President, Third Mill, discusses modern advances, obstacles to fulfilling the Great Commission
by Peter Benyola
Dr. Richard L. Pratt Jr. helped to launch Third Millennium Ministries in response to the lack of training of Christian leaders around the world. Third Mill recognizes where the church is growing the fastest, those Christian leaders have the least amount of training. Dr. Pratt personally witnessed this in the 1980s as he traveled for missions. Helping the church worldwide became his passion. He believed that any person who had the desire to learn more about the Bible should be given that opportunity. Furthermore, it should be accessible, in their own language, and at no cost to them.
Third Millennium, with administrative offices in Casselberry, Fla., was launched in 1997 to provide: “Biblical Education, For the World, For Free.” This goal is being met by building a multimedia seminary curriculum in English, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Russian and Spanish.
Dr. Pratt taught at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Miss., and Orlando, Fla., for 21 years. He also chaired the Old Testament Department at RTS Orlando. He received a B.A. from Roanoke College, his M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary, and his Th.D. from Harvard University. Dr. Pratt has traveled extensively throughout the world to evangelize and lecture, including Australia, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Indonesia, Mexico, Mongolia, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and throughout the United States.
Dr. Pratt served as the General Editor for the NIV Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible and has written several books, including Every Thought Captive, He Gave Us Stories, Pray With Your Eyes Open and Designed for Dignity, as well as commentaries on I and II Chronicles and the Corinthian epistles.
Anyone who has ever been able to hear Dr. Pratt speak in a church or at an event may be familiar with his gift for imparting profoundly practical, life-applicable truth that rests on sound biblical theology. After reading Designed for Dignity and benefiting from several of Third Mill’s online resources, I sat down with Dr. Pratt to get a missionary update, discuss Third Mill’s partnership with other outreach ministries such as Gospel Through Colombia, and discuss missiological issues and opportunities currently faced by Christians in fulfilling the Lord’s Great Commission to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
This passage that caps the Gospel of Matthew is what we almost always automatically associate with the Great Commission to spread the gospel. But when we trace the roots of God’s commission to His church all the way back to the early chapters of Genesis, we find that God’s recovery plan for His fallen world is much broader to include all His creation — and that He makes His people integral to this redemptive work.