About Wilberforce AcademyMission & Vision
The mission of the Wilberforce Academy is to train college-age students to be redemptive change agents in their home societies. As these students graciously bring the truth of a Christian worldview to bear on the deepest needs of their societies, they will foster human flourishing in their societies as well as serve God as He builds His kingdom in their midst.
Today, America’s colleges and universities are flooded with over 19 million students, mostly in their 20s, many yearning to transcend the cynicism of our day, many ready to give their lives to God’s call to bring the healing, redemptive power of the Gospel of Christ into culture, politics, and economics. In particular, over 750,000 international students and scholars, many the crème de la crème of their societies, study in America and most will return home.
Will we send them back home with a vision that transcends career and cronies? Will we train these students, internationals and Americans, for lives of Christ-animated servant leadership deeply anchored in a Christian worldview and equipped to apply the Gospel to their vocational callings and to the needs of their societies?
The Wilberforce Academy aims to complement the valiant evangelistic and discipling efforts of campus ministries and churches by offering advanced discipleship in building societies God’s way. Wilberforce Academy programs will not require students to re-locate for our training; rather, we will train those who will in turn train students while they pursue their studies in an institution of higher learning.
The vision and practice of the Wilberforce Academy is distinctively and purposefully grounded in historic Christian thought, especially as summarized, historically, in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds and, globally, in the Statement of Faith of the World Evangelical Fellowship.
Other guiding principles include:
• Creation-Fall-Redemption framework
• Necessity of a Christian worldview for fostering societal healing and restoration
• Serving God as He blesses, disciples and heals nations
• Christian vision for nation-building
• Role of local churches in community development
• Worldview emphasis complemented by practical skills development
• Teaching trainers to train students
• Utilize existing best practices and materials
• Cross-cultural adaptation
• Strategic partnerships
• Particular though not exclusive focus on international students and scholars
(click here for our Statement of Faith)
- Cultural mandate in Genesis: wisely managing creation while also developing its cultural capacities to promote human flourishing (1:26, 28 and 2:15)
- By virtue of their creation in God’s image, humans possess creative, productive, responsible, moral, rational, social, and believing capacities by which they love God and neighbors as they fulfill the cultural mandate
- Sin not only earns God’s judgment (Romans 1) for our failure to keep the cultural mandate, but it also diminishes and distorts human capacities so that we fail to love God and neighbors (Genesis 3). Sin also has the secondary effect of frustrating the rest of God’s creation (Romans 8:20, 22).
- In order to win back the allegiance of a rebellious human race, God forms the nation of Israel to be a model nation that blesses the nations of the world by showing them how to organize their affairs and how to live in service to the Creator (Genesis 12; Isaiah 60).
- God offers His Son, Jesus Christ, not only as a sacrifice for human sin, but also to lead the nations forward into God’s merciful kingdom where God is glorified while humans flourish (Matthew 28:19-20).
- The followers, or disciples of Jesus Christ, are renewed in the image of God by the Holy Spirit so that they can once again fulfill God’s cultural mandate, however imperfectly (II Cor. 3:18).
- The church, composed of Jesus’ followers, is God’s new model nation whereby the nations come to know God’s wisdom for organizing their affairs and promoting human flourishing (Eph 3:10).
- When Jesus Christ returns to establish His kingdom, He will perfectly heal and restore the nations while also exposing the deception of Satan (Revelation 20-22).
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a “redemptive change agent?”
The terminology derives from the uniquely Christian language of redemption, namely, the “buying back” of human beings who have been previously enslaved by their sin. Similar language is utilized in relationship to human slavery, when slaves who are purchased in order to provide their freedom are described as having been “redeemed”.
Thus, a redemptive change agent is one who fosters a particular kind of change, namely, that which releases or liberates people from a sinful human reality through the investment of time and/or money, and does so on the basis of a Christian worldview. Examples are endless, but one could think of a law school graduate who goes back to his home country to help rewrite a legal code which is manifestly unjust. Or, the graduate who seeks to develop a high-quality Christian school in a poverty-ridden rural area would be considered a redemptive change agent. Whatever the situation, the redemptive change agent is always concerned to help create the conditions that foster human flourishing and deep respect for the Triune Godhead.
Will students receive credit for their participation in Wilberforce Academy programs?
The MARD curriculum is designed to be utilized as an extra-curricular program, that is, to supplement students’ existing coursework. Thus, academic credit will not be likely, unless students can arrange for it under an “Independent Study” option in their higher education institution.
It should be noted, however, that the stand-alone courses which will be developed by Wilberforce Academy staff and which will supplement the MARD curriculum will be accredited by the institutions that agree to offer our courses.
Will students receive a degree or certificate for participation in the MARD?
As envisioned, students will receive a certificate upon completion of the requirements of this extra-curricular program.
The Wilberforce Academy was officially founded in February 2009 and launched in April 2009 by Dr. Robert Osburn. The Academy was the culmination of 18 years of reflection and scholarship which attempted to answer the question: “How can the best and brightest amongst us, especially those from foreign countries who study in North America, be empowered to bring the redemptive, healing influence of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to bear on the deepest problems facing their home societies?”
Robert Osburn, Executive Director
PO Box 130551
St Paul MN 55113
Ameido Amevo, MPP, 2013-2014 Leadership Intern
Kristin Robbins, Economic Club of Minnesota
Dr. Carol Hamrin, Co-editor of Salt and Light: Lives of Faith that Shaped Modern China (2009)
Dr. Bob Moffitt (Harvest Foundation and Disciple Nations Alliance)
Dr. John Morrison (University of St Thomas, retired)
Glenn Bratt, MDiv
Rinto Dasuki, MS (Staff Engineer, Seagate Technologies)
Roger Arnold, BA (Board Chair) (Executive Director, Metro Hope Ministries)
Lee Granlund, CPA (Board treasurer)
Robert Osburn, PhD (Executive Director)