RTS Washington DC Vision

In our culture we are engaged in a “Battle of Ideas” and in no place is that battle more apparent than in our nation’s great urban centers.  RTS Washington DC is committed to equipping the next generation of Christian leaders to articulate and defend their faith in an urban, postmodern environment in a way that stands up to intellectual scrutiny and gives an account for the hope that is within them.  Our focus is to prepare Christian leaders for our community, our nation and the global church with “a mind for truth and a heart for God.”

Our vision is to see the development of Christ-centered leaders at RTS Washington DC who, through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, will impact our community, our nation and the world providing a catalyst for sustained cultural renewal by:

  • Providing our students with an unapologetically reformed world view which emphasizes God's sovereignty (Ephesians 1:11), the Authority of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16), Biblical/Covenant Theology (Luke 24.27), the Great Commission/Cultural Mandate and the transforming power of the Gospel of Grace.
     
  • Developing leaders and future pastors who are well grounded theologically, spiritually, and vocationally and who understand how to communicate the gospel message in an urban, multicultural, postmodern context.
     
  • Teaching others how to integrate their work and their faith to fully apply the gospel to their lives and developing a Christian worldview of their profession or industry.  This integration supports our graduates in connecting and mobilizing their church community in their professional and industry spheres toward gospel-centered transformation for the common good. (Ephesians 2:10)

RTS Washington DC’s campus is denominationally, ethnically and culturally diverse accurately reflecting our surrounding community.  We currently have over 250 students and although many are studying part time, this year we have a record number of new full time students.

RTS Washington DC currently has two fulltime professors and a number of gifted local adjunct professors who teach our classes.  In addition, we have a number of out of town professors who assist us on a regular basis.  For example, over the last two year some of the guest professors who have taught for RTS Washington DC:  Dr. Michael S. Horton, Dr. Steve Nichols, Dr. Guy Waters, Dr. Steve Garber, Dr. Bill Edgar, Dr. Richard Gaffin, Dr. Steve Brown, Dr. Miles Van Pelt, Dr. and Dr. Mark Futato.

RTS Washington DC’s new campus is located in Tysons Corner, the quintessential "edge city," located one mile outside the Capital Beltway and only 12 miles from downtown Washington.  This "secondary downtown" of the Washington, D.C. area has over 25.6 million square feet of office space and over 4 million square feet of retail space, the second largest on the East Coast after New York City, making it a significant area in its own right.  Our new campus is located across from the newly developed Silver Line Metro station in Tysons Corner which provides our students access from all over the metro DC area. This unique location also provides excellent accessibility by car being at the intersection of a number of the area’s major highways including the capital beltway (I-495), I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road

RTS Washington DC’s unique urban address points to our strong commitment to raising up and equipping the next generation of pastors and Church leaders to take the gospel back to our cities.  About 300 years ago, less than three percent of the world’s population lived in cities. Today, more than 50 percent of the world’s population lives in cities and the number is growing rapidly.  Within the next 50 years, it is estimated that 70 percent of the world's population will live in cities.  Urban church growth is the missional challenge of our generation.

The greatest church planter/missionary in history, the Apostle Paul, used an unassuming, two-step approach for establishing the growth of the gospel in what was then the heart of the Roman Empire.  First, he chose large strategic cities (Acts 16:9, 12), and then planted churches there (cf. Titus 1:5 - "appoint elders in every town").  With the completion of these two phases of this urban church planting strategy, Paul could say that he had "fully preached" the gospel in that area and that he had "no more work" to do there (Romans 15:19, 23).  He believed through the work of the Holy Spirit everything else that needed to happen would follow. 

Recent research has shown that new churches are six to ten times more effective at attracting people to the gospel than older, more established churches.  These new church plants are the best way to reach the new generation, new residents and new people groups with the gospel.  Dr. Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City suggests, “The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for 1) the numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and 2) the continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else--not crusades, outreach programs, para-church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes--will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow raising statement. But to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial.”

The question to today’s seminaries is, “Are we creating ministers who understand the Word of God, growing spiritually through prayer, and engaging the culture around them?”  We at RTS Washington understand the need to develop ministers who are theologically, spiritually, and vocationally prepared.   We are committed to equipping men and women to articulate and defend their faith in a way that stands up to intellectual criticism, engages hearts and gives an account for the hope that is within them.

Regarding a seminary leadership’s responsibility to the church and church planting network, Keller observed, “Leaders are not made in the classroom. They develop by facing overwhelming challenges, receiving expert input, and being surrounded by an encouraging support system.”  This is the kind of environment we supply our students at RTS Washington DC.  Our professors are men who, as pastors, planted churches in large urban centers.

Our focus is to prepare leaders for the global church, our community, our nation and the world with “a mind for truth and a heart for God” through a solidly Biblical and winsomely Reformed graduate-level theological education resulting in a world transformed for the glory of God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

The brightest and best from around the world are drawn to Washington.  Sometimes they come to participate in government, but many others come to work or study in disciplines such as medicine, business, and technology. When they leave, they leave as leaders who shape the culture of the nation and the world. If you are looking to change the world through the Gospel of Jesus Christ we invite you to come join us at Reformed Theological Seminary Washington DC.

In His Service

Hugh Whelchel
RTS Washington DC