The Protestant Reformation of the 1500s began a reform of church practice and belief. As wonderful as the Reformation was, the Magisterial Reformers stopped short of fully reforming church practice. The Baptists of the 1600s took reform a step further, insisting on the separation of church and state, believer’s baptism and the autonomy of each local church. The New Testament Reformation Fellowship is simply a fellowship of brothers who desire to continue the reformation of today’s church by the adoption of New Testament church practice.
We at NTRF believe in the Doctrines of Grace, hold to New Covenant Theology and agree with the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. The essential tenets of the faith to which we subscribe are identical to those found in the doctrinal statements of any sound evangelical institution. Our favorite statement of faith is the First London Baptist Confession of 1646.
We advocate orthodox Evangelical Christian theology poured into the wineskin of New Testament church practice as established by the apostles. We argue from Scripture for such things as small churches (around a hundred people), the Lord’s Supper as fellowship feast (a sacred, covenant meal), participatory worship services, and elders who are truly servant leaders and not lords (government by elder-led congregational consensus). Our goal is to be Christ honoring and thoroughly biblical in every area concerning our church life.
While we are firmly convinced that God’s best is for all His people to organize their churches according to New Testament patterns, we are not against those who do things other ways. We just fear they may be missing a blessing! We understand that sincere, godly saints sometimes understand the same Scripture passages differently. We hear Paul when he asked, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Ro 14:4).
Our desire is to provide resources and training in how the early church met together in community. We seek to aid others in recapturing the intimacy, simplicity, accountability and dynamic of Spirit-led first century church life. God has opened doors of opportunity for us to travel and present these concepts to believers in North and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania. We’ve sent materials to many countries we have not yet gone to in person.
As for those of us at NTRF who lead conferences, we truly do identify with Paul when he wrote, “we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2Co 4:5).
Steve serves as pastor-teacher of the Southern Baptist church he started in the Atlanta area. While in college he joined First Baptist Church of Atlanta (Charles Stanley, pastor). After graduation he moved to Birmingham where he led downtown First Baptist’s college department, ministering to students at Samford University (including then student Al Mohler). He has an M.Div. from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary and while there was part of Bellevue Baptist’s “workship” program (Adrian Rogers, pastor). He then ministered seven years on the pastoral staff of a very traditional mid-sized Baptist church. In the late 1980s Steve began working with churches that desire to follow apostolic traditions of church practice. He has transitioned from mega churches to mid-sized churches to Roman villa sized churches. Married 34 years, he and his late wife Sandra have three grown children and a growing number of grandchildren.
Ed holds an M. Div. from Biblical Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. After seminary he served as an elder in a Baptist church and a Missionary Alliance church in New England. Ed then planted a church in central Connecticut. In 2001 he began hosting an annual conference on early church practice. Ed later moved south and served as an elder at a Southern Baptist church in Georgia. He tutors in New Testament Greek and travels extensively sharing the Gospel on college campuses. He and his wife Linda have been married since 1979 and have four children (along with a good cache of grandchildren).
Once a worshiper of the Hindu deity Shirdi Sai Baba and on the way to becoming a criminal, Stephen David now serves the Lord Jesus as an elder at a church he planted in Hyderabad, India. He has done his Bachelor of Theology, Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling, and Doctorate in Theology. He is a blogger (MessageForOurAge.blogspot.com) and also the author of Signs of Salvation: Understanding Counterfeit and Authentic Conversion. He and his wife Chaitanya have been blessed with two boys.
Denton serves on the leadership team of a Southern Baptist church in Tucker, Georgia. He studied at Whitefield Theological Seminary and before moving to Tucker planted a church in Monroe, Georgia based on early church practice. His favorite statement of faith is the 1644 Baptist Confession. He and his wife Tamara have five children.
A former Hindu, Muralee planted and leads a church in Trimcomalee, Sri Lanka that holds to both early church practice and the First London Baptist Confession. He also travels widely throughout the island evangelizing, planting churches and assisting existing congregations. A graduate of the Lanka Bible College and Seminary, he is working on his doctorate. He and his wife have five children.
Dan has a law degree, a Master of Arts in Church History from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a PhD in business. In addition to love for their three grown children and several grand-children, Dan and his wife Linda have great love for the people of China. They have lived there since 1995. (Their Chinese is getting pretty good!). He even surrendered his tenure as a professor in the US to teach at universities in China. God has used them there to not just lead many to Christ but also actively make disciples. He started two fellowship groups in two cities. Dan has also taught extensive in the underground church. Before getting the China bug, Dan first served as deacon in a Southern Baptist church and later was actively involved in starting and leading a church in South Carolina that followed New Testament church practices.