The Ezra Institute was founded in 2009 by Joseph Boot as an evangelical think-tank and worldview training organization, after years of travelling globally in the work of Christian apologetics and significant research in the areas of cultural and mission theology. It was during this period that Joe also planted a church in downtown Toronto - Westminster Chapel.
Observing that opposition and objection against the Christian faith were increasingly being framed in cultural, civilizational and political terms, both institutions were envisioned as a biblical response to what Joseph understood to be a deep crisis in Western culture that had decisively impacted the church; a crisis rooted in the widespread loss of a comprehensive gospel, a distinctly scriptural worldview, and ultimately a failure to recognize the religious root of all human life and thought – from education and law, to politics, medicine, art and science. He believed such a loss required the constructive recovery of a full-orbed gospel and cultural apologetic capable of confronting systematic unbelief with systematic belief in every sphere of life.
Consequently, from its founding, the EICC has understood gospel-centred cultural reformation, beginning with God’s own people, as an urgent necessity because the organs and institutions of Western cultural life have been thoroughly saturated by humanistic and increasingly pagan assumptions. These varied religious presuppositions have steadily brought about efforts to redefine the norms of our cultural institutions, unleashing real evils and enchaining Western society in a radical opposition to Christ and the freedom and hope brought by the gospel.
Our story must include the difficult assertion that the Christian church herself has not escaped the influence of resurgent humanism and paganism in our secularized society and has often been complicit in advancing, by silence or surrender, slavery to sin – enabling unrighteous laws, corrupted education, sinful political practices, evil social behaviour, debased art and a moribund cultural direction to persist.
The theologically compromised urge to synthesize Christianity with other worldviews has led to a pervasive privatization and truncation of the gospel so that the witness of the church to the world-renewing reign of Christ and His kingdom has been largely eclipsed. The result has been a radical de-Christianization of culture and the predictable decline of our civilization. This has brought the Western world to a widely acknowledged point of existential confusion, spiritual rootlessness and socio-political inanity.
Beginning with a website, a print journal entitled Jubilee and a speaking ministry, the EICC has responded positively to this crisis as a moment of wonderful opportunity for the gospel in our generation. Making steady progress with growing inroads in many English-speaking nations and an expanding team of Fellows, in 2017 the EICC was enabled to take a great leap forward when we were given the resources to acquire our own study centre on the Niagara Peninsula. The study centre is now the base for our research, writing and publishing, and a strategic venue for the development of new teaching, training and study programs in Christian worldview, cultural apologetics and Christian philosophy.