago. Well, I was at Bibb County Correctional Facility just outside of Birmingham, Alabama, and Ligonier has been working with a seminary there in Birmingham to bring resources to the inmates there. And I was able to go into the prison, meet with prisoners and sit in class with prisoners. These are convicts. These are murderers and a host of other just unspeakable crimes. And these are now brothers in Christ. They are new creations and their lives have been transformed and their minds are being renewed by the Word of God. We have a program where we're giving resources where they're going through teaching series Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. They're going through Ligonier teaching series and the classes are being facilitated by other inmates who've progressed even further in their studies and watching the discussion and they're sitting there listening to R.C.

and they're taking notes, transcribing really what he's saying and then surrounding them, if you can just picture it, there's all of the Ligonier resources up on the wall that they can go in and get anytime pretty much during the day. And what has happened at this prison is just a testimony of the power of the gospel as the Holy Spirit has brought awakening. There's over 300 prisoners there now in this Christian area of the prison.

About 13 years or so ago, there was just a handful. And this is the Lord's work as the gospel goes forth. So we praise God for how he uses his own word and we just strive to be faithful in putting it into opportunities for the Holy Spirit to come along and cause this inflaming truth and this awakening to who God is.

And these men are just on fire for the truth. And just to give some perspective there on our prison ministry outreach, maybe three years or so ago, we had about 12 chaplains that we were working with. Now it's over 300 prison ministry chaplains that we are working with. And Ligonier is now serving 800 correctional facilities around the country and in Canada and we're seeking to do more. So again, I'm so excited about this, just getting off the plane this week and I wish I could take everybody.

You would just be so delighted. Well, I do want to introduce our next guest this evening. He's our Vice President of Global Outreach, JD Bridges. JD oversees our global outreach, our international outreach team. And JD, as I was preparing for tonight, I read that your team will have translated 7.6 million words this year. That's a new high watermark. That's right, Nathan.

Yeah. Just to put that into perspective, if you have a Reformation Study Bible, there's about 1.3 million words just in the Reformation Study Bible in the notes. That's the equivalent of almost six Reformation Study Bibles of content, Ligonier's content being translated into currently almost 38 languages that are in motion right now. So we have so many things we could share.

I think just getting a sense of the Lord's kindness through the generosity of our ministry partners to just highlight some of the things that they've enabled us to do this past year. If you take a look at our video content, everyone's familiar I'm sure with our teaching series, we've been able to translate and dub 6,500 minutes of video content this year alone. And that's in addition to those 7.6 million words.

That's right. In addition to. And then not only that, we've released four new dedicated language sites. So you would likely have seen the announcements for Indonesian, Russian, Ukrainian and Urdu earlier this year. And Lord willing, we'll be announcing Turkish before year end too. So it's really exciting to see all that the Lord is doing and has enabled us to do through our partners. A large effort that was launched this year as well was Ligonier Connect into Spanish.

Yes. So it has been very well received by our Spanish speaking audience, not only here in the States, but throughout Latin America. And we've been able over the course of this year to take what we launched with were approximately 20 teaching series. By year end, we will have nearly 50. And so that's hundreds of hours of content in Spanish that is serving a part of the world that, as we all know, is poorly resourced.

And this type of content, this type of platform just doesn't exist. And so it's really remarkable to see what the Lord's doing in that part of the world. It's been exciting to see, JD, your team continue to develop partners on the field. I love how you put it where Ligonier strives to be a supply line to the front lines. And you really find trusted partners, don't you?

We do. I was able actually just a couple of weeks ago to spend some time with partners in Argentina, in Brazil, and in Peru. And what was remarkable to me is to hear the same story of gratitude and opportunity for Ligonier. We were in Asia earlier this year, and you've been in many other places around the world, Middle East. What is it that church leaders are telling you?

I've heard it now with my own ears, but it's been interesting how it comes up in the same way in multiple different places. Yeah, I would describe it as an urgent appeal for more resources. So in one sense, they're very thankful for what they have. And at the same time, they are asking us for more. And when can we bring those to them? You mentioned, JD, we're active right now.

We have active projects in 38 languages, which is truly remarkable. But let's talk about the Reformation Study Bible. Our ministry partners will have heard of Study Bibles for Africa. But how are we thinking, Chris, about distribution of the Reformation Study Bible today? I go back to when Dr. Sproul launched that campaign for Study Bibles for Africa.

We had a fairly modest goal over a fairly long period of time. And I remember him saying, we shouldn't be talking about 10,000 Study Bibles. We should be talking about hundreds of thousands of Study Bibles going out to the world. And at the time, we did what we could.

And to see what's happened just in a few short years is something to marvel at, just in English. But it's now caused us to think we have a larger scope of service to be able to take the Reformation Study Bible to. And so, JD, we've started to talk through what would it look like to evolve that campaign to really be Study Bibles for the world. We were talking at lunch just today how the networks that you and your team have been able to develop means that we can distribute probably far more than we're able to currently in terms of having the financial resources to do so. But, I mean, one of these Study Bibles is about $20 U.S. to distribute, generally speaking.

Tell us a little bit more about the opportunity and where we want to see some of this go, not just in Africa, but in many other places. Well, I would say it's been remarkable to see what we've been able to do over these last few years. And, Chris, I remember when we had the conversation and we talked about moving the goalposts from 30,000 Study Bibles to 100,000. And I remember thinking, oh, no, I'm going to need to get on a plane and develop a few more friendships and partnerships on the field.

R.C. would have liked the analogy of moving the goalposts. So we're now at 65,000-plus Study Bibles that have been distributed. And what's remarkable is that as we have more Study Bibles that are being translated, it unlocks parts of the world that we've not even touched yet. And so it wouldn't be difficult to imagine through our networks at this point what it might look like to distribute perhaps a million Study Bibles. Chris, I know that we've had a lot of conversations about what that would take.

And often the conversation was both funds and partners. And I think now we have the partners in place to support distribution at that scale. And part of the perspective here for our ministry partners is so that they would understand this is a strategic focus for Ligonier, is to take this resource that you, our beloved ministry partners, know so well, and to be able to give it to church leaders and growing Christians around the world in many different languages. And that will be focused on this effort, among many others, for decades to come, Lord willing.

And to even start to imagine several million Study Bibles going out to Africa, of course, but India. We've developed some promising new relationships in India and then throughout Latin America and the Spanish-speaking world. And so there's so much to come. And we've got an important milestone next year coming up.

That's right. So next year, we will be, Lord willing, we will be launching the Reformation Study Bible in French. And as I was just saying, that unlocks a part of the world that really we've had not much to offer.

And so to imagine Western Africa, Central Africa, and certainly parts of Europe as well, but the French speakers for Africa alone will reach the hundreds of millions. And so if you think about that Study Bible being available now for that part of the world, it really is remarkable to think about how much more we could be doing once it's in hand. And these Study Bibles, the price for one of these would be well more than a month's wage for some of these folks. That's right.

A month's wage for many is actually the reality of the day-to-day. And I'll say this too. I remember a conversation I had with a brother, and he was requesting a Bible. And the thing that he said that has just stood out to me is that he said, if there's one resource that I'm going to die for, because he was living in a persecuted part of the world, he said, I want to die holding a Bible in my hand.

And so to think about giving them Study Bibles and the importance of what that means and the risk of being a Christian in those parts of the world. Dr. Godfrey, as you hear these updates about what JD's team is doing around the world, how do you think Dr. Sproul would have responded? He got to see some of this growth, but what has taken place over the past almost six years has really been staggering.

It has indeed. And I was thinking back that when Arcee and I started our careers of trying to communicate, we were writing on typewriters for the younger. Among our listeners, they should go to museums and be able to see such things. And to see the advances then in technology, in printing, but also in internet and the ability to connect with people over distances and make learning resources available over that distance, it's mind-boggling.

And Arcee would be absolutely thrilled. His heart was for making Christ known to the world, to as many people as we could possibly reach. Isn't it wonderful to think that one of the big problems we face is finding trusted people to distribute Bibles on site. So clearly the Lord is doing wonderful things in making Bibles available and with wonderful study guides. As you've said before, many ministers receiving these study Bibles feel it's a whole library for them of insight into truth and scripture that they never had before. So Arcee would be the very first to be saying, let's do more.

Yes. Well, another guest that we have with us tonight is the president of Reformation Bible College. He's also the host of Five Minutes in Church History, Dr. Stephen Nichols. Now, Dr. Nichols, I do want to ask you about the college, but before we get to the college, I want to talk to you about these sellout events that I have the privilege of being involved in. Many of them with you are always ready youth apologetics events. Tell our ministry partners about these events.

Yeah, these are just great events, Nathan. We so enjoy doing them and presenting to these young people. These cultural changes and challenges that Bob was talking about at the beginning, they have landed so hard on our young people and the challenges they are facing and the questions they are getting. We even call the folks who are speaking into their lives influencers. They are surrounded by these influencers. And we've designed these conferences, always ready conferences, as places where young people, mostly 12 to 18 years old, can come and get answers to know that they can stand confidently on the Word of God when these questions of identity and sexuality and pluralism and biblical authority and, you know, is Jesus the only way? All these challenging questions, we want them to know they have answers. It's also easy, I think, for some of these teenagers to feel isolated or marginalized or feel overwhelmed by the might and size of the opposition. And so to come together at these conferences, as you mentioned, sold out churches, whether it's a church of 500 or 1200, and they're singing hymns with 1200 people their age.

They're studying the Bible together. It's just very encouraging for us to see. And please pray for these events. We've got a full schedule for next year. We're going to be in Birmingham, Alabama. We're going to be in Ontario. That's our first international Always Ready, Nathan. We'll be in Columbia, South Carolina. We're going to be at a camp on the shores of Lake Michigan.

We'll be here again in Sanford, Florida, and we're going to end the year in Los Angeles. So the Always Ready events. I find them so encouraging. And you mentioned this, that the young people that attend come away encouraged because they're in this room filled with peers that believe the same things that they do. And we recognize some of these young people might be the only Christian in a public school, or they are committed in their home school, but they're not surrounded by, in a sense, an army of people that hold to those same convictions. And to stand there in a room, 1200 people, and you look around and they see people that look like them, sound like them, the same age, and they realize they're not fighting this battle alone. That puts wind in their sails, steel in their spine as they go out. So I do want our ministry partners to be encouraged that as we look to this next generation, there is this growing swarm of young people that are saying, give me truth.

I would say those times when you feel discouraged and you really feel like the end is in sight, think of these events and these young people, and know that they are convictional, they're committed to God's word, and that can just be very encouraging, really, for all of us. So if you want one day with Ligonier, a young person goes to Always Ready. If they want one year, or ideally four years with Ligonier, they come to Reformation Bible College. So tell us about the college.

Yeah, it's so exciting to see, Nathan. We were founded back in 2011. Many of you, dear ministry partners, you've heard about the college from before it began, and you've stood with us over these many years. We started in 2011. We had 25 students.

We were in one building about 8,000 square feet. As we bring 2023 to a close, RBC has over 200 students on campus, an actual campus with a residence hall and 90,000 square feet under roof. It's just so encouraging to see. We sent out our Thanksgiving card with faculty and students for convocation, and I heard back from a number of people that received it saying, Dr. Sproul would have loved to have seen this, and I couldn't agree more.

But it's also quality. You know, it's not just quantity. I just heard from a local pastor. They had their fall festival recently, and as he went around, he realized that three-quarters of the volunteers were RBC students who are there at that church. And we just heard from Dylan and Madrid, who is one of our RBC online students, who is being encouraged and trained in his week there.

And just today, I was walking through the library and I'd love to just interrupt students a little bit from their studies just to chat with them, but I'm looking down at what they're reading, Nathan. And these were theological textbooks I read in seminary, and I'm thinking, these are undergrads that are getting this education with like-minded peers who are aligned with these convictions and commitments. And it's just so exciting to think about the impact that they can have in the work that God can do through these students over a lifetime of ministry and service. And it's because of the rigor of the curriculum that for those young men that are going into seminary, we have partnerships with seminaries across the country to help them really fast-track their studies.

That's right. They'll take our students at three years instead of four. And so that's a real testimony to the curriculum.

That was designed by R.C. and to the teaching of the faculty, which is really just a world-class faculty here on our campus in Sanford. And they're not only good scholars, they're churchmen who are committed to not only educating, but also discipling these students. Well, we pray for you, the faculty, and the staff, and I would encourage our partners to pray for Reformation Bible College and those young people that are there. Because as you heard Dr. Nichols say, they will have, Lord willing, a generational impact. J.D., I do want to come back to you and focus again on international outreach. As you look at the year ahead, as the Lord provides resources, what are some of the things that we hope to see in 2024?

That's a great question. So in addition to the French edition of the Reformation Study Bible, we'll also be launching, Lord willing, the Spanish edition of the condensed Reformation Study Bible. And we've seen tremendous interest in that, and I believe that it will serve pastors very well.

As you know, it's a portable edition that I think is sorely needed in that part of the world. We'll also have our first regional conference in the Dominican Republic next fall. And so I'm excited to go down there. We'll have several pastors who will be speaking in Spanish to the audience and translation from our English speakers, but we'll also be live streaming that event as well.

And so I'm encouraged to see just the audience that will participate there. And then the Arabic edition of the Holiness of God will also be released next year. So really exciting to see just the ongoing translation and the opportunities that we have in different languages. And then you'll see from us a focus towards India. We've already launched the Hindi edition of our website, but we know that we've got a lot more work to do, Nathan. And so I'll be spending some time actually making some trips to India and even Nepal to hopefully advance the work that we're doing there. We've got some great momentum, but we've got a lot to do. And work will continue in the Arabic edition of the Reformation Study Bible, an active project, right?

That's right. We're still a few years out, I believe, but Lord willing, we'll continue to make good progress towards that goal. What we heard from a number of the partners and those that have been helped by our international outreach, and I'd love for our ministry partners to hear some of those testimonies now. Good morning from Alexandria. My name is Manohar Makram.

I'm 22 years old. I want to share with you my experience. I have watched all the series of From Dust to Glory for Dr. Artis Proulx in one month. It's helped me a lot to grow in my relation with God, to understand God more. So thank you so much.

I'm looking forward to seeing more of the programs you make. Thank you. Greetings from Korea. If the spiritual thirst of your congregation is to be canched through the word of God, then a well-studied Bible is a very rewarding and meaningful resource for all pastors and preachers. I am so grateful to Ligonier Ministries for your generous gift of the Reformation Study Bible to Korean pastors. And I pray that you may continue to be a valuable part of God's saving work through your ministry.

Thank you. Hi, my name is Khosrowi Achumi. I'm an Indian and I'm a student at Westminster Theological College and Seminary in Cambodia. I would like to thank the Ligonier Ministry for contributing to us the Reformation Study Bible.

My name is David Lawang. The books we received from Ligonier, True Locks and Tenerbrays encourage lots of people to attend the gospel seminars and conferences we host. Through these new churches are planted to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. I want to say thank you to Ligonier Locks and Tenerbrays for the support of the Law School in Cambodia. Greetings in the precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ. My name is Oscar and I serve as part of the Elders Team at Interlundus Church.

We were deeply grateful and blessed by having Ligonier partnering with us. Thank you so much for your generosity. We pray the Lord blesses and prospers your efforts to take the name of Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.

God bless. That is just a small glimpse of the lives that your support is impacting. You really, as ministry partners, you really are serving as a theological lifeline to so many. Chris, I asked JD what was in store for 2024 when he thinks of the international outreach landscape.

As you look ahead to the new calendar year, what do you hope that we're able to accomplish? In many ways, I hope our dear ministry partners just see us continuing to follow the playbook that Dr. Sproul set for us and not waver because that is what we're striving to do for decades to come. We want to have the world's largest library of discipleship resources that are faithful to the historic Christian faith and then take this substantial library into the world's top 20 languages and to sustain ministry for decades to come.

We want to get to the point where we're spending upwards of a million dollars or more in 19 different languages plus English on top of that. Right now, our budget is a fraction of that and so we see the vast need and I think our ministry partners certainly understand the opportunity that is in front of us and so we're following the Lord's leading here and so we're continuing to take the teaching to the nations, developing more, so that is what we're doing day in and day out and you, our dear ministry partners, we know you're right there with us and praying for us in all of these expanding outreaches and we know that you care deeply about passing the faith down to the next generation. RBC, Reformation Bible College, that's the most distilled expression of Ligonier's mission and vision.

R.C. loved to see that life on life discipleship and so whether it's reaching several hundred students here on our campus or millions, hundred million people or more in years to come, the work is the same to take the Word of God to the nations at every age and stage of the Christian life and so we're thinking about how do we reach Gen Z and even the next generation to come behind that, Gen Alpha and we're developing new resources, videos, curriculum that's in the works, not ready to talk about that in much detail just yet but we do have some things that we're working towards. As I mentioned, the needs are significant out there in many different parts of the world and we're trying to follow that and be faithful stewards of what's entrusted to us but like R.C. said, if somebody gives us a hundred dollars, we will strive to make that hundred dollars go as far as it possibly can to be as efficient and effective with that hundred dollars but we cannot do a hundred and one dollars of ministry. It's only a hundred dollars of ministry that we can do and we're going to try and be as faithful with that hundred dollars as we can and so the need is substantial for us to continue to grow. Right now our annual budget is around 40 million dollars a year and we have about 200 or so staff members, that includes the college as well just to give our ministry partners some sense of the size of the ministry at present but R.C.

was never interested in a maintenance ministry. He was not about himself, he was about the mission and the message and he wanted to see this really fuel a movement around the world. Our ministry partners can pray for us, we have a bit of a budget gap to close here before year's end, well over six million dollars that we need to raise before December 31 and in truth, the need is larger than that because there's more opportunities to follow that we weren't even able to tell you about. We can go as you all come alongside of us and this is a partnership in the gospel and it's such a treasure. I'm thankful that we have the treasure of life and these are dark times in the West, in various parts of the world and J.D.

mentioned some of our persecuted brethren in other parts of the world. We all know that like a Scottish minister said back in the 19th century that a dark hour makes Jesus bright and it's really that we see his brightness because he is always bright, ever holding out the life-giving word of God to us and so what a treasure we have here in Earthen Vessels and we're just grateful for all of you who joined us for this call. Well this seems like an important time to stop and to pray and so Dr. Godfrey, I'd like to call on you. Would you lead us in a time of prayer, praying for the Lord to protect his church, praying even for peace as the gospel goes out around the world, praying for our ministry partners, particularly those that are listening, their families, their local churches and praying that the Lord would keep Ligonier faithful and that he would provide for our ministry needs and allow us to expand and take advantage of the opportunities that our ministry partners have heard about this evening. I'm delighted to do that Nathan and so I'd ask us all who are gathered in this means to turn our hearts to the Lord.

Let's pray together. Holy God, our Heavenly Father, we are so thankful for the great gift of Jesus to this world. Jesus is indeed the light of the world and the Savior of the world. As we look at our world with all of its struggles and all of its sin, we know how great the need is for people to know Jesus and to know peace in him.

We see wars in our time, oh Lord, wars that in so many ways are meaningless in the pain and the destruction and the harm that they bring to accomplish only what selfish men often would want to accomplish. And so we pray, oh Lord, that in our time we might see more peace and more justice and more freedom in this world. And that in that peace and justice and freedom, there might be more opportunities for your church to make Christ known. We are so thankful that we live in a day when we can see the church spread around the world in some places strong, in many places weak, but almost everywhere.

The church is present as a testimony to Christ, as the light of the world pointing to the great light. And so, oh Lord, we pray for your churches that they would be faithful, that they would be strong, that you would use them to gather your elect. Oh Lord, we know how little we can do in our own strength, but how thankful we are to know your strength and your glory and your purpose, and to be assured that you will gather a people for your son, that he will reign over forever.

And so we pray, oh Lord, for the work that Ligonier is doing to advance that cause of Christ. And we're so thankful for the ministry partners that helped make that work possible. We pray that you'll bless those partners. We pray that you'll meet their needs and the needs of their families.

We know, oh Lord, that in this world there are great blessings, but also great miseries. And so we pray that your encouragement might be with our ministry partners, that your strength and healing and blessing might be with them, and that they might experience great joy and blessing and peace in you. We pray for the churches that they attend, oh Lord, that those churches might be places of faithfulness and of love and of building up the saints in the truth of Christ. And so we pray, oh Lord, that these ministry partners might be able to help the churches to be more faithful and to build up that work. And we do pray, oh Lord, for the work that Ligonier is doing. We've heard this wonderful report of opportunities around the world of a growing number of languages with the truth.

We think of the great potential for the truth to be present in the Arabic language. Oh Lord, would you bless those languages, each one, to penetrate to cultures that need to know the hope of Christ. And we pray that you'll open up more opportunities for Ligonier to encourage local churches and to bring the word in various forms to those churches. And we pray, oh Lord, that as you open opportunities, so you'll also supply us with the means that we need to make use of those opportunities. And our prayer would be, oh Lord, that as your word goes out, that it would not return void, but we know it will accomplish the purpose to which you send it. We're so thankful to have that promise of the scriptures and so thankful to know that you will do great things. And so we pray, oh Lord, for great times of awakening in various parts of the world. We know that only your Holy Spirit can do this by applying the truth of the word to human hearts. And we pray then that we might be blessed to see the fruit of these labors in the conversion of men and women and children to the glory of your name.

Sometimes we know we don't see the fruit. We see only the sowing of the seed. And we pray that that seed might be faithfully sown far and wide. And yet we would be bold to pray that we might also see the fruit, that there might more and more be light shining in this world as it shines in the hearts of individuals. And so, oh Lord, we pray that you'll bless us all together. We're so thankful for the staff at Ligonier, for their commitment, for their faithfulness, and pray that you will bless their labors to advance the cause of Christ.

We don't seek to advance our own cause, but only His cause. And so, oh Lord, fill us with hope and believing. Strengthen us to serve you and hear us, for we pray in Jesus' name and to His glory alone. Amen.

Amen. Dr. Godfrey, thank you for praying, and thank you for your leadership here at Ligonier Ministries. And Chris, J.D., Dr. Nichols, thank you for being with us. And to you, our ministry partners, we really do thank God for each and every one of you.

You're listening to Renewing Your Mind, and that was a special live event with thousands of Ligonier ministry partners. I do hope that you are encouraged to hear how the Lord is at work around the world and how He is using you as you share this program, as you pray for its impact, and as you financially support Renewing Your Mind and Ligonier Ministries. As we come to the final weeks of 2023, typically our largest month for financial support, we do ask if you have been helped by this ministry this year, if you're able, would you give a year-end gift today at renewingyourmind.org and help extend the reach of our trusted library of discipleship resources, equipping pastors in Africa with Reformation Study Bibles, fueling further translation work, and reaching and serving the next generation. Perhaps you would consider becoming a ministry partner, too, and joining us for one of these live events next year. We strive to serve you with exclusive benefits as a partner, but really you become a theological lifeline to so many. Whether a one-time gift or you do become a partner, every gift matters, and you can do both at renewingyourmind.org. Thank you. Next week you'll hear select messages from R.C. Sproul as we reflect upon and celebrate the first advent of Christ. So I hope you'll join us Monday here on Renewing Your Mind.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-15 02:22:10 / 2023-12-15 02:42:03 / 20

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