Reformed House of Studies draws on the riches of the Reformed tradition
By Wycliffe Communications
Oct 24, 2022
On October 31, Wycliffe College officially launches its Reformed House of Studies (RHS)—a theological and ministerial training initiative, housed within the College, which draws on the riches of the Reformed tradition to prepare students and maturing leaders for Christian ministry. Communications Director, Patricia Paddey posed a few questions to RHS Director Lyndon Jost, who graduated from Wycliffe with a PhD in May, 2022, to learn more.
Q: What is the RHS?
LJ:The RHS will provide students and pastors with opportunities for training and fellowship in a variety of ways, including intensive courses, retreats, public lectures, and reading cohorts. Students enrolled in Wycliffe's MDiv or MTS degree programs can also graduate, through the RHS, with a concentration in Reformed Studies, consisting of a curriculum of core courses and electives, along with a cohort that pairs students of the RHS with evangelical and Reformed pastors and professors in a community of mentored learning.
While the RHS certainly aims to train students for ministry in specifically Reformed contexts, our hope is that the RHS will serve to equip students from and for other ecclesial and non-ecclesial contexts as well, with the conviction that the Reformed tradition offers a wealth of resources not only for "the Reformed church" but for the whole church and the whole world. Our hope is that the RHS will provide a rich context for anyone interested in deepening their knowledge of God and self from the Scriptures for Christian faithfulness in the world.
Q: Tell me the story of how the RHS came to be.
LJ:The Reformed House of Studies began as an initiative of a group of ministers in the Presbyterian Church in America (the "PCA") with the goal of establishing a context in Canada for training candidates for lay and ordained ministry. The PCA has had churches in Canada since its founding in 1973. However, historically, anyone wishing to pursue ministry in the PCA would be sent off to one of a few denominationally approved Reformed seminaries in the United States. While these State-side seminaries have provided strong and faithful contexts for learning and training, our Canadian presbyteries have been thinking and praying for years about how we might best train and equip leaders in Canada, in a context that is both strongly shaped by the evangelical and Reformed theological tradition and also attuned to the particularities of Christian ministry in the Canadian context.
Wycliffe College seemed a natural context in which we might work toward establishing such a Reformed centre for ministerial training. To begin, Wycliffe has already been playing a leading role in training ministers within the evangelical Anglican tradition in Canada, which is itself an expression of the Reformed evangelical church. For over a decade Wycliffe has played a significant role in training students for ministry in the PCA, with several PCA ministers (myself included) having completed at least part of our theological education at Wycliffe. For these reasons we began to explore a partnership with Wycliffe College in establishing the Reformed House as a context for training PCA and other like-minded evangelical and Reformed leaders.
Q: How did you come to take up the role of Director?
LJ: Being both an ordained PCA minister and a Wycliffe alumnus (of both the MDiv and PhD programs), as well as having previously served in various staff capacities at the College, I was seen as a natural fit for the director role. My church, Christ Church Toronto, where I serve as assistant pastor, was also very supportive of my involvement with the RHS, even offering to allot part of my salaried hours to serve in this capacity. In short, my church was glad to "send" me into this role, and Wycliffe glad to "receive" me. And I'm grateful to be both sent and received.
Q: Why is the RHS needed?
LJ: Canada has an ever-growing body of churches that are both evangelical and confessionally Reformed, including the North American Presbyterian and Reformed Churches (NAPARC) and Reformed Baptist churches.
Students looking for a robust Reformed and evangelical education in theology and ministry have typically traveled south of the border. This is at least in part because institutional trust has been built up by a number of American institutions. We hope to provide a training context that draws such students and establishes trust with Canadian churches, students, and institutions.
Q: What else do folks need to know?
LJ: With the RHS launching this October, we will begin to offer our first three new courses, one per semester, beginning in the Spring of 2023.
- Reformed Worship and Polity (Intensive) with Chad Van Dixhoorn (May 29 - June 2, 2023)
- Confessional Theology in the Reformed Tradition - Michael Haykin (Fall Semester 2023)
- Expository Preaching (Intensive) with Bryan Chapell (February 19-23, 2024)
We are also excited to host the first RHS Cohort beginning in the 2023-24 academic year!
For those interested in receiving updates about the Reformed House of Studies including future courses and events, see the website at wycliffecollege.ca/reformed-studies or for more information email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.