LONDON REFORMED BAPTIST SEMINARY (LRBS) Aims
The Aims of the LRBS
"The things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also" (2 Timothy 2.2).
In these days of spiritual decline, what questions do we ask when we consider places of training for the ministry of the Word? Does a seminary take a strong or a weak view of the inerrancy and authority of Scripture? Does it affirm or deny the necessity of preaching distinctively evangelistic sermons regularly? If the former, how does it train men for such a ministry? Has it fallen to an ecumenical outlook? Is it charismatic, or weakly neutral in regard to such matters, denying cessationism? Is it infected by 'worldly' Christianity, such as the use of contemporary Christian music and worship? Is it unconcerned about the pragmatic, compromised methodology of the so-called 'church growth movement'? Does it teach the neo-evangelical approach to biblical interpretation, thus robbing God's Word of much of its divine character, diminishing the pastoral potential of the text?
Never since pre-Reformation days has Western evangelicalism fallen to such a low spiritual condition. Never has it been infected by so many unbiblical ideas and practices. More urgently than ever we need to train men for a powerful ministry of the Word of God, re-emphasising the old paths of reformed Truth combined with vigorous evangelism. We need men prepared and inspired to preach Christ in all His fulness, to win souls, and to contend for the faith.
We need church leaders whose biblical knowledge is paralleled by a rugged determination for intensive, practical work, and who will take a clear stand on the great issues. We need men who will not yield to the current tide of carnal Christianity. We need those who will give themselves wholly to the building of local churches for the glory of the Saviour. Over 300 years ago the church which is now the Metropolitan Tabernacle was engaged in training men for the eldership and the preaching ministry. In the seventeenth century Pastor Benjamin Keach, a joint compiler of the 1689 Baptist Confession, directed the studies of such men. Pastoral successors such as Dr John Gill and Dr John Rippon also engaged in the training of preachers, and the work of C. H. Spurgeon in commencing the Pastors' College (then church related) is well known. In the 1920s and 1930s Harry Tydeman Chilvers maintained a massive preachers' class which was used for the stimulation and preparation of many. The ministry of theological training, resumed in 1975 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, has an ancient precedent. Within a few years of its inception, this course became the largest theological training enterprise of a reformed character in the UK. From the beginning, the Seminary has attracted a high proportion of men already in full-time pastoral charge, and also many holding graduate and postgraduate qualifications in other disciplines.