Dear Friends in Christ,
We are in our last few days of our summer US visit. We head back to Taiwan on July 29th. We spent most of our time in the US in Pittsburgh, because my Father had a melanoma. So we wanted to be here. As of now he is doing O.K. We would appreciate your prayers for him.
I have now completed my seventeenth year in Taiwan. From 1996 to 2008 I was the Dean of China Reformed Theological Seminary in Taipei. By God's grace, the Seminary has prospered. The student body has gone from seven to thirty-five. In 1997, we started the graduate program. In 2001, we established Friends of CRTS, a US non-profit, to support the school. Friends of CRTS now sends four PCA pastors to the school to teach (Tim Yates, Dean Ulrich, Toon Yeo, and myself). We also provide much needed financial support. In 2002, the Christian Reformed Church gave us their mission property as a campus (a small but beautiful piece of property). In 2004, we started a Biblical Counseling Center. In 2006, CRTS began to staff two training programs in the mainland China. In 2007, the Chinese Reformed Press moved to the Seminary. We also began teaching courses at two extension sites near Taipei. In 2008, we started a Masters of Theology program to train Chinese teachers. Throughout these years, the Board, the Faculty, and the Staff have worked together in peace, with a common goal of Reformation in the Chinese Church. By the grace of God, CRTS is now an established Chinese Reformed Seminary with a growing reputation in Taiwan and in the Chinese Church throughout the world.
My vision has always been wider than the seminary. From the start, I have been thinking of a Chinese center for the Reformed Faith that includes the Seminary, the Reformed Press, the Counseling center, and Reformed Churches. For this last reason, last summer the Board of the Seminary and the Board of Friends of CRTS approved a major change in my ministry. I took a three-year position as the Pastor of the Hong En (Amazing Grace) Reformed Presbyterian Church. The Church meets in the same building as the Seminary, so I am still deeply involved in the school. I teach one course a term and I am still the director of the Reformed Press. But my main position is as a Pastor. I preach three times a month, lead the weekly prayer meeting, teach Sunday School every week, speak at the various fellowship groups, visit the people regularly - especially the elderly, and in general do the work of a Pastor. My wife is also deeply involved in the Church, leading the women's ministry as well as helping with visitation and counseling.
We enjoy our ministry at the Church. The people have been very supportive. Priscilla and I are focusing on the young-adult group and a new college group. Both groups meet in our home one night a week. Most weeks we have a simple meal before the meetings. I also lead a men's Sunday School for young-adults, college students and other men. We have many hopes and dreams for the Hong En Church. Our prayer is that it will become our flagship church. We hope to instill a burden in the people for missions and church planting. In our first year, we grew from 60 to 80 people. It is especially encouraging that the Church is attracting young adults who share our vision for the Reformed Faith.
At the Reformed Press I meet once a month with the staff, and we make all major decisions. The idea was to limit my involvement to this. But it does not work quite like that in practice. I also answer a lot of questions between meetings, and our ecommerce site (www.crtsbooks.net) has been keeping me busy. It is a very important ministry. This year we published (in Chinese), Ferguson's Let's study Philippians in the Banner of Truth "Let's study" series. We also published Ferguson's The Christian Life, a Doctrinal Introduction, Van Til's Christian Apologetics, Ryle Five English Reformers, a collection on Calvin (in light of his 500th year celebration), and as I write, we are about to publish Burroughs' The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment and Spurgeon's Sovereign Grace Sermons. We have begun work on two other commentaries in the "Let's study series" (Ephesians and John). Clowney's The Unfolding Mystery: Discovering Christ in the Old Testament and Wells' The Courage to be Protestant are also in the pipeline. We are making steps towards starting Edwards' Religious Affections (in my view the most important Christian work not yet translated into Chinese). This summer, my wife has been translating Piper's Finally Alive. The main issue at the press is financial. I have three staff members, and it costs about US $4000 to do a good translation / editing / proof reading of a 200 page book. My thinking is to translate more books despite the difficulties, because there is a great need and we believe that God will provide. But there is a fine line between bold and foolish.
We are also constantly discussing how to reach the mainland China with Reformed books. Only a few of our books can be legally published there (books that can be classified as biographies, philosophy or history - as opposed to Christian books). We are publishing the books that can be legally published there. As for the others, I lean towards allowing mainland Chinese to download these for free - but for books with copyrights we need to discuss this with US publishers.
We thank God for each one of you. Your generous contributions to me, to the Seminary, to the Reformed Press and to the mainland ministry have made this ministry possible. Please remember us and the Chinese Church in prayer.
Your servants in Christ,
Andy and Priscilla McCafferty