Dr. Charles H. Chao
Dr. Lorraine Boettner
Dr. J. G. Vos
Dr. Samuel Boyle

Early Missionary Work in China

Organization of RTF in 1949

The Reformation Translation Fellowship (RTF) was formed a few months after Charles H. Chao joined with the missionary work of Rev. Samuel E Boyle in Canton, South China (now Guangzhou) in 1948. The two men shared a vision for translating Reformed Christian literature from English into Chinese. Although forced to evacuate to Hong Kong in the summer of 1949, their translation work progressed until they were able to publish their first book in 1950 under the name of The Reformation Theological Fellowship, which was soon changed to the Reformation Translation Fellowship. The motto of 2 Timothy 2:9 “The Word of God is not bound,” was chosen and the work progressed forward. The Foreign Mission Board then moved the Chao and Boyle families to Kobe, Japan as their permanent base in 1950. Meanwhile, in the United States, J. G. Vos established RTF as an official ministry recognized by the IRS in 1951. The Chao family was able to move to the US in 1958 as Charles moved to pursue further education. He was able to retire from the mission field and devote more of his time to RTF in 1962. From 1950 up until 2002, a total of over 120 books and pamphlets were translated and published. These works were spread all around the world, influencing countless churches and pastors in their service to Christ. Because of the early work of Charles Chao, Sam Boyle, and others, RTF has played a major role in the growth of Christianity in China.

RTF-USA Since 2002

In 2002, the RTF-Taiwan branch transitioned into an independent ministry focusing on traditional Chinese translations, and formed a commercial press under the name of the “RTF Publishing Company.” At the same time, RTF-USA continued on as a non-profit ministry providing free simplified Chinese books through publication in mainland China and the internet. Today, the RTF-USA, RTF-Taiwan, and RTF-Australia all exist as separate ministries to create translations for the benefit of the church. In 2023, because of the generosity of the RTF-USA donors, the free library at www.rtf-usa.com has grown to almost one hundred books online, with many more produced annually by our faithful translation team. The Board of RTF-USA meets twice annually to plan and approve the ongoing work, it oversees the daily translation and publishing work, it maintains the current website, and it sends out a quarterly RTF-USA Newsletter to friends in the US who support the ministry.

New Languages and Expansion for RTF-USA

In 2020, because of many requests from the church, RTF-USA branched out into Urdu translation in addition to simplified Chinese. Since that time, our partnership with The Urdu Center for Reformed Theology has produced a number of Reformed books that serve a growing population of Reformed Christians in Pakistan and India. In 2022, RTF-USA received more requests to consider Spanish, Hindi, and Japanese projects in its translation work. Four books were assigned to a team of Hindi translators and two were assigned to a Spanish team. In addition, several Japanese pastors have expressed interest in joining with RTF-USA to produce Reformed books for Japan.

New Projects for RTF-USA

Recent projects include an effort to translate more Bible Commentaries, helps for pastors and teachers, Church History volumes, children’s books, a Systematic Theology, and audiobooks. Particular emphasis has been placed upon Puritan and classical Reformed books to provide tools for pastoral training and to teach the basics of Reformed theology. A new website was introduced in 2022, giving RTF-USA the ability to host more books in new languages and to bring audiobooks to our readers. 

The Church History project will begin with Needham’s volumes.

The Systematic Theology Project will feature selections from Charles Hodge’s classic work.

The Audiobook Project will begin with Chinese readings of a few of our titles and will expand to the Expository Commentaries of RC Sproul.

The Puritan Project will focus on several sets from Reformation Heritage Books as well as sermons from a variety of Puritan authors. It is our hope to include many more titles in the years ahead.

Recent RTF-USA Newsletters

The RTF-USA Newsletter is mailed quarterly in the US to all interested friends and donors of our ministry. This publication is an update on the daily work of RTF-USA and is helpful to inform as many people as possible of our important work. Contact us to be added to our mailing list or to receive multiple copies for your church display table.