RTS is partnering with Proyecto Nehemias in translating courses into Spanish. Jeff Stevenson, Ph.D., is the founder and president of this ministry and our executive director in Houston, Tim McKeown, as well as Dr. Richard Belcher, professor of Old Testament at RTS/Charlotte, are also on the board of directors.
Read below for more information about this organization:
Proyecto Nehemias, Inc. (“PN”), a newly formed North Carolina non-profit corporation, is a religious organization with the overarching purpose of serving society and the church in all manifestations of evangelical Christianity in Latin America. We partner with other Christian organizations, denominations and mission organizations to coordinate their ministry activities in Latin America and make their ministry content available in Spanish by providing professional transcription, translation and media production services. We also engage in coordinating student and faculty academic exchanges, teaching activities, seminars and conferences on practical theology, vocational orientation, biblical counseling, stewardship and business ethics based on Biblical principles. We seek to prepare lay and ordained church leaders through programs of theological education, with a particular emphasis on Spanish-speaking pastor teachers with a call to the teaching ministry. A long-term goal of Proyecto Nehemías is to produce an indigenous Spanish-speaking university and theological seminary professorate who will engage Latin American society via their academic writing and also train pastor teachers in Latin America from a Reformed worldview.
We chose the name Proyecto Nehemías (Nehemiah Project) for a variety of reasons. Nehemiah was a layman rather than a priest. In Proyecto Nehemías, we seek to see the key tenets of the Reformation taught, put in practice and then taught to others (2 Tim. 2:2). Two of these tenets of the Reformers were the notion of “the priesthood of all believers,” and the importance of vocation. What this means in practical terms is that all Christians have a role to play in ministry to the church and in Christian witness to society at large at some level. Just because Nehemiah wasn’t part of the priestly class did he excuse himself from being of any practical benefit to the people of God. It was actually just the opposite. He held a position of prestige in the king’s court and could have easily resigned himself to a life of relative comfort. God was actually able to use Nehemiah the way he did because of his position in “secular” society rather than in spite of it.
Nehemiah also knew the importance of explaining the meaning of Scripture to God’s people, which in effect, has to do with teaching them theology. He enlisted the help of the scribe Ezra for this purpose. Theology can be defined as “the application of God’s Word by persons to all areas of human life.” Theology is also for all the people of God, not just pastors and missionaries. Nehemiah addressed the issues the people of God faced in his day from a theological perspective. Some of these issues, such as unsustainable levels of personal indebtedness, continue to be a serious problem in the church in Latin America and we therefore partner with parachurch ministries such as Compass and to make their English-language resources available in Spanish.
Nehemiah knew how to get people from a wide variety of backgrounds involved in God’s work. We want to see the people of God have access to quality theological training in order that they then inform all they do in their families, places of study and work and in Christian service based on solid Reformed theological foundations. We also want to see the people of God learn to live debt-free lives characterized by generosity and service and a commitment to the Great Commission.
Our current translation projects are focused on content produced by Reformed publishing houses and Reformed seminary curricula, and in particular that of Ligonier Ministries and Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS). An example of the work performed in collaboration with Ligonier Ministries is that we proof and correct the computer-generated English subtitles of Ligonier Ministries content on their YouTube channel. Once we have the corrected English text, we then pass it along to our professional translators, who create the Spanish-language text. Finally, we have translated several titles from Ligonier’s Reformation Trust publishing house. In the future we plan to translate all current and future Ligonier Ministries content and Reformation Trust titles into Spanish for subsequent digital and print distribution. Our next project with Ligonier Ministries will be to produce a Spanish-language version of one the courses available through their Ligonier Connect online learning platform.
Proyecto Nehemías works to provide Spanish-speaking pastor/teachers, professors, business, governmental and educational leaders with a seminary (level) education from Reformed theological seminaries. As part of these efforts, we collaborate with the Distance Education department of Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) to create English transcriptions of the RTS course lectures. Once we have English transcriptions of the RTS lectures, we then create Spanish translations of the material for subsequent studio recording of the Spanish version of the original lectures. We have finished transcription of eight courses, translation of two courses and audio recording of one course. The Distance Education department of Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) offers three Global Education Master of Arts Degree Programs. As funding is provided, we will continue to produce transcription, Spanish translation and Spanish audio recording of all RTS courses that form part of the Global Education Master of Arts Degree Programs, either as core courses or electives. Even if these degrees are currently only available in English, having these Spanish-language support materials available greatly facilitates a non-native English speaker’s comprehension of the material. In the short term, we will continue to develop our partnership with RTS so that Spanish-language versions of the excellent English-language lecture content that RTS makes available to the world free of charge via iTunes U will also be available free of charge to the Spanish-speaking world on iTunes U. In summary, we see our mission as helping other Reformed ministries “go into all the world” and expand their reach and impact, helping them fulfill their role in the Great Commission, and this in the native language of those who hear the message (Matt. 28:19, Rom. 10:14, Rev. 7:9).