The World Fellowship of Reformed Churches (WFRC) was formed in 1994 by the Presbyterian Church in America, the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico, the Presbyterian Church of Brazil, and connected evangelical denominations from most of the countries of Latin America plus churches in India, East Africa and the United States. The International Reformed Fellowship (IRF) was also organized in 1994 to join evangelical Reformed leaders from Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, and all across Asia.
In Orlando, Florida (USA) on October 24, 2000, the WFRC and the IRF joined together to create the first truly Reformed, evangelical, worldwide fellowship. This newly formed ministry is now known as the World Reformed Fellowship (WRF).
The WRF was formed to encourage understanding and cooperation among evangelical Presbyterian and Reformed denominations and institutions, and to link those institutions having ministry resources with those possessing vision but few resources. The fellowship promotes Reformed thinking, a Reformed world and life view, fosters evangelism and strategies on missions, church planting and theological education, and promotes international communication for the further advancement of the Gospel.
With a board of twenty-six members representing eighteen nations, the WRF focuses on the needs of the international Reformed community such as the plight of persecuted Christians, incorporation of theological education, missions, publications, and the expansion of evangelical fellowship into all parts of the world.
The people of God, with diversified cultural and ethnic backgrounds, are one in Christ. God has enabled WRF to express the unity of the church through cooperative agreements based upon the same Biblical, evangelical, and missionary vision. Thus, believing that these are but expressions of a well-thought-out Reformed perspective, we invite other Reformed churches, agencies, institutions, and individuals to join with us under the banner of a new international, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic Reformed fellowship of believers. The desire of WRF is to see the Gospel spread throughout the world, applying the distinctives of a Reformed world and life view.
Members of this fellowship are not obligated to formally be responsible for one another's specific positions or actions, but in the atmosphere of free association, may lovingly influence and encourage each other toward greater consistency in Biblical faith and witness. WRF provides a context in which member organizations may become acquainted with each other, and where their leaders may develop friendships and trusting relationships leading to closer, mutually beneficial cooperation.
In many ways WRF fulfills the dream cherished by John Calvin in the 1500s, the Westminster divines in the 1600s, and George Whitefield and Jonathan Edwards in the 1700s, of a truly worldwide union of the Reformed branch of the Church.
WRF stresses that, unlike other international bodies which have sought to unite Reformed Christians, WRF is a fellowship, not a council. Councils tend to require tight agreement doctrinally or in polity, or focus on mutual declarations of an academic nature. WRF is designed to surmount difficulties caused by geographic, cultural, or linguistic barriers and to offer a gathering point where Reformed leaders can grow to know one another and then work out mutually beneficial cooperative agreements. WRF provides one level of fellowship for denominations and another for agencies, institutions, lay persons and leaders. Each member will naturally agree with the following:
- We affirm the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the authoritative, God-breathed and inerrant Word of God.
- We stand in the mainstream of the historic Christian Faith in affirming the following creeds of the early Church: the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Chalcedon Creed.
- More specifically, every member must affirm one of the following historic expressions of the Reformed Faith: the Gallican, the Scots, the Belgic, or the Heidelberg Catechism Confessions; the Canons of Dort, the Westminster Confessions of Faith, the London Confessions of 1689, and the Savoy Declaration.
World Reformed Fellowship seeks:
- to promote Reformed thinking and a Reformed world and life view;
- to inform and encourage churches and people who embrace the Reformed faith;
- to provide a forum for dialogue on current issues;
- to be able to offer direction to the evangelical Reformed community;
- to promote evangelization in the Reformed tradition;
- to maintain, strengthen, and defend the sound doctrines and Biblical-theological tenets that distinguish us as Reformed Christians.
In all of its work, the WRF has this as its goal - that the strengths of some might become the strengths of all in the service of Jesus Christ.