Many people ask what we at RUF believe...
What are the theological distinctives? What does "Reformed" mean? What denomination are you a part of? Are those issues even important? Do we care about evangelism and discipleship? While this page may not answer every question, we hope it will help you to understand part of the 'why' to the 'what' we do.
RUF is Christian
This may be obvious, but this just means that we believe in the historic truths of the Christian faith: the existence of the triune God, the deity of Jesus, the virgin birth, the substitutionary and vicarious atonement of Christ, the physical resurrection of Christ, the sure return of Christ and the divine authority of the Bible which is a faithful and true guide to what we are to believe and how we are to live. We affirm our unity with those from every tradition and denomination who hold to these beliefs and we strive to be charitable to those who may disagree at points along the way.
RUF is Reformed
The word “reformed” identifies us with the theological tradition of the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Specifically, this theological tradition can be described with the following faith distinctives:
1) the divine authority, inspiration, and inerrancy of the Bible,
2) the absolute sovereignty of God over creation and history,
3) the election of believers apart from any merit of their own,
4) the irresistible grace of God provided for and preceding the faith of the individual,
5) the sufficiency of God’s grace apart from which man is dead in sin ,
6) the efficacy of Christ’s death for all those who believe in Him by grace,
7) the safe-keeping of all those for whom Christ died for eternal life.
RUF is Evangelistic
This means that we take seriously the call to talk about and live out the gospel (literally: the good news) which says that we are more sinful than we could ever dare imagine but because of the person and work of Jesus, we are more loved than we could ever dare dream. And because the gospel informs us that we are so sinful that Jesus had to die for us, we are emptied of any self-righteousness or pride of life. And simultaneously, the gospel informs us that Jesus was glad to die for us, which gives us the stability of love and acceptance, and from that place we can move out into a broken and hurting world in order to love it and seeks its healing in the same way that we've been loved and healed through Christ.
RUF is a Community
RUF seeks to be both a safe place and not a safe place. We seek to be safe in the sense that we desire to cultivate a friendly, welcoming environment for both Christians and non-Christians. We long to create an atmosphere of honesty and authenticity, where people can bring their wounds, their shame, their doubts, questions, and their sin and be treated with love and compassion. And on the other hand, we are not seeking to create a safe place where Christians can retreat from the "culture" of TU and be insulated. We see ourselves as the church moving in mission to the campus, meeting students in their given context, and forming a counter-culture to transform both TU and the people which populate it.
RUF is Presbyterian
This word refers to the form of government of the denomination (Presbyterian Church in America) of which RUF is a part, though you won’t see it much affect RUF meetings or your involvement. If you wonder what this means and if or why it matters, just ask Brent and he'll be happy to talk to you about it!
We think these things are important because...
We want you to know some of what RUF is about - we don't want to leave you in the dark about some of the things that we value in RUF. Obviously this list isn't exhaustive, but moreso representative. Acceptance of all these values is in no way required for participation in RUF! When I say "we" on this page, I'm speaking on behalf of the staff of RUF and certainly not the entirety of the students who are involved with RUF on campus. We are here to serve students of all different backgrounds and persuasions.
And a "historic" conclusion...
In the Reformation era, Martin Luther had a sponsor whose name was Fredrick of Saxony. Fredrick was a prince and a 16th century entrepreneur who funded many of Luther’s projects. He was a man of warm heart and deep conviction. On his coach, he had emblazoned these Latin words: suaviter in modo, fortiter in re, which means, “gentle in manner, strong in truth.” This is what RUF at TU desires to be: warm, gracious, inviting, open and non-judgmental; yet holding strong convictions that always come directly from the Bible. It is our absolute and unwavering conviction that to be strong in truth without being gentle in manner is unbiblical. It is also our profound conviction that to be gentle in manner while not adhering to scriptural truth is also unbiblical. By God’s grace we will be both as we press on in the Lord’s grand design for RUF at TU to be used here on this campus, in Tulsa and to the world.