Warsaw Study Center
Take. Read. Grow.
Calvin’s Institutes Book Promotion
On September 24 we hosted a book promotion for the first-ever translation of Calvin’s Institutes to Polish.
What does Tolle Lege Mean?
Tolle Lege is a Latin phrase meaning “take and read.” It is taken from St. Augustine’s account of his own conversion in his classic work Confessions. While weeping in his garden, overwhelmed by a sense of sin and separation from God, Augustine heard an audible voice, as of a boy or girl chanting in a neighboring house, “Take and read, take and read.” Startled by these words, Augustine interpreted it as a command from God to open the Bible and start reading the first passage he should find. The Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 13:13-14 confronted his most closely held sins – and the moment Augustine received God’s Word he was flooded with indescribable peace. He immediately confessed his faith to others and began a new life in Christ.
Stunted Protestantism in Poland
Struggling in Size and Health
Did you know that the Protestant Reformation once had momentum in Poland? In 1555 John Calvin wrote to a Polish nobleman, “At the present moment Poland deservedly occupies my thoughts with a very special anxiety. For from the time that the light of a purer doctrine began to shine upon it, this happy beginning has at the same time inflamed my desire with the hopes of a better progress.”
But Calvin’s hopes were dashed. By the late seventeenth century the Polish Reformation had been squelched by external and internal forces, most notably the Jesuit Counter-Reformation and Socinian antitrinitarian heresy.
Today 87.2% of Polish society is Roman Catholic and only 0.4% is Protestant, meaning most Poles have never even met an evangelical believer. Although “lite” devotional resources are available in the Polish language, churches are starved of classic, historical teaching on the doctrines of grace. No Protestant systematic theology has ever been published in Polish. Neither have the Westminster Confession of Faith or Calvin’s Institutes. At least, not yet…
Poland deservedly occupies my thoughts with a very special anxiety.
The declining number of Protestant Churches in Poland in the 17c.
Take a Quick Video Tour of the Study Center
Laying the Educational Foundations
TLI’s mission is to publish theological classics in the Polish language, offer access to biblical resources, and host workshops and conferences on Reformation topics. We are located on a busy street near downtown Warsaw. Five days a week guests can stop in to make a cup of coffee or tea, access our collection of 8,000+ print and electronic titles (including Logos Bible software), do research in a study carrell, browse our curated bookstore, and talk with theologically trained staff. Many resources are in English, so international visitors also feel at home. We know of no other study center like ours in Central-Eastern Europe.
We are pioneering the translation of classic Protestant works to serve not only Poland but the Polish-speaking diaspora around the world (the UK’s second-most-spoken language is Polish!). The next volume set to print in 2020 is J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism, in digital and print editions.
TLI offers access to a collection of 8,000+ print and electronic titles. Topics center on theology and church history but spill over into philosophy, the arts, American studies, and ancient languages. Guests are welcome to read in our comfortable space or open an account to borrow books.
Both Polish and English titles are available for purchase in our curated shop. On our shelves you’ll find present-day theologians like Michael Horton and Timothy Keller, as well as classic thinkers like the Polish Reformer Jan Łaski, Jonathan Edwards, and Martin Luther.
Our workshops and conferences on history, theology, literature, and art related to the Protestant Reformation illuminate topics which are dimly lit in Poland, facilitating interaction between scholars, students, pastors, and laypeople.
Local schools are invited to take field trips to TLI to learn about Poland’s forgotten Protestant heritage and the Five Solas of the Reformation. Alternatively, Dr. Bryćko accepts invitations to speak in religion and ethics classes at primary and high schools.
TLI hosts events where local teens can practice their English skills with native-speakers in a game/conversation-based environment. We are exploring the possibility of new events for adults and younger children as well.
TLI is building its capacity to offer seminary courses through our facility with webinars, online tools, and visiting professorships. If you or your institution would like to learn more about partnering with us, please contact us.
In a post-Covid-19 world TLI’s thoughtful, small-scale layout offers a safe and inviting co-working space, meeting room, and mini-conference forum. We sometimes make our space available to small groups and individuals pursuing goals that dovetail with our educational mission, such as literary societies, teachers, and MA/PhD students.
As a hub for thinking Protestants in Poland, TLI has the capacity to provide an educational infrastructure, supporting platform, and meeting space for Reformed-Presbyterian church planting in Warsaw.
Help Us Translate Important Books Into Polish Language
Good books are food for Christian growth. Where good books are scarce, it is no surprise that growth is stunted. TLI is standing in the gap to translate excellent Protestant classics into the Polish language. We are pioneering the translation of classic Protestant works to serve not only Poland but the Polish-speaking diaspora around the world (the UK’s second-most-spoken language is Polish!).
Although “lite” devotional resources are available in the Polish language, churches are starved of classic, historical teaching on the doctrines of grace. No Protestant systematic theology has ever been published in Polish. Neither have the Westminster Confession of Faith or Calvin’s Institutes. At least, not yet…
TLI has just published J. Gresham Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism in Polish! Machen wrote his classic defense of Christian orthodoxy in 1923 to counter rising theological liberalism. But given the intensity and durability of the unorthodox zeitgeist, Christianity and Liberalism is even more relevant for readers today than it was for its original audience 100 years ago. Machen insists that liberal Christianity is not Christianity at all, but a different religion altogether. His brave words give orthodox Christians tools to identify and resist the most dangerous kind of false teaching – that from within the church. Christianity and Liberalism is the first in Tolle Lege’s new primary-source series called “Intelektualne Wstrząsy,” which means something like “intellectual shakeup” or “jolt.” The goal of the series is to introduce Polish readers to paradigm-shifting works by key thinkers of the Presbyerian/Reformed tradition.
The Westminster Confession of Faith (Spring 2021)
Louis Berkhof, A Summary of Christian Doctrine (Spring 2021)
The Tolle Lege Institute is doing important work in translating significant Reformed material into Polish. Poland produced notable Protestants at the time of the Reformation but has on the whole been dominated by Roman Catholicism now for many years. Tolle Lege are helping to address this theological imbalance and provide thoughtful Christians with excellent historic resources.
US Phone Number: (803) 409-9744
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About the Foundation
Please note that we are European Non-Profit organisation and your gifts are NOT tax deductible in the U.S. If you would like to make U.S. tax deductible donation, please contact us.
The president of the foundation is Dariusz M. Bryćko, PhD, a graduate of Calvin Theological Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Moody Bible Institute.
The Tolle Lege Institute is overseen by a three-member Supervisory Board, comprising: Dr. Michał Kuź, Irina Villastrigo, and Rev. Dr. Christopher H. Wisdom.
Honorary Advisory Board
Dr. Paul C. H. Lim
Associate Professor of the History of Christianity at Vanderbilt Divinity School as well as Associate Professor of History, Religious Studies, and Asian Studies at Vanderbilt’s College of Arts & Science. He is an award-winning historian of Reformation- and post-Reformation Europe. Dr. Lim’s latest book, Mystery Unveiled: The Crisis of the Trinity in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2012), won the 2013 Roland H. Bainton Prize as the best book in history/theology by the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference. He has delivered invited lectures at venues such as Harvard, Oxford, Princeton, Cambridge, Dartmouth, Cornell, Penn, St Andrews, Beijing, Rotterdam, Yonsei, Wheaton, Westminster Seminary, Calvin Seminary, UCLA, etc. He has also served as the President of the American Society of Church History in 2019 and serves as an editorial board member for Brill’s Studies in the History of Christian Traditions.
Dr. Richard A. Muller
P. J. Zondervan Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and senior fellow of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research. The author of several influential works, including Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics, After Calvin, and Divine Will and Human Choice, he is a leading scholar in the study of seventeenth-century Reformed Orthodoxy.
Dr. David S. Sytsma
Earned his PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary and is an Associate Professor at Tokyo Christian University, where he teaches courses in history, theology, and philosophy. As Research Curator for the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research, he directs the Post-Reformation Digital Library. He is the author of Richard Baxter and the Mechanical Philosophers, published in 2017 by Oxford University Press. His research interests center on early modern intellectual history, with a current focus on the relation between the thought of Thomas Aquinas and the Reformed theological tradition.
Dr. Carl R. Trueman
Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies at Grove City College in Pennsylvania and senior fellow at the Institute for Faith and Freedom. The author and co-author of over a dozen books, he has published with Oxford University Press, Brill, and Cambridge University Press. Dr. Trueman is also a regular contributor to the American journal First Things. His research interests include the intellectual history of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, scholarly exchange between Roman Catholics and confessional Protestants, and the development of contemporary concepts of human personhood.
Rev. Dr. Christopher H. Wisdom
A retired Orthodox Presbyterian minister and US Army chaplain, former Vice President of Erskine Theological Seminary, and current adjunct Professor of Pastoral Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia). He has lived abroad extensively in Europe and Asia. His research and teaching interests include pastoral theology, Christian leadership, and the influence of the German Protestant Reformation on the English and Scottish Reformations.
For donations larger than $500 please consider an international bank wire which has a processing fee lower than with a credit card donation.
Organization’s Account Number:
IBAN: PL 50 1140 2004 0000 3112 0438 3618
Fundacja Instytutu Tolle Lege
ul. Minska 62, LU 5, 03-828 Warszawa, Poland
mBank S.A. (formerly BRE Bank S.A. Lodz, Poland)
Skr. pocz. 2108, 90-959 Lodz 2, Poland.
What is the preferred method of donating?
Most supporters find online giving via credit card most convenient, especially since automatically recurring donations can be set up that way. Also, online donations reach us immediately whereas checks are transferred quarterly.
What is Tolle Lege’s current area of greatest need?
We are currently in need of more online recurring donations, which keep our Study Center open to the public five days a week. Even small amounts, when given regularly, have a large impact!
Is there a way to make a US tax-deductible donation to Tolle Lege?
Yes! Donors can give by check to a partner church in the US, and the church will issue the donor a tax-deductible receipt. Please make the check out to First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio, in the memo line write “Tolle Lege Poland” and mail to:
First Presbyterian Church
404 N. Alamo St.
San Antonio, TX 78205
First Presbyterian Church then transfers these check funds to Poland on a quarterly basis.
Are online donations to Tolle Lege tax-deductible?
We regret that online donations are not tax-deductible in the US at this time.
I’m considering a larger donation. What is the best way for me to give?
Thank you! For donations larger than $500, please consider an international bank wire, which has a processing fee lower than with a credit card donation. This is a good option if the tax deduction is not important to you.
But if you would like to get a tax-deductible receipt for your gift, giving by check is the best option. Please make the check out to First Presbyterian Church of San Antonio, in the memo line write “Tolle Lege Poland” and mail to:
First Presbyterian Church
404 N. Alamo St.
San Antonio, TX 78205
If your church would like to become a partner church to receive and transfer checks in this way, please get in touch with Brooke – Brooke@TolleLegePoland.org
Are international bank wires to Tolle Lege tax-deductible?
We regret that bank wires are not tax-deductible in the US at this time.
Can I donate in currencies other than US dollars?
Yes! Online donations can be made in USD (dollars), PLN (Polish złoty), or EUR (Euros). Bank wires can also be made to our Polish account in USD, PLN, or EUR.
Is Tolle Lege a non-profit organization?
Yes, we are a Polish non-profit organization (NGO) registered with the Ministry of Education, as Polish law requires for educational non-profits.
Is Tolle Lege a US 501(c)3 organization?
Currently, no. Tolle Lege was founded in 2007 as a US 501(c)3 organization and operated that way until 2020. Now that we are permanently based in Warsaw, it is simpler to streamline operations through our Polish non-profit foundation, Fundacja Instytutu Tolle Lege.
I can’t give financially right now, but I still want to support Tolle Lege. Are there any non-financial ways to be of help?
Yes! We suggest:
• Subscribing to our newsletter (click the “Contact” tab above) to stay up-to-date on prayer requests
• Setting up a Zoom call with us for prayer and mutual encouragement
• Booking us to share a live Field Update (online) with your church, Sunday school class, or small group
• Sharing our brochure (download here)
• Hosting a “Pray for Poland” meeting with mission-minded friends
• Reading – in your own native language! – one of the books we’re translating/have translated (i.e., Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism, Beeke and Pederson’s Meet the Puritans, The Westminster Confession of Faith, Berkhof’s Summary of Christian Doctrine)
• Posting about Tolle Lege on social media
• If you are a pastor or academic able to speak authoritatively on some aspect of Reformation history/theology, consider being a guest lecturer at one of our conferences.
Please get in touch with Brooke to discuss these ideas further – Brooke@TolleLegePoland.org
My church may be interested in supporting Tolle Lege. What steps should I take?
Please contact Brooke (Brooke@TolleLegePoland.org) to book an online meeting with your missions committee, session, Sunday school class, or other group that would like to learn more about our work. You can also download our most recent pdf brochure to share by clicking here.
I prefer to support projects more than the general fund. What kind of projects can I donate toward?
We are very grateful for help with specific projects and items! On the docket right now are:
• Upcoming conference
• Book translation projects
• Local outreach events and materials
• Direct mail campaigns
To discuss these further, please contact Brooke – Brooke@TolleLegePoland.org
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